The mystery of burn-in
Some people call it "break in" or "run in". From the technical view, burn-in is the process to loosen the diaphragm of the newly crafted headphone and to stress the headphone driver. Although there is no scientific proof of burn-in, the effect of burn-in is solid and noticeable. The audiophile community generally agree that the sound qualify will be changed after burn-in. In fact, the term "burn-in" is not specifically used only in acoustic, it is the preparation step for the mechanical equipment and the process of making something more comfortable to use.
There are different ways to burn-in a headphone (and earphone), including white noise, pink noise, radio noise, sine sweep, bass, etc. There is no statistic for the efficiency of each method. Personally, I like to use different method to burn-in my headphones. I think each method have some strength and weakness for improving headphone.
Some people burn-in their equipment quickly and play it 50 hours continuously after bringing home. I think that the diaphragm is too weak in this state and we should not push it to the limit, especially using high (Or you may think that it is normal) volume. It may damage the headphone or even kill it. Many people reported that they broke their headphone because of improper burn-in, they are impatient and did not give it some time to grow up.
The interesting temporary sound quality loss
One day you may find that your headphone quality change during the burn-in process. It can be good change, or it may become dull and downgraded.
However, after this "bad period", your headphone wake up again and become better and better. Many people noticed that there is some strange "bad period" during the burn-in, the headphone strength and weakness can be exposed or suppressed temporary. It is the growth process of the high grade headphones. Many people was just scared and thought that they have broken the headphone someway.
I experienced this in my HD650 burn-in, the change was so noticeable (and scary). After that painful period, it really grew up.
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burn in FAQs
thanks to agan vashu