Cambridge 840c burn in

So, I got a new 840C a few weeks ago and I’m kind of surprised by how dramatically the sound has changed. When I was demoing it in the store it was a box fresh unit and very bright sounding, but compared to the other players I was comparing it to it had much better bass and general clarity. I’d read here on A-gon that the burn-in would yield significant results so I took a chance and bought it. My initial thought at home was that I’d made a huge mistake – it was almost unlistenable bright. But I ran it 24/7 for almost two weeks and every day it got a bit better. Then, just yesterday, now at about 350 hours or so, all the residual high-end glare disappeared. It sounds great.

Does anyone have any thoughts on what is actually happening within the machine that is ‘breaking in’? It seems counterintuitive with a bunch of wires and caps, but it is a real phenomenon in this machine. I guess any other player too for that matter. I’m just curious.

I’m enjoying the player immensely by the way. It’s a huge improvement over my Jolida JD100, which is now doing duty in the upstairs system.
Mine now has 48 hours on it so I am also looking forward to the break in process you describe. If the player ends up sounding better than it does now, wow!

Also just got a Squeezebox and am running the coax digitial out into the DAC of the 840c. Amazing how much better it is compared to the DAC in the Squeezbox with its analog outputs into my amp.
I did not notice bright sounding when I first played it at home. After 2 months with about 60 hours, I still don't see any improvement compare when it was brand new. Maybe I don't notice, although it sounds great.
What's breaking in?

Everything. Caps, wires, tranformers, drive motor, laser, chips, etc.

Seems a shame one has to put a years worth of playback time on a CDP to get it to sound as best it can.

Merely replacing the sled/drive, both lasers RB & SACD, on my Sony xa 777 es, it took over 200 hours for it sound good. That part amazed me. Nothing else was replaced. Still it took a good long while, though I didn't run mine 24/7... but in spurts. Varying the length of duty each day, up and down. Hardly ran the SACD at all.

Then I went all pc HDD and sold it.

Glad you like your 840.
The 840 is great, but then I throw on a vinyl record and it sounds so nice.... It's enough to make you looney!
I switch over/back to mynyl and I'll have 12 inch black coasters laying all over soon there after.

What's breaking in?
Everything. Caps, wires, tranformers, drive motor, laser, chips, etc.


Then I went all pc HDD and sold it.

Speaking of which, will computer gear need breaking in as well? HDD motor? power supply? keyboard and mouse?
I've not noticed the 'run in aspect' using PCs, anywhere near as much as with audio components. Sometimes, not at all. I have however noticed that since I've made mods to several of my PCs, they perform better once well warmed up.

Naturally with PCs, disabling many if not all of the added services Bill Gates says should run in the background helps some too.

Most noticeably though, speaking strickly of performance, they respond very well to the same things audio and video components do... power filters, isolation and power cables. Additionally, if you can reduce their interior heat, you'll be well served.

This run in conundrum might have some basis in that PCs, have little if any, point to point wiring which employs larger wire gauges, solder joints, and often, higher current draws. There's little current present anywhere, save in the power sup itself and optical drives.

ONly higher end items such as the newer processors, and video cards routinely yield or add to the temp coeffeicient. The ATI (AMD) Radeon HD 4870 vid card I just added is both noisey and runs pretty warm. So much so I leave off the side panel. I use this unit for both music and DVD playback... soon, as a Blue ray player too... it is not the primary music unit however.

I alternate between two other PCs for that. One is an old desktop, the other is a new laptop. Oddly enough, I prefer the ancient desktop for music playback over the laptop, which so many laud as being 'the way'... but it's modded too, specifically for music... uses upgraded power cord, a RSA Haley, and rests on a Sound Anchor rack. It's output is from an M Audio Audiophile 192 PCI card set to 24/96 and then routed into a Bel Canto DAC III via a Stereovox BNC cable, to my tube power train.

All pcs can and do connect to the HT system as well, and I can use them via my projector. All my gear resides in an adjacent room... not the listening - viewing room.

I must admit too, ROM drives do take the longest to run in... though none have taken as long as did my one box CDPs. A week or two at best/worst.

