"Burn In" questions...

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  • 12-16-2007, 12:02 PM
    Peter_Klim
    "Burn In" questions...
    If manufactureres know that their products require burn-in time to sound their best, why don't they just design them to sound better in the 1st place?

    And when designing their stuff, how do they know if it will sound better after itburns in?

    And why doesn't it ever sound worse after burn-in?

    Why not have a double blind test with a new and burned-in unit to prove it's effects?

    Just my honest opinion, but I believe it's all in the ear re-adjusting to the new sound.
  • 12-16-2007, 12:21 PM
    emaidel
    Initially, I thought "burn-in" was a lot of baloney. Then, I purchased a set of Audioquest "Crystal" speaker cables: at first the sound was extremely harsh and unpleasant. After some time, however, it softened and became a good deal more listenable. The representative from whom I purchased the cables explained that they required an extensive burn-in period to sound their best.

    The following is a direct quote from the instruction manual for my Parasound PLD-1100 Preamp:

    "Like many other great high end preamplifiers, your PLD-1100 requires at least 72 hours of continuous operation after it is first turned on to sound its best. This gives various internal components and wiring a chance to "form" their optimum electron paths and pass complex musical information with greater definition, smoothness and trasnparency." (Italics mine)

    And guess what? After time (I didn't clock the 72 hour period) it did indeed sound better.

    I have to say that I know of no piece of gear that sounded worse after burn-in, but the Parasound statement is one of the best I've seen to justify the need for such a thing.
  • 12-16-2007, 12:36 PM
    basite
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Peter_Klim
    Just my honest opinion, but I believe it's all in the ear re-adjusting to the new sound.


    no it's not.
    if that was true, every speaker and every amp would sound the same to us after a while.

    cables need a burn in period too, so that the copper (or silver or gold) crystals can 'set' themselves, and they will smooth out the cable, so it conducts the signal better and thus this results in better sound.

    same with speakers, the voice coil's copper crystals need to set themselves, and the suspension needs to set itselves. That's why new speakers tend to sound brighter before they burnt in.

    Why don't they design them better? well they design them and the sound is tested before during and after burn in. there is no way around the burn in period, a better design will result in a better sound, but even the better design needs burn in.

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
  • 12-16-2007, 11:25 PM
    pixelthis
    "burn in " is mostly a thing of the past, it now mainly applies to speakers, and sometimes a dvd or disc player has to run awhile.
    AND your ears DO get used to your stuff, just like your eyes get used to a bad TV sometimes. THATY WHY you need to check out new gear every once in awhile.
    Last time I dropped by Walfart they had two old type CRT rptvs, in addition to the several
    dozen flat panels and two DLP sets.
    I looked at these sets in amazement, couldnt beleive that I had once coveted one of these,
    the brightness was set to max and you couldnt make out the picture, hardly.
    Its like a teacher of mine said, your standard TV picture sux, without our brains making up the difference we couldnt stand it, hardly:1:
  • 12-17-2007, 02:28 AM
    basite
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pixelthis
    "burn in " is mostly a thing of the past, it now mainly applies to speakers, and sometimes a dvd or disc player has to run awhile.


    and cables, and amps, and cartridges, and power conditioners, and tv's and projectors. it's not a thing of the past.
  • 12-17-2007, 03:45 AM
    Feanor
    Yes, burn-in happens
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Peter_Klim
    If manufactureres know that their products require burn-in time to sound their best, why don't they just design them to sound better in the 1st place?

    And when designing their stuff, how do they know if it will sound better after itburns in?

    And why doesn't it ever sound worse after burn-in?

    Why not have a double blind test with a new and burned-in unit to prove it's effects?

    Just my honest opinion, but I believe it's all in the ear re-adjusting to the new sound.

    I'm an audio sceptic myself, but I'm pretty sure that burn-in is a real phenomenon. Recent examples for me were my new phono preamp and new vacuum tubes. I've noticed it too for speakers, amplifiers, and a used DAC that had new op amps installed.

