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Do new headphones need breaking in?
Old 10th May 2013
  #1
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Do new headphones need breaking in?

Hi there,

I'm a newb to this forum and I hope I'm posting this in the right section...

My question is: Do new headphones need "breaking in", or is that audiophool nonsense? I've definitely read it in some places over the net, but I've also read replies to the effect of "it's all humbug"...

My issue is this: I used to use Sennheiser HD-530 headphones and absolutely loved them. Then one day, I sat on them and they broke. (I know, I'm a terribly clumsy person...) The right phone is broken off in such a way that it couldn't be glued back. It still works, though, and it's easy to still put them on, and once you do that, they keep in place while listening.

Then one day I read that you could use headphones and microphones, so out of curiosity, I tried using them as microphones... plugged them into my computer's line-in and sang into the right phone (that it was broken off came in handy...). It "worked", but ofc it sounded crappy. Not that I'd expected otherwise; however, ever since then, that phone distorts on low bass notes (80 Hz and lower).

So I figured I should replace them - have absolutely no experience with headphones, LOVED the sound of those I had, and tried hard to find the same pair in a good condition for an okay price. I found a pair that looked factory new - even the foam stuff (? I'm not a native speaker) is still intact, which is almost never the case.

They arrived, and they're in a GLORIOUS condition. I suspect that they haven't been used at all (this is what they were advertised like, but ofc you never know). However, it turns out they're really, really quiet in comparison. What's up?! Well, some googling found it out for me - my previous cans were 300 ohm phones, the new ones are 600 ohm phones. I didn't previously know that these headphones came in different impedance uhm, versions, let alone did I know what impedance was.

Anyway - these are the only two differences between my pairs of headphones; a) one pair is 300 ohm, the other 600 and b) my old pair was heavily used for years and the new one seems to be "new" (read: made in the 90s, but unused).

Further googling found out that the impedance should cause only a very, very subtle audible difference, if one at all (besides the difference, in volume, of course). But that is not the case.

The new 600 Ohm cans are incredibly bright. Frequencies between 2-ish kHz and 12 kHz are too loud in comparison to the rest of the frequency band. 2 - 4 kHz is still bearable (snares sound somewhat brighter than usual), 4 - 8 kHz gets worse and 8 kHz - 12 kHz is just too much. (I don't really have any music with prominent frequencies from 12 - 16 kHz, so I don't know if there's a problem there, and my hearing stops at about 16). So stuff with hi-hats and stuff like that pretty up in the mix is hard to listen to.

So, to the point: Is this going to get better through repeated use?

Thanks in advance for any help <3,
- Shake
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