How do I "break-in" an amp?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff_M, Jun 8, 2002.

  1. Jeff_M

    Jeff_M Stunt Coordinator

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    I just received my Odyssey Stratos yesterday and am dying to hear what it is capable of. I have heard from various other owners that sonic nirvana won't be achieved until around 200 hours of break in have been given to the unit. I agree that the sound is a too bright right now, and the bass is a little thin for my taste. I've heard people run their amps all night to break them in, but how is this possible? Don't you have to have speakers connected that will draw current? Having music playing all night is not very practical when you have two roommates! Is there some special technique to breaking in without any sound produced? At higher volumes, the amp is just too damn bright right now and it hurts my ears.
     
  2. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    To break it in you may want to NOT turn the power off on the unit. Then just have them play music when you have the time and enjoy it when you can.
    Maybe you could wire one speaker out of phase and point the speakers toward eachother and see if you can get cancelation with a mono source. (I'm just brainstorming)
    As for length of break-in, I usually break in my amplifiers my entire life. [​IMG]
    "Without a "control" piece against which you can compare a broken-in product, it’s difficult to say for sure whether a component has broken in or whether the writer has just become accustomed to what he or she is hearing -- to the point of being able to accept it or even to fully understand its virtues."
    Your stratos "May take a long time to break in, so be patient"
    As posted by John Potis about the Odyssey Stratos at Soundstage!
     
  3. Yoon Lee

    Yoon Lee Stunt Coordinator

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    Then after break-in, what can you expect sonically? Louder sound? Smoother sound? More detailed sound?
     
  4. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    Just play it as you normally would. If the break in takes a bit longer because if that, you won't even care in a couple of weeks. Most amps I have run across take at least 200 hours to fully break in. Just sit back an enjoy, and listen to the changes as they occur.
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Yoon...none of those items you listed. There are though marketing psychological reasons for choosing such periods as 100, 200, etc. hours when one has made a significant monetary purchase. If you're interested it can be pursued. Nice warranty on the Odyssey. Good luck on it!
     
  6. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    The Stratos will take a while to break in. Leave it on all the time, even if you're not playing music. You'll hear the difference eventually - the highs will no longer be brittle, excellent bass control will be noticed, better imaging, and what I don't hear mentioned much - you can pump up the volume and maintain the excellent imaging, i.e., the music doesn't smear at high volumes. I don't think psychoacoustics accounts for it all, as I basically went two weeks during break-in (music playing constantly)without sitting down and listening; when I finally did, there were noticeable improvements (a shock to my skepticism).

    What speakers are you driving?

    Doug
    Owner of 5 Stratos channels
     
  7. JaleelK

    JaleelK Second Unit

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  8. Ron Duca

    Ron Duca Stunt Coordinator

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    My Anthem MCA 50 amp also seemed bright and at times harsh when brand new. After many hours of break-in time, the sound has really smoothed out and is very enjoyable now. Here is Anthem's recommendation for a break-in period:

    "As with all audio electronic products, the ultimate sonic character of the MCA Series amplifier will not be realized until the unit receives a minimum of approximately 70 hours of signal break-in time (i.e. the amplifier is on and outputting a signal).

    The key here is the part in paranthesis. I actually put about 100 hours on my amp before it really starting sounding good. I left my system on 24/7 for a few days. During the night and while I was at work, I would leave it tuned to an FM radio station and play it at low volume. And even though I listen to music in two channel, while I was asleep or at work, I played music through all five channels so they would all get plenty of break-in time.

    Some may call it psychological or voodoo, but it definitely made a difference with my system.

    Ron
     
  9. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Jaleel:

     
  10. JaleelK

    JaleelK Second Unit

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  11. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Don't worry Larry, Jaleel just likes to threadfart w/o offering any logical discussion. This is just the norm for him. The thread starter didn't say do you believe it in, yet jaleel throws his unwanted opinion in though.

    Anyway, the manufacturer himself states there is a 200 hr break in period. I guess the guy who built his own amp doesn't know anything about break in /sarcasm off.

    Leave the amp on with signal running thru it whether it be test tones or whatnot and it should break in.
     
  12. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Let us know what you think Jeff after she gets some good burn-in time on 'er.

    I'm very interested in Odessey Stratos. What speakers are you running?
     
