Author Topic: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?  (Read 37460 times)

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Offline janengelbrecht

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Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« on: November 15, 2014, 02:08:33 pm »
A pal of mine wants to design and SELL (WTF???) a device to burn in headphones. 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....

This i bull shit of highest degree in my humble opinion...
One thing is to build the damn device and use it for him self...but to sell it to other innocent people ? Its big time fraud in my view ?

Am i right or am i right ? :)

Online wraper

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2014, 02:32:44 pm »
If he believes it, why not to just use some track with specific sound and usual audio source. Or he wants to burn them with DC  :scared:? Don't know about headphones but technical director of one big loudspeaker manufacturer told me that it is good to use new loudspeakers a few hours at high loudness so suspension of the speakers get their properties to best condition. Wondering how much truth is in that.
 


Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2014, 02:36:31 pm »
Seems that he wants to use some special signals....square waves ...pink and white noise and run at high levels .... real voodoo :P

Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2014, 02:39:19 pm »
Quote
Am i right or am i right ?

The world isn't exactly that black and white.

If his products bring its willing buyers happiness and enjoyment, who are we to say that what should or shouldn't reach the market?

You have to understand that people are different, and science is advancing -> what's "correct" today may not be correct tomorrow and vice versa.

Have an open mind and let other people choose for themselves. It is called "freedom".
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Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2014, 02:41:42 pm »
Well perhaps i should develope and manufacture some device to detect ESP then :P It seems legit in that perspective :P

Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2014, 03:57:01 pm »
Swore I made a post in this thread?!

Some speaker manufacturers do state that the speakers will change as they are run-in.
Playing The Who loud worked fine.
Suppose there is the caveat that these are studio monitors (well, cheapish ones), so a changing sound would play havoc selecting sounds or mixing!

Audiofools are willing to buy into something with zero science behind, you friends idea has some science behind it... might be a good idea in the audiofool market.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2014, 04:04:21 pm »
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?

Another: If they change properties so drastically during break in, how long until they change beyond being "good" again or utterly fail from the same change in characteristics?

So golden eared people, how do you know your "break in" is finished? How do you know that it isn't continuing? Where are the measurements? I know, Stereophile says it must be so and you just spent $400 on green pens for the edges of your CDs, $10,000 LED illuminated speaker cables, and $50,000 per channel for your single ended 300B triode 1 watt amps, so you know you are right without having to prove it.

What harm is there in believing this BS? Well if the effect of believing completely baseless claims, without any reason to do so, is just to belong to an exclusive club, then no harm. But the effect in believing in some woowoo in one area of life inevitably is to believe in woowoo when making other important decisions. Things like that immunization is the cause of autism, there is magic man somewhere controlling your life, crystals swung around your body can detect disease, and pure water can cure anything, are just some examples of this problem.

Believers believe. Scientists don't believe, they act according to real measurable evidence. Actually a scientist is happy to be proven wrong. If isn't possible to measure or repeatedly quantify it, it doesn't exist.
 

Online madires

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2014, 04:09:46 pm »
It will work if it's expensive enough. The reason for that is a psychological effect called cognitive dissonance. Basically it means, if I pay a lot of money for that device it must improve the performance of my headphones, otherwise I would have to admit to myself that I've been ripped off. So my mind makes me believe that the headphones sound better when burnt-in with that expensive device.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2014, 04:10:47 pm »
Some speaker manufacturers do state that the speakers will change as they are run-in.

Perhaps there is a short period of time where the glues and wires and materials change a little bit. But probably that would be only things like excess glue at the edges of the suspensions being fractured and things like that. I suspect it is just a psychological effect where the human mind adjusts to its environment and listening to a speaker for while will acclimatize the mind to the sound produced and it will appear to sound more correct. This will help sell more speakers in effect as people will learn to accept the sound and not return them.
 

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2014, 04:16:19 pm »
Well perhaps i should develope and manufacture some device to detect ESP then :P It seems legit in that perspective :P

I thought the church of Scientology already has such a device, that's what an e-meter does... right? ;-)

Can someone send Dave one of these so he can do a teardown: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-meter
 :-DD
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 04:23:55 pm by Halon »
 

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2014, 04:35:36 pm »
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?

Another: If they change properties so drastically during break in, how long until they change beyond being "good" again or utterly fail from the same change in characteristics?

So golden eared people, how do you know your "break in" is finished? How do you know that it isn't continuing? Where are the measurements? I know, Stereophile says it must be so and you just spent $400 on green pens for the edges of your CDs, $10,000 LED illuminated speaker cables, and $50,000 per channel for your single ended 300B triode 1 watt amps, so you know you are right without having to prove it.

What harm is there in believing this BS? Well if the effect of believing completely baseless claims, without any reason to do so, is just to belong to an exclusive club, then no harm. But the effect in believing in some woowoo in one area of life inevitably is to believe in woowoo when making other important decisions. Things like that immunization is the cause of autism, there is magic man somewhere controlling your life, crystals swung around your body can detect disease, and pure water can cure anything, are just some examples of this problem.

Believers believe. Scientists don't believe, they act according to real measurable evidence. Actually a scientist is happy to be proven wrong. If isn't possible to measure or repeatedly quantify it, it doesn't exist.

 :-+

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2014, 04:41:44 pm »
Well perhaps i should develope and manufacture some device to detect ESP then :P It seems legit in that perspective :P

I thought the church of Scientology already has such a device, that's what an e-meter does... right? ;-)

Can someone send Dave one of these so he can do a teardown: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-meter
 :-DD

A lie detector ? :P It must show LIE all the time when used by scientology weirdoes :P

Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2014, 04:54:49 pm »
Quote
Some speaker manufacturers do state that the speakers will change as they are run-in.

Anything will change, with the passage of time or its usage.

What those people have trouble explaining, however, is why the "changes" will always produce "better" sound, :)

I think it is psychological:

1) your ears / brain get used to the sound, with passage of time;
2) you want it to sound better with burn-in, because you believe in the benefits of burn-in.
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Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2014, 04:58:59 pm »
I admit...sound is 99% psychology .... youre not hearing the actual sound waves...you are interpreting the electrical waves from your ears....so all is happening between the ears :) In that context..perhaps...if your happy it sounds better.... "Ive just spend a million buck on new headphones and 1000 on a burn in device ding.... im happy...it sounds better" ... same thing with all other kinds of religion :P

"Ive just spend all my holliday money on a FLuke multimeter - im happy - it measures better " (WTF ? )

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2014, 05:17:05 pm »
At the other end of the "bathtub curve" (see curve below), it is known that headphones degrade over time, especially under strenuous "exercise". I have several pair of Sony MD-7506 (one of the pro "standards of the industry") and I can definitely hear the difference between those which have had lots of use vs. those with few hours on them. The low-frequency response goes away with long use.  For that reason I would NOT want "burned-in" headphones.  It just reduces the remaining life-expectancy.

 

Offline amyk

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2014, 05:31:22 pm »
The low-frequency response goes away with long use.
Weaker bass means the seal it makes with your ears isn't as tight. Could be an effect of worn earpads.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2014, 05:57:20 pm »
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?

Asymptotic behavior? Rather like the long-term drift characteristics of voltage references, perhaps - they eventually stabilize after a period of initial drift.

Not that speakers do that - just saying, it's hardly incredible.
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Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2014, 06:02:58 pm »
The low-frequency response goes away with long use.
Weaker bass means the seal it makes with your ears isn't as tight. Could be an effect of worn earpads.

THis I have actually witnessed :) Changed the earpads on my AKG and they sounded as new :)

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2014, 06:10:04 pm »
Weaker bass means the seal it makes with your ears isn't as tight. Could be an effect of worn earpads.
Logical premise, but this happens even with new OEM replacement earpads. Or with the earpads from the headphones with good frequency response.  It is definitely the transducers themselves.  I have eight pair of MDR-7506, or its identical cousin MD-V6 and I have relegated the most-used ones to non-critical applications.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2014, 06:14:51 pm »
At the other end of the "bathtub curve" (see curve below), it is known that headphones degrade over time, especially under strenuous "exercise". I have several pair of Sony MD-7506 (one of the pro "standards of the industry") and I can definitely hear the difference between those which have had lots of use vs. those with few hours on them. The low-frequency response goes away with long use.  For that reason I would NOT want "burned-in" headphones.  It just reduces the remaining life-expectancy.

And there is the evidence that "breaking in" headphones is just degrading the materials and reducing their life. "Break in" should just be changed to "Breaking".
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2014, 06:15:03 pm »
I don't understand why all the cynicism here.

Speakers and headphones are electro-mechanical devices. The sound coming out of them depends on the interaction between electromagnetic fields and the moving parts of the system, whose motion is in turn governed by the mass, stiffness and other physical properties of the materials from which they're made.

Is it unreasonable to suggest that the stiffness of a flexible part can change with use?

If we accept that such a change is possible, how does the rate of change alter with time? Is it really so implausible to suggest that the rate of change might be highest when the part is new, and might reduce with time?

And, if the product is designed to give optimum performance with a given set of physical properties, why would it NOT be optimised to give the best sound with the physical properties that the materials are likely to have for the majority of the product's lifetime?

I completely agree that "burn-in" is the wrong term to use, and that playing loud, synthetic noise is almost certainly a waste of time. But the idea that physical transducers might change their response with use is based on perfectly reasonable science, and is a whole world away from green pens and directional copper cables.

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2014, 06:21:02 pm »
Well manufactures says it is Bull Shit :P I kinda have an idea that those kind of people has a clue :P I would think they would do it themselfes if the hole matter had some truth in it :P
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 06:48:15 pm by janengelbrecht »
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2014, 06:23:15 pm »
I am saying that "break in" or "burn in" if it is a real phenomenon is just the materials being degraded over time and this is not desirable. The audiophools think they are doing something magic, then it stops, and they have a static situation after that.

I am asserting that if there is a real effect it does not stop when they want it too. Once they have reached their "perfect" performance after break in, then they have a short time to enjoy their perfect sound and should start breaking in another set immediately so they have another pair ready to use and throw when the current pair "breaks in" beyond  their preferred sound.

Audiophools just feel all warm and fuzzy inside thinking that their magic wands and incantations have an effect on the real world that us mere mortals can't do.
 

Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2014, 06:25:12 pm »
From the Adam Audio webite;
http://www.adam-audio.com/en/pro-audio/faq#283

"Question: How long does it take to burn-in my ADAM speakers?

Answer: Loudspeakers include movable parts. Therefore, they need a certain 'burn-in time' for a full excursion and adaption of these parts. After this burn-in time, the speakers reach their full acoustic potential.

To break-in your speakers, it is advisable to feed them with music signals of a broad frequency spectrum and different volumes for a certain period of time:
Up to one week for a 'normal' burn-in.
Up to four weeks for a reliable long-term consistency.
However, no responsibility can be taken for the correctness of this information since it always depends on both frequency and sound pressure level of the speakers usage. Furthermore, the real time a speaker needs to burn in is, to some extend, always due to the specific speaker itself."


Now I am NOT saying that I heard any change at all.
I am saying that it might be a savvy move on his friends part, aiming at the audiofool market.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 06:33:48 pm by Yago »
 

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2014, 06:29:21 pm »
I am saying that "break in" or "burn in" if it is a real phenomenon is just the materials being degraded over time and this is not desirable. The audiophools think they are doing something magic, then it stops, and they have a static situation after that.

I am asserting that if there is a real effect it does not stop when they want it too. Once they have reached their "perfect" performance after break in, then they have a short time to enjoy their perfect sound and should start breaking in another set immediately so they have another pair ready to use and throw when the current pair "breaks in" beyond  their preferred sound.

Audiophools just feel all warm and fuzzy inside thinking that their magic wands and incantations have an effect on the real world that us mere mortals can't do.

 :-+

Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2014, 06:39:57 pm »
Of course I am open to any new evidence. Show me some repeatable performance measurements before, after, and long term after burn in and I will change my behavior to match observed and real evidence. Anything else is just superstition and personal bias.
 

Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2014, 06:43:09 pm »
Suppose could ask Adam if they have measured it?
Can only say fek-off! :P
 

Offline Mark Hennessy

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2014, 07:00:06 pm »
As with most hi-fi folklore, there is a grain of truth about it. I've certainly heard (and measured objectively) burn-in of bass drivers, caused by the "spider" (the rear suspension - usually yellow in colour), which changes during the first use. Here's what one manufacturer says:

Quote
Do I need to 'burn-in' my Harbeths?
No: the only component part of a Harbeth loudspeaker that can change as a result of the exercise known as 'burning-in' is the resin-doped cloth suspension that centres the neck of the cone in the magnetic field - sometimes called the 'spider'. Under the microscope, once the resin has been worked, it crazes into millions of small interconnected islands. This process is irreversible and takes only a few hours - or less, with bass heavy music played rather louder than normal. After that, the drive unit can be considered fully aged, and the resonant frequency has settled at its final value and will stay at that value.The ferrofluid used in Harbeth tweeters will become appropriately viscous after a few minutes operation. Neither the coils, resistors, capacitors, cables no any other part of a Harbeth speaker has any short-term ageing mechanism.

The bass drivers I've observed that have noticeable "burn-in" are made by Audax. As well as showing a change from brand new, they are also quite temperature sensitive. This might be at least partially caused by the rubber surround as well as (or instead of) the spider, but whatever the mechanism, it's easy to discover by measuring Fs. I have seen this elsewhere, but the Audax drivers I'm thinking of exhibited it more than usual.

It's not impossible to imagine that similar mechanisms might exist in headphone drivers. However, there's no need to specially "burn in" following a specific procedure - if there was, it would be done in the factory. Doing this or not will have no impact on the lifetime of the units - it's not like running in an engine back in the old days.

Away from this, "burn-in" = "getting used to".
 

Offline Mark Hennessy

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2014, 07:03:39 pm »
Of course I am open to any new evidence. Show me some repeatable performance measurements before, after, and long term after burn in and I will change my behavior to match observed and real evidence. Anything else is just superstition and personal bias.

My experiences with 6 samples of the Audax AP100Z0 are about a quarter of the way down this page: http://www.markhennessy.co.uk/audax/background.htm

As I said above, I think these drivers are worse than most in this regard, but I have seen similar behaviour in other woofers.
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #30 on: November 15, 2014, 07:12:30 pm »
Of course I am open to any new evidence. Show me some repeatable performance measurements before, after, and long term after burn in and I will change my behavior to match observed and real evidence. Anything else is just superstition and personal bias.
How is it "superstition" or "personal bias" to suggest that, just maybe, the shape of a stiffness vs time graph might be asymptotic to some long-term value around which a speaker is designed?

Offline hs3

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2014, 07:26:44 pm »
Some documented measurements with loudspeaker drivers and the change in parameters:

http://vikash.info/audio/xls10/

http://vikash.info/audio/audax/break-in.asp
 

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #32 on: November 15, 2014, 07:29:32 pm »
Of course I am open to any new evidence. Show me some repeatable performance measurements before, after, and long term after burn in and I will change my behavior to match observed and real evidence. Anything else is just superstition and personal bias.
How is it "superstition" or "personal bias" to suggest that, just maybe, the shape of a stiffness vs time graph might be asymptotic to some long-term value around which a speaker is designed?

You then think that a process suddenly stops ? As i see it it must mean that the headphones will rapidly become bad then :P They will then have a short period of time where they sound good after some burn in...and then quickly turn bad :P

Well nothing points in this direction....im happy to say that i in 20 years....been the happy owner of at leat 25 pair of high end headphones used in my music recording studio...never have observed anything like this :)
But of course..my ears are not objective....so give us some hard evidence....scientific data...then i propably could become a believer too :P <

And we are talking small units now..not big 8-12" hifi speakers :P
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 07:31:24 pm by janengelbrecht »
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2014, 07:48:06 pm »
You then think that a process suddenly stops ? As i see it it must mean that the headphones will rapidly become bad then :P

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/asymptotic?s=t

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2014, 07:52:00 pm »
You then think that a process suddenly stops ? As i see it it must mean that the headphones will rapidly become bad then :P

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/asymptotic?s=t

Well manufactures with great ressources has studied all there is to study about the physics of loudspeakers used in headphones and they all say: there is no such thing as a need for a burn in period :P
So i tend to say that until hard evidence is at the table it is just believes - religion if you want :P
I admit you can make a hypothesis about it - and make an asymtotic curve that states it - but where is the science behind to support it ? :P
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 07:53:33 pm by janengelbrecht »
 

Offline Mark Hennessy

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #35 on: November 15, 2014, 08:18:55 pm »
Some documented measurements with loudspeaker drivers and the change in parameters:

http://vikash.info/audio/audax/break-in.asp
Same drive units I measured. Done independently, but at about the same time. In fact, Vikash and I were just 2 of many people measuring the same thing with these very drive units - as a result of Maplin selling them off cheaply some 10 years back there was a lot of people building with them. I link to a diyaudio.com thread from my webpage that has a lot more background.

So, there is plenty of evidence that driver suspension compliance can change during the first few hours of operation (and it changes with temperature - measure it for yourself!). And I've quoted a manufacturer that explains what is happening with the spider from new. Plenty of other manufacturers say similar things. Unlike many popular audio beliefs, this particular one is unusually far from religion.
 

Offline Biff383

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2014, 08:44:52 pm »
  I would just as soon burn in my own. It helps to know what's bad so you can truly appreciate what is good. This is the reason that I buy my pencils unsharpend.
 

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #37 on: November 15, 2014, 09:03:54 pm »
Excuse me....some measurements from a big HiFi unit is used as arguments in a discussion about SMALL headphone units ? And data is only from ONE manufacturer ? Thats not science in my book :P

Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #38 on: November 15, 2014, 09:06:43 pm »
The only way to settle this is to ask PhotonicInduction to burn some headphones in with that cap of his!  >:D
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2014, 09:15:07 pm »
Those woofer aging results look interesting and do point to something changing more rapidly at the start and tapering off. Of course this is evidence for a woofer changing and reaching a point of "broken in". This could be for a number of factors, like excess glue at the edge of the spider or surround cracking, or the doping used in the spider cracking, or something similar. It could also be from the voice coil changing shape from abuse from the testing. Maybe there were environmental conditions that changed too. So it is possible that a woofer changes its characteristics to a more stable one during a break in period. If this could be repeated for other woofers with controlled environmental conditions it would be more evidence.

The problem I see with the tests referred to above is that the woofers were tested at their limits with a signal they don't normally deal with. They were tested at "approximately xmax" which could mean beyond their rated excursion limits too. At this point all the tests seem to indicate is that you can change a woofer's characteristics by abusing them. I am not surprised.

The construction of headphones and the materials used are different than those of the woofers tested. The results of the woofer test might translate to headphones but it is not a sure thing. I also think that the testing of headphones at the edge of their capacities is just as likely to cause unwanted damage instead of improving them.

The correct test to see if headphones actually do change in characteristics under normal and non-abusive use is to put them on a binaural mic head and play music through them at correct levels and measure their response each ten hours for 3 months, and under controlled environmental conditions. Do this with ten pairs of headphones, the same model or not, and I would have much more confidence in the results.



 

Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2014, 09:23:38 pm »
Found a bit more on loudspeakers:
http://www.gr-research.com/burnin.htm
 

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #41 on: November 15, 2014, 09:33:10 pm »
Those woofer aging results look interesting and do point to something changing more rapidly at the start and tapering off. Of course this is evidence for a woofer changing and reaching a point of "broken in". This could be for a number of factors, like excess glue at the edge of the spider or surround cracking, or the doping used in the spider cracking, or something similar. It could also be from the voice coil changing shape from abuse from the testing. Maybe there were environmental conditions that changed too. So it is possible that a woofer changes its characteristics to a more stable one during a break in period. If this could be repeated for other woofers with controlled environmental conditions it would be more evidence.

The problem I see with the tests referred to above is that the woofers were tested at their limits with a signal they don't normally deal with. They were tested at "approximately xmax" which could mean beyond their rated excursion limits too. At this point all the tests seem to indicate is that you can change a woofer's characteristics by abusing them. I am not surprised.

The construction of headphones and the materials used are different than those of the woofers tested. The results of the woofer test might translate to headphones but it is not a sure thing. I also think that the testing of headphones at the edge of their capacities is just as likely to cause unwanted damage instead of improving them.

