Why does burning in work

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,609
30
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Metro DC
#81
Yup, I'd agree with that wrt all aspects of audio.

It doesn't mean burn-in and other phenomenon aren't real
but it's certainly true that we also imagine changes in sound based on bias and exl
Whoa. I don't want to go chasing down that rabbit hole.
 
Last edited:
May 30, 2010
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Portugal
#82
(...) 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.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
7,295
447
83
E. England
#83
I used to think burn in was needed on everything, but now I'm not so sure.

12 months ago, my bespoke psus to tt and phono seemed to need 80-100 hours to sound of their best.

Other than these, my other changes have worked the moment I installed them.

Including Stacore isolation platforms, SR Black fuses, RevOPods footers to my Zus, Sablon Bocchino PC and IC, and Tubulus Argentus DB25 cbls.
 

DaveC

Industry Expert
Nov 16, 2014
2,413
212
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#84
Whoa. I don't want to go chasing down that rabbit hole.
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.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,609
30
48
Metro DC
#85
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.
 
Dec 20, 2014
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#86
Is there a clear and logical scientific reason why components work better Whe. 'burned in' and does this mean they deteriorate from optimal state shortly after having been burned in?
I never realised that my question would turn into such a long thread. My question was specific and two-fold:

1. do components measurably

2. do they just carry on in that way hence deterioration


The reason I asked is that given the burn in - does the deterioration continue at the same rate. By way of comparison sports car tyres need warming up - they keep wearing at certain rate - meaning that they perform optimally for a short/fixed period of time and keep wearing (technically until bald). Does that then mean that the burn in/deterioration that goes on at the same rate? Or is it a case that there is the burn in and then it plateaus. Now we all now that very old components in audio systems can have electrolytic capacitors go for instance.
 
Oct 1, 2010
937
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Cleveland Ohio
#87
I never realised that my question would turn into such a long thread. My question was specific and two-fold:
1. do components measurably........
With the exceptions of vacuum tubes, transducers, mechanical moving parts and some electrolytic capacitors, NO the don't measurably change.
2. do they just carry on in that way hence deterioration
With the exceptions noted above, electronic units don't deteriorate.
 
May 30, 2010
14,799
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Portugal
#88
With the exceptions of vacuum tubes, transducers, mechanical moving parts and some electrolytic capacitors, NO the don't measurably change.

With the exceptions noted above, electronic units don't deteriorate.
According to Vishay some precision resistors measurably change during the fist few hundred hours - typical audiophile burn-in time. I would not be astonished if many components show this type of behavior, but no one cares about it, as it does not affect the equipment performance. It was studied in depth in this case because it is relevant for instrumentation designers, not because of audiophiles. ;) See http://www.vishaypg.com/doc?49568


a1.jpg
 
May 30, 2010
14,799
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Portugal
#90
Oops! I should have written 'meaningful change'.
Of course now with high resolution test equipment, over time, temperature, humidity, voltage and current there very well may be measurable changes in any part or unit.
But then the question is what means "meaningful" in audiophile electronic equipment. :oops:

People love debating burn-in, a disputed effect, but no one even wants to address technically in depth the well accepted warm-up time of equipment.
 
Apr 15, 2017
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Cascais
#91
According to Vishay some precision resistors measurably change during the fist few hundred hours - typical audiophile burn-in time.

Interesting graph, thanks for posting. In most equipment resistor accuracy has no bearing upon perceived sound quality, but there is one prominent exception: discrete R-2R DACs. It would appear that such devices, if built with new parts, will be subject to a considerable deterioration after the first 300-500hrs. Never heard that a manufacturer grades the resistors after a burn in, but of course they may do this without advertising.
 

