Is Break-In essential and potentially dangerous for the Audiophile?


Recently, I started a blog on my website (amorsound.com).  Following is the first blog post...made a couple of month ago....

Let's begin with a basic definition. Break-In is the manufacturer's suggested (or required) usage time for the component to achieve FULL performance. I've seen a few recommended break-in periods as high as 400hrs. Ugh! Also, some manufacturers suggest (or require) a specific METHOD of usage to achieve full performance.

Break-In is often necessary, but also a potentially dangerous part of the Audiophile journey. Why? Three reasons...

Delayed gratification: We want our sound, and we want it now. ☺ Waiting up to 400hrs of PLAYTIME (i.e., almost 17 days) to hear your purchase is beyond unwelcome…., it's painful. We're audiophiles because we LOVE the sound. As modern consumers, we're not accustomed to (nor do we appreciate) delayed gratification.

Impaired selection: Audiophiles are EXTREMELY interested in achieving maximum performance of our systems and ANY components we select for audition or inclusion. We spend significant time and energy selecting SUSPECTS, then PROSPECTS and finally consummating PURCHASES of components to audition. After expending this effort, we shouldn't want to make selection mistakes. The following are a few common selection mistakes.

  • False-positive #1 (can't wait): Audition the component at the BEGINNING of the Break-In period, love it, and keep it. Later, as component elements complete break-in, the performance devolves so significantly that it's NO LONGER a good selection. Stuck!
  • False-positive #2 (self-fulfilling prophecy): Dedicate significant resources (i.e., time, energy, money, etc.) toward selecting a component. Once selected...
    • You want this component to deliver the anticipated joy and sound.
    • You want to hear improvement during the break-in period.
    • You want to believe this component is a winner.

During break-in, you become ACCUSTOMED to this component in your system (warts and all)…so you keep it. Once the new component EXCITEMENT wears off, you realize you made a selection mistake. Stuck!

  • False-negative (can't wait): This is the exact opposite of False-positive #1. Listen at the beginning of the break-in period, hate it, and move on. You're blessed in this case because "you don't know what you don't know." Admittedly, I've been the lucky benefactor of SEVERAL components that weren't fully broken in, did the required break-in, and found "manna from heaven." Good for me, but bad for the original owner.

Diminished performance: With some components, the break-in method isn't just crucial to achieving the full performance of the component…it's required. If a proper method of break-in isn't utilized, some components can be IRREPARABLY damaged…that is, they'll NEVER achieve full performance. I've not knowingly suffered this fate, but I'd be PISSED if I did. ☹

Since Break-In can ONLY introduce delayed gratification, impaired selection decisions, and/or poor performance, Audiophiles should try to avoid it. (Some of you masochists may actually love the break-in process. Not me.)

By design, ALL CH Acoustic products deliver 100% of their designed performance at first use. There's no delayed gratification, no impairment of your selection decision, and no performance risk from Break-In. You connect the CH Acoustic cables and cords, press play, and listen.

  • Your smile should show up in the first ten (10) seconds.
  • Your audiophile enjoyment will last LONG past the first 400hrs of playtime.
  • You can spend your time and energy ridding yourself (and your system) of the former cable loom, maybe even putting some money back in your pocket. ☺

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Showing 1 response by isochronism

"What are some examples of improper break-in"? I've heard warnings against breaking-in speakers with, let's say, 400  hours of straight Yoko Ono. I can't say if they'd be irreparably damaged ....... although your PSYCHE may be at risk!