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.



@ozzy thanks for sharing your experience with cable break in. I have found similar results with pretty much every kind of cable used in my systems, and it is a given when I build new power cables that I let them burn in for weeks before serious evaluation.

I do find it interesting that you found such dramatic difference with AQ interconnects designed with both FEP air-tube dialectriics and equipped with DBS.  Both of these design features as I understand them are intended to reduce dialectric effects on signal transmission and to keep the cable in a “warm” state, reducing impacts on sound from prolonged disuse.  Clearly more is going on here with break in, in your experience, and these design features may reduce but not eliminate the benefits of break in for AQ Thunderbird interconnects.



Thank you for your comments. I believe that the negative cable break in comments come from people who have not really ventured down the Audiophile trail seeking the best in sound quality. Some just seem like angry people...

The AQ Thunderbirds did surprise me in their break in evolvement. I spoke to AQ and they say it does take many hours to break in, regardless of their technology.


I am far from an expert on this, but for those that believe that science simply doesn’t support cable break-in, consider this:

The electrical signal is a flow of free electrons in the valence shell of the copper (one example) atoms.  It’s a physical flow of matter.  Because electrons are free to move relative to the nucleus of the atom it’s not unreasonable to think that the flow of electrons could alter things in the cable.  I am thinking that any interfaces in the cable could mesh/blend over time resulting in a different flow of electrons.  The connections would be a place where this could matter most and why people experience a break-in period when reconnecting cables  

My experience with cable break-in is very limited, but this is a physical phenomenon that happens with cables.  To quote myth busters, plausible at minimum.