The correct test to see if headphones actually do change in characteristics under normal and non-abusive use is to put them on a binaural mic head and play music through them at correct levels and measure their response each ten hours for 3 months, and under controlled environmental conditions. Do this with ten pairs of headphones, the same model or not, and I would have much more confidence in the results.

again:  :-+

Offline Mark Hennessy

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #42 on: November 15, 2014, 09:41:14 pm »
The problem I see with the tests referred to above is that the woofers were tested at their limits with a signal they don't normally deal with. They were tested at "approximately xmax" which could mean beyond their rated excursion limits too. At this point all the tests seem to indicate is that you can change a woofer's characteristics by abusing them. I am not surprised.

Incorrect.

Xmax is maximum linear excursion. Beyond that, the displacement becomes non-linear - it looks like "soft clipping" if you measure it with a microphone. It comes about as a result of voice coil length and gap length. Knowing Xmax is useful when determining how much power at a given frequency you can put into the system, given the box you've designed for it.

Xmax is nothing whatsoever to do with mechanical excursion limits. These are much larger than Xmax - typically twice.

Running them at Xmax at 15Hz for a while is not testing them at their limits. The low frequency is chosen to ensure that hardly any electrical power is required to achieve that displacement, so there was no question of thermally overloading the voice coil. In normal use, they can be expected to be regularly pushed past Xmax - especially such small bass units (4").

The tests outlined are completely normal practice in the loudspeaker industry.

And I quoted from a loudspeaker drive unit designer in my first post - where one mechanism was explained (spider resin). I know several loudspeaker drive unit designers BTW - I'm an engineer, not an "audiofool" - but the quote I provided was already in the public domain, so there is no problem referencing it.

There is plenty more evidence out there if you search for it - I'm not going to be made to feel guilty for only providing a limited amount of data as I assume everyone can use a search engine. All I wanted to say is that this effect is real - unlike a lot of stuff claimed by audiophiles. How audible it is depends on a lot of factors - I'm not about to get into that. And it's the "grain of truth" that I referred to in my opening post - I'm not claiming that headphone drivers are (or are not) affected in the same way - but you can see how the link could be made.


 

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #43 on: November 15, 2014, 09:50:58 pm »
Now i understand the problem....people hear of it in hifi loudspeakers and automatically thinks it also is an issue in small headphone units :) I see .... well then i can still tell my "friend" his scheme is fraud :P (Not really a friend just somebody im forced to be around now and then :P )

Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #44 on: November 15, 2014, 10:07:19 pm »
Quote
people hear of it in hifi loudspeakers and automatically thinks it also is an issue in small headphone units :) I see

You are fighting a war of your imagination.

No one said that, ***automatically***. What people said is that those units will change over time, so it is entirely within reason, and science, to think there is a rationale behind burn-in. Whether it will actually produce an audiable change, being it an improvement or deterioration, is unknown.

Quote
.... well then i can still tell my "friend" his scheme is fraud :P

You are within your right to say anything to anyone - that's what freedom is all about.

Just remember, don't make your science into a religion, or your religion into a science.

And be a better reader next time.
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Offline SL4P

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #45 on: November 15, 2014, 10:20:14 pm »
2c worth.

a) if they need burning in - they probably aren't that well made wrt tolerances/alignment etc.

b) the only thing that will perhaps improve (change the audio performance), will be the 'adhesive' boundaries between rigid components and moving/flex parts.

Not what I'd call a scientific process unless the goal is to separate naive buyers fro their money.
Good luck to him.
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Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #46 on: November 15, 2014, 11:38:07 pm »
The problem I see with the tests referred to above is that the woofers were tested at their limits with a signal they don't normally deal with. They were tested at "approximately xmax" which could mean beyond their rated excursion limits too. At this point all the tests seem to indicate is that you can change a woofer's characteristics by abusing them. I am not surprised.

Incorrect.

Xmax is maximum linear excursion. Beyond that, the displacement becomes non-linear - it looks like "soft clipping" if you measure it with a microphone. It comes about as a result of voice coil length and gap length. Knowing Xmax is useful when determining how much power at a given frequency you can put into the system, given the box you've designed for it.

Xmax is nothing whatsoever to do with mechanical excursion limits. These are much larger than Xmax - typically twice.
I stand corrected. Of course you are right. It has been a while since I dealt with speaker parameters and forgot this detail, my apologies.

Running them at Xmax at 15Hz for a while is not testing them at their limits. The low frequency is chosen to ensure that hardly any electrical power is required to achieve that displacement, so there was no question of thermally overloading the voice coil. In normal use, they can be expected to be regularly pushed past Xmax - especially such small bass units (4").

The tests outlined are completely normal practice in the loudspeaker industry.

Again you are right and I made another error on this fact. I was remembering xmax wrong and made me infer that the speakers were abused. I was wrong.

And I quoted from a loudspeaker drive unit designer in my first post - where one mechanism was explained (spider resin). I know several loudspeaker drive unit designers BTW - I'm an engineer, not an "audiofool" - but the quote I provided was already in the public domain, so there is no problem referencing it.

There is plenty more evidence out there if you search for it - I'm not going to be made to feel guilty for only providing a limited amount of data as I assume everyone can use a search engine. All I wanted to say is that this effect is real - unlike a lot of stuff claimed by audiophiles. How audible it is depends on a lot of factors - I'm not about to get into that. And it's the "grain of truth" that I referred to in my opening post - I'm not claiming that headphone drivers are (or are not) affected in the same way - but you can see how the link could be made.

I agree that spiders can change their characteristics and more likely if they use resins and fiberglass or other cloth. The resin fractures and flakes and changes the whole mess. I still contend that this is not a good practice and better materials exist to do this job without these variables. I was not calling you an audiphool, I was referring to the obvious woowoo people. Your examples do show how one mechanical system can change from use. I know you are not claiming that headphones are effected the same way and yes I can see how the uneducated could make a spurious link that does not exist. It does no good for the believers to not have their views challenged, because they start some kickstarter program and make solar freekin headphone conditioners and sell them to the unwashed as well. :)

My apologies for confusing xmax with my old memory of working on speaker designs.
 

Offline ConKbot

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #47 on: November 16, 2014, 12:25:28 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 voltage reference 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 voltage references or oscillators need a break in are fooling themselves. They need to ask themselves this question: If the components change so much during break in, how do they magically stop changing after this alleged break in period?

Another: If they change properties so drastically during break in, how long until they change beyond being "good" again or utterly fail from the same change in characteristics?


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 ;)


Its a mechanical thing, mechanical things do break in a bit after manufacture. If a knob on a power supply is really stiff when its bran new, what would you do? twist it back and forth a few times and see if it smooths out? And what if after a few rotations it loosens up and is fine. Will you worry about how long till it gets sloppy?

Is a 100-500 mile break in on an engine complete bs by the manufacturers when you'd expect (at least the long block) to last 150k-250k miles?

Yes, we get it, audiophile stuff is funny, and a very large portion of the high end stuff is utter BS.  Will a woofer or tweeter brand new from the factory be different in response after you run it at near full power with broadband noise for 100 hours?  I'd suspect so.   Will a headphone where the diaphragm is just a thin little mylar sheet change?  I'd be more dubious about that. 

Everyone is so quick to see anything remotely audiophile, and then they like to jump all over it, post a bunch of crap just so they can show how much smarter than the dumb audiophiles they are.  Without even considering there may be a small sliver of merit where the audiophile junk came from. 

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.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 12:30:43 am by ConKbot »
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #48 on: November 16, 2014, 12:33:37 am »
Quote
Everyone is so quick to see anything remotely audiophile, and then they like to jump all over it, post a bunch of crap just so they can show how much smarter than the dumb audiophiles they are.

On that front, the audiophools and audiodicks are not that much apart: they all wanted to make a religion out of half-baked science to show off their supposedly "good knowledge".

What they forgot is that the moment they opened up their mouths, they had removed any doubts about their ignorance.
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Offline Mark Hennessy

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #49 on: November 16, 2014, 01:15:40 am »

<snip>

My apologies for confusing xmax with my old memory of working on speaker designs.

Thank you for replying; much appreciated :-+

For what it's worth, the spiders do settle down pretty quickly from new, and they are pretty stable over many years. As loudspeakers age, problems tend to be more related to the surround - especially PVC and other plastics (e.g. several BBC designed bass drivers had terrible problems with this - easily proven with the "hair-drier test" - but this is going back 30 years or more). Rubber surrounds can change with age and they can be temperature sensitive, and of course, foam rots away. The surround (and how it's glued to the cone) makes more difference to the sound than one might imagine.

It's understandable that transducer design might seem rather unscientific to some electronics engineers. But that's the nature of the beast, and that's what makes it so very interesting ;)
 

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 :)

Offline 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.
 

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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.

Yes!
 

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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Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #75 on: November 17, 2014, 12:50:57 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).

This sounds for me as it is prefereable to have equipment that is adding to the sound in some way ? personally i prefer neutral sound...whats on the media I will hear...nothing more og less..again its a personal preference :)

Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #76 on: November 17, 2014, 05:47:19 am »


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.

I have already conceded earlier that there is a break in effect for speaker drivers.  Speakers can have a break in period if they are of a certain design.
 

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #77 on: November 17, 2014, 06:12:03 am »
This sounds for me as it is prefereable to have equipment that is adding to the sound in some way ? personally i prefer neutral sound...whats on the media I will hear...nothing more og less..again its a personal preference :)

All speakers will "colour" the sound in some way. Monitors (speakers designed specifically for audio production and studios) produce a very flat frequency response. I actually use monitors for my general listening and quite enjoy the sound they produce. I remember listening to some of my favourite songs and hearing little things which I hadn't previously picked up on. Most are also pre-amped and accept balanced audio via TRS and/or XLR jacks.
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #78 on: November 17, 2014, 07:55:31 am »
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.

I hope it's rather the opposite. Far too many recordings are completely ruined at source by the ongoing 'loudness war', and the last thing I want is to experience the sound prescribed by the idiot controlling compression and recording level.

The less influence that person can be made to have on the sound in my lounge, the better. If that means my system needs to have non-linearities or a modified frequency response to compensate, or at least to tend to mask the most objectionable artefacts, then that's fine with me.

Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #79 on: November 17, 2014, 08:22:20 am »
I'd be careful of assuming the claims of a flatter response from monitor manufactures are true.
The amount of sales BS has been increasing for years now with the advent of the home studio.

EG the KRK rp8 is known to be bass heavy.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #80 on: November 17, 2014, 08:39:04 am »
I'd be careful of assuming the claims of a flatter response from monitor manufactures are true.
The amount of sales BS has been increasing for years now with the advent of the home studio.

EG the KRK rp8 is known to be bass heavy.
Speaker responses are affected a great deal by the adjacent floor and walls. When exactly is a monitor speaker's response even supposed to be flat?
 

Offline timb

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #81 on: November 17, 2014, 10:15:13 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).

QFT

Sennheiser's high end units are a good example for me. The bass response is pretty poor out of the box, but 50 hours or so later it's greatly improved. I listen to a diverse assortment of music, so I normally just put iTunes on random, hit play and set the headphones in the corner for a few days. Problem solved.

It's akin to a house settling.


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Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #82 on: November 17, 2014, 10:45:54 am »
I'd be careful of assuming the claims of a flatter response from monitor manufactures are true.
The amount of sales BS has been increasing for years now with the advent of the home studio.

EG the KRK rp8 is known to be bass heavy.
Speaker responses are affected a great deal by the adjacent floor and walls. When exactly is a monitor speaker's response even supposed to be flat?

Exactly, saw a speaker being tested for frequency response once.
In an anechoic chamber, the speaker was high in the middle of the room on top of a pole.
Use a pulse to excite the speaker (no a freq sweep).
All to stop the room cocking up the test.

Good mixing facilities have the room specifically built for the purpose, ie. no parallel walls, no reflective materials on wall, ceiling and floor, broadband absorption panels etc.
Room is as important as the speaker, need both to be correct.
 

Offline abaxas

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #83 on: November 17, 2014, 11:31:25 am »
Speakers are a mechanical device. Hence, there characteristics change over time, with the largest change when new.

End of argument, science wins again.


 

Offline TheBay

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #84 on: November 17, 2014, 12:55:29 pm »
I agree that speakers/earphones may loosen up a little, though not as dramatic as people make out.

Though burning in DAC's etc is absolute nonsense!
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #85 on: November 17, 2014, 01:08:20 pm »
Though burning in DAC's etc is absolute nonsense!
You poo poo that, yet you wouldn't argue against the fact that you can burn out a DAC. Its sheer hypocrisy.  ;)
 

Offline TheBay

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #86 on: November 17, 2014, 01:52:28 pm »
Though burning in DAC's etc is absolute nonsense!
You poo poo that, yet you wouldn't argue against the fact that you can burn out a DAC. Its sheer hypocrisy.  ;)

No that is true LOL
 

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #87 on: November 17, 2014, 02:10:25 pm »
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.

I hope it's rather the opposite. Far too many recordings are completely ruined at source by the ongoing 'loudness war', and the last thing I want is to experience the sound prescribed by the idiot controlling compression and recording level.

The less influence that person can be made to have on the sound in my lounge, the better. If that means my system needs to have non-linearities or a modified frequency response to compensate, or at least to tend to mask the most objectionable artefacts, then that's fine with me.
It rather depends on what you are listening to. Classical music in general are not overproduced :)

Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #88 on: November 17, 2014, 02:27:01 pm »
I can say how my monitors sound, and it ain't good on everything.

Old recordings like The Who, original War of the Worlds sound great, very full sounding, pretty much across the board.

With modern stuff it is really hit and miss, normal to sound harsh, too much high freqs, instruments cluttered together or distorted.
There are exception to that, GoldFrapp sounds very good.

So yes, worry about the loudness wars, I won't buy modern music, and MP3s are simply pants. (duck from incoming attacks on MY cognitive dissonance... well it's mine :P)
 

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #89 on: November 17, 2014, 02:33:19 pm »
I can say how my monitors sound, and it ain't good on everything.

Old recordings like The Who, original War of the Worlds sound great, very full sounding, pretty much across the board.

With modern stuff it is really hit and miss, normal to sound harsh, too much high freqs, instruments cluttered together or distorted.
There are exception to that, GoldFrapp sounds very good.

So yes, worry about the loudness wars, I won't buy modern music, and MP3s are simply pants. (duck from incoming attacks on MY cognitive dissonance... well it's mine :P)
Its seems that the loudness war is over in the industry. Only Dance music is still subjected to cruel maximizers turned to 10 theese days :)

Offline coppice

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #90 on: November 17, 2014, 02:53:26 pm »
Its seems that the loudness war is over in the industry. Only Dance music is still subjected to cruel maximizers turned to 10 these days :)
If they are down to 10 they've already dropped by 1.  ;)
 

Offline TheBay

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #91 on: November 17, 2014, 03:17:57 pm »
Don't talk to me about loudness wars!!!!  |O |O |O |O |O |O

It is still going on, I am shocked at the clipping on some recordings, my hifi is not very sympathetic AT ALL!
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #92 on: November 17, 2014, 05:30:44 pm »
Speakers are a mechanical device. Hence, there characteristics change over time, with the largest change when new.

End of argument, science wins again.

A bold assertion with no data and then you call it science? I agree that some speakers change over time. Is it for the better or worse? There has been data supplied here for specific drivers. Not one bit of data has been presented for headphones. Please don't insult science this way. :scared:
 

Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #93 on: November 17, 2014, 06:20:54 pm »
Was it an "ology" Light? ;)

Thought the biggest change in a speaker is when it is old, and dies! :P
 

Offline TheBay

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #94 on: November 17, 2014, 07:53:12 pm »
Was it an "ology" Light? ;)

Thought the biggest change in a speaker is when it is old, and dies! :P

Foam rot  :-DD
 

Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #95 on: November 17, 2014, 08:31:22 pm »
Was it an "ology" Light? ;)

Thought the biggest change in a speaker is when it is old, and dies! :P

Foam rot  :-DD

Oh Jeeves, we had to shoot old Wharfedale, he was foaming at the mount :P
 

Offline TheBay

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #96 on: November 17, 2014, 08:34:01 pm »
Was it an "ology" Light? ;)

Thought the biggest change in a speaker is when it is old, and dies! :P

Foam rot  :-DD

Oh Jeeves, we had to shoot old Wharfedale, he was foaming at the mount :P
Poor old woofer.
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #97 on: November 17, 2014, 08:49:23 pm »
It rather depends on what you are listening to. Classical music in general are not overproduced :)

I'll take your word for that, it's not something I'd know about.

Offline Mark Hennessy

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #98 on: November 17, 2014, 09:31:06 pm »
It rather depends on what you are listening to. Classical music in general are not overproduced :)

I'll take your word for that, it's not something I'd know about.

Most people would be shocked if they knew how much editing and post-production was carried out in classical recordings. However, the end result does have decent dynamic range (though nothing like the original performance - for good reason).

The loudness wars have been around for a lot longer than people realise. They exist because historically audio levels had to be peak-normalised to avoid overloading record cutting lathes, radio transmitters, tape, etc.

By compressing the music, the average level rises, and the audio sounds subjectively louder, even though it is reaching the same peak levels that more dynamic music reaches. The ultimate endgame is where we are now, where tracks have single-figure dynamic range, and are often heavily clipped.

It arguably started back in the days of juke boxes, where in addition to the limitation of vinyl, the reply level was fixed. Motown recordings - the (in)famous "wall of sound" - started the ball rolling. Things stepped up a gear when people started (ab)using Optimod boxes on their radio stations - the '80s was when all that got silly (in the UK at least).

Today, we are much less concerned about running everything up against the maximum level possible, as we have much more dynamic range available to us. It is ironic that when delivery media was limited (vinyl, cassette tape, AM radio), we did have some really quite nice recordings. Today, we have nearly 96dB of dynamic range available to us via 16 bit audio (far in excess of what anyone actually needs for delivery), and a large percentage of "popular" recordings occupy the top 10 dB. Crazy.

The way to end the loudness way is to normalise for average level rather than peak level. This simply means turning down the level of the whole track to the RMS value matches the reference level. Having done this, you find that modern hyper-compressed recordings sound flat and uninteresting, while older recordings with natural dynamics are the ones that stand out. As soon as record producers realise this, recorded music will start to get better again.

Loudness normalisation is something that is being introduced to broadcast environments, and services like iTunes and Spotify are implementing their versions. Let's see what happens...

 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #99 on: November 17, 2014, 10:32:03 pm »
-I agree that some speakers change over time-

So, you think there exist speakers that don't change over time? Are those some immortal speakers or what?

The only thing constant in life are death, taxes, and now, some speakers!

Those are SOME speakers, I have to say.
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Offline Lightages

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #100 on: November 17, 2014, 11:50:36 pm »
-I agree that some speakers change over time-

So, you think there exist speakers that don't change over time? Are those some immortal speakers or what?

The only thing constant in life are death, taxes, and now, some speakers!

Those are SOME speakers, I have to say.
I meant that there are some speakers that change very quickly over a short period of time to the point where they can be easily measured and or heard. Everything changes over time of course but I was referring to, of course, the effects claimed for burn in.
 

n45048

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #101 on: November 18, 2014, 12:03:08 am »
I'd like to think that due to the mechanism and make up of a speaker, there are probably some changes which occur over time. I'm of the firm belief that any changes ideally should not affect the audio (or at least do so as little as possible).

If I bought a speaker which experiences a rapid or significant change, I'd be inclined to consider that speaker either defective, poorly designed or made which cheap materials.

I'd expect high quality speakers to undergo very little change and if any such change was indeed desirable, then manufacturers would be putting speakers through a "burn-in" process before being sold to the end-user. Surely any given speaker should perform the same way as decribed in the product literature. If it performed outside of the stated specifications, then could you not argue that there was something wrong with it and have it replaced under warranty? On the flip-side, if "burn-in" was required to enable the speaker to perform according to specs, then would disregarding such a process void the warranty?

