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Do cables "burn in"? - Page 4

post #46 of 138

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority

 

se

post #47 of 138

Talk to one of the electrical engineers who works for them, and not the president, spokesperson or marketing arm of one of those companies... then we'll talk. 

post #48 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

Talk to one of the electrical engineers who works for them, and not the president, spokesperson or marketing arm of one of those companies... then we'll talk. 

 

 Caelin Gabriel is the head engineer, owner and president of the company smile.gif

 

 He does mention anything about burn-in per se but here's an external engineers view

 on the product. Personally speaking, I could not care less about the burn-in either way

- the product works and thats all that matters - one way or another given time and use

it will take care of itself.

 

 "Being an engineer I tend to be a little skeptical when it comes to cables etc, so this was a very pleasant surprise.

I'm so impressed with the results that I would like to order your Hydra Model-8 straight away for my own use which will feed my whole HT ensemble."

-- Dominic Baker, Chief Engineer: Focal/JMLab


Edited by Gwarmi - 8/11/12 at 8:32pm
post #49 of 138

The head engineer of a company in the business of selling me cables, isn't who I am really willing to accept the word of. I want to see the science behind the claims. Good theory supported by good experimentation and data. That's all I ask. So far, all I'm getting is testimonials... not evidence. 

 

And cable burn in is what we're talking about. Nothing more. 

post #50 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

The head engineer of a company in the business of selling me cables, isn't who I am really willing to accept the word of. I want to see the science behind the claims. Good theory supported by good experimentation and data. That's all I ask. So far, all I'm getting is testimonials... not evidence.

 

 

Thirty plus years and counting.

 

se

post #51 of 138

 Hey I did find an interesting article on cable-burn in by a guy who calls himself a 'scientist' by trade ~

 

"Quantum Tunnel of Love

By: Bob Sireno

Burn-in: The time during the early period of use when a component or cable exhibits measurable changes in performance, that eventually stabilize, resulting in consistent performance for a significant period of time thereafter. Things happen to be more complex than this simple definition of burn-in might lead one to believe. To gain a fuller understanding we must ask: what transpires inside of a circuit that causes it to stabilize? Why, after a period of time, is a device no longer subject to “drift”?  This paper proposes answers to these questions. But first, let me put forth my position on hi-end audio before the technical stuff begins.
I am a scientist, by trade, and therefore an objectivist. Twenty two years of experience on the job has taught me that all phenomena is measurable, but, not all phenomena can presently be measured. The technology of the measuring tool is not always adequate to measure empirical reality. People tend to accept this proposition in all areas other than audio.
I am also an audiophile. I hear differences in equipment, and in cables. I hear sonic changes that take place over time. I believe that audiophiles have better aural perception (not the same as hearing!) than the bulk of humanity, and that adequate test equipment needed to verify the subtleties they claim to hear in some cases, does not yet exist. Today we’ll look into the atomic world, where the explanations may exist for the sonic changes that seem to occur in our equipment and cables with the passage of time.

Atoms and molecules have recently been filmed in motion. PBS broadcast one of the first “;atomic movies”; several years ago. The show was called STEM. I was stunned. Up close, electrons literally look like thinly connected beads of gas. The depth of micro-reality made visible with a Scanning Tunneling Electron Microscope is incredible. The behavior of individual atoms was chaotic. Some appeared lethargic; temporarily bonding to others, while some were constantly moving. All of the atoms eventually paired off, vibrated, and moved on to pair off again, sometimes in groups of three or more.

What happens to the seemingly content atoms in a conductor when electrical pressure is applied? What happens when electron waves are driven through the circuitry of a new amp, CD player, cable, etc., (going through what we call its burn-in period) that causes some people to claim that nothing occurs because it can’t be measured, or to cause others to claim that a sweeter sound, or at least a different sound, is born over time and use?

Cables are made of metal crystals, typically copper or silver, containing spherically symmetrical positive ions, through which electrons move. The purest metal also contains one ten-thousandth of a percent, or so, of impurities. Each electron passing through a cable makes a series of left and right turns around those atomic impurities until it emerges.(1) What happens during this journey, multiplied by trillions, changes the nature of the cable sufficiently to affect the sound you hear over a period of time.
Metal crystals contain grain boundaries. A grain boundary is where two crystals meet, oriented so that their atoms are usually aligned in different directions. Researchers at Cornell University developed an x-ray technique that allowed them to probe the internal structure of grain interfaces. The results showed that atoms at grain boundaries appeared to vibrate 50 percent more energetically than non-boundary atoms.(2) Electrons tend toward lower energy levels, so when electrical pressure is applied, the increased energy brings about a slow reorientation of the atoms at the grain boundaries.  Afterwards, any reoriented atoms would vibrate less energetically. The outcome of the reorientation of atoms is less electron scattering resulting in improved electrical wave phase coherence.(3)
Dr. Robert Frank of Augustana College told me that “ion mobility leads to the migration of atoms over time...and to the movement of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen gas and hydrocarbon impurities” He stated that ion movement in copper wiring would probably occur over several months, creating a change in the filter nature, and a subtle change in the capacitance of the metal. To the extent that all cabling can be described mathematically as a filter device, a change in this aspect could cause a sonic deviation over time.

