Headphone break in?

Have recently moved up from my old Sennheiser 500s to Audeze LCD-X. My question for the group relates to break in - is this as true for headphones as it seems to be for speakers, and if so what is the time frame?


I believe everything in the audio world will benefit from break-in but in your scenario, I don't know from experience how long it will take. I'm sure others don't believe in break-ins and you are entitled to your opinion.

I had purchased a slightly used set of Hifiman HE1000V2 headphones that developed an issue, Hifiman replaced with a new pair under warranty and I have to say it took a good while for them to come on song to the point of me not enjoying them till they burnt in. Enjoy the music

I have found that my headphones, Focal Stelia, Meze Elite, ZMF Verite closed, and others all benefit from break-in time. I usually noticed differences in 25 hour increments with them really settling in around the 200 hour mark. I would leave them plugged in to my amp and run them continuously for a couple of days to help the process. 

It depends; I've had a lot of headphones and some sound really good, if not their best, right out of the box, and others I've gotten that sounded so bad out of the box that I was ready to send them right back, but after letting them break in for about 150-200 hours, they sounded like they were supposed to... 

Yes. Headphone burn-in is a real phenomenon.

I made a burn-in clip years ago that works with all headphones, regardless of their driver type/technology. WARNING - take off your headphones FIRST as this will not sound good! It uses each of the important types of noise (white noise, pink noise, etc.) these in turn influence the movement of the driver units completely by the end of the video.


No need to play 100+ hours. My condensed burn in-in clip places enough strain on the driver units to have them conform to the designers engineering standard.


Many thanks to all for your input - burn in much easier (on my family) than burn in for speakers. Chip

I'm not familiar with the science of headphone drivers (or drivers generally), so I can't comment on 'burn-in' of the components. 

However, I think it's reasonable to say that the phenomenon of 'burn-in' involves a significant subjective aspect as well, that maybe is just as important as driver burn-in (if there is such a thing according to relevant experts). In my experience, headphones are like glasses (if you have multiple pairs, you know what I mean): the different lens shapes, maybe some lenses are polarized, some are slightly older prescription, etc. If you put them on one after another, they seem mildly different, but noticeably so. But once you wear them for about half an hour, you forget that they felt weird when you put them on. 


Headphones are similar. They each have their own sound signature to which you adjust or adapt your hearing, the way your eyes adjust to the lenses in your glasses. You learn how to listen to your headphones, and how to appreciate its strengths and how to reconcile yourself with its weaknesses. 


That's all to say that, I think 'burn-in' is just as much a matter of how we adjust ourselves to the hardware we have as it is a matter of that hardware going through a process of well-wearing.


Like all mechanical things (machines) speakers, headphones, and audio components "burn in" this means the settling of parts to the manufacturer's engineering standard. The same is true with a brand new car. 

I understand your opinions are humble, but that logic sounds very much like something an ASR minion would say.

That we are simply fooling ourselves in to hearing differences that are not real...

I'm not aware that I said anything like '..we are simply fooling ourselves into hearing differences that are not real.' Seems more like I set the objective aspect aside since, as I said, "I'm not familiar with the science of headphone drivers," and so obviously would have nothing illuminating to say regarding that side of things. 

To say that there is also another aspect of 'burn-in,' for the ordinary, non-engineer, that is subjective is not to deny that there is an objective component. That I refrained from saying anything about the objective aspect is not to be understood as my denying that there is an objective side.

I am a member of ASR, and of Head-fi, and TapeHeads. Not sure why being on ASR makes me an 'ASR minion,' rather than just someone who likes to browse different audio forums. Is there a mandate that there is to be no intermingling between them?

Thanks, though, for reminding me why I've not posted on here much lately. Good discussion.



Didn't say you were a minion specifically.

Didn't call you out.

Just saying.

And you're welcome.

@mastering92 : Well said. I have nothing else to say, but reinforce what you already articulated.

Thanks, though, for reminding me why I've not posted on here much lately.

Well… good. I am glad you understood. Please continue to stay away from here. Thank you 


I like to call it seasoning as opposed to burn in or break in. Why would one want to burn or break? Seasoning or conditioning. Or in aviation we call it run-up. 

I also believe in "conditioning" your phones for general use and I happen to have Samplitude on my music PC and I can make files of pink and white noise and also sweep tones which again is very handy. When I purchased my Sennheiser 800 phones and Luxman p -750u head amp ( present to myself on retiring ) they as a pair sounded very strident and too trebly. I put my three tone and sweep files on a loop for a couple of days and after that I played music though them continuously for a few days more. At the end of that week I then put them on to have a quick listen and about three hours later I was still in musical heaven. I am not saying that you need to put sweeps and tone files through as i did it because I have a bespoke music computer with DAWs installed. I can assure you it really works. Happy listening !!!

I have no experience about headphone break-in...

I dont negate his existance though ...

Each component need some optimizing working time...

My AKG K340 headphone need warming time to be optimal... Because there is a transformer and a crossover inside... It takes 10 minutes to reach their optimal... Very audible...But warming is not break-in...

But i never experiences break in with headphone and i dont have any opinion about it really because material break-in and psychological adaptation play together and it is very difficult to separate one from the other especially when a new product will be experienced ONCE only  before and till AFTER  he reach his optimum or till we will adapt ourself to it...

I experienced break in with an interconnect cable... Once... Very audible... Thats all...