Phono pre "Break-In" process? Necessary?

Just ordered a new phono preamp from Jolida  (J9II). Is there a break in process I should be aware of? Or do I simply play normal and realistically believe that it will open up as time goes on. Also, how much can one expect this pre will improve over time?

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150 to 250 hours  for break-in is patently ridiculous…turn it on and let it warm up for a few minutes and just enjoy the thing without worrying about it…if it seems to get a little better sounding over time it could simply be due to your getting used to it, or a gift from the mysterious electron gods...but the mythology of unquantifiable extreme break in time (on for 24 hours a day 7 days straight? man….) for components is a silly concept promoted by those who are wound a little too tight. Components sound a little different from day to day anyway…earwax buildup, humidity, local electric grid fluctuations…mood swings... 
Break-in time unfortunately is a necessary evil. A freshly built amplifier will sound quite differently say.. 3 or 4 weeks later. It is centered around chemical changes that happen when power is applied to a given circuit or system to include interconnects, speaker wire etc.

Generally speaking audiophiles that recognize and hear the "break-in" effect are not imagining it - it really does happen. This is why manufacturers may have a break-in shelf for components or sub-assemblies or whole finished products that just have time put on them to try to shorten the break-in time experienced by the customer when he or she receives it in their home.

If you cannot hear the effects of break-in, it usually means that some component in your system is masking the improvement in purity.

The sonic explanation of break-in is the slow but sure improvement in apparent detail and focus of the projected sound stage due to the reduction in timing errors.


There is a break-in period for components, how much varies by manufacturer. Would suggest you ask Jolida or dealer what to expect. 
Generally speaking audiophiles that recognize and hear the "break-in" effect are not imagining it - it really does happen.
Totally agree.
Agree with break-in period on electronics, however its quite short IMO. I find that length of period on, i.e. the circuit is fully thermally stabilized have a much greater effect on sound quality than any "break-in" have. 

Speakers have a much more prolonged breaking process as there literally are moving parts in a speaker that needs to loosen up so to speak.

Wires and Cables - as close to ZERO as one can get in "break-in" time

With in regards to break-in my overall impression on this that it is something that the actual end user of the product is "doing" so that him/her has an actual part is the process, i.e. "if I had not broken it in properly it would not sound this good"  

My two cents, I'm sure a lot of people have widely different opinions :-)

Good Listening

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Burn-in matters.

If you haven’t heard it for yourself... you are yet to be educated. Your ears will thank you eternally.

Hagerman Technologies offers a iRIAA2 (inverse riaa card) that works with a line output signal from say a CD player. You fire it up and forget about it for any number of hours and with no pain, you conquer the burn-in monotony in the shortest time possible. Here is Mr Hagerman’s explanation of the products function; The iRIAA Filter is a two-channel passive inverse RIAA response filter for use in testing phono preamplifiers. Unlike traditional networks, the iRIAA Filter includes a correctly placed upper 3.18us (50kHz) corner in its transfer function. Output level is switchable between -40dB and -60dB. Frequency response is accurate to within +/-0.5dB from 10Hz to 100kHz.

I have no affiliation with Hagerman Technologies other then I and many of my audio club members fully appreciate this product and its benefits.

Happy Listening!
Been there done that. One of the biggest reasons manufacturers have such difficulty getting their systems to sound even reasonably good at audio shows like CES is that they insist on showing brand new systems - new components, new speakers and new cables. Because the system has not been broken in properly it will by and large sound thin, bass shy, two dimensional, harsh, beamy, irritating and generic. Sometimes the systems will open up and start sounding a little listenable on day three, the day it’s time to pack up and leave!
Geoffkait, I could not agree with you more. One would think they would hear it, understand it, and for nothing more than pure money making desire, wish to have the gear sounding its best, but they don’t, go figure...

That makes me question their very abilities as a dealer.

Yes I think there is a break in time for most equipment, IC and powercords. It varies however, I think on average around 50 hrs is sufficient enough but some IC and PCs can be more. Is it HUGE usually not but noticeable in my opinion to trained ears. For example one night I was listening for a couple of hours and all of the sudden my system sounded smoother and more open. It was weird but it was like "poof" the sound was much better. I don't think it was the bourbon lol. I don't remember what it was off the top of my head but I'm pretty sure it was a IC. 

