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Question Running in/Burn in?

Friesiansam

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A post in another thread (by Al ears) got me thinking about this. My own belief, subjective rather than evidence based, is that for solid-state electronics it's probably not needed but, for anything with moving parts, e.g. speakers, headphones and cartridges, just as in an engine, there may be some stiffness affecting performance that needs a period of use to alleviate.

What do other people think about this? I do believe my headphones, Focal Elegia, benefited from the 30 hours running in I gave them. I suspect there is not really a catrch-all right or wrong answer here.
 

plus 1

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A post in another thread (by Al ears) got me thinking about this. My own belief, subjective rather than evidence based, is that for solid-state electronics it's probably not needed but, for anything with moving parts, e.g. speakers, headphones and cartridges, just as in an engine, there may be some stiffness affecting performance that needs a period of use to alleviate.

What do other people think about this? I do believe my headphones, Focal Elegia, benefited from the 30 hours running in I gave them. I suspect there is not really a catrch-all right or wrong answer here.
i've never heard any differences with this "burn in" - not with cd players, amplifiers, cables or even speakers !

if "burn in" is needed / exists how can they accurately measure if a component is not faulty at the factory before its shipped to a dealer for sale ?
 

millennia_one

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There is a interesting video on YouTube with gr acoustics and he can actually show you the readings/measurements of a speakers worn in and not. He can even show you when the speaker has been left for a long time and which then requires a small amount of burn in to get back up to speed. It’s only a small detail on the chart but it’s there. So there’s something happening. Now can you hear it is the real question.

I’ve only come across it a few times. With speakers that is. Mission m74i where the biggest in terms of change. Bass really improved over a few albums and it wasn’t a small difference either. The cones in those speakers where incredibly stiff and the speaker filled to the brim with wadding.

Electrical stuff, my class A Amp ironically needs a little time every I turn it on , to come up to speed and it is quite noticeable, though it gets hotter then Hell’s Kitchen after 10mins. So as always it depends on the equipment.

Don’t think you can flat out say it doesn’t exist but dose it really matter?
 

abacus

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Electronics can take a few minutes to stabilise depending on temperature but in most cases it is not noticeable. (The exception is valve (Tube) equipment which does take time to get up to full performance)

All mechanical things require a run in period (Many manufactures do it at the end of the production line so you don’t have to) but the difference is not usually that great.

Most differences heard in the above cases is just the placebo effect, so just do whatever you feel happy doing.

Bill
 
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Friesiansam

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My Focal Elegias, straight out of the box, sounded a little harsh and I'm sure they sounded better after running in but, on the other hand, did I just get used to them? My headphone amp didn't seem to change at all with use, all solid state, no valves (Pathos Converto MK2). BTW, I do believe burn-in for cables is a load of old tosh.
 
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bigfish786

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There’s definitely more than one thing happening during a period of run in/ burn in etc.
Whether it’s heat cycles, parts moving, temperature, flexibility, room acoustics, your brain and ears,
Lots of stuff, all happening at the same time, so yeah there is definitely a period of newness that effects the perception of the sound.
I feel my new cart needs more hours to “open up” for example.
The amp I have seemed to improve for many weeks. But never sounded bad .
Today is a good example, after a good nights sleep and a steady day at work, some fresh vinyl and I’m hearing things very differently indeed.
 
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manicm

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With speakers, I find one's ears need to burn in. Having said that I could never get on with the MA BX2s - which only came good at high volumes to my ears.
 

TotalVictim

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PMC recommend 50 hours of "burn in" in their manual. By telephone, they recommend 200 hours. Yeah, right. Brand new 25.22i speakers on PMC stands sounded utterly HORRIBLE out of the box. Over 200 hours later, they still sound horrible. Total, complete trickery for the average audiofool. Not recommended at all.
 

Al ears

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PMC recommend 50 hours of "burn in" in their manual. By telephone, they recommend 200 hours. Yeah, right. Brand new 25.22i speakers on PMC stands sounded utterly HORRIBLE out of the box. Over 200 hours later, they still sound horrible. Total, complete trickery for the average audiofool. Not recommended at all.
Sound horrible in your humble opinion.....
The idea that hours of burn-in will suddenly make an unlistenable speaker listenable is obviously ridiculous.
The idea that someone would purchase said speakers on the understanding that they will improve dramatically is also ridiculous.....
 
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Gray

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Brain 'burn-in' more likely. No question, that's real.
You can get very familiar with the sound you've been used to, often over many years.
The shock of the new can be too much for some, no burn-in can help.
 
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Simon 13th note

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I tried the PMC Twenty5 23i and thought they are terrific but then I’m a pmc fan. The idea a speaker needs 200 hours is probably fanciful. That sound like the tea boy getting involved. Lol. I think most is about 50 hours and no more.

