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  1. #1
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    CD player break in: highs and volume

    I'm currently breaking in a new Sony DVP-NC555ES (CD/DVD/SACD). I've hooked up my old player (Sony DVP-NC685V) in parallel and done some A/B tests. After about 24 hours of play, the ES unit is still not as bright or open, and the volume of the sound from the new unit seems very different - smoother, more gradual and lower. The old unit can easily sound too loud at about 10 o'clock, while the new unit doesn't sound too loud (i.e., irritating) at 11 and beyond. I assume part of it the better quality of the ES unit, but I'm wondering why the volume differences are there. Should I expect the ES to give me the open sound and nice highs of the old unit (hopefully much better) in a few days or weeks?

    Dave

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    Breakin

    Quote Originally Posted by astrod2
    I'm currently breaking in a new Sony DVP-NC555ES (CD/DVD/SACD). I've hooked up my old player (Sony DVP-NC685V) in parallel and done some A/B tests. After about 24 hours of play, the ES unit is still not as bright or open, and the volume of the sound from the new unit seems very different - smoother, more gradual and lower. The old unit can easily sound too loud at about 10 o'clock, while the new unit doesn't sound too loud (i.e., irritating) at 11 and beyond. I assume part of it the better quality of the ES unit, but I'm wondering why the volume differences are there. Should I expect the ES to give me the open sound and nice highs of the old unit (hopefully much better) in a few days or weeks?

    Dave
    I let CD players "cook" for AT LEAST 50 hours break in. Additionally, the cd player runs for 30 minutes or more before I listen. The player sounds best if left on for a day. There is no question as to the benefits of break in, and the fact that there is no such thing as "instant on." This basically means that a cd player will improve in sound until after break in, and thermically stabilize after running for a while. It does *NOT* sound best just kicking it on.

    This is true of any of my players, regardless of price. You will not be able to puchase a CD player over $400 without a recommendation from the dealer of both breakin and pre use warmup. Even my reference-quality player changes character in a dramatic way after 30 minutes.

    Every time I hear somone dismiss either break in or warm up, it is someone without quality gear, listening ability or both. They are usually ignorant of the process and relate it simply to "loudness" in some way. Since 1986, I have never heard or read of a person with a decent system, and listening skills question this. Only the mid-fi and low-fi owners.
    Last edited by Sondek; 05-02-2004 at 06:13 PM.

  3. #3
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    Electronic circuits break in? When will this break-in silliness ever end?

    So the 'output volume' of the two units seems the same at differing knob clock-positions.... why is this significant?

    It is / was common practice to run the preamp sections of receivers 'wide open' so that 'normal' listening level was at 8 O'clock or maybe 9 O'clock. Then the happy owner would turn the unit off and twirl the volume knob to 5 O'clock or so and say WOW! Look at all the power I have! It was complete nonsense, of course, but great marketing.

    The preamp volume knob on my main system starts at 7 O'clock while normal listening levels BEGIN at 1:30 O'clock because the DeCoursey cross-over's input sensitivity is turned WAYYY Down. Why is the DeCoursey cross-over's input sensitivity is turned WAYYY Down ?? Because this greatly reduces the system S/N, essentially to zilch.

  4. #4
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    Not 100% silly

    Quote Originally Posted by Mash
    Electronic circuits break in?
    Yes, at the very least, brand new capacitors do take a little time to form completely. They also get old too...

    Peace!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sondek
    I let CD players "cook" for AT LEAST 50 hours break in. Additionally, the cd player runs for 30 minutes or more before I listen. The player sounds best if left on for a day. There is no question as to the benefits of break in, and the fact that there is no such thing as "instant on." This basically means that a cd player will improve in sound until after break in, and thermically stabilize after running for a while. It does *NOT* sound best just kicking it on.

    This is true of any of my players, regardless of price. You will not be able to puchase a CD player over $400 without a recommendation from the dealer of both breakin and pre use warmup. Even my reference-quality player changes character in a dramatic way after 30 minutes.

