You haven't said much about who or what you purchased, but the answer is generally Yes! It will definitely improve! It will take about 100 hours to start sounding fair to good. After the first 100 hours the machine will settle in. Congratulations and good luck.
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Break in is a real issue, althought I don't know if it will result in the improvement you are after. I'm breaking in a new CDP, for the first 50 hours it was brittle and dry sounding - all of the notes sweemed to have their endings chopped off. It is slowly coming to gether now after 100+ hours.
I just recapped some amps. 1st 24 hours rolled off highs, and ill defined bass. I'm now about 40 hours into break in - my bass is filling out and becoming tight - the highs are reappearing. FWIW I have other quipement connected to quickly verify the breakin process.
Personally, in my experience, I believe the break-in myth is highly overrated. Maybe folks just get used to the sound of new pieces after a hundred hours or so, but my general experience has been that if it sounds poor out of the box it may not change all that much with time. These comments apply mainly to solid-state electronics and assume your allowing for proper warm-up time (at least a half hour to an hour).
The exceptions to this would be tube gear (which definitely changes as tubes burn in) and speakers, which have mechanical suspensions that need to loosen up a bit.
If you bought a solid-state preamp, it may smooth out a little with time, but I doubt that its general character and dimensionality will change significantly. Leaving it on for a few days and letting it stabilize should help smooth it out and perhaps let it bloom to some extent.
My advice is to pay attention to detail and try different power cords, interconnects, and footers if you have those items to change out and experiment with. Cables that worked well with your old preamp may not synergize as well with the new piece. You should know in a week or so if it's going to work out for you.
I am reluctant to give info about the pre I am talking about. I would not want to disrespect the dealer. He was wonderfull about the whole purchase. He has nothing to do with the unit I purchased.
My thought is "it is what it is"
Might even be the amp. I will do some work with it this weekend. It's a Audible Illusions S120 that I just picked up on ebay.
There is a school of thought that it's your ears that get "broken in" rather than your equipment. Your ears get used to the sound and over time some of the things you don't like you won't hear anymore.
Want to decide if "break in" or "burn in" is a real phenomenon? Stop listening to your system. Let it play for the requisite 100 hours without ever listening to it again (so you don't corrupt your frame of reference, which is how you hear/perceive your system right now.) After the 100 hours of play, sit down and listen to the same tracks you've listened to up to this point. That will give you your opinion on break in - for this piece of equipment, at least. :)
Let us know your experience when you're done. :)
With some pieces I have heard little to no changes even after months of listening and other times I wondered if my gear was doing the whole William Hurt/Altered States metamorphosis because the changes in sonic character were so fickin' wild and extreme.
Therefore, I'd say it depends on the exact piece of equipment whether break-in will be noticeable, and also on the sensitivity one has to perceiving it.
Break-in is real. The difference can be subtle to WOW! I once had all Krell Entry Amp/pre. The sound was not listenable at all during the first 2 weeks of constant burn-in. However, after enough break-in into the third week the the sound was more musical and smooth with less glare and edgy. My current Class A amp/pre from Krell however sounds sweet out of the box and only getting better from there.
Break In can be real depending on what you are breaking in. I think those who claim otherwise simply haven't had the experience of change - and that doesn't impugn them - they have had gear that didn't change.
After several mods involving black gates caps, for a gross example, I can testify that they DO break in and the sound does change. In my SCD-1, the change at about 150 hours was for the worse - much worse - so bad you think "it's broken," but after another 100 hours, it comes back full and good.
I also had a tube amp change as I listened - it wasn't subtle or slow - it was as if someone had changed a perspective knob (there isn't one!)
Scottht, Break-in is just like the tooth fairy or the easter bunny... if you don't believe you will never see it. You will make up some excuse like I just got used to it the way it was and know I'm just not sure anymore.
I'm just kidding, Seriously for me break-in could not be a more real phenomena, wires, tubes, cartridges, speakers, and yes even preamps. Burn it in, wait and see or rather (hear) for yourself! Beware of Agoners who dont trust their own hearing. Because isnt that what its all about anyway? Happy Listening!
While it has been true in my experience with high end conrad johnson components. I am sure, however, it varies from component to component and manufacturer to manufacturer. As someone suggested I would let it run for awhile and then give a listen.
I would suspect that lower cost components would not experience as significant a break-in period as more expensive pieces because of the lower quality parts used in manufacturing the piece.....but this is an opinion not a fact. In the end if the piece doesn't sound good to you your dealer should be able to help you out. Good Luck
-- This is my 'best-example' for breakin being a real thing.---About 6 years ago I bought a brand new "Purcell". I placed it in the chain.( Between a Theta Data 3 and a Gen 5a) I kept it powered up 24/7. About a month or 2 latter I'm thinking this thing was a waste of 5k and by now had the 'hots' for something else,so I thought I would sell it. I removed it from the rack and got it boxed up,placed the ad;---then listened to the system for a short time; without. I quickly cancelled the ad and put it back.--The coal had become a diamond, right before my ears;unnoticed.
