Well, in my very limited experience yes, cables and power cords do need some time to settle. Both my Purist Audio cables and Custom Power Cord Co. power cords told me that. How long? It will probably vary greatly from a few hours to a few days, I guess. In my case, a day or two.
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Firm believer that everytime a cable is moved that it loses it's signal path dynamics. AudioQuest must feel the same way as they are adding the DBS system to maintain that. My personnal theory is that, a static electrical charge changes the "skin effect signal path" much as why elevated speaker cables sound better on carpeted floors than those laying directly on the carpet. I realize that this is "yanking the lid off" of a can of worms, but it is what I have found in MY system. I haven't read it but have heard from an expert that George Cardas also makes this same claim about moving cables needing time to settle back in.
An alternative 'theory' I propose is that beings/entities/particles from another 'dimension' or 'universe' are attracted to the wires when music is being played for long periods of time.
Since the spacial relations of the different dimensions are not totally co-existant, when the cable is moved, the dakinis or angels or Devas, or fairies.. dark matter/energy.. whatever you wish to call them (I prefer dakinis) fall off the wires/lose contact with the wires.
And it takes time for them to find/be attracted to the wires again.
The alien dimensional presence and thier dancing or activity on/in the wires enhances the electrons happiness and thus the sound is better to our ears, as it is more in tune with the Universe.
Feel free to adjust this theory to your current experience of the Universe and it's parts...
Also feel free to consider me totally nuts, or a revolutionary genius, as you will. LOL!
There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition. Rod Serling discussing cables I call it the Twilight Factor, you see Elizabeth your not alone. Keep Smiling.
I am sure that putting hours on the new cables was the reason for most of my improvement ....What makes you sure of that?
If it was a new amp, it could have been breaking in. If it was a used amp, its electrolytic capacitors might have been reforming, or it might have otherwise been recovering from a long period of sitting on a shelf.
If your speakers hadn't been in use for a significant amount of time while you were awaiting the amp, their drivers might have needed to loosen up. Or that might have been the case simply as a result of your intermittent (weekend only) usage, that effect perhaps having been less noticeable with your previous amp.
Also, your AC line voltage and/or noise conditions may have changed. RFI conditions may have changed. And are you sure that your room temperature did not change significantly, as winter approaches (temperature being a parameter that is fundamental to the physics of transistors and other semiconductors)?
If none of those possibilities are applicable, then Elizabeth's theory seems best to me :-)
Also, areas of the world are considered 'sacred'. These seem to have spacial 'whatever'.
I say some of those areas became that way due to what happened there.
Just so, playing music over time in a specific area, creates a quasi-'sacred' space where the mind is 'lifted' due to the altered nature of the multidimensional space it occupies.
One of the reasons I used to leave music playing all day when at work, keep the 'energy' of my listening space happy so when i was there it would feel good.
(the other reason was my pets were happier with music than without. So I would run a five disc changer all day long with nice music.)
Again whatever works for you to make your way through your self awareness of existence
Some owner's manuals DO mention breaking in.
Most are from companies with non-insane employees.. so they do not mention breaking in, to avoid controversy.
(whether they accept it occurs or not)
As to why you are here instead of building up your eye blinking muscles.. or counting breaths etc.. Inspecting your offal.. Only you know why you waste so much time here.
I waste my time here because i am retired and do not have any life outside of listening to music all day long.
I have my nice place, a great stereo system thousands of recordings, a good car, nice pets, decent food, places to go find used music Cd and LP.. and enough money coming in to be satisfied.
So I am a couch potato with a big stereo. (instead of TV)
I plan on wasting the rest of my life away in this manner, possibly communing with the Dakinis who like my music playing too. No problem.
And as for never finishing breaking in...Maybe... It certainly sounds better after months and months... Years even.. So perhaps it IS never finished..
"I waste my time here because i am retired and do not have any life outside of listening to music all day long.
I have my nice place, a great stereo system thousands of recordings, a good car, nice pets, decent food, places to go find used music Cd and LP.. and enough money coming in to be satisfied."
Well, your candor makes me feel better. I am in the same situation, except Amazon is my only source for music, and I do the gym everyday. Happy Listening.
I heard the opinion that some speakers keep improving even after a few thousands of playing hours. I cannot comment on that as I always bought used speakers.
To return to cables, they do need some time to settle. Maybe in many cases it cannot be heard by an average ear. Just because a person is audiophile doesn't necessarily mean that he/she has a good hearing. Sometimes I read posts here that clearly indicate that unless the poster is not telling the truth, he/she cannot hear a thing. Some of my non-audiophile friends have better hearing than I, at least in some respects. The strongest point of my hearing is perception of space and rhythm.
I think we should think about the implications of all this 'hearing a difference'. Taken to it's logical(sorry) conculsion, it means that EVERY component on planet earth has a unique sound, and that sound can be heard by 'audiophiles'. This means that since no two components will measure the same, even two off the same assembly line, then they all sound different. Even the two channels on a stereo amp sound different. The two monoblocks, sound different. Throw in the wire and cords and CD players and all of the other tweaks / stuff, even racks!!!, and then consider all the possible combinations. So what does it all mean?
I'm using Masterbuilt power cords, interconnects, and speaker cables. The ICs and SCs were burned in on a cable cooker before I got them, but they still needed a couple of weeks to reach their ultimate performance. The PCs weren't burned in and I expected them to reach their performance plateau in a day or two since they transmit substantial current, but they also three weeks to fully flesh out. As mentioned above, I also notice that if I move the cables, they take an hour or two to settle back in. In my system, the evolution of the sound quality during break-in is easily audible as is the time required to recover after moving them.
