Is a cable cooker worth it?

I have heard many good things that a cable cooker can do to improve a system, but I am wondering at what point the expense of a cooker is worth it? Alltogether, how long must I burn in my cables, via system play, before they are good and hot as opposed to the expense of buying an Audio Dharma cooker and having near instant results? I don't know where I fall in terms of mid to high end audiophile, but I calculate that by the time I get all the components that I want for my system, minus cables and extras, I am approaching $8500 bucks(only components). So, is a cable cooker worth it for someone like me?
no. i'd invest the cost of the cooker on cables.
here is a 'gon members classified add for a Audio Dharma Cable Cooker version 2.5 RENTAL!!


might have to do a rental soon myself. kurt
Bare in mind that almost all cable results are in your mind and nothing more.
approaching $8k or $88k on the components realy should not mean anything in that direction.
cable approach should be straight towards its electric parameters to handle certain current i.e. gauge and per-unit impedance to meet the cable loss tolerance for the certain length you're using.
If i was in your situation with your budget, i would not invest in an Audio Dharma. Having said that, i would either rent a machine to burn in all of your cables at one time or see if you can find someone that is trustworthy to burn yours in for you. Owning a cable burner is only beneficial to those folks that go through a lot of cables on a frequent basis. The sonic benefits of "cable burning" are very worthwhile in my opinion. Just don't think that you can burn a cable in overnight or even in a few days. Sean
No. Just break-in on your system.
Get a Panasonic rice cooker! I have had one for years, does a great job. Great rice, accompanying, let's say, shrimp with black bean sauce is way better than the delusional rewards of nonsensical tweaks. I will share my shrimp recipe if you want. I am certain that in any shootout between the rice/shrimp dish and eating a piece of cooked wire, the former will win. I predict the same results if the comparison is between eating the former and "listening" to the latter. Buy records and food. Good night.
The M.O.B.I interconnect break-in device worked well for me, even though the ICs (solid silver/air dielectric) had been used in my system for at least a year; I had also used the "break-in" track on XLO Test CD for an extended period prior to M.O.B.I. The M.O.B.I. is relatively inexpensive.
Cable cookers are very wothwhile. I have one but I'm a dealer. I let customers cook there cables for free. Cables will never burn-in as much as a cooker will do. Here's a good guide to how to use. New cable: cook 48 hrs. on the cooker then let them sit dormit at least six hours, then put them in the system and let music play for about one to two hours and they will snap into place right before your hears. Now the first few minutes back in the system will make you wonder, what have I done?, they will sound bad, but just give them that one to two hours of signal in your system and you'll be amazed.Don't believe the critics. I was once one and now I use one on a regular basis. I even recook my cables once a year. I don't think it makes nearly as much difference once the first cook, but I do like to keep them conditioned. Oh, if they are old cables just cook them for 24 hrs. I don't understand the tech. behind this cooker, but who cares when it works. I've even put preamps in the signal path of ICs and cooked them as well. Had to turn the volume all the way up to complete the circuit, but it worked great.
Geoffkait and Philefreak basically echo what i said many moons ago. That is, even if you've had your cables in a system for a LONG period of time, burning cables in will still improve their performance to a very noticeable extent.

Having said that, people should take note that not all cable burners are created equally. I haven't tried them all but i have tried a couple. One was not worth the plastic that it was made out of while the other works fabulously.

Besides the various amounts of times that one can "cook" a cable for, there are various methods involved also. As such, two people can have identical hammers, but that doesn't make either of them a carpenter or mean that their use of that tool will give you the same results. Sean
Cooking your cables WILL make an audible difference. It can be amazing. I recook mine every six months and here an improvement every time. You should look into getting a unit, or, if it is not in your budget right now, or if you want to hear the difference they make before you buy one, I would be willing to cook your cables for you for free. E-mail me. Happy Listening! John
I charge a favorite CD for burning in signal wires and can burn them in for 5 days or 30 days at your option....I've always got something burning in here so I just add them to the chain of speaker wire or interconnects....Not worth it to buy a burner unless done so for communal use such as an audio club or whatever...I use the MOBIE for interconnects and a big stereo amp for speaker wire into an 8r load.....
hello don't overlook the advantage of cooking your AC power cords on a dharma cooker, you haven't heard them until they have been cooked. If anyone is interested I could be persuaded to cook some for a small fee.
how would you like them to be cooked

make sure you do not overcook.
My experience with one of these devices was not positive. It is easy to overcook, in my opinion. Not worth it, I say stay away. Others will disagree.
I agree with your findings Drubin. I temporarily damaged both my Pure Note and Acoustic Zen cables using the Audiodharma. I had to upgrade the cables since I did not want to wait for recovery.
Drubin: What "cable burner" and cable did you have this experience with ? I'm curious about this as it is not the first time that i've heard of such a situation. I'd like to see if your observations are the same as some of the others that have relayed similar stories to me. If you don't want to discuss this publicly, i would appreciate it if you would contact me via email. Sean
Come on, you must be kidding!!
I have used the Acoustic Zen and Pure Note and many many others, on my AudioDharma Cable Cooker with always a highly postive result.
In fact, I re-cook all my cables for a day once a quarter to keep them at their peak.
Perhaps the worst that can happen if you "overcook" is it might take a few hours for the cable to sound right again.
Excactly Ozzy. Couldn't have said it better.
If you are dealing with Designs and compatibility issues and do not have time to wait for breakin you better believe they are worth it!

