When no energy ,power, current ,motion ,vibration is happening then your cable becomes dumb. Did you read the analogy about the mint car vs the taxi. The reason my stuff is on 24/7(playing not stand-by) is that the vibratiion is in the groove. Now I have learned how to tune all inside my room ,including my gear. So now that my stuff is on and prime ...when I change something I can hear something.When your stuff is static in a universe that moves then you have lousy sound. Like a mint car that won't move...goes to hell.
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C5150, I enjoyed your trancendental view of this hobby. I smell a new book in there somewhere!
As for cables, my understanding as a result of reading many interviews with various cable manufactures, and studying the explanations of engineers and scientists comes down to this:
1.) Cable break-in matters.
2.) It matters because it "improves" (I'm not clear how) the boundry or junction between the conductor and the insulation (dilectric).
3.) And sometimes, (depending on metallurgical issues) it improves (maybe degrades, God forbid!?) the signal carrying characteristics of the conductors.
Cables may need to be broken-in again if:
4.) They've been out of service for a very long time (like six months or more) but this won't require more than a few hours. Not a hundred or more like when new.
5.) If you change their orientation relative to the signal flow, or change the polarity of their connections (which amounts to the same thing, and would most likely apply to speaker cables.) NB: I don't understand the science behind this, but it's been repeated many times (does that make it true?) Also, this re-burn-in (they say) requires almost as much time as the original burn-in did.
My personal take is that except for power cords, most audio cables including speaker cable (and certainly tonearm cable!) don't carry enough current to modify anything very much at the molecular level (I suppose there are exceptions of which I'm blissfully unaware.) So unless you are willing to invest in a cable cooker or cable cooker service, I sincerely believe that the signals normally generated in an audio system are too weak to have a significant effect on the molecular structure of the cables that carry them. OK, have at me ;~))
Nsgarch, once again, I see that you think that signal current flows only in one direction or that the polarity of a signal doesn't change. Actually a signal at 100Hz changes polarity 100 times in one second. If it didn't, how would you expect the speaker to work. In fact to check for polarity of a speaker, one applies a DC voltage (of a given polarity) to the speaker terminals and notes which direction the speaker cone goes. To get the cone to go in the other direction, one must reverse the polarity. If one wants the speaker to respond to a signal of a frequency of 100hz, then I guess that the signal must reverse polariy 100 times a second. The current, of course, during all this polariy switching, reverses direction as many times. Kind of renders direction of current in cables and direction of speaker cables, silly, don't you think?
If your cables require break in then I would very be suspicious of either the design or the manufacturer.
There should be absolutely no scienific reason that cables driven at normal AC current levels and made of appropriate materials, such as copper, with reasonable diameter, shielding and insulator, would change their response over time. From time to time ( over months/years ) the contacts might need cleaning (due to oxidation) but that is about it!
Anyone who designs cables that require a break in must necessarily be using some materials that are not stable or fit for purpose in either the cables or the components driving them ...in essence probably a very bad cable/system design as nobody desires that the audible output drift over time.
Anyone who claims that any of the commonly used audio cables actually requres a break in period is probably deluded....most are designed to do their job and would never be driven to the kind of extremes that would cause drifts or changes in their properties.
It could be delusional to think that cables are the only part of a system that does not require break-in, but we know for sure that audio components in themselves do require this break-in period. Audio components have traces on circuit boards for the exception of point to point wiring which interconnects electronic parts (tubes transistors etc.). We know they all contribute to the final sound but do cables in themselves change during break-in & can it be proven? Who really knows for sure. Some electronic engineers can add, subtract or substitute various electronic parts (including wiring) to improve sound but admittingly can't always explain why, resorting to theories.
Bob, I don't know how you reached that (those) conclusions from what I said, but no I don't think that.
As for power cords, and other cables: I surely thought it clear that I take all this "lore" I reported, with a very large grain of salt!
No one I know, or whose article I've read has ever made reference to any scientific study or listening test. Well wait a minute, there was a very well designed (and carefully written-up) listening test that took place in San Fancisco, I think. But the results were inconclusive.
A good system design should require very little break in...any design that drifts significantly over time is likely to require regular maintenance or calibration...something a good designer will try to avoid.
Fortunately regular copper speaker wire driven with normal AC audio signals and within its design tolerances is so extremely stable with time that it should far outlast everything else with no drift in properties that would affect the sound....this means that a break in is simply not required for your regular run of the mill copper speaker wire. (only a cable made from materials that were not stable over time/electrical use could conceivably require a break in period, but this would be a poorly designed cable in the first place)
Shadorne, you could be very well correct in regards to the subject of breaking in cabling. If I understand you correctly your suggesting that if there is anything breaking in at all it would be the components & not the cables. Since most quality cabling as well as components are designed by ear for a desired sound and in the end become part of a whole system makes you wonder exactly what part of it, if not all of that system is breaking in. I don't how one can prove if the cable is or is not breaking in with the new components since you really can't test separately. I think this is a thread that everyone has their own opinion and maybe no one can be proven wrong but an interesting topic nonetheless.
i've been wondering about this break in thing lately. On several posts you can read the arguement that blind tests are not accurate because the mind's ability to accurately remember what was last heard is limited and the time to switch cables may exceed that time window. I can't help but wonder how much of the so called break in is just getting used to the revised sound of the system with the new gear? in other words you are the one breaking in not the gear.
