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Thread: CDP Burn In

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    Default CDP Burn In

    I am the proud new owner of a CA 740C! A number of reviewers have commented that this CDP requires a number of hours of burn in. My question is exactly/approximately what the heck is going on inside when a CDP burns in. This is not an attempt to start a debate. I'm just trying to learn a little amore about audio. Any informational links would be great as well!
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    The hampsters have to decide which one is the alpha male. ;)
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    Burn in for electronic components is an interesting subject. While I believe that it occurs, I am not convinced that it always has a positive, or discernable effect. On the other hand, speaker break-in makes sense since speakers are mechanical objects, and do change their physical characteristics with use.

    Electronic equipment is designed to meet some type of measureable goal. Components are selected that allow the circuit to meet its design spec. Every electronic component has a value, or output, that it is guaranteed to meet within some tolerance level. The better the component, the tighter the tolerance. However, as electronic components age they have a tendency to drift away from their original value, and this drift is random in nature. In other words, the component could drift closer to its specification, or it could drift away from its specification. The problem is the drift is random. Maybe it will be for the good. Maybe it will be for the worse.

    I see two problems with the theory of burn-in making electronic equipment sound better.

    First, since the burn-in always takes some time to occur, it is next to impossible for the brain to accurately remember what something sounded like 300 hundred hours earlier. There is too much of a subjective component in this area for it to be taken seriously.

    Second, the drift of components over time is random. That means some might drift towards being more in spec, while others might drift out of spec. Yet, burn-in assumes the drift will always be for the better, when there is just as good a chance it will be worse.

    So, while it is possible your equipment will sound better as it ages, there is just as good a chance it will sound worse. Ideally, the manufacturer used sufficiently good components so the equipment will still produce an accurate, measureable output, and still be good sounding years later. And still be within the original design spec.

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    First, since the burn-in always takes some time to occur, it is next to impossible for the brain to accurately remember what something sounded like 300 hundred hours earlier. There is too much of a subjective component in this area for it to be taken seriously.
    I couldn't disagree more. Auditory memory lasts a lifetime, it does so as a basic survival skill and therefore can easily tell when a previously heard sound changes.

    For example, it's very easy to tell when a friend you last talked to 3 weeks ago calls and sounds sad or stessed or sick or happy. There are cues that we pick up on that tells us something is different. This fact alone is evidence of our excellent auditory memory.

    The last SACD/CD player I bought took over 400 hours to burn in. The sound (very odd) I heard at first was nothing like the sound (sweet) after burn in.

    I won't pretend to know all that goes on in the burn in process, but I do know things like caps need to charge and discharge a lot before they settle down.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    Yes but at what point does this sound become "sweet"? The burn in process is gradual so the change, if any, is also gradual. I think it would be hard to detect a gradual change, it doesn't appear "all of a sudden" after x number of hours.

    It's like seeing someone everyday, like a spouse. The face ages gradually and you don't really notice unless you look at an earlier photo.

    Also, there is the pain in the ass phenomena that your system sounds "sweet" one day and sounds like "ass" the next day. Which to me, is frustrating as hell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeparaski View Post
    Yes but at what point does this sound become "sweet"? The burn in process is gradual so the change, if any, is also gradual. I think it would be hard to detect a gradual change, it doesn't appear "all of a sudden" after x number of hours.

    It's like seeing someone everyday, like a spouse. The face ages gradually and you don't really notice unless you look at an earlier photo.

    Also, there is the pain in the ass phenomena that your system sounds "sweet" one day and sounds like "ass" the next day. Which to me, is frustrating as hell.

    Joe
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeparaski View Post
    Also, there is the pain in the ass phenomena that your system sounds "sweet" one day and sounds like "ass" the next day. Which to me, is frustrating as hell.

    Joe
    Joe, my feeling it is the weather. Temp, barometric pressure and humidity certainly affect the panels on my speakers. Perhaps a little less on a cone speaker but still a contibutor to good or bad sound. I know when it is time to turn on the dehumidifier since my panels tend to slow down a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkeye View Post
    Joe, my feeling it is the weather. Temp, barometric pressure and humidity certainly affect the panels on my speakers. Perhaps a little less on a cone speaker but still a contributor to good or bad sound. I know when it is time to turn on the dehumidifier since my panels tend to slow down a bit.

