Burn in vs perception

Posting here in speakers, but could probably go in any of the forums. Question of the night: how much of burn in of components is actually burn in of our perception? That is, is burn in partly us becoming accustomed to a change in sound.

I’m listening to my SF Amati Traditions that at first I found a bit strident, but I now find lush, dynamic, and generally brilliant. I bought them as 1-year old demos so theoretically they should have been played enough to be broken in. I haven’t changed anything in my system—I have been working on my room with more stuff, but that’s it.

Sometimes reviewers or arm chair audiophiles (me) will state that said component needs to be plugged in and left alone for weeks until it gels with the system. Could this simply be our own perception burn in OR is something real happening here?

For speakers I can buy it (woofers need to loosen up and all), but I almost always buy used, and I almost alway a) find a difference of a new component (good or bad), and b) in time, I couldn’t tell you what the change was. Maybe just me, but our brains are pretty good level setters.

I willing to bet this can be a large part of “burn in”.




Btw- if you really have a 1971 GTO 455HO, I respect that.

If you don’t, please change your username.


found another Sealinoing, Sealion in the GTO guy. 

Yup, @recklesskelly. These folks are cluttering the forum.

If "burn-in" wasn't a thing then why would my cable manufacturer include instructions on what to expect as the cables "burn-in"? Why would they provide instructions as opposed to just saying, plug-in and enjoy!


I do have the GTO, a convertible 4 speed. Original parts aside, I installed the modified 455HO engine plus drive train and chassis upgrades. I’ve speed and modern, comfortable-handling win-win.

Components are built to spec and good systems are tested. They are designed to last for a specified MTTF, which is typically some factor longer than the warranty, just to give the component a low probability of failure. If they weren't and the component failed, then manufacturers would be on the hook for replacement. The highest end audio typically has a higher MTTF.  Burn-in is component deterioration and would not be expected in high end audio for a reasonably long period. This deterioration might be pleasing to some, but that perception is 100% subjective and would be fleeting.