You may have heard that new headphones need some time to break in before they sound their best. This is called headphone burn-in, and it involves playing different sounds through your headphones to loosen up the parts and improve the sound quality.
But is headphone burn-in real? And does it make a noticeable difference in how your headphones sound? Let’s find out.
What Is Headphone Burn-In?
Some sources suggest that headphone burn-in was influenced by the practice of speaker burn-in, which dates back to the 1970s or earlier. The concept of headphone burn in originally came from manufacturers of speakers and other audio equipment who would leave speakers running for hours in order to test and ensure the quality and reliability of their products. Some audiophiles adopted the idea and applied it to headphones, believing that playing different frequencies and tones would help loosen the headphone drivers and diaphragms, leading to more in more accurate audio playback.
The analogy often used is that of breaking in a new pair of shoes. When you first wear them, they may feel stiff and uncomfortable, but after some use, they become softer and more comfortable. Similarly, some headphones may sound harsh or dull when they are brand new, but after some burn-in, they sound more warm and balanced.
How to Burn In Your Headphones?
If you decide to try headphone burn-in, there are different ways to do it. There is no standard or agreed-upon method for burn-in, so you can experiment and find what works best for you. Here are some common methods:
- Playing a variety of music such as pink noise, white noise, frequency sweeps, radio noise and many more for several hours at a moderately high volume.
- Playing your normal music playlist for several hours at a moderately high volume.
- Leaving your headphones on a headphone stand or a dummy head and playing any sound for several hours at a moderately high volume
There is no specific amount of time you should burn your headphones in for, but some people suggest a minimum of 40 hours. However, be careful not to damage your headphones by playing them too loud or too long.
Is Headphone Burn-In Real?
Headphone burn-in is have always been a controversial and debated topic. Over the past decade or so I still see people discussing this topic on Reddit, where one user voted on "Is burn in real or a myth" and although the majority of people thought it was a myth, 16% were sure it was true and had claim had proof.
The main argument against headphone burn-in is that there is no physical or measurable change in the headphone components after burn-in. The drivers and diaphragm are made of durable materials that do not deform or degrade over time. The only change that occurs is in the listener’s perception and adaptation to the sound.
Proponents of burn-in claim that there is a noticeable improvement in sound quality after the process. They argue that the flexible materials in the drivers and diaphragms can undergo subtle changes in alignment and tuning, resulting in smoother highs, tighter bass, and improved overall balance.
However, despite the ongoing debate, many scientific studies and blind listening tests have failed to provide concrete evidence supporting the notion of significant audible changes resulting from burn-in.
Do You Need to Burn In Your Headphones?
At Coolme, we believe in providing high-quality headphones that are optimized for performance right out of the box. Modern headphone technology and rigorous manufacturing processes ensure that our products deliver exceptional sound quality from the moment you use them. While burn-in may be a personal preference for some, it is not necessary to achieve the best audio experience with Coolme headphones.
The bottom line is that headphone burn-in may not be necessary or beneficial for most listeners. The sound quality of headphones depends on many other factors, such as personal preference, source quality, fit, seal, and environment. The best way to enjoy your headphones is to use them as you normally would and adjust them to your liking.
If you are curious or convinced about headphone burn-in, you can try it out for yourself and see if you notice any difference. Just remember to be careful with the volume level and not damage your hearing or your headphones.What do you think about headphone burn-in? Have you tried it before? Did it make any difference? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!