If your buying new, the safest way is to make it clear with the dealer, you would like to try the piece at home on evaluation, with intent to buy providing you are head over heeels with it, most dealers will work with you, and there are even some wonderful dealer's that will do the same with used equipment, one is www.Audioclassics.com they are a great company!!!! Good Luck
I'm sure others must have tried this simple test to confirm the phenomenon of "break in."
I had two identical pieces of equipment (Counterpoint SA220/NP220). As you may know, these are complete rebuilds by Mike Elliott. One had several hundred hours on it, the other had zero hours. Otherwise, identical.
Doing an A/B test of these two identical units (but for the number of hours on them) confirmed that the sound changes after break in, at least on these units. The mids get fuller, the highs are smoother, and everything just sounds better.
After the new unit had several hundred hours, they sounded identical.
That being said, I would tend to agree with Plato that if you don't like the sound of a piece of equipment out of the box, you may not like it even after it is broken it. But IMHO, break in is a real phenomenon based on this simple A/B comparison. It was the equipment that changed, not my ears.
I have always noted the difference in speaker break-in (drivers being actual moving parts) and never that much difference in components. I am not going to dispute the fact that many do hear a difference in components break-in as well, I have thought that a few times myself, I am just not sure how much of that is "psycho-acoustic".
I would imagine that someone somewhere would have noticed at least a slight measurable difference with the testing equipment and would have brought that proof forward to once and for all prove that it does exist.
Here is something that bothers me about break-in and no one ever seems to question it:
1. One has to assume that the new equipment will undergo some kind of internal "change" in order for the sound to change. I guess that means that some of the components such as resistors/capacitors/inductors, etc.. will change their value slightly during this break-in period. Otherwise what else would cause this change in sound?
2. If there is a change, why is it always for the better? Is there a magic fairy conductor inside the equipment telling the resistors/caps in which direction their values are to be changed so as to make the sound better?
"Thats odd. I have not heard that nor experienced that. "To me" It is one non-fatiuging amp. Sounds great.
Every review I read has been positive. Thats why it is to each his own. Peace"
I was surprised because I am a big fan of the preamp. I can name a dozen amps, in my opinion, that smoke it. I agree it is non-fatiguing because the highs are rolled off.
Better amps include -
Belles 150a Hotrod
Monarch SE-100 Deluxe Monoblocks
McCormack DNA-1, 125,250
Muse 100, 150, 300
These are only the solidstate amps I find to be better. There is a whole list of tube amps that, again, in my opinion, are far superior.
I did find it better than the Carver Sunfire.
Flyski, Why would anyone bother to go thru all of that just to prove a point to some one who sez it doesn't happen, or that it can't happen, that it's all in our head, or at their most gracious have never heard it themselves. Frankly IDGAS what other's can't hear.
Personally, I break-in new equipment while leaving all of my original stuff in place (or in a different system) and do not listen to it constantly during the process. I note what it sounds like out of the box and check in on it weekly to see what if any changes have taken place. And I always have the ability to A/B it to my original equipment as well.
Some changes are significant some are not. For example I recently broke in an new amp which sounded harsh thru the upper mid's and highs. After 24 hours I put in some different tubes to smooth it out (I had a prejudice toward the original tubes as it were). A couple of months later I started experimenting with the tubes again because the amp had started sounding dullish. I put the original tubes back in - the harshness was gone, I'll be dammed. The difference was amp break-in over a long period of time, there was no other reason. Tubes or amp, take your pick!
I'm fairly objective, and certainly not dillusional. About the only thing I'm generally cynical about is lengthy PC, IC, and speaker cable breakin - much beyond 24-48 hours - but I will admit there is a lot of cable I haven't listened to and I'm not educated electronically speaking enuf to understand the basis for longer break in periods, if they exist.
However, FWIW, I would agree that at 100 hours about everything should have taken on a sonic signature that you can live with or not. 100hrs devided by 24hr + 4+ days. What's the big deal?
On a personal note, I recall when I could't even tell the difference between many speakers unless it was gross, let alone amps and pre-amps. We all have a learning curve and many folks on this forum are smack dab in the middle of it. IMHO.
Usually 100 to 300 hours of component break in before you can judge it. That's been my experience. Depending on the parts used in the component, some capacitors take longer than 100 hours. But 100 hours is a base....that's been my experience. Pre-amps are easy to break in. Just leave your cd player or tuner playing 24x7, supplying a signal to the pre(powered on of course). Amplifier does not need to be on. Just source and pre.
