IF it is true, it is your ears/brain taking 45 minutes, not the equipment
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Your central nervous system accommodates to the environment in many ways. Attached to one of your little ear conduction bones (ossicles) is the smallest muscle in the body called the stapedius. As the ear is exposed to louder sounds the stapedius tightens damping the ossicles to protect the inner ear. This also changes the frequency response of the ears slightly. This is auditory accommodation and the reason why you always want to warm up your ears before listening at higher volumes. I will start at 85 dB and increase 5 dB every five minutes or so up to my usual listening level for jazz and rock around 95 dB. This protects your ears from the damage of higher levels. Going above 95 db is fun but you do not want to do that on a routine basis if you like your hearing.
rvpiano, Of course the improvement is palpable. Why would the microphone changing it's sensitivity and frequency response be any different then your system doing that. I know for an absolute fact your hearing does this. Read any book on the physiology of hearing. Your ears and brain are far more flexible than your Hi Fi. People just do not understand how their senses can be so affected by the environment. There is nothing about us that is static.
Walk into a very bright room from a dim one (movie theater) and you will start squinting. Eventually things settle down and you won't have to squint...because your pupils have stopped down and limited the amount of light that enters your eyes. Guess what! Your ears work the same way.
I don’t think so. I don’t doubt what mijo states about the physiology of it all and it probably is a factor...... to a degree. However, wouldn’t the same physiological “break in” occur when listening to live acoustic music? In live settings I don’t experience anything close to what rv describes. noromance mentions a couple of possibilities. I would add the possibility that your particular cartridge does indeed “relax” during the first half hour or so. Maybe.
It seems that my records don’t realize their full sonic potential until about 45 minutes of playing. Even if the rest of the system is already warmed up.
Coulda sworn I answered this. Internet ate it? Whatever.
Its funny, I have mentioned this a half a dozen times at least. Just not in its own thread. Its definitely a thing. Also funny how recently I posted about listening skill levels and how people reveal the level they are on by the way they talk about things. You start making excuses trying to explain away what another person clearly heard, trust me, its you not them. Worst mistake you can make is to start second-guessing your own ears simply because some guy who can’t hear made up some halfway’s plausible sounding malarkey trying to explain your experience away.
Don’t fall for it. Its real. I go through this every night. No matter how warmed up everything else is still its a good 20 minutes for the cartridge. If you say 45 I won’t argue. What happens, every time, big fast initial improvement so the first track sounds better at the end. The first 5-10 minutes is the biggest improvement. Starts out hard, grainy, flat, winds up more liquid, natural, deep. By the end of the first side, about 20 min, I’m pretty happy. But yeah, it does continue to improve after that. So you could say 45.
A big reason for doubt is its not just the cartridge, the whole system improves. There’s just no doubt. I’ve even had people who stayed long enough tell me it sounds better at the end. Chris Brady, the Teres Turntable guy, he noticed this and he was only here a couple hours. Chris has good ears. Anyone not hearing these things, trust me, you can forget the stories. Its you.
I’m just crazy enough that when someone makes up a reason why I will actually go and test it out. So if the suspension needs to warm up and loosen up I run a blow drier on the cartridge long enough to be sure the heat has soaked all the way in and.... no difference. Still needs to warm up.
That leaves motor, bearing, wire. Can’t recall running the motor specifically to check this. Tell ya what, will do that tonight. While I’m doing that, maybe some of these guys who can’t hear this at all can actually try and see if they can? Because let me assure you, its for real.
Others have stated that it’s the time your ears/whatever take to adjust. Makes sense on a certain level, and I agree your ears probably do need some time to adjust to volume levels being projected at you in your listening room vs what your ears have been processing throughout the day prior. BUT, I have the same experience with my analog rig in regards to warm up period. I will put a record on and leave the room and come back only to flip sides. After a couple LPs I come back and start really listening. I can hear an improvement vs when I start listening without a warmup. I wasn’t there listening throughout the whole warmup period so that rules out the theory of my ears adjusting. It’s cartridge suspension, TT motor, whatever it is, is warming up. That’s been my experience.
Rvpiano, as I mentioned, your cartridge’s suspension is probably relaxing during the first half hour or so of use. However, as tooblue and others have said “a little of this and a little of that” is probably closer to the truth. For example, how is it possible for “the rest of the system is (to be) fully warmed up” if one has not listened to LP’s yet? Whether stand alone or integrated a phono stage needs to warm up as well; especially if it is a tube unit, in my experience. My experience has also been that it is not enough to simply turn electronics on and let them idle for a while. One has to actually play music through the system for it to be “fully warmed up”. In the case of my all tube system, and as silly as it is to try and quantify these things, I would say that it sounds about 75% of the way to reaching “full sonic potential” after about one record side and pretty close to full potential after two record sides. Full potential even later than that.
Gosh Millercarbon is spot on for a change!
I have a spotlight too as well as hair drier for the cartridge
And my tech guy is building a bespoke phonowarmer so I can plug into the phonostage and "tickle" it until all bits are warmed up. Saves cartridge wear and getting up and down changing lps just for the sake of warm up period.