Wolf brings up a very good point. Turn it on and let it play. Try not to judge too harshly at 1st because of the break in time but in my opinion the overall flavor or tone of the new component is immediately noticeable. Yes you can let it break in longer but the overall characteristics won't change that much. Just my 2 cents :)

To clarify for the over-thinkers, things often sound better after a while, as well they should…but well made audio gear should work pretty great right off the proverbial bat or I’m not interested. On the other hand, I think we need an "un burn-in" device to restore items that sound worse after burn-in in case the fresh component sounded better when brand new. Ridiculous, but I think this concept will seem like a better idea if you let it burn-in…re-visit this post after at least 150 hours...

As a product accumulates burn-in time the distortion is reduced.
If your system begins to sound worse - Don't blame the new product, blame a component ahead if it that may have sounded harsh but was tamed down by the "fresh" amp that could not yet pass fine detail. When that amp finally achieves zen it simply exposes the quality of whatever is driving it.


Show me someone who doesn't believe in break in time and I will show you someone who has never owned Morrow cables.
At 4:20 this thread appeared to run astray of any reasonable logic... could it just be a Friday "burn-in" gone up in smoke in someone's time zone?
Yes, components take time to break in.  Capacitors and their various resonances are a good example.  Different capacitors take differing times to form.  Different TYPES of capacitors take different amounts of time to form.  And most other components take time to form their various capacitances even if it is a simple resistor mounted to a circuit board (the board itself can act as a capacitor).  And as those capacitors form, it changes their resonances.  Resonances contribute HEAVILY to the sound of a component.

That's JUST the beginning.

Please google  "Capacitor Forming"  then comment.

Good listening
OK…what about "burn out" time? and "burn up" time…Berne Switzerland?…I need more of the tightly wrapped to comment on these things…come on now…I know you got somethin'…
The flagship Duelund capacitors that everyone is raving about are notorious for long break-in times, as much as 500 or 600 hours, so they say. Of course it’s always possible that some sort of group hypnosis is going on. ;-)

One High Fidelity Cables reviewer noted that the CT-1 ICs were 90% broken in after 10 hours. Well, I happen to be rather disenchanted with the whole idea of 90% of anything so it begs the question is break-in like recharging a cell phone for which the last 5% of charging takes the longest time? Aren’t we just trying to get the last 5% to get to the Promised Land?
wolf_garcia, are you merely fooling around and adding distortions to the soundtrack or are you searching to understand? I'd suggest, let your ears and your experience be the true test of whether something exists in the audio hobby/world. Trading ideas and experience can be helpful yet, to rely (or worse, depend) on measurements or someone else's convincing tale, is to miss the entire point. 

r_f…I do welcome the humorless as, after all, they are people too. I am astonished when an obviously ridiculous comment meant to break up the tedium around here results in officious "suggestions." My experience as an audio geek goes back to the 60s, I've been a successful musician for 5 decades or so, and mix live jazz concerts (and other stuff) regularly. Even based on what I've posted here you're response makes even less sense than my posts which often purposely contain nonesense designed to poke at the tedious gasbags who populate this place…welcome! 
Sometimes hard to separate those being intentionally ridiculous, from those who just are...

It's great to have both the musical background and audio experience you speak of. I don't know you, so I would not make too rash a judgement to whether that means anything or not. Hopefully, it has more to offer here than sheer levity. While old and young "gasbags" as you call them, create intolerable levels of THD throughout these discussions, there are those who actually don't understand and deeply want to. Ironically, I believe you and I ultimately want the same outcome here.

And thank you for welcoming me to an audio website that I've been on now for nearly two decades.

Still find me too sobering? :)
pbn - None of the articles seem to examine small changes over time nor do they remotely hint anything related to resonances.  And who's talking about electrolytics, specifically?  Definitely NOTHING related to actually hearing differences.

I stand on my earlier opinions.
In order to fully appreciate the significance of break-in for wires and cables it helps to have installed the wire or cables in the correct, I.e., best sounding direction, just like fuses.  If they are installed in the wrong direction they will sound lame both before and after break in.

I hope to aid in the understanding of break-in and what it does.

During my research into distortion, I was forced to include the break-in phenomenon.

Mostly because the tiny distortion I was going after was very similar to the size of the distortion reduced or removed by allowing sufficient “break-in” time. This component behavior is something I am very familiar with. There is no mystery as to how break-in affects sound reproduction. To understand how the sound changes, you need to know exactly what happens during that time.

There are those that have sought guidance from A-B tests done on capacitors from various manufacturers. An attempt is made to ensure that it is a “fair” test. Capacitors are swapped out under the same physical conditions (leads are held by screw terminal type connections). While it seems fair on the surface – it is not the way to determine which capacitors are better than others.

If you want it to be fair – you take the ten samples and build them into ten copies of the same circuit.