  13. Laurence_C

    Laurence_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff, I've listened to many friends and friends of friends new power amplifiers when brand new right out of the box. Then again several months and 500 hours later only to hear minute sonic differences. There is a so-called "break-in period" on just about all home theater gear but I have found the differences to be ever so-slight. I've had my Carver Amplifiers for almost 4 years now, an AV-705x & A500x, and to my ears they sound as neutral as the day I put them in my rack, no changes sonically. Maybe someone else might hear a difference but none of my friends have. Maybe it's those that want to hear a difference and start believing it or maybe there really is a difference. Judge for yourself in 6 months time but I didn't and still don't believe in turning on a brand new amplifier just to "break-it-in". Just one home theater enthusiasts opinion.
     
  14. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Jaleel:

    I do not see this as a contest, but rather a discussion. If you choose to believe that components don't break in, you are free to do so.

    Larry
     
  15. Matthew Speed

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    No change in sound quality after long periods of use?
    Yeah, just like wine doesn't need to be aged, either.

    The break in time will never be truly over, an amplifiers' sound is always changing. Later in it's life however, the rate of change diminishes more.
     
  16. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    As long as i hear it, it's good enough for me..
     
  17. Mike Bledsoe

    Mike Bledsoe Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff I agree, amps do take awhile to break in. When I first got my Denon POA 5200 it sounded week,bass shy,and britle but after about three days of break-in 9playing it when I could it opened up and became it's wonderful nuetral self the way I remembered it sounding in the showroom. And contrary to what some people say it was not a subtle difference.
     
  18. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Jaleel:
    Are you then of the belief that we have the technology and know-how to measure every relevant parameter?
    Larry
     
  19. Jed M

    Jed M Cinematographer

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    Oops! I posted in the wrong area :b Extra post for me. WOOHOO! Any Moderator can delete this.
     
  20. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I will say, that for myself, its completely irrelevant if any indidual desires to keep their system on all the time and subscribes to the notion that doing so improves the sonic qualities of their particular component. One will find debated, often with a religious fervor that makes the Crusades look like a vacation trip, amongst those who have 'high-end' components the merits of leaving an amp on or off for entirely different reasons such as longevity. LarryB, you're quite right that every possible parameter can't be measured. Science is after all a constantly evolving beast. To discount though that it is quite possible to test for small audible differences and for that matter a variety of human sensory differences is wrong. However please understand that this post is not to take up the banner for one side and wave it in the face of the other side. However, from a marketing perspective, there are sound financial considerations for Odyssey and others to discuss break-in. Rarely is something said just for one reason. When someone tells you something you need to ask, why are they telling me this? Is it for more than just one reason? Possibly.

    Allow me to first curry favor with those who own Odyssey products. Solid feel, reasonably good looks, good specs, 20 year transferrable warranty (hopefully they'll be around for that period!), made to ISO 9000 compliance (but that doesn't say whether they're ISO 9000 certified), even the price isn't that bad compared other brands...the Stratos does give the impression of quality. I don't own one although I've seen and heard them.

    When one ventures into the area of separates, they do so for a variety of reasons. To me, those reasons are irrelevent for the purposes of my writing. Invariably, a move into separates involves a substantial parting of the cash. While the definition of substantial means different things to different people, for companies selling something, a penny saved over 100,000,000 units is a cool million in cash. For smaller companies such as Odyssey, it is their desire to produce a quality product and to sell it to the consumer. They want the consumer to be satisfied. They also want the consumer to not return the item, if it is in perfect working order, for a refund. A refund implies the unit will have to be sold as used (if they're honest about it) and may likely require additional testing to ensure it is operating properly. They may well take a financial loss. Enough units sold as used on Audiogon, EBay, wherever, and people stop buying the new stuff. Overall, sales become affected and even rumors may start suggesting 'it just ain't that good'.

    So now, the consumer, has spent X addtional dollars to purchase this component. In their mind, they're weighing the financial decision. They turn to audio sites such as HTF, AudioAsylum, read about their particular product, and in the back of their mind seek to evaluate their decision to part with some dollars. They go back to the manufacturer's literature or website, and see how they can get the most out of their purchase. Sound thinking in general.

    If one examines Odyssey's website they speak about break-in. The following is taken from their site:

     

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