Burn-In for Headphones is Bullshit

#Music

Sat, Nov 23rd, 2013 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

There's apparently a ritual done by audiophiles -- you know, those people that lament how good LPs sound when played through a vacuum tube stereo system -- that believe putting a new pair of headphones through a burn-in process -- "pumping different kinds of sound into a new pair of headphones or earphones for a given period of time" -- will improve the listening experience. Well, according to Wired's Bryan Gardiner, that's just bullshit.

[...] what keeps this debate going is really the lack of quantifiable evidence debunking the advantages of burn-in. Well, no one has disproven it, say audiophiles. Who are we to say what’s going on between between people’s ears, say manufacturers. It’s kind of a Pascal’s Wager for audiophiles: It costs them nothing, it does no harm to the headphones, and you potentially have more to lose not believing in burn-in than you do believing in it.

While some will say all of this harmless, the ambiguity and voodoo can confuse buyers and quickly turn into a colossal waste of time. The fact is burn-in has now become tribal knowledge. Read the Amazon comments on a standard pair of $50 earphones and you’ll probably find people talking about how long they need to be burned in, and how much different they sound after 400 hours of pink noise. Then there are popular websites, which shall remain nameless, that purport to do rigorous testing on earphones and include burn-in times in their routines. You might as well be kissing each earpiece 50 times to see what sonic difference that makes.

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