I believe the ion transfer Dr. Frank described, along with grain boundary reorientation, results in lower electron orbital levels in many of the boundary area atoms. These changes, induced over a period of time, may very well be the type of changes that are responsible, in part, for the burn-in effects that some audiophiles claim to hear.

While researching the concept of burn-in, I discovered a book entitled “Quantum Aspects Of Molecular Motions In Solids”. This fascinating, but highly pedantic book, focuses on the various aspects of quantum tunneling In the book there is a paper that describes the influence electrons have on the quantum tunneling of hydrogen atoms in a metal. The same paper also discusses rotational tunneling of methane, a simple hydrocarbon, in metal.(4) In other words, at least two of the common impurities found in electrical conductors, move slowly, by quantum tunneling, when electrical pressure is applied. The result, once again, is less electron scattering and a physical change in the conductor itself at a molecular level.

Quantum tunneling is a surprisingly common event. It occurs in every electrical connection, where a thin oxide layer has formed over a metal conductor. As long as the oxide layer remains thin, electrons can, and will, tunnel through the layer.(5) I propose that electrons will not always detour around impurities in a wire, but will tunnel their way through impurities that are small enough to allow the activity to occur. In either case pathways of conductivity are established during days, weeks, and months of use through the actual conductor themselves. Like the water reeling down a babbling brook, the electrons go around, or eventually thorough, boulders of impurity, always choosing the route of least resistance.
It appears that your new components, or cables, do indeed improve up to a point when the system they are in is left on for extended periods of time Obviously, there is a point at which no more perceptible change occurs. Why is that? Well, unfortunately electrons will continue to scatter around the remaining impurities, even after burn-in. Can circuits be designed that will not exhibit electron scattering, or burn-in? Yes, it is possible to design a circuit that is so small that the signal paths are the thickness of a single electron wavelength. The result is called a quantum wire. Efforts to make a practical quantum wire have so far failed. But, once again, theory is fast becoming reality.

AT&T’s Bell labs is working on a resistor that allows but a single electron through at a time.(6) Researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara have assembled quantum wires one electron at a time.(7) Japanese scientists at the Optoelectronics Technology Research Laboratory, near Tokyo, believe that before quantum wires can be easily fabricated a deeper understanding of what happens on an atomic level during epitaxial (crystal) growth is needed, and are working toward that goal.( 8 ) An American company, Texas Instruments, has developed a tiny device called the BiQuaRTT, or bipolar quantum resonant tunneling transistor. At only two specific voltages, electrons tunnel through the circuit barriers causing current flow. Integrated circuits will be next. Someday quantum wire production will be perfected, along with the necessary IC’s, and we’ll have an entirely new generation of amplifiers, preamps and such.

When quantum wires become commercial and are fully utilized, perhaps in 20 to 25 years, the reproduced signal approaching the final amplification stages will be as perfect as possible, and cable burn-in will no longer be a subject of dispute. To fully utilize quantum wires, and minimize electron scattering, the final amplification stage may need to be located at, or in, the speaker. One can only hope that improved recording techniques will match the hardware development that will inevitably occur.

Scientifically, there is no doubt that the propagation of electrons through a conductor changes with time and use. These changes are minute, and measurable with only the most advanced of devices. But, they exist. And to exist means that claims concerning audibility must be taken seriously. Only a few years ago, audiophiles complained that circuits employing negative feedback affected the sound of amplifiers adversely. The number crunchers denied it because the distortion figures were so much improved with the use of feedback. Turns out the audiophiles were right... that may be the case again.


Edited by Gwarmi - 8/11/12 at 10:14pm
post #52 of 138

*sigh*

 

se

post #53 of 138

 I personally find it all rather interesting without taking a strong stance either way smile.gif

 

 It is clear though that what he is suggesting above is that current available technologies for measurements concerning all

 founded and unfounded aspects of cables may be in their nacent stage. Simply looking at it from a measurement of

 capacitance and inductance etc perspective does give us the full picture on what is happening on a more molecular

 level.

 

 This argument is as old as the hills - there was a time in the scientific community when it could not explain

 the Northern Lights - the rationale at the time by the community? That those individuals must be mentally ill 

 or suffering from a hallucinatory disorder.

 

 Not much has changed.

post #54 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwarmi View Post

 I personally find it all rather interesting without taking a strong stance either way smile.gif

 

 It is clear though that what he is suggesting above is that current available technologies for measurements concerning all

 founded and unfounded aspects of cables may be in their nacent stage. Simply looking at it from a measurement of

 capacitance and inductance etc perspective does give us the full picture on what is happening on a more molecular

 level.

 

 This argument is as old as the hills - there was a time in the scientific community when it could not explain

 the Northern Lights - the rationale at the time by the community? That those individuals must be mentally ill 

 or suffering from a hallucinatory disorder.

 

 Not much has changed.

 

Sorry, but I'm afraid I can't find it anything but sad and depressing.

