Burn in Headphones: How to Break in High Quality Headphones
Burn in Headphones to Break them In
If you use high quality headphones you definitely need to know about the burn in process. High quality headphones require a break in time called "burn in." Many times expensive headphones will sound mediocre right out of the package until they have been burned in. burn in can take several, if not over a hundred hours until your headphone speakers have settled into the way they will sound for the rest of their lives.
During that burn in time you may notice some changes in the way your headphones sound, usually for the better. This is the how to instructions to burn in new headphones to their best sounding potential, getting the most wide frequency response you can possibly get.
Great Pair of Cans
Directions for Burning in Headphones
All you need is your computer, headphones, the program, and a few days of patience.
- You will need a few different types of audio files with various frequencies and sounds. You can use pre-recorded .wav files or the Burninwave Generator software to "burn-in" your new headphones. Most headphones require over 100 hours, so you should download the software available on the page if possible.
- Make a mix of burn in sounds. Make a playlist of burn in tracks. Use your computer to make your playlist whether it's Windows Media Player, iTunes, Winamp, etc. Make sure you do a variety. The goal is to loosen the drivers in the headphones to the point where they respond optimally to music.
- Listen periodically to monitor the progress, but really you don't have to. Whether your head is in between the cans doesn't matter. The higher the quality of headphones the longer it may take. Klipsch Custom 2 in ear headphones made a dramatic change somewhere between 80 and 100 hours, and I noticed the pronounced difference. Out of the package they had no bottom end. They got pronounced mids sooner than lows, but now they have clearly defined balanced lows.
- Play low frequencies progressively. In other words, you may not be able to hear anything under 40 Hz at first. Burn them at 40 Hz for a while before going to 30 Hz. Rotate out to low frequency sweeps also. You may need to turn volume up to hear 30 Hz and lower. Those frequencies sound more like vibrations (think of a diesel semi truck). Eventually you get low enough that the frequency sounds like a slow helicopter blade. Most music does not have this frequency in it. If the headphones can produce those low frequencies, then they will probably have better balance and a flatter response. Stop the burn in whenever you want. There are no rules. All you are doing is speeding up a process that would happen anyway with normal use. Once burned in your headphones should be close to the way they will sound the rest of their life.
Tips for Headphone Burn In
- Schedule some break time of silence in your burn in playlist. This will give your headphones some rest after being driven for long periods of time.
- You may want to push your headphones by playing complicated music and frequency sweeps at the same time. Then your headphones will be challenged to handle the complicated sounds. Use music playing software simultaneously with your the burninwave generator.
- Some say that you should use music that you would normally listen to, so that the headphones will be tailored to that particular style. Others prefer pink noise, frequency sweeps, low frequencies, or some combination.
- Don't turn the volume up much louder than you would listen. You are going for burn-in time not volume, and you might damage your headphones if you play sounds too loudly.
- There may be an awkward period where they don't sound great. They will probably sound better than out of the box at this point, but a little worse than before and not near as good as they will be when fully burned in.
More Headphone Burn In Resources
- Headphone 'Burn In' FAQ
This FAQ was initiated by a few members though FrostyMMB was the main pulse in this body of work. I am essentially reposting his synthesis and stickying it for others...
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