Taiko Audio

Active Member
Feb 10, 2017
336
91
28
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
#92
What I find most fascinating is that mechanical settling-in times are miraculously close to their electrical object counterparts' burn-in times. In fact, small mechanical objects settling-in times are essentially identical to small electrical object time frame of 53 hours. This leads me to suspect that maybe, just maybe there is no such thing as a real burn-in after all, but perhaps it's all just variations of mechanical settling-in when an energy travels.
+1, really fascinating. We have been wildly experimenting with platforms / footers. There are undeniable mechanical settling "burn in" effects with a remarkable similarity to effects reported from equipment /cable burn in. These experiments are being carried out across a large variety of systems / users.

Also take note of this re XO stability:

xo_stability.JPG
 
Jul 5, 2014
621
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Salem, OR
#93
+1, really fascinating. We have been wildly experimenting with platforms / footers. There are undeniable mechanical settling "burn in" effects with a remarkable similarity to effects reported from equipment /cable burn in. These experiments are being carried out across a large variety of systems / users.

Also take note of this re XO stability:

View attachment 49495
Thanks. I perceive tho art highly intelligent and rather open-minded. :)

Congratulations on your discoveries. I've been dabbling with these matters for 17 years and have taken things to the utmost extreme regarding platforms, footers, materials, and various methodologies. Superior versions can lead to potentially huge sonic differences while inferior versions cause things to fall flat on their face.

My latest gig started in June of 2017 when I mounted my line conditioners to my custom racking system using a far more extreme method than the prior one. The small passive line conditioners responded with small but distinct audible improvements averaging about every other day and took nearly 18 months to fully settle. But when done the line conditioners were performing at perhaps 3 times their already excellent freestanding performance levels. That installation translates to roughly 250 small but still distinct sonic improvements where each little improvement might equate to a very minor IC cable upgrade or maybe 10 small iimprovements equates to one reasonable and musical IC cable upgrade.

My racking system has already been achieving similar performance levels with my componentry for some time now, but who woulda' thunk that one so-called "accessory" could so dramatically improve the performance levels of another so-called "accessory" ?

One thing worth noting. Mechanical settling-in times and electrical burn-in times are remarkably similar when just scratching the surface. But the more extreme the method for managing mechanical energy, the longer it takes to reach a substantially fuller maturity / substantially greater performance levels. But the sonic benefits are so worth the wait because your playback system's level of musicality will be in uncharted waters.

A few years ago I responded in another forum regarding resonant energy mgmt by stating the following,

"The more I dabble with extreme forms of electrical mgmt. and extreme forms of vibration mgmt., the more I’m convinced it’s all just variations of managing mechanical energy. Or was it all just variations of managing electrical energy? No, it’s all just variations of mechanical energy."

I think that sums things up pretty well.
 
#94
One thing worth noting. Mechanical settling-in times and electrical burn-in times are remarkably similar when just scratching the surface. But the more extreme the method for managing mechanical energy, the longer it takes to reach a substantially fuller maturity / substantially greater performance levels. But the sonic benefits are so worth the wait because your playback system's level of musicality will be in uncharted waters.

A few years ago I responded in another forum regarding resonant energy mgmt by stating the following,

"The more I dabble with extreme forms of electrical mgmt. and extreme forms of vibration mgmt., the more I’m convinced it’s all just variations of managing mechanical energy. Or was it all just variations of managing electrical energy? No, it’s all just variations of mechanical energy."

I think that sums things up pretty well.
It seems we're travelling similar paths. An interesting thing I noticed is playing your system at higher volume levels reduces mechanical settling times. I'm in an industrial area so I can leave my system playing at high volume levels out of office hours.

Would you mind if I contact you directly to exchange notes? We may learn something from each other.
 
Jul 5, 2014
621
8
18
Salem, OR
#95
It seems we're travelling similar paths. An interesting thing I noticed is playing your system at higher volume levels reduces mechanical settling times. I'm in an industrial area so I can leave my system playing at high volume levels out of office hours.

Would you mind if I contact you directly to exchange notes? We may learn something from each other.
Sure.
 

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