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Do you burn-in your headphones?
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43 / M / Philadelphia, PA
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Posted 11/24/13
Nope
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22 / United States
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Posted 11/24/13

ahatestory wrote:

I seem to recall reading that this is actually a bad thing to do; something along the lines of the hardware doesn't get to relax when you have some constant wave like that going through it.

If I cared about whether a piece of hardware might fail on me, I'd agree with you on that.
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27 / M / Louisville, KY
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Posted 11/24/13
Normal headphones are perfectly fine. There is no reason to "burn-in" your device. If anything you're probably going to damage it and have to buy new ones.
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32 / F / Trost
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Posted 11/24/13
Dude....they're headphones....just use them. I never heard of burning in headphones but if they sound fine then I'm good with them. Meh, maybe I'll try doing that overnight some time and see if they make a difference. :/
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24 / M / Alabama
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Posted 11/24/13
I own a pair of Sennheiser HD650s, and have several other Sennheiser headphones like the 555s. When I first got them, I thought that what I had done was waste somewhere around $600, but I let mine burn in and let them play for about 72 hours without using them. The difference wasn't just measurable, it was very noticeable. High end headphones are not the trash earbuds most people here are used to.

Trust me when I tell you that burning in a good pair of headphones will make you love them, while you'd get there eventually letting them break in like a speaker needs to at a very consistent level ensures that the neodymium caps don't tear and vibrate nicely. It helps if you have a nice amp to power them as well, FiiO is a great company for personal amps.
Posted 11/24/13

reviek wrote:

I don't know too much about headphones myself, but my brother suggested that I burn-in my headphones. After several pairs, I figured I should get the most out of these. So I researched it and found different methods, and this site here: ( http://www.jlabaudio.com/index/burn-in ) is what I decided on for my process.


Burn In

Burn-in is the process for exercising new audio equipment. Most headphones require at least 40 hours of burn-in time to reach their optimal performing state.

The main purpose of the burn-in process is to loosen the diaphragm of a newly crafted headphone and to stress the headphone driver. Most audiophiles agree that the sound quality will be noticeably improved after burn-in.
How do I do it?

There are different ways to burn-in your headphones (or earbuds). The most common ways include running a variety of music, white noise, pink noise, radio noise, frequency sweeps, etc. through the headphones at a medium volume. Note: too high of a volume can cause damage to, or even kill your headphones!

There are no statistics stating which method works best. Music is an obvious burn-in candidate and works quite well if you have a broad range of musical genres in your playlist. Playing only one type of music however will not exercise and stress the entire audio spectrum.
How long should I do it?

The general rule is about 40 hours. Some people burn-in their headphones quickly playing them 40 hours continuously after bringing them home. This may not be good because, the diaphragm may be too weak at this time and should not be pushed to the limit. The best thing to do may be to plug your headphones into your computer or mp3 player, set the volume to medium, and let your music play for up to 4-5 hours a day for 5 days (perhaps, while you are at work or sleeping). After that, your headphones will most likely sound their best. Note: you do not need to listen the whole time. JLab has provided a simple burn-in method for your convenience. Use it at your own risk, as JLab will not be responsible for any damage to electrical equipment or human ears.

Directions for use:

Please connect your headphones to your computer, remove them from your ears, turn the volume to mid-level (medium), press play on the player below, and let it play for the desired time.

Do not listen to your headphones while the burn-in file is playing!

The audio burn in file contains a nonstop loop of: White noise, pink noise, radio white noise, 20-20000 Hz frequency sweeps, 10-30000 Hz frequency sweeps, 20-200 Hz frequency sweeps, as well as a minute of silence in between each for a rest period.


Source: JLab

It kills me to wait to use these. I've got a busted up pair of Astros with a broken mic and it was indeed time to get a new pair. But when you invest 300$ into a pair of Sennheiser 363Ds, you want to ensure it's optimal performance.

So, how do you break in your headphones? Do you burn-in them with a variety of music or with an audio file? Maybe you skip the whole process and jump into using them?


