Author Topic: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?  (Read 37463 times)

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Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #50 on: November 16, 2014, 01:31:17 am »
Audio Technica...one must admit that they know something about designing and manufactoring headphones right ?

http://eu.audio-technica.com/en/support/questions/question.asp?id=239

They say:
To make these slight changes happen sooner you can play music through your headphones for 50+ hours at normal listening levels. This ‘burning in’ process can have the following effects:

    A smoother frequency extension in the bass and treble
    Better instrument separation
    A more open sound stage

Remember these changes are very slight and would happen naturally in time without ‘burning in’ your headphones.

Small effects....okay the question is then....how small ? Can anyone hear it ? Adults ?
(children has a better hearing...we know that :P )

And they also say "Headphones do not require ‘burning’ in, however over a period of time the sound of headphones naturally change by a very small margin. " :P

(They use a word as "smoother" - WTF ? What does "smooth" sound like ? :P )
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 01:32:48 am by janengelbrecht »
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #51 on: November 16, 2014, 02:31:15 am »
Quote
Better instrument separation
The track was mixed in the studio. you can try all you want , but you will not be able to alter that mix
Quote
    A more open sound stage
thae recording studio had a certain size. try all you might, you cannot change the stage that was used from your home. it would involve hauling your butt to the recording studio and the usage of heavy equipment like bulldozers to alter that stage ...
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Online BravoV

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #52 on: November 16, 2014, 02:42:30 am »
(They use a word as "smoother" - WTF ? What does "smooth" sound like ? :P )

Its quite boring and all this time I'm wondering all this years, why there are no new metric invented for this industry such as "spicier" , "sourness", "bitter sweetness" , "farty tone" and etc ?  :palm:

Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #53 on: November 16, 2014, 03:01:12 am »

This isnt specifically directed at Lightages, ive seen plenty of good content from him, just in general, they are a good example though. Or even at this specific topic.
Lets see how some of these statements fare if we change it to something we know a bit more about ;)

I am going to respond anyway >:D

I have also posted a bit of BS in my time time :)

Just remember that I said I was open to evidence and what I was asking from the audiophools who make claims is to demonstrate them in a fashion that is measurable, instead of ethereal comments about how their newly broken in headphones that sounded so bad now sound like angels are whispering in their ears. I don't disbelieve, I just don't believe until there is evidence that their woowoo does what they say. It is always funny how their magic always seems to make things better and their never stumble on something that makes things worse.

Show me the evidence, repeatable, objectively measured, double blind, and I will behave accordingly.

I don't even trust my own ears
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #54 on: November 16, 2014, 03:37:22 am »
I really don't understand all of the cynicism on this forum when it comes to audio claims, even those that are based in measurable fact.

Speaker response changes in the first few hours of use.  This is well known, well understood, and in over 10 years this is the only time I've seen anybody try to argue the contrary.  It's incredibly easy to measure, I've done so myself.  Built a new pair of towers, got them up and running, and used an RTA to flatten out the response.  A few months later I re-ran the RTA and the EQ required to flatten it out was completely different, the sharp resonances it was trying to tame at first were no longer there, and the EQ adjustments were much smoother.  About a year later I ran it again, and while the EQ settings did change slightly, it was a much less dramatic shift.  A year after that I ran it again just for giggles, and nothing changed.

While a headphone driver is much smaller and of a different design, I see no reason why it couldn't suffer from the same effect.  Will it?  I don't know.  Could it?  I don't see why not.

Could somebody hear the difference?  Maybe, maybe not, I'm sure it depends on the person and the material they're listening to, but I wouldn't discount it.  If you can measure the difference, it's certainly reasonable to assume somebody could hear the difference.

