I don't know, but it sounds like a dynamite marketing strategy: replace your cables every six months due to wear.
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I agree that a piece of wire does not need nor benefit from break-in. But a cable is a bit more complex. The wire and the connections can oxidize over time, the dielectric can break down, deform, lose efficiency, etc. Granted this is over a very long time, certainly more than six months - more like 8 to 12 months.... er years :) So yeah, I think they do "wear out" but not because of use, just age/oxidation.
This is likely the second thread where I'll be accused of not generating enough revenue for AudiogoN and therefore my views should be ignored. But really, I don't care if people buy new $12,000 cables every six months because they're worn out. I just think they are very lucky to have more money than brains. Speaking of which, didn't congress just pass the "Cable Refreshment Act" in the stimulus package?!
This information may be useful. I use Cardas interconnects that are about thirteen years old. I'm upgrading my system, so I decided to ask George about aging cables. This was his reply:
Most interconnects do age because surface oxide formation on the conductors causes an increase in eddy currents (swirls in the em field actually). Cardas interconnects do not age in this way because all of there strands are individually enameled when they are made. I recommend an occasional sweep (using the Cardas sweeper record or the sweep track on the Ayre CD). Other that that you cables should not require any attention in normal use. We do have a service that verifies authenticity connections etc. We check all connections verify that everything is to spec and re-shrink the cables if you have any doubts.
Heathens! Y'all must become one with the cable...
Well, that is for 12 to at most 24 months (depending upon usage patterns) at which time they will have become so tired and worn that they cannot transport your precious electrons with safety and efficiency and you must do your duty and relieve them of their burden by replacing them (whilst we relieve your wallet of it's contents). And don't even think of recycling them - that would be unpatriotic in these troubled economic times...
Lord, I apologize for that right there, and please be with the starvin' pygmies down there in New Guinea, A-men
As far as the ears getting acquainted as opposed to cables breaking in , I would have to disagree from personal experience. I have had the opportunity to compare a couple of different interconnect and speaker cables from different manufacturers both new and fully broken in. These were pairs of identical cables, except one was new and one was broken in. Every time there was an easily discernible difference in the sound of a new cable and one that was broken in. The differences were not subtle. I'm not claiming an improvement in sound, or no improvement in sound for that matter, just that there was a easily heard difference.
There's something in the air....
But it does seems to me there is something to the break in aspect for cables, as with about anything else in audio.
Its easy enough to find out if there is in fact any erstwhile changes by way of run in... Listen immediately upon integration of the ???, then just let the ??? play for 100 hours... (some will say just leaving it plugged in and energized is sufficient but I've my doubts about that), and then listen again at the intended mark.
your ears sure won't have time to 'adjust' or 'attune' to any changes that way... only the ??? and your memory will have had time to change.
Personally, I don't tell my other cables who is the eldest nor do I celebrate their birthdays... or watch a calendar with their anniversaries in mind.
I'll keep wires until I am either ready to try something else, or can afford to do so... or if I break one... that's only happend once with some Monster M1000 cables... the connector split and then just busted right off. Im likewise with components
Oxidation does change things too, impeding current flow. If you've ever cleaned off the oxidation at the terminations and applied some contact enhancement solution, you'll note the diffs. That same thing is going on inside the cables... just at a much slower rate, as they are more protected from direct exposure to the elements which cause it.
This process takes way more time than six months. Or a year. think 'years' in fact., and it requires some exposure to the air itself.
Think NOS Vacuum tubes. Right? Theres no air in there. Just on the exposed pins.
Folks who continually buy and replace their cabling likely do the same thing with other pieces of gear too. it's not the components or the cabling that's wearing out there, it's the people themselves having worn out their fascination with those pieces. I feel it's more about change for those sorts than it is the music itself... sometimes.
Add to it makers continue to offer newer editions of the same item or its complete replacement which introduces some doubt or desire to said consumer and Violin! Free enterprise thrives!
I guess too it is where ever and how ever you find your happiness. Finding it with what you have, or believeing it to be somewhere else. the latter can become an obsession, and true happiness is seldom, if ever, gained from constant rearrangement, or change without end, or for its own sake.
I have used cables that were 15 years old...if there's a difference... my degraded hearing....I couldn't tell.
Good question....but a non issue.
Cables...atleast my experience...do break-in or equalise..the biggest proof to me is the change in sound dispersion from my speakers...directional to non directional in varying degrees....and it is not subtle or imagination.
To prevent cable break out after break in - purchase some cable anti wear out oil - it is the lack of lubrication that kills the di in dielectric - or did it put the ape in apricot? Either way - you must be sure that the cable anti wear out oil was made from the same snake oil that caused the cable to be so special in the first place - it's just later in the season. (this editorial comment was not meant to insult snakes or reptiles)
In professional recording studios ALL cables are replaced whenever there is a perceived change in audio quality or any electrical problem with the equipment. Although the cost of replacing all of the cables is high it is cost effective in reducing downtime. Replacing the cables will resolve 90-95% of equipment related problems immediately.
