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Thread: Why does burning in work

  1. #1

    Why does burning in work

    Is there a clear and logical scientific reason why components work better Whe. 'burned in' and does this mean they deteriorate from optimal state shortly after having been burned in?

  2. #2
    Do components work better when burned in?
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    Kal Rubinson
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    Member Sponsor [VIP/Donor] GaryProtein's Avatar
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    the listener gets used to what their system sounds like.

    The listener is by far the greatest variable in the system.


    +1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post
    Do components work better when burned in?
    exactly ....... the term 'burned in' cracks me up. Conditioning, much more so of the individual than the gear.

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryProtein View Post
    Burning in works because after a time, excluding the first hour electronics are turned on when they are new or the first five minutes after that when turned on from cold ambient temperature; and 24 hours for a new speaker to get used to moving the physical cones and their surrounds, the listener gets used to what their system sounds like.

    The listener is by far the greatest variable in the system.
    how dare you express logic and common sense Gary .........
    Cheers - Dave

  5. #5
    VIP/Donor [WBF Founding Member] ack's Avatar
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    The subject of burn-in is deep, but here's a short and shallow summary. Electrical components will undergo permanent physical changes when voltage is applied to them and current flows, and this is a measurable effect. For example, I stole the pictures below from one of the many threads at diyaudio, on capacitor burn-in (off the shelf, one day, two days) http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/parts...urn-break.html



    The same applies to warm-up, as the components settle when their temperature rises. For example, in amplifiers, the bias currents will settle; in loudspeakers, the voice coils will also change behavior (even worse here, they may deteriorate as the temperature rises even further than normal - simply put, their electrical characteristics change), etc.

    The other side of burn-in is to catch early failures. Because of the effects of burn-in, any precise adjustments must follow that process, for best performance. Unfortunately, very few manufacturers do that, and it's disappointing. To give you a concrete personal example, when I got my XP-25 phono years ago, I sent it back within 10 days for re-adjustment. As the days went by, clearly the gain in one channel was higher, and clearly, the bass was ever so slightly different between the channels. Pass adjusted and sent it back at no charge.
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    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] microstrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loheswaran View Post
    Is there a clear and logical scientific reason why components work better Whe. 'burned in' and does this mean they deteriorate from optimal state shortly after having been burned in?
    Burn-in is a well documented process used during manufacturing for increasing reliability of some components. The physical changes in electronic components during the first tens or hundreds of hours are known, the only question is if they produce audible effects. As usual, the main question is on these thresholds and how we establish them - and here we do not have scientific answers. But we also do not have scientific answers why many amplifiers, preamplfiers or DACs sound much better after one hour warm-up. At best we measure some small differences, but are not able to correlate them with the great sound improvement most of us, me included, claim to perceive.

    Some burn-in processes commonly used in research laboratories are not scientifically proved but based on experience - the oldest reference on cable burn-in I ever found was in an extremely sensitive Keithley Instruments electrometer manual referring that a specific Teflon cable should "rest" in position after being put in place before taking measurements!

    Believe me, very seldom we will have scientific proves of anything in the high-end - science needs a lots of resources, time and money and scientists have better things to then explaining some subjective effects in stereo sound reproduction!

    And yes, we should not mix burn-in as used in audiophilia, with burn-in carried in controlled challenging conditions to catch failures or estimate longevity and reliability.

    We had several very interesting threads on this subject before - just google WBF on " burn-in".
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    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] microstrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ack View Post
    (...) For example, I stole the pictures below from one of the many threads at diyaudio, on capacitor burn-in (off the shelf, one day, two days) http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/parts...urn-break.html

    Although not documented and disputed in the thread, these pictures show a signal taken directly from a circuit using electrolytic capacitors - known to need a long burn-in. A good example of the "decay time" after burn-in is that some standards ask for re-forming before measuring electrolytic capacitor leakage :