Of course you don't have to play any specific signal to cause it to break in, it's something that will happen naturally as you use it, but I don't see anything wrong with somebody trying to accelerate the process.  It's no different in my mind than somebody going out on a long weekend drive in a new car to break in the engine sooner.  Or somebody twisting all of the knobs on their new measurement equipment for a few minutes to smooth them out (to steal ConKbot's example).
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 03:40:47 am by suicidaleggroll »
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #55 on: November 16, 2014, 03:50:07 am »
Like seriously, I've always considered making a nice DAC + headphone amp as a project of my own, but I wouldnt even post it on this forum, let alone ask advice about design, because the anti-audiophool nutters would be the majority of the posters in the thread.

Completely understandable.  It seems like whenever anything audio related is mentioned on this forum, all logic goes out the window and the pitchforks come out.  It's almost as bad as the "audiophools" themselves.
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #56 on: November 16, 2014, 05:23:12 am »
I really don't understand all of the cynicism on this forum when it comes to audio claims, even those that are based in measurable fact.
Wow. Somehow you have missed all the discussions of "audiophools".  A great many audio claims are on the same level as tabloid/tattler "journalism".  Completely made up of whole cloth for no further purpose than to separate people from their money.  And even those which claim to be "based in measurable fact" are not completely trustworthy since there are few universally used test and specification standards.
 

Offline Mark Hennessy

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #57 on: November 16, 2014, 11:32:43 am »
Like seriously, I've always considered making a nice DAC + headphone amp as a project of my own, but I wouldnt even post it on this forum, let alone ask advice about design, because the anti-audiophool nutters would be the majority of the posters in the thread.

Completely understandable.  It seems like whenever anything audio related is mentioned on this forum, all logic goes out the window and the pitchforks come out.  It's almost as bad as the "audiophools" themselves.

I completely agree. It's a major problem on this forum. Seriously, we should not be driving people into the open arms of diyaudio.com or other places that major on pixie dust.

The trouble is, audio is a very complex subject. It's one that few people understand well - I see evidence of that daily on here. I see a lot of laziness, but if people were to spend a bit of time digging, they'd begin to appreciate the complexities. Perhaps they have; perhaps they've decided to not get involved as waving their pitchforks is easier (and trendier!).

Of course, audio has the lunatics. You can blame the manufacturing industry for that - the various "accessories" are very cheap to make and the profits are huge. Hi-fi marketing - like all forms of marketing - is incredibly skilful, playing on the insecurities of the typical audiophile, selling the dream of the next big auditory revelation, building the idea that their audio reproduction isn't quite as perfect as it could be, but if only they invested in these magic pebbles, that would restore harmonic balance to their air molecules. The hi-fi press - who get their money directly from the manufacturers - are pawns in this. If their reviews are too rigorous and show that 3 amplifiers measure and sound the same, then how does that create sales opportunities and advertising revenue? Hence the rise of subjectivism at the end of the 1970s, and the emergence of magic cables et al in the 1980s. It's an incredibly cynical and clever machine that has many thousands of folk ensnared. But it's a shrinking market - they have effectively killed mainstream interest in hi-fi (remember how everyone wanted a great hi-fi in the '70s?) - so the prices have to keep going up to sustain the Ferrari lifestyle that the worst proponents have.

At the other extreme, you have a *lot* of very solid engineering. Much of it is considered "mature" now - for example, since Douglas Self published his great work on audio power amplifier design in the 1990s, pretty much anyone who understands basic electronics can build themselves a hi-fi amplifier that would be hard to fault. Digital audio is fairly mature as well. Much research today concerns refining our understanding of how the human hearing system works (extremely complex - read about it; it's fascinating!) so that things like data-rate reduction can improve.