I also run the Jlabs setup. Unless someone has spent over $200+ on a set of headphones, they most likely won't even consider trying to run them in.
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25 / M / Oregon, USA
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Posted 11/24/13
I'm a headphone enthusiast myself... I personally do let my headphones "burn-in", but I don't think it truly makes much of a difference. If you really want to improve the performance of your cans, invest in a DAC and amplifier! They don't have to be crazy expensive - even an entry-level combo can push your equipment to a whole new level. :)

In my opinion, a lot of stuff you find online about burn-in, cable swapping, and housing mods are totally psychological. But if it makes you happy, go for it!
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Posted 11/24/13

Thatmes wrote:

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No.
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34 / M / US
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Posted 11/24/13 , edited 11/24/13
To burn in speakers just play music at increasing volume. Unless you listen to just one genre of music, going through a playlist should get all the highs and lows you need.

Start at a medium-low volume and then work your way up as time passes. You do not want to max the volume on new speakers (or headphones) because it can cause damage and give you poor sound down the road.

Low quality speakers and headphones require little-to-no burn in because they are not made of the same materials as large high-end speakers. High end stereo speakers should be burned in. If you have good quality equipment, just basic use will wear in the speakers (so long as you don't crank the volume to 11 first thing out of the box).

And that "40 hour" requirement is cumulative run time, not all in one go.
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34 / M
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Posted 11/24/13
I got a little curious, and came across this article: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/11/tnhyui-earphone-burn-in/
Take from it what you will.
CaelK 
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Posted 11/24/13 , edited 11/24/13
Honestly, the burn-in process for me is just playing music slightly loud.

However, I do remember when I owned a pair of NuForces NE-6's, I listened to them right out of the box then left them to burn in and only listened to them afterwards.

There was a noticeable difference to my ears. When I got them out of the box, the bass was overpowering and a bit messy. I was honestly wondering whether or not I'd like the earphones at all, the sound was borderline horrible... but when I listened to them after burn-in, the bass had calmed down, things didn't sound as chaotic, and I was actually able to appreciate the phones. This was about as close to an A-B test as there was - the only times I listened to these were before and after, and the bass was markedly different between runs.

'Least, that's how my ears heard it. When you get down to it, one way you burn in your phones is just by playing a bunch of your music, so you'll get there eventually no matter what. You don't have to sweat it.
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54 / M / Tacoma, WA. wind...
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Posted 11/24/13
I've owned several pairs of Sennhieser, B&O, Etymotic, Koss, and a few brands I cannot remember over the years. I've never found it in any of the literature that I should "burn in" any of them. I went to Headphone.com and I couldn't find anything about the process... I've gotten some of their products in the past and none of their literature mentions "burn in" either.

The only time I have ever encountered anything about "burn in" was with my Audio Research SP-3A Pre-amp (Never to be confused with Acoustic Research). It was a vacuum tube amp and new tubes were supposed to sound better after about 10 to 40 hours of regular use... No special "burn in procedure".

Ummmm . . . so . . . No.


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23 / M
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Posted 11/24/13
Why wouldn't the audio experts creating them "burn in" everything at the factory?

Seems a little silly to leave anything impacting good hardware performance to non-experts.

I also don't know why running them for a few hours would change anything important. The most you might do is shake some dust out of them, or minutely wear some of the material on the face of the speaker.
I'm skeptical.
reviek 
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Posted 11/25/13 , edited 11/25/13

Nobodyofimportance wrote:

Why wouldn't the audio experts creating them "burn in" everything at the factory?

Seems a little silly to leave anything impacting good hardware performance to non-experts.

I also don't know why running them for a few hours would change anything important. The most you might do is shake some dust out of them, or minutely wear some of the material on the face of the speaker.
I'm skeptical.


Because I'm sure they're going to take the time to hook the headphones up and run an audio file for 40 to 400 hours to break in the diaphragm. Any idea what that might cost? Considering it doesn't benefit them at all to do it themselves, I'm not surprised they don't. And that's why you would never see a headphone company confirm anything about burn-in, easier and cheaper to ignore it.

From what I've read, the burn-in's process isn't to shake some dust out, but to loosen the diaphragm as it's stiff out of the box.
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30 / M / Atlanta, GA
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Posted 11/25/13
Nope. Got a nice pair of Pioneers, and a FiiO headphone amp which works as well as I can tell. Perhaps I'm missing some phenomenal sound improvement (which doesn't sound like I am), but what I've got suffices.
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