    Usually burn-in needs 10 - 30 hours for major effect to happen, but I have a Panasonic digital receiver that took at least 400 hour to go from very sharp sounding to relatively mellow.
  • 12-17-2007, 04:23 AM
    emaidel
    The comments about burn-in for loudspeakers are quite valid. After I had the woofers on my DQ-10's rebuilt by Regnar in NY, I found the sound of the bass quite thin, and given the limited bass reponse of the DQ-10 to begin with, somewhat alarming. After discussions with several of the people at Regnar, I realized that they needed a burn-in period, and then, after several days, they sounded a good deal better. (but, nowhere near as good as a subwoofer, which the 10's really do need!)
  • 12-17-2007, 04:55 AM
    noddin0ff
    Speakers, yes (simply a mechanical out-of-the-box stiffness that loosens up almost completely in a few hours of play)
    Tube gear, probably
    Solid state, doubt it.
    wires, don't believe it.

    opinions, of course. your subjective experience may vary...
  • 12-17-2007, 05:31 AM
    kexodusc
    I don't know much about burn in for electronic devices or cables, so I won't comment on them. Like Feanor, I'm a big skeptic when it comes to audio - the onus on the seller to undeniably prove to me what they're selling is real. It shouldn't be hard, and if they can't work that hard for me, they're not getting my money.

    But I can say without hesitation, and with actual experience that speakers definitely have break in. The surround material and even cone material I think to some extent are "stiff" after production and need awhile to loosen up.

    I have personally measured the T/S parameters on a number of woofers. You can tell which drivers have been tested vigorously by the manufacturer and which ones are right from the production line fairly easily by the results. Most come without much or any use on them.

    Take a set of measurments right out of the box. Pay careful attention to Fs (the frequency of resonance). Now connect the driver to a signal for about 15-20 minutes and play at healthy volume. I use 80-85 dB or so. Measure again. The Fs will drop quite a bit as the woofer loosens up. The transient response and bass extension has improved considerably. The last woofer I used was a fairly common 7" Scandinavian kevlar driver with a reported Fs of 22 Hz. My first measurement captured Fs at 37 Hz. That's quite a difference and at first you'd think something was seriously wrong. After 20 minutes or so of play, the second reading was 26 Hz. That's about half an octave...quite a bit.
    (The other 4 Hz I wasn't worried about, could be differences in measurement equipment, room, drivers, etc, maybe there was more break-in left?).

    At any rate, I see this fairly often, and most of the change occurs in less than hour of play, after which differences don't show up. I don't belive that dozens or "hundreds of hours" are necessary like too many companies try and tell people who buy their products - that's more of a self-serving guideline. But speakers are a glorified motor, so of course there's some break-in to be expected. If you're wondering, I do not see the same differences in Fs with tweeters, but there's less movement and mass overall so I guess that kind of makes sense.
  • 12-17-2007, 06:40 AM
    Bernd
    I think it's certainly a little bit of both. Yes you do get used to a sound, but that is only a small part.
    My speakers have some Duelund caps in them and they took an absolute age to settle. Anything with moving parts needs time to bed in. Just compare a brand new CD transport to one with some 500 hours on the clock. I did just that. Not a small difference.
    Valves definitely need time as do cartridges.

    Peace

    :16:
  • 12-17-2007, 07:23 AM
    basite
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bernd
    Just compare a brand new CD transport to one with some 500 hours on the clock. I did just that. Not a small difference.
    Valves definitely need time as do cartridges.

    Peace

    :16:


    getting a new CDP, Bernd? :cornut:
  • 12-17-2007, 08:22 AM
    Bernd
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by basite
    getting a new CDP, Bernd? :cornut:


    Strictly research.................................:1:

    Peace

    :16:
  • 12-17-2007, 10:03 AM
    SlumpBuster
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Peter_Klim
    And why doesn't it ever sound worse after burn-in?


    I like that question. Have you ever seen a manufacturer claim, "Yeah, our Mk.1 sounded terrible after 50 hours, which led to the development of our Mk.2."