In between these extremes, there are a lot of topics that are worthy of investigation and discussion, but the lazy approach here is to simply kick them into the "audiophool" category. Loudspeaker design being one of them. There is a lot of engineering that falls outside the comfort zone of a typical electronics engineer - e.g. material science and mechanical engineering. Loudspeaker design is nowhere near as deterministic as a lot of electronics; just making acoustic measurements is a branch of science in its own right - when you start doing this, you realise how spoilt we are on the electronics test bench where we can measure a voltage to within 0.05% with cheap multimeters. But moving a measurement microphone just 2 centimetres can alter a plot by several dB. No wonder everyone is afraid of audio  >:D

For example, at the design stage, there is a lot the engineer can do to alter the subjective impression of the "soundstage". Of course, it's impossible to quantify "soundstage" in hard objective terms, not least because it's a construct in the imagination of the listener, and every listener will have a different "picture" in their head when they listen. However, even if you can't measure it, you'd better be good at understanding how to manipulate it if you want to create loudspeakers that the public (and pro users) will buy! And good designers can do just that, because they know how to interpret the objective measurements, and they know when to trust their ears. That blend is very important.

So, given that a lot of design effort goes into producing a desired soundstage, given that all that work was done using well-exercised drive units, it certainly isn't impossible to conceive that brand new drive units might not work exactly as the original designer intended - not least for the first hour or two. I'm not saying that "burn-in" definitely affects soundstage - but I also wouldn't claim the opposite. Anything is possible - especially with electro-mechanical systems - and to dismiss it out of hand as "audiophoolery" is intellectually lazy.

Likewise, "smoothness" usually means a freedom from peaks across the frequency band - especially in the critical midrange area. When you look at a frequency response plot of a loudspeaker, there are small peaks and troughs everywhere. These peaks are caused by resonance; energy storage. It's impossible to completely eliminate them from diaphragms and suspension systems and enclosures. You get "cavity resonances" between the magnet pole piece and the dust cap. The job of the designer is to ensure there are no large peaks, especially with a high Q, as these stand out like a sore thumb (dips are much less objectionable).

Often, the diaphragm is "doped" - that is, covered with damping material - to control these. This is not ideal because it can be hard to automate reliably in production. Material choice is important - back in the late 1960s the BBC experimented with countless types of plastic in an attempt to get away from the inconsistencies of paper pulp, and settled on Bextrene for a while - then along came polypropylene. Further development work was done on surrounds and dust covers, and the glues to hold it all together. Everything - literally *everything* matters when you're trying to build high quality, low colouration monitor loudspeakers. Remember that unlike most commercial outfits, the BBC R&D engineers were in the privileged position of having access to studios, so they could do instant live-vs-reproduced comparisons. Invariably, the measurements only tell you so much; you have to listen as well.

So, given that the frequency response of a drive unit is determined by many factors, including the specific properties of the materials used, it's really not inconceivable that minor changes in the frequency response might occur from new. And indeed, when they age. I could cite a 30 year old loudspeaker that sounds distinctly "unsmooth", but if you warm the surround with a hairdrier, it gets a lot better. I'm talking about a change of 3 or 4dB, which is readily measured, and easily heard.

What was the other one? Oh yes, "instrument separation". Well look, different loudspeakers will do a better job of this than others. The usual mechanisms are the basic frequency response, harmonic distortion, and energy storage (look at the "waterfall" plots). There is a lot that a designer can do to here, especially through the midrange, where most loudspeakers are really quite poor. If we can accept the premise that different loudspeakers do this differently, then again, it's just about possible that this aspect of the loudspeaker performance might appear to alter slightly as the drive units quickly become "in spec".

As I said earlier, I wouldn't want to put any numbers or absolutes on any of this, but you simply can't dismiss it out of hand as "audiophoolery". We can look at the mechanisms (e.g. spider resin), and we can talk about that in engineering terms, but to a typical non-educated listener with good ears, they will naturally express what they hear in their terms. Yes, there are a whole load of audiophile "power words", but if audio engineers failed to translate user feedback into engineering principles that can guide their design process, then we wouldn't be able to build products that the audio consumers and pro users want to buy. It's that simple.

Again, I speak as someone who is an experienced audio engineer, and not an audiophool. You have to keep an open mind, balanced with a healthy degree of cynicism. But the more you learn, the more you realise that there is so much more to this than meets the eye. Unfortunately, the anti-audiophoolery brigade on this forum are mostly showing their ignorance. Sorry, but if we are to ever see an end to the genuine lunacy out there, we must work harder to understand audio, and to understand the audiophiles who are trapped in clutches of the pixie-dust industry. Calling them "phools" is hardly going to help that battle.
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #58 on: November 16, 2014, 01:26:21 pm »
There are a lot of things in this world that we don't understand - and my never understand.

