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Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B (Read 705 times)
nipsy
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Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
08/29/23 at 08:33:51
 
Howdy !

My 300B Sarah with the standard Decware tube set will be arriving soon along with a ZP3. I'm super excited and have been acting like an anxious parent wanting everything at home to be just right when the baby comes.

Is there a guide to breaking in these amps and tubes in the best way possible ? I feel as though I read something on this site about the breaking/burning in process, but can't seem to find it again.

I thought I might appeal to the collective wisdom here for some advice and pointers on how to start off on the journey. Big appreciation in advance for any ideas you can share.
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JBzen
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #1 - 08/29/23 at 11:17:27
 
Hello,
Steve recommends to play his new amps for 5 hours rest repeat.
I never time new breakin. Just play and turn off when not in earshot of the music.
Whatever way one proceeds just enjoy the amp from day one and witness the blossom of music character over time while keeping a close ear for potential improvements in your space.
John
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nipsy
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #2 - 09/09/23 at 20:51:29
 
Thank you for the advice !  It's along the lines of what I was thinking intuitively. Definitely the most enjoyable and easiest way to go. My ZP3 is on its way and the 300B will follow soon. Really looking forward to getting them set up !
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Lon
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #3 - 09/09/23 at 21:47:11
 
Welcome! As John mentions, Steve has long recommended playing music through the amp for five hours, shutting it off to cool down at least five hours, and repeating that process five times. I've followed this method many times and it is pretty effective at getting the component near break-in. After that I generally just play the amp as long as I wish and it slowly improves. The darn things keep getting better--after several years one sounds better than it did the first year, and they keep on getting better.

You are going to love these components.
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GroovySauce
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #4 - 09/09/23 at 23:44:31
 
One thing to point out. That is if you want the absolute fastest burnin. If you want to leave your amp on for 12 hours and off for 12 hours that works too. It's the cycling of energized and playing music to going cold and discharging that is doing the work.

On the other hand. If you listen for 1-2 hours a day. For the first few weeks play a minimum of 5 hours to get the amp and components 100% up to temperature and get some vibes going through it!

I also highly recommend a tube stylus timer found on amazon for ~$20 Pick one up for each amp. I have a few of them and think they are great. Of course one for each cartridge and then one for each amp.
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CAJames
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #5 - 09/10/23 at 02:12:45
 
Quote:
Posted by: GroovySauce      Posted on: Today at 15:44:31

One thing to point out. That is if you want the absolute fastest burnin. If you want to leave your amp on for 12 hours and off for 12 hours that works too. It's the cycling of energized and playing music to going cold and discharging that is doing the work....


Agree, but IMO it isn't necessarily necessary to leave the amps off for same time they were on, just until they have fully cooled down. When I was breaking in my UFOs I would play them overnight into a dummy load, so anywhere from 8 to 12 hours, then turn them off for 3-5 hours, listened during the day, then off for a few hours before another overnight run.  Worked great.

I don't necessarily recommend anyone run their tube amps overnight, but I've been doing it when e.g. breaking in new tubes for many years and never had any issues. JMO/FWIW/YMMV and all that.

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GroovySauce
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #6 - 09/10/23 at 12:55:50
 
CAJames, thanks for the clarification. I'm in agreement with you.

As a side note, burning in components like DACs that generally people suggest to leave on 24/7. It's worth it to 100% power them off and let them cool (5 hours) and then get them going again. Even if you have 1,000's of hours on a component that is on 24/7 turn it off and give it a reset every month or so.

Speakers are different. They just need time moving the drivers. My brother is burning in a new pair of speakers and has a small class D amp to play overnight and while he is away.

Speakers that have 1,000's of hours on them I also suggest playing them loud with bass heavy music once a month. I'll literally crank the system and leave the room—to protect my hearing—for an hour or so. Don't blast distortion though!
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CAJames
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #7 - 09/10/23 at 16:59:56
 
Quote:
Posted by: GroovySauce      Posted on: Today at 04:55:50

...Speakers are different. They just need time moving the drivers.