If an audiophool told me that a speaker required burn-in to sound "better", I simply can't bring myself to belive it. They'd have to show me clear, quantifiable evidence and explain why any change is in fact better (but that's not going to happen is it?)
« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 12:08:16 am by Halon »
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #102 on: November 18, 2014, 12:04:26 am »
Quote
there are some speakers that change very quickly over a short period of time

That's quite different from

Quote
some speakers change over time

Either way, as long as you agree that all speakers change over time, burning in is a possibility.

The only remaining question is whether such changes are audible.

I have not heard of any evidence that they are; Nor have I heard any evidence that they are not.

So from the absence of evidence one cannot conclude the evidence of absence.

That's why the audiophools are as stupid as the audiodicks.
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Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #103 on: November 18, 2014, 12:05:09 am »
It rather depends on what you are listening to. Classical music in general are not overproduced :)

I'll take your word for that, it's not something I'd know about.

Most people would be shocked if they knew how much editing and post-production was carried out in classical recordings. However, the end result does have decent dynamic range (though nothing like the original performance - for good reason).

The loudness wars have been around for a lot longer than people realise. They exist because historically audio levels had to be peak-normalised to avoid overloading record cutting lathes, radio transmitters, tape, etc.

By compressing the music, the average level rises, and the audio sounds subjectively louder, even though it is reaching the same peak levels that more dynamic music reaches. The ultimate endgame is where we are now, where tracks have single-figure dynamic range, and are often heavily clipped.

It arguably started back in the days of juke boxes, where in addition to the limitation of vinyl, the reply level was fixed. Motown recordings - the (in)famous "wall of sound" - started the ball rolling. Things stepped up a gear when people started (ab)using Optimod boxes on their radio stations - the '80s was when all that got silly (in the UK at least).

Today, we are much less concerned about running everything up against the maximum level possible, as we have much more dynamic range available to us. It is ironic that when delivery media was limited (vinyl, cassette tape, AM radio), we did have some really quite nice recordings. Today, we have nearly 96dB of dynamic range available to us via 16 bit audio (far in excess of what anyone actually needs for delivery), and a large percentage of "popular" recordings occupy the top 10 dB. Crazy.

The way to end the loudness way is to normalise for average level rather than peak level. This simply means turning down the level of the whole track to the RMS value matches the reference level. Having done this, you find that modern hyper-compressed recordings sound flat and uninteresting, while older recordings with natural dynamics are the ones that stand out. As soon as record producers realise this, recorded music will start to get better again.

Loudness normalisation is something that is being introduced to broadcast environments, and services like iTunes and Spotify are implementing their versions. Let's see what happens...

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb14/articles/loudness-war.htm

http://thequietus.com/articles/13821-loudness-wars-apple-itunes-bob-katz

http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2013/10/28/itunesloudness

http://www.soundstudieslab.org/apple-spotify-to-end-the-loudness-war/

It seems: War Is Over :P

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #104 on: November 18, 2014, 01:37:23 am »
The only remaining question is whether such changes are audible.

I have not heard of any evidence that they are; Nor have I heard any evidence that they are not.

Depending on the speaker and material (and above all, the listener's familiarity with the material), it can certainly be audible.  I mentioned earlier about making RTA measurements of my speakers in order to flatten the response multiple times over the first couple of years of ownership, and noticed huge differences in their response after just a couple of months.  What I neglected to mention was that the difference was also easily audible.  These were not .1 dB changes, these were 6+ dB resonances in the midrange that disappeared after several weeks/months, and the low end came up 3+ dB.  The reason I re-ran the RTA after a couple of months was because I could tell that they sounded very different than when they were new.
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #105 on: November 18, 2014, 01:49:27 am »
If I bought a speaker which experiences a rapid or significant change, I'd be inclined to consider that speaker either defective, poorly designed or made which cheap materials.
And you would be very wrong.

I'd expect high quality speakers to undergo very little change
Why?  It's still a mechanical device.  Do you apply the same "quality" rules to all other mechanical devices?  More expensive cars don't need their engines broken in, more expensive connectors don't need a few cycles to loosen up, etc.?  In my experience the opposite is true, actually.  The cheaper the device, cheaper the materials, looser the tolerances, the less break-in time that's required (if any).

and if any such change was indeed desirable, then manufacturers would be putting speakers through a "burn-in" process before being sold to the end-user.
I hear the same argument from the engine break-in deniers as well.  "If engines had to be broken in, then surely the car manufacturers would do it before selling them to consumers".  The fact is the resources required to do this on a large scale are prohibitive.  It would raise the cost of the device significantly, and for what?  The break-in is not something that the consumer has to go out of their way to do, it's something that happens naturally as the device is used.  Why would the manufacturer waste thousands of dollars forcing a process that will occur all by itself as soon as the customer starts to use it?

Surely any given speaker should perform the same way as decribed in the product literature. If it performed outside of the stated specifications, then could you not argue that there was something wrong with it and have it replaced under warranty?
I am 100% positive that if a customer called the manufacturer to complain that the speaker's response was out of spec, the manufacturer would respond with three questions.  How is it installed, how is it being powered, and how many hours of play time does it have on it.  If the user responded that it was new, I guarantee you the manufacturer would tell them to put 50+ hours of listening in and then come back if they still had a complaint.  Many manufacturers state right on their site or in the product documentation that the speaker needs xx hours of listening time before the parameters/response will fall in spec.

On the flip-side, if "burn-in" was required to enable the speaker to perform according to specs, then would disregarding such a process void the warranty?
Again, the burn-in isn't something the user has to go out of their way to do, it's something that happens all by itself as the speaker is used.  Some people just like to accelerate the process.

If an audiophool told me that a speaker required burn-in to sound "better", I simply can't bring myself to belive it. They'd have to show me clear, quantifiable evidence and explain why any change is in fact better (but that's not going to happen is it?)
I do wish I had kept copies of the RTA results for my speakers at various ages...it was incredibly clear.
 

n45048

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #106 on: November 18, 2014, 03:45:27 am »
And you would be very wrong.
I don't believe so. But I encourage you to prove otherwise.


Do you apply the same "quality" rules to all other mechanical devices?
Yep, generally. Depending what we're talking about of course. I don't know about you but I'm talking about loudspeakers.


I hear the same argument from the engine break-in deniers as well.  "If engines had to be broken in, then surely the car manufacturers would do it before selling them to consumers".  The fact is the resources required to do this on a large scale are prohibitive.  It would raise the cost of the device significantly, and for what?  The break-in is not something that the consumer has to go out of their way to do, it's something that happens naturally as the device is used.  Why would the manufacturer waste thousands of dollars forcing a process that will occur all by itself as soon as the customer starts to use it?
Again, I'm talking about loudspeakers, not motor vehicles. Using your logic, why do Lithium battery manufacturers bother ageing batteries? Cut out the process altogether and save weeks!


I am 100% positive that if a customer called the manufacturer to complain that the speaker's response was out of spec, the manufacturer would respond with three questions.  How is it installed, how is it being powered, and how many hours of play time does it have on it.  If the user responded that it was new, I guarantee you the manufacturer would tell them to put 50+ hours of listening in and then come back if they still had a complaint.  Many manufacturers state right on their site or in the product documentation that the speaker needs xx hours of listening time before the parameters/response will fall in spec.
100%? Which speaker manufacturer do you work for? How many speakers have you designed and built? How many warrantly claims have you either requested or fulfilled? As for me, I do not work for any manufacturer nor have I built a loudspeaker before. I submitted 1 warranty claim years ago for a speaker and they couldn't give a toss how long it had been used for (in fact, they didn't even ask). You'll also notice if you had actually read my comments that I used an open argument rather than stating a "fact".

Also, please link in some of the speaker manufacturers who specify a burn-in time on their products. I want to make sure I'm doing it right!


Again, the burn-in isn't something the user has to go out of their way to do, it's something that happens all by itself as the speaker is used.  Some people just like to accelerate the process.
That depends on who you ask. I'm sure some audiophool will happily sell you a "special CD" for the low, low price of $79.95 which contains a "scientifically proven combination of frequencies" to make sure it's done "properly", whilst others will just tell you to play Enya really loudly. Then there are those really 'crazy' people who say it's just a load of shit and don't bother.


I do wish I had kept copies of the RTA results for my speakers at various ages...it was incredibly clear.
I wish you did too! (Don't forget copies of your test microphone calibration and charactaristics data which I'm sure got burnt-in when you did your speaker the first time. It might have changed your results)  ;)
« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 04:02:43 am by Halon »
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #107 on: November 18, 2014, 04:08:02 am »
Audiophiles are very buzzword driven. Some breaking in of mechanical systems is quite common, and they love talking about breaking in. However, many speakers vary far more due to humidity, and that's just too confusing for most audiophiles, so they don't go on about it. Hygroscopic materials are still very common for speaker cones. They cause so much trouble in tropical locations you would think they might have eliminated them years ago.
 

Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #108 on: November 18, 2014, 05:27:15 am »
And you would be very wrong.
I don't believe so. But I encourage you to prove otherwise.


Do you apply the same "quality" rules to all other mechanical devices?
Yep, generally. Depending what we're talking about of course. I don't know about you but I'm talking about loudspeakers.


I hear the same argument from the engine break-in deniers as well.  "If engines had to be broken in, then surely the car manufacturers would do it before selling them to consumers".  The fact is the resources required to do this on a large scale are prohibitive.  It would raise the cost of the device significantly, and for what?  The break-in is not something that the consumer has to go out of their way to do, it's something that happens naturally as the device is used.  Why would the manufacturer waste thousands of dollars forcing a process that will occur all by itself as soon as the customer starts to use it?
Again, I'm talking about loudspeakers, not motor vehicles. Using your logic, why do Lithium battery manufacturers bother ageing batteries? Cut out the process altogether and save weeks!


I am 100% positive that if a customer called the manufacturer to complain that the speaker's response was out of spec, the manufacturer would respond with three questions.  How is it installed, how is it being powered, and how many hours of play time does it have on it.  If the user responded that it was new, I guarantee you the manufacturer would tell them to put 50+ hours of listening in and then come back if they still had a complaint.  Many manufacturers state right on their site or in the product documentation that the speaker needs xx hours of listening time before the parameters/response will fall in spec.
100%? Which speaker manufacturer do you work for? How many speakers have you designed and built? How many warrantly claims have you either requested or fulfilled? As for me, I do not work for any manufacturer nor have I built a loudspeaker before. I submitted 1 warranty claim years ago for a speaker and they couldn't give a toss how long it had been used for (in fact, they didn't even ask). You'll also notice if you had actually read my comments that I used an open argument rather than stating a "fact".

