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Unless you put them on some type of "burner" for more than a few days, they will never fully "burn in". Nor will you ever know their full potential. I base these statements on past experience with cables that i have used under normal circumstances on a daily basis month after month. Taking them out of the system and putting them on my Mobie made a VERY noticeable difference i.e. a major improvement. That tells me that cables never really "blossom" during normal usage and need to be exposed to circumstances above and beyond what they would normally see to fully "settle in". Sean
Do the cables settle in, or do we settle in to the cable?
In the end it seems like a lot of trouble for nothing; and I am a big believer that cables matter.
Sugar, the main benefits that i've experienced from "burning" cables is that they tend to sound far more natural, offer increased liquidity and sound less "hi-fi". Rough edges are removed and all that you are left with is the music in an even more appealing presentation. Since better musical reproduction is what i am after ( even though i am definitely a "gear head" and like to tinker ), i find it a win / win situation in every aspect.
As to the "burn in" wearing off, i don't know about that. I don't think that this takes place unless something occurs to physically or chemically alter the cables. I guess that i could take some cables that i know are well burned, use them for an extended amount of time and then try re-burning them again. I think that Bob Crump has found that cables are "once burned, always burned" to a great extent. Obviously, this would be a matter of subjective judgment.
I personally don't believe that the initial differences between "burned" and "unburned" is subjective at all, as the differences can be rather staggering and hard NOT to notice. Sean
Have to side with Sean on this one. After tiring of hearing that I had to run cables for 50-100-500 hours to hear their "true potential", I picked up a Audiodharma Pro Cooker. It definitely makes a difference on ICs (2-3 days) and speaker cables (4-5 days), but virtually none on PCs (your experience Sean?).
Interestly, I found some of the biggest differences with less expensive wire. I "fried" a set of Dimarzio (of guitar pickup fame) $500 speaker cables, and they more than held their own with a set which lists for $2500.
Just my experience.
I do believe cables need some break-in. Something changes in the molecular structure when a current is applied. Just wondering if we are going too far? As a mused above: Why wait forever for the cable to burn in? Just get one that sounds good in a perpetual partially burned in state, whatever that is!?
On the one hand, on the other hand. Have I not heard something like this on numerous occasions? The whole burn-in thing has to be a joke. If any component actually needs burning in to sound better, this means that, unless whatever change happens in the component that is not simply metaphysical in nature stops at some point, the component will either sound better and better as it ages, almost without end, or will get to a point where it loses its optimal listening quality as whatever is changing starts on a downward curve. Maybe components should have a "best before date" so that we can throw them out? No that would not do, because in audio everything is in the ears of the one listener, so the only solution is to listen for any, repeat any, change, no matter how subtle, and, if deemed to be on the negative side of the holistic listening experience, to ditch the component when it gets too "burned-in". To solve this, invent this wacky theory for cables that they go back and forth in their ability to carry a signal and that they have to "relearn" this fine art of conductivity by being "re-burned-in" from time to time. This whole thing is so unreal! Top it all off by saying "well I know it has to be so because I can hear the difference", with the sub-text implying that if the sceptic cannot, he is either deaf or stupid or both, and should get out of the hobby, and you have, yet again, a snapshot of the state of subjective audio. If, in fact, humans could hear these changes caused by some yet un-named, un-measurable and imperceptible phenomena save to the initiate, life would be unbearable. Sort of like seeing the blackheads on the nose of a stadium-full of people at two hundred and fifty yards because of extra high resolution bionic vision. Even if it was possible, why would anyone want to?
I wasn't all that sure if the audio interconnect burn-in thing was my imagination or not, but I'm convinved after buying a new Monster M2000 S-Video cable and watching a few DVDs. When I first hooked it up the picture was pretty bad...extrememly grainy, very weird color saturation, and I was very disappointed. I watched it that night and then left it hooked up with a DVD playing on repeat. It was better the next night, but still far from perfect. I bet it took a week of letting in run by itself and watching films before it looked good (and it now looks very good). That experience really made me a believer because I could "see" the process. I guess I trust my eyes more than my ears.
Pbb: not to get into the subjective vs objective thing, but your analogy "seeing the blackheads on the nose of a stadium-full of people at two hundred and fifty yards because of extra high resolution bionic vision" completely misses the point, yet completely summarizes the objective point of view.
The more ACCURATE analogy to in this situation would be "hearing the crowd in an open stadium at 250 yards, and figuring out which team is winning".
In your analogy, a machine (ccd imager with telephoto lens) would certainly perform better than the human eye. HOWEVER, in my analogy, no oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, or distortion meter could tell me which team is winning. But my 5 year old could.
Point is, "subjective" criteria are not about the microscopic details as much as the big picture - believable music presentation. It is just that us humans are taught from birth to describe these things in a microscopic way.
I have personally found many cables to change the musical presentation with burn in. If you haven't tried it, try it. If you don't hear, don't burn it. But don't redicule the concept based upon what you have heard from "objectivists".
