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.


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I would be interested to know if anyone has ever done a blind or double-blind test with cables. Two sets of identical cables, one broken in for 500 hours, and the other with no hours of use.  The test would consist of the same amp, source and speakers - just toggling back and forth between cables A and B.  Would anyone be willing to bet $5000 that they can consistently tell which cables are being played?  I am guessing that answer is NO.  Or, I suppose the mysterious "broken-in phenomena" suddenly disappears after you disconnect the wires from the source and speakers?

I’m not going to settle this debate, but I can tell you this with 100% certainty

If you google this topic you will find hundreds of threads over many years where you get the exact same arguments on both sides and it always ends right where it started... nowhere.

like all the threads before this one and all that will come after they are  and always will be a complete and utter waste of time


When it comes to break-in I will quote Dug and say, "I'm having two feelings."

I have some balanced Morrow Audio MA4 interconnects.  I didn't focus much on the break-in, but here's how I would describe my experience:

The expectation bias was set by their cable owners manual that essentially says that the cables start out sound good, then go through a period where they sound bad, and then they get great.

When I first hooked them up they sounded amazing and I spent quite a bit of time listening.  Then there was a couple of days where I wouldn't describe the sound as obviously bad, but I would just listen for a couple of minutes and then walk away.  After even more time I started getting sucked into listening again.  I can't say that I could tell a difference between. new and broken in with absolute certainty, but I can say that there were a period of time where I didn't find my system engaging when before and after that time I had to pull myself away and this period of time aligned with what Morrow Audio described.

I try to identify a scientific reason for the things that I experience and I've got nothing for cable break-in.