Technical reasons for electronic component burn in aside, which will bore me to the same levels as organising a sock drawer, speakers obviously need to run in.

When my PMC’s were damaged (A scratch) by the courier I took them back home waiting for new set to arrive, which took a few months and by then the damaged pair were run in. The difference when putting new new set in was immediately obvious - flatter sound. One can understand why in a lay sense - the rubber not moving as much means speaker wasn’t as intonated.
 

Friesiansam

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There is a interesting video on YouTube with gr acoustics and he can actually show you the readings/measurements of a speakers worn in and not. He can even show you when the speaker has been left for a long time and which then requires a small amount of burn in to get back up to speed. It’s only a small detail on the chart but it’s there. So there’s something happening. Now can you hear it is the real question.
You could say such measurements don't matter, as you listen with your ears, not with a meter. I will say that I think, if you can't hear a change, then it is irrelevant.
 

plus 1

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You can indeed, but I guess some can hear it and some people do take measurements very seriously, but when shown proof about a hi-fi myth toys are thrown. Go figure.
are there any measurements that shows things we can actually hear like an increase in clarity, better separation between instruments etc ?
 

millennia_one

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are there any measurements that shows things we can actually hear like an increase in clarity, better separation between instruments etc ?
To add there are also some things that can be measured that are not audible (per say) but could lead to sound changes, such as the rubber/paper suspension around the cone ie cone can move further leading to an increase in the bass for example. BUT cones are normally stress-tested before leaving the factories with more exotic brands like ATC.

also, heat can be measured and can lead to a vast difference in sound, such as voice coils reaching optimum temp and the other way round if driven to excess
 
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Romulus

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Personally I never heard any difference after the supposed 'burn in' period of any new component I ever had. However there is a huge experience out there amateur and professional which believe in the 'burn in' period. However on the other side of this spectrum we humans seek reassurance, can be influenced by sight of components, and to date we do not have a complete understanding on the workings and components of the brain. Maybe its our brain tricking our beliefs that the sound is changing for the better, when in reality we are just getting use to the new sound which we so disliked initially...? Maybe this enigma existing within us allows us to record certain events as 'miracles' (eg Lourdes) while the more scientific minded people disagree explaining that the answers are down to earth of scientific nature which are yet to be discovered....
 
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nopiano

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I think there is definitely warming up, and this especially applies to transducers, like speakers and cartridges. The latter sound better on warm days to my ears too. Cold speakers brought in from a journey on a cold day aren’t nice!
A few weeks ago my old Marantz system residing at my Dads hadn’t been used for months. I turned it on and it sounded clattery and thin, but within a few minutes was sounding much better. It’s all about 25 years old, including the speakers, but I don’t think I imagined it.
Most kit I own seems better after say 20 minutes from switch on, but I can’t recall hearing components like turntables, CD players or amps running in from new over many hours. I’m sure we acclimatise to new a sound though.
 
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Simon 13th note

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Just watched the new documentary on the challenger shuttle disaster on Netflix and this tells us that the rubber o rings of the solid rocket boosters are effected by cold temps ie physical properties. So it absolutely must stand to reason that the more the rubber and plastics are flexed the more responsive they are. A dynamic driver has a voice coil which is effectively acting like a spring and combined with cable burn in, this must have an effect. So it it definetely not psycho acoustic. I tend to think in audio that if there are sound principle based on common sense they are more likely.
 

nopiano

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Just watched the new documentary on the challenger shuttle disaster on Netflix and this tells us that the rubber o rings of the solid rocket boosters are effected by cold temps ie physical properties. So it absolutely must stand to reason that the more the rubber and plastics are flexed the more responsive they are. A dynamic driver has a voice coil which is effectively acting like a spring and combined with cable burn in, this must have an effect. So it it definetely not psycho acoustic. I tend to think in audio that if there are sound principle based on common sense they are more likely.
I think the shuttle rubber being incredibly cold and failing to seal is very different indeed from being flexed as designed for on (say) speakers within a normal domestic temperature range. And you’re assuming cable burn in exists, which though a popular idea has never been proven to my knowledge.
 

Simon 13th note

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I think the shuttle rubber being incredibly cold and failing to seal is very different indeed from being flexed as designed for on (say) speakers within a normal domestic temperature range. And you’re assuming cable burn in exists, which though a popular idea has never been proven to my knowledge.
I agree, fantastic docu btw. I was talking about physical properties hence why I used those words, foreseeing your reply.

I think cable burn in undeniably exists to most sensible and reasonable people though which is experience based, and measuring in hifi is always semantical. That’s why most good reviews can never do it to tell you what big sub sects of people will like, even the designers themselves oftrem can’t. I’ve always maintained that.
 
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