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

Recently, I started a blog on my website (  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. ☺

A650a3ba 9923 45cc ac3f 7f801ff2661eamorsound

Showing 2 responses by minorl

Break in, not Burn in.

Two entirely different things.

go to any factory. After construction is complete they activate the device for a time period.  Days, weeks, etc.  For a Burn in period. To see if there are any issues.  If it is going to fail, it typically does it during the burn in period.  

A friend of mine is the manager of the last jukebox company in America.  They make some outstanding equipment, with their own high level wood working/cabinet making facility.  They complete construction and plug the units in and let them burn in (operate) for days.  An entire assembly line doing this.

As an Engineer that designed and built Military grade electronics, this is exactly what we did also.  this is called burn-in

Every example I've seen from an audiophile perspective, when you take the device home, they recommend a break-in period.

just want to clarify.

There is a very real difference between break in and burn in.

Burn in is specific after construction to let components settle in and to allow for early failure of components.  So, there is a specific burn in period where equipment is turned on and operating.  This is true for just about any equipment.  Cars, airplane components, electronics, etc.

Break in is different.  For new audio equipment, manufacturers don't have the time and or space to perform sufficient break in for equipment.  So, they recommend a break in period at home before serious listening.  This is another reason why demonstration equipment is better.  They have already been through the break in period.

For high end equipment, I have heard significant differences in sound of new equipment going through the break in process.  After a certain amount of break in time, the equipment settles into to its real sound.

This is normal.  This is also not the same as the warm up period for equipment.

Some equipment take hours to reach optimal sound after being turned on.

In my experience, my equipment reaches optimal sound after about 30-45 minutes of warm up.

So, you go to a dealer and listen to a system and it sounds wonderful.  You take a pre-amplifier or amp or source home that is brand new and it sounds off.  Well, it could very well be that it hasn't been through the break in period and all that is needed is time and operating.

In my opinion, it should sound pretty good out of the box, but it will sound better over time and use.  Read the manufacturer's break in recommendation.  It's there for a reason

It's a thing.