How long does it take you to get an idea of a component's true musical character?

How long does it take you to get an idea of a component's true musical character?
No time---I can tell instantly
4% (8 votes)
10 minutes/1 song
13% (27 votes)
1 hour/1 CD
16% (33 votes)
1 day
15% (32 votes)
1 week
22% (46 votes)
A lot longer than that . . .
29% (61 votes)
Total votes: 207

Some people think that an audio component, like a good wine, reveals its full bouquet only when enjoyed and evaluated at length. Others think they can immediately tell whether or not a component is to their liking. Reader Federico Cribiore wants to know: How long does it takes you?

D.  Cline's picture

It seems to take a lot less time to tell if something is not to my liking than if it is!

Anonymous's picture

I listen to a large varity of music, it takes time to see if the compomant plays good's picture

still is not enough time to really give a fair evaluation of said prod. Myself I bring a cpl. of recordings I know very well. Then shop several dealers.After narrowing it down buy what your heart & ears tell you, what feels right. Please unless you have no choice, if music is important, I would never buy a stereo from one of these Best buy type of places.(unless it's for the kids)it is also my oppinion that WE still make the best Hi- end audio in the world. respectfully, Jeff Brotherton Cleveland, OH

John DeGroof's picture

I can tell if I like the way a speaker sounds right away (the Stereophile Show is a good example of when this is NECESSARY), but when trying to determine which of several speakers I like is the best, a lot of time is necessary.

mike saelieng's picture

3-5 weeks

Graeme Nattress's picture

Usually I can tell quite quickly if a component is to my liking, especially if it is a speaker or source. Amps take longer.

Kevin Pinkham's picture

Any less than a week is someone's ego talking. I've purchased various amps in the past, and none of them revealed its true colors for at least a week. Some took as long as a year. I suppose CD players and the like may be different. I think all electronic components have a "burn-in" period, but each component is different.

nlis lima's picture

there are some qualeties that are immediatly apparent in most equipement, but to reveal all the sonic glory apparent in a given component takes time. sometimes a long time. Once the component is broken in it has to be evaluated thouroly, usually for about a month. Then you compair it to your previous referance for a while to develope a good idea of what it is doing and how it relates to the others in the system. Then and only then can you make a good decision on your prefrence and why you perfer that one over another. I belive this is a totally subjective comparison, so blind testing is of little relevance. Once you know what you need/want in your system you look for that in new components based on the little glimmer that shigns at you in the store. Whatever seems the closest to ideal for all given criteria is the first to be taken home to evaluate, and so on to nervana/oblivion.

Michael Bruss's picture

I really began to like my amp and loudspeakers when I already owned them for half a year. And now, after 2.5 years, I wouldn't ever want to miss them!

Albert D.  Spicer's picture

I need at least a few hours with a variety of music to "settle into" a component that I really like initially. I can usually tell in 10 minutes or less whether the component is a contender however.

Ernie Watson's picture

At least a week. New equipment, like a new instrument, takes a while to get past the "new" into the comfortable.

Art Smith's picture

Obviously,a component cannot reveal its true musical character until it has been properly burned in. Even so, I can usually tell an immediate difference (if one exists). But that initial departure may be ameliorated due to the ear's natural tendency to become adjusted to its environment. Thus, I wait and listen.



Dana Bunner's picture

I'll qualify this by saying that it takes only 30-60 minutes to ascertain over 95% of a component's character, and thus usually to determine if it is something I want in my system. This doesn't hold true for loudspeakers, because if they are sufficiently different (which is often) from what you are used to hearing, then it can take days to get away from your previous biases and fairly evaluate the complete sonic picture of a speaker.

Steve Williams's picture

Normally I can tell if I like or don't like equipment right away. The trick is to pinpoint what exactly it is that isn't right.

Nathan Losman's picture

Assuming the component in question is broken in, I find that at most a day is adequate to get a solid idea of what the component will or won't do. Sometimes this can be determined in a couple of hours. I've found, from personal experience, that after a day or so of extensive listening, the component aquires what ever character the listener wishes the component to have. Sounds like the placebo effect, doesn't it? First impressions count for a great deal, in my book.

bill's picture

50 hours

Jacopo Botta's picture

I can get 80% of the way there in a couple of minutes, but to get all the way there I have to put the component through its paces with a lot of different recordings. I listen to a lot of different music that's been recorded in very different ways, so 20 cd's is the bare minimum, but 50 is more like it. It ususally ends up taking me about 2-3 weeks to figure out if the change is truly for the better (or worse).

John Patterson's picture

Unless you have your butt superglued to a seat in the ideal position, a week is butt a wink of the ear.