Then after listening tests that include early (fresh) and late (3 weeks) comparisons you will have your answer. Two capacitors from the same manufacturer can sound different depending on where it is used in the circuit. You have to know some history of the component even though it may be new stock. Depending on how it is tested before shipping will affect the length of time forming process will take.

In a nutshell: The capacitor will initially behave as having non-symmetrical impedance. It is not exactly the same as having a non-linear component. Current drawn by the charging cycle will not match the current given up by the discharge cycle. This is due to the instantaneous state of the dielectric. Therefore the impedance will be slightly higher in one direction and lower in the other direction (until it is formed). We are not talking about a big difference – in fact it is not measurable.

How then would I know that this is true? I have worked with distortion products that are at or below the noise floor. Once you reduce distortion down to extremely low levels (to where they don’t show up on test gear) it then relies purely on theoretical analysis to go any further.

Since I was already down there – the break-in phenomenon was right in my wheelhouse.

The mismatch in charge/discharge current causes the timing of the positive and negative wave-fronts to be askew. This detracts from the feeling of "live" that we naturally get when listening through air. 

In fact if you want to see the difference just the break-in can make, I received 2 reviews for the same gear by the same person whose comments in the second (follow-up review) describe how the equipment has morphed into a different experience. When the circuitry has very low or no distortion, the break-in changes are much more noticeable because their distortion product is larger in size than the circuit’s own distortion. Once the forming is complete, a now clear path is recognized through the entire product. You begin to hear the true purity of just the circuit.


r_f_…The simple answer is no, my background means nothing really, and if you've been here 2 decades it's surprising you've been unaware of how ridiculous my posts have consistently been.  That is actually sobering. Has all of my ridiculousness been wasted? *sniff*…in keeping with this this philosophy, I do feel that helping those without sophistication gained from experience with this hobby can often lead them to further study arcane aspects of sound reproduction, and lead to posts filled with useless nonsense. Like this one. Note that the distortion in my post is below the noise floor, but clearly still there….thankfully unmeasurable.
Wolf_garcia, nicely played.

I've quite honestly been away a good while, mostly traveling and happily listening to all things audio and otherwise. Thank you Zen master Hakuin for the koan, "what is the sound of one hand" (clapping). 

I can clearly see by your high sample rate that you have been busy entertaining and entertained. I'll have to do some back reading to get caught up in the current state of affairs so that any ridiculousness was not wasted. I'm not a buzz kill, really! I do understand the desperate need to break the monotony and the down right lack of fundamental understanding present in some of these threads...geez. And I do say that with all due respect of knowing I too am but a student, and have much to learn. But my, how things have changed here since the market crash. So much of the deep, deep knowledge and momentum seems to have moved (hopefully not passed) on. This is my initial perception, I would love to be proven dead wrong. I'll keep reading and writing and we'll see what happens. 

Perhaps unmeasurable, but never the less, still perceptible.

Happy Listening!
r_f:  Things have changed; the s/n ratio has gone down and the THD has gone up!  Oh, well, it still beats FOX News ;-)
swampwalker, agreed, not saying things are bad here (yet) but, even a really bad day on an audio thread (and while listening to the Hi-fi), is still better than a good day in front of the boob-tube IMHO. [|;^)>

Perhaps unmeasurable, but never the less, still perceptible
Thank you for being open minded. It is exactly as I posted. The good news is that there is proof of concept. If you have read my white paper you will see that I absolutely held back making such an astounding claims until I had actual evidence for just this reason. EVERY attempt 100% to reproduce sound in a way that it sounds "live" or 3 dimensional has fallen by the wayside. Why? because there have been a plethora of designers who dabble in the smoke and mirrors method of making the sound stage wider or tricking you into believing that an instrument has all of a sudden popped out of the system. They are 100% fake and your brain knows it.

What I have done has...
A) never been done before and
B) has no competition.
Is that a profound statement to claim?

OK - I got your attention.

If you wire one speaker out of phase, what do you get? Most people react as saying wow this is like surround sound but the vocals are not centered and seem to be coming from everywhere in the room. A portion of that effect can be designed into an electronic device by simply keeping the speaker phase correct and taking a small portion of the signal and flipping the phase over and applying it to the opposite channel. Don't take my word for it - they blatantly describe the technique in there own patent(s).

Do you realize how long it has been since there was a true breakthrough in audio? Decades.

When the real thing comes along how do expect people to react? Well if they have not actually heard it then you get the knee jerk reaction.. "yes of course it is the ultimate..bla bla bla..."  but they don't believe it for a second.

The experience cannot be described in words. So let me simply say the in the coming months you will see one audio magazine after another validating what I have done as the biggest breakthrough in sound reproduction. Period.

