New cables - To judge now or after burn in period?


I am in the midst of auditioning a host of Siltech speaker cables (Siltech Legend 380i & 680i) and interconnects (XLR and RCA - Siltech Legend 380i). Needless to say, they are quite a bit more costly than my existing QED cables (QED Genesis Silver Spiral Bi-wire & QED Signature 40 interconnects).

The Siltech cables are highly recommended by my distributor and seem to be well received by the audiophile press. However, doubts arise as upon trying them at home they do not sound as dynamic as my existing QED cables. While the highs are more resolving and I am hearing things that I have not heard before, the bass seems constricted and the music does not make my feet tap anymore.

Is that because the cables are brand new and have not been burnt in as yet? Or is it because there is no synergy between the cables and my particular system? Or is it a bit of both? If it is a burn in issue, how many hours of burn in is required before I should make a judgment as to whether I prefer the sound of the interconnects and speaker cables?

All inputs or observations are welcome.

dcpillai
Definitely give them some time to break in, they may improve and change some. Siltech makes excellent cables it's worth waiting to see what happens with them. Also after a while swap your QED's in and compare again.
Just let them play for a few days straight. Blanket the speakers for 48-72 hours. But don't listen.. Then remove the blankets at 48 and then at 72..

If you aren't getting happy.. you sure should be.. Don't be moving the cables let everything settle. Copper with silver clad or pure silver 200-400 hours, copper 50-100 (at the most). Its more the dielectric than the actual wire.. OFF the ground.. Wooden blocks I don't care.. UP, It's easier to clean.

Have fun it's actually a requirement. :-)

Regards
More break-in time. My Siltech IC's are very revealing and dynamic.
Even cable manufacturers say to allow time for breakin.

think back to when you got the QED cables, did they not go through a break in period also ?

not fair to judge two cables when one is broken in and one isn’t 
I use 200 hours as a rough rule for cable break in.

ozzy
From my experience, cables don't "burn in." They either work or are DOA. Low-quality cables may also die without warning.

Passing electrons through a cable for many hours won't create a smoother path for the electrons to flow on. The physical properties of the cable and shielding will remain the same; providing you don't modify it.

Mechanical devices such as headphones, speakers, and cars burn in. (Reach specified or optimal performance) after a certain time.
I agree with those that say give them at least 200 hours of use and leave them be, in other words, no movement at all.
I'd suggest giving them more time.

I purchased my Acoustic Zen silver reference IC's having heard a burned-in pair. 

Not only did the new ones not sound partIn fact, they cycled back and forth several times before finally settling in. I almost gave up on them but I'm glad I stuck it out. 


Sorry for my hamhandedness. . . 

Should read:

Not only did the new ones not sound particularly good but once they began to improve, the perceived gains did not last. In fact, they cycled back and forth several times before finally settling in. I almost gave up on them but I'm glad I stuck it out.
You can purchase a couple of 8ohm resistors of the appropriate wattage to act as substitutes for speakers to run your cables in. 

Keep the volume low so you do not exceed the wattage of the resistors and keep them well ventilated as they can get very hot. I normally place the resistors on side plates. 


I think 600 hours total with the most power-hungry gear would do the trick. Sorry about your electricity bill. 
mastering92,

I don’t know what type of cables you use, but they shouldn’t just die.
And, (most) new (quality) cables will get better as they get more hours on them.

As I upgraded my audio equipment, the difference in cables became more apparent.


ozzy
Mechanical devices such as headphones, speakers, and cars burn in. (Reach specified or optimal performance) after a certain time.

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Yea.. The only things I know that "Burn In" are valves (tubes).

Things BURN UP, things burn down. But equipment, cabling and certainly CARS BREAK IN..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjo-lHXlp7k

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From my experience, cables don't "burn in." They either work or are DOA. Low-quality cables may also die without warning.

I think 600 hours total with the most power-hungry gear would do the trick. Sorry about your electricity bill.

