Breaking In Cables and Components

Breaking In


Introduction

There seems to be a bit of controversy in regard to the performance of cables and components improving as they break-in. Some people claim to hear significant improvements in their gear over time, while others say they hear only subtle improvements, if any at all.

First, let me make a suggestion. If you really believe you can’t hear any performance improvements in your audio cables and components as they break in, I suggest one of the following websites might be more helpful to you than this blog:

http://www.qtips.com
http://www.miracle-ear.com

But seriously, in my experience, break-in time makes significant differences in performance in any cable or component. In some products, especially those that have been hardened with cryogenic treatment, longer break-in time can make a huge difference. In this blog I’ll explain how this break-in phenomenon works and I’ll offer you a few tricks to make the process as fast and easy as possible.

Please keep in mind that this blog attempts to convey technical concepts in layman’s terms, and every reader might not agree with our geek-to-English translations. If you want clarification on any of the points made in this blog or more information about any of the topics covered, please feel free to contact me directly.

5 thoughts on “Breaking In Cables and Components

    • Don’t get me started on grounding issues…I could write over a dozen pages on the topic (and plan to).

      Needless to say, in so called “high-end home audio” there are no “standards,” so unlike pro audio, mismatching of components is quite common.

      Often there is no “weak link” in a system but rather “bad component matching” or “bad room matching.”

      I think you have a good handle on how all of this works.

      I appreciate your feedback on future blogs.

  1. Thank you for the excellent explanation. Although I cannot prove it analytically, I suspect that most of what we percieve as changes in sound quality is due to changes in the ground plane between components. In other words, the critical break-in parameter for a cable is not the signal carrier but what surrounds it and how the grounding changes between components over time. I think this better fits the theory and explains how low-level voltage over time creates change (and why flowing high-level voltage through the signal carrier produces so little results). Thoughts?

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