So cables do "wear out" in the sense that they can malfunction at any time, whatever the actual cause.
"you must be sure that the cable anti wear out oil was made from the same snake oil that caused the cable to be so special in the first place"
This is old and inaccurate information! I have developed a special elixir which will replenish the di in all dielectrics (except Cardas of course). The best part is that it can be applied externally on the cable jacket. It's special properties allow it to be matriculate through the outer covering where it is completely absorbed by the di in the dielectric. After 100 to 200 hours, Dan's Di Elixir will restore your cable to be better than new condition. How you ask? Because now it is fully broken in and contains my special oils and patent pending sonic mineral additives. This elixir enhances the blackness level of all cables (except Cardas of course) by improving their di chi characteristics.
Your cables not only have better insulation characteristics, but enhanced the ability to fend of nasty RFI and EMI attacks that can ruin the aural enjoyment of your music. The sound will appear to come out of nowhere. You'll be amazed at how this will enhance your system grounding capabilities - it will appear to be on steroids with no residual noise level what-so-ever. This works by improving the conduction of your cable's shielding (except Cardas or course). After applying the elixir it will have near superconductor properties. How can Dan's Di Elixir enhance the insulating properties of the dielectric and enhance the conductive properties of the cable shield? That, my friends is what makes my elixir so unique in the audio world!
Of course, Dan's Di Elixir comes in a solid burl wood hand made box. Fair pricing practices were followed in paying for the wood and only local native labor was used in the manufacturing process. The box is stunning and wood is a necessary ingredient in keeping the elixir active and stable for up to 6 full months. For an additional price your initials can be inscribed and mounted on the box. Far from being a frivolous extra, your initials help target the solution for your system. In essence, the elixir now "knows" exactly where to go. It's a handsome addition to any audiophile system and you can display it proudly.
Regular treatments are a must, especially for older cables (those in service over 18 months). Therefore, I offer a subscription service. Today, and today only for all AudiogoN members, I'll sell you my elixir for only $20,000. And this is not for just one cable. No, it's enough for all your cables, no matter how big your virtual system. Impressed? Amazed? There's more, because I'll throw in a free 1 year subscription so you can keep your Di and Shield in tip top operating condition. Inky blackness, velvety highs, crystal clear mids: these will all be restored to as new condition (assuming your cable isn't more than 15 years old. I mean at some point you just have to buy new cables, eh).
Finally for you skeptics, this elixir even works on cables with air dielectrics and twisted pair wiring with no shielding (except Cardas of course). How? You'll have to order it to find out, but it absolutely will. It's just that amazing of a product!
PayPal accepted. Hurry, today only!
Dan's Di Shi Cable Restoration Elixir does not restore velvety blackness. Only inky blackness. Please do not misrepresent my product in this esteemed public forum.
As you note, solid core conductors pose a special problem. I am currently working on Elixir Mk II especially formulated for solid core conductor interconnects. Testing has been conducted on copper, copper/silver coated, silver, silver/copper coated, gold, gold/platinum coated, platinum, platinum/beryllium coating. Our pre-release trials show an amazing drop in grit and grain. In addition there is vastly improved holographic imaging and veil lifting that typically accompanies steely whiteness. The only road block remaining is to figure out why neither elixir improves the sound of Monster Cable?!
Drop me an email, we could use your expertise as a beta tester (wink).
If only you'd bought Cardas,
The fix is to install VHF transponders as the RCA/XLR connections... on all conponents... then cables, aside from power cables, will no longer be necessary... eg., wireless headphones.
Eventually, when the send/receive units are evolved sufficiently for audiophiliac purposes, even the air itself won't be an issue.... better yet use ULTRA high freq as range won't be an issue.
Now I'm wondering why this or direct sight lasers/optics aren't the deal instead of wires for signal transmission??
Especially with Same Same conponent brands at least as an option.
OK!! I have had more than one speaker cable 'go bad'.
Monster (long ago in a galaxy far away) tarnish so bad they became a throw-away. AudioQuest Midnight cables the dielectric covering on the wires failed after 15 years or so. Stick with a teflon coated wire!!!!
I still use some home made Levinson wire cables I made nearly 25 years ago.
The culprit is the dielectric coating on the metal. Good coating equals: last for a really, really long time. Poor coating or one that will degrade equals: bad.
As a former test equipment calibration lab tech, you'd think I felt measurements were everything, but I have seen far too many components (cables included) that measure EXACTLY the same with steady state signals sound vastly different with music.
Now I just repair gear praying I don't change the original equipment sound whilst doing it.
I think we do not yet know WHAT to measure to ensure a particular sound. Years of measuring have given us a pretty close approximation, but something is truly missing in our gear or our approach.