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"Burning in" headphones...


RPSharman
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I always understood that new drivers (be they for speakers or headphones) tend to be a little 'stiff' when new, and that a bit of use loosens them up and allows them to reach their design compliance. This is an effect that is only significant at low frequencies where the cone travel is greatest.

Some monitor manufacturers 'burn in' low frequency drivers by applying a sine wave with significant excursion prior to testing the speakers.

So I don't think this is total BS! (heaven knows there is enough of that around in audio marketing!!!)

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The web is filled with discussions over this, one could read much in sites like head-fi.org. One can even find mini apps for pc's that generate a mix of pink/white noise and sine sweeps with 'rest time' intervals etc. The fact remains that, even if it is true that headphones require burn-in, there's practically no difference between 'forcing' this result using the aforementioned solutions and simply using the headphones on different applications (monitoring, music), apart from the time consumed.

I agree with all of this.

I once had a 20-minute conversation with a German Sennheiser exec at AES about 20 years ago, and he shook his head and insisted that all of their headphones and microphones get thoroughly burned-in at the factory and will not change. The Sennheiser exec (who I believed was a VP) also said that their products are deliberately designed to age very gradually, and was slightly offended at the thought that the products they sold weren't perfect right out of the box. I suspect there's a lot of placebo factor in this.

The trick is, unless you buy two sets of headphones, confirm that they absolutely sound identical, and then burn one in and not the other and compare them, you'll never really know for sure. My contention has always been that auditory memory is fleeting. Can you really remember today exactly what something sounded like 4 days ago? 2 weeks ago? More?

I can't remember what I had for lunch two days ago, let alone if something was a little brighter, louder, or has edgier mids. So much of our perception of sound is tied to mood, energy, blood pressure, time of day, and all that stuff, I think this is all very ephemeral. I'm reminded of doing post sessions for clients where they say, "bring it down a dB," and I reach for a knob and they say "that's it! It's perfect!" And I'm stupid and honest enough to say, "I haven't touched the knob yet." And they say "uh... I knew that. Try it now."

???

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Robert, I've got a deal for you. You definitely need to burn-in your 2 Schoeps rifle mics.

I can do your whole system at once for you, speakers, mics, headphones.

You will HEAR the difference afterward. People will call it the RPS sound....tracks will be platinum, not golden!

Whole system burn-in ...$400 plus $150 gear /travel fee.

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Burn 'em all!!

I going to get a burn-in file for my laptop, and I'm going to play it for two weeks straight in my garage through all my playback speakers. I'm going to plug all my headphones into Comteks and point all my microphones at the speakers. It's going to be epic. All my stuff is going to sound awesome!!!

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If so, can you post a non-joke photo of you wearing a pair of SM57s (or similar) strapped to your head while recording?

You can record stuff using your headset as a mic. I've done it (don't ask me to recount the story). Give it a try, you'll be suprised.

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A dynamic microphone and a headset work in the exact same way. They both use magnets as transducers. they are just designed to work in opposite directions.

If you hook a dynamic mic to an output, it will make a sound (a crappy one)

If you use a speaker as a mic, it will create a signal (a crappy one)

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If you hook a dynamic mic to an output, it will make a sound (a crappy one) ... If you use a speaker as a mic, it will create a signal (a crappy one)

And then again... sometimes that "crappy sound" is exactly what you need. Famously, Abbey Road engineer Geoff Emerick used a studio speaker as a microphone to record Paul McCartney's bass on The Beatles' "Paperback Writer," and I think it sold about 5,000,000 copies. Story here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles'_recording_technology

I also know of effects editors who have used microphones to record speakers to "worldize" sound and screw them up for special situations. So ya never know. In fact, one old buddy of mine told me he routinely did that to create "telephone" sound in the 1980s, because it sounded more like a phone than just EQ alone.

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I agree with all of this.

I once had a 20-minute conversation with a German Sennheiser exec at AES about 20 years ago, and he shook his head and insisted that all of their headphones and microphones get thoroughly burned-in at the factory and will not change. The Sennheiser exec (who I believed was a VP) also said that their products are deliberately designed to age very gradually, and was slightly offended at the thought that the products they sold weren't perfect right out of the box. I suspect there's a lot of placebo factor in this.

The trick is, unless you buy two sets of headphones, confirm that they absolutely sound identical, and then burn one in and not the other and compare them, you'll never really know for sure. My contention has always been that auditory memory is fleeting. Can you really remember today exactly what something sounded like 4 days ago? 2 weeks ago? More?

I can't remember what I had for lunch two days ago, let alone if something was a little brighter, louder, or has edgier mids. So much of our perception of sound is tied to mood, energy, blood pressure, time of day, and all that stuff, I think this is all very ephemeral. I'm reminded of doing post sessions for clients where they say, "bring it down a dB," and I reach for a knob and they say "that's it! It's perfect!" And I'm stupid and honest enough to say, "I haven't touched the knob yet." And they say "uh... I knew that. Try it now."

???

+1

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Understood. But the statement was "a dynamic microphone is no different from a speaker or headphones".

No different?

essentially, they are the same, however most headphones are packaged in a form factor that is more comfortable in its intended use...

I have modified the original post, in hopes of increasing the clarity.. ???

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Burn 'em all!!

I going to get a burn-in file for my laptop, and I'm going to play it for two weeks straight in my garage through all my playback speakers. I'm going to plug all my headphones into Comteks and point all my microphones at the speakers. It's going to be epic. All my stuff is going to sound awesome!!!

+10000

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It sounds like audiophile rubbish to me.

While your breaking in your cans, why not go out and buy some cryogenically frozen cables. They'll cost thousands, but they'll sound 1% better...

---

I am here: http://tapatalk.com/map.php?hqd4lo

The proper term is audiofools.

I did have a pair of Grados 325s that seem to get a bit better after getting pounded by a recording session. The bass seemed to reach a little farther. Might have been me though.

What about burning in microphones ?? ???

I've got a 60's U67 that's seen plenty of burning in. It sounds amazing now (probably better back then).

But all jokes aside on the mic side of things, my 67 is a tube mic and I have had to "burn" in a few new tubes till I found the one with the least microphonics and lowest noise floor. It wasn't evident right after I put the tube in. I had to let the mic sit with a preamp set to a decent gain for a night or even 2, then in the mornings, I could get a better idea how the tube settled with my mic.

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