Almost every piece of stereo gear I’ve gotten takes some amount of break in and it’s for real. Most of them sound good out of the box, but then change. Some happen quickly and some, like a pair of Parasound JC-1 monoblocks I had several years ago, change slowly. The Parasound’s changed until they settled in at about a months worth of use. I swear…
When we take home new audio equipment it must spend time getting comfy within our system. New out-of-the-box gear can often sound tight, restricted, harsh. Over time and usage, products loosen up and become better suited to the new system. That, at least, embodies the break-in myth. fact, or fiction?
Are we the ones breaking-in or the equipment?
At face value it seems impossible an individual product can adjust its performance to have better synergy within a given system, and yet how many of us have not experienced break-in?
From an engineering perspective, we know that capacitors and dielectrics change characteristics with use. But are those changes audible? Measurable?
Too many of us have experienced the effects of break-in to ignore it or call it a myth. But, it does vary from product type to product type. For example, our newest product, the PerfectWave SACD Transport benefits little from break-in while our latest power amplifier, the M1200, demands literally weeks to sound good. These variances between products require changes to our production methods. Transports are burned in for 12 hours in an effort to weed out any potential problems while M1200s are burned in for 72 hours just so they don’t sound dreadful upon arrival.
Break-in is not a myth, but it isn’t a concrete fact for all products either.
You’ll just have to live with some variability and trust your ears.