Burn in, is it a thing?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by malcolm.mcintyr, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. malcolm.mcintyr


    Jul 19, 2010
    The Hi-fi audiophile types, tend to believe in burn-in for electronic components like amplifiers. That is the sound of the item improves with use over the first few months from new. They will often leave amps switched on, or take them through on/off cycles to achieve this more quickly.
    Does this apply or matter with instrument amps?
    I have just taken delivery of a new Trickfish B1k, and I am on/off cycling it prior to its first gig, but that is because I have had two Class D SMPS amps fail (not Trickfish; Markbass and AER actually) during the first few weeks of gigging.
  2. Cycling may contribute to earlier discovery of 'infant mortality' perhaps?
  3. Rune Bivrin

    Rune Bivrin Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Huddinge, Sweden
    The burn-in process takes place mainly in the user. As time passes you're able to convince yourself more and more that the expense was worth it. Electronic components tend to burn out, rather than burn in.
  4. Rick James

    Rick James Inactive

    Feb 24, 2007
    New Jersey
    Break in does happen with components that are mechanical, with moving parts, like speakers. Amps aren't mechanical, they don't have moving parts, so there's nothing to break in. Burn in is an audiophile myth. Be very wary of what an audiophile believes, because audiophiles will believe anything. For example, google 'Shakti stones'. :rollno:
  5. wagdog


    Mar 20, 2000
    Der Waffle Haus
    I’ll leave new amps on for 24 hours just to check for infant mortality. I’ve had more than one new amp fail fairly quickly. If they pass 24 hours then they are usually good for years.
    zoonose, SBassman, gungrog and 6 others like this.
  6. Hey man, don't disparage the Shakti stones! They really enhance my soundstage, along with my $5k power cable that is. :D

    Nah, burn in really isn't a thing, I wouldn't worry about it.
    zoonose, DJ Bebop, lomo and 3 others like this.
  7. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Early failures can happen though on quality gear is generally quite rare. That's what warranties are for.

    The burn-in to improve sound is an amazing myth that has been perpetuated by those who think $200 and up power cables are a good idea as well.
  8. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    Better an amp fail while testing it at home than on your first gig.

    Letting an amp sit idling for 24 hours may not be sufficient to exorcize all issues. But it can help. Shipping is usually a pretty good mechanical stress test.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  9. I get a big kick out of testimonials that claim that “brilliant pebbles “ made their 50K system “sounds like a blanket has been lifted “ !! If I paid 50K for a system, it had better not sound like it has a blanket over it! It should also cook me breakfast and lunch!
  10. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    OK, so Andy: I buy a new Subway head and cab(s), I can take it out tonight while it still smells new and push it for all it's worth? Do you and/or Mesa suggest any 'break-in' miles first?

    I'm not asking to be a smart-ass, I'm just wondering what's the right way to approach a brand new rig, in this case, yours, since their are as many myths about this as there are.

    I KNEW I shouldn't have bought that 'Electron Especiale' cable with the twisted unobtanium paired cable ! Dang . . . . . $300 ! ! ! !
  11. When customers demanded (and paid for) greater failure resistance, the electronic companies put components and finished products through more stringent cycling at varying temperatures. It's a good idea to make sure you've given equipment all the stresses you anticipate long-term, before the warranty runs out.
    lizardking837 likes this.
  12. Callused Finger

    Callused Finger Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2007
    New York
    It’s a “thing”, alright.
    nnnnnn and lizardking837 like this.
  13. alembicguy

    alembicguy I operate the worlds largest heavy equipment Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Thank you for this,it makes me happy knowing others feel this way.
  14. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    Personally I always put my new equipment in a series of refrigerated chambers set at different temperatures, switching once per hour for two weeks after delivery. This ensures proper temperature acclimation and eliminates neck dive as well as bassist ankle.
  15. dBChad


    Aug 17, 2018
    Tavares, FL
    This may have been done with tube amps (while sonic merits are a whole issue on their own, the more likely function of this process would be to ensure the new tubes operated properly and were biased correctly), I don't see any benefits this could have on a solid state amp other than a general peace of mind stress test.
    zoonose, Stumbo and lizardking837 like this.
  16. waveman


    Sep 25, 2008
    Thinking back when I was a PC guy in the 90's, we used to burn-in machines running through their paces with a piece of software to make sure they were not going to fail. It had no impact on performance.

    So, I could see where a burn-in such as leaving the amp on for a day or two and playing through it occasionally would be wise to prove some level of reliability. This would not have an effect on the sound though. Speakers, now that's a different thing.
    zoonose, H2okie and lizardking837 like this.
  17. lizardking837


    Jan 28, 2009
    Bassist ankle? I hope that's covered by my insurance...
    patrickhowell and Sixgunn like this.
  18. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I thought it was a thing with tubes. Explainable as the tube getters clearing out a bit of gas from the vacuum. A change in idle current is definitely measurable when you're burning in output tubes. After burn in, the current tends to stabilize, unless the tubes are bad. Stabilizing the bias would have an impact on sound.
    lowplaces and byacey like this.
  19. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    All amps need some warmup time in playing mode to reach a thermal steady state where the components stabilize. That takes maybe a half hour. This is done before some calibration procedures are performed.

    It isn’t necessary when playing through the amp.
    SirMjac28 and lowplaces like this.
  20. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I agree :)