    3.7.6 Reforming
    To IEC 60384-4, aluminum electrolytic capacitors are to be subjected to a reforming process before
    acceptance testing. The purpose of this preconditioning is to ensure that the same initial conditions
    are maintained when comparing and assessing different products.
    For this purpose, the rated voltage is applied to the capacitors via a series resistance of approximately
    100 Ω for VR ≤100 V DC, or 1000 Ω for VR >100 V DC, for a period of one hour.
    Subsequently, the capacitors are stored under no-voltage conditions for 12 to 48 hours at a temperature
    between 15 and 35 °C. The leakage current must then be measured, at the latest after
    48 hours.
    If the capacitors meet the leakage current requirements without preconditioning, this procedure
    can be omitted.
    DCS Vivaldi 2.0 stack, Magico Mini II's while waiting for the XLF successor, Forsell Air Force One, ARC Phono 3, Lamm ML1.2 Ref, Lamm L2ref, TA OPUS MM2 IC's and sp, TA XL digital, TA XL gen V power cables, CenterStage footers and Nordost Qkore8's!

  8. #8
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    Break-in is a phenomenon with dielectrics and speaker drivers.

    Speaker drivers:
    The surrounds are pliable, but until after are "worked", they become even more pliable. Sitting for long periods of time without usage stiffens these, so they need to be broken-in again, even older speakers. Also, shipping to shows subjects the drivers to changes in temperature and humidity, which can result in stiffening and the need for break-in again.

    Electronics:
    The dielectrics in circuit boards, cables and capacitors needs to "Form" when they are new. This process changes the molecular structure similar to the way the annealing changes the structure of metals or the right kind of light can change the energy level of some polymers. The Forming process applies electrical "stress" to the dielectric with voltage and current. Electrolytic capacitors have chemistry also that needs to form when they are new or have sit on the shelf for a long time.

    When electronics is shipped, changes in temperature and humidity can cause static charge to build-up in dielectrics, so they need to be "worked" again to dissipate/drain this charge. Electrolytic caps may change chemistry, so they need to form again. This is why even older electronics needs break-in when setting up at shows. The last day of the show is usually the best as a result.

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    Member Addicted to Best! NorthStar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ack View Post
    The subject of burn-in is deep, but here's a short and shallow summary. Electrical components will undergo permanent physical changes when voltage is applied to them and current flows, and this is a measurable effect. For example, I stole the pictures below from one of the many threads at diyaudio, on capacitor burn-in (off the shelf, one day, two days) http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/parts...urn-break.html



    The same applies to warm-up, as the components settle when their temperature rises. For example, in amplifiers, the bias currents will settle; in loudspeakers, the voice coils will also change behavior (even worse here, they may deteriorate as the temperature rises even further than normal - simply put, their electrical characteristics change), etc.

    The other side of burn-in is to catch early failures. Because of the effects of burn-in, any precise adjustments must follow that process, for best performance. Unfortunately, very few manufacturers do that, and it's disappointing. To give you a concrete personal example, when I got my XP-25 phono years ago, I sent it back within 10 days for re-adjustment. As the days went by, clearly the gain in one channel was higher, and clearly, the bass was ever so slightly different between the channels. Pass adjusted and sent it back at no charge.
    +1

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  10. #10
    Member Addicted to Best! NorthStar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empirical Audio View Post
    Break-in is a phenomenon with dielectrics and speaker drivers.

    Speaker drivers:
    The surrounds are pliable, but until after are "worked", they become even more pliable. Sitting for long periods of time without usage stiffens these, so they need to be broken-in again, even older speakers. Also, shipping to shows subjects the drivers to changes in temperature and humidity, which can result in stiffening and the need for break-in again.

    Electronics:
    The dielectrics in circuit boards, cables and capacitors needs to "Form" when they are new. This process changes the molecular structure similar to the way the annealing changes the structure of metals or the right kind of light can change the energy level of some polymers. The Forming process applies electrical "stress" to the dielectric with voltage and current. Electrolytic capacitors have chemistry also that needs to form when they are new or have sit on the shelf for a long time.

    When electronics is shipped, changes in temperature and humidity can cause static charge to build-up in dielectrics, so they need to be "worked" again to dissipate/drain this charge. Electrolytic caps may change chemistry, so they need to form again. This is why even older electronics needs break-in when setting up at shows. The last day of the show is usually the best as a result.

    Steve N.
    Empirical Audio
    +1

    Part of that book.
    All the Very Best, - Bob --------- "And it stoned me to my soul" - Van Morrison --------- AudiophileAudition

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