"Burn In" Question

I am burning in a new set of interconnects.My preferred way to do this is to hook them up to a stereo VCR and run TV audio through them all day. My question is, does the integrated amp that I have the cables running to have to be powered up? I would prefer not to leave my more expensive pieces on gathering heat all day. Thanks for the help.
There's no current flow unless you complete the circuit. So I would say yep, in order to run the signal through the interconnects, it must be drawn through by the load. No load, no energy flow. Btw, I leave my more expensive solid state stuff on 24/7/365 to reduce the number of thermal cycles. It's not very green to do so, but maybe it brings us all that much closer to using renewable resources, haha. Good luck!
I have burned in cables using the VCR. You do not have to turn the volume up on your amp for it to work. I also leave my class a/b solid state equipment on 24 hours a day as well as my CD player. Otherwise it takes along time (at least a couple of hours or so) for them to warm up and sound their best. I even notice that the CD player sounds better after it has "played" a half a CD or so even though it is never turned off. Could be my imagination, but I don't think so.
An amplifier, or any other input device, does not have to be powered-up to provide a load termination for the interconnect cables driving it; signal current will flow regardless. You can prove this to yourself by measuring with an ohm-meter; the load impedance doesn't change when either powered on or off (don't DC your direct-coupled power amp if you perform this test - very bad things will happen). If you don't have an idle component to plug into for cable breakin, then you can make dummy loads with cheap RCA (or XLR) female connectors from Radio Shack. Just solder 10k-ohm resistors, or 47k-ohm, or whatever load you desire across the jacks - simple. The lower resistances will draw more signal current, theoretically accelerating the breakin. However, you cannot use a preamp's inputs to breakin this way, unless that particular input is selected on the input switch; (ie: if you're plugged into aux 1, then you must select aux 1 on the input switch) otherwise there's no load terminating the cable & no signal current flows, so no cable breakin is occuring. Regarding AC power: for best sound, never power down a solid state component if you don't have to. Reduces thermal cycling, theoretically increasing equipment life, & definitely increasing your electric bill. DO pull the plug if a thunderstorm is nearby however. Provide for integral transient-protection in your power conditioning equipment, for when you're not home during those storms. Tubes don't follow this always-on rule though.
Bob - i have seen comments on this topic on other threads, but never a clear POV. Should tube preamps be left on? Tube amps? I currently switch off my tube amos, but tend t leave the preamp on.
Thank you for the clear guidelines Bob. You have explained why it took so long for my silver interconnects to break in. I was told otherwise regarding the the preamp selector switch. My 300+ hours of breakin was in reality only about 200+ hours, since we were listening to music during the day from another source. I have a new pair of interconnects on the way that should only take a week, now that I have finally got it.
Thank you all for your kind responses. Dekay, don't you just love those silver cable break in times? If I remember correctly you are trying the Homegrown's like me. For their price, I think they are worth the wait. BTW I do keep my digital source on all the time but I will now consider doing the same with my amplifier.
Hi Osclib. Let us know what you think of the Homegrown's when they are fully cooked. I really like mine and ordered a .5 meter pair in addition to the ones that I have. I am also expecting a pair of used Harmonic Tech. Truthlinks to try out with poorly engineered (50% of our collection) CD's.
I am not a big authority on tube gear so I can only offer opinion & repeat what others have said. Most users seem to feel that you should power off your tube gear at day's end, expecially & definitely power amps. Some others like to leave small signal tubes always on, but for sure you're burning hours of life off the filaments. I had one Golden Tube preamp (SEP2) which had a standby mode the turned off B+ voltages, but left the filaments hot. A lot of the older tube TV sets used to have this feature for faster startup. But then I've also read that thermal-cycling stresses the tubes & they should be left on; maybe OK for low power components, but if you ever paid hundred$ for new PA tubes then you probably want them to last as long as possible. I realize that this is all quite confusing. Perhaps others can offer advice from more experience? Regarding solid state, I'm told on good authority that you don't get the best sound until the power supply regulators reach thermal stabilization, at about 30 hours after startup. Definitely something to this theory; my SS equipment behaves this way. Interesting to note that the Ayre V3 SS amp has a standby switch, which shuts off the outputs, but keeps power supplies & drivers running. Mine seems to still sound good with cold outputs (when just turned on from standby) but if I plug the amp in completely cold, it's not sounding good.
Hey guys just wanted to clear up my previous comment about leaving SS gear always on. The theoretical idea is to minimize thermal cycling, but it's not going to kill the equipment if you do power down. Just use some common sense: if you're gonna be away from home on vacation, etc, do shut down the system during prolonged idle-times. Keep it warm if you play it daily & it'll sound better for ya... enjoy!