Also, please link in some of the speaker manufacturers who specify a burn-in time on their products. I want to make sure I'm doing it right!


Again, the burn-in isn't something the user has to go out of their way to do, it's something that happens all by itself as the speaker is used.  Some people just like to accelerate the process.
That depends on who you ask. I'm sure some audiophool will happily sell you a "special CD" for the low, low price of $79.95 which contains a "scientifically proven combination of frequencies" to make sure it's done "properly", whilst others will just tell you to play Enya really loudly. Then there are those really 'crazy' people who say it's just a load of shit and don't bother.


I do wish I had kept copies of the RTA results for my speakers at various ages...it was incredibly clear.
I wish you did too! (Don't forget copies of your test microphone calibration and charactaristics data which I'm sure got burnt-in when you did your speaker the first time. It might have changed your results)  ;)

I did, very early on in the thread I posted a link from the Adam Audio website about the burn in of their speakers.
 

n45048

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #109 on: November 18, 2014, 06:33:34 am »
I did, very early on in the thread I posted a link from the Adam Audio website about the burn in of their speakers.

Yes, I saw that. Although their response doesn't exactly fill me with confidence. It just seems they are "catering" for the Audiophool/Audiodick market by caving into their beliefs (i.e.: "ADAM Audio must be top notch because they know about burn-in!"). On face value, they actually appear to be a very reputable company with a quality product but it just sounds like marketing wank. Quite smart really!

Yet, they cover themselves by stating "However, no responsibility can be taken for the correctness of this information since it always depends on both frequency and sound pressure level of the speakers usage. Furthermore, the real time a speaker needs to burn in is, to some extend [sic], always due to the specific speaker itself."

I interpret that as "If you think your speaker needs to be burnt-in, go nuts, here's some arbitrary figures. But if you're a fool and go and break something, just know that what we said might be wrong, so 'no blame'". One would think if you put something on your website or include it with your product, it would be correct?

Furthermore, nowhere in the ADAM Warranty conditions or any of their User Manuals does it mention burn-in or changes over time. On the contrary, their Warranty doesn't cover "damages caused by any use other than correct use described in the user manual".

So in other words, they can say what they like on their website and marketing material, but you won't find it anywhere supplied with your product. Nowhere do they recommend or endorse "burn-in" either.

So I stand by what I said earlier about burn-in (as a discrete process) being insignificant and if it were truly such an important factor in high quality, high cost and professional audio systems, it would be well documented, tested and have scientific backing. Until that happens, I still consider significant changes to audio response over the life of a speaking signs of a poor product. This is what the evidence (or lack thereof) indicates to me.

I'm of the belief and understanding that:
- Speakers (like microphones) do change over time as components wear and are exposed to movement.
- Is that change significant? Probably not.
- Should it have significant impact performance on the device? No.
- Is the act of "burning-in" a speaker important? No, in fact I'd go as far as saying it's a waste of time and energy.

Going back to the original post:

A pal of mine wants to design and SELL (WTF???) a device to burn in headphones...
Smart man!

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....
Now he just made himself sound stupid again.


This i bull shit of highest degree in my humble opinion...
One thing is to build the damn device and use it for him self...but to sell it to other innocent people ? Its big time fraud in my view ?
Fraud? Probably not, if he markets it correctly and covers himself by not making scientific claims, I'm sure he would get away with it. There is a lot of money to be made off the gullible. It's probably a question of ethics more than anything.

Am i right or am i right ? :)
You sound more intelligent than he does.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 07:05:43 am by Halon »
 

Offline TMM

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #110 on: November 18, 2014, 06:43:46 am »
Speaker driver rubber surrounds and woven spiders can loosen up a bit after some use. This only takes <1hr at a reasonable volume. This is will change the behavior of the driver mostly around it's mechanical resonance. Once it has been done, it doesn't need to be done again. Usually the manufacturers testing is extended enough that the drivers are already broken in from the factory.

Headphone drivers usually do not have discrete surrounds or spiders, that job is performed by the integral surround in the polymer cone, so they usually do not benefit from being 'burnt in'.

I'd be careful of assuming the claims of a flatter response from monitor manufactures are true.
The amount of sales BS has been increasing for years now with the advent of the home studio.

EG the KRK rp8 is known to be bass heavy.
Speaker responses are affected a great deal by the adjacent floor and walls. When exactly is a monitor speaker's response even supposed to be flat?

Exactly, saw a speaker being tested for frequency response once.
In an anechoic chamber, the speaker was high in the middle of the room on top of a pole.
Use a pulse to excite the speaker (no a freq sweep).
All to stop the room cocking up the test.

Good mixing facilities have the room specifically built for the purpose, ie. no parallel walls, no reflective materials on wall, ceiling and floor, broadband absorption panels etc.
Room is as important as the speaker, need both to be correct.
Humans with two ears are inherently better than microphones and computers at filtering out room effects from what we hear. As long as the speakers are placed close to the listener and placed to minimise early reflections it'll sound pretty good. You want the sound coming directly from the speakers to completely swamp any reflected sound, that's how monitors are intended to be used. You'd be surprised how much you can improve the sound of some monitors by raising them up 30cm off the desk, placing them on some stands and/or bringing them out from the wall at least 1 foot. Obviously room treatment helps, but that average carpet floor and drywall room is already pretty good if you position the speakers sensibly.
 
Removing the effects from measurements is a lot harder. Gating the measurement and placing the microphone near-field goes a long way. Some manufacturers do it right, some do not, and some seem to chop and change between a good measurement setup and a hopeless one. Some of the frequency response graphs i see in speaker driver datasheets are just absolute garbage. I have no idea how some manufacturers even achieve some of the responses they publish because they are so far removed from reality.

I have put together a speaker driver measurement system which only cost me a few hundred $ and is good enough to identify limitations of a speaker driver and make an objective comparison with other drivers. As you will see it is far from being an anechoic chamber, yet is still effective.
http://tinyurl.com/k4febdd

Audiophiles are very buzzword driven. Some breaking in of mechanical systems is quite common, and they love talking about breaking in. However, many speakers vary far more due to humidity, and that's just too confusing for most audiophiles, so they don't go on about it. Hygroscopic materials are still very common for speaker cones. They cause so much trouble in tropical locations you would think they might have eliminated them years ago.
This times 1000.
 
If you make a speaker cone from aluminium audiophools will describe it as sounding "harsh and metallic", even it is perfectly behaved. Similarly a speaker cone made of exotic bamboo will sound 'exotic and woody' lol.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 07:08:43 am by TMM »
 

n45048

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #111 on: November 18, 2014, 07:14:39 am »
Similarly a speaker cone made of exotic bamboo will sound 'exotic and woody' lol.

Oh you couldn't be more wrong! I feel sorry for you. Those sorts of speakers almost always come across as "alluring" and "ligneous" and perhaps the slightest bit "pulpy" with the proper interconnects.  :-DD
« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 07:18:26 am by Halon »
 

Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #112 on: November 18, 2014, 07:44:28 am »
No one here is making assertions that these changes are massive(I don't think), just there seems good sense that they are there.
The degree and measurements are in question.

TBH you seem to be making the strongest assertions, in that this phenomenon, to all intents and purpose, does not exist.
You demand evidence, yet, unless I missed a post or two of yours, you have posted no evidence to back your opinion.

Audio sales have really sh!t on their own doorstep when you look at it.
Must be hard for genuine companies to separate themselves without being left behind in an empty maths lecture.
 

n45048

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #113 on: November 18, 2014, 07:55:12 am »
TBH you seem to be making the strongest assertions, in that this phenomenon, to all intents and purpose, does not exist.
You demand evidence, yet, unless I missed a post or two of yours, you have posted no evidence to back your opinion.

I'm really not sure what you're expecting here? (Although I do appreciate that you consider my assertions as "strong", after all, who has time for wishy-washy?) I think I made it quite clear in my post, especially towards the end what my feelings were. I based it on a sound understanding of how speakers work and the possible interactions various materials might have (non-exhaustive of course). Surely you can recognise when something doesn't "sit right". The whole concept of "burning in" speakers or headphones sounds questionable, wouldn't you agree?

I never used the term "massive". Significance depends on the context. "Significant" to a trained professional with good hearing might be a matter of +/- a fraction of a dB at a particular frequency. To put it in a different context: 10KM/hr over the speed limit in a 40KM/hr zone is "significant", but may not be on a freeway with a much higher limit.

I also never claimed to be an expert in speaker design, but I went looking for evidence to suggest that "burn-in" is a real thing that should be performed, I found none that was reputable. I work with audio engineers who know a lot more than I do and don't bother with such an exercise, so the way I view it, if it's good enough for them, it's probably good enough for the majority of us.

All these claims that suggest that "burn-in" makes a notable difference (in the positive sense) don't seem to hold much water.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 08:15:53 am by Halon »
 

Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #114 on: November 18, 2014, 08:31:25 am »
Yes, we are singing from the same song sheet, I think you put it a bit stronger.

That's why I linked the Adam pro series, and why I said it might make sense in a professional environment, mixing etc.
Probably is at most a footnote or a disclaimer, exaggerated to sales in some companies.
That sales even plays with cognitive dissonance, reassuring the buyer against remorse... "they'll be great when they are burned in".

Like Monster blurb:
If this phenomenon is influencing what speaker you purchase, then you would be in hot water.

 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #115 on: November 18, 2014, 11:43:39 am »
Quote
why I said it might make sense in a professional environment, mixing etc.

Probably not: or Radioshack wouldn't have had ~70% of the studio speaker market.
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Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #116 on: November 18, 2014, 11:48:21 am »
This whole discussion reminds of an article I read in the new york times about a small town in the liberal northeast of the US that tried to ban all tobacco sales. Most of the town folks don't smoke and consider smoking disgusting. Yet, they vehemently objected to the proposal to ban tobacco sales in their town, on the notion that however bad smoking is, it is their freedom to exercise that right to smoke, or not.