Audiofile9, I really don't care what you found, since you appear to have missed my point entirely. This forum is for you and yours in any event. The whole thing is so predictable at any rate that my post indicated what the likely comeback would be. You served your side of the argument as well as anybody else who would have come up to say that you are entirely satisfied that your own well trained golden ear is all you need to satisfy yourself of the existence and relevance of absolute horse feathers. I'm content in listening to music on my system and have no need to chase the will-o-the-wisp. My very last point is that there is no debate left, Audiogon is dedicated to believers and no one else. I have received many e-mails from people who have come to this realisation. The discussion forum is merely a sideshow to the only true raison d'être of Audiogon: encouraging the sale of the most outlandishly priced equipment.
Pbb, I understand your point on the last sentence of your post---I posted my response to Famaraca in Portuguese and it didn't get posted (I knew it wouldn't). Doesn't matter, I emailed it to him...
What I am going to write you're not going to like it--but "truth is a virus":
You lack good hearing--either clinically and/or cultivated.
I bought a pair of used Tice interconnects and I noticed the sound opening up after a few hours of play. At first I thought this was weird--weren't they TPT treated? I called George Tice and he told me I was hearing right--that it would take about 5 days for an old interconnect to open up.
If I can hear that imagine my reaction after Sean cooked some of my interconnects on his modded Mobie! Truly an amazing difference--even on my digital cable.
BTW, I am strongly anti-Voodoo--just read my analog posts defending a true turntable against the cult crowd.
Pbb, while i have watched and measured the differences in electronic circuitry "settling in" using test equipment, i had thought that "wire burn in" was a complete joke. I found out differently and the results were undeniable after some first hand experimentation.
I have also burned cables for multiple others that have had the same thoughts and experiences. Every one of them BECAME a "believer" after hearing the results. One guy was going to throw some cables out they sounded so bad in his system. After burning, they are now residing within the confines of his system and he is quite happy with them. Is he fooling himself ? Given my past experience using the same procedure and getting similar results, i sincerely doubt it.
Others have sent me cables to burn for them and kept identical "unburned" cables at home to compare. The results ? The "burned" cables always sound fuller and smoother with greater transparency.
Bottom line: You really don't know until you try it for yourself
Grandpad: I've never tried "burning" a power cord with any type of "special device". My beliefs are that the only way to burn in a cable is to put it into a situation that is above and beyond what it would normally be used for. To be exact, you would need increased voltage and current draw. Even just increased current draw would help speed things up but i don't know by how much. As such, no "cable burner" is capable of doing what you would need to burn a power cord. As such, it is really just "marketing hype" and a feature that has no real merit in my opinion.
If you wanted to speed up the process, you could try making up an adapter to use on your fridge, etc... This is a high current device that cycles quite frequently. As such, it should offer some benefits in terms of "advanced break in" of PC's. Just a guess though based on my other "burn in" experiences.
I would agree with your observation that cheaper cables seem to really come to life when cooked. This may have to do with the fact that less expensive cables typically use lower grade dielectrics than more expensive cables. It is possible that "burning" is more effective at "curing" ( figuratively and literally ) problems with absorption and "junk" dielectrics. Since Teflon has such a low absorption factor as it is, the benefits may not be as noticeable or drastic on "fancy" cables.
PsychicAnimal felt that devices such as the Mobie were a threat to the Hi-End cable industry. After burning various grades of cables for him, he felt that the differences in performance between cheap cables and expensive cables was drastically reduced. I would tend to agree and i think that your findings support this also. I know that Bob Crump has also had similar findings as he once told me that "a Mobie can make Bat guano sound good after 30 days" : )
Having said that, i still believe that a cable that uses superior materials and superior geometry will always perform better given the same amount of "treatment" that one gives a cable of lesser quality and design integrity. With that in mind, we can't QUITE turn a sow's ear into a silk purse, but it is getting pretty close to that. Sean
Sean: Why dont you start a business? If you or someone you know has one of these machines, I would love to send one set of my old PBJ Kimber out to you (while keeping the other set "virgin"). Love to see if I hear anything I like.
(I am sure it might have negative results on some cable.)
Why don't the manufacturers use these machines?
Actually, some manufacturers do burn in their cables.
However, there is no precise and scientific basis that has yet been determined for what (if anything) is actually happening. My ears tell me something is happening.
Even after saying that, it seems that sometimes merely shipping the cables appears to "negate" the effects of the break-in process. One mfr I know has told me that he has changed his packaging and this seems to have negated the negation of the shipping process.
Keep in mind that today shipping can mean exposure to extreme cold, heat, x-rays, cosmic radiation, RF energy and magnetic fields.
Why any of this should effect the sound coming through wires is still very unclear - indeed some deny that it happens at all.
But, I do burn in all the cables that I ship and have found that cables auditioned here, virgin vs. burned-in do sound rather different (although in reality this is a subtle difference, best heard on a system that is very clean and neutral) but audibly so.
