What is Burn in for Headphones

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by Comixbooks, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. Comixbooks

    Comixbooks Ignore Me

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    Someone said you let your headphones at Max for 100 hours to burn them in?
    Then somehow they sound better? confused on how this works?
     
  2. magnetik

    magnetik Moderator Staff Member

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    them words usually start a flame war.. :) but in my experience break-in affects some cans and some cans have no effect. 100hrs sounds a little excessive. I'd just play them and not fret over it. fwiw my Beyer 770's had a big change within 10-15 minutes of playing.
     
  3. Comixbooks

    Comixbooks Ignore Me

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    I'm good at starting flame wars =) I figured it had effect on some and not others
     
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  4. FighterAce124

    FighterAce124 2[H]4U

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    Listen to stuff normally, it will slowly burn in over time, but you will not likely notice as the change will be very subtle over time.

    You can also set your headphones down, use something to play noise (I think I used pink and white noise for my A-900) or music at very slightly higher than listening volume for many hours - I did it over night several nights in a row, and it worked quite well, 3 days later I could definetly tell the difference - much "warmer" sound to me.


    Please do not play them at max volume when burning in. It's really not needed, and I could see it possibly causing damage in some rare cases..



    As to whether burn-in actually does anything, thats pretty subjective - my buddy didnt hear anything different than before I did burn, but I did, and thats all that mattered to me.
     
  5. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Sometimes 'burn in' is an escape story told by AV retailers when they hear the customer wasn't satisfied with their expensive purchase.

    "Let it burn in, the sound will be better". After 2 weeks to a month the customer has grown accustomed to the sound and succumbed to his decision.

    This is why you should always test your hifi purchases at home first, in your own listening room. The room charasteristics and speaker-amp-source combination gives so many variables that something that sounds good in the acoustically treated demo room may not sound good anymore at home. Cue 'burn in time' ;)

    It is true that since headphones and speakers are mechanical devices, their suspension can loosen up a little during playing. Mostly the effect is (I believe) psychological because the ear tends to get used to the sounds. You notice this the best if you listen to your own el-cheapo system and then visit a high-end expo with 40-50 000 dollar setups. Your el-cheapo system will most likely sound like crap after that for a long time untill you get used to the sound again ;)

    The happiest day of my audio life was the moment when I could walk into the expo and notice that my home setup sounded better than some of the systems displayed and the ones that were better, cost astronomically more.
     
  6. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Most of it is just your brain and ears getting used to the new sound that the headphone produces. Think of it as if you are meeting a person with an accent and are learning to understand how they speak.
     
  7. Zyklon808

    Zyklon808 Limp Gawd

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    Not adding to a flame ware lol however my 15 year old MDR-V6s sound better than my 2 year old MDR-V6s.
     
  8. John721

    John721 [H]ard|Gawd

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    It's for speakers technically, but read this and judge for yourself.
     
  9. jmilcher

    jmilcher [H]ardness Supreme

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    Purely snake oil. Works for speakers, not really for headphone drivers.
     
  10. dandragonrage

    dandragonrage [H]ardForum Junkie

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    ^ This is mainly true. There can be SLIGHT variance in a speaker once it's worn in, however you can easily identify someone who has no idea what they're talking about when they claim that it ALWAYS improves the sound. If it were really true, it would only slightly CHANGE the sound - some people would prefer the change and some would not. And many wouldn't hear it at all it because it would be minor. Also you can't just say it takes "100 hours" as it would vary and probably take more hours than that. The surround of the speaker is the main thing that could change, but if it only took 100 hours for it to noticeably change the sound of the speaker, you'd have to replace the speaker surrounds very often. Because they'd not just break in, but wear out quickly.
     
  11. DeFex

    DeFex [H]ard|DCer of the Month - June 2011

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    nobody's reviewing them anymore after 15 years so they can get away with using cheaper parts.
     
  12. Nenu

    Nenu [H]ardened

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    New rubber surrounds and suspension elements on the speaker cones are stiffer than after they are used for a while.
    Once they have loosened up, they can convert more energy into sound rather than heat.
    The conversion of movement to heat before they are run in causes a reduction in volume level for some frequencies more than others which affects the balance of the sound spectrum.
    ie they may sound bass dry/shrill before being run in. It is worth using new speakers for a while before forming an opinion.

    Good headphone and loudspeaker manufacturers know this happens, they design the headphones/speakers to sound how they intend once fully run in.

    Spaceman pointed out there is also an element of getting used to the sound as well.
    I can vouch for this as I've owned a lot of different speakers, some very different in character, yet most were very nice to listen to.
     
  13. northfaceseen

    northfaceseen Limp Gawd

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    I have never burned my headphones in, just enjoy them when you get them ;)
     
  14. KILLER_K

    KILLER_K [H]ardness Supreme

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    No burn in here. Using them for what you bought them for is a good enough burn in. No sense in just burning something in when you can use them and basically do the same to them.
     
  15. Nenu

    Nenu [H]ardened

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    Burning them in is just using them.
    Its not that it doesnt make sense, its that the sound may improve after a while.
     
  16. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Burn in is a "get out of jail free" card for anyone whose customer is not satisfied with the audio product.

    "Yeah it's great even if it sounds like crap now, it needs to burn in" :D
     
  17. Godmachine

    Godmachine [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Indeed. Burn in is probably the single most misleading "practice" recommended by consumers/manufacturers alike who either have buyers remorse or are straight up lying to help market/sell their product.

    There is no scientific evidence that shows that headphones change over time dramatically enough for you to even notice. If you happen to not be human and have the hearing of a dog you might be able to pick out minute differences.

    Stop worrying about burn in and enjoy your headphones. If they sound like crap to you then return them.

    This entire practice is one reason I can't stand to surf Head-fi for more than 30 minutes at a time. It drives me nuts.
     
  18. killmenow

    killmenow n00b

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    Some of the changes attributed to burn-in comes from physical wear on the headphone over time. Changes to the clamping force and ear-pads can drastically change the sound of the headphones. As far as the drivers go, I found that certain headphones sound drastically different 20 hours in while others retained their original sound.
     
  19. Erebus

    Erebus [H]ard|Gawd

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    Who cares if it works or not? Is it going to put anyone out to leave their headphones on all night just in case it does make a difference? No, so why not try it if you have any question of if it works or not? You are going to listen to your headphones for hundreds of hours anyways, it's not like headphones have a 200 hour lifespan and you are taking away half their life by burning them in... :)
     
  20. KILLER_K

    KILLER_K [H]ardness Supreme

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    Exactly my point. Just use them for what you bought them for and enjoy them.
     
  21. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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    [​IMG]

    I think the chef is saying that you can go with this or you can go with that.

    All good points and explanations.
     
  22. Joseph F

    Joseph F Gawd

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    There is some slight mechanical change in headphone drivers over a period of time (has been measured and proven), but most of the change you notice is your brain getting used to the sound of a particular set of headphones.
     
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  23. Comixbooks

    Comixbooks Ignore Me

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    Someone said to burn in your headphones with Pink Noise for 2-3 hours or more on full volume going to try....
     
  24. GoldenTiger

    GoldenTiger [H]ard as it Gets

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    Holy thread necromancer, Batman!