    Every time I hear somone dismiss either break in or warm up, it is someone without quality gear, listening ability or both. They are usually ignorant of the process and relate it simply to "loudness" in some way. Since 1986, I have never heard or read of a person with a decent system, and listening skills question this. Only the mid-fi and low-fi owners.
    Thanks. I believe in break in. In fact, my Rotel pre amp seems to have taken about 6 months to fully break in, which I understand is not unheard of for high end units. I'm wondering what's different or inferior about the old player that would cause the perceived volume to increase so much faster than with the better ES unit. I recall when I first got the pre amp, the volume was extremely sensitive, so lack of break in was a factor then, too. Is it something about the inaccurate frequencies summing to create additional frequencies or harmonics?

    So, for the highs and openness, it will get there sooner or later? The new unit does sound really nice, smoother, more solid soundstage, etc.

    Dave

  6. #6
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    Well...

    Quote Originally Posted by astrod2
    I'm currently breaking in a new Sony DVP-NC555ES (CD/DVD/SACD). I've hooked up my old player (Sony DVP-NC685V) in parallel and done some A/B tests. After about 24 hours of play, the ES unit is still not as bright or open, and the volume of the sound from the new unit seems very different - smoother, more gradual and lower. The old unit can easily sound too loud at about 10 o'clock, while the new unit doesn't sound too loud (i.e., irritating) at 11 and beyond. I assume part of it the better quality of the ES unit, but I'm wondering why the volume differences are there. Should I expect the ES to give me the open sound and nice highs of the old unit (hopefully much better) in a few days or weeks?

    Dave
    More than anything else it seems the units have totally different output stage gains. You can verify this for yourself pretty easily using a simple multimeter. If you wish to do a meaningful A/B test make sure the levels are matched properly.
    I would leave the new unit on random repeat for about 24 hours. It should not take too long for it to reach its full potential, maybe a couple of days. If after a week you're still not happy, return it and try some other player of your choice. Repeat until you find something that you'll like.

    Peace!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poss
    More than anything else it seems the units have totally different output stage gains. You can verify this for yourself pretty easily using a simple multimeter. If you wish to do a meaningful A/B test make sure the levels are matched properly.
    I would leave the new unit on random repeat for about 24 hours. It should not take too long for it to reach its full potential, maybe a couple of days. If after a week you're still not happy, return it and try some other player of your choice. Repeat until you find something that you'll like.

    Peace!
    Yeah, different output stage gains makes the most sense.

    Dave

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    OK Poss...... not 100% silly. Only 99.9999% silly.

    My Futterman Monoblocks have more quite large capacitors than you would believe exist in this world in order to obtain direct output coupling down to 20 Hz. And those capacitors take no time at all to do their thing at startup. Of course, one should not poke around the innards of those amps with anything conductive, even when the amps are 'off', unless one knows what one is doing..... The careless will not get a second chance.

  9. #9
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    How silly. How come I never see anything posted about electronics sounding worse after 50 hours of "cooking"? If the sound really changed, you'd expect it to get worse at least half the time, wouldn't you? Do you really think the design engineers tweak a circuit and then sit around for 50 hours waiting to see if it had the desired effect? Please...

  10. #10
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    Actually it is 99.9998%

    Quote Originally Posted by Mash
    OK Poss...... not 100% silly. Only 99.9999% silly.

    My Futterman Monoblocks have more quite large capacitors than you would believe exist in this world in order to obtain direct output coupling down to 20 Hz. And those capacitors take no time at all to do their thing at startup. Of course, one should not poke around the innards of those amps with anything conductive, even when the amps are 'off', unless one knows what one is doing..... The careless will not get a second chance.
    Those caps still changed their value a bit within a few hours when first fired up. I didn't invent this. It happens. It may change the sound. Or not. Still happens though.
    As for your Futterman monos I'm sure they work quite OK after briefly dimming the light in your neighborhood at start up.

    Peace!

  11. #11
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    Engineering

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino
    How silly. How come I never see anything posted about electronics sounding worse after 50 hours of "cooking"? If the sound really changed, you'd expect it to get worse at least half the time, wouldn't you? Do you really think the design engineers tweak a circuit and then sit around for 50 hours waiting to see if it had the desired effect? Please...
    They do engineer breakin in mind. It's called...engineering. The good stuff is engineered to sound good, not warm up and sound bad. There is no logic in saying half should sound bad.

    Engineering is beyond the grasp of most people here it seems. A lot of people seem to think engineering consists of assembling a part, and it's instant on, plug and play and that's it.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. The only silly thing, are laymen (especially those with midfi) attempting to rationalize away what they don't understand. Anyone with a background in engineering (ahem) understands without baseless criticism.