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So which one is it.. Did you get "Roofied" between post?

If you say YES and NO in the same sentence, you cover all your bases.

:-)
Your observations are exactly what I would expect from silver interconnects and cables that were not broken in. Having a host of stuff at once makes it a bit hard because of the pressure to evaluate. Take what you take to be the best of them, put them on and play 24 x 7. The bass should develop as the noice floor drops on them after 100 hours. It would be a mistake to make serious observations before you have at least 200 hours. Silver can take a long time to break in. If you are starting to get to like them after a solid 200 - 250 hours… then Don’t decide for another hundred or two.

Yes, this can be frustrating. I have broken in dozens of interconnects and cables. The difference in most good quality ones is very obvious and always an improvement.
I don’t believe in cable burn in. Not going to debate anyone who believes it.

I said 600 hours because it was 3 times what others were saying (just to be safe). But really, I’m joking about it.

It was a long time ago. Unknown branded RCAs. Haven’t had a dud since.
I think break-in is a more appropriate term for cables. George Cardas uses the term run-in. IMO, burn-in applies to electrical parts such as tubes and capacitors where voltage is actually causing a physical change to the internal structure.


By the way, what's the difference between SilTech and SilNote cables?  The names sound too familiar.
I don’t believe in cable burn in. Not going to debate anyone who believes it.

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I wouldn’t either if I didn’t know the difference between the two.

Break In.. NOT Burn in..

If your going to sport the name "mastering"? at least get the verbiage correct.. Break in.. Things BREAK IN...

When someone tells me it has to burn in, I get a fire extinguisher, do you understand..

I won’t even buy from a company that uses the term, unless they sell valves.. I know you have a motor in your car.. A starter motor..

I am a master mechanic.. Cables break in/ settle.. period.. Even in my industry, mechanics chase issues behind just that.. Cables with poor contact and poor quality control.. Light bulbs burn in.. The wiring to them breaks in..

What do you think that goo is for between the bulbs and every plug in a car.. or Excavator that stays running.. Without it it won’t. They settle and make a lot better contact.. SHAKING getting better and better. There is a reason.. It’s not an opinion 16th edition 2003 Electrical Engineers. Read about Nano arcing or micro arcing.

Required reading in my field.. I don’t have to be an engineer to read their books, but it sure help to be a mechanic..

They make sure the stuff works, we make sure it’s used... Engineer vs Mechanic. They put stuff together and prototype we fix what they miss and repair their crazy ideas..

"The young don't always do as they are told" The Nox SG-1 (Sept. 12, 1997) ep. 1.08 :-)

Regards
Semantics aside, Krissy and I listened and clearly heard my new arm sound better and better literally minute by minute. Everything else was thoroughly warmed up but the tone arm wire was brand new zero hours. Even now 20-30 hours in it is still improving. Only those with no experience (or who can't hear) even question this any more. 


caps and any device with capacitance take a while to form…..and stay formed….partially formed does not sound the same as fully…

some cables configuration, materials are a bear to form. 

play music, run it it, form…enjoy

hint DBS patent will make all this clear….
IMO, cables do "break in" to a certain extent (e.g. the highs will smooth out a bit, become less strident, bass fills out a touch), but if you do not like the sound of your new cable, no amount of burn in will make it good.  If it's bad, its a system mismatch (or bad cable).  Same goes for all components IMO.
Are the cables burning (or breaking, or running) in, or are your ears adjusting to what they are hearing, or maybe a little of both?  I have purchased many new cables and have made cables for the past 20 years.  I have used the Audiodharma Cable Cooker to condition both new and DIY cables since 2004 and while I certainly hear differences between different cables, I have never heard a cable that didn't exhibit its basic sonic signature from the beginning, or that improved from bad to good after conditioning on the cooker or after playing music in my system.  IME, if you don't like what you hear after a couple of hours, and certainly after a couple of days, then you probably don't like the sound of the cable.  
" IME, if you don't like what you hear after a couple of hours, and certainly after a couple of days, then you probably don't like the sound of the cable."

