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Audio Myths... A mostly civilized discussion

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OK before this even begins.. STOP!
Many myths have existed for many years and while I am sure heated debate will arise I want to ask everyone to respect the rules of these forums. Act civilized. State your point of view, be open to other peoples point of view and hopefully we can at least UNDERSTAND where people are coming from and not just arguing for the sheer joy of it.
I guess I will start.
HEADPHONE and SPEAKER BURN-IN
A topic that comes up for me pretty often and yes.. I do think something happens when you take a BRAND NEW off the assembly line moving driver dynamic speaker with suspensions and surrounds and webbing and run it for X hours. Now I am not saying you have to do this. It may not even benefit you or if there is a change it might be so small it isn't worth even thinking about. But Physics dictates if a precision device has a job of moving hundredths of a millimeter then I expect if it gets used initially then the moving fabric, foam and rubber parts may stretch and wear and perform differently then bone dry stock parts that have never moved before.
So can it be real? I say yes. Can it be measured. It should be possible. Is it worth fighting over? Of course not. Many people attribute the change you "hear" during burn-in to the human ear simply adapting to the sound. Like listening to a tone for long enough that it disappears. But my usual advice is .. "If you like it out of the box, enjoy" I usually just put headphone and speakers I dislike though the hours of hard running, away from my ears and then assess later.

I will let you guys take over the next topic, Tone Arms, Headphone Cables, Interconnects, Cable Risers, Tubes..
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albertofgomez
24
Jun 30, 2022
If it was real, and the evidence exists, (other than anecdotal evidence) we would not be having this discussion don't you think? I believe more the theory that the human ear get used to the new sound...if you ear a headphone for the first time, let it burn in for a week, and liste to it again, I doubt you will notice any difference, human perception is really bad on overtime comparisons, specially hearing...and you can hear two things at once either...
(Edited)
sovebss
12
Jun 12, 2022
Burnin is real I have proof when I first started this guy burned in my moon drop SSP and after a week I went to listen to them again and they were blown out so yeah there’s your proof now I know to leave it at F Way not 100% volume for a whole week
AnotherVoice
114
Jan 3, 2022
Most myths are myths because the effect is either extremely subtle or easily induced by a person's state of mind. If it were obvious, there wouldn't be any controversy. Makes me wonder why we put so much importance on the nearly imperceptible.
Coderr
11
Jun 7, 2021
I think our perception of subtleties is colored by our expectations, and mood. Whether we are tired, hungry, etc. all play into it. So if you checked something out, and did not like it, and then upon retest you did, maybe you are simply in a better mood for the 2nd test. :-) Double-blind tests of various items often surprise the testers and the test subjects, in how poorly the subjects tend to do picking out the "high end" items. We perceive what we want to perceive to a large degree. If somebody is a firm believer in "break in" the results tend to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. People get all passionate and often speak about audio in poetical terms. E.g.: "harsh" vs "smooth". I am not sure how to translate any of that into something meaningful much less measurable. Whenever I hear these emotionally charged assessments, I always wonder if the reviewer could actually tell the difference in a blind test. I am probably upsetting some folks by saying this, but the limited testing I have done says more no than yes. Whenever I hear emotionally charged assessments, I say to myself "ah, another case of overactive imagination". Some of it is also dissonance reduction. Someone, who just spent several thousand $$ on something esoteric, will of course want to perceive that it was worth it. Which it probably was not, for the sober, unvested observer. Nobody wants to feel like a fool. Then there is the need for self-validation, to feel superior to those unwashed masses who do not know or appreciate these things... With nothing else truly worth-while to focus on, these narcissistic, obsessive pathologies emerge. Along the lines of the above musings, I actually gave up spending a lot of money for audio items. I found myself to be continually unhappy with my moderately high-end items, in my case "for the money I spent this should be a lot better". Vs. "Oh, for the money, it is surprisingly good". I guess if I spent a lot more, I would have no choice but feeling elated... I can just focus on enjoying the music, instead of stressing over whether I got the right DAC, preamp, whatever.
Staudi
6
Oct 11, 2021
> I think our perception of subtleties is colored by our expectations, and mood. Whether we are tired, hungry, etc. all play into it. Tell me about it! I have a selection of by now four songs which sound completely different to me depending on how much sleep I got, how I feel at the moment, and probably several other factors. By that I don't mean slight differences but such huge discrepancies that in the beginning I thought I'd accidentally picked a different version of the song. In other cases it might not be as extreme, but definitely stronger than the potential effect of something like burn-in. For that reason alone I wouldn't trust my ears in a test like that. Double-blind is the way to go.
Timobkg
36
Jun 12, 2022
I agree, and yet these myths continue. One myth from the guitar community is that of tone woods - that different woods contribute different sonic properties to a guitar and enhance different frequencies and that even something so small as the wood used for the fretboard will change the sound of a guitar. A test conducted with acoustic guitars built from different woods (exotic woods regarded for their sound and common woods that are not) found that when people could see the guitars both average people and professional guitarists thought the prettier guitars made from exotic woods sounded better, but that when they couldn't see the guitars neither group could differentiate between them. That test showed that we see with our eyes, and that when blind even professionals can't tell the difference between common and exotic woods in acoustic guitars where the wood should play more of an impact than in electric. And yet the myth of tone woods continues in guitars, and even in electric guitars where the sound is created entirely by the pickup. The marketing for every electric guitar manufacturer extols their tone woods, and users give advice to others about what sonic qualities they seem to perceive in certain woods, with some even basing their choice of pickup on the perceived acoustic properties of their electric guitars.
praxis22
24
Apr 22, 2021
They finally gave you a job then :) I don't burn my stuff in, but I have notice things change over time.