Thanks for jumping in there Bear. It is good to have input from the professional side of the camp too. Like you, i've always wondered whether someone that has shipped me cables for burning was hearing the same thing that i've heard here. In other words, how much happened after i've shipped them back to them ??? Evidently, they must be hearing something pretty similar or at least enough to let them know that there was a noticeable difference / improvement from what they originally sent me.
Gumby: As to burning cables as a business, i have plans to build and possibly market a commercial grade burner. Just have to make the time to design and build it. I've already picked up most of the hardware but need to get down to the nitty gritty. If i could just drag myself away from the puter, i might actually be able to start doing something productive with my time : )
In the meantime, i would be glad to throw a set of your PBJ's onto the burning system that i'm currently using. That is, so long as you can spare a GOOD amount of time away from them. While differences DO occur overnight, i prefer to burn them for as long as possible. In other words, a week or two is better than a few days, etc... Since you have another pair that you could use as a baseline, one would not have to worry about auditory memory coming into play. If you are interested in doing something like this, drop me an email so that we can make arrangements. Sean
Now, PBB. If Agon really were as one-sided as that, would your post even make it past the moderators? Certainly, this site is dominated by one point of view, and yes, that point of view is good for Agon's bottom line. But there seems to be some room for others to point out that there's more than one way to be an audiophile, and to suggest that some of the wilder marketing claims out there are just that--marketing claims. Just accept that you'll get flamed when you do, and take it like a man.
Psychic, have we not crossed keyboards in the past? I am aurally challenged and know not the truth. BTW, a virus is not a nice thing, so quit comparing the "truth" to it. I am an ignorant, a raving know-nothing-know-it-all. I am so inept as an audiophile that I seek a logical explanation for things and even go so far as sighing in relief when a measurement has been provided to substantiate some claim. Audio as a pissing contest, what a novel idea. Cooking cables? Like the other fella' said, would the twisted cable manufacturers not cook them at the plant if such a treatment was to produce these great benefits? Another boring exchange on anything goes subjectivism is the only game in audio vs. these thick pseudo-scientific types who are too slow to get it that a well trained golden ear such as mine cannot lie. Cooking cables! Cooking cables! I like'em raw! I like'em cheap! I listen to music, and don't lose too much sleep...
I told you...
Too bad you can't hear---I didn't say it with any derogatory meaning--just the plain truth.
It's not good that you're taking this personal. I approached cable cooking with an open mind and gave Sean interconnects of which I had duplicates. I was able to keep a control set of two brands of rather similar design and construction (I *am* a scientist, BTW). The results were more than subtle.
I emailed Sean that his cable cooker is a threat to the cable industry. From what I understand, the better the cable, the less dramatic the effect of cooking, so maybe $600-$800 a meter interconnects will show very slight improvement versus cheaper ones...
Bob, what does the Purist disc do that no other disc or combinations of discs can offer ? Since one can find recordings with white noise, pink noise, brown noise, sine waves, square waves, triangle waves, frequency sweeps, etc... and all of the various dynamic waveforms known to man via musical instruments, what could this disc do differently ? I am not trying to be a "smart ass", i'd simply like to know what they tell you in terms of marketing their product ? Sean
Who cares what the claims are. Who cares what, if any, explanation is proferred. The only thing that counts is whether you hear an improvement in the sound. The rest is just techno-babble, scientific jargon and ex-post facto rationalisation. We live in a Golden Age of audio where we are truly blessed by researchers and hobbyists who are not afraid to go against the commonly held beliefs in physics and engineering, to try out various tweaks based on hunches, and you know what, most of these are correct and produce advancements in the listening experience. I am now attempting to create a cooker large enough to hold very large speakers so that they can be burned in for better sound.
OK I know this may have been answered somewhere but I cannot find the answer...So here goes:
I have a new pair MIT T2's and have them hooked up between the preamp and poweramp, if I leave the PRE on full blast with the power amp off (obviously) overnight and when I'm out will this excellerate the burn in process?
I figure that the extra voltage coming out of the pre is better to burn them in quickly?
I will try them between source and pre after they are burned in!
Does this make sense please?
p.s. awaiting a pair of Ecosse conductor 1's too :)
Absolutely true. I just this minute ordered another batch of LP's from HMV.
After shutting the system down from this evenings music session, I should have been content. Instead, it made me want even more great software. Other than that it's a harmless passion for me.
I wish you luck with your cable burn in and hope the results get you closer to the sound you want from your system.
"Who cares what the claims are. Who cares what, if any, explanation is proferred. The only thing that counts is whether you hear an improvement in the sound. The rest is just techno-babble, scientific jargon and ex-post facto rationalisation. We live in a Golden Age of audio where we are truly blessed by researchers and hobbyists who are not afraid to go against the commonly held beliefs in physics and engineering, to try out various tweaks based on hunches, and you know what, most of these are correct and produce advancements in the listening experience..."
you've said something with common sense. It's a real step forward! You can be proud of yourself!
This diskussion about "burning in" cables did it for you! It seems that your brain "burned in" quite a bit! Lets hope the effect won't deteriorate with time...