45 minutes is about right for me too for all parts of the chain to gel together. First unwarm period - meh ...
Warmed up - Yeah
In my research for a new cartridge I came across info which I dont recall if it was people who owned Lyra cartridges or John Carr himself but I do remember it being said that if your cartridge is in an environment that is less than 72 degrees you should use a light bulb over the table to warm up the cartridge.
Reading this I started to pay attention to the sound when I play my first record compared to one’s say a half hour in, and I gotta say this is absolutely true.
Now when I fire up my rig, I give my tube gear 20-30 min warm up then I play one side of an album with the volume off to give the motor an cart. some warm up time.
Given the varying opinions on the subject, why don’t you, for the first 45 minutes or so of your listening session, play a different medium such as streaming or CD, then put on a record. If you still hear a difference after a certain time, you have your answer. If you no longer hear a difference, you have your answer.
Frogman, what I say about the physiology of hearing is absolutely, incontrovertibly true. Just google Wikipedia on it. The ONLY thing that is changing is your ear. Why do you think they have warm up bands at concerts! Notice the warm up band never plays at full volume? In small clubs the volume is not as loud but I still notice I am a little uncomfortable for the first 5 minutes or so. Once I do get comfortable things sound much better. All the other explanations I have seen here are assumptions without any proof. This is how mythology gets started.
Millercarbon, you are just joking right?
@thecarpathian, not a bad idea but unfortunately not necessarily true. You have to factor in expectation bias. In order to determine if one item sounds better than another you have to be able to switch back and forth. You can only pay attention to one item at a time. You can not evaluate the bass and the treble synchronously. Your brain switches between the two. It helps further if you do not know which one you are listening to. Expectation bias is very real. Magicians use it all the time along with the power of suggestion.
My phono stage: on, always (as suggested by it’s creator). TT and SDS: turned on/spinning at least 30 minutes before listening (for bearing lube, belt, whatever). While warming up my ears, in anticipation of realistic SPLs (as mentioned above) and expecting my cartridge suspension to limber up, during the first two or three cuts; I’ll do a crossword or sudoku. Unless pondering CD pits and digits, previously, I figure the rest of the system is still warming up/stabilizing, as well (lots of tubes). The realism manifests, when everything’s warmed/turned up. The second vinyl typically takes me, "there", better than the first.
**** Why do you think they have warm up bands at concerts! ****
I was not doubting your comments about physiology at all and I made that clear; only the degree to which it might be a factor. You lost me with this one, ‘though. I seriously doubt concert promoters are concerned with the “physiology of hearing“ other than the deluded notion prevalent these days that louder is always better. Building anticipation, giving the audience their money’s worth, or even setting a lower (not always) bar for the main act with a warm up band? Sure. However, I have known a few and not once has the issue come up. Moreover, where’s the physiological “warming up” when attending a live orchestral concert, for instance? Does the third movement of a symphony always sound (!) better than the first. Not a chance.
@frogman I think you've got it right, music needs to play through to "warm" everything up and 2 sides of an LP seem about right to me for getting up to proper listening speed, i have the same experience with a Musical Fidelity A5 CDP ....its like partway through the first CD of a session it sounds so much better ..
My TT sounds best when it’s been running for about an hour and air compressor and motor has stabilized temperature and pressure wise, that’s when speed is very steady too. My SS phono needs about 30 min, the tube pre needs 45 min to sound it’s best, cartridge about one LP side. I try to stick to one arm at a time for this reason. I try to play thin record together as my LT arm is set to play these best. The pivoted arm is less sensitive and will take 180g record and thicker. Yes i am crazy !
So as promised I did run the table 24 minutes before playing a side. There was still the same improvement across the first side, but it seemed to be starting from a higher level. So motor and bearing are probably at least a part of it.
Gosh Millercarbon is spot on for a change!
If you think that's the exception rather than the rule you have much to learn, #27.
Take it easy Slaw, why so needy? I did acknowledge your post. Notice the “indeed” in my comment. Yours was the first and only post (until I post) to mention suspension. So, when I wrote my comment about the suspension as a possibility and write “indeed” as acknowledgment, who or what pray tell would I be referring to if not your post? So, to hopefully make up for my great transgression and to bank a few actual name mentions for possible future oversights 😊:
Slaw, Slaw, Slaw, Slaw, Slaw, Slaw, Slaw, Slaw, Slaw, Slaw, Slaw, Slaw, Slaw, Slaw
@fsellet, you would be wise to discount everyone else's hearing. I am just trying to offer a reasonable and very factual reason for the OP's experience. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stapedius_muscle#:~:text=The%20stapedius%20is%20the%20smallest,in%20th....if everyone wants to believe something else that is their prerogative. The only other reasons I can think of that would make sense are; a tube phono stage that needs to warm up, but that usually only takes 15 minutes. Vibration of the cartridge's suspension generating heat softening the damper. This would lower the cartridges resonance point and possibly its interaction with the tonearm. It would not likely produce any changes in the audio range. So, we are back to the little stapedius muscle. We can give rvpiano a case of bilateral Bell's palsy and see if the effect goes away. He can pose for an indian death mask at the same time:)