Burn in - a myth?

I confess to being a little sceptical about all the posts mentioning burn-in, leave it on for a few days, weeks…

Got NDX2 last Thursday
Played it a fair amount since then as you can imagine.

Played quite a few more too !
The difference in a few days is astounding, the flat slightly lifeless sound is gone - I am a very happy convert !!!

Only problem now is the weaknesses are shown up ?!


It will continue to change and get better.


I wonder why burn in never gets worse. :thinking:


It is also based on solar days. As in - it was much better on the second day and even better on the third.


At that rate we should never have to upgrade. :+1:t2:


yet we do. Blows the whole theory of our ears getting used to the sound :slight_smile:


I’ve found there is some improvement to be had from burn in but I think it gets mostly exaggerated and is influenced by expectations. All of my Naim kit that sounded great out of the box continued to improve after run in, more focused perhaps, but it was mostly there from the get go. And I’ve had some Naim kit that didn’t sound great out of the box and no amount of run in improved upon that in a meaningful way.


I’ve taken the liberty of adding a question mark to your thread title. Seemed more appropriate considering your opening post…


I think that a large part of the burn-in effect is your ears adjusting to the sound of the new gear. Even for a listening session I find myself enjoying the music more after 20mins or so.


I think the only components where it makes sense is speakers, where it’s mechanical. I.e. the suspension loosens. And even there it will be 10-50 hours max, not 1000’s or so like some claim.

@Ian Is it deliberate that the protective foil is still over the screen?

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The protective plastic slip works well.

6 months ours has been exposed to cat attack and boxer dribble and it is still in place.


I would NOW disagree.
It does make some sense to me that if electrical components are stored in a warehouse, then a van, that just like anything - cars, human beings - performance is better when warm.
Totally convinced system sounded quite considerably better on day 3-4-5

Yes - just leaving the film on at the moment, as I plane to dismantle whole system soon for a ‘spring clean’!

Mechanical things such as speakers certainly can change over the first few tens or hundreds of hours use as the driver suspension components get used to flexing.

Some electronic components may change as a result of heating/cooling cycles as they start to be used, though with decent manufacturers a factory “soak test” for maybe 24 or 48 hours to weed out any dodgy components might achieve most of the “burning in” that would happen with electronic components. There is however a possibility of changing performance between cold and operating temperature, so change due to warm up is certainly a possibility.

In my opinion there is no such thing as “burn in” of cables (rather than gradual return to normal crystalline structure where cables have been subjected to cryogenic treatment). I have only come across one instance of somebody alleging blind tests confirming burning of cables, and despite several requests no further information was provided. Blind testing of cable burning would be very easy to do with a new cable and one that has been used for a while, together with a willing volunteer to change over.

Two thing that are very real, however, are the only reliability of memory of a sound, and the ability of the human brain to become accustomed to a sound, so that something it does not like at first becomes acceptable over time. This of course might also explain why alleged “burn in” only ever seems to find improvement.


No it doesn’t! whilst we can get used to a sound, we can still prefer something that sounds better.


I don’t think burn in only shows improvement.

With our old 272/XPSDR and 250DR there were periods when you wondered if you’d bought the right system - harshness, sibilants at volume etc. after a few weeks, gone.

Same with our current rig initially, especially at volume. Settled down after a short while. What we did not expect was that after 4-5 months there would be any change. But just last week something did change. Both myself and SWMBO noticed it - better placement and separation of musical threads, a widening of the soundstage. We listen to this system every day, so it’s not a case of our ears getting used to the sound. There was a definite minor change for the better.


This would not fit burn-in as its commonly defined. Here the change is in the first 30-60 min of the device being used (or at least switched on). Every time. Not irreversible “improvement” over the course of days.

In my experience with brand new bits of kit over the years, whilst there is a gradual improvement, there are also periods when the SQ dips again, before the improvement continues. I have often avoided this process by buying ex-dem. Currently, I am going through it with my 222/300 and 6 weeks in, I can hear the improvements but some days ago the system sounded distinctly off for a day or so.


I am a member of a computer audio forum, on whieh there has been some debate on whether or not computers need to burn in and whether or not the software itself needs to burn in on power-up or following a version update.

We probably need to get lives :grinning:


Wow - lots of opinions

I was listening on day 2 or 3 & just thought - this is sooooooo much better
Lovely room filling sound - all the usual cliches - better mid range …

Hopefully it continues !

A couple of additional observations:

  1. A couple of years ago there was a member on here who is proposing to undertake blind testing off cables to assess whether or not “burn in” was genuine cool but unfortunately due to the negativity of people dead against blind testing The thread was closed.

  2. Our ears are not constant reference points: we hear differently over time, sometimes from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour. For a dramatic example of this, when your ears are bit congested try yawning until they pop/clear. How are yeah variability makes impossible comparisons of sound from one day to another. Of course we could use tools such as a sound recorder, recording how our systems sound given some particular carefully reproducible set off settings and microphone position etc, then repeating a period of tome later, ensuring everything laid out in the room is identical (including where the person doing the recording is positioned), but nobody seems to do that…