break-in (solid state) = get used? - diyAudio
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Old 9th March 2005, 08:53 PM   #1
ingrast is offline ingrast  Uruguay
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Default break-in (solid state) = get used?

I've been half mildly intriged, half mildy amused at hearing once and again the concept of break-in applied to solid state products like amplifiers, preamplifiers etc.

Not being the dogmatic type, I leave open the door to be enlightened on the subject. but to tell the truth the first that comes to my mind is break-in happens in the ear of the beholder!

Then again, I may be wrong so welcome comments.

Rodolfo
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Old 10th March 2005, 09:15 PM   #2
ingrast is offline ingrast  Uruguay
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Given the overwhelming barrage of responses, I am led to think some thread topics also need break in to come alive!!

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Old 10th March 2005, 09:30 PM   #3
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In my experience the most sensitive measuring equipment comes up to spec in a very short time, the worst I have ever seen was about 4-5 hrs. for something that was measuring femto-amps. We're talking 6 1/2 digit voltmeters and network analysers with huge dynamic ranges. Burn-in times of 100's of hours for amps and pre-amps are an extraordinary claim IM(not so)HO.
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Old 10th March 2005, 09:39 PM   #4
ingrast is offline ingrast  Uruguay
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True, and you are probably talking about something more related to warm-up, entirely different and of course with a solid foundation.

But break-in .... solid state devices .... still eager to learn.

Rodolfo
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Old 11th March 2005, 01:24 AM   #5
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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Hi Rodolfo,
If the amp hasn't settled down in 1/2 Hr., it never will. Some amps like early Bryston had bias circuit problems and an under rated power switch. Solution - leave it on all the time. Bad idea but it stopped people complaining. There are amps that sound great when first turned on until turned off. They are generally well designed. Other amps ... well they need to be on for a while to sound good. That's because the operating points are drifting.
I have yet to build an amp where the adjustments drift over the course of time unless other component values drift. In other words, withthe same ambient temp, after 5 min, the bias will be similar every time it's turned on (input VAC held semi constant).
Guess it's time to "break in" your interconnects and cables.
-Chris
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Old 11th March 2005, 03:13 AM   #6
quasi is offline quasi  Australia
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The term "burn-in" is used by manufacturers of electronic equipment. They will quote "100% burn-in" meaning that the equipment or component has been tested at it's rated specification for a specified amount of time.

The term "break-in" or "burn-in" used by sales people of audio equipment is mumbo jumbo and should be completely disregarded as snake oil. This is designed to fool people into actually believing over time that "this does sound better than my other / old stuff".

I know this is controversial, but an amplifier*, pre-amp, dvd/cd player etc will sound it's best immediately and not after 100 hours of "break in" and it should continue to sound it's best for a long time.

*Some amps may take a few minutes to reach optimum bias and certainly take no-longer than half an hour...otherwise what would be the point?


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Old 11th March 2005, 07:07 AM   #7
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IMHO, Quasi hit it on the head. Manufacturers "burn-in" equipment for a period to screen out infantile component failures. I think someone along the way interpreted this as "break-in" and it has snowballed. Granted, a piece of equipment may need some finite time to settle and reach optimum operating temperature when powered up each time, but short of that I see no advantage of an extended "break-in" period. It certainly has gotten out of hand with people breaking-in cables and claiming wire directionality. I have even read a post by someone claiming to break-in some solid brass antivibration cones on another forum.
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Old 11th March 2005, 07:38 AM   #8
Werner is offline Werner  Europe
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Having played host to a sizeable amount of audio electronics, being a reviewer for printed and webbed audio rags, I only once encountered a real and clear case of burn-in. A Marantz CD67SE fresh out of the box managed to sound completely laughable, and did much less so after a full week of being switched on, once in a while playing a disc (and me NOT listening to it at all, so no getting used to it).

I have also encountered one instance of component burn-in: Rubycon ZA elcaps have a very large leakage current that considerably decreases in the first two-three hours of initial use.
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Old 11th March 2005, 08:36 AM   #9
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If I put my hand on my heart, I can't really say I have any real proof of audible of burn in for GCs, (for example,as I have built loads of them), but the LM chips do seem to physically run a little hotter for the first few hours under power. This has been widely reported, so I don't think it's just me...
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Old 11th March 2005, 09:09 AM   #10
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In any industrial area, there is something like a break-in.

A newbuilt house needs time to settle, an aeroplane, a ship needs time to reach a harmonious stress distribution.
Even with food; wine needs time to settle for the flavor to develop, with food one dish requires more time to reach a balanced flavor than another.
A car engine and transmission need break-in time for overall tolerances to settle.
Gardeners and farmers know that soil needs time to balance for obtaining the best results with crop and plants.
My jeans need time to settle on my backside, shoes take weeks, nothing nicer than a leather seat that enjoyed decades of butt massage.

Any electronic component looks simple but incorporates complex electric and chemical structures.
Any amplifier consists of a large number of different components, all interacting.
In my experience, class A amplifiers need far greater burn-in periods than AB's, even more so with tube stuff that i did 15 odd years ago. Pass amps need quite some time, imo not surprising given the temperature and number of electrons flowing to and from the components.
A GC must have a burn-in too, likely a short one.
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