Skeptic or just plain hard headed


So I purchased a pair of Morrow Audio phono cables. These are the PH3 with the Eichmann connectors. Wanted to start there to see if MA cables will be a viable option for my system.I think my story is not so unique to others who have purchased MA cables. So no need to go into the hu hum of burn-in in regards to MA cables, and how things sound bad at first, then gets better,  then excellent...yada yada yada. I know the story about this product.  I simply am one who is not a believer in electronics break in periods, or battery packs on cables, etc... Regardless of what side of the fence you are on in regards to that Im NOT trying to start that debate again please.. Anyway. After reading several reviews of the MA cables and understanding that most agreed that the cables needed a substantial burn-in time, and that the cables would not sound its best until this happens I decided to give them a try. Thinking ok lets get a jump on the burn-in period (if the concept is true). I paid for the 2 day burn-in service from MA. What I didn't expect is that when I got the cable it would sound as bad as it did in comparison to my existing name brand cable (not getting into that either, not relevant). I thought well the cable might not quite be up to snuff with all this talk about burn-in (if its true) but not that much of a difference.  I mean as soon as I dropped the needle on the record I immediately heard a profound difference in sound stage and clarity degridation. Needless to say this cable was destined to be returned to MA for a full refund and my thinking was "they are crazy if I am going to trade my cable for this cable" So I decided to give MA a call to setup the return. Talked with Mike Morrow (very nice guy by the way) and we had our differences in what I should expect out of his product. Now my Mother always told me that I have a hard head.. I heard that growing up all my life, and when you couple that with skepticism it makes a pretty, well lets just say not a very fun person to have a debate with lol. However Mike insisted that if I return the cable that I would be missing out on the fruit they would bare after 400 hours of break in. 400 hours??? really!. Oh at that point I was really ready to return them. I told all my friends "Mike must be nuts" (no offense Mike) no way am I going to wait a year to hear what this cable is capable of, AND I do not have any way to expedite the process...at least I thought I didn't until I found an old sound bar I don't use anymore with analog inputs. Ok I know you pro MA and  pro cable burn-in folks are chomping at the bit. Im almost done. Take your hands off the keyboard for just a few more lines. 

So here is the deal to be fair I am going to be open minded about this because Mike really made me feel like I would be missing out if I return the cable without a proper burn-in (great salesman), and since he had such conviction I now think I have to test this thing out right??. Now I know that there are testimonials out there about how the MA cable improved over 100s of hours in their system, and that they are now "blown away". However can you really hear a profound difference in a cable you play in your system over 170 hours or so?  I would think a gradual difference would be harder to detect. I mean my system seems to sound better to me everyday without making any changes. Is it because of  continued cable and electronics burn in?? maybe. Or maybe its just my brain becoming more intimate with the sound of my system. Well this test I'm doing should reveal a night and day difference from what the system sounds like today with the cable pre burn-in if there is any merit to the notion. In regards to does it sound better than my existing cable that is yet to be determined. I think my goal now is to prove or dis-prove if cable burn-in is a real thing. This whole idea has evolved from if it's an improvement or not over what I use today. We can discuss that later.

I now have the cable connected between a cd player , and a sound bar with a CD playing on repeat. The disc of choice for this burn-in is rather dynamic so it should be a good test. At the end of 16 days (384 hours) I will move the cables to my reference system and do about another 20 hours of additional burn-in to compensate for moving the cable. This will put a total of 452 hours of burn-in on the PH3. When I put this cable back in my system I sure hope it sings because this is a lot to go through to add a cable to your system. Mike if you are right I will eat crow and will preach from the highest mountain top that you are right, and that cable burn-in is REAL.  For me anyway the myth will be considered busted or reinforce my belief that cable burn-in is a bunch of BS. 

