(1) As a "wet finger in the wind" guestimate from a previous ARCAM FMJ owner ..... my break-in period was approximately 200 - 300 hrs for the components in their FMJ line.
(2) If you also introduced any other new components (e.g. cables?) into the system contemporaneously, then that will add another wild card into the alchemy.
My experience with the rDac, predecessor to the irDac, was the sound opened up and sounded pleasant but a bit wooly, dark and closed in for the first 25 hours. From 25-50 hours the sound at times went south with leanness and was bright. By the 75 hour mark it opened up quite a bit, tonality evened out nicely with a smoother sound.
I've had the rdac now for about 4 months. For me it took at least 100 hours to hear how good it was and there was improvement as it hit the 200 hour mark.
Wow, glad I asked. When I first fired it up, it definitely sounded a bit lean and muffled. At about 8 hours in, started to open up a tad, maybe even a tad harsh. At 10-15 hours, it was strange, sort of a roller coaster of opening up and closing off, and me thinking there was something wrong with it. Powered it off and back on later in the day and it was open again, not as lean. Had no idea a new DAC would have this much change in the first 15 hours but I realize some of this may be due to another component in my system breaking in at the same time in parallel. So, It's not just 0s and 1s, eh? hahaha.
This feedback helps to give me an idea that I have a good ways to go before making any real judgements on sound. Thanks.
" ... At 10-15 hours, it was strange, sort of a roller
coaster of opening up and closing off, and me thinking there
was something wrong with it. Powered it off and back on
later in the day and it was open again, not as lean
Question: Are you letting it (and all the components in your
system) fully warm up before you critically listen to it?
As an example. my REGA ISIS valve cdp and REGA OSIRIS
integrated amp both need a minimum of 2 to 3 hours to warm
up properly (particularly the tubes in the cdp) to sound
close to their best.
They sound best [ i.e. even better / "right" ] if
left on to warm up first for much longer periods before some
critical listening sessions.
I typically give it at least an hour before starting to listen. Often times I will check back at 1.5 and 2.0 hour and start listening with more intent then. This past time were I mentioned the "roller coaster" comment was at about 2.0 hours, so it was unexpected after being warm for a while. One day I did leave it running for about 8 solid hours and it sounded different for sure, having an even warmer sound. Not seeing a real rhyme or reason to it, I decided to get ideas here to see what others have experienced. Longer warmups definitely help.
Decooney, I gather from your posts you are turning the irDac off when not listening to it. If so you might want to try leaving it on for 24-48 hours and see if you like what you hear. I leave my rDac on 24/7. I also leave my amp on most of the time.
When I do shut my system down it takes quite awhile to sounds its best so I leave it on as much as possible.
Thanks. I just started leaving the irDAC on all the time just recently. Unfortunately I cannot leave my amps on all the time as they get pretty hot, but I'm definitely running one of my new tube amplifiers as much as I can to help speed up break in time along side the irDAC. I realize I have two variables going at once, breaking in both at once, but I can tell that things are getting better with time on both, and I have an older amp I use for reference to switch back and forth to see who much is related to the irDAC break in time vs. the new amp.
Just today after 40+ hours on the irDAC I'm starting to notice subtle changes along the way. It's opening up more, sounds smooth, and I'm really liking that it is not to harsh, and not too dark. It just sounds right. If it gets any better than it is now at 40hours in, this will be great. irDAC is on all the time now.
I hope to learn about the adjustable filters next in the irDAC to see what this is all about once it's broken in more.
Hello, Decooney. That's great! I'm glad the irDac is sounding good. I hope I get a chance to hear the irDac myself soon.
Yes, I wouldn't leave the tube amps on all the time either. When I had tubes I would only have them on when I would be listening.
Enjoy your new system!
I've read in several places now folks reporting 100-200 hours break in time which I find hard to believe on this type unit, but if it's true, I guess we'll see what we get once I get there.
Really glad I decided to wait and get this DAC versus a cheaper one. I have been a bit of a holdout with streaming music as a "primary" source over CD on my main audio system, but not now. With this new DAC I'm hearing things in a new way and glad I did not wait any longer. My CD player and high end FM tuner is sitting idle now more than ever even though I still enjoy all three formats. This irDAC is pretty cool. Thanks to all for your replies.
Update: I've left the irDAC on for the past week solid. Yep, definitely open, clean, detailed, sounds nice. I definitely have more than 100 hours of break in time on it and it sounds even better than when it had 10 hours on it.
0s/1s or not, for anyone who is wondering like I was about a new irDAC, it's true, there definitely is an initial break in period on this device and for whatever reasons, it sounds better as it gets more time or heat to it, whatever the case may be. Sounds nice, smooth, clean, controlled, they way it's suppose to be. Even with AppleTV, it sounds pretty good for compressed audio content by simply running it through the irDAC. I run the irDAC into my integrated Tube amplifier and overall I'm pleased with the results. Is it as good as a quality mastered CD, no, but for regular listening it's definitely "good enough" for me. Glad I purchased the irDAC.