I know there are plenty of readers that are gasping right now - thinking how arrogant, how "Trump" like. I am humbled by the events that have placed my work in a category by itself. I have been blessed. I do not claim to be a know-it-all (like some others appear to be). I did my time in the lab to figure out exactly why systems don't just project 3-D naturally. The answer is because the job of amplifying was never taken to the final stages. Once it hits the "low" distortion measurements that are assumed to be good enough - that's it there are no tools to help them go any further.

The problem is that something was still fundamentally wrong because real "live" sound has not been attained thus far. Every thread has audiophiles talking about how to get "the sound you are looking for". Some like the sonic signature of a good triode or some like the slam of SS so they drive their woofers with SS and a nice lush tube top end, etc.

When amplification does not have a sonic signature - how can you tell if it is tubes or transistors? The answer is you can't. That only happens when there is NO distortion. Forget about odd or even harmonics - try none.

Yes there is distortion that cannot be measured and has been the most destructive obstacle in the way of reproducing actual live sound. If you can present sound that appears to be coming through the medium of air - it is easily recognized by the brain as authentic. Nothing about the amplifier is used to generate or simulate the effect of air - it simply passes the true velocity which was in the air at the time of recording.

That's why it is referred to as the "Holy Grail" of audio.

If you plan on going to the Newport Beach show in June you can witness
a piece of audio history.


Roger wrote,

"The experience cannot be described in words. So let me simply say the in the coming months you will see one audio magazine after another validating what I have done as the biggest breakthrough in sound reproduction. Period."

Actually, eveything can be described in words. No reason for all the mystery. We are not illiterate slobs. See if you can describe what indescribable experience you’re talking about in say a paragraph or two. Is it like a Mounds candy bar, indescribably delicious?

"If it doesn’t make sense it’s not true." - Judge Judy

OK - here goes.

It is the same thing as being there.

Geoffkait, Some of this thread is just nuts. I'd be kind of a Mound's fan, but they screwed up the Almond Joy when they used cheap (domestic style) milk chocolate. Had they taken a lesson from the Swiss and way-upped the butter fat and used quality cocoa with the almonds, I'd be all in! [|;^)>
Well good luck guys -

These threads have not changed much.
I tried to tell you about something legitimate that will have an impact on the very industry around which your hobby exists. Unless you are an amplifier manufacturer yourself in which case I could understand trying to tear down what I have said. I feel sorry for actual audiophiles who come to these forums to share ideas and learn from others. I'm sure there is a thread somewhere that deals with candy bars.

We will just wait for the news to hit you from other sources.

It's been my experience that amplifier designers are the most educated, clever and talented audiophiles in the business.  Don't believe me?  Just ask them.  I'm more of a Zag Nut guy myself.
Just enjoy your new concerns about anything but the music

Its ironic that good news for audio would fall on deaf ears belonging to audiophiles.

I think I’ll hold off on putting my MA-1 Mk.3 Silvers on "or best offer" for a bit and keep my ears open.

roger_paul, Oh, the world is filled with many ironies. I have no idea what you may have going on here, and wish no personal offense. Yet, this thread seems like an odd venue to roll out a new paradigm for making things louder. Agreed, I don’t quite get it. Claims such as these are truly best brought from an independent party and you would do yourself, and your new product, I believe, better press in this manner.

It also used to be customary around these parts to note on your post that you are "industry" and therefore not be accused after the fact of unknowingly misleading someone here with your likely bias. I mean to suggest no impropriety on your part what so ever. As I’m sure you have the best of intentions and are very excited about what you have done. I’m just saying.

Offering info up in a new thread with links to your white paper and product reviews might be a real focused approach.

Happy Listening!
Thank you r_f for your civil response. The only reason I ended up on this thread was the topic "burn-in" which I happen to know about because it was the last obstacle in the way of distortion-free amplification.

I know of other manufacturers who I respect (like atmosphere) and have shared great wisdom on these threads. I don't have a problem seeing their input on something the some newbees are not quite able to understand. This is a hobby that can be made more enjoyable by connecting with like minded individuals. A lot can be learned by reading the experiences of others.

There is another thread started by the reviewer...

Has anyone heard the new North American products preamp and amp?

This would be the one to follow and learn about this process if you are curious.

roger_paul " ... Yes there is distortion that cannot be measured and has been the most destructive obstacle in the way of reproducing actual live sound ..."

If you have identified distortion that you can't measure, then you are measuring the wrong thing.
Actually - it cannot be measured by external analyzers but it can be detected within the circuit and removed. As a result the resolution, detail and physical layout of the original venue become blatantly obvious.