    I guess when "burn in" makes something sound worse, it has crossed over into "wearing out."
  • 12-17-2007, 12:04 PM
    Smokey
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by basite
    cables need a burn in period too, so that the copper (or silver or gold) crystals can 'set' themselves, and they will smooth out the cable, so it conducts the signal better and thus this results in better sound.

    I hope that is just an opinion :D

    Video and audio components do probably need breakin mostly due to heat, and speakers due to its dynamic nature. But there are no conniving facts that proves cables need breakin also.

    A shift in cable performance over time usually mean the cable is defective.
  • 12-17-2007, 12:23 PM
    basite
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Smokey
    I hope that is just an opinion :D

    Video and audio components do probably need breakin mostly due to heat, and speakers due to its dynamic nature. But there are no conniving facts that proves cables need breakin also.

    A shift in cable performance over time usually mean the cable is defective.

    The crystal stuff is pure science. The sound can be an opinion, although I did hear some difference (not much, cable burn in is really subtle) after using my cables a while...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
  • 12-18-2007, 06:06 PM
    Jimmy C
    One 'lil experiment I did...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Peter_Klim
    If manufactureres know that their products require burn-in time to sound their best, why don't they just design them to sound better in the 1st place?

    And when designing their stuff, how do they know if it will sound better after itburns in?

    And why doesn't it ever sound worse after burn-in?

    Why not have a double blind test with a new and burned-in unit to prove it's effects?

    Just my honest opinion, but I believe it's all in the ear re-adjusting to the new sound.

    ...was to take a brand new pair of Paradigm Titans and compare them, in an A/B setting, to my (at the time) 5 year-old said Parradiggums. Yes, I have heard them referred to as such :^)

    A friend of mine bought a new pair, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to compare. Hooked both new and (my) used pair up to my 'ole Denon receiver, instant A/B, and no doubt about it - the new pair was DEFINITELY leaner, w-a-y less bass. I'm not saying it takes years to sound best, but there IS some break-in period. Ironically, this is one new speaker I have owned that I did NOT notice any break-in... makes one wonder about the speakers you actually hear/feel the difference after some time.

    The Titans? Like I said, really didn't notice. The Studio 60s? needed some run in TO BE SURE. The Revel M20s I just sold? LOTS of break-in. My current (and favorite... (<blush>) JMR Twins? Really didn't notice much, they were good from the beginning.

    I don't listen loudly, woofer barely moves. May take me longer to get there, but I think fer sure there is some run-in on most speakers.

    Not sure about electronics, but dang... it DOES sound better after tubes warmed up?!

    Jimmy thinks so...
  • 12-18-2007, 09:56 PM
    blackraven
    Speakers definitely need break in. The material that is used to make speaker drivers loosens up with time and the sound will change. Magnepan states that their speakers will sound better with much better low frequency extension after 50hrs of use. I certainly noticed a difference on my Q1.6's.

    As for wire breakin, I think thats a bunch of bull and if you hear any difference, its probably you ears getting use to the sound. Audio memory is not very good in humans!
  • 12-19-2007, 05:29 AM
    basite
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jimmy C
    Not sure about electronics, but dang... it DOES sound better after tubes warmed up?!

    Jimmy thinks so...


    it also does sound better once my amp is warmed up (Mcintosh MA6400, SS power)

    soundstage rises and music becomes more music and less stressed...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
  • 01-10-2008, 01:48 PM
    bfalls
    I'm not sure what the audio industry does, but I worked for a company who manufactured front-end data processing units for the telephone industry. Part of the manufacturing process was a burn-in where the units were "baked" in a 140degree oven for 48 hours. This would allow components which were marginal to fail in the factory instead of in the field. I wouldn't be surprised if audio compoments went through similar testing.

    Because of the mechanics involved, I can see the necessity for speaker burn-in and understand why a changes is heard, but have my doubts about cables. AudioQuest has an interconnect with the dialectric bias system which aligns the molecules of the insulation to allow better signal flow. This seems to run along the same path as burn-in.