For many years there has been a huge debate, in the music community, as to whether audio burn in is real. By definition burn in is continued operation of an electrical device to test for issues, however in this case we are talking about a continued period of operation to get the headphones to their peak performance. It is just like when Formula One drivers go for their practice lap, they go slow and swerve to warm their tires up, or when you first get a new pair of shoes, they are often uncomfortable until your feet get used to the new shape and the soles mold to the shape of your feet.
Many audiophiles argue that before listening to music on any headphones, you should let them burn in for between 20 and 400 hours! It’s a technique called audio burn-in. This technique does not only apply to headphones, though, and some people suggest doing this on all musical devices, like speakers and amplifiers. Each person who does this usually has their own technique, and they will play various different types of music, at different lengths, to nurture their headphones to perfection.
The reasoning behind this is that the drivers, which emit the sound, apparently become more flexible, so they produce better quality, over time. Audiophiles say burning your headphones in allows them to arrive at a reliable, optimal level and that this practice is essential for a real experience.
There is also an equal amount of audio lovers, who say breaking your headphones in is a waste of time, and in some cases, it can just deplete your device’s drivers. People argue that there is no real scientific backing behind the practice, and it is all just personal preference. As the guys over at wired said, why would the manufacturer sell a product that is not in its best condition? The writers at Wired are some of the biggest sceptics of headphone burn in, and they suggest returning your headphones if you are not satisfied.
Here at EarbudsAddict we believe that it is dependent on the specific headphones you buy as to whether this practice is worth it. For example, the AKG’s K 701 are renowned for sounding tinny and rather bad at first use, however, they are said to improve dramatically over time. It is in cases like this when we recommend burning in your headphones. I personally like to burn mine in for around 70 hours, as I think this is the sweet spot for when I see results, but actually, get to use my headphones before I die.
Like we mentioned, it is very much down to what headphones you own, and we do not recommend waiting 400 hours to use your new headphones! Audio burn-in is certainly a topic that is difficult to just give a simple answer to.
What do you think? Do you burn in your headphones? Are you a sceptic? Let us know in the comments.