How to evaluate amps that are not broken in?


I'm expecting to demo Belles and JoLida amps next week at home, and both units are new. Can I assume that if I like the sound of an amp now, I will like it just as much after it's broken in? How does one account for this variable when trying to decide if a new piece of gear will be synergistic with one's system? Thanks!
stuartk
they'll only improve so yes, if you like them now, you'll like them more later. my very unscientific guesstimate would be that they'll improve by about 10% - not enough to radically change your opinion of them, but possibly enough if you're on the fence.
OK, that's encouraging, Musicslug. I realize this is very much a newbie question, so I appreciate your taking the time to respond.
Break in is something that is highly debatable. Considering all of the variables that are at work EACH time you sit down and listen it is very difficult to attribute any gains directly to break in.

However, people that do believe in the theory seem to agree that only good things come the more the component is played.
I agree with musicslug that the components will only sound better over time as the components within the gear start to break in and stablize.
If you have only 2 days over the weekend I would let the gear play continously for a set period of time and then start to listen seriously;at least let the gear thermally stabilze.
Enjoy!!
Robr45, I experienced a dramatic change with my Creek 5350 se-- far beyond what I was expecting, actually. So I guess that experience puts me firmly in the "believer" camp. Rleff, I will do as you suggest. Thanks!
Doesn't it seem odd that "break in" always seems to result in an improvement, never a change for the worse?
Whoaru99, very interesting point. I was thinking the same thing as I was reading the responses. I can imagine a situation where a component sounds wonderful and a change may not be perceived as better. Hmmm.
The only new component I've purchased lately is an Oppo DV-980H but I only bought it to use as a transport and I haven't noticed any changes. I have trouble thinking the data stream will change much over time.
Whoaru99, I couldn't comment-- I haven't owned enough new gear to have formed a strong opinion.
I thought everybody knew---The parts in 'some' amps take 400 hrs/ or longer. I'm sure many amps don't take that long. Many speakers are worse on break in.---Most all cables take 24/7 for 7 days.---Most digital takes that same as cables;amount of time.
>>Doesn't it seem odd that "break in" always seems to result in an improvement, never a change for the worse?<<

Which brings into discussion the emotion or mood at any particular listening session. I have no doubt that, to a certain extent, components change due to various electrical factors but not quite as much as these threads, some manufacturers, and some dealers would have you believe.

However, IMO, our current state of mind i.e. a good (bad) day at work, an argument with the spouse, a good game of golf, a lousy meal, time of day, etc. etc. play a much larger role in our evaluation of any listening session than minor changes in the components.

Break in is mostly due to our ears acclimating to the new component not the component undergoing some incredible transformation.

Or not.
I think warm up is much more important than break in.
Audiofeil is right on in my experience! Acclimation of the human ear and mood are my 2 most important break-in variables. I have never seen/heard in my 35+ years in the hobby a component of mine change significantly enough to really make a strong claim about break in. You know sometimes you listen to your system and think it's magic....I'll never change a thing! And other times its just OK. It's probably not the components. I agree warm up probably makes a difference as I suppose everything settles and becomes more stable but it is still not real significant. Just my opinion. It certainly makes for good conversation among us audionuts.

I've got a friend who is just becoming an audiophile and he bought his first high end cables and declared "I think I already hear a difference but maybe it's just in my head."..and I said what does it matter!!!
If you like it initially, then you'll like it as much or more days and weeks later. Vice versa.

The sound of a new amp (or any amp) has more to do with speaker/amp interface than break-in, IMO.
(Bill ,Tvad)

Amen........

Finally a voice of reason

PS
If, let's say a $10,000 cdp sounds like $3000 cdp out of the box
and manufacture claims/says it will take 800hrs for full burn-in process to get the best of it..........well, if you listen for about 3hrs a day it will take about 9 mounts of anticipation, confusion, insecurity.

And then........you hear the first scream, first cry and you love it.

It is a boy!!!!
there is no reason to assume that if you like the sound of a component when it is fresh out of the box, that you will still like it after 400 hours.

i have had experiences in which i initially liked a component but then did not like it after 300 hours.

very rarely have i had the experience of initially disliking the sound of a component and then liked it after 400 hours.

if amplifiers are not broken in , it is wise to wait until the amps have been played for at least 300 hours before making a purchasing decision.
Sure Mrtennis.
But it is more of the search for the new adventures and boredom with the old then anything else.
However, IMO, our current state of mind i.e. a good (bad) day at work, an argument with the spouse, a good game of golf, a lousy meal, time of day, etc. etc. play a much larger role in our evaluation of any listening session than minor changes in the components.