The irrational reaction from some is to label all of them "fraud", when in fact it could be due to our limited understanding of science and science's limited understanding of the world (at present time).

The two extremes of ignorance are the audiophools (everything they prompt makes an audible and usually positive difference) and audiodicks (nothing beyond what we know now can possibly make a difference).

They are equally foolish.
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Online madires

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #59 on: November 16, 2014, 03:58:37 pm »
There are a lot of things in this world that we don't understand - and my never understand.

The irrational reaction from some is to label all of them "fraud", when in fact it could be due to our limited understanding of science and science's limited understanding of the world (at present time).

The two extremes of ignorance are the audiophools (everything they prompt makes an audible and usually positive difference) and audiodicks (nothing beyond what we know now can possibly make a difference).

They are equally foolish.

Yes and no ;) The point is that hearing, i.e. listening to music, is a very personal experience. It's not just the audio hardware, it's also your ears and the audio processing in your head, what you like or prefer, what you dislike and what you feel or the emotions you got in that moment. In the case of the burn-in of headphones it could be possible that one prefers new headphones and dislikes them after 100 hours. Someone else prefers old headphones. And a third person is happy with 20 hours of burn-in. We can argue about things we're able to measure but not about the things we like or prefer. If you measure a difference in performance of headphones when they are brand new, a few hours used and a few years old, then you know that the performance is not the same over time. But it doesn't tell you in which usage phase the headphones sound best to a person. For me audiophoolery starts when there's a large mismatch between performance and price.
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #60 on: November 16, 2014, 04:13:02 pm »
If you can demonstrate in a double-blind or A-B-X test that you can reliably HEAR a diffence, then I am not going to argue with you. Indeed everyone sees things differently and hears things differently. And some people simply have better hearing than others, etc.

My main objection to "audiophoolery" is the widespread (at least in my perception) situation where people IMAGINE that things sound better because they are some "magic" circuit or their cables cost 10000 per meter and are made of pure unobtanium, etc.  They mostly refuse to PROVE that the magic whatever really makes a difference by objective listening tests because most of them FAIL the tests. IMHO, that proves that the "difference" is imaginary and is completely dependent on having out-of-band pre-knowledge of what they are listening to.  If they want to fool themselves and waste big piles of money, then go for it. Just don't try to objectively justify that behavior to me.  I reserve the right to call that "audiophoolery" based on objective evidence.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #61 on: November 16, 2014, 04:46:29 pm »
OK I will admit to being a bit of an audio dick, but it is from experience with all the woowoo. Yes, speakers are a very complex mix of electronics, mechanical transducers, box shapes, placement, etc. This leaves the door open to the latest mystical voodoo. People don't understand the complexities and so if there is somethign they can pretend works, some take it in with open arms. I tend, obviously, to immediately reject the new voodoo and that is why I ask for measurements or as Richard Crowley says an double blind A-B-X. Either way I would accept. This way we don't have to know everything and be able to measure it, but if it disappears in an A-B-X test it doesn't exist.

Listening and experiencing music is a personal experience, of course. So what? If the goal is to reproduce the exact same wavefront of sound that existed in the original performance then we have an objective goal. If the goal is to make the listener feel all warm and fuzzy about what he is hearing then yes that is obviously objective subjective. In the latter all engineering and science goes out the window and you get the woowoo junk being sold.