I just orderd one from Hagerman which might not be exactly what I want,but I will it will help till I build one.

As cable resolution increases the problem of break-in becomes more severe. Our most recent power cord uses a technology so advanced it can not be broken-in by conventional means. I think this is the tip of a very large iceberg.
Jim Hagerman has an inexpensive cooker out. FOr those on a budget it might be worth it.
Abex: After looking at the design for the Hagerman, i would not waste my money on such a device. For that matter, i would not waste my money on most of the other burners on the market either.

A person would be better off looking on Ebay for an old Heathkit, Leader, Eico, etc... Sine / Square wave generator. You can typically pick one of these up for appr $15 - $50 dollars for a complete unit. Using something like this and building some simple terminating loads ( female RCA's that you solder 10,000 ohm resistors across ) that you can plug your interconnects into will get you most everything that you need for an "interconnect burner". To top it off, you can vary the center frequency of the signal using one of these devices, allowing it to work even better than some of the fancy "audiophile approved" burners that cost quite a bit of money.

As far as the type of signal to use, a sine wave or limited bandwidth noise will not work anywhere near as well as a square wave at high amplitude. The reason for this is that a square wave is basically a massively distorted sine wave that is going into "hard clipping". Due to the clipping, harmonics are generated 10 - 15 times above the center frequency. As such, a square wave not only exposes the cable to a higher intensity signal at the center frequency, but a signal that has multiple frequencies rather than just the one that you would get with a sine wave.

This is the reason that "clipping" an amplifier, which is common on high impact or long duration bass notes, tends to blow out mids and tweeters. The added power and longer duration harmonic overtones that are a by-product of the clipped low frequency signals result in a greater amount of signal being fed to the mids and tweeters than what they would normally see or have to cope with. In many cases, this is enough to over-heat the voice coils in the small and fragile drivers and burn them out.

By using a square wave to "cook" the cable, you expose the cable to both a more intense, longer duration signal and a signal that is wider in bandwidth. You also have to get the voltage up to something that is well above what the interconnect would normally see at line level, which is .75 - 2 volts for home audio. As such, look for a cheap but usable sine / square wave generator that can do at least 8 - 12 volts peak to peak and you'll be good. My Mil-spec Wavetek generator will do 36 volts p-p on square waves but also costs quite a bit more than the aforementioned Heath, Leader and Eico models. Sean
"Heathkit, Leader, Eico, etc... Sine / Square wave generator."
Was thinking about such a device!

I had another poster write with a suggestion of using somehting else also.I will try to what was said in my notes.

The Hageman unit does seem to help get through the Grain Stage when trying to get the wires cooked. I do not have the time for regular music burn in and I do not think silver can be done that way.Takes forever to open up.

Using the HAG I can take wires off after 50 and get an idea after 10hrs of music where the design is at or if it is plausible to use.

I will look into the Heath Kit!Have not used anything from them since the 70's.

WIll post a follow-up!Thx!
How would you configure a square wave generator with a variable load, say 3-110 ohms; the idea is to mimic the load of a speaker. As you know this usually occurs between 10-200hz.
Corona: The use of a signal generator by itself only works for interconnects due to the voltage and current levels that it can generate. For speaker cables, one needs to feed the generator into a power amplifier and use this to drive the cables into terminating dummy loads of appropriate power handling / heat dissipation.

While using lower impedance loads such as those found in most speakers ( 2 - 12 ohms ) will more closely represent what the cable will be connected to, the increased current flow caused by such low impedances generates a LOT of heat in the amp and the dummy loads. Since the voltage is what is doing most of the "break in" here, one can avoid the higher levels of current that low impedances bring with them and still get 90% of the benefits of "burning" the cables. This allows one to devise a burner that is easier to configure, cheaper to build and offers a higher safety factor.

By having the amp feed the speaker cables terminated into a higher resistance, the amp no longer runs near as hot and the current absorbed by the dummy load is reduced. Everything runs cooler and there is less potential for a fire ( power supply and / or output devices failing in the amp or the resistors in the dummy load igniting ). While the maximum voltage that the amp can develop into the higher impedance is reduced, the over-all effects as far as the cables are concerned are near the same. Something along the lines of 24 - 40 ohms seems to work pretty well for this purpose as the current required to pass through the output devices and the dummy loads are reduced by 300% - 500% as compared to a typical 8 ohm load. Granted, a higher level of current flowing through the speaker cables would make this procedure a little more thorough and speed things up, but it also makes things more expensive to set up and do in both a reliable and safe manner.

