OK..2 posts, comments on the savant later....first, Double D:
OK, break-in. what is changing in the sound...why ///what curve ???
1. as to why. There is a myriad of EE's and other purely technical people with little or no listening experience or perception that insist, year after year that there's no change and that it can't be proven in a quantitative way beyond the process of warm-up / charging of the ps. Well, that's actually quite true, but doesn't change the phenomenon of sonic changes. There are also a multitude of theories behind the break-in...I kind of subscribe to the fact that the gazillions and gazillions of electrons essentially and eventually form a "river bed" after which the sound changes, smoothes out, or matures....This also changes the character of most parts themselves...think in terms of a fine, aging wine. However, there's really no technical evidence that this theory or any other one for that matter is based on, just as "there's no change at all" is completely baseless....actually, less than that, because these are changes that you can actually hear, experience. It's just the overall idea that makes the most sense to me albeit not very technical.
2. What is the curve / timeline. depends on the equipment...if you have a new piece of shit and expect it to change dramatically, you'll be disappointed, as even after the break-in, it'll still be a POS that didn't change much or couldn't give you much difference because it's a POS to start out with.....in the high or higher end of things there are very dramatic changes though...in general terms, the higher the parts quality, the more of a break-in curve you'll see....as I mentioned before, in my experience with 1000's of gear, individual parts, etc. the 100 - 200 hr curve is a very good one. WHere it becomes weird, and for some people hard to believe is when it goes beyond that. But again, ask an estat owner what he discovered after 50, 100, 200, or 500 hours !!!! Same with our amps: the Kismets Extremes just need twice the time than a Khartago stereo. Just listen. really listen and you'll know. Of course, we're basing it on the premise that you don't have a POS.
As for "there are no differences" (and again, mostly from purely technical people), BULLSHIT. Jut listen to the same components, set up in the same way. One brand new, the other having 100's of hours on them.....world of differences, if they aren';t POS's.
And then there are the different "waves" or points within the break-in time itself....I always tell customers that once the ps is charged, you're looking at x amount of time of a Jeckyll and Hyde, all over the place, ridiculous behavior of the sound (such as bass, for example) coming in and out until it finally settles in....once it settles in, the amps show their true signature and improve in the same mold for 20 - 30 more months, easily. However, the first couple of months is the most important time as the further out you go, the more baby steps this process becomes.
Who really knows why and how this all happens. I really don't care either...it does what it does, is very apparent, and I'm really honest about it. Just like my diabolical plot of screwing over customers by designating capacitance as memory in a more layman term, it's also a stroke of evil genius on my part to tell customers: hey, congrats, but you know what ??? You'll have to wait several months before it sounds best......
Yes, I am the original evil genius !!!!!
3. Brings me to the last point, what changes in sound. Well...a lot. Most of you will immediately point to the obvious: firmer bass, more realistic and non-offending highs, more realistic and three-dimensional sound stage. This by itself is already a massive change in SQ, the sound itself, sonic, etc.....but all of this is audiophile speak and only tells half the story...it's all in the experience and goose bump experience. There's so much more. All micro areas, /// dynamics, detail, etc. are more pronounced through the break-in process, resulting also in a more intimate musical experience....it also enables the body to be more "absorbent" to the musical experience.
All of this changes the sound itself....If one can't hear those differences then maybe one doesn't have a very good system, or, more likely, one isn't just a good listener....nothing wrong with that, as you don't have to have golden ears to enjoy music, but one also shouldn't just crap all over things that one doesn't experience or understand because there's no technical guideline to follow blindly.
Then again, who am I ??? This is just based on my own experience and ability..............