Yes. I never had brand new speakers until I bought my Omegas a few years ago. I was told they sounded bad out of the box and took a while to break in, and I wasn't disappointed. They when I first hooked them up they sounded horrible.

I played low frequency warble tones (20 - 30 Hz) that really got the cones moving but made almost no sound. That got everything loosened up and sounding good in a couple days. After that it was it was a pleasure just to listen to music as they finished breaking in.
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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
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Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Senn HD-650
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nipsy
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #8 - 09/12/23 at 07:32:56
 
Thanks Lon, CAJames, and GroovySauce for your ideas and discussion. The 300B has passed quality control and is waiting for its wooden case to be made. (I changed my order at the very last minute from the Torii Jr. and because I had requested a special wood they had to build a whole new case.)

After reading many of your posts in other topics I'm confident that I made the right decision... Not that there's a wrong decision with Decware, but I think it comes down to the sound one wants to hear. It's difficult to describe sound qualities and feelings with mere words, particularly when we're dealing with transcendent states. That's what I'm after: transcendence of space, time and creation. For me, I believe it comes with a profound clarity in the music and the ability to sense a separation between the different instruments and the sounds they make.

I'm just three years in to the world of HiFi, though I've been a lover of listening to music with ever improving equipment ever since receiving my first AM transistor radio some 55 years ago at age 8. Listening to a friend's expensive tube amp several years ago was my gateway into this universe and building the ZKIT1 when I placed my order 22 months ago was my first foray into the Decware world. Beautiful, hard to describe, pure sound !  The world changed again about a year ago when I swapped out the stock tubes and swapped in a Cryotone set. The sound just keeps getting better and better. Some days I'm so happy with the sound that I wonder what the point is in getting more equipment. Smiley

I'm listening alternately through a pair of Klipsch Heresy I and the Decware 945 speakers. While I like them both, I find the 945s a bit to shrill. Very clear, but sometimes difficult to listen to for a long period of time. I've been familiar with the Heresy's for many years, so that's a factor, too. Do I see a pair of the DIY Lii 15 something Baffle something speakers in my future...yup.

When listening to music, I can spend hours at a time just flipping through records and listen mainly to jazz, reggae, world music along with a smattering of classical on the 80's Thorens 146. (The ZP3 arrives shortly and I'll use the same burn in suggestions y'all have recommended. I ordered the stock unit and then after diving a bit deeper into the forums here was worried that I had made a fundamental error in not getting *all* the mods. I spoke to Steve who told me he runs an unmodded ZP3 and felt a bit better about my decision. Between just enjoying what I have, changing tubes or sending it back to have the mods added, I'm covered.)

I don't have a real DAC--just the apple dongle--and am not sure at all what to do there. I don't listen to a lot of digital music and what I do listen to will have to come through spotify, apple music, or my ripped itunes library. I may pick up a dragonfly cobalt for the ability to run music from the apple devices.

But I digress. Back to the topic at hand. I seem to recall reading something on this forum about playing wildly different types of music at a wide range of volumes in order to give the equipment (tubes, capacitors, etc) a full range of dynamics in the burn in process. Does this sound familiar and valid or is it one of those HiFi myths ?

Breaking in the amps will take time and I don't need to be in a hurry for that. Hopefully I have a little more time on the planet and can enjoy the process and experiencing the transformation. While I may not be able to remember the precise qualities of the sound at each step along the way, I'll certainly be able to tell the difference. I've never heard of a stylus timer before and just looked it up. Interesting, useful, and obsessive !  Not sure that I'd use it properly or consistently enough to get a truly accurate reading. That said, two are already on their way to my home !

CAJames, you mentioned running a dummy load through your amp at night. Forgive my ignorance, I'm curious about what that means and how to do it.

Thanks for reading the ramble here and I really appreciate all of your help !
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Tony
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #9 - 09/12/23 at 14:35:58
 

Nipsy,

I enjoyed reading your post; nice rambling! Smiley Your timing switching to the 300b sounds near perfect; I'm sure it will pay off.  Keep us posted on how it goes.  I also had the same question about CAJame's reference to a "dummy load."  Would that be some sort of simulated electrical hook-up for testing?