  12. #12
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    What I understand is data. Where's the data? How much does "burn-in" change the sound? Engineers (ahem) live by measuring and accounting for even the smallest influences on their designs. They don't live by making subjective assumptions about sound that could be more easily explained by the listener becoming conditioned to the sound of a component or by trying to rationalize the huge chunk of change he just laid out for something that doesn't sound perceptibly different than what he had before. If burn-in changed sound then we should know by how much and in which frequency ranges. Iíve never seen a component yet ship with pre and post burn-in statistics.

    Then thereís the telling absence of double-blind listening studies for any of this stuff. Does burn-in change the sound in ways perceptible to the human ear? It would be easy to prove by taking two identical components (except for burn-in time) and doing a double blind listener study. Would listeners be able to tell a difference? If so, which is doubtful, which would they prefer? Anyone with a background in engineering (ahem) should know that without quantifiable proof, all their ranting is merely baseless criticism.

  13. #13
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    abx, here we go again

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino
    What I understand is data. Where's the data? How much does "burn-in" change the sound?
    >Quite a lot. The data is in the parameters of such devices as capacitors, opamps, tubes, transistors, and so on. Show me a graph that explains why a wadia cd player sound radically different than a sonic frontiers cd player, yet both measure flat 20hz-20khz...it's the topology and componentry output that simple measurements do not indicate. Most ABX results I have seen fail to mention recording used, speakers used, room treatment, associated electronics. It's no mystery that cicuit city speakers and a pop recording of ac/dc produce no differences.

    Engineers (ahem) live by measuring and accounting for even the smallest influences on their designs. They don't live by making subjective assumptions about sound that could be more easily explained by the listener becoming conditioned to the sound of a component or by trying to rationalize the huge chunk of change he just laid out for something that doesn't sound perceptibly different than what he had before. If burn-in changed sound then we should know by how much and in which frequency ranges. Iíve never seen a component yet ship with pre and post burn-in statistics.

    >They should. It would be quite a change.

    Then thereís the telling absence of double-blind listening studies for any of this stuff. Does burn-in change the sound in ways perceptible to the human ear?
    > yes. And there are a number of ways an ABX/DBT can be skewed. It is not 100% scientificly accurate. They probably run 50/50, given the variables. Quality of recording used, experianced listeners etc. Joe blow off the street hardly notices big differences let alone small ones. I don't let an abx/dbt conducted with just anyone taint reality.

    It would be easy to prove by taking two identical components (except for burn-in time) and doing a double blind listener study. Would listeners be able to tell a difference? If so, which is doubtful, which would they prefer? Anyone with a background in engineering (ahem) should know that without quantifiable proof, all their ranting is merely baseless criticism.
    >>I have proved all of this to myself by abx'ing identical cd players many times. The majority of times (over 80%) if it is a quality recording, the differences are obvious. Cd player "A" may not have detail that cdp "B" has. There is no hiding that. ABX stats can be posted from now until the end of eternity from one billion different test subjects. That has no affect on what I hear, or someone else hears. That just indicates what THEY can or cannot here. Until the abx/dbt with the entire population, quoting results is useless.

  14. #14
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    Engineering.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino
    They don't live by making subjective assumptions...
    A surprising amount of man made things that surround us are the product of subjective assumptions. Not knowing this means you have little idea about how engineering (in most disciplines) really works in the real world. More often than you think we have to go design something based on "educated" guesses ,build it, test it and extract the empirical data that will enable us to refine that said design. Anything from stress analysis to binary molecular liquids studies is based on iterative processes. There's a lot of "science" involved but you have to remember that truly ground breaking progress is frequently done on empirical data and assumptions. Science usually "catches up" later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino
    Then there?s the telling absence of double-blind listening studies for any of this stuff. Does burn-in change the sound in ways perceptible to the human ear? It would be easy to prove by taking two identical components (except for burn-in time) and doing a double blind listener study. Would listeners be able to tell a difference? If so, which is doubtful, which would they prefer? Anyone with a background in engineering (ahem) should know that without quantifiable proof, all their ranting is merely baseless criticism.
    A lot of assumptions here ain't it? What you're proposing as a method will probably not work. Variations in build may nulify the results so the only 100% scientifically valid way would be to have an ABX device that also will travel thru time ... yep, that's really, really practical.

