Originally Posted by Curt Palme
Let's throw a different angle at this: Can we all agree that human PERCEPTION of sound (and probably vision) changes more than what tweaks and burnin does (if indeed they do anything)?
For example, if one is tired, and heck, let's throw mild allergies/illness into the mix as well, you perceive things differently than when you're alert and not on the verge of an illness. Heck, since many audiophiles like to sip on an alcoholic beverage while listening, I'll go as far as saying that your hearing is somewhat altered as soon as you feel the effects of alcohol.
If the above is true and your own hearing changes on probably a daily basis, then how can you determine things like burnin that takes place over time?
I don't know about speaker break-in (as I stated already, I haven't heard any other kind of break-in... And I'm not even positive about the speaker break-in I might have heard) being less "changing" than perception. While perception can change when getting sick and can intentionally be changed through taking substances, etc, those changes are usually fairly tangible in their effects. What I mean is, when I get a cold, I'm familiar with how my perception is affected. When my sinuses are congested I'm familiar with how my perception is affected. The only break-in I think I have ever heard was already over after less than 24 hours, and since I played music on the system overnight to facilitate break-in, I experienced the speakers for only so long unbroken-in before they were already broken-in, likely not long enough for any meaningful comparison.
I don't imbibe anything anymore, but when I did, it often had a profound impact on my perceptions, though still with similar predictable changes in my perception any time I did imbibe.
As someone who has played guitar for 18 years (piano longer), and listened to music my whole life on decent enough systems (I grew up with a Fisher receiver in my house and a turntable, etc - and bought my own equipment at ~14-15), I think I would have enough of a reference to know if something incredible had changed after a period of time in my current system. So far, none of my electronic equipment has changed in any perceptible way to my ears and mind over years of use. My hearing is fine, and I was even tested to have high-level natural abilities with pitch discrimination and rhythm memory.
change I see on a daily basis with my equipment is based on how I sit at my listening position. Moving even half an inch changes the sound. This doesn't turn into a negative until I have moved more than a few inches, at that point the entire soundstage balance goes out of wack and the center moves towards the side I am leaning toward. There is definitely a very small area where it sounds just "right" and it isn't hard to stay within it because to me it is very obvious when I leave it....