    Gordon
    Gordon, I believe those factors influence how sound travels through the air more than the speaker itself, but then again I'm not an expert on planars/electrostats.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Your right Mike. Weather factors not only affect the mechanical pieces but our ears as well. I should have said that also. I flew home yesterday after 2 weeks on the road and my ears still have not cleared so the the new ICs which I was looking forward to listening to sound like coat hangers right now! Not that coat hangers can't sound good, but that has beencovered before:D

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    Yes but at what point does this sound become "sweet"?
    When my ears tell me that things like the tone sound correct.


    The burn in process is gradual so the change, if any, is also gradual. I think it would be hard to detect a gradual change, it doesn't appear "all of a sudden" after x number of hours.
    First, I listen to a reference disc noting the sound, then walk away letting the system run 24/7. After a 100 hours, I'll listen to the same disc again noting any changes, then walk away again. After 200 hours, repeat. Usually after 200 hours things are pretty well cooked. In the case of the SACD/CD player I mentioned it still sounded wrong after 200 hours and I was ready to get rid of it, but I decided to let in burn in longer. After 400 hours I was glad I waited.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    I can tell you that my new DacMagic sounded like crap at first. About 80-100 hours later, it's much better.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeparaski View Post
    Yes but at what point does this sound become "sweet"? The burn in process is gradual so the change, if any, is also gradual. I think it would be hard to detect a gradual change, it doesn't appear "all of a sudden" after x number of hours.

    I agree that the burn-in change of electronic equipment, if any, is so gradual over time that it is next to impossible for anyone to be able to tell, with any level of certainty, that the sound has improved, or degraded. Not to say that it does not occur, but as noted above, the change is random, and can be either more in spec, or more out of spec.

    More than likely, what is occurring is the new equipment’s original sound is so different from what the listener is used to that it is immediately apparent, and their brain make as decision as to whether the sound is better or worse than before. As time goes by their brain slowly adapts to the new sound and eventually they forget the sound of the original component, and start liking the new equipment. It appears that any burn-in is occurring inside their head.

    Now this is completely different for new speakers, which do require some time to loosen up. I replaced my SDA2s with a pair of PSB Synchrony One towers, and immediately noticed the improvement in sound. However, one night, a couple of weeks later, I had the realization that they really sounded better than at first. Of course, that is completely subjective since there is no way I could accurately remember how they sounded at first. But, if I think they sound better than at first then that is all that matters. I suspect that if I had test equipment I could have made measurements at the start and then later, and been able to verify a change in output.

    On the other hand, when a speaker or component goes bad, the sound difference is readily apparent. Over the years I have broken 2 speakers, once a mid-range, and once a woofer. Both times I remember listening to music and at certain frequencies the sound went from musical to distorted. It would not be all the time, only at certain frequencies, so at first my reaction was “WTF was that?” The bad change was immediately apparent. The same thing would happen with electronic equipment if a component went completely out of spec. It certainly would not improve the sound.

    Recently, I had the opportunity to do an experiment to see if burn-in had occurred to a piece of equipment I was using. I had been using a Cambridge-Audio 840W amp for around 4 months and was wondering what I could do to improve the sound quality of my 2 channel system. Not that it was at all bad, but I just wanted a step up. It occurred to me that I should buy another 840W, and put the two amps in mono mode. This would give the PSBs 800W/ch versus the single amp output of 350W/ch.

    After the new amp arrived I used the existing amp for the left channel, and the new amp for the right channel. Being an engineer, it occurred to me that if burn-in can make a discernable effect this is the perfect opportunity to do an A/B test.

    So, with the left amp having hundreds of hours of burn-in, and the right amp unused I turned it on, and heard absolutely no difference between the left and right speaker. They both sounded great. Having two amps in mono made a huge improvement in the sound quality, but both sides were equal in sound quality.

    Of course, this is just my experience, but for me, at least for hardware components, the concept of burn-in has to remain in the fantasy realm. If you think it sounds better then it does sound better.

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    More than likely, what is occurring is the new equipment’s original sound is so different from what the listener is used to that it is immediately apparent, and their brain make as decision as to whether the sound is better or worse than before. As time goes by their brain slowly adapts to the new sound and eventually they forget the sound of the original component, and start liking the new equipment. It appears that any burn-in is occurring inside their head.
    Did you not read what I wrote? I don't sit there hour upon hour listening, so how the hell would my brain slowly adapt to the sound!?!

    Of course, that is completely subjective since there is no way I could accurately remember how they sounded at first.
    You must have brain damage.

    Being an engineer
    That certainly explains a lot.
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    Bluefox, enjoyed reading your last two posts in this thread. Subjects such as this can lead to a lot of emotion on both sides. I appreciate the way you kept that emotion in check!

