Senn HD800 300 hour surprise

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by SeaBupter, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. SeaBupter

    SeaBupter Friend

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    My brand new HD800s took about 100 hours to settle down and sound like the well-broken-in store demo pair. I thought that was it for break in, but I was recently surprised by a pronounced increase in resolving power at around the 300 hour mark. Has anyone else noticed this?
     
  2. Jeangenie

    Jeangenie Friend

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    what's your setup (amp/dac...etc)
     
  3. SeaBupter

    SeaBupter Friend

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    MacBook Air -> Wyrd -> GO450 -> Schiit Vali -> Senn HD800 (no mods)

    The Vali is not that much older then the Senns, so maybe that's who's doing it.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Might be the Vali. Vacuum tubes, if they haven't been used for a while take some time to stabilize. I know those tubes in the Vali have been sitting around in a warehouse next to the Ark of the Covenant for at least 50 years.
     
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  5. Tyll Hertsens

    Tyll Hertsens Grandpappy of the hobby - Special Friend

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    You also may be experiencing subjective accommodation as your brain get accustom to the sound.
    I think most of people's experience with "break-in" is mostly psychological accommodation.
     
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  6. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    I have to second this notion in this case. The HD800 has a definite sound that your brain kinda gets used to. For better or for worse.
     
  7. JewBear

    JewBear Almost "Made"

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    100% agree. Break-in is a bit shonky to me. I would be very keen for a proper blind test, of a headphone that is known to "require" break in. But instead of just two headphones, use like 4 or 6. Basically have half brand new and half well used, and then ask participants to identify used and new, and describe the differing sound signatures. With just two it may come down to natural product variations.
     
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  8. SeaBupter

    SeaBupter Friend

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    It occurs to me that if break-in is real, it should show up as variations in the response graphs of the headphones measured at a sequence of times throughout the break-in period. For instance, measurements could be taken at say 0, 10, 20,..., 300 hours. If the graphs vary significantly from each other, then break-in isn't all in our heads. Has anyone tried this?
     
  9. Claritas

    Claritas Friend

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    http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/evidence-headphone-break#CpQyFXImesiVghYC.97 and follow up articles.
     
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  10. Deep Funk

    Deep Funk Deep thoughts - Friend

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    In my Hype-Fi days I first listened to a headphone for a about 30 minutes to an hour after arrival. Then take it off and let it "burn/break in" for a day with all kinds of music. This music included a lot of Thrash Metal and Jazz. Do know I did not have a tube in my audio set-up.

    I learnt a few things in the past.
    1. Sometimes a headphone driver warms/wakes up.
    2. Older headphones or out of use headphones tend to benefit.
    3. Whether due to sound changing or adapting to a sound signature, sometimes I did experience this "change."
    4. Most headphones I have had (50+), especially newer ones did not seem to benefit.

    I think warming up a driver may have some benefits. The burn-in/break-in thing I am not sure if it is true at all.

    Nowadays I always have some Thrash Metal, Jazz, Classical and weird music to warm up new headphones. If I feel like headbanging along Kyuss, Iron Maiden or Tool it is.
     
  11. kapanak

    kapanak Canucklehead - Friend

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    I think you're really onto something there. Older drivers and ones that you haven't used for a long time tends to benefit from a bit of a warmup. Sometimes, some newer drivers and headphones too. Now, this effect is usually associated with brain getting used to the sound.

    If there are mechanical changes, they will occur within the first few hours. Anything more than that is definitely the brain.
     
  12. Deep Funk

    Deep Funk Deep thoughts - Friend

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    I tried the hundreds of hours thing but my ears told me that there was nothing.

    Warming up drivers though, yeah that sometimes makes an audible difference.
     
  13. Besnia

    Besnia Facebook Friend

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    There are zillion factors at play. From my experience with speaker drivers, break-in takes from roughly 30 minutes to a few hours. After that the differences are so miniscule, they could be due to anything else.

    Here's some factors that can alter the sound quality:

    * Psychological precondition - by far the most important factor IMO... sometimes you expect your rig to sound great (high expectations), but it doesn't, sometimes you don't care and it's then when it sounds great. And also your mood - my speakers and phones always sound better when I'm in a good mood and relaxed. Everything always sounds horrible when I've got a headache or I'm tired. Also, the more you listen to one type of rig, the more you fall for it :)
    * Room temperature, air pressure, moisture
    * Transducer motor warm up time (really brief for speakers though, and for HP probably non-existent)
    * If you use tube amp and/or DAC - tubes are susceptible to virtually anything... Even staring hard at them will have impact on the sound ;-)
    * How many electronic devices are operating on your home/office power circuit (e.g. when I switch on my soldering iron, things go south hifi-wise)
    * Time of the day - at night the rig will sound better (w/ or w/o power conditioner) when the power grid is less polluted (I've even had voltage drops occasionally, once it went down briefly to about 180 and I spotted it because my voltage regulator tubes started howling :))
    * Background noise
    * and so on, and on, and on...

    Just my 2 cents on the topic. Enjoy your wonderful headphones :)

    Best regards,
    Mario
     
  14. Larry Megugorac

    Larry Megugorac Craps on Filipino accents to ease inner poverty

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    Just bought HD-800 S....also got the Oppo HA-1 to drive them from my MAC Mini using Pure Music. I don't care what Tyll or anyone else thinks...but electronics and cables definitely have a Break-In period. I also just got new Speaker wires for my front three speakers ....when I first hooked them up, it sounded like the vocalists had a huge clothes Pin on their beaks!!! The Speaker wires sounded awful at first....now that nasalness is totally gone! I have about 150 hours on both the HP Amp and the 800S. When I first got the 800S they did not sound much better than my HD650's, but since breaking them in they have gained more finesse/smoothness as well as more attack/slam and sounding liked I hoped they would. The Oppo drives them with aplomb !!! Hell I can tell the difference between a cold Oppo and a fully warmed up one (45 minutes to an hour since turn on)

    Cheers,
    Larry
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I'd have a easier time believing in break-in / warm up if people said who such made claims also said things sounded worse at least 33% of the time and made no difference at least another 33% of the time.

    I've never experienced break in phenomena* with dynamic drivers, unless they were about to break. Some orthos actually sounded worse with continued long term use. I can't say for cables. Some amps sounded worse as they got warmer. Some DACs and solid state amps sounded better after being left on for a while. Tube amps being used on a regular basis require 15 minutes warm up. Phono carts definitely need break in.

    *I've measured lowered Fs (resonant frequency) of drivers from loosened suspensions, but this wasn't anything significant that affected the sound subjectively. I've never seen any treble peaks from cone break up at high frequencies get better.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
  16. potkettleblack

    potkettleblack Acquaintance

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    Strange. I've never read an example of burn-in making headphones sound worse.
     
  17. uncola

    uncola Friend

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    I've noticed the people who say speaker cables etc have major burn in and describe the changes that are so significant they would clearly be measureable.. never measure :p
    simultaneous headphone/earpad break in could make a worse seal and make headphones sound worse... or as the pads get less firm the drivers would be closer to your ears and the soundstage could be affected?
     
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  18. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Yes, soundstage and FR are affected by driver distance and pad depth.
     
  19. SSL

    SSL Friend

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    Exactly.
     
  20. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    i am a big believer in burn in i sat in my chair for over 300 hours and the level of burn in was just incredible it was like i was in a rocket ship boosted into a space i have proof

    chair1.jpg chair2.jpg
     
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