The same thing is here. Burn-in may not exist, it may not have a notable effect, it may not be wise, ....

But it is their money and if it buys them happiness, it is money well spent and it is none of anybody else's business.

Why is something so simple so difficult for the audiodicks to comprehend?
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Offline Yago

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #117 on: November 18, 2014, 11:54:44 am »
I thought we were wheedling through the possibility of impact and measurement, gone past the existence thing?

Never saw a "studio" speaker at RadioShack, they were just look-a-likes dressed as nearfields?
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #118 on: November 18, 2014, 05:02:58 pm »
Again, I'm talking about loudspeakers, not motor vehicles. Using your logic, why do Lithium battery manufacturers bother ageing batteries? Cut out the process altogether and save weeks!
I'm afraid I don't know enough about the manufacturing process of Lithium batteries to answer that.  I assume it has something to do with the consumer's inability (or unwillingness) to replicate the process in their home, so the manufacturer must do it for them, a quality that does not apply to loudspeaker break in.


Also, please link in some of the speaker manufacturers who specify a burn-in time on their products. I want to make sure I'm doing it right!
As you are well aware, there is no specific amount of time as it depends entirely on the specific driver in question and the material being used.  And AGAIN there's nothing you need to DO, right or wrong, it's a process that happens naturally as the speaker is used.  That doesn't mean you can't do anything to accelerate the process though.

If you really do want more sources, here you go.
Manufacturers:
http://www.klipsch.com/Education/breaking-in-speakers
http://www.eminence.com/2011/06/speaker-break-in/
https://www.definitivetech.com/downloads/What%20is%20Conditioning_final.pdf
http://www.paradigm.com/support/faq.php
http://www.newformresearch.com/index.php/buyers-guide/after-purchase-advice/break-in-process

Measurements:
http://www.klippel.de/uploads/media/Aging_of_loudspeaker_suspension_Klippel.pdf
http://www.gr-research.com/myths.htm


Would you like me to keep going?  I took about a minute on google to find all of these, and that was just the first page.


And here's a nice quote from the head R&D engineer at Scan-Speak:
Quote
The drive units are not "burned in" when they leave our factory. However, the Thiele/Small parameters for Scan-Speak drivers are always given for units that are burned in - for the simple reason that it makes the designer's job easier, as all speakers will end up being burned in. Speaker units will automatically burn in when they are being used. If you buy a brand new speaker system (which normally is not burned in), complete burn-in will take about a month - depending on how often (and how loud) you listen to music. During burn-in the sound quality should improve.

There is a fast way to do it and the speaker designer should burn in the units (especially the woofers) before tuning the cabinet volume, damping material and port length (vented speaker) and trimming the cross-over network.

All you need is a sine wave generator and a power amplifier. Keep the drive unit in free air. Set the frequency to about 75% of the expected free air resonance frequency of the drive unit and turn up the voltage until the cone reaches full excursion without making mechanical noise. Let it run for 5 minutes and the job is done.

Notice that only Scan-Speak parameters are given for burned in drivers. You can expect the free air resonance frequency to drop about 10% (in some cases even up to 15% - the stiffer the spider, the bigger the change) during break-in. Naturally this affects the Q-values (they go down) and the equivalent volume (Vas goes up), as it is the suspension compliance that increases.

Go figure, those predicted trends (and amounts) perfectly match those measured on the gr-research page.  It must be a global conspiracy!!!

I'm sure some audiophool will happily sell you a "special CD" for the low, low price of $79.95 which contains a "scientifically proven combination of frequencies" to make sure it's done "properly", whilst others will just tell you to play Enya really loudly. Then there are those really 'crazy' people who say it's just a load of shit and don't bother.
Just because some scam artist might try to fool somebody into buying an unnecessary product doesn't mean the entire premise is a lie.


I wish you did too! (Don't forget copies of your test microphone calibration and charactaristics data which I'm sure got burnt-in when you did your speaker the first time. It might have changed your results)  ;)
I don't know if microphones have any kind of initial break in process, but either way the microphone was several years old and had been used many times, so it's a non-issue.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 05:25:42 pm by suicidaleggroll »
 

Online madires

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #119 on: November 18, 2014, 06:13:32 pm »
How does the sound change when we heat up headphones while wearing (body temperature 37° Celcius)? Should I file a patent for headphone pre-heaters? >:D
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #120 on: November 18, 2014, 06:16:39 pm »
How does the sound change when we heat up headphones while wearing (body temperature 37° Celcius)? Should I file a patent for headphone pre-heaters? >:D
Do you mean servants?  ;)
 

n45048

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #121 on: November 18, 2014, 08:58:36 pm »
As you are well aware, there is no specific amount of time as it depends entirely on the specific driver in question and the material being used.  And AGAIN there's nothing you need to DO, right or wrong, it's a process that happens naturally as the speaker is used.  That doesn't mean you can't do anything to accelerate the process though.

If you really do want more sources, here you go.
Manufacturers:
http://www.klipsch.com/Education/breaking-in-speakers
http://www.eminence.com/2011/06/speaker-break-in/
https://www.definitivetech.com/downloads/What%20is%20Conditioning_final.pdf
http://www.paradigm.com/support/faq.php
http://www.newformresearch.com/index.php/buyers-guide/after-purchase-advice/break-in-process

Measurements:
http://www.klippel.de/uploads/media/Aging_of_loudspeaker_suspension_Klippel.pdf
http://www.gr-research.com/myths.htm


Would you like me to keep going?  I took about a minute on google to find all of these, and that was just the first page.

That's because it's largely unnecessary. No one is disputing that materials change with use and over time, that's a given. The argument here is the whole theory of "break-in" (or "blossoming" as one of your linked sites called it) and whether such an effect has a positive effect on the audio.

Let's set aside any negative effect that these changes might have for a moment and analyse this (as you won't get an audiophool telling you that "break-in" will be detrimental, it's always for the better, right?)

I read all of the links you posted. Here is my analysis:

Klipsch:
"components may particularly benefit from a break-in period"
"Either way, it’s possible that you’ll notice an improvement."
They don't seem too sure (or don't want to make claims that they can't substantiate). But I'm sure their customers have experienced "dazzling" improvements. Largely psychological I suspect.

'Big Tony' from Eminence: Wow, this guy seems really sure of himself! And why wouldn't he be? His job title at Eminence is "Tech Support & Tone Guru", impressive! I take these sorts of 'news' articles with a grain of salt, but our 'tone guru' tells us that "the sonic results you will hear are an increase in overall warmth, slightly deeper/fatter lows, and warmer/smoother highs". Mmmm... sounds like marketing wank to me. I find it hard to accept what he's saying as fact after reading that.

Definitive Technology: Now this looks promising. Some actual data and a reference to a test standard for a change. But all this paper basically confirms is that the material will undergo some changes (which we knew). It doesn't mention anything about what effect this has on audio, they just mention "improve" and "peak performance".

Paradigm: Great speakers, I've used them before. Again, these guys make the claim that their speakers will sound better, but don't say how. They just recommend you 'use' your speakers before actually 'using' your speakers... what the?

NewForm Research: Amongst some of their marketing wank they claim "There are however, some clearly defined effects on break-in time" but don't actually specify what these "clearly defined" effects are. They even claim that the performance of your cables will change!  :palm:

Klippel: A very comprehensive document on mechanical ageing (which again, no one here seems to be disputing). It says nothing about how these changes effect audio.

GR Research: Their tests basically go to show that there is some softening of the material (again, we know). Interestingly, they also state "This objective data showing changes in the T/S parameters as the suspension loosens up does not prove noted subjective differences in the perceived output, or how a speaker sounds, but does prove that there is something more taking place than getting used to the sound."


After all that, I'm still sticking to my guns in that any perceivable changes in audio "quality" can be explained by other means other than the speakers actually improving. I suspect that explanation is largely psychological.

The term "break-in" could be used to describe the softening of the material. But some audiophool has taken it and applied it to a correlation in performance increase. We must remember that correlation does not imply causation.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 09:09:24 pm by Halon »
 

Offline Mark Hennessy

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #122 on: November 18, 2014, 11:23:33 pm »
After all that, I'm still sticking to my guns in that any perceivable changes in audio "quality" can be explained by other means other than the speakers actually improving. I suspect that explanation is largely psychological.

The term "break-in" could be used to describe the softening of the material. But some audiophool has taken it and applied it to a correlation in performance increase. We must remember that correlation does not imply causation.

I don't know if you've read my earlier posts on this topic, but essentially "break in" refers to the resonant frequency of the drive unit falling during the first use.

Depending on how much production testing the manufacturer has done, and depending on the exact materials used, and also on the use during "break in", this easily-observed change in Fs will asymptote after some minutes, hours or days.

None of that is mysterious or beyond doubt. There is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that this happens. I have published some of my own, and so have plenty of other folk.

Of course, a drive unit has many other parameters, but Fs - a product of suspension compliance (and mass) - is a convenient metric to observe. Once Fs has settled, one can measure the parameters of the "broken in" drive unit with confidence.

Once a designer is in possession of all these parameters, an enclosure can be designed around the unit.

The enclosure (hence, bass tuning) will depend entirely on these parameters. Agreed?

So, if you designed an enclosure based on data collected on a brand-new unit, you would end up with a very different enclosure. It would have a different volume, and different port tuning. It would only be the optimum enclosure for the first few minutes of operation.

Or, to put that another way, the box is designed for a drive unit that has been exercised and is performing according to its long-term specification. The brand new drive unit is not going to be a good match for the supplied enclosure. The bass tuning will be incorrect. But once Fs (hence all the other parameters) have settled, then the box and the drive unit will match as the designer intended.

So, by any objective measure, there will be a performance increase after run-in. It can be measured and quantified. It might be subtle; it might be significant - it depends on the particular drive unit, and it depends on the box tuning. For example, a simple sealed box is fairly forgiving - a ported box could be less so.

How audible it might be is clearly another matter. It's one of those tricky "it depends" problems. But sometimes, it can be heard. Been there, done that.