The human brain is a marvelous device for extracting patterns and subtleties but it can fooled and is not a reliable measuring device. This is why repeatable measurements are needed to ensure you aren't fooling yourself that something is better when it is actually just different. I was a audio HIFI saleman at one point. One of the tricks to sell a certain model of speaker, if you wanted to push that model, was to play it last in the comparison. It was almost inevitable that if the speaker was not horrible, the novelty of the last sound quality would sell that speaker. If the person asked for another speaker, it was just necessary to make sure the next speaker did sound horrible and you had a sale. I did not use this practice because I was not an asshole. I tried to give the buyer the best deal for the money and never felt guilty. The store owner did not like my "attitude" so I moved on.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 08:18:41 pm by Lightages »
 

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #62 on: November 16, 2014, 05:08:27 pm »
OK I will admit to being a bit of an audio dick, but it is from experience with all the woowoo. Yes, speakers are a very complex mix of electronics, mechanical transducers, box shapes, placement, etc. This leaves the door open to the latest mystical voodoo. People don't understand the complexities and so if there is somethign they can pretend works, some take it in with open arms. I tend, obviously, to immediately reject the new voodoo and that is why I ask for measurements or as Richard Crowley says an double blind A-B-X. Either way I would accept. This way we don't have to know everything and be able to measure it, but if it disappears in an A-B-X test it doesn't exist.

Listening and experiencing music is a personal experience, of course. So what? If the goal is to reproduce the exact same wavefront of sound that existed in the original performance then we have an objective goal. If the goal is to make the listener feel all warm and fuzzy about what he is hearing then yes that is obviously objective. In the latter all engineering and science goes out the window and you get the woowoo junk being sold.

The human brain is a marvelous device for extracting patterns and subtleties but it can fooled and is not a reliable measuring device. This is why repeatable measurements are needed to ensure you aren't fooling yourself that something is better when it is actually just different. I was a audio HIFI saleman at one point. One of the tricks to sell a certain model of speaker, if you wanted to push that model, was to play it last in the comparison. It was almost inevitable that if the speaker was not horrible, the novelty of the last sound quality would sell that speaker. If the person asked for another speaker, it was just necessary to make sure the next speaker did sound horrible and you had a sale. I did not use this practice because I was not an asshole. I tried to give the buyer the best deal for the money and never felt guilty. The store owner did not like my "attitude" so I moved on.

The goal must be to have the exact same sound as the mastering engineer in the studio....if your sourroundings and equipment cant deliver that...then i wont own it :) So yes i use studio gear as HiFI equipment at home  :) Well enough said....sound is psychology...we cant escape this fact. So yes as long as audiofools dont make direct false claims ...let it be :)

Online AndyC_772

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #63 on: November 16, 2014, 07:31:30 pm »
The choice of how a system should sound is entirely down to the listener, though.

I've never cared whether or not a system sounds "correct" in some sense, or whether it's faithful to exactly what a live performance sounded like, or whether the sound I hear in my lounge is the same as it was at the mixing desk.

What I care about is whether or not the sound is pleasing to my ears. Perhaps I actually like the sound of some additional harmonics, or a slight peak in the frequency band occupied by a favourite instrument, and that these features would be regarded as objectively inferior in a purely scientific test - and I absolutely couldn't care less.

My stereo exists to make sounds that are pleasing to my ears, and there's no place for objective "correctness" in its own right.

Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #64 on: November 16, 2014, 07:54:37 pm »
Quote
The goal must be to have the exact same sound as the mastering engineer in the studio.

I find that quite difficult to understand.

Why do you want to spend the time and money to listen to something so it sounds good to some total strangers? Unless, of course, you are building the system for those total strangers.

Quote
I tried to give the buyer the best deal for the money and never felt guilty.

Depending on who's "best deal" you were giving, you may need to feel guilty.
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Online madires

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #65 on: November 16, 2014, 08:07:00 pm »
Listening and experiencing music is a personal experience, of course. So what? If the goal is to reproduce the exact same wavefront of sound that existed in the original performance then we have an objective goal. If the goal is to make the listener feel all warm and fuzzy about what he is hearing then yes that is obviously objective. In the latter all engineering and science goes out the window and you get the woowoo junk being sold.