For those who will argue the point of cable burn-in I fully understand the concept, and I don't plan to get sucked down that rat hole and I won't argue that....yet because at the end of this test I may be in your camp and I don't want to have a steady diet of crow so for now I will remain neutral on the subject until the test is complete.  However I will be totally transparent and honest about the results. So not trying to make anyone angry as I know beliefs about audio are sensitive subjects, and rightfully so this hobby is expensive and I like you have a substancial investment in this. Just trying to get to the truth. I also understand that cable burn-in may actually happen when you consider it from a scientific perspective, but the real question is can you actually hear the difference.  

I will report back to this thread in 17 days from today (need at least one day to evaluate) with the results. 

happy listening!!

-Keith
barnettk
No disrespect, but you blew it. You had your chance to discover for yourself what the truth about break in might be right in front of you and you let it go. You could've kept them and in the end you might have been telling Us whether or not break in is real. And now you come to us, hat in hand, asking Our opinion and yet not wanting to believe the answer?? Nice....offhand, I'd say your mother was right.
LOL. None taken. Maybe you did not read the thread. I did keep them. They are burning in as we speak. Unless I don't understand what your trying to say.. Also Im not asking for anyones opinion. I will find out the answer for myself. 
Oh, I see I missed the part where you kept them, my bad. Good for you then, in that case!
I said I was hard headed not stupid :) 
This long break in is a reason Mike Morrow gives a 60 day return if you do not like them. 3 weeks of constant play ( I used a tuner set to mono connected to the input of an integrated amp ) showed an improvement in sq across the board. A long time no doubt, but worth it. I happen to find everything needs some burn in time ( power cables, speaker cables, and yes, fuses ) from various manufacturers. Enjoy ! MrD.
yeah I don't have a tuner which is a good option but I think how I have it setup will suffice. I also have a little sonos connect in another system that I may switch them to today and simply play my apple music library. I really don't want to leave a mechanical device continuously playing for 400 hours. 
@barnettk, actually I’m a fairly good audiophile, I just never quite learned to read...
@ivan_nosnibor LOL I hear you Ivan. I appreciate you keeping me honest. 
@ivan_nosnibor Hey why read anyway when you love to listen ;) 

Well I'm just giddy with anticipation!
Keith  - you sound like you're 12
@stringreen not far from it
So wait. I sound like Im 12 when someone tells me that I have to burn in a cable for 400 hours and I don't buy that?? What about that disturbs you? 

@stringreen lets just get this out of the way. At least I'm giving it a fair assessment. I am just not one to just accept anything someone tells me. This is an argument that has been raging for years so I want to hear for myself. If you don't like it then ignore the thread but I am not the only one that feels this way. So please don't attack me on a personal level for asking the question. I figured this would spark some debate however if you don't like my approach that's your prerogative, but try to take you personal feelings out of it.
Not sure if this is the best way to break in a cable.  My friend who believes in all of this says 20 hours on and 4 hours off.  I do not have any experience in his recommendation though.

I have heard differences but I have never myself been blown away with any cable.  So take what I say as nothing to contribute I guess.
@bigkidz actually its a good point. I thought about that also. There are some that suggest that the cable will return to its normal molecular structure once the signal has been removed for a period of time, and under normal play if this is true then it would make sense to try and mimic normal playing conditions as much as possible, but I am going to take the recommendation of the manufacure and the documentation that comes with the cable in regards to expediting the process. Good point and thanks for the info. 
Since you are going through all this trouble why not add one more twist have a friend attach the new burned in cable or not without telling you then switch it around or not a few times. I am not trying to provoke those who believe in burn in or those who don't but you say you're wanting a fair assessment. Just food for thought. 
I had an experience of not liking the cable... The dealer saying let it break in... After a MONTH of playing 10 hours a day, it sucked just a much as it did on day one. With the dealer still saying it just need to break in... I returned it. Sadly I did not buy the cable i really wanted, instead I used the store credit to buy total junk I never really used. Only two years later did I finally pony up the $3,200 for the cable I really knew would solve my desires.    
Before that experience, I had a cable, it sucked, then by day two it was pretty good. But I always remember the month long bummer I put up with based on 'It will break in'. Never again.
@bigkidz From what I understand this is the whole premise behind cables with battery packs lol... sorry I just have to laugh at that... anyway.. the battery is supposed to keep the cable supplied with a current to prevent the aforementioned from happening. This according to Alex at AQ among others. However I have spoken to a few electrical engineers that totally do not believe in that.. their words not mine. Just saying. 
Thanks guys (gals?) HA! My partner is an electrical engineer and we always have conversations about stuff but in the end it all comes down to the sound in your own system.


