Yes, all cables require some 'break-in'. Some needs more hours and some less.
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My Audioquest speaker cables were purchased used, so i am guessing that they are already broken in. So far, all the responses are in agreement that they do need time to settle down, whereas from what I have read elsewhere there were more nays than yays. I thought I would ask a proper hi-fi community the question. Thanks for all your replies.
Inna, are you suggesting I play my music quietly? I compete with low flying aircraft when i play my 'digital' music haha, I do have turntables, one is orf elsewhere (LP12), the other is still its box and not seen the light of day (MF round table), and the final one actually set up is a, wait for it......, a Music Hall USB-1 (stop laughing) for all those Goodwill vinyl purchases, of which I have bought many. lol.........
My experience with the "break/burn In" is mostly yes it does make a difference. The Magnepan speakers took about 2-3 months before they came alive. I have a recently rebuilt before purchasing, Carver M500t amp that took quite a while to acquire that Class A musical kinda tubey sound. My 1 year old ART9 cartridge is still breaking in after about 350 hours of use and now sounds marvelous.
Not sure how many of the time-line markers in the link below are data driven, one guy’s O-pinion or from wider-based experience. I too think speaker cables, actually all audio wire (even power cords - a surprise to me) and components undergo "burn in". Whether you are happy with the sound "post-burn in" is a different issue. Even if your AQ cable was used, sonic changes might still occur during a "settling in" period. How much any of this is purely physical and objective vs psycho-acoustic and subjective seems moot to me. The experience remains.
A long time ago, I decided not to agonize over cable burn-in. I had read post after post about cables sounding good, bad, bright, thin, dynamic, flat, and then finally, and magically (always after something like 500 hours), sounding great. Some folks even too listening notes to document their cable burn-in process. Why would anyone want to go through all that and how can anyone be sure that the perceived changes are due to burn-in and not the psychoacoustical effect of familiarization?
My solution was to research burn-in devices and to purchase an Audiodharma Cable Cooker, which I use to condition/burn-in all my cables, both those I make and manufactured cables I purchase. I recondition cables if I change connectors and after they have been sitting unused for awhile. After conditioning a cable on the Cable Cooker I simply do not think about burn-in since I have better things to do.
Another way to facilitate burn in is to use a CD test/break in treatment like Ayre's Irrational but Efficacious CD Treatment. I can get impatient with break in and plopping the CD in and letting it run for an hour or two on repeat can greatly speed up the break in process.
Before and after can be a real eye & ear opener. After hearing the results, I now do it 2-3 times with playing CDs in between to any new component I get.
All the best,
Components and cables seem to be affected by a 'breaking in' period.
What seems to be a simply electric path has subtle intricacies that, in the end, affect sound reproduction.
It seems like it would make a great thesis in EE.
For mere listeners, like myself, I just recognize the effect and play music.
When 'it' happens, I am a happy guy.
This subject always made me grin. A friend who has a degree in electronic engineering laughed at these thoughts. He said speaker cables do not carry enough current to affect their physical nature. Also, what is "burn in" or "break in" anyway? What actually happens? What happens to the cable that actually changes the sound? I've yet to see that explained to the point where it makes any sense. However, if that is what you want to believe, so be it. What if the cable "sounds" worse after break in? A change in sound isn't always to the positive. Have fun!
My experience is that cables sound better after a week of not being moved, and a few hundred hours of playing time, whether purchased new or used. You will know what you think in a week or two. Don't worry that electrical engineers cannot explain this. There is very very much that engineers and scientists cannot explain...
I prefer the sound of non "burned in" fresh cables so I can only listen to them for a short time, and have to either swap them out for new ones every few days, or simply disconnect them and replace them from a pile of identical cables that have sat around losing their mojo. I need to find a burn in reversing device that sucks the life out of cables, not unlike what this post might have done to this thread.
I called Morrow today to see where the cables I ordered were after having to hold the order until I returned from a vacation (on their way it seems), and asked them what I should do if I like the pre burned in sound...in jest of course...they did say I was the first to ask that...they told me to listen only a few minutes a day and un-plug them after.
OK, here’s what you should do after purchasing any cables for best results.
1. Send them off to cryo lab. While many high end cables are cryod by the manufacturer, Cryoing twice is better. Once you get them back from the cryo lab give them about a week to recover from thermal shock before critical eval.
2. Establish correct direction.
3. Burn in using burn in track or burn in device.
4. Suspend cables from ceiling using fishing line and eye hooks to escape vibration and static electric fields.
5. Apply the contact enhancer of your choice to all electrical contacts.
Or, be a sane person and ignore all of Kaitty’s suggestions by simply plugging them in and enjoying them...you can establish correct direction by noting the direction indicated on basically every cable made...fishing line indeed, as if that causes them to escape the harmless vibration that travels through the air...also, what about the cables inside your speakers? Aren't they getting the brunt of the supposed negative impact of vibration? Ridiculous. Cryoed anything is another unnecessary mythological scam generally NOT used by cable manufacturers, and the contacts, if clean, between what are often gold plated non tarnishing plugs, sound fine and work perfectly without supposed enhancement.
Never addressing what I actually said, Kaitty is nothing if not consistent in his predictably lame response. I was speaking specifically and obviously about my personal take on home audio based on many years of experience, but somehow Kaitty arbitrarily connects me to pro audio because I'm successfully professionally involved in that field as a live sound technician and mixer. However, pro audio provides sound for live music which is, in fact, an actually important force that is far more powerful and relevant than Kaitty's oft ridiculed and silly fraudulent tweak business, the general impact of which seems to be providing laughs for those inclined to check out his stuff. Perhaps it's a parody of tweaking, but more likely a scam. No offense, Kaitty.