(...) In audio, SQ changes due to burn-in does seem to be a real phenomenon. New speakers, electronics and cables all seem to undergo gradual initial changes. The same changes are not heard when well used items are substituted into a system, indicating that its an item’s newness that is key. Similarly items like footers, platforms and racks, which have no electronic component do no undergo gradual changes....the changes they render are, at least in my experience immediate and stable, ruling out listener acclimatisation in the phenomenon.
As I have often said, some burn-in physical effects are real and can be measured with adequate instrumentation. However, the question is how can we correlate that minimal physical difference, that according to official audio science is orders of magnitude bellow the threshold of audibility, with perceived sound quality. IMHO until we have such model burn-in mostly a religious war between believers and non-believers.
Audio science is in many aspects in its childhood or perhaps even in the dark ages. Warm-up of electronics is a much less controversial aspect than burn-in and IMHO induces nigh and day subjective differences. However I have never seen a good article, that could be considered a reference on the subject, correlating detailed measurements with subjective sound differences. As always, IMHO and YMMV.
I'm not saying that's appropriate, and even if the thread was on the subject I'm not sure I'd participate. However, it's absolutely true and pretty much a proven fact to me that differences in sound can be imagined to some degree. I've sent people cables to test for over 6 years now and have some data on the subject. However, I've found most times if differences are heard, they are real.
As a maker of cables I find it difficult to NOT test the popular theory that differences heard in cables and burn-in are all made-up, as I'm not a fan of sticking my head in the sand... I want to know what's actually true to the best of my ability. I mention this just so reports of burn-in are taken in proper context, there are likely to be exaggerations and outright imaginary things reported, but that doesn't mean all burn-in reports are born out of an overactive imagination and the result of bias.
That said, I have data that burn-in of wire is a very real phenomenon, both the measurements I posted as well as correlations between customer's experiences as well as customer reactions when shipping cables that are burned vs not burned. Descriptions of burn-in sound characteristics match closely and customer reactions to the cables also significantly change depending on whether they receive cables that are burned-in vs not.
I have problems with the term imagination. If we take the parable of "The Emperor Has No Clothes.'" I suspect everyone new the king was nude. I think people can just be wrong rather than delusional. If someone actually saw clothes on the king, they should see their mental health professional.
We have beat this horse to death on this forum.