Danakabradpitt
0
Apr 21, 2021
Zeos should do a review of Chewbacca
Gramblor
80
Apr 21, 2021
Burn in may be true to some extent, but I have never listened to a headphone out of the box that I didn't like, that later somehow turned into a headphone I did like.
(Edited)
Logistics
10
Apr 21, 2021
Perhaps, some of this is the result of Users acquiring a pair of electret headphones, which over long periods of no use begin to lose their charge and will initially sound bad, but come back with use. I had this happen to me, when I bought a pair of MBQuart K800C's. They were very disappointing, when I first hooked them up. The highs were nil with overwhelming bass. But after a bit it all came back, and they sound musical again. The previous owner said they had been sitting unused for a very long time.
Kerry_Maxwell
165
Apr 21, 2021
I just find it fascinating that people insist they hear a difference over time, and immediately suspect the hardware, instead of the lump of fat between their ears.
am4c130d
0
Jul 17, 2021
@blownfuse we're describing different things - UDP and TCP serve different purposes. And the protocol needs for streaming music and live music mixing over packet networks are wholly different as well. Dante targets your use case which requires low latency, low jitter and stream synchronization. UDP, on a low loss, simple network is suited to that use case. Streamed music (or broadcast of live events) is already mixed to a single, multiplexed stream, so synchronization isn't relevant. It's a recording is it's already many minutes, days, months, years old, so latency isn't an issue. Leaving jitter, which is trivial to fix with buffers and a really good clock at the DAC. The unpleasant artifacts you attribute to TCP can also be eliminated by buffering - which is why streaming uses TCP which is needs over complex, lossy networks. UDP doesn't ensure the only audio artifacts are drops, nor does TCP mean weird sounds - it's down to the use case and the network requirements for live music/mixing music are wholly different to streaming music - so one benefits from UDP and the other from TCP.
incredulousk
1
Jun 12, 2022
TCP is literally doing a file transfer. The data that arrives is always exactly the same as what was sent, so it is not possible for this transport to affect the sound. Jitter at the transport layer does not matter unless the destination was not using any sort of buffer, which is unrealistic for even the most basic implementation of a streaming client. What is happening is the client requests the data, and begins transferring it at a rate typically much faster than the playback rate. So after the buffer is full, at the client it is no different from playing back a local file, or a track from a CD. The timing information is embedded within the audio data, the transport protocol cannot change it in the process of transferring the file. The data either gets there in perfect quality with all original timing preserved, or it doesn’t get there at all. If there is any artifact from TCP transport it is the fault of the client for failing to buffer properly, or for the server/network failing to deliver data fast enough to match the playback data rate and keep the buffer filled. To give you an idea, for a 2 minute 20MB audio file, and a local network can often (conservatively) transfer data at 4MB/s. This means the entire file can be transferred and stored at the client in about 5 seconds. But you don’t hear the entire 2 minute track playback in 5 seconds. This is because the transport protocol does not in any way dictate the playback rate or affect the timing data that is part of the audio file. UDP is all the same story except that it can drop packets in transport. That means it’s possible that not all the audio data makes it to the client. It still does not affect the timing of the underlying audio track. There will simply be data missing as if you were reading a book with pages torn out. It doesn’t modify the page and chapter numbers of the remaining pages of the book. If it did that would be analogous to changing the timing information in the underlying file. It’s important to note that a client implementation can re-request data that did not arrive, so in practice dropped packets are often never noticed. The moral of the story is that will digital data transfer that does not derive clock information from the physical transport (like tcp and udp) the data either gets there or it doesn’t. It is analogous to reading a book in which the pages are being delivered to you while you are reading. At first 20 pages are delivered to you before you open the book. This is the buffer. If you read 1 page per second, and new pages are delivered at 1 page per second as well, you can see that you will never “catch up”, and when you finish the book the transfer of data would have completed 20 seconds ago. In this way it is no different from your perspective (as the client) to reading a book you already had a a complete copy of (analogous to a local file). The fact that it was “streamed” to you had exactly zero effect on the content of the book. hopefully this helps people understand a bit better what is going on. TCP and UDP do not impart jitter or playback artifacts into an audio track. If that happens, it is because you are experiencing software or network failures in which the data physically never arrives at the client (like pages missing from a book), or your client implementation isn’t doing sufficient buffering (like your pages are being delivered too slowly to keep up with your reading speed, or too variably to keep the buffer full). It is not inherently due to TCP or UDP, which are “dumb” transfer protocols that have no knowledge of what data they are transferring. It will transfer audio, a cat picture, a video, and a text file all the exact same way. Your picture of a cat won’t look different depending on the TCP connection, the same way an audio track won’t sound different. Either all the data gets there or it doesn’t, there in no in-between where it gets there in a sliding scale of quality. If the audio has any difference in bit-for-bit perfect playback from the source file, then your client playback device implementation is the problem. source: I’m a computer engineer that has specifically worked for years on network protocols and audio enthusiast for 20+ years. If you are still not convinced, I beg that you learn about the details of digital audio file formats and network transport protocols to come to the same conclusions for yourself. The snake oil salesmen prey on the fact that people only have a high-level intuitive understanding of these things, and invite people to judge with their ears so that cognitive bias can reinforce intuitive understanding. Your $40 home router does not sound different than a $500 one, so long as your network is minimally able to physically deliver all the data. There is *no* sliding scale of quality that is open to subjective judgement. It is not variable. It does not take a “trained listener”. It literally does not exist.
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