    I also believe that it was my ears burning in and not the component. When I got my monos, I thought they sounded a bit thin and called my dealer on it. He told me to give them and myself a chance to aclimate to each other. After several hours I heard what I wanted to hear. I will note that my gear sounds better warmed up vice a cold start. Usually about an hour at 5-7 watts and a noticeable change takes place.

    When I install something new in my rig, I'll know within 30 minutes after warm up if it is a keeper or not. I don't have the patience or the belief to wait an extrordinarily long time for something to burn in.

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    Stop listening to the GEAR and start listening to the MUSIC! If you do this you don't give a flying fig what is or isn't burnt in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfrizz View Post
    Stop listening to the GEAR and start listening to the MUSIC! If you do this you don't give a flying fig what is or isn't burnt in.
    Flying figs? Yikes! :D

    I agree Cathy, but sometimes I'll catch myself doing just this.

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    :D Sigh, I know Mike, You're a guy & just can't help yourself:D:p;):D

    Quote Originally Posted by Keiko View Post
    Flying figs? Yikes! :D

    I agree Cathy, but sometimes I'll catch myself doing just this.
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    I love reading about the burn in debate...it reminds me of a comical Laugh-In episode I saw years ago!!! ;)
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    Quote Originally Posted by pearsall001 View Post
    I love reading about the burn in debate...it reminds me of a comical Laugh-In episode I saw years ago!!! ;)
    I do not remember any skit that would be relevant, but I am sure it does exist. It is probably similar to "Who's on first?", or is it "Hu's on first."

    What I really love in this area is when it goes to the next level, and people start debating how burn-in improves speaker wire.
    Last edited by BlueFox; 04-04-2009 at 11:56 PM.

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    Two more deaf amateurs added to my BOZO list.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Two more deaf amateurs added to my BOZO list.
    Hell...I thought I made that list a long time ago!!! :D I'm still pissing myself laughing!!! You're A.O.K in my book Jesse!!!
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    Oh no, the dreaded BOZO list! How will anyone survive the day?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkeye View Post
    Oh no, the dreaded BOZO list! How will anyone survive the day?

    Gordon
    I know, it's so hard to believe that I finally made the list. I'm honored to say the least!!! :D Gotta run, I think I smell something burning...it might be my CD player!!!
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    Sorry Phil, you're not one of the two deaf amateurs in this thread and therefore, not on the list.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Sorry Phil, you're not one of the two deaf amateurs in this thread and therefore, not on the list.
    Now I don't know if I should feel elated or dejected??? Either way it's all good!!! ;)
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    Well it only took 13 posts before the insults started. I would have expected it sooner. While I see nothing wrong with healthy debate, some folks just can't resist getting in the gutter when their view is disagreed with.

    This would be such a great site if no opposing thought was allowed. The mighty could just drip pearls of wisdom on the deaf amateurs and if, only their pearls of wisdom are considered, they would forever more be in audio bliss.

    If someone hears a positive result from burn in, so be it. On the other hand if one does not, so be it also. The Bozo list for deaf amateurs, who cares?

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    Jesse, remove Gordon and add Phil instead. :D
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    Don't get upset Gordon, and don't forget that the ignore button works BOTH ways! Just dump Jesse into your ignore list & life is good again.

    Everyone has different opinions & most importantly different ears. Everyone is in this hobby for different reasons. It should be for great music, but it's for that & everything else thrown in.

    Sit back & enjoy your system!:)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkeye View Post
    Well it only took 13 posts before the insults started. I would have expected it sooner. While I see nothing wrong with healthy debate, some folks just can't resist getting in the gutter when their view is disagreed with.

    This would be such a great site if no opposing thought was allowed. The mighty could just drip pearls of wisdom on the deaf amateurs and if, only their pearls of wisdom are considered, they would forever more be in audio bliss.

    If someone hears a positive result from burn in, so be it. On the other hand if one does not, so be it also. The Bozo list for deaf amateurs, who cares?

    Gordon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkeye View Post
    The mighty could just drip pearls of wisdom on the deaf amateurs and if, only their pearls of wisdom are considered, they would forever more be in audio bliss.
    Gordon
    Exactly, now pay attention son, I say pay attention.

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    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  30. #30

    Member Sales Rating: (13)

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    Default

    Thanks to Cathy for quoting one of the Bozo's.....NOT.

    Sorry Hawkeye, the insults started with your buddy in post #12.
    It appears that any burn-in is occurring inside their head.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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