Burning-in vs. brainwashing?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Phil Thien, Apr 16, 2019.

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  1. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I see quite a few people her mention burning-in of components. Speakers I get, the suspensions will loosen over time.

    But what about passive components like capacitors?

    Has there ever been any research (links please) showing a measurable change in performance of a capacitor or some other such component that changes after 100-200 hours of use?

    The brain is pretty amazing and will adjust to accommodate inadequacies in the reproduction chain.

    So I'm wondering what burns-in first, the component, or the brain?

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. rediffusion

    rediffusion Forum Resident

    Thoughts? Er, wrong section.
    ;)
     
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  3. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    PM sent
     
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  4. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Ah crap, sorry guys.
     
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  5. Tim S

    Tim S Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Tennessee
    It's ok - no worries. Ask a gort to move it.
     
  6. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Okay, we got moved.

    So...

    Feelings about burning in of components?
     
  7. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Lots of people overestimate their hearing.
    Loads of people get used to how a component sounds over time but attribute the difference to some magical burn-in.

    Those two things can easily be tested by having two components, one with some mileage and the other brand-spanking new A/B'ed. Nobody has ever dared perform this test in a transparent fashion as it'd expose the aforementioned two points I mentioned.
     
  8. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    There are reliability reasons for burning in any electronic device. There is a thing called a bathtub curve that models the distribution of failures over time. It does indeed look like a bathtub, meaning lots of early failures with a huge dropoff to almost no failures then failure dramatically increase. So, it behooves you to stress electronics early. This brings forward failures associated with the first phase. This helps you, because the failure will occur during the initial warranty phase.

    Ignoring the changes in sound, you should burn in your electronics regardless.
     
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  9. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    There are people who under-estimate EVERYONE'S hearing, including their own. There are others who overestimate their hearing and allow their imagination to prove that their hearing is perfect.

    There are people who hear subtle differences and can honestly report what they heard without prejudice. There are others who have extreme prejudice by what they believe to be technical truth, not allowing their ears to tell them otherwise, and not trusting anyone to honestly report their un-predjudiced reports.

    There are people who claim they "are wondering" and ask for thoughts, even though they really don't care about anyone's opinion but their own. There are others who enjoy what they hear, trust in their personal audio experiences, but don't try to convince everyone else to agree with their opinions about what sounds better than what else.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  10. RockAddict

    RockAddict Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    IMO, making blanket assumptions is inherently fraught with danger. When I first heard about "burning-in" for components and cables, I laughed. Out loud. I "got" how items with moving parts, such as speakers and headphones, could need time to "settle" but, the boxes? The "wires"?

    Time and real world experience has demonstrated a couple of things. Some components do settle, some don't. The degree to which those that do settle varies. Each of us has different hearing capabilities and, IMO, it seems rather odd to presume what others can, or can't, hear. We all have different eye-sight, different senses of taste / smell, so it would be more than a bit surprising if all of us had the same hearing. If someone tells me they can / can't hear something, who am I to suggest the opposite? I don't have their hearing. Switch it around; if someone tells me I can / can't hear something, how do they know? They don't have my hearing.

    With "boxes", my own experience is that changes tend to be minor, if any at all. With my previous amp (Cambridge Audio CXA60), I am as sure as can be that the sound "warmed" after a few hours. That said, I can't say the same about my current amp (which I'm in the process of seeking to replace). As for cables, we all know some swear absolutely it is impossible for sound characteristics to change "...because the lab results say so...". Well, I've had numerous sets of analogue cables over the years and there isn't any doubt different cables CAN (but don't necessarily) lead to different tonal output. By way of just one example, I currently use a pair of Atlas Equator OCC Integra analogue interconnects which replaced the much more expensive Morrow Audio MA4s (pre 2018 design). The difference was marked. The Atlas' conveyed a slightly smoother sound but, most notably, the sound stage was definitely wider. I did A-B them more than once and, every time, the Atlas' came back. As for cable burn-in, my experiences with Morrow Audio cables showed it is for real. Also, some cable suppliers provide burn-in for no extra charge. Why would any supplier spend time and resources on something for no reason? Unless you subscribe to a conspiracy theory that they don't actually do the burn-in... :eek: :shh: :D

    It's not much different to the MP3 (@ 256kbps or higher) > redbook > hi-res debate. Can you hear a difference? Some swear they can, some say it's impossible. For me, I freely acknowledge that for the most part (with a couple of exceptions) I can't tell the difference between redbook and hi-res (blind listen) - but that's MY hearing and if someone says they can hear a difference, I don't see my own hearing capabilities as being a basis on which to cast doubt on others.