Tony
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CAJames
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #10 - 09/12/23 at 15:14:23
 
A dummy load is just a big resistor that looks similar to a speaker from an amp's perspective:

https://www.parts-express.com/8-Ohm-100W-Non-Inductive-Dummy-Load-Resistor-019-0...

I attached banana plugs to it (about the limits of my DIY abilities) and viola, a silent speaker.

As for what to play, the things I think are important are the music covers a wide frequency range, and has lots of transients (sudden transitions from soft to loud). I play a lot of Mahler, Prokofiev and big band jazz. There is also a burn in track from an old Stereophile CD that is people banging on pots and pans and drums and stuff that I mix in.

FWIW one my professors in college did his research on dielectrics, and while I didn't enjoy his class at all, I did learn way more about capacitor breakin than I ever thought any human needed to know, just from his random ramblings. And then I got into audio... so it is funny how life experience works.


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Tony
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #11 - 09/12/23 at 16:09:42
 
James said:


...and viola, a silent speaker.


Even though I have accumulated a number of audio components, I cannot tell you how many times I have said, "What I need now is a silent speaker."  Especially if one is on sale.  Which reminds me, James, we have a big Ol 'bridge here in the Bay Area that is going up for sale soon, and I think I can get you in on the ground floor if interested. Smiley
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JBzen
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #12 - 09/13/23 at 10:19:24
 
Quote:
A dummy load is just a big resistor that looks similar to a speaker from an amp's perspective


A resistor places a static load on the output tranny. A speaker driver places a dynamic load on the output transformer.

Of the two types of loads above, I would prefer the latter. More natural breakin time and one can hear what is going on with the amp. Static loads are best left to bench work when testing or trouble shooting.

John
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Ghostship
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #13 - 09/13/23 at 10:40:59
 
Yes, I am a firm believer that playing the widest variety of music as possible, and at varying gain levels, makes for the best break-in ritual, in addition to the on/off cycles mentioned earlier.

I saw DACs mentioned...for break-in the same is true. But, DACs have clocks, and clocks need to run constantly for days+ in order to sound their best because it improves their sync.
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CAJames
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #14 - 09/13/23 at 15:45:51
 
Yeah, I think most DACS, certainly mine, are best left on all the time. So for breakin (including new firmware) I just run music through it 24/7, whether I’m listening or not.
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nipsy
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #15 - 09/14/23 at 19:28:15
 
This is a treasure trove of learning and information !  My ZP3 arrived yesterday !  Still waiting on the 300B.

Unfortunately, I won't be back home to install it for another couple weeks !  But after you've waited 22 months, what's another couple weeks, right ?  It's all I can to to keep from tearing into the box, opening it up, and admiring it. Knowing that I'd never be able to get it back into the box the way it's packed insures that the cooler heads prevail.
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Lon
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #16 - 09/14/23 at 19:44:27
 
Congrats! If you're near the box, open it up! You can always set it on a shelf, or it's very likely you can re-box it easily enough--the packaging is awesome, but I've re-boxed and sent items a number of times, it's not rocket science.

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nipsy
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #17 - 09/18/23 at 08:36:27
 
Thanks for your encouragement, Lon !  I opened up the boxes which were incredibly well packed. I was surprised and thrilled to discover a t shirt inducting me into the One Year Club. While I don't generally wear logo clothing, I think I'll definitely wear this one.

It's a beauty with a Bubinga wood base and I can't wait to get her fired up and start listening. Just nine days to go. (Not like I'm counting or anything.) Smiley  Hoping that the 300B will arrive by then, too. Fingers crossed.
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Lon
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Re: Seeking: Best Practice Guide Break in of the 300B
Reply #18 - 09/18/23 at 08:50:20
 
I'm glad you did that. Congrats! Here's hoping for a speedy next delivery!
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SEWE300B,CSP3-25mod,Taboo MkIV;Rega RP3 all GrooveTracer mods;PSAudio:PST+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls,Reference spkrcbls;Mapleshade SamsonV3;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati interconnects, IsoPods; headphones:Sennheiser HD800S,ZMF Ori,Oppo PM1
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