... it could be too, just the DAC chips & op amps that need lengthy current draws run through them..

Why not ask Cambridge this question? That should be interesting, huh?
I tried the 840C for a week at could not stand the brightness. So if I had purchased it and burned it in for 300-350 hours the brightness would have gone away?
My 840c now has 1 week of steady play on it and I would not characterize it at all as "bright." It sounds very natural, like good vinyl, with excellent extension and a wide and deep soundstage. I couldn't be happier with this purchase and am considering getting a second one to replace my aging Merdian 508.24 in my main system.

It's that good.
just to update this... I've had the 840C in my system for about two months now and maybe I'm kidding myself, but I would swear the sound continued to smooth out for at least six weeks. It's to the point now where cds that used to think were hopelessly bright actually sound pretty good, and well recorded material sounds fantastic. It's a cooler sound compared to my old tube Jolida, but the clarity is much higher, and the bass is terrific. I know there are more expensive and likely better players - Esoteric, Wadia, etc. - but for the $$ this thing is really sweet.
Try different interconnects too; I found my 840C is very sensitive to IC synergy. It hated the Cardas Neutral Reference that my previous CDP liked, didn't even sound any better than my 10 year old Denon. Then I tried Zu Varial XLRs and it was a huge difference, amazing.
Just picked up mine yesterday. I have to say it sounds better in some ways, right out of the box, than how I remember my old AA DDSPro>I2S>DTI Pro32>I2S>DDEv3 (w/SP2). Definitely smoother treble, maybe not as much bass, but clearer. I expect the bass and lower mids to develop and the soundstage to get deeper after break-in (or burn-in). Right now the presentation is a little lightweight, but the soundstage is wider than the speakers, which I consider a good thing.
I wish I could afford the Wadia 381 (or the BCD1), but I can't. I actually had to use my birthday as a pretext for spending as much as I did. Hope it pays off, after burn-in of course.
I have had the 840c for 16 weeks now. Burn in took about 4 - 6 weeks, and I play the system at least 6 hours a day. The burn in does not surprise me. Most everything I have owned has not come into it's own until 2 months in or so. I can say for certainty that is due to the electronics, not growing accustomed to the sound. To test your stuff, just play your handful of reference material each time you put in something new. Then listen again after a week, 2 weeks, etc, to the same material and the differences will be apparent.

I also have the new DAC Magic for my second system. That took 2 weeks of 24/7 burn-in to come to life. Now it sound really great driving my PC sound. I notice with that unit that it always needs a few hours of power up to sound it's best.

Sorry to sidetrack. Back to the 840C. It is not bright at all. Very refined sounding. Interconnects will make a difference, but if you are thinking of changing those, wait until after burn in. I use Nordost Blue Heaven RCA which work very well.

BTW, I also use an XLO reference 2 power cord for the unit. The basic power cord that comes with the unit is not very good and does not allow the unit's full capability to come through. In fact, for any that complain of brightness, that might contribute to the issue, depending on what amp, speakers, etc. you use. I have also tried Shunyata Venom I believe it was. That made the sound too smooth which drove me nuts. Tried another XLO I believe it was, clear coating with silver insides. That sounded terrible, but then it sounded terrible no matter what device it was connected to. It was also the most expensive. Cost does not always equal quality.

Lastly, after picking up some Nordost Flatline bi-wire speaker cable, the 840C sounds even better, along with the rest of the system.

I don't have any fancy equipment, with the 840C being my most expensive purchase. Using a NADT753 for both stereo and surround, with B&W 603 S3 as the mains. Plus a lot of tweaks, such as Richard Gray and PS Audio Quintet's, and decent cable all around. Those that have heard the system are very surprised at how clean and refined sounding the system is. I'v listened to much more expensive 2 channel amps, and speakers that are double the cost of mine, and did not sound near as good. Proper room setup, cables, and clean power make a lot of difference.
I'm certain at this point that the sound continued to change on this player for at least eight weeks. Just kept getting smoother. Still a little drier than vinyl, but very nice. Great bass.