Sorry guys I forgot that i had posted here.
I read if they were not used after burn in,they dontThe problem is you need to apply to learn the truth in your universe. If you read and assume then you get confusion ....or audiogon.
C5150, I enjoyed your trancendental view of this hobby. I smell a new book in there somewhere!It's pure science . If your car goes to heck ...it's decaying. Why if it stays motionless, by my account it will literaly disappear before your eyes. Do you know why it does't just vanish. The earth is rotating at more than 1000 mph just to go around once 24 hours.The earth goes around the sun at 66000 mph to complete a cycle of a year. The milky way is moving at 70000mph on top of that. So your car isn't totatly still is it. This your wire makers and engineers never will consider. They went to school of one reality.
Bob P. -- I ain't sayin' yes an' I ain't sayin' no neither.
What I'm saying is: I can't say for sure -- maybe it's all too subtle for my hearing (which ain't what it used to be!)
But, "break-in" changes with other devices in the audio chain (especially MC cartridges, tube gear, and certain kinds of speakers) are so obvious just from simple listening comparisons that it's easy to assume it must be true of cables and power cords too. And maybe they do change (doesn't everything?) The question is: are the changes significant enough to affect what you hear?
in other words you are the one breaking in not the gear.
Actually your are with your perceptions taking in new info...and matching it against your recall to see what has changed.Change will persist. Your reality is now different. The guy who reads and assumes and never does anything( plug and play)... never can get a new info ,or reality going. All he can share with you is the same old.The thing is the same OLD is decaying and he gets bored with it. So by buying a new component can he get a new reality . Or you can learn to tune and constantly change the realty yourself.CREATE in other words. you have to live it to .....
Like it or not, cable burn in is a real phenomena. The problem is, and I suppose I don't really consider this a problem, not everyone perceives the difference. Just like I don't perceive absolute polarity to the same degree as my associate Steve....but it's real. I say this then; If you don't hear differences with cables burned in and broken in properly, be happy, be on your way and enjoy some music! No need to get bent as I've seen in some posts in the past.
Still, recognizing that not all folks hear the differences with cables being burned in, we offer two options to help with that; We can condition the cables on our 'dharma or, with the purchase of any of our cabling and at your request, we'll send along some audio grade meds that will change what you perceive in less than 5 minutes! The affect is not permanent but it's quit addicting!
(No, I'm not a substance user or abuser. Hell, I don't even drink!)
Wow. That was authoritative...cable burn is real. Doesn't matter what anyone thinks...it is real, like it or not.
For the benefit of others....especially the skeptics out there.....let me play the devil's advocate a bit and challenge you a little on this.
It will give you a chance to convince others which may lead to more special cable sales ;)
So here goes...
Do you have any references or studies backing up these claims that you could share with us?
Testimonials doesn't really cut it for me when it comes to something as well studied as cables. If it is a "real phenomena" and if it makes an audible difference for some then surely the effects ought to be studied in electrical engineering somewhere; but I don't recall having seen anything. Perhaps you can point us to IEEE papers or other reputable engineering journals that have studied these effects in audio applications.
As you can see, I am more than a little skeptical. There are other skeptics out there too...
I assume are we talking about the same ordinary copper wires that most people use...or are you referring to some other exotic cable conductor material that is known to be affected by AC electrical signals in the audio frequency range and therefore drifts in response and requires break-in?
If it is something exotic that drifts in properties and response under normal operating conditions then why is this material being used at all for audio applications? Surely, given alternatives, nobody would choose to use an exotic material that significantly changes properties over time, and for an application requiring accuracy and stability. This is simply poor engineering.
Apologies if I came across a bit abrupt...you are right...I see now that you were just making a comment in a light hearted way and I took it more seriously than you intended. ( I see the end of your post was a bit tongue-in-cheek ) I was just trying to get a discussion going and I can see you don't want to go there. Nevermind.
In any case, there is never much fun in taking things too seriously, which maybe I did.
I understand that the lack of anything but anecdotal evidence on the benefits of exotic speaker cables will never prevent some audiophiles from dramatically increasing enjoyment from their audio system when they install these new wires; whatever the cause, good fortune to those who do, and enjoy!
OK,for you guys that dont believe in breakin,explain this;I let a gentleman at work who has a modest system and loves jazz and classical,borrow a pair of Signal cable Analog2 ICs that have been in constant use for 1 yr.,to replace the IC that came with his CDplayer,(he has never even heard about break-in) to make a long story shorter,,,he loved what he heard!So he buys a brand new pr,installs them,comes over to me at work a couple days later all panicky,,,they sound terrible,,,they cant be the same cable as the one you lent me!,they must have changed the way they make them,,,,im going to send it back,,i cant believe this!! SAME CABLE,,,a few weeks later he is happy and cant believe what happened,,,,So,,,please explain this guys!
Ray, it would have been interesting to have heard his reaction after a few days if you had given him back his newly purchased cables while telling him they were your old ones.
BTW, I lean toward the camp that believes in cable break/burn-in, however I also believe a portion of the effect can be attributed to the user getting used to the sound of the new wire over time.