Break in blues

I just don't have the patience anymore to wait for components to settle in.That's the only caveat with having tubed components - ya can't leave em on 24/7 to speed up the process:( I have the little cartoon devil and angel on my shoulders.The devil is ocd "You've obviously made a mistake!After 3 days and 12 ENTIRE HOURS this thing sounds horrible!!Bright,congested,arrgh!!" The angel tries to sooth me"Turn it down,go do something else,don't listen at all until it's clocked in at 50 hours. "To be fair then the right thing to do is after an initial listen to some favorite tracks to give it another 50 hours then make a decision.Sigh....
So the devil suggested I swap cables and by golly he was right this time.Everything is playing together much better now.The old Gabriel Gold cable that sounded so sweet with the Rogue preamp was totally incompatible with the new Microzotl2.The new/old cable is a Siltech Paris.
The angel is a bit miffed but now at least I can get a feel for if it's a keeper or not before the deadline to return it arrives.What I like to do is play it at low volume for 4-5 hours each day then listen at the end of that period to see how it's coming along.It's been a few years since I've bought anything new and I don't remember ever being this anxious before.I don't remember auditioning a component that seemed to sound totally different day by day.Out of the box the Microzotl was excellent,next day bass heavy,next day the GLARE!Today with the new cable excellent.So if tomorrow is also excellent the angel and I will have learned something new.Cables do sound different from each other but I've never come across a situation where one was majorly incompatible.

Hang in there, it is as much your mind adapting to the change as it is your new equipment breaking in, maybe more. As hard as it is to break in new tube gear, phono cartridges are the worst yet. Enjoy the music.
I've got some vinyl but no turntable at present.I've been eyeing some tables recently....maybe later.My brother has a new VPI that he is struggling with.I absolutely love listening to records with him and think it's perfect, but he's always tweaking too.Runs in the family:)
The devil is ocd

And falling for the "everything need break-in" mantra to begin with.

I’ve never fallen for this, and I can not remember a single audio device I’ve ever bought that had to "break in." Not once, ever, has anything "sounded awful" and then changed sound over time. I just turn ’em on, and they sound pretty much the same from day one onward.

You’ll notice that in more technical audio forums where people are not so receptive to audiophile claims of magic AC cables and burn in, you almost never see this type of mania, this "I just can’t listen to X component until I break it in for hundreds of hours!" (An audio pal of mine jest each other whenever we put any new piece of gear, or cable in to the system "did it have upper midrange glare??!!" And weeks later "did that glare finally go away?"It's a joke, because this just never happens.  We don't worry about that stuff).

Of course, if you go OCD you can attribute whatever you think you hear to anything.

There really is a downside sometimes to buying in to every audiophile myth. You are experiencing that downside, unfortunately.

Forget about break-in. Just listen to your system and relax ;-)

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To my ears, I've only found that tube gear needs to really break in.  But after 50-75 hrs they don't get much better.  It's mainly a tightening in the bass over the first 50 hrs that I find especially with tube amps.  I'm not saying other equipment doesn't or cant benefit but I don't seem to be able to hear it.  I think one ethernet cable I bought had glare that went away after the 2 hrs. but I really cant recall anything else.
Frankly, it’s great to have another topic nobody can agree on. 
some stuff break in is easy to hear, some stuff not enough to notice. And some stuff is a PITA with break in. And then finally some stuff just sound BAD, and no pretending it needs to 'break in' is gonna change anything.
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Break-in is a real phenomena. It can happen when you encounter anything for the first time, amplifiers, loudspeakers, cables, people, places, food, new films, albums etc. 

Of course it is totally a 100% perception acclimatising issue inside your head and little to do with audio equipment performance changes (give or take a few minutes warm up time). 

No doubt some things can take ages to 'break-in', shoes for example. Certain people can take even longer.

And then there's 'break-out' to consider.
'Love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight.'  
Gosh, I did not know that. 😳
cd318 sez: " Of course it is totally a 100% perception acclimatising (sic) issue inside your head "       
My response?  Hah hah HA HAH HAH ha ha ha hah hah HAH. etc for twenty minutes..      
Had a vintage Sansui tube amp recapped and when it broke it was like I just started an acid trip. It was that severe. Went from bland to 3D. Took about 100hrs. There were over 30 oil caps and re-stuffing of the power caps but man did it make a difference. 

