I’ve returned from the frontier, where sound and music meet the gullible enthusiast— yes, I’ve spent time in the audiophile trenches today, attempting to find useful information about my next headphone purchase.
Apparently, I live in an area of the country deemed unfit for the sale of anything greater than colorful earbuds, whereas I am hoping to pick up a set of full-size around-ear headphones. I didn’t think this was too big of a task, but it looks like I’m going to have to visit St. Louis to find anything worthwhile.
Even though I didn’t come away with much useful information about my intended purchase, I did find out about the rather humorous practice of “burning in” headphones.
Essentially, “burning in” a set of headphones is supposed to be like breaking in a new pair of shoes or a baseball glove– given appropriate time and volume, the headphone diaphragms can “settle” into place. Audiophiles naturally claim that this is very important, and have come up with a wide variety of methods for the “burning in” process.
Incredibly, the most accepted method seems to be playing 100 to 200 hours of pink noise through each new pair of headphones! Others use white noise, sine wave sweeps, or ordinary music… but it’s pink noise that seems to have captured the audiophile imagination.
Unfortunately, there’s the question of how to OBTAIN pink noise…
“Well i guess i’ve bought into burn-in… and I was wondering if anyone knew where you can get it [pink noise] for free? Is it complex enough that you need 15 minutes or can you use one minute or less just on a loop? Does anyone have a small file that they could share?” —rwest1389
Glancing at my shelves full of Merzbow, Emil Beaulieu, KK Null, Masonna, Praew Jik, etc is making me feel like a drug dealer given free access to the junior high playground. “You want pink noise? Shiiiiit… try some of THIS, it’ll blow your mind….”
The kiddies crack me up:
“so i just got some air cushions and i want to burn them in but not sure where to get pink noise?” —xenochimera
“Is there some sort of ISO (I got a cable modem) I can download and burn so I can break in my V6s (when I get em)?” –massappeal85
“I’m not quite sure what pink noise is…but I hear its good for burning in headphones. If so, what is it, and more importantly how do I acquire it so that I may use it?” –DavidMahler
Even more hilarious was the file poor David was directed to– 200 megabytes of pink noise! But it was a FLAC… my money says Massappeal85’s ISO sounded better, haha.
And it keeps going! This is a topic of Great Concern to the audiophiles!
“I keep seeing pink noise being recommended for breaking-in phones. Just what is pink noise and how do I get me some?” –vaper
“I’ve been researching and reading and came across something called: “Pink noise” as a means to breaking in a pair of headphones. I’m writing now, for the prime purpose of asking what this is “pink noise,” how to produce it and how to make use of it with a new pair of headphones?” –Dr.J
“Does anyone have a mp3 or AIFF file of pink noise they can send me? It would be greatly appreciated.” –Phraxos
The real fun is where the audiophiles start showing off their pathological aversion to noise….
“I read up on pinknoise yet I’m not sure how to set the volume of it on my headphone. How loud should it be? I’ve read it should be a little above or at normal listening level, but usualy I dont listen to static that much so I can’t tell what normal listening level is. Does that meen just play some play it at the same volume I usualy play my music at?” –weste47
“i’ve been suggested from my dealer not to burn in with pink noise, i’m wondering if pink noise put stress on the PK1 driver” –Bozz_Keren
“Is pink noise supposed to sound like ocean waves? I mean it sounds horrible but is the tone similar b/c I’m not sure if there’s “different types” or if I got a good one.” –SBD
As Yoda once mentioned, “Fear leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering…” With this in mind, I present you with the dark side of audiophile-noise relations:
“I hate noise! Two of my sacds, Kind of Blue and Getz/Gilberto, have noticeable crackling or sizzling noises accompanying the instruments. On various Kind of Blue tracks, I can hear subtle crackling along with the musical tone coming out of the horns. On Getz/Gilberto, I hear loud crackling accompanying the bass notes for the most of the length of the fourth track. Also, I can hear the buzzing of what sounds like an overly sensitive mic on Astrud Gilberto’s vocal line in “Girl from Ipanema”. I generally like the fact that my sr325s are detailed phones, but I find such recording artifacts quite annoying. For those who have heard these popular recordings, would I benefit from slightly less detailed phones, or are these noises something I’ll have to get used to?” –Dimitri
” I found a strange noise evey time I play the female voice in the music every time when the singer sing a word there is a “hass, hass” noise accomplish with singers voice… is my e3c defect ?? or my setting problem??” –miaofat
“You can hear literally all electronical interferences, including the fan, hard drive, dvd-rom(thats loud as hell!), and even mouse movement! It just drives me insane…” –ahdat
“does an external plugin device exist to cancel out the noise?” –pchong
“The SA5000 is a scary monster; hearing pulsing static at 1 second intervals… I then suspected my ears were messed up. Nope, I never hear the pulses when I don’t have headpones on. What exactly was the problem? Then I noticed something. The pulses of static buzz happened on an average of 1 second intervals and actually varied somewhat over time. This is absolutely abnormal. Whoa. Was it picking up my… hearbeat… my pulse? I placed my fingers against my neck to test my pulse just a few minutes ago with my headphones on. My goodness. They were in synch. What the hell is with these headphones? :veryevil:” –Veniogenesis
From a BANNED USER: “on a side note, I love listening actively to shortwave radio distortion. It’s a very complex and to me, beautiful sound.” –aaroncort
Almost immediately afterward: “Man, you in a league all by yourself — lean back in your SR325i, listen to some pink noise, and sip some scotch. Um, who needs music?” –stereophile