"but they still needed a couple of weeks to reach their ultimate performance. The PCs weren't burned in and I expected them to reach their performance plateau in a day or two"
And just how will you know when that plateau is reached? Do you have to wait until there is no more evidence of break in happening and at that time declare them broken in?
It is interesting that you have brought the entire planet into this discussion. Just the other day it was annouced that the folks at NASA have discovered a super massive black hole with a diameter seven times the distance of pluto's orbit from the sun. And this thing just roams around the galaxy gobbling up stuff. After learning that, everything seems just a little more silly. I hope these golden ears people will hear it coming if it heads this way. At that time I will order the Pass Labs and Wilsons.
Just to keep the discussion going.
I would like to hear opinions are how all of the gear that happens to need a "break-in" knows when to stop at just the right time when the music sounds best. Are these components trained in what each of us is looking for when it comes to great sound?
We know we all have varying tastes when it comes to music and equipment. Yet we say that it sounds best to us after "break-in". If I happen to buy your equipment second hand, how does the equipment know to "break-in" to my preferences and not break back into your old tastes which lets assume are contrary to mine?
A very talented engineer and designer stated that a cable or piece of equipment that changed dramatically after it was put into service would either change very little or would have to be so unstable that it would continue to change forever, continuously. In other words the piece in question cannot magically stop changing at just the precise time that the sound becomes "Great", "WoW", "Stunning", "Airy", "Sublime", etc.
I have often wondered how all this equipment gets programmed to morph into what it is that we desire from it.
Who feels that "we create are own reality"? Have we convinced ourselves like a great magician convinces us that the Space Shuttle disappeared or the Tiger manifested itself inside the previously empty box?
An analogy would be polishing a surface.
Best comparison is a car engine.
The pistons, rings, and cylinders in a new engine are not perfectly mated, and will not produce the optimum power, until the parts have worn together.
Once the parts are porperly broken in. No further problems will occur for hundreds of thousands of miles.. With a good setup, and proper oil changes, the engine could last a million miles...
IF the engine is taken apart, and reassembled.. it would need a little break in time again. to become optimum.
Hope this is a good enough analogy.
Naturally anyone can pick holes in it.. so feel free to do so.. I won't worry about it.
Any post that discusses cables and various topics about cables, such as break in, or "do better cables actually work" etc is fair game for any and all craziness.
I am personally amazed more of the ""cable breakin is utter nonsense..."" posts, have not been added to the pile.
I believe cables break in. Actually my cables have been breaking and entering other folks apts every time I am not home. The Cops are ready to haul them off to the slammer...
To Al I did buy a used amp from Reno Hi Fi but I played it continuously for 48 hours so the capacitors would charge.I have electrostatic speakers so it rules out the drivers loosening up. On a further note I did call Ghostbusters and they thought that Elizabeth was on to something. While the cables were settling I did experience a bright sound and loss of detail even one of my dogs left the room. Our most of you people hearing a hard sound and loss of detail when cables our settling or precisely what are you hearing?
12-12-11: NeedfreestuffThanks for the response. Not sure how relevant it may be, but as a point of information I'll mention that I've consistently noticed that if my Stax electrostatic headphones are not used for a period of a few weeks, they sound very thin when I resume using them. A good workout at high volume for an hour or two will bring back the missing richness.
In any event, my basic point was that with audio equipment there are a lot of subtle variables that can be involved, many of which are easy to overlook or be unaware of. And when sonic effects are perceived that seem to defy technical and common sense plausibility, my expectation is that in many cases (though undoubtedly not all cases) the effect is being attributed to the wrong variable.
I have my nice place, a great stereo system thousands of recordings, a good car, nice pets, decent food, places to go find used music Cd and LP.. and enough money coming in to be satisfied.Yes Elizabeth. But I think your bird is a little tired of doing a lot of the chores you trained him/her to do, while your listening to you music. So they sent this video in.
"listening to you music." Another bad grammar day. I hope Elizabeth isn't mad.
There are a lot of things that can happen, that will change the sound.
In one bedroom, I have long speakers cables. Every time we move them for sweeping, they get moved across the carpeting. In the winter when the heat is running, they get a lot of static electricity that builds up on them. That static charge must cause an inductive type of magnetic field around them. Anyway, it sure plays games with the highs, until it goes away.
Another thing in my area is, our incoming voltage is always different, at different times of the day. On the weekend, it drops more. The same right before the news comes on TV. Even with everyone getting the flat panels, a lot of us get one that is bigger that the old set. So, they still cause a voltage drop. Plus, I imagine the quality of the voltage sure must vary too.
There are several of us in my area that swap amps, and other electronics we buy and try it in our system. This lets us hear a lot of variety for a small fraction of the cost, in comparison to if we had to buy every piece our self. But getting to the point, a fried had an amp of mine for a week of two. When I got it back, I called him and asked him if something happened to it. He said no, it sat most of the time. So I ran it in the other room for a day. Finally, it started to sound like I remember it.
So, there are a lot of things that we may overlook, that can change the sound. Even those new cables may brush against our clothes, and get a static charge on them, while changing them.
"Finally, it started to sound like I remember it."
That's audiophile speak for: I got used to the sound again.
"So, there are a lot of things that we may overlook, that can change the sound. Even those new cables may brush against our clothes, and get a static charge on them, while changing them."
Let's not forget those solar winds and the gravitational pull of Jupiter.
It's not your imagination.
I have a twice yearly ritual of disconnecting all my wires, giving them a Caig cleaning and then re-coat with Walker ESST and insert.
First listen isn't so pretty but after a few days things snap in.
I usually forgo any type of burn in ritual.I just turn the system on and then listen,if the sound improves it does so gradually.
The only time in all my years at this hobby that I did hear a component snap into focus was the last set of speakers I bought new.
When folks say it's like a blanket being taken away that was covering the speakers, they aren't foolin.