What i've mentioned here is a "budget DIY" approach to both an interconnect burner and speaker cable burner. One can do both simultaneosly if they pad the high level output of the signal generator feeding the amp while driving the interconnects directly with that higher voltage. Obviously, the speaker cables and interconnects will have to be terminated with their own loads, otherwise "bad things" would happen. If you've gotten this far and are even contemplating doing something like this, you should be able to figure out why you don't want the high level speaker cables terminating into the same load that the low level interconnects are. For those of you that can't figure it out, the amplifier would see the signal generator as part of the terminating load and try feeding the amplfied signal back into it. While it would be severely attenuated due to the terminating resistors that linked the two together, it still wouldn't be something that you would want to do.

As a side note, one could purchase a high powered L pad and terminate it into a low impedance dummy load for use when burning in the speaker cable. This would allow one to vary the impedance that the amplifier / speaker cables terminate into in a manner that allows manual regulation and reasonable power handling. Once again though, the safety factor is reduced, costs are increased and the generation of heat goes way up.

Another tip is to keep the terminating impedance on the interconnects up relatively high i.e. several Kohms at least. As mentioned above, it is not so much the current that breaks in the cabling as it is the higher than normal voltage levels on the interconnects and / or the more consistent voltage levels when doing speaker cables. There have been reports by more than a few people that using devices that present interconnects with an uncharacteristically low terminating impedance has resulted in poorer performance with possible damage being done to cables making use of some type of impedance compensation and or "networking". While one might think that pulling more current would speed things up, it seems as if such is not the case with interconnects and that the voltage is doing most of the work ( as mentioned above ).

Both the interconnects and speaker cables will require some "actual use" playing time to fully settle even after being "burned" using the prescribed methods, but the interconnects should be pretty much "done". The speaker cables will be "close" and give you a good idea of what to expect out of them, but a few more hours of "beating" within the actual system will finish up the task. Sean

PS... Corona: Were you picking my brain here to see what i came up with or are you not as much of a brain surgeon as you've led us to believe in the past ?

PPS... There is another way to do all of this that works phenomenally well and is far more thorough than what i've mentioned here. I'm not going into that approach as it is more complex, more costly and could be the grounds for me divulging "intellectual properties" for a product that i might end up marketing. The smart "electro-heads" may have already figured out what i'm talking about without going into further details : )
Do it! Stop talking about it...
Just to add.Bob Crump only uses a Mobie for breaking in IC;s and runs speaker cables endlessly with music.I have not been breaking in speaker cables lately ,but it might be better to just get a dummy load put at the end of the runs and play something very Bass Dynamic to break speaker wires in. I used U2's NY last time I broke in speaker cables ,leaving it on repeat for a week.

Abex: varied test tones will work better than music since music is not steady state in duration nor of consistent amplitude. Sean
Sean, nice post......I just use a cheap 100wpc receiver and a couple of 8 ohm 225w load resistors to break in speaker wire for thirty days and nobody has complained yet.....The MOBIE uses a 10,000 ohm load and 15v 1K square wave and it works great on interconnects, but again the burn-in time is thirty days........Seems to be voltage over time that breaks things in rather than high current for a short run.......I've not had any cables revert to their original condition and normally package them up after thirty days and they could sit here for a while unused......
Sean,geez! with all the cable you have I would place a few ad's to do some late summer cleaning! The only cable I went back to recently was a small run of Tara Labs TFA for Bass drivers. I really do not like Kimber,but I respect what Ray has done. Transparent is worst IMO. Very costly.

Yes,I believe your opinion on buring in cables. I always dealt with Copper until recently and it is much easier to burn in through regular music than Silver. Seems like silver really needs a burner to breakin. The thing which really made me shy away from silver is the high cost and it is not until I look into the ultra expensive Silver cables that I heard the results that I need. So I tried to Copper that gave me the HF extension that SIlver is able to achieve.

My own version of OTA comes really close and if I use Silver IC's with it I am quite satisfied with the playback I get.

I thought of getting a signal generator before and I shall be looking into getting one soon with a samll PS.Seems like a more effective way of doing burn in. I shall need more burnin capability when I go public with new IC's nad Speaker Cables. Silver I imagine I will burn in for 50hrs. before sending out.

Thanks for your opinions and idea's.They shall be invaluable for what I am planning.

There is much I want to discuss but right now we are trying to deliver product. Will get back to you A.S.A.P..
As long as you are aware that it has deleterious effects on some cables.
Apparently, it doesn't work well with Shunyata interconnects, per another thread where someone burned in the Aries interconnects on the cable cooker, and it caused a 'rising high end' as one respondent noted. Hence, Shunyata does not encourage a cable cooker with their cables.
Gbmcleod: There are differences in various "cable burners". I've read / communicated with a few people that have had poor experiences with specific models and been happy with others. If in doubt about a specific combo, consult the manufacturer and / or ask questions here or on AA. Sean
Gbmcleod: Neither does Pure Note...