Great real life experience report. Would either Thorman, or Chris, himself, be able to comment whether an "accelerated" break-in (professional device, or budget gadget hooked to home appliance) can speed the process of reaching full cord potential? Is there a reason this remains primarily an after-market "tweak" rather than remaining under the control of the original manufacturer?
I have had the same experience with realtime break-in, and the "just listen longer" method can take forever. There are a number of Audiogon members who offer to accelerate this process, and it has actually seemed to be near miraculous what can be quickly achieved, at modest cost.
The fellow I have dealt with is George Saubon at cableburners.com, whose personal integrity, and customer service are top notch.
As for break in procedure, I have one of those IEC to AC adapters & just plug the PC into a very heavy duty fan I have out in the garage & turn it on for a week.
The Flavor 4 is the best PC I've put on my amp and pre amp for that matter. Before doing the DIY thing with 83802 several years ago, I tried a lot of different PC's & some of them choked the soundstage & bass right out of the system. I followed Chris' development of his wire & made a bunch of Flavor 2's & then tried the Flavor 4.
I inadvertently plugged both an Ayre V-5x & V-1x into the same 20 amp dedicated circuit & it tripped the breaker. I repeated this just to verify it wasn't an anomaly before moving the amps to separate lines. This also happened with the V-1x & Classe CP50 pre, so my thoughts are the Flavor 4 allows full current draw to the amp. Never happened before with other PC's.
The first thing I noticed using the Flavor 4 on the amp was more bass presence & that presence is more defined & tighter. On the pre it took the edge off, although I recently changed from an ARC & thought the Classe to be more forward.
Listener57: I do remember Chris mentioning they offer a connecting device ( cheap ) that will allow you to Daisey Chain 2 cords together and plug into a Refrigerator for a week or so.. This would work great if you were going on vacation for a week or two and you could cook em during you trip! I just didn't bother. I am a little baffled though at how good these cords sound at the price point....
These cords put to use very simple and commonly understood factors of electrical conductivity. Why other companies have such a hard time of doing or understanding this, i don't know. There are ways to improve the design of this cable even further, and i've discussed some of this with Chris. Having said that and at this price point on the commercial market, they are a very good basic power cord.
As far as break in goes, you have to draw very high levels of current for an extended period of time. Most of what we are "breaking in" is the actual dielectric of the cable. This occurs primarily from thermal stress but may also be somewhat influenced by the electron interaction itself. I'm not a metalurgist though and i don't play one on TV either : )
With the above in mind, finding a device that pulls very sizable amounts of steady state current on a regular basis, and one that actually cycles off and on, can provide a viable alternative to just hooking it to your system and forgetting about it.
Personally, i think that a long and strong current draw should be applied to the cabling being "broken in". After a period of time, the current load should be cycled off an on at random intervals. This causes the dielectric to shift and stabilize to what should be its final settling point. That is, unless further thermal stress greater than the stress already applied is encountered.
Personally, I have electronic devices that pull in excess of 150 amps of current. Given that i can regulate the current draw of these devices, i can vary the amount of current that i want to pass through the cabling feeding it. The set-up that i have makes it easy for me to use a PC to feed these items, whether singularly or daisy chained together. Setting the component to draw a steady 10 - 20 amps when it can dissipate 150+ amps places no thermal stress on the component itself whereas PC's are "cooked" quite thoroughly in a short period of time. After all, power cords connected to a standard audio component, even on amps, only supply current as it is needed. This is typically quite low in level and varies on a dynamic basis, making the process take quite a long time. Ramming current through it on a steady state basis is equivalent to hundreds of hours of dynamic current draw that one would encounter during listening sessions.
After doing this a few times and checking various cables, the very obvious weak point in all of those that i've checked has been the actual IEC and AC plug connections. Due to the lack of conductivity where the cables join the connectors at both ends, there is a LOT of thermal loss ( heat ) generated at those points. If one can improve the connections and conductivity, it stands to gain that the performance of the cable should improve on the whole. Bob Crump has made mention of this in some of his posts and spoken of soldering the connections rather than relying on the crimping or clamping action that most cables make use of. Those that are into DIY'ing and / or adventurous with their "expensive" after-market cords might want to experiment with this a bit. Sean
Sean, do you think simply applying something like Walker Audio SST Contact Enhancer to the metal conductor inside the cord end prior to its simply being crimped, or clamped during manufacture, would allow better performance, even if a company wishes to avoid the extra expense of soldering? Since this works to optimize power transfer when applied to the prongs of a cord plug, there might be even better results if one also applies it directly to the "weak link" portion of the power cord, as you identified it.
