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Do you believe in 'Burn in'? I do now 100%

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by Things change I've changed, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. Things change I've changed


    Joined: Jul 27, 2005

    Posts: 11,390

    Location: The Orion Spur

    Burn-in/Break-in, I understand this can be a controversial topic, Personally I've always thought that it depends on the product, amplifiers I've always been a bit dubious when it comes to burn-in, speakers on the other hand I've have found that sometimes there was a small improvement but at the same time I was never a 100% sure it wasn't just my brain adjusting to the new sound signature.

    I own a pair KEF Q100 speakers (amongst other speakers) that I only purchased a few months ago and I immediately fell in love with them, honestly the price to performance you get on these things is insane, they are even better than their bigger Q300 siblings imo, anyway, the thing is I've never really been able to run them in much living in a small flat and only really enjoying them very late at night so I just accepted the sound signature as it came which I was happy with.

    A couple of days ago I purchased a second set of Q100 speakers from members market, upon testing them I immediately heard an improvement over my speakers!, ummm, I asked the seller if they had been run in much and he stated they had, this came as quite a surprise to me, I have two sets of speakers, the exact same model, one well ran in and one not, and there was a marked improvement in the set that was run in, the slight boominess was gone (that I previously blamed on positioning), the mids seem better integrated, the highs have lost that slight shrillness on piano frequencies that was present on my newer set.

    I guess not many people end up ordering the same set of speakers with different run in times, as such I feel I've had a unique opportunity to be able to a/b these speakers and see a marked improvement which I can only really put down to burn-in.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
  2. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 58,331

    To a small extent - I've noticed some very small but reproducible improvements to the bass on a number of headphone models. Generally though I've not noticed it as "a thing" and I've not seen large changes.

    I do quite a bit with DIY headphone amplifiers and there are the odd component I've noticed it - for instance the OPA1612 opamp I've around a dozen of them some with 10s or 100s of hours of use and some barely used or unused and I can immediately tell when I use one if its had much use or not - fresh out the packet they are brighter and slightly unnatural sounding - with around 50-100 hours use the sound rounds out a bit making them a little less bright and more natural.
  3. JasonM

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 19, 2009

    Posts: 2,113

    Burn in on speakers 100% exists.

    When speakers are initially used you will find especially the bottom end is a little restrictive. I always just run music at low levels then gradually increase over the next 24-48 hours, by then speakers should be run in.

    Other things on speakers, all speakers sound different. In my lounge I run 4 Yamaha NS-F160's (as main speakers), but I actually own 6. After running them all in I listened to all 6 and selected the best 4 I preferred, turned out 2 of the NS-F160's were from a different manufacturing batch and there was quite a difference in sound to the other 4.

    Another tip on new speakers. Often the screws that hold the speakers to the wooden case ship slightly loose, if you tighten the screws you will get an improvement in sound, but be very very careful tightening them up and apply little pressure else you will strip the wood. It's also worth checking these screws every couple of years as they can work loose again. More expensive speakers such as Yamaha Soavo the speakers are secured better to prevent this.
  4. bemaniac


    Joined: Jul 30, 2006

    Posts: 2,724

    They revised the q drivers due to the glue peeling. I'm on a replacement driver on both of my q500s the new drivers are built better and don't peel. Maybe the q100s you had were the launch ones.
  5. james.miller


    Joined: Aug 17, 2003

    Posts: 16,960

    Location: Woburn Sand Dunes

    Anything with a suspension will naturally change over time with use. Drivers loosen up, resonance can drop a few hz etc. It can make quite a difference. You'd think most decent drivers would be sufficiently run in from the factory, but that's not always the case.