I see both points a little bit different. We are not able to reproduce the exact same sound. That would require that we measure any sound related parameter of the complete audio system and the room, where the recording takes place, to create some kind of sound profile. Then we would have to make the same for the audio system and room used for playback and adjust the recording to match the source profile. Even if I would have a stereo and speakers with a perfect linear frequency response it wouldn't sufficient, since both sit in a room with its own acustics. Therefore I doubt it would be an objective goal. It's simply not feasable.

Also I disagree with the second point about pointless engineering for warm and fuzzy sound. It's part of audio engineering to consider how humans hear. Why is HiFi specified as 20 Hz up to 20kHz? Or why do we have dB A or G.711 a-law (a codec for telephone service)? Because of us, designed for humans.

Before anyone get's me wrong, in my opinion a burn-in of headphones is nonsense. It's not about subtle differences after x hours of usage or age, it's about how humans hear. For me €20 headphones might have a better sound than €500 headphones with 50 hours of burn-in. For you it might be vice versa. My ears don't have the frequency response of your ears.
 

Online madires

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #66 on: November 16, 2014, 08:20:06 pm »
What I care about is whether or not the sound is pleasing to my ears. Perhaps I actually like the sound of some additional harmonics, or a slight peak in the frequency band occupied by a favourite instrument, and that these features would be regarded as objectively inferior in a purely scientific test - and I absolutely couldn't care less.

You're absolutely right! You could be happy with an inexpensive stereo matching your preferences by coincidence.
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #67 on: November 16, 2014, 08:24:44 pm »
Quote
The goal must be to have the exact same sound as the mastering engineer in the studio.
I find that quite difficult to understand.
People who do professional audio/video/film production in the Big Leagues have standardized viewing and listening conditions, designs and equipment to ensure that they are all on the same page.  Same as having your test equipment calibrated, etc.  You can probably find millions of people who don't understand why when your meter reads "12V", that my meter should also read "12V".

Now, it is also true that people who mix music (especially popular music) also use intentionally lousy little speakers to monitor how their mixes will sound on your car radio, or your $2 earbuds, etc.
 

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #68 on: November 16, 2014, 08:25:24 pm »
Quote
The goal must be to have the exact same sound as the mastering engineer in the studio.

I find that quite difficult to understand.

Why do you want to spend the time and money to listen to something so it sounds good to some total strangers? Unless, of course, you are building the system for those total strangers.

Quote
I tried to give the buyer the best deal for the money and never felt guilty.

Depending on who's "best deal" you were giving, you may need to feel guilty.

If someone has gone to great efforts to make a piece of art i like to experience it the intended way :)
Well i have the equipment to make my own music...but it serves as HiFi equipment too :P

Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #69 on: November 16, 2014, 08:39:41 pm »

I see both points a little bit different. We are not able to reproduce the exact same sound. That would require that we measure any sound related parameter of the complete audio system and the room, where the recording takes place, to create some kind of sound profile. Then we would have to make the same for the audio system and room used for playback and adjust the recording to match the source profile. Even if I would have a stereo and speakers with a perfect linear frequency response it wouldn't sufficient, since both sit in a room with its own acustics. Therefore I doubt it would be an objective goal. It's simply not feasable.

It is perhaps very difficult to achieve. It is quite reasonable to say that one cannot actually ever recreate the real experience of the original performance especially when there is no original performance in the recording. After it has been fiddled around so much by the engineer it has lost all resemblance of a live performance. So yes, the real point is to try to recreate the vision of the engineer in your own very different acoustical environment and with different reproduction equipment. Maybe every new recording should include an impulse response of the room and equipment where the sound engineer was sitting. Then using reconstruction of the environment in the listeners house using a computational playback would be the closest we could get.

Also I disagree with the second point about pointless engineering for warm and fuzzy sound. It's part of audio engineering to consider how humans hear. Why is HiFi specified as 20 Hz up to 20kHz? Or why do we have dB A or G.711 a-law (a codec for telephone service)? Because of us, designed for humans.

