Picture of headphone break in rig
A lot of people swear by breaking in their headphones- I'm half certain my current pair sounds as good as it does by duty as a speaker. It isn't going to make an aweful pair sound better, but it might make a good pair sound better, or help an excellent pair of headphones reach their full potential.

Of course, some of you might consider it snake oil, or find that it dosen't help. Your milage would vary. This setup might work for muffling other things i suppose

The method i prefer is to plug in the headphones to a mp3 player, and just play random stuff at maximum volume for a few hours, let it rest and do it again, a few times. Your milage may vary, and some people use pink noise at lower than normal volumes. Your milage may vary.

The instructable below covers a setup that's cheap, made out of things you'd have around the house (you arn't going to break in headphones everyday) and mutes the headphones so you can break them in without disturbing anyone, or ruining your hearing.

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Step 1:

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Equipment list

2 pillows or more.
1 plastic storage box, preferably close to same size at the base as the pillows
1 sound source, preferably nothing powerful enough to blow out the headphones, but loud enough to give em a workout. A MP3 player of some sort would be good for this

Step 2:

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well, what we're going to do is entomb the headphones in a noise insulating sandwich of pillows inside the plastic storage box. The more pillows you have, the better the insulation is, though with the HD201s with the ipod i'm using here, 2 of my pillows (with natural stuffing) tend to be enough.

Place one pillow on the bottom of the box. Note the pillow fits snugly into the box, and is larger than the headphones.

Step 3: Headphone Sandwich!

Picture of Headphone Sandwich!
Plug in the sound source, and cover the headphone with another pillow. I;ve chosen to put my soundsource on top
schuie3 years ago
Nice instructable - simple and effective. However, even if you're using an iPod, it's best to do what @nachosyumm suggested: pick a volume that you would normally listen at and put it up just a bit past that, otherwise you *will* run the risk of damaging your cans.

Although there are no 'rules' for burning in, for best results, play a mix of music, various tones/sweeps, or white/pink/brown noise - do this for a minimum of 100hrs, while taking short breaks every 16-24 hours or so. Also, be sure that sounds you are using are fairly high quality.

If you're on a Mac, there's an app called BurnIn that generates high-quality white/pink/brown noise and allows you to time/track the break-in process for your cans. It also works for high-end speakers and buds, and allows you to track multiple burn-ins. It's $1.99 through the Mac App Store, which is a bit steep for what it does, but it simplifies the process nicely.
nachosyumm5 years ago
Full volume risks damaging the headphones. For my grados I put the volume at a comfortable level for me then raised it up a bit past that, which seemed to work fine in terms of breaking them in. I would really like to see a test of this to see if it really makes a difference. I'm inclined to believe so, but maybe its just psychological
faileas (author)  nachosyumm5 years ago
I suppose it really depends on the source. I'm using an ipod, which isn't terribly powerful, and not too likely to damage anything other than my hearing.With a source thats a little or a lot more powerful, having a lower volume certainly makes sense None the less, this set up manages to muffle the sound produced during the break in process quite effectively
gmjhowe5 years ago
The iPod touch and iPhone can get a special white/brown/pink noise mixed app, that would be ideal for this.
brunoip5 years ago
I should try that. Thanks