Hi jtcf

Here's a rule of thumb (a broadly accurate guide or principle, based on experience or practice rather than theory). Anytime you read someone can not hear breakin (burnin) "run". If someone is not able to hear audio differences in this hobby, they're the last one you should be taking sound advice from.

On this forum, and others, there are folks who come up and write purely for the sake of being noticed or boredom. Fact is, audio is a process that is in a continuum of change. Every second you listen change is happening. Learning to practice and play our systems is where we will find the sound that the "non-doers" will never have.

Don't pay attention to those who say they have been doing this hobby for 40 years, it means zero if they can't hear a simple thing like burnin. If a hobbyist can't hear burnin it means one of two things. One, their system is full of signal blockage (a common problem with HEA systems), and two, they simply can not hear the change. In either case they are not qualified to give advice on something they haven't experienced.

Debating if burnin exist is like asking a vegetarian how a burger taste.

anyway, now I'm hungry

Michael Green

Geez!I was just ranting a bit is all.The little amp is sounding great since cable swapping.Tubed components do need to break in a while IMHO.After 25hours or so they're about 90% there.My anxiety stemmed from how it was sounding way different from day to day.And the naysayers are sort of right in this instance - it shouldn't have changed sonics radically like it seemed to be.That first cable for whatever reason was causing a problem.
I've been an audio geek for many years too,but mostly lurk rather than post.I type so slowly it's more fun to read the debates than to get a word in;)
My Rogue 99 Magnum (tube pre) is shipping back to me right now, after being “Super-ed” at Rogue. Yea!
When it comes back, in just a few days, I’ll post here again and put a CAP ;) on this with debate with MY opinion!....Kidding!

I will post to this thread again, however, and speak of my experience when it comes back next week. So looking forward to that as my SS back up pre can’t cut it. 


Hi jtcf

Sorry about that! I should have been more clear as to who I was talking about. I was talking to you as the OP but I was referring to those who come up and say changes don't make a difference. Of course all changes including burnin are audible.

Sorry again, I should have separated the two.


I can understand the concepts of a break-in period. Makes sense actually, particularly with tubes, which I have.  Then again, I have had s many variables with my system that it is hard to isolate the sound changes due to one factor - like a break-in period.  Examples include re-ripping CDs to better formats, populating my Roon Nucleus SSD, playing so much new music.  AND NOW, I just investing in a new set of Tube components and speakers (moving the existing to another room).  Way too many variable in my life to isolate anything down to a break-in period, but conceptually, I understand. I agree with earlier comments though, I am trying to sit back, chill, and "listen to the music play."
That MZ2 takes a few weeks to really hit its stride. Hang in there, it is worth it. Linear Power Supply?
A different side of break in is failure to realize the sound TODAY (when I just changed several things a few days ago) is NOT THE SOUND the system will have a few days/weeks further on down the road.
Three weeks ago I added several (5) PS Audio Noise Harvesters (because they were on sale 1/2 off), and had to play around with locations etc. Then this past week I bought (6) new powercords (again on sale.. naturally) and stuck those in first to break them in fast, them distributed them to other locations.SO here in a on day five for three of them since they arrived, and day three for the other three. And worried last night, this is not as good as it was two days ago.
Reminding myself to stop worrying about "did I just throw away $1300?" panic.
@michaelgreenaudio I was speaking in general terms too:)I always enjoy your posts
@michaellent I'm looking forward to hearing all about your Rogue upgrades.I'm definitely hanging on to my 66.
@jmolsberg yes on the linear power supply.I'm going to experiment with other tubes eventually also.Any recommendations?Mine has the stock tubes.Another thing I want to try later on is to use it as an integrated with my brother's Klipsch Chorus lls(101db).Should be fun:)
Reminding myself to stop worrying about "did I just throw away $1300?" panic.

....never mind.... ;-)

jtfc - I use these Mullards, cheap enough.
The 12sn7 it ships with are really good! I always keep the PS "on." 
Thank you!Got em on my list now.