Everyone would have their own preference and therefore impractical to design for without the knowledge of everyone's preference.

Before anyone get's me wrong, in my opinion a burn-in of headphones is nonsense. It's not about subtle differences after x hours of usage or age, it's about how humans hear. For me €20 headphones might have a better sound than €500 headphones with 50 hours of burn-in. For you it might be vice versa. My ears don't have the frequency response of your ears.

Actually I had a discussion about this in another thread here once when a person was asking for help to characterize headphones. Everyone has a different pina, head shape, and different ear canal. Headphones are actually much harder to characterize as "good" because they remove part of the person's normal perception of sound by removing the head and the pina as a normal part of perceiving sound. The headphones then need to provide the missing information and different frequency response and it cannot be correct for every person. So this explains the wildly differing opinions on which headphone sounds correct because they can't be correct for most people.

And this points out the problem with burn in working the same for everyone when it comes to headphones. It can't be correct for most people.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 08:42:39 pm by Lightages »
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #70 on: November 16, 2014, 08:46:14 pm »
People who do professional audio/video/film production in the Big Leagues have standardized viewing and listening conditions, designs and equipment to ensure that they are all on the same page.  Same as having your test equipment calibrated, etc.  You can probably find millions of people who don't understand why when your meter reads "12V", that my meter should also read "12V".

Now, it is also true that people who mix music (especially popular music) also use intentionally lousy little speakers to monitor how their mixes will sound on your car radio, or your $2 earbuds, etc.

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Offline coppice

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #71 on: November 16, 2014, 11:35:09 pm »
He insists that high end headphones needs a burn in period before they can be said to meet their specs and deliver optimal sound quality....
Obviously there will be some change as the diaphragm supports wear in, but is this a good or a bad change? Instead of convincing buyers to run headphones and speakers for 50 hours before they achieve optimal quality, why not convince them that these devices are only optimal for the first 50 hours? There's a lot more potential for selling replacement parts in that strategy.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #72 on: November 16, 2014, 11:41:13 pm »
Before anyone get's me wrong, in my opinion a burn-in of headphones is nonsense. It's not about subtle differences after x hours of usage or age, it's about how humans hear. For me €20 headphones might have a better sound than €500 headphones with 50 hours of burn-in. For you it might be vice versa. My ears don't have the frequency response of your ears.
I think its less about the frequency response of your ears, and mostly about how the headphones sit on your particular ears. Some headphones praised by people who's opinions I respect sound very poor to me. These are generally not over the ear headphones, which sit on different heads in a fairly consistent way. They are usually headphones which sit on or in the ear, and who's seating can vary a lot with the shape of your ears.
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #73 on: November 17, 2014, 12:09:49 am »
Quote
If someone has gone to great efforts to make a piece of art

Not sure who is the "artist" here. The recording engineer is probably the lowest of the artistic totem pole and I don't think most people give a rear-end about how he intended the music to sound.

Quote
i like to experience it the intended way :)

I hope not so many people are as submissive to the "artist" (aka recording engineers).
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Offline hamster_nz

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #74 on: November 17, 2014, 12:30:45 am »
If something is going to change its characteristics through this kind of "break in" procedure then it isn't suitable as any kind of long term use. The idea behind designing a transducer is that it is reproducible, reliable, and predictable. If the material changes properties durng use, then it is not very desirable.

People who think that headphones or speakers need a break in are fooling themselves. They need to ask themselves this question: If the transducers change so much during break in, how do they magically stop changing after this alleged break in period?

Are you sure that this effect doesn't exist - If I felt passionately about it I would test if a speaker's natural resonance drops a little during the initial few hours of use. I expect this is possible due to material in the cone's suspension softening with repeated motion.

It would be possible to measure if this actually occurs by tracking the speakers natural resonance - you could do this with active testing, or maybe by analysis of the signal generated if you 'ping' the speaker cone in some repeatable way - a barleycorn from 1m perhaps?

However, the effect is most likely minimal.
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