Burning-in as a non-linear experience

I know there has been loads of discussions on the burning-in process of components as well as their parts. If someone does not believe it happens, please do not respond. This is to address mainly the experience people had in burning in components or their parts. The burning-in process is usually described as a linear process, getting from bad to good. But in my experience, and in my system, it is not a linear process. It usually starts from pretty good, to better, then worse, then better, then horrible, and finally wonderful. I was wondering if people had a similar experience. These are pretty drastic changes... And this topic is mainly to focus on this particular thing: non-linear changes during the burning-in process. I had this experience with Furutech NCF outlets, but now I can see the same may apply also to my new capacitors. I have recently replaced my Samsung capacitors with Nichicon LGL2G821MELC40, not an audiophile sort, but the only ones that I could fit in. People are reporting about audiophile capacitors needing a lot of time burning in, I was wondering also if non-audiophile capacities might sometimes need the extended time in a high-resolution system and if their burning-in might also happen not exactly from moving gradually from bad to good. 


"but never a retreat to the worse" - this is something I do not agree with and this is why I have decided to start a new thread here. :-) I remember there was once a thread dedicated to Furutech outlets. Have a look. 

@serblinfan I have experienced what you describe with the Furutech NCF outlets and I believe the culprit is the Rhodium used in the outlet. I have also experienced the variations in sound when using some products that have been deeply cryogenically treated.

I experienced the same with those outlets as I also have the Furu NCF rhodium outlets in my system. But it can't be just that, as people have also reported similar experience with, for example, Black Gate capacitors. So I just thought there could be more to it than just rhodium or cryogenic treatment. 

With speakers and headphones, this has not been my experience; they tend to start off sounding pretty bad, like the various components of the speaker had never met each other, and as weeks go by, they blend together and the speaker sounds like it should after a couple of months. 

Burn in seems to normally be non-linear and varies between components.


A while back I had the experience of breaking in three identical Audio Research Reference 160s amps, without changing anything else in my system. I was very shocked how each went through exactly the same sequence… approximately but not exactly the same as other ARC components.


In general the sequence was that out of the box they sounded a bit trebly and flat. They would gradually improve for about the first 100 hours. Sounding much better. Then wildly fluctuate between bad and good for about twenty or thirty hours. I mean, when I would turn it on, i never know of it was to be Jekyll or Hyde. Then it would settle down and improve slowly… not linearly but at a diminishing rate through 600 hours. What I was surprised is, while really small… there was a small amount of improvement through 1,000 hours and then rock steady.

I have lots of experience with other components as well. But this tends to be how ARC has been in the last twenty years.