    If there a psychological aspect? For a few, I don't doubt it. But I also don't doubt that "burn-in" makes a real world detectable difference to some, varying from person to person and from component to component.

    At this point, a further reminder could be helpful: listen to music, not hi fi... :D Happy listening all.
     
  11. Diablo Griffin

    Diablo Griffin Synthpop, City Pop, and Rock Enthusiast

    Location:
    United States
    Kinda related to this topic, but I've got two pairs of the same model of headphones (Noontec Zoro HD); one that's been used a lot since 2013 and a newer one that I bought last year. Both pairs sound completely different, with the newer pair sounding harsher and more muffled than the old one. I'm thinking that it's probably not burn-in, but rather, one or maybe even both of the following scenarios:

    - The ear cushions on the old pair have worn out to the point of exposing the sound driver a little more than on the new pair. Because of that, the old pair sounds cleaner, more open, and natural. No harshness either. Even then, I don't remember the headphones sounding harsh when I got my first pair.
    - The newer pair might have a totally different sound-driver. Not sure how to check if this is the case.
     
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  12. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Bad example. Headphone manufacturers can change drivers over time. Same thing happened with Koss, for instance... so I'm not surprised there's a massive difference between models with a 5-year gap.
     
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  13. Leggs91203

    Leggs91203 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indiana
    This sounds like a new level of "chomping at the bit" to find something wrong with stereo equipment.
    It is amazing how people search so hard for something wrong with the way things sound.
    No stereo, turntable, LP pressing, tape recording, speakers, headphones, bit rate, etc will even be good enough.

    I know when I listen to music on my stereo, turntable, and speakers that would all horrify an audiophile because there might be something wrong with them, the last thing I worry about is how old or new the capacitors are.
     
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  14. Ironclaw

    Ironclaw Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    There's a reason stereophile and the like don't do many double blind listening tests regarding topics such as this. Audiophile industry is built on suggestion and deception - even so I like some hifi goods.
     
  15. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    How could one ever be able to say for sure? Its near impossible to objectively test something like 'burn in' at the same time one is testing the listening or hearing aspect. Plus, we hear the exact same sound differently from event to event; your mood and so on affects the quality of what you're hearing. The variables are numerous and always changing. I beleive in plain old exposure, experience and perception. When everything is right with us, we are capable of perceiving very subtle differences and these are sometimes verifiable with others who are present. With things like speakers and cartridges that have mechanical connections we can hear a settling in. I think even metallic conducting materials change a bit as electricity flows through them. (Thats what I've heard from folks that work in those fields.)
     
  16. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    That someone can accurately tell a gradual difference between the first and few hundred hours later over a period of weeks or months is ridiculous.
    Burn in is real, and takes longer for some components. But none even close to the timeframe some give. At that point youre more likely to hear degredation in the components than anything else.
     
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  17. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    Its more so used as an excuse for those not happy right away. Just wait 50 hours for burn in.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
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  18. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    SMH
     
  19. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    Everyone has bias and prejudice.
     
  20. Leggs91203

    Leggs91203 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indiana
    Is that why I have found perfectly good receivers at thrift stores, like a Sony STR-AV910 I scored for $15?
    I mean the capacitors are probably burned in after 30 years but it seemed to sound fine.

    Burn-in, that is almost comical.
     
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  21. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    Uh, what does burn in mean?
     
  22. Leggs91203

    Leggs91203 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indiana
    I don't know, the OP mentioned something about it. Burning-in?
     
  23. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    Yeah, see, burn in is about components getting to their optimal perforamnce, not breaking down.
     
  24. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    I know that your comment is not really about the topic at hand, but rather that you were using it as an example, but I have to chime in. For years in my computer, I have been downloading music from CD at AAC 192kbps and outside of a very few songs, I could barely tell the difference, especially when just randomly listening. However, after recently making a separate iTunes library of true favorite tracks, all downloaded at APPLE LOSSLESS, I have decided that it's at AAC 320kbps, is the place where I feel really comfortable in quality. When I re-evaluated the 192 and 256 AAC files, after the APPLE LOSSLESS downloads, I finally "heard" just what is lost with the lower quality downloads. It's not as obvious on all songs, but I can clearly hear the difference now, since I've been messing so much with the higher quality downloads, as would anyone, I would presume!
     
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  25. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    In my experience, tubes, tube amps, and speakers definitely can change their sound drastically in the first 100 hours. Speakers can take longer, 2-6 months to settle in.
     
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