    Peace!

  15. #15
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    An interesting aside about break-in is how my ears seem to have "broken in" slowly over the time my system became more and more resolving (a few years). My car, which has a decent power amp but is otherwise probably mid fi for car stereos, seems to sound clearer and generally better over time. But I can't discount the improvements in my home system, so I say it's both my system and my ears that are changing. You'd think I'd find the car less and less pleasing to hear, and that's not the case, but the road noise undoubtedly make the car a very different listening environment from the home. I don't drive everyday, as I work at home.

    So my point is, at least as far as my experiences goes, ears and listening perception changes, too, making totally objective judgements difficult and far from cut and dried. At the end of the day, if my system sounds more real and present than before, and if the music touches me more, I'm happy with the upgrades.

  16. #16
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    Tough subject that goes beyond audio. As it's in our nature, we always seek proof for our theories and assumptions. That is the core of engineering. I am surprised that this issue was never brought up in the numerous reviews I read, especially the ones of high end equipment. Let's have a certified lab take a close elaborate look at this subject. I would be happy to see the results.
    Thanks to 6.1, I now have more tolerance for people breathing down my neck...

  17. #17
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    Oh...STOP!!!...yer killin' me...

    ...wine improves with age...so do some cheeses...up to a point...that's about it I think...

    Most things begin to deteriorate upon first use and electronic devices are certainly one of them...when confronted with this truth, some folks tend to lash out and say things like "your mother wears army boots" or "you listen to lo-fi or mid-fi gear"...so much for logic...

    Does anyone REALLY think someone in R&D designs and builds a product on the premise that it will improve in 50 or 100 or 200 hours, days or parsecs? The marketing crew?...well, that's a whole 'nother kettle o'fish...How could ANYONE be so gullible as to believe such a premise? How could anyone make a valid choice in gear selection if that were the case? Oh, you might not hear this or that now, but wait a month or so and the inner details will slowly reveal themselves...by that time your check has cleared, your CC bill has been paid and/or your 30 day, no-questions-asked, right-to-return has expired...convenient timing, eh?

    Look, audio is ripe with voodoo and alchemic twaddle...wiring being the most notorious...and salesmen are salesmen, whether they're selling you a car or a CD player...they tell you what the think you want to hear. The "golden ears" are not far behind...a psuedo-technical term here, some dazzling footwork, bafflin' bu!!$h!t and a heapin' helpin' of jargon there and boom! an ex-spurt is done bin' born...and the internet doesn't help matters...a free, unfetered spread of manure and watch the myths take bloom...AHH! springtime...

    In another thread, mention was made of a ridiculously expensive CDP which boasted a kajillion different ways to hook it up and some user adjustable "filters"(no,no no, not "tone controls" mind you, "filters")...with internals "based" on a Philips CDM 9 PRO transport. I wanted to see what other units migh have this hardware...Philips made one, Marantz likewise and a few of the more "esoteric" purveyors of the dream...operative word: made...past tense...5-10 years ago...but be that as it may, I found a review, on this site for the Marantz unit. To highlight the audiophilic penchant for voodoo mythology, I will quote part of it here:

    "...Hints: Tape the micro-switch on the top panel & try playing it without the glass cover...the soundstage opens further. Vocal will be brighter & the higher musical notes more extended!..."

    Now, if that ain't a crock, I don't know what is...There was a school of thought in the old days that playing an analog TT with the dustcover lowered, somehow caused problems with playback...some claimed static electricity screwed with the tracking force...a zap with the ol' Zerostat should have eliminated that(WAS the Zerostat snake-oil?)...others said that the cover created a resonant cavity and feedback and yada, yada, yada...I believe the designers took that into consideration by de-coupling the platter and tone arm in most single-play units. Does the above hint base itself on that bit of history? This is zero and ones. Not a micro-point tracing a groove...DIGITAL!

    We have the psuedo-premise, now the statement of ab-so-lute fact in a less than ab-so-lute manner:

    "...It is the norm that by opening the cover of most toploading CD players may actually improve the sound quality, thus is definitely worth trying..."

    But people probably bought into it, defeated the interlock and swore on a stack of audio mags they heard a diff. Nuckin' futs if ya ask me.

