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I don’t know if I’ll be able to get in on this drop or not, but I really want to. I had some serious reservations during the first drop because of my early experiences with the other Hifiman Massdrop collaborations, the HE-350 and the RE-00. I initially hated both of these, but they completely transformed after about 200-250 hours of burn in. Too, the RE-00s, being IEMs, require finding the right tips. In any case, both sets transformed utterly after leaving them hooked up to my MacBook looping burn In and demagnetization tracks for 8-10 days.
I mention this here for two reasons: first, because the sound you initially get may be pretty far removed from where they end up, so don’t reach any final conclusions based on your listening before they get some real time on them; second, I want to make clear that this wasn’t a case of me getting used to the sound signatures because I left them playing on my laptop in another room for days before listening again.
Right now, people are just receiving the phones from the first drop, and it appears that initial impressions are pretty good, which is nice to hear, but I would still recommend burning them in pretty much constantly when you’re not listening to them. From the initial comments, these may not transform from caterpillars that arrive sounding thin, grainy, and nasal to butterflies as did the aforementioned units, but they will probably get better for quite a while. In any case, I think it’s worth the almost non-effort required to let them play all the time you’re not actively listening to them for the first week or two.
Just some friendly advice from someone who’s happily eaten a lot of crow after mercilessly thrashing other products by Hifiman that completely transformed in the matter of a couple of weeks. Give them time to develop their sound...
I've been curious about how much breaking iis helpful for planar headphones and more specifically, for these. Thank you for mentioning this. Since the driver works so differently, I'm curious which parts are actually wearing in or can wear out for that matter. I guess I need to go do some research on how planar planar drivers work.
I'll admit, I'm drinking the Massdrop punch big time right now. I think it's awesome that they ended up releasing even more to be dropped/delivered before Christmas. I'm sure it made at least a few people's day to get the "drop you requested" notification for these today. Obviously it benefits them to be able to sell more, but I also feel it shows that they try to provide additional opportunities for their clients to get in on stuff. It will be interesting to see how fast they all sell. Either way, cant wait to receive my pair.
Well as someone who just recently bought the HE-400i used but with low hours (15) and is breaking them in now, I have already noticed them "warm up" within the past few weeks. Sounding like every day they are a bit better and more "loose". Bass is more extended, highs are smoother and just overall they have a better soundstage. So, based on my perceptions, I would say they do take some time to open up from usage.
Not sure about these particular ones and how they compare to the 400i, but the planar premise I would think to be the same. Then again, others may disagree and call me an idiot and that there is no such thing as burn in on headphones and especially not planars. YMMV!