mitch2, I agree completely.  A cable won't transform this way.  Break in is a subtle change, and a cable's basic sound signature won't change.  
Right. What you hear right out of the box is basically what you get. Really good cables will improve a lot as they equilibrate, but in a way that is more a refinement of how they start out than a change to something new. I wouldn't call it subtle, as the difference is quite obvious. But neither is it a radical change. The fundamental character is always there right from the start. When people complain or question after several hours, and are being told it needs 100, 200, 400 hours, they are being fed a fable, and nothing more.
+1millercarbon. If you like the sound from the beginning your ears are going to become better accustomed to the sound as it settles in to your system. 
I agree cables change less than any other component. But some thing like tone arm cable and RCA feeds from a TT take a LONG time..
While they may not sound bad, they sure don't sound the way they will when they are broken in.. No it's not subtle at all..

There just isn't that much going on TO change.  But change they do.

I'm at 300 or so hours on my ZP3 Decware.. He put Audiophile caps in the thing.. They are real junkers to break in and put up with.. I can't tell if it's the cables in the tonearm or from the tonearm (RCAs)  or just a  bad choice in caps.. I'm just letting it play. I have some good surplus PIO. They tell the story in 2 hours.. 400-500 we'll see if the cables improve.

I'm still changing to Copper foils. Sorry to say but I didn't get either upgrade I ask for. Bees Wax caps in the tape section and copper foils in the phono sections..

I have a pair of well taken care of RCA, I know sound good, they have at least 5000 hours on them. Shunyata Research (great cables) Alfa I think.. The most I ever spent on a cable. I remember that.. They were conditioned 21 days...BEFORE the 5k + hours..

Regards
Switch back to the old cables after awhile. See if they sound as dynamic as you remember them to be. 
I installed new 4s11 canare speaker cables with double wiring to fit my recently acquired PBN speakers. I got about 30 hours on the cables and they have been all over the map so far, specially the first 25 hours. Sometime bass lacking, sometimes piercing highs, sometimes opposite. For real. The last few hours they seem to be stabilizing and I can start seeing their potential but it will take a lot longer to achieve it. So yeah, speaker cables do get better with use, not a single doubt in my mind.
Our ears and brains are very sensitive to changes. I find any changes to a system seem “weird” because I’m used to hearing a song in a very certain way. It even happens at audio shows where the equipment I’m listening to is more expensive and by default should be “better”, but may not be initially. 
I didn't like my Audience AU24SX interconnects when they first arrived.
The sound was very brittle. Opened up over 250 hours.

Now, one of my best purchases.
Saving up for speaker cables...
I used to sell QED.

Very bright speaker cable.
Used it on my system.

Had to change to Merlin Scorpion speaker cable paired with my Plinius pre/power amp as it became unlistenable on some tracks.
There is no break in. What you hear when cables /wires are new is what they really sound like. The "break-in"  is your ears adjusting to the be sound over time.
If break-in was true there'd be science articles explaining how it works and there would never be any arguments over it. 

Burn in time is about 200 h. :after 100h, it will be sound better: more “open” and better placement of the instrument. After 200h. It must be okay !!
There is no break in. What you hear when cables /wires are new is what they really sound like. The "break-in" is your ears adjusting to the be sound over time.
If break-in was true there'd be science articles explaining how it works and there would never be any arguments over it.

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Actually there is no argument about break in, just whether you know about it or not.. Kind of silly statement on your part.. 

Science articles about break in and HOW to accomplish the best results were articles of the 50s, your only 70 years behind..

Enjoy your zip cord, nothing to be ashamed of when you just don't know or just can't hear the difference. We use to see a lot of that 10 years ago.. not so much any more.

Your welcome to read and learn though..