FWIW, after changing the caps in my pre-amp, I experienced a pretty good scare for the first 100 hours of playing. But once the caps got their work out, the pre came alive and is a huge improvement over the way it sounded with the stock caps.
Bartokfan... maybe a better tweet(er) would help you hear the reality of "break-in", just kidding! Evidently, medieval hocus-pocus is alive and well. It leaves me curious to no end how so many have the true reference Hifi and yet the obvious transition of burning in gear eludes the ear. Happy Listening?! Hmmmmm
Rf how translates "yet the obvious TRANSITION of burning in gear ELUDES THE EAR"
I take this to mean , why or how can expensive gear need a breakin period.
And why do some equipment need a breakin and others not?
Makes no sense to me.
Yeah, it would sound cooky to my ears "oh yeah my Seas' tweet has just gotten better now after 3 months"
Amazing how manufacturers figured out how to make components sound better after they break in. It must be true, since no one actually says, I broke my amp in and now it sounds bad, I think I'll take it back. Wait, oops, it's too late, the dealer won't take it back now. Get the picture? In terms of speaker break in, it takes just a few minutes to break the drivers in according to some articles I found. Just do a search on that topic.
Found this little article on the web, just something to think about:
Here's a little thought experiment:
1) Audio amplifiers need breaking in.
2) The means that some of the electrical components are changing their characteristics during use.
3) That means that the characteristics of the components are not as good as they could be when the device is manufactured.
4) These components change and the audio gets better.
5) Somehow, these components stop changing when the audio gets great.
Now, here are some questions:
1) Why do the components change?
2) Why do they stop changing?
3) Why do they change in a direction that makes the audio get better?
4) Why don't they change "too far" and make the audio worse after time?
5) Why don't the manufacturers run the amp for 100 hours and then measure the component characteristics, and then build them that way in the first place?
As you can see, this is hokus-pokus non-physics, and is often thoroughly
This topic has been beaten to death as long as I've been here which is over five years. It's no wonder a lot of the old timers haven't chimed in. There have been lengthy debates among engineers and physicists on Audiogon about this. We all have our own experiences regarding this phenomena, but please, please run a search in the archives.
Flyski, By what you say, do you honestly beleive that a designer/manufacturer doesn't design a product to sound a particular way once it's burned-in? All my Hifi was designed to perform to the end result, not like it sounds fresh out of the box. I know because I have had lengthy conversations with each of them.
Hey guess what. I have left it on for over a week now and it sounds better. Thanks for everything :)
I certainly wasn't looking for a debate. I was complaining the pre wasn't what I expected. I was somewhat sarcastic when I posted I hope break in is true. Please, I have been here at AG longer than most. I am one of the old timers. Every now and then I will get sarcastic. Sorry
No prob. Yes, you've been here a long time. That's why I was surprised you posted a question that seems to be asked every other week. I didn't get your sarcasm. I'm sorry. Although I'm known more for unwanted humor then assistance, I do get cranky now and then. My post about running a search was so much aimed at you as some of the obvious newbies in the thread. I apologize.
Here is something I found quite amuzing:
From the French Audio Magazine on a Bryston amp.
When you get it fresh from the factory, this amp is, for all intents and purposes, unlistenable. It requires at least a two-week break-in period before it shows its real stuff I was able to hear it both before and after its two- to three- week high volume workout: the difference is colossal! Of course my real test was done with a system that was well "broken in" and that was connected to a high-quality source and first-class speakers."
From the 10audio review on Bryston amp:
"If there was a break-in period, it was probably less than 10 hours. I used the amp for background music for a day before attempting any serious listening, and was not aware of a change in the character of the amp afterwards. Ive remarked in other reviews that almost every component sounds pretty bad for the first 10 hours or so. That observation probably does not apply here due to the extensive run-in every Bryston product receives at the factory before shipment. Dont you wish that every other maker of high-end electronics would deliver a product that you could actually use as intended upon receipt?"
So what we have here is one guy who finds a "collosal" difference after 3 weeks and another who finds nothing after 10 hours.
The truth is Bryston "burns in" their amps at the factory extensively for over 100 hours in order to make sure they are stable, meet the specs and so they can give you their 20 year warranty!!!
The loudspeakers I currently own most certainly went thru a break in process. I think the drivers loosen up over time, and this allows greater agility. They also sound better after playing for twenty minutes or so, i.e. warm up. I'm told that this is because the performance characteristics of the voice coils improve after they heat up. The fact that some people can't figure out the mechanism of break (myself included) in doesn't make it a myth. Nobody really know why gravity exists, but few would deny its existence.