Sean, your mention of soldering vs. crimping is very insightful. I always assumed non-DIY power cords were all soldered, and now I wonder? I believe based on the comment attributed to Bob Crump, I can rest assured the TG Audio cords are all soldered.
Listener: Never worked with the Walker stuff, so i have no idea as to whether it would improve the performance or not. From what i gathered, it is basically some type of conductive grease with silver particles imbedded in it. Given that one would already have metal to metal contact with the wires being "crushed" by the clamping action of the AC power jack and compression fitting of the IEC connectors, the only possible benefit that i could see would be the "conductive grease" filling in the gaps. How beneficial this would be would depend on just how conductive the "grease" was and how much current it could pass under load.
If the Walker stuff isn't "conductive grease" or something similar in concept, disregard the above speculation.
Tvad: I don't know if all of Bob's power cords are soldered OR if Chris solders his products either. Bob mentioned soldering the connections when he was originally "donating" the info to others on how to make the DIY "Asylum cord". Whether or not this idea carried over to his HSR or silver power cables, i can't recall. Wouldn't be too hard to figure out though : ) Sean
>>>Would either Thorman, or Chris, himself, be able to comment whether an "accelerated" break-in (professional device, or budget gadget hooked to home appliance) can speed the process of reaching full cord potential?<<<
I recommend hooking up to a home computer, which draws a fair amount of current, and may be run 24/7. The IEC/AC burn-in adapters will allow the use of any household appliances (like a fridge, box fan, dehumidifier). DEhumidifiers work great because they have a combination of heavy current surges and steady current draw. If used on a referigerator, you also need to cook on a steady current draw device for best performance. Even after all this, it is still going to take some time on component to finally reach peak. Keep in mind that any cable that is "cooked" and then shipped via air mail will lose alot of effects of the burn-in process...
As far as using contact enhancers on crimp connections, I've tried and could detect no significant sonic difference. I've found soldered connections to be inferior to a good crimp connection with my my wire. When using the Shurter plugs, I can see why soldering would be preferred as the contact area with the wire is significantly less than with a Marinco/WattGate/Furutech plugs... This is all IMHO, of course.
Chrisvh, Thanks for responding, and sharing your considerable personal experience with the rest of us.
This sort of Audiogon interaction allows many to learn, especially when chances to meet in person are so rare.
That's a good point Chris. Bob likes to use the Schurter's, which may be why he wants to solder rather than crimp.
As to soldering vs crimping, i think that a lot of this has to do with how good of a connection that one can make with a crimp and the actual contact area of the crimp. The poorer the connection and the less contact area, the more that the connection will benefit from soldering. Even then, how good this works will be up to how well one can solder and the type and quantity of solder used. For ease of use and fantastic "flowability", Wonder Solder is my suggestion to those that want to try this. Those that are more experienced with soldering may want to try something like Cardas or WBT solder. Sean
I agree Sean. Wonder flows like a dream, although I prefer WBT for silver/silver or copper/silver connections... Much harder to work with, though...
I couldn't agree more about the price relative to quality and performance question. These cords are without a doubt a most excellent bargain. I'm sure there are those with bugeted money for $1000+ ac cords that at least have a need to find out what all the hype is about and so will spend it. To leave VH Audio cords out of any attempt to find system synergy just because they do not cost enough would, in my opinion be a serious omission. I feel confident in saying these power ac's deserve an audition in anyones system.....just make sure you burn them in, (as with any cord). If you want to spend more take a serious look at VH Audio's brand new cost no object Air Sine power cord.
I've been using a Flavor 4 Gold for about 6-8 weeks now on my amp with great results. It easily betters the mid-priced Kimber, Cardas and PS Audio power cords I have tried. The bass improved slightly in the key areas of definition/extension/weight while sounding quicker. On acoustic material and vocals there is more texture and air to the sound. More importantly I think is that nothing about this cord degrades the sound in any way.
The level of performance and quality of construction you get with this PC is outstanding.