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”.




A raft of sea lions must have made their way here from some melting ice shelf, pursued by orcas. 

Conflating  a power line to a speaker cable is just a red herring with its own distinct odor. Small fluctuations in a small wire can detract from its intended purpose. The scale is, after all, quite small but still victim to undesired effects. The argument of something being too small to be of any concern is specious, at best.

Next thing you know, someone will say if you can't actually see it, it can't be that big a deal.

All the best,


The conspiracy-minded would say the manufacturer is simply peddling snake-oil and taking advantage of people dumb enough to believe in fairy tales... or something to that effect -- the main point being that they are too smart to be so easily "scammed".

Personally, I’ve heard new cables begin to change for the better over time, then revert to sounding worse before again resuming their earlier "changing-for-the-better" behavior which lasts until they stop changing, altogether. When I reported this to the shop, they said, in essence, "Yes; that’s what happens".

Some here will assert it’s all in my imagination but that won’t change my mind, any more than what I have to say will change their perspective.

No doubt the OP meant well, but personally I think such polarizing topics are a waste of time and energy.

The bottom line: you are the one listening to your system -- do the research but in the end, trust your ears. 


Anyone waiting for that magical 100 hour mark on their Duelund tinned copper wire, or the 150 hour mark on their Rhodium plated banana connectors surly believes that break in is imperative.