I have said many times that changing resistors or a cap or two will do more for the sound in your system that other options especially when you consider the costs unless you are putting Duelands in there then [email protected](#&$&$&).

Just Sayin'
@djones51
"Since you are going through all this trouble why not add one more twist have a friend attach the new burned in cable or not without telling you then switch it around or not a few times. I am not trying to provoke those who believe in burn in or those who don't but you say you're wanting a fair assessment. Just food for thought."

That is the plan. Well sort of. Since i don't know anyone else with the same cable that is burned in I can only execute the second part of the test. Which is comparing the burned in cable with the cable I am using currently. Since the cable is cooking now (no pun intended) unfortunately I will have to be the judge of if it sounds better in two weeks vs what It sounded like when it was new. Not sure how well that will work out, but I should have a good idea. I gave the system a good listening to and IMO it was so bad that I should be able to judge if its better. How much so we will see. Really the only thing I can do moving forward is to compare the cable to what I have, which is the ultimate goal anyway right. So I have a couple friends lined up to help me with the blind test. I just need to find a way to do it without continuously connecting and disconnecting the cable once burn in is complete. I will think of something. Thanks for the suggestion. 
I think you may find the ’on-a-while-off-a-while’ advice that crops up infrequently seems to have more to do with some silver designs than maybe anything else. I had some MAC IC’s that were like that and, if I recall, if I didn’t play them at all for more than a week, they would revert back to an ’un-broken-in’ state. Needless to say I didn’t keep them for very long.
@elizabeth Exactly what I am trying to avoid which is why I was a little disappointed at the start. This is a phono cable. I purchased my ARC phono stage 2 years ago and it just now hit 400 hours so I just think its ridiculous to have to wait 2 years to reap the benefits of my investment. Its not like I play 20 albums a day so under normal play it will take a long long time before reaching that sweet spot. Your dead on point with my frustration. 
@ivan_nosnibor were they pure silver? to rich for my blood anyway so I will never have that problem lol.
Can't recall if they were solid or plated, now...but they were only 50 bucks for the 1/2 meter pair.
@ivan_nosnibor ok so silver plated then.. no way a pure silver cable will cost $50 unless you are very connected which hey you might be my friend. ;) 
Actually I think the MA cable is silver plated... I could be mistaken. 
Two words.  Cable Cooker.
Ha! NOT connected!

