Yashu, I would call Kal at ARC customer service. But I think the instruction manual or a packing insert would tell you what the break-in period is. Most of their new gear requires 600 hours. If that is the same with the CD-9, it's way too early to make any judgments.
I own the Ref 5 SE and Ref 150. My Ref 5 was upgraded at the factory to the SE version. I was told it would take 300 hours for break-in. I think it was more like 600 hours. The Ref 5 SE sounds great. I'm sure you will be equally pleased with the CD-9. I can tell you this -- the CD-8, which I also own, is a terrific CDP. I gotta believe that the CD-9 is even better.
The only reason I suggested you might want to call Kal is that I don't know whether it's a good idea (or not) to run the unit continuously to rack up the 600 hours. I kinda think it would be ok, but I'm just a regular consumer like you -- not an ARC tech rep.
50 hours is just enough break in time for everything turn ugly. You are beginning to expose the resolution it's capable of but tonal balance and integration is likely not there.
Stay with the music, try not to get discouraged. I would not be surprised if it took a couple of hundred hours to sweeten up where you're excited.
Don't give up.
I broke in my Esoteric UX-3 Multiformat player by using the Isotek burn in cd. Left it on repeat for a week and listened to music during the evenings. I noticed the sound improving every day, but my player never sounded harsh or fatiguing to begin with.
I don't understand what drawback there is to continuous burn in for a couple of weeks, I've done it at times with no apparent problems. Were you given an explanation why this should be avoided?
600 hours.. If that is all regular listening that is well OVER a YEAR of crap sound for a person listening for a few hours five days a week.
Run it 24/7 which will take almost FOUR WEEKS nonstop running to get to 600 hours.
Put the sucker on repeat and turn the volume down.. And forget about it running for a MONTH.
If the sound continues to be harsh the higher resolution CD player is bringing out deficiencies in your system.
Would have no problem running a solid state player 24/7, but I think tubes are a different story. Spoke to Kal at ARC, and he did not recommend the 24/7 idea, which is why I haven't done that. But I am very close to trying anyway. I agree Elizabeth that it will take too long the way I'm doing it now.
I'll stick to this a little longer before running all the time. But I think the handwriting is on the wall.
give your player at least 500 hours. Then, start to critically listen. After 600 hours you are DONE!
About 3 months ago, I purchased an ARC CD8, which ought to be similar to the CD9. The paperwork that came with the CD8 mentioned that break-in should take up to 600 hours. So far, I have about 180-200 hours of music played on it. I haven't experienced fatiguing or harsh sounding music, however it took (still taking?) a while for the sound to open up, and the bass to be more present. I just listen to the music and try not to worry about the break-in.
Be patient, bear with it, and it ought to slowly sound better. One tweak I can recommend is that if the CD9 came with a 6550WE tube, replace the 6550WE with a Winged C 6550C. My CD8 came with a 6550WE. After changing the 6550WE to a Winged C 6550C, the CD8 is more musical, and the change is an audible improvement.
Don't worry about tube life, the 6550 tube is inexpensive. I would run it from sunrise to sunset.
Great points, Brf and Riparian.
Any of you other guys tube roll an ARC cd player?
Riparian mine did come with 6550 WE.
Been searching for your suggestion and I see (SED) or the same number without the SED notation. Both are the winged version. Does it matter which one I order?
It can be confusing with Russian vacuum tube manufacturers. SED (Svetlana Eletron Devices)is another Russian company which bought the name, and makes a 6550C. If there is no Winged C, that isn't the one you want. The =C= SED (Winged C) logo is used by the company formerly known as Svetlana. The key is to get a 6550C with the Winged C logo (also says SED).
I don't believe the Winged C 6550C tubes are manufactured anymore, and that is a possible reason why ARC does not provide them with new electronics. Maybe someone from ARC could comment on that.
It is important to get a Winged C 6550C from a reputable tube dealer. Apparently (I cannot verify this) there are some substandard Winged C tubes in circulation.
Break in used to be 50 hrs, now 600? I have had my CD8 for over 3 years and frankly it's little different now as it was new. I have 200hr on my 5SE and cannot perceive any major change in sound. However, 600 hrs breakin is a good way to defer buyer expectations beyond the return period.
Djcxxx, Are you saying nothing else in your system has changed in three years? That must be some sort of record. I was under the distinct impression audiophiles generally changed things frequently, if not continuously.
Been running unit 24/7 just under two weeks and the difference is staggering! I now hear the vinyl like presentation with incredible detail. Not even fully broken in, and already exceeding my expectations. Sometimes I guess patience really is a virtue.
Can't even imagine how much better it will continue to sound. Will try the winged c 6550 a little further down the road, but am thrilled right now.
Thanks all, for the suggestions.
Breaking-in 24/7 is the norm for all components. I have done it for every new component but if you ask the manufacturer, they usually tend to be cautious, especially with tubed gear, by not recommending it just in case of a mishap.... That said, I used to break in my ARC Ref 3 tubed line stage 24/7 for 3 weeks without any incident.
Yashu, delighted ti hear that you went 24/7 and the sound is now all the better for it as it should be.