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385 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 111396 1-Nov-2012 17:30 Send private message

Having recently purchased some headphones, I've been reading a bit about this "burn-in" process which is supposed to wear them in and make them sound better. There are even iphone apps that let you do it.

What do you sound geeks on here think? Is it worth doing? Or a waste of time?





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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 710533 1-Nov-2012 17:33

I've always thought it was plausible - if it were a totally digital process then it would be rubbish (e.g. burning in of power cables or HDMI cables as some 'audiophiles' advocate), but as there's a electrical to mechanical trandducer involved, it's reasonable to think that the qualities of the system might change with time.

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  Reply # 710534 1-Nov-2012 17:34 Send private message

da5id: Having recently purchased some headphones, I've been reading a bit about this "burn-in" process which is supposed to wear them in and make them sound better. There are even iphone apps that let you do it.

What do you sound geeks on here think? Is it worth doing? Or a waste of time?






there is one born every minute, guess thats why there is an iphone app for it

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 710538 1-Nov-2012 17:42 Send private message

My Bose QC15 sounds as good as the day it came out of the box. In other words, I don't bother

268 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 710540 1-Nov-2012 17:50 Send private message

Always a controversial issue.  Head-fi have a fairly neutral "sticky" on the subject.  

http://www.head-fi.org/t/56744/headphone-burn-in-faq

One article I have read quotes John Grado and also mentions some attempt at objective tests on some AKG701s (old versus new)

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-20061153-47.html

Ultimately, like many of these hifi issues its a matter of try and judge for yourself - there will always be people on both sides of the discussion!!





"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
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gzt

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  Reply # 710545 1-Nov-2012 18:00 Send private message

I am not an audio geek, but I think there is something to it. No doubt the actual effect changes based on materials and composition. Personally I would let it happen over time and not worry about it. I guess if you just spent $1K plus or something then you might want consistent performance from the beginning esp if your listening time is short or you are halfway through a professional assignment.

On gear that expensive you would hope it would be done under controlled conditions in the factory.

This guy did some tests on subwoofers and did find a significant effect: http://www.gr-research.com/myths.htm. Subs are low freq hence large physical movement so you would expect it there.

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  Reply # 710547 1-Nov-2012 18:02 Send private message

Area of controversy. I think burn in probably happens, moreso in some headphones than others depending on design etc, but even then the degree that it makes a tangible difference isn't big (in other words if you dislike a headphone out of the box your opinion won't do a 180 due to burn in). Tyll from Innerfidelity has done some high quality objective recordings pre- and post-burn in and I think noted some minor differences only (although minor differences at some parts of the frequency curve can make a disproportionate difference to the listener depending on the materal being listened to, the hearing of the listener and factors that influence that like the shape of the ear etc etc).

I think psychoacoustics or "brain burn in" probably accounts for a great deal more (if not virtually all) of the difference people do hear as they listen more to headphones and become accustomed to the headphones sound signature and the way they present sound.

For myself I don't bother, I'll burn mine in while listening to them.

Also, there is a dedicated headphones thread now where all the headphone geeks are congregating, probably a good place to ask questions of this nature :)




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  Reply # 710577 1-Nov-2012 18:47 Send private message

Its also used as an excuse for people getting used to a new sound, something which they disliked when they first heard it etc.

And as a way of retailers pushing you outside any return timeframes ;)

But yeah, the suspension on the drivers will free up after a short while. None of this hours carryon that people talk about, it should have already happened in the testing process anyway. Unless you are buying dollar store headphones etc which are lucky to have had any testing done on them ;)




Richard rich.ms

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  Reply # 710628 1-Nov-2012 20:52 Send private message

I'm quite convinced that the Sennheiser headphones that I've bought over the last few years have benefitted from some burn in, but I can't really substantiate it because it's so subjective.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 710736 1-Nov-2012 22:35 Send private message

Thanks for the replies.

I think I'll forego it and just listen to music :)

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  Reply # 710740 1-Nov-2012 22:43 Send private message

da5id: Thanks for the replies.

I think I'll forego it and just listen to music :)


That's what I'd be doing.  Lets face it any well respected brand is going to want to have their gear sound as good as it possibly can right out of the box.  I don't buy into this burn in stuff, but if there was anything in it any decent manufacturer would want it done before the device was sold.




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  Reply # 712441 5-Nov-2012 17:37 Send private message

Well I have a brand new set of B&W P5's burning in right now... Why? Well, why not?

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