My friend Seth recommended I switch to a cast iron pan and I did, comparing it to Berghoff ceramic. At first, the Berghoff was the clear winner. It took two days to break in and stretch its wings on the stove. The cast iron took longer. A lot longer. After nearly a week of use, the benefits of cast iron's more even heat blossomed and now we had a real race between two excellent platforms.
Why am I writing about A/B testing two frying pans in a blog about audio? Because there's a common thread here: break-in. Different materials take time to stretch their operating points to reach a sweet spot: pans, speakers, wires, electronics, circuit boards, cars, jeans, people.
I know we all want our products to just work in exactly the way they're expected from the moment they're removed from the box, but few do.
Why is it so important for Audiophiles and engineers to question the mechanisms of break-in? Is it not enough to see and hear the results and accept it?
We don't question the need for breaking in a stiff pair of new shoes or cutting slack for the new loudspeaker to stretch its materials.
Why the surprise when that new DAC or preamp demands to be stretched and used before it comes into its own?