Break in is mostly due to our ears acclimating to the new component not the component undergoing some incredible transformation.

Ommmm, yes. This is certainly my opinion. Never mind changes in your AC line, your air condition or water heater being on or off etc. The variables are endless, and if you believe all of these things make a difference in the sound-- which would only be logical if you believe in break in-- than you seem to be in a catch 22. How do you prove it with when the environment is constantly changing.

You may think you hear something, you may even be sure you hear something. But the real world variables combined with all the psycological variables, combined with standard EE knowledge that NOTHING has changed should be enough convince a normal person that this is all BS.

Dont you think that the industry might have an interest in saying you have to spend some time with a component before it sounds its best? They are probably right, you should. But their reasoning behind it is fabricated.

I wasted a lot of time over the years on this kind of crap, unfortunately.

-Rob

Well, I have to admit that I'm totally confused at this point. All of this disagreement re: breaking-in would seem insignificant if it weren't for the fact that audio gear is so expensive. Perhaps the safest route is simply to only purchase used gear, so the breaking in factor is a moot point.
Perhaps the safest route is simply to only purchase used gear, so the breaking in factor is a moot point.
Stuartk (Threads)
That would certainly eliminate the issue.
Stuartk,

A thought.

Given that there is general but not unanimous consensus among: A) manufacturers, B) retailers, and C) reviewers (who are professional and critical listeners of hi fi gear for many hours a week, week in and week out) that "break in" of BOTH electronics and speakers is a real, highly equipment dependent and variable phenomenon that occasionally results in significantly improved performance, I would be so bold as to say that this discussion is almost nonsensical and says more about human nature than it does about whether some newly manufactured hi fi equipment sounds better after some potentially extended periods of operation. (Do I get a prize or a demerit for the length of that sentence?)

My experience with human nature is that those with a passionately held and generally negative position will press their case vociferously and indefinitely, even in the face of volumes of contradictory evidence, particularly if this evidence does not square directly with their own experience, perceptions, or sense of fairness.

Face it, break in happens, or it doesn't happen. And like the trees falling in the forest, if you are not the owner of a piece of equipment who perceives that it requires enduring this kind of consumer hell and self questioning torture, then it doesn't exist to you and be glad of it.
PS - I bought a late model amp used from a broker recently and I am not sure it was completely broken in... cause the sound changed over time. Or was just me? HA!
I asked a dealer why he didn't run his demo speakers at night to break them in (he carried B&W speakers and they *really* needed hours on them). His response?

"The cleaning crew would not have it."

????
My experience with human nature is that those with a passionately held and generally negative position will press their case vociferously and indefinitely, even in the face of volumes of contradictory evidence, particularly if this evidence does not square directly with their own experience, perceptions, or sense of fairness. - Knownothing

Depends on what one considers and accepts as evidence. Loads of anecdotal evidence is nothing more than loads of anecdotal evidence.
Wow! Seems this thread has now entered the realm of philosophy! Naturally, the following question arises:
If a component goes through a break-in process but audiophiles are too busy debating whether break-in is "real" to pay attention... then what??????
If a component breaks in when no one is listening , does anyone know it ?

Hmmm .

;-)
This is what dealers are for; good ones have burned-in examples of the things that they sell.

Lacking that, perhaps you live in West Texas, then it is correct to assume that components will only get better with burn-in; however, some really outstanding components can sound ugly on first hearing.

You're auditioning a couple of good brands, so you'll likely be ok. Particularly listen to music with lots of low bass. Can the amps control your woofers? Some will not and can be eliminated. As for the mids and highs, it's a crap shoot until the amps burn-in, IMHO.

Dave
Dcstep, I've been told that Alan Yun, Silverline audio speaker designer, particularly recommended Belles ... at least until he began building his own amps! My dealer is just now starting to carry Belles (I will be his first Belles buyer) and was unable to get hold of a burned-in demo unit. I will keep what you suggest re: low bass in mind.
How can you keep a burn-in anything from customers like me.
Nice guy from Audio Connections N.J almost lost it when I ask him to sell his demo that was breaking in for few days ( my friend that was there with me bought one. This is just when Rega Apollo started to ship). After going back and forward for good ten minutes he gave up. He didn't have to but he did. Nice guy. Nice place. Good people. I got my new Rega playing that night.
So, as you can see, with bloody bastards like myself it's not easy.
I bought the Maggies for my 2nd system from him - he was most accomodating, I agree!