Help with burning in a phono stage

I bought an Einstein phono stage a few days ago, fully understanding that it would require perhaps 500 hours of break-in. (I'd borrowed a long-broken-in Einstein and really liked the sound.) Sure enough, the new one was a bit bright and hard, although the sound varied quite a bit during the first 20 hours of play.

One of my audiophile buddies loaned me a Thor phono break-in device. I'm no electronics whiz, so all I can say is that it allows me to plug a CD player into the phono stage by lowering the gain of the CD player and subjecting the signal to a reverse-RIAA curve. So I've set all of that up and will be playing various CD's on repeat for some period of time--perhaps even 500 hours, although I would imagine the Einstein will be fairly listenable after 200 hours or so.

Question 1: I understand that the phono stage needs to be plugged into a "load" during this break-in process. It is plugged into my pre-amp, but I don't want to listen to it during this process, and am instead listening to other inputs. Does using other inputs on the pre-amp somehow "disqualify" the phono stage signal from being plugged into a load?

Question 2: My pre-amp is a tube pre-amp. I would just as soon turn the pre-amp off at night. If I do that, will that cause the phonostage to not be plugged into a "load."

I'm sure these seem like elementary, perhaps almost idiotic questions, but electrical interactions are simply not something I was designed to grab hold of with any kind of ease.

Many thanks
What you are doing is perfect, and no need to have the preamp or phono stage powered up to get the break in effect. Probably makes sense to have the phono stage selected to the input that your Einstein is connected to (provided you have option to switch).

The only issue I have with this kind of break in is impedance. I just broke in two Einstein phono stages, a single ended version and the latest balanced one. The single ended was used, so it came around almost instantly. The balanced one was still lacking the fluidity and warmth of the single ended one, even with (approx.) 620 hours combined CD + real cartridge burn.

I used the Granite Audio disc and the Purist Phono break in disc. With either of these or your device, the impedance the phono stage sees is very different from a MC cartridge. I suspect the last really good part of break in will have to be with the actual cartridge and be sure to plug in one of the supplied resistor load jacks that were provided with your Einstein. Big differences between the various loads.
You don't need to have the preamp on to burn in phono stage, the signal is passing through the phono stage regardless of preamp. I've done this a dozen times with a similar burn in device. There are a number of threads here discussing this, do a search.
Two points to emphasize...

1. Only the CD player and phono stage need to be powered up, BUT the phono stage needs to see a load. So, select the source that your burn-in loop is plugged into.

2. Play it safe and set the input loading on your Einstein to 47K or some other reasonably high load. If it's set to something more appropriate to an MC cartridge (e.g. 100 ohms), you might challenge your CD player's ouput circuitry.

Thom @ Galibier