I speak as an engineer who has experience in this area, and because I know the mechanism, I can speak in engineering terms about the effect. But our audiophile friends lack this knowledge, so of course they will pick words and phrases from their world. And many engineers will be quick to dismiss their subjective reports as "audiophool nonsense", because that's easy and lazy - no intellectual effort required. But while a lot of what audiophiles claim to hear is very obviously the product of an over-active imagination - fuelled by the hi-fi press, marketing material and internet forums - this is an exception. Data exists. It is real. The only variable is the extent to which is can be measured and heard.

Of course, in public, many manufactures will use imprecise language. They have to be extremely careful about what they say, and what they might give away to their competitors and critics - it is an incredibly difficult market for the majority of small and medium-sized companies that make up the loudspeaker market (in the UK at least). These companies are selling products to audio enthusiasts who are largely non-technical, so they must write in a language that they can understand. And what they publish must be perceived to have a positive outcome - primarily it will be intended to reassure their customers in some way. It's not like they are selling test gear to electronics engineers.

And yes, I do agree that there will an amount of psychoacoustics at play as the owner gets used to the new loudspeaker - this is usually the reason behind the claims of many hundreds of hours needed. I said as much in my first post in this thread. This usually happens when someone has made the wrong choice but is refusing to admit it to themselves - a surprisingly common human trait that isn't restricted to audio.
 

n45048

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #123 on: November 18, 2014, 11:30:43 pm »
This usually happens when someone has made the wrong choice but is refusing to admit it to themselves - a surprisingly common human trait that isn't restricted to audio.

Absolutely. I think even Dave said that "no one likes to be made a fool".
 

Offline janengelbrecht

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #124 on: November 18, 2014, 11:35:39 pm »
And people speak of big loudspeakers all the time.....the subject was in fact headphones :) With some very different physical aspects as other pointed out :)

Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #125 on: November 18, 2014, 11:43:23 pm »
Quote
there will be a performance increase after run-in.

Why?

The fact that the speaker will perform differently after run-in doesn't, by itself, lend to the conclusion that it will perform better.
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Offline Mark Hennessy

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #126 on: November 18, 2014, 11:55:21 pm »
Quote
there will be a performance increase after run-in.

Why?

The fact that the speaker will perform differently after run-in doesn't, by itself, lend to the conclusion that it will perform better.

Sigh |O

If the designer is half-way competent, the enclosure will be optimised for the stable, "burnt-in" drive unit. Hence, the box will be non-optimum for the brand new drive unit. I fail to see how I could have been any clearer about this.

It's really simple. Get some data about drive units (as new and "burnt in"), enter their parameters into a modelling program, and compare the optimum enclosures for each case. Then, transfer the new driver into the box that is optimised for the burnt-in drive unit and look at the differences for yourself.
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #127 on: November 18, 2014, 11:55:49 pm »
I thought Mark Hennessy explained it pretty well.

A speaker's enclosure and crossover network are designed and built for a specific combination of drivers.  The volume, shape, tuning frequency, crossover frequency, slope, etc. are all based entirely on the drivers' Thiele/Small parameters (T/S for short) and frequency response.  Speaker designers make sure that when they design the system, they use the T/S parameters for fully broken-in drivers, since that's how the speaker will spend the majority of its life.  This of course means that before the drivers are broken in, and the T/S parameters are out of spec, the enclosure, crossover network, and drivers are all mis-matched.  This can result in unnatural resonances and lulls in the response, a quicker-than-normal rolloff on the bottom end, some quirky behavior around the crossover frequency, etc.

Edit: too slow.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2014, 12:05:34 am by suicidaleggroll »
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #128 on: November 19, 2014, 12:08:34 am »
I agree that speakers/earphones may loosen up a little, though not as dramatic as people make out.

Though burning in DAC's etc is absolute nonsense!
Some two years ago, I've put together a small USB DAC with an output filter. I powered it up, put the sacrificial headphone on it, and it did not sound right. I was at the lab (workspace, lunch break), put a scope on it, and fired up the sinegen software. Ant there it was, strange clipping on the output on the positive side.
I went to the other room for a DMM when i returned, in front of my eyes the clipping disappeared, like something poped into it's place. It did not make this ever again. This wasnt 50 hour pink noise or whatever, just some 5 minutes, but it was there. Not everything audio related is bullshit.
 

Offline eV1Te

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #129 on: November 19, 2014, 12:25:56 am »
If the designer is half-way competent, the enclosure will be optimised for the stable, "burnt-in" drive unit. Hence, the box will be non-optimum for the brand new drive unit. I fail to see how I could have been any clearer about this.

It's really simple. Get some data about drive units (as new and "burnt in"), enter their parameters into a modelling program, and compare the optimum enclosures for each case. Then, transfer the new driver into the box that is optimised for the burnt-in drive unit and look at the differences for yourself.
I would design the driver so that the material does not age to start with (this was maybe not possible 50 years ago when material selection was limited).

Sorry if I missed something written earlier in this thread, but I could not find any comparison of driver characteristics before and after they had been broken in, I did not find it in any datasheet from driver manufacturer when I checked a few.

Does anyone have data for any driver during the break-in period? I would be interested in knowing how big this effect is.
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #130 on: November 19, 2014, 12:27:51 am »
Quote
If the designer is half-way competent, the enclosure will be optimised for the stable, "burnt-in" drive unit.

Why?

Quote
The volume, shape, tuning frequency, crossover frequency, slope, etc. are all based entirely on the drivers' Thiele/Small parameters (T/S for short) and frequency response. 

That's probably too simplistic of a view.

Quote
Speaker designers make sure that when they design the system, they use the T/S parameters for fully broken-in drivers, since that's how the speaker will spend the majority of its life.

I used to sit on the board of a fairly large pro-audio equipment manufacturer -  speakers, amplifiers and mixers + mics. I can tell you from personally experience that what you stated above cannot be further from typical design process in the industry.

You may want to think there is a lot of science in speaker design when in fact that's mostly an art.
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Offline Mark Hennessy

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #131 on: November 19, 2014, 12:55:56 am »
Quote
If the designer is half-way competent, the enclosure will be optimised for the stable, "burnt-in" drive unit.

Why?

Why not?


Quote
The volume, shape, tuning frequency, crossover frequency, slope, etc. are all based entirely on the drivers' Thiele/Small parameters (T/S for short) and frequency response. 

That's probably too simplistic of a view.

Why?


I used to sit on the board of a fairly large pro-audio equipment manufacturer -  speakers, amplifiers and mixers + mics. I can tell you from personally experience that what you stated above cannot be further from typical design process in the industry.

In which case, it appears that there is a world of difference between large-scale pro audio and the better small hi-fi manufacturers in the UK.


You may want to think there is a lot of science in speaker design when in fact that's mostly an art.

I strongly disagree. That might have been valid in the 1970s, and that might have been your experience more recently than that - unfortunately - but today good designers will use the science to get them most of the way there. Good designers will use simulation tools extensively, and know how to interpret the results. Good designers are constantly refining their models and their science. Good designers design their own drive units from the ground up. Good designers might even design their own blends of polymers to make their diaphragms, rather than relying on "stock" polypropylene. But despite all this, good designers recognise that you can't do it on measurements alone, and subjective testing will be the final arbiter. The final 10%, if you will.

In my experience, at least...
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #132 on: November 19, 2014, 01:12:34 am »
Sorry if I missed something written earlier in this thread, but I could not find any comparison of driver characteristics before and after they had been broken in, I did not find it in any datasheet from driver manufacturer when I checked a few.

Does anyone have data for any driver during the break-in period? I would be interested in knowing how big this effect is.

From my post on the previous page:
http://www.klippel.de/uploads/media/Aging_of_loudspeaker_suspension_Klippel.pdf
http://www.gr-research.com/myths.htm
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #133 on: November 19, 2014, 03:11:48 am »
Some two years ago, I've put together a small USB DAC with an output filter. I powered it up, put the sacrificial headphone on it, and it did not sound right. I was at the lab (workspace, lunch break), put a scope on it, and fired up the sinegen software. Ant there it was, strange clipping on the output on the positive side.
I went to the other room for a DMM when i returned, in front of my eyes the clipping disappeared, like something poped into it's place. It did not make this ever again. This wasnt 50 hour pink noise or whatever, just some 5 minutes, but it was there. Not everything audio related is bullshit.
The 5 minutes of bias needed to properly form an electrolytic cap, maybe?
 

Offline SteveyG

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #134 on: November 19, 2014, 09:13:54 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 ...

You've obviously never heard the difference in sound stage between open and closed back headphones.

Also, please link in some of the speaker manufacturers who specify a burn-in time on their products. I want to make sure I'm doing it right!

My B&W speakers stated the burn in period, and also to avoid using them at high volume levels during that period.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2014, 11:40:44 am by SteveyG »
 

n45048

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #135 on: November 24, 2014, 06:15:37 am »
My new solid wood headphones arrived today! I'll be sure to burn them in ;-)
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #136 on: November 24, 2014, 06:21:32 am »
My new solid wood headphones arrived today! I'll be sure to burn them in ;-)

What's the deal with all those seams on the plastic parts? It makes them look really cheap  >:D
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

n45048

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #137 on: November 24, 2014, 06:26:05 am »
My new solid wood headphones arrived today! I'll be sure to burn them in ;-)

What's the deal with all those seams on the plastic parts? It makes them look really cheap  >:D

I assume you mean the stitching on the leather/pleather? How else would you design it?
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #138 on: November 24, 2014, 06:42:54 am »
I assume you mean the stitching on the leather/pleather? How else would you design it?

No, I mean the ridges in the plastic from the moulding process. They make the product look poorly finished.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

n45048

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #139 on: November 24, 2014, 06:47:03 am »
I assume you mean the stitching on the leather/pleather? How else would you design it?

No, I mean the ridges in the plastic from the moulding process. They make the product look poorly finished.

Ahh. *shrug* It was a Kickstarter project, not bad for a first shot. They actually do sound rather nice and are very comfortable to wear.
 

Offline SteveyG

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Re: Burning in Headphones ? WTF ?
« Reply #140 on: November 24, 2014, 07:39:57 am »
I assume you mean the stitching on the leather/pleather? How else would you design it?

No, I mean the ridges in the plastic from the moulding process. They make the product look poorly finished.

Ahh. *shrug* It was a Kickstarter project, not bad for a first shot. They actually do sound rather nice and are very comfortable to wear.

600 ohm drivers I hope?


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