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How do I "break-in" an amp? (1 Viewer)

Jeff_M

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Nov 26, 2000
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155
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.
 

Chris Tsutsui

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Messages
1,865
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. :)
"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!
 

Yoon Lee

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Joined
Jun 16, 2001
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162
Then after break-in, what can you expect sonically? Louder sound? Smoother sound? More detailed sound?
 

Mark Austin

Supporting Actor
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Dec 28, 1999
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639
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.
 

Chu Gai

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2001
Messages
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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!
 

Doug_B

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 11, 2001
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1,081
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
 

JaleelK

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
296
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.
Do nothing, because there is real break in period for an amp, that's a myth.
 

Ron Duca

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 29, 1999
Messages
76
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
 

JaleelK

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
296
How did you ascertain that?

Larry

P.S. I assume you meant "no real break in..."
The burden of proof is not on me, it has never been factually establsihed that amps will sound better or different after a break in period. Any kind of difference in an amp after a so-called break in period should be measureable, if the amp measures the same on the first day and you purchase it as it does 3 months later, why should it sound any different. If you want to claim that aliens or ghost exist it up to the person maikng the claim to prove it, until such time that's done, why can only view it as myth and urban legend.
 

Shane Martin

Senior HTF Member
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Sep 26, 1999
Messages
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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.
 

John Royster

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Oct 14, 2001
Messages
1,088
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?
 

LCSeminole

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Sep 30, 2001
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Location
North Florida Panhandle
Real Name
Laurence
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.
 

Larry B

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Nov 8, 2001
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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
 
Joined
May 9, 2002
Messages
20
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.
 

Mike Bledsoe

Stunt Coordinator
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May 24, 2002
Messages
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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.
 

Larry B

Screenwriter
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Nov 8, 2001
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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
 

Jed M

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Oct 2, 2001
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Oops! I posted in the wrong area :b Extra post for me. WOOHOO! Any Moderator can delete this.
 

Chu Gai

Senior HTF Member
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Jun 29, 2001
Messages
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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:

Third Period: After approximately 8 - 10 days of playing and being charged, the upper midrange and highs will "smoothen out". The bass will improve in speed and articulation with less overhang. The result is more even and natural tone balance.
I don't know how Odyssey counts days before a unit can be returned but let's say that it is from the moment you receive it to the moment you've received an RMA number for it to be returned. That's 30 days. But Odyssey never tells you how to test to see if your unit really sounds better. I mean, it might...might be the same as what you had. However a careful examination of the Third and Fourth Periods indicates that at the very least, you'll be listening to the unit for 10 days. During this time, you're having a love affair with it. Touching it. Telling other's about it. Reading about it. Getting used to having it in your room. And probably making an honest effort to determine if it really sounds that good and if the sound is improving. Most likely you're starting to like it. Its becoming a familiar face. Is the sound improving? Maybe...hard to say. But that Fourth Period is coming up...Now 6 weeks into owning the unit, we have no choice for it can't be returned. We've bought it. Odyssey has our cash. We have our whatever. Usually we're happy. That is until we start reading about how what we bought is really the bottom rung of hi-fi and really not that much different from top of the line Denons or Yamahas or whatever. Then the circle moves again. Is that upgradeitis?

Audio though is not just one hobby or pursuit. Its really two. And two camps are in this hobby. Two different kind of people. For some of us, perhaps myself, perhaps Jaleel, perhaps others, its a no-nonsense kind of thing. Total rationality and scientific scrutiny rule. We still enjoy our systems, but for different reasons. There is the other crowd and for them this hobby is an escape. They want to get away from all this rigor. This rigor that surrounds their lives. The rigor that says yeah, you've got a Porche but its against the law to break the speed limit. This they want to get away from. We've had enough of that at work, with our kids, with homework, with life. Audio allows an escape and an outlet where we can be magically transported for a while. You run into maybe people like me, who, while enjoying their own experience, seem to want to take that magic that you're experiencing and just take it down into DBT's. When that happens, when either the magician is shot, or the scientist is wounded, defensive postures arise, and arguments ensue. As a scientist, as someone who is a bit familiar with marketing psychology, my own personal philosophy is to endeavor to take it to the manufacturers. Hold them accountable. I personally find it difficult to fathom how companies use science to design quality products and then not use it to make claims. I understand it from a marketing perspective, but personally, it rubs me wrong inside.

As for your Stratos...you like it? Didn't arrive scratched? Looks good? Meets your present and future needs? Warranty work for you? Didn't have to mortgage the kid's futures? Enjoy it
 

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