Cable Break In for the Naysayers

I still cannot believe that in this stage of Audio history there are still many who claim cable break in is imagined. They even go so far as claim it is our ears that break in to the new sound. Providing many studies in the way of scientific testing. Sigh...

I noticed such a recent discussion on the What’s Best Forum. So here is my response.

______________________________________________________________________________________________ I just experienced cable break in again firsthand. 10 Days ago, I bought a new set of the AudioQuest Thunderbird XLR 2M interconnects.

First impression, they sounded good, but then after about 30 hours of usage the music started sounding very closed in and with limited high frequencies. This continued until about 130 hours of music play time.

Then at this time, the cables started to open up and began to sound better and better each passing hour. I knew at the beginning they would come around because they sounded ok at first until the break in process started. But now they have way surpassed that original sound.

Now the soundstage has become huge with fantastic frequency extensions. Very pleased with the results. Scientifically I guess we can’t prove cable break in is real, but with good equipment, good ears, it is clearly a real event.



I somehow doubt this thread will be the one to put a rest to the same words and arguments (on both sides!) that has been raging on since I think the 1970's. Funny how the passion has been so fierce through the decades.

What would be productive is if someone were to organize a double blind test, to test such things as differences between power cords, broken-in vs brand new, etc.

This debate could fairly easily be put to rest, I think, with say 5-ish participants from both camps.  And maybe a few neutral judges just to have the bases covered.

If done right, with the right transparency and the right controls in place, the HiFi landscape could be changed forever by such a test.

Come on @jays_audio_lab or some other YouTuber, there is a huge opportunity here to be the one that organized the event that ended these decades-old debates.  I won't mention the other personality on the other side of the fence that could also participate; every time his name gets mentioned threads seem to go sideways!




The argument that some among us have superior uber sensitive hearing and thus can claim to hear large and obvious differences between fuses, cables, dog whistles, big bang vibrations, sunspots and fog...just renders any discussion conveniently moot. Sort of a relief really. I've ridded myself of bad sounding cables here and there but any discussion of cable break-in always seems to reach that point of "oh well, you can't hear it and I can." I once called Morrow Audio (nice cables) about something and Mike actually answered the phone...I couldn't help asking what I thought was a sort of humorous question, "What if I prefer the sound of UN broken in cables?" We both agreed that in that case you just have to buy multiples of each cable and swap then out before they can reach their break-in potential. Expensive but hey, I have extremely sensitive hearing.

In my early years of this hobby, well before cable break in was even discussed, I put in new Audioquest speaker cables to connect a Threshold amp to my B&W 801 S2's. If the stereo shop where I got them wasn't over an hour drive away they would have been returned that same day. Needless to say, they ended up staying in my system for over 25 years. No expectation bias there. 

FWIW I don’t believe any inanimate object can break an entering, cables or otherwise.

I read an article somewhere in the past year about the sounds associated with aurora borealis (northern lights).

It’s been “folklore” for centuries that people have reported HEARING them while scientists, ahem, *S*C*I*E*N*T*I*S*T*S* have scoffed, ridiculed and generally been real d**ks about the idea.

That’s the thing about “THE SCIENCE!” There IS no “THE SCIENCE!” as a fixed, invariant, quantifiable unchanging thing as new data comes in as it has indeed.

Cables, Capacitors, Cartridges, Vacuum tubes need to break in? Synchronicity? In the words of Sigmund Freud to Carl Gustav Jung, “Bosh, Doctor, you are mistaken.”

Until “THE SCIENCE” changes.

Auroras make noise? Who knew.