Regards

The dilemma can be that you like the cables immediately and then they burn in and they SUCK. The only answer when that happens is to get new cables every couple hundred hours...
So, is the break-in within the cable&terminal itself, or is it the chemical/physical union of terminal-to-receptacle?
    If one buys a second-hand high-quality set of cables, would they be already broken-in, or would break-in be starting from hour #1 once the used cables are attached to their new rig?
installed new 4s11 canare speaker cables with double wiring to fit my recently acquired PBN speakers. I got about 30 hours on the cables and they have been all over the map so far, specially the first 25 hours. Sometime bass lacking, sometimes piercing highs, sometimes opposite. For real. The last few hours they seem to be stabilizing and I can start seeing their potential but it will take a lot longer to achieve it. So yeah, speaker cables do get better with use, not a single doubt in my mind.
Same issue as when I installed Canare 4S11. I allowed them to break in for 200 hours during which the sonics were  changing all over the place. After I had given them what I thought was enough time, the highs sounded harsh and brittle. I gave up and put them in the closet. 
A few years later after a major system upgrade, I tried them again due to all the good user reviews. After another 200 hours they settled in and presented a smooth top-end, very good dynamics, and a level of transparency that was an additional upgrade to my system.


Cable burn in ? That is another Silly story for those with a wild imagination. 
I am really sick of Miller saying that people who don't agree with him can't hear.
What he really means is people who don't agree with him are honest listeners and don't imagine things that don't exist.
He sets himself up as a goldenears when in reality his ears are just the same as ours.
On the evidence it is no doubt impossible for him to stop being so rude and offensive.

I am inclined to go with those who don't consider there is much discernable change during burn-in.  Oldhvy may have it right.

But if OP is concerned, why doesn't he ask his dealer to lend him cables that are already burnt in beyond dispute, say 1000+ hours.  I am sure that will settle the issue for OP and enable him to make a rational choice without worrying whether burn-in is real or not.

By the way I love Siltech cables.  All my interconnects are Siltech.  I have something bigger for the speakers.
600 hours for your ears to adjust to the new equipment?

As often noted, the break-in period is one hour longer than the 'warranty'.
"But if OP is concerned, why doesn't he ask his dealer to lend him cables that are already burnt in beyond dispute, say 1000+ hours. I am sure that will settle the issue for OP and enable him to make a rational choice without worrying whether burn-in is real or not."

One advantage of using the Cable Co's cable-lending library. . . 
Thank you all for the feedback and sharing of views / suggestions which were helpful, reassuring and ever interesting.

I have been running my system around the clock and the sound of music over my new cables (interconnects and speaker cables) is improving, OR perhaps it is my hearing / brain that is getting used to the sound of the new cables!

Either which way, the main thing is that I am beginning to appreciate and even enjoy the sound of music over the new cables. Hopefully things will continue to improve.

The next big test will be putting back my older cables and interconnects and seeing which I prefer. Will post again then. Thanks again.
Yes, for me switching back to my original after a long run is always good conformation.
You should like them out of the box however bass should get better after 200 hours hopefully.However there is no guarantee.Maybe you would like pure copper cable eg Tara Labs Muse speaker cable i love them with my MAGICO speakers.Good luck.
They should sound good to you new. As they break-in, they will sound better.  If they don’t sound good out of the box I find one that does . I’m partial to siltech. Nice cables. I’m now into nordost. Even better. 
@andy2 Siltech was started in 1983 in the Netherlands a very well known silver cable specialist. Silnote is a fairly new US company that I know very little about.
Tonality with cables requires break in time for sure, especially between the mid high balance of a system, but i can say that after 8 to 16 hours of use you can usually tell what is going on with them.
Read my two Audiophile Law articles in regard to Burn (break in) at Dagogo.com 

My Imbalanced System Test shows anyone clearly there is no change. 

You waste your life worrying about burn in. I have done the comparisons, you can read about it. Danny Richie has measured speakers/drivers and shown there is no change. No surprise.