Equipment break in question

To break in a piece of equipment such as a DAC, do you need to turn on your amp and actually play music through your speakers?  Does it work to just play a disc silently without using  the amp and speakers?  What about just turning on a component such as a DAC and leaving it on without playing anything?
You can just play the DAC if that’s all you care about. I haven't experimented, but if I believe in break-in, then I would definitely want to play music through it.

Warm up is also a variable factor.

DAC’s are very low power, so leaving them on 24/7 is easy to do.

Class D amps take the longest to warm up, maybe 2-4 days.

You need to feed a digital signal to the DAC and have cables connected to the analog output jacks connected to the amp. If an integrated amp is used set the source input to the CDT/DAC. The amp does not need to be turned on. (That is unless the amp defaults to a different source input when powered off.)

The DAC needs a load on its’ analog outputs for burn-in. If the amp is solid state just leave it on with the volume turned all the way down. CDT set on repeat all.

IMHO those items I've bought brand new worked differently and or better after being used for several weeks or a couple three months. depending on what it was.

If a DAC is simply left powered on, without signal passing thru it, only the daCs  power supply is being activated or used.

with a signal as well being sent thru it via X input, to ? output, than that path is being activated. consequently, electricity gets into and thru everything in what ever signal path being used.

for electricity to get from one point to another a completed circuit MUST  be in place.    here's the issue... if the outputs of X DAC likely analog but possibly digital,  connected to say an amp, yet the amp is OFF, I can't see how a completed path for electricity is in place. either the de-energized amp will appear as a 'open cat' or as a 'dead short', more likely as an open or broken path for current, meaning no current will flow thru the analog outputs. likewise if the DAC is feeding a pre/pro digitally and the pre/pro is OFF.

this is why I have, just by chance, a secondary outfit such as a HT receiver  that I can burden with these kinds of chores rather than eating up ttubes, or needlessly burning up my main amp.

DACs ought not take more than a few weeks to be up to speed as best as they will ever be.

lastly, I feel running in a thing involves powering it up, and powering it down too.
essentially, its a matter of thermals. heat. heat is what is curing the bits inside. to what ever extent what ever bit needs be heated up and then cooled down.

with speakers it becomes a physical thing as well for the drivers need to be flexed as much as the x overs need juice passed thru it/them.

BTW... there are differing views on this breaking in issue. RWV

Good luck! 
I don't intend to start a debate but in my (upgrade) experience, if a new piece of equipment did not sound better than the one it replaced right out of the box, it never improved enough to justify the upgrade no matter how long it was played. Cables were exceptions. Warm up is also a completely different story.
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I didn't give the 'burn in' belief much credit, but I was convinced when my Schiit Dac suddenly improved after many hours of playing. 
I left it on continuously, and played music when I had time to listen.
It took a few weeks, but one day it just 'opened up'.
"All things get better with time."

Visited a nursing home lately? Quite a statement.
I find that my new equipment takes a bit of break in time to sound its best, especially my speakers.  I wouldn't say the differences are that "dramatic", but after enjoying my new speakers for about six months, one night I found that they finally "settled down".  The sips of that medicine from Scotland may have also had something to do with that ...