@elizabeth we can feel each other's pain;)

The nature of breakin is a continuum. Designers have had the task of soft selling breakin to make it easier on the end user. Saying 40hrs, 400hrs or 400days is really nothing more than a selling point so that the designer (and listener) can have an excuse for why their system sounds the way it does. Truth is, anything that passes a current or is subject to the fundamental forces on this planet continues to mature forever.

When you think about it, it's really cool that our audio systems (including room and environment) are so flexible. I like using the term "mechanical conduit" to describe the parts of everything in our audio chains. As much as HEA has tried to paint the picture of isolation, it really comes down to our systems are moving all the time and that means is in constant change in performance. It's nothing to freak out about in fact, once you get it, the hobby takes an interesting turn for you. It's very much like having a guitar and playing a guitar.


Topics on burn in and cabling look more like a political...discussion. 
some folks talking about their experiences. Then comes the post saying it's all hogwash and it follows the same pattern. 

I have quite a bit of equipment pass through my hands, and I try to listen to pieces I haven't heard before or recently. Like new equipment, pieces that have sat unused for years need to go through a re burn in. 

I have gone through a period of multiple changes recently with my personal gear. I took time off from listening for a while because I also don't want to wade through the thin sound phase to the bloated bass phase to the disappearing vocals phase. 
With some of the the more chock full o functions pieces taking more than 300 hours. 
“On this forum, and others, there are folks who come up and write purely for the sake of being noticed or boredom”. — michaelgreenaudio 

Oh yes!
I have completely rebuilt my system within the last month the latest component being a DAC I added a few days ago. It already sounds wonderful to me so I guess my ears and brain have broken in to the sound characteristics. If you forget the extraneous requirements of hundreds of hours needed for proper sound and the worry you just blew a few thousand $$$ and it might have been a waste a lot of people put on the equipment  and themselves and let yourself relax and enjoy the music you'll find it doesn't really take that long to get broken in. 
I assume break-in  naysayers are exempting speakers from their skepticism? Mechanical changes and the forming of crossover capacitors are not ‘in your head’.  Driver motors clearly break in  at a declining rate, but they do change.  It’s measurable.  
 Just experiencing Aria 936 break-in period.  The changes are obvious.  At 100 hrs or so, they come to life. 
I find the break-in time facinating .....all the changes as they come together as the curtain goes up.
It can be like love at first sight. Whether it's broken in or not,  if it doesn't sound mostly good when first heard, a burn-in miracle is not going to save it.
I am not exempting speakers since the manufacturer told me the most change I would notice and what takes the longest is the way I hear their speakers. I just turn it on and enjoy. 
@djones51 it's hard to sit back and enjoy when you're hearing a different sonic presentation each day and trying to decide if it stays or goes back.This is the first time I've experienced such radical changes , which I now attribute to a weird reaction the MZ2 was experiencing with that cable.It sounded great out of the box and then the next two days it decidedly did not.The(my) rule of thumb is to make only one change at a time until the new thing settles in,playing the system for a few hours a day in the background and sitting down to listen critically for a short period daily.After 25-50 hours of running signal through it then I spend an evening listening to old favorites and make a decision.
Obviously something was not right so I broke my rule and tried something,found the problem,learned something new.The MZ2 is definitely a keeper and now it's time to relax and enjoy.
I can understand that jtcf sometimes little changes are for the better sometimes not. I broke every rule I suppose I tossed a whole system together in about a month. New speakers, DAC, integrated amp , streamer, cables only thing I still use is my old Onkyo CDP as a transport. Couldn’t be happier and I still have about 60 days to decide on the speakers which I made a tweak to suggested by the manufacturer. 
The new Pangea AC14XL power cords sound good right from the start. But day two they started sounding a bit etched in the treble.By day five the treble is really good. When I added another (breaking in on the amplifier since that uses the most AC power) with the more broken in XL around in the stereo, the annoying treble was so bad I took it off. (This is a Princess and the Pea moment)                
In general the Pangea XL once broken in are way better than the AC14SE Signature in detail and treble.. ANd have a great synergy with the Furutech Duplex. Others may not find the Pangea AC14XL to be as wonderful without them connected to Furutech GTX !!!.