Audio Myths... A mostly civilized discussion

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.
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..

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.
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.
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.
Apr 21, 2021
Zeos should do a review of Chewbacca
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.
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.
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.
Jan 24, 2021
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Jul 16, 2021
Thank you for this. Everyone who is referring to “TCP/IP” clearly has a moderate understanding of networking or have never tried transmitting audio on a lossy/congested network. TCP means changes in tempo and obvious audio issues…if you look at the port requirements for Dante, it’s nearly all UDP. TCP means re-transmits and stuttering/speed changing audio depending on how OSI layers 4 and higher compensate for that. FaceTime audio is a great example of that - a drop in a call means severely tempo increased replay of the audio after the drop to “catch up.” As someone who mixes live sound, I’d always take silence over weird noise or inaccurate recreation of the sound I amplify. UDP means drop outs, TCP means things will sound weird if there’s any network issues.
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.
Jan 24, 2021
Well said. I agree.
Jan 23, 2021
As a physics the amount of change that you are going to hear is impossible. It's only moving thousands of inches (I will stay away from metric system since I am an American) and the tone difference is insurmountable.
Jan 25, 2021
your situation is not insurmountable.
Jan 25, 2021
Dec 31, 2020
I believe it's likely material dependent. I've noticed by Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X's HAVE gotten better over time. There used to be some rattle and distortion in the mid-bass that has seemingly dissipated over time with increased used. I wouldn't say they sound better, but little oddities like that have ironed themselves out with proper burn-in. But I would say it really depends on the material the driver is fabricated from; metallic drivers for example shouldn't have any benefit from break-in. So my guess is that it's sometimes beneficial, but not always. Your mileage may vary.
Apr 21, 2021
I noticed that also! Other headphones don't have the same burn-in effect as the AD-700s I tested
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