But I think that guy had some crazy introductory offer at the time....something like that if you were buying your first IC's from him, you could buy this particular set from him (that was normally like $200 or $250 or whatever), but again, only if it was your first time buying from him.
@ivan_nosnibor Gotcha. I would love to be connected haha. I would simply love to be ABLE to get these new cables connected for that matter lol. 
"I paid for the 2 day burn-in service from MA."
How does this go? You pay for burn-in service and then are told that you need to burn cables in for another couple of weeks? What is the burn-in service for? You are a nice guy and not that hard-headed, after all. I would pay for expedited shipping back, if I were told that.
@glupson. The burn-in you can choose how many days you want them to burn them in. I did not realize that the recommended amount of time was 400 hours. Now to fair I did not see this info on the MA website when I ordered them, but was not looking either but I won’t say it’s not documented. I did however read from other reviewers that there was a substantial burn in period but I just thought that meant more like 50 hours or so. It’s not uncommon for manufacturers to have a recommended burn in period but for a cable I just thought 48 hours would be enough. The cost was minimal so I just said “why not” don’t even get me started on what I really think about paying for burn-in services geez. Anyway. You pay them to burn them in for however many days you choose I guess maybe to get a jump on it. Just so happened in this case I was told that 50 hours is when the cable starts to sound it’s worst and that I needed to wait for another 100 hours or so before things start to “really turn around”.  I still have about 55 days or so before I’m out of the return period so I said what the heck let’s test it out. So that’s where we are. :)
Dr.Watson! Come here quick! What is it Sherlock? I have found a way to remove phlogiston from wires! No more need for "burn-in"! Instantaneous results! 
When using the XLO Test CD burn-in track, it is suggested that track be played continuously for two weeks, but that improvements should be audible after a day or two, which I think is true. The obvious advantage of using a burn-in track is that everything in the entire system gets burned in, not only the cables. So, is anything ever 100% broken in? That is a philosophical question, however all evidence points to NO. So how many hours in two weeks for those who don’t have a calculator handy? 336.
You guys and your cables are hysterical.  Thanks so much for the laugh--I needed it this AM.
barnettk, it will be interesting to hear your findings at the end of the 16 days. If a product truly needs a burn-in process of 400 hours, two days on a cable cooker will not bring you close to the 400 hours, I'm guessing you would need more like 8 days on a cable cooker. 
Ill read this when i have a spare week.
There are at least a few steps for proper cable care and feeding, burn-in is just one of them. E.g., cryogenic treatment - even if already done in-house - is recommended, and if not done in-house then highly recommended. Then there’s contact enhancers for all cable contacts. And of course, determine proper direction for the cables. Demagnetizing and ionizing cables periodically are de rigeur for any serious audiophile. There are other steps, too, but most likely beyond scope.
If the cable is for from a turntable TO the phono box. it will NEVER break in. PERIOD The signal is far too small to break in, and the after broken in cable (you broke in on some other component) will never see enough voltage to STAY broken in !!!So I say return it. On the other hand if it is from the phono box to the preamp. then it might? stay broken in, but ONLY IF the phono box is left on 24/7
If the phono box is only turned on when you use it? then RETURN THE CABLE, you are wasting your time. Buy a cable that sounds good out of the box, or good within a few hours... do your self a BIG FAVOR, get rid of the nonsense break-in cable. SERIOUSLY.
@elizabeth I agree with your assessment. I am going to move forward with the test since I have them now. Trying to remain open minded about the whole thing. Have to keep battling common sense :) but I’m going to stay the course to at least say I did it. 
Uh, I’m pretty sure there is a break-in LP for analog systems. If there isn’t there should be.

Whoa! Hold the presses! This just in! I guess the lesson here is NEVER SAY NEVER. I trust no one will accuse me of shooting fish in a barrel. 🐟 🐟 🐟


Clearaudio Cartridge Break-In Test Record

A pickup system requires a certain break-in period to achieve the best reproduction characteristics. This settling time depends on the specific pickup - from construction and from the sampled signals during this time. Usually, this break-in period for a phono cartridge with a music signal is about 40 to 100 hours. This settling time can be shortened significantly, however, when pink noise is used as a signal in an endless groove.

To this end, the Clearaudio Cartridge Break-In Record provides 6 endless grooves with a pink noise signal (tracks 5,6,7,9,10 and 11). In addition, 240 seconds are added Pink noise signals for measurements of the entire playback system available (Track 14).

To test the frequency response of a pickup is a moving (sweep) sine test signal from 20 Hz to 20 kHz (Track 3). The total noise of the playback system can be tested with an empty record without signal "silence" (Track 4 and 13) (duration 300 seconds). Optimization of the anti-skating force adjustment allow Tracks 8 and 12 Both channels include a 316 Hz sine wave signal with a continuously changing phase difference from 0 to 360 grad on the diamond sample movement is repeated this way, changes of horizontal to vertical movement. The amplitude increases from -22 dB to + 8 dB.

@geoffkait well this particular experiment is for a cable that requires 400 hours of break in. No way I Weill play my turntable on an endless track for even 2 hours st a time yet alone 400 :) however thanks for the info. 
@geoffkait oh wait this is a cartridge break in record. Ok I got it. Prob not meant to be used for what I’m doing. 
Perhaps you should read what I wrote again to ascertain the time required to break in the analog front end using the Clearaudio Test LP. What you need is the Cable Cooker.