The amplifier is able to pass the electrical version of the sound waves as if it only traveled via the air medium.

The velocity has to be included or it cannot sound live.

roger_paul " ... Actually - it cannot be measured by external analyzers but it can be detected within the circuit and removed."

If you have identified distortion but can't measure it, then either you are measuring the wrong thing, or you're mistaken about the distortion in the first place. If the distortion can be "detected," then it can be measured.
THD analyzers do not detect velocity. It is too far below the ability to display. The circuit can detect velocity and correct faint variations in speed in real time.

It is those speed variations the destroy the integrity of the final output sound and make objects embedded in the signal appear to be drifting (not stable).
roger_paul  " ... THD analyzers do not detect velocity. It is too far below the ability to display. The circuit can detect velocity and correct faint variations in speed in real time."

Oh,  you are talking about a turntable! Speed variations can certainly be very precisely measured. Indeed, the speed of anything can be measured. You just need the right tool.
In defense of the theory of "detecting the immeasurable". We have heard for decades, perhaps since the beginnings of mankind, certainly before electronics, things with our highly tuned listening devices, things that if our ancient ancestors had not heard and understood in time/space/direction cues, we would not be sitting in front of our glorious Hi-fi kits today for a casual listen. And so it goes, scientists still can't put simple numbers and logic to what we sit down with. Our old, damaged, ears and faulty logic, but sessioned listening skills and never the less, we hear without fail.

Two violin players play the same piece, note for note, why does Heifetz not sound like Grappelli?

Happy Listening! (regardless of measure)
r_f_sayles  " ... never the less, we hear without fail."

Oh no, you're mistaken . The ear is very easily fooled.


I hear without fail.

That doesn't mean, I hear perfectly or understand perfectly (scientifically) what I hear.

Perhaps whatever we hear is all that matters.

I do not derive any pleasure from numbers, or being "right".

Your statement is most accurate, yet if I'm musically fooled and happy (in front of my Hi-fi), is it not a better place to be than scientifically baffled and frustrated and somehow not into the music?

Thank you Zen master Hakuin for the koan, what is the sound of one hand (clapping)?

Happy Listening!


Well I see where you are going but it is not the same thing. For example in order to have speed variations on the turntable the are like those found in amplifier, your TT speed (33 rpm) would have to speed up to 66 rpm in order to produce a harmonic of what ever is in the groove. 

Amplifiers that can generate energy at 2 Khz from a 1Khz fundamental experience a very rapid change in velocity causing the fundamental to "slide" up the spectrum and be seen at 2khz and then slide" back to 1Khz.
If it does not slide - then it is digital not analog.

The reason it is only a small percentage of distortion is because the segment of the 1 Khz sine wave the experiences the non-linear event is brief. Energy from the fundamental cannot exist in two places at once because it is an analog continuum. This can be seen by measuring the signal level at the output as (lets say) +10db and see that the fundamental on the display reads +9.8 db The other 1.2 db is spread out across the harmonic content. If you remove the harmonics the fundamental will measure +10 and be seen as +10 on the display.

The velocity errors I have successfully trapped are right next to the fundamental. So If the 1Khz signal begins to head up the spectrum - it is held by a velocity countermeasure to keep it locked on speed. So 1,001 Khz (one extra cycle) is not allowed. This is why it does not have the ability to produce harmonic distortion. It is captured and dealt with while it is still in its infancy as a phase problem not a frequency problem. On the other hand, the burn-in process (outside the detection system) all by itself will cause an offset in the speed that will end up displacing the sound objects enough to cause the live nature of the sound to collapse. It can sound fake until it is broken in.

The break-in non-symmetrical charge/discharge currents will give you something that looks like a pencil sitting in half a glass of water. (It looks like the pencil is split at the water line) That is the positive and negative wavefronts in an unregistered condition. After burn-in the pencil is seen as normal (out of the water) as the wavefronts are now registered (same as live).


r_f_sayle  " ...Perhaps whatever we hear is all that matters.

I do not derive any pleasure from numbers, or being 'right'.

Your statement is most accurate, yet if I'm musically fooled and happy (in front of my Hi-fi), is it not a better place to be than scientifically baffled and frustrated and somehow not into the music?"

Oh, we agree completely! For me, the music is more important than the numbers. I'm grateful that we have audio engineers who do most of the work for us! All we have to do is assemble the components, tweak and listen.

What I was responding to was the claim by roger_paul that he had detected some form of distortion that cannot be measured. That's just a silly claim. Almost by definition, if it can be reliably detected, it can be measured.