    Solid state reaches stasis and operates...it's not tubes, which need time to warm up and that gear had a stand-by mode to lower the time period required... what with grids and gas and all...

    BTW, the setting of a volume control relative to loudness percieved is meaningless, whether comparing different units or the even same model...

    jimHJJ(...now please, I nearly peed in me drawers...)

  18. #18
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    It's Attack of the Straw Men!!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sondek
    Anyone with a background in engineering (ahem) understands without baseless criticism.

    I guess, that leaves you out in the cold as you have no concept of audio components and break in voodoo nonsense.
    mtrycrafts

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by astrod2
    Thanks. I believe in break in. In fact, my Rotel pre amp seems to have taken about 6 months to fully break in, which I understand is not unheard of for high end units. I'm wondering what's different or inferior about the old player that would cause the perceived volume to increase so much faster than with the better ES unit. I recall when I first got the pre amp, the volume was extremely sensitive, so lack of break in was a factor then, too. Is it something about the inaccurate frequencies summing to create additional frequencies or harmonics?

    So, for the highs and openness, it will get there sooner or later? The new unit does sound really nice, smoother, more solid soundstage, etc.

    Dave
    Then you also must believe in santa clause?
    This is just an audio absurdity, voodoo, bs.
    mtrycrafts

  21. #21
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    "The old unit can easily sound too loud at about 10 o'clock, while the new unit doesn't sound too loud (i.e., irritating) at 11 and beyond. I assume part of it the better quality of the ES unit, but I'm wondering why the volume differences are there. "

    This statement reflects a complete and utter ignorance of how electronic equipment works. You should take some courses in basic AC electricity and elementary electronics before you spend one more dime on stereo equipment. At this stage, you are reckless with money.

  22. #22
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    It would be a good idea...

    ...if you fully understood the "strawman" concept before you bandy about such carefully thought out responses...

    Where in my post have I made distorted, exaggerated or misrepresentational statements?

    FACT: I mentioned the aging of cheese and wine apropos the subject matter...

    FACT: I mentioned typical responses offered by the cognescenti...I could include "lack of system resolution" and the old "flat earth" argument that is usually proffered, but I think my point was made with what I chose to post...

    FACT: I asked if anyone really thought R&D people post dated the check, so to speak...

    FACT: I further mentioned salesmen and their behavior, made reference to "30 days" and so-called "audio ex-spurts"...

    FACT: I quoted info available on this site(easily found if one cares to do so), which to any reasonable person, reveals the mindset of the audio alchemists...familiar with the term "impeaching the witness"?...

    FACT: Statement re: SS stasis vs. vacuum tubes...

    FACT: Statement re: insignificance of volume knob settings...

    You chose to completely ignore everything but a portion of the post which you then somehow spidled, folded and otherwise mutilated in your own mind into a basis for your brilliant missive...who exactly is guilty of what exactly?

    jimHJJ(...now be off or I shall taunt you a second time...)

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by astrod2
    So my point is, at least as far as my experiences goes, ears and listening perception changes, too, making totally objective judgements difficult and far from cut and dried. At the end of the day, if my system sounds more real and present than before, and if the music touches me more, I'm happy with the upgrades.
    Ah, the holistic approach to audio. No facts or basis in reality needed.. .only a belief and a feeling of well being and satisfaction. If it feels good, do it. Now, if we were apying this to a self induced physical sensation I'd have a name for it.

    As the beatles said "life is easy with eyes closed..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by markw
    Ah, the holistic approach to audio. No facts or basis in reality needed.. .only a belief and a feeling of well being and satisfaction. If it feels good, do it. Now, if we were apying this to a self induced physical sensation I'd have a name for it.

    As the beatles said "life is easy with eyes closed..."
    Since when is music and a stereo not about pleasure????

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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    "The old unit can easily sound too loud at about 10 o'clock, while the new unit doesn't sound too loud (i.e., irritating) at 11 and beyond. I assume part of it the better quality of the ES unit, but I'm wondering why the volume differences are there. "

    This statement reflects a complete and utter ignorance of how electronic equipment works. You should take some courses in basic AC electricity and elementary electronics before you spend one more dime on stereo equipment. At this stage, you are reckless with money.
    That's the most uninformative response I've seen so far. Congrats, you win.....

    For what it's worth, the loudness difference is gone now. It's either break in or the new power cables. Something changed.

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