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 just experienced cable break in firsthand…”


Good for you! Some of us ascribe that to the placebo effect. I’m one of them. In my 55 years experience since building a Dyna70 at age 14, I have had plenty of time to experiment with dozens of cables. In all that time, I perceived differences in only a few, and that perception could be ascribed to my mood as much as any concrete material quality of the cable, and certainly nothing that justified the outrageous sums that were being asked for them. I do have brand name cables, but they are only because they are the least expensive of the ones that I settled upon after all the experimentation. I cannot tell you what they are because I settled this question for myself decades ago.

Imo those sums of money are instead better on room treatment. If 1/10 of the time was spent discussing the science of room acoustics instead of cables, we would all be better off.



Sorry, but your system looks like a beginner’s system. Like we all started out with. It may be good for home theater though.

If you like it, then enjoy it!



"The Naysayers opinion on cable breakin is probably due to the system that is used (and perhaps the ears) is not revealing enough.

And/if you progress through this hobby with better equipment, cables and the breakin will be more apparent."

Really Ozzy, you want others to hear you and believe that cable break-in exists yet anyone who doesn't hear/perceive/believe in cable break-in is a "naysayer" who doesn't hear well enough and/or doesn't own a capable system, and who apparently has not progressed through the hobby to the point of enlightenment?  Seems pretty one-sided. No wonder these threads are divisive.  You can do better.

It all starts with the system, and our hearing. If you are happy with the equipment, you have and are enjoying the tunes, then that is all that really matters.

But don't claim all cables sound the same and breakin is just a myth.

I felt that way when I had Radio Shack equipment.




I just got off the phone with my audio engineer. He has 40+ years experience in the industry. Besides building and repairing audio gear and guitar amps, he is also a recording engineer. He is also a guitarist and in the blues hall of fame.

We were talking about other issues but at the end I asked him about The Cable Wars.

it was a good 10-15 minute discussion but the Cliff Note version of his response is this: it’s all about the Benjamins. Make people believe, and you make more money. At the end, he said at best, cables may - may - make 1% difference, if that. The money is better spent elsewhere.

He agreed that far more attention should be put into room acoustics, that is where there is still a relative dearth of knowledge: witness how many times concert halls are redesigned and they still get it wrong.

I will conclude by posing the following question.

Suppose for the sake of argument - pun not intended - that it is absolutely true that cable interconnects make a big difference. Why then, is this philosophy not applied to all the internal wiring through all the components in an audio system: turntables, CD players, amps, preamps, speakers … and I am thinking in particular about those two skinny little braided wires that connect the spider to the cone.

I anxiously await the informed responses.


BTW, a few years ago I said that I was disappointed in the sound of the recording that you did of the Mikis Theodorakis / Pablo Neruda “Canto General”.

I played it for the first time since I got my amps back from being away for months for refurbishing. My engineer said that due to the 40 year age of the amps, many parts - not just the tubes, which were running at only 60% of full strength - were at the end of their useful life. Without going into details at the moment, other than to say that he discovered an error that Julius Futterman made in his design over 50 years ago that for some reason everyone missed all of these years and that he corrected - it appears that the problem was with my aging - and ailing - amps and not your recording. My bad!