 

Quote:

 It is clear though that what he is suggesting above is that current available technologies for measurements concerning all

 founded and unfounded aspects of cables may be in their nacent stage. Simply looking at it from a measurement of

 capacitance and inductance etc perspective does give us the full picture on what is happening on a more molecular

 level.

 

Except that any effects of the sorts of things he's talking about in the article would be buried well below the thermal noise of the wire itself. Are you suggesting that while you're listening to music at 80-90dB, you're going to be able to hear anything going on well below the thermal noise of the wire? Really?

 

The author never even states what the supposed consequences are. Just that there's things going on at the quantum level and by golly, that's audible.

 

As I said, I find it nothing more than sad and depressing.

 

Quote:

 This argument is as old as the hills - there was a time in the scientific community when it could not explain

 the Northern Lights - the rationale at the time by the community? That those individuals must be mentally ill 

 or suffering from a hallucinatory disorder.

 

You have any citation for that?

 

While a valid explanation of the Northern Lights remained elusive for quite some time, they have been known to western civilization for millennia and I'm not aware of the scientific community ever explaining then as the result of mental illness or hallucinations.

 

se

post #55 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post

 

Sorry, but I'm afraid I can't find it anything but sad and depressing.

 

 

Except that any effects of the sorts of things he's talking about in the article would be buried well below the thermal noise of the wire itself. Are you suggesting that while you're listening to music at 80-90dB, you're going to be able to hear anything going on well below the thermal noise of the wire? Really?

 

The author never even states what the supposed consequences are. Just that there's things going on at the quantum level and by golly, that's audible.

 

As I said, I find it nothing more than sad and depressing.

 

 

You have any citation for that?

 

While a valid explanation of the Northern Lights remained elusive for quite some time, they have been known to western civilization for millennia and I'm not aware of the scientific community ever explaining then as the result of mental illness or hallucinations.

 

se

 

 You can find an on-going argument concerning the Northern lights in respect to sound - some argue that this phenomena produces audible noises like pops and

 crackles

 

 "Some people claim to hear noises associated with the northern lights, but documenting this phenomenon has been difficult."

 

 http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/northernlights.html

 

 But once again the science is still playing catch-up - there is no definitive explanation for why so many personal visiting folk attest to this

 noise and so again ~ personal testimony is disregarded as worthless and meaningless until the tools/analysis are up to task.

 

 I feel that the real sad and depressing aspect here Steve is your stead-fast opinions that are not really open to discussion or possibilities

 that are beyond your very own contemplation and understanding. Hypothetically speaking even if *cable burn-in* could be proven without

 doubt to be real and conclusive. There is another definite conclusion here too

 

 Your opinions would not change ~ that does not really make for interesting conversation.

post #56 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwarmi View Post

 

 You can find an on-going argument concerning the Northern lights in respect to sound - some argue that this phenomena produces audible noises like pops and

 crackles

 

 "Some people claim to hear noises associated with the northern lights, but documenting this phenomenon has been difficult." 

 

And all they say is that documenting the phenomenon has been difficult. They're not accusing people of hallucinating or having mental illness as you claimed previously.

 

Quote:

 But once again the science is still playing catch-up - there is no definitive explanation for why so many personal visiting folk attest to this

 noise and so again ~ personal testimony is disregarded as worthless and meaningless until the tools/analysis are up to task.

 

Yes, because we know how unreliable such personal testimony can be. And since only some people report hearing noises, if it exists at all then obviously it's a fairly rare occurrence and not everyone who experiences it is going to have the tools to document it beyond personal testimony.

 

But again, no one's accusing anyone of hallucinating or being mentally ill as you stated originally.

 

Quote:

 I feel that the real sad and depressing aspect here Steve is your stead-fast opinions that are not really open to discussion or possibilities

 that are beyond your very own contemplation and understanding.

 

I'm plenty open to discussion and possibilities, but the author presents nothing of any substance. He just states A and concludes B without anything in between. That's nothing to base any sort of discussion on.

 

Quote:
 Your opinions would not change ~ that does not really make for interesting conversation.

 

I'd be more than happy to change my opinions in the face of a cogent argument. But none have been presented by the author. The article's nothing but one big non sequitur.

 

se

post #57 of 138

 Well its clear that current research and tools will not offer up an immediate definite answer either way concerning this burn-in thread.

 

 One thing that is interesting is that die hard skeptics always point the finger at cable makers as maintaining this snake

 oil illusion of burning in cables for the sheer sake of lining their own pockets. This reeks of a conspiracy theory in a way.

 

 Engineers and other transmissions experts who make their way from company to company, some leaving the industry altogether,

 by now surely their own testimonies would 'out' this apparently well drawn and unified conspiracy theory that suggests

 absolute collusion on the behalf of all cable makers who mention burn-in as a phenomena of their cable product.

 

 It does not seem very plausible.

 

 Not only that but think of the thousands of audio representatives from Hi-Fi stores and distributors who stand by their own

 experiences,  exchanging notes and impressions at Hi-Fi shows around the world on cable performance over time 

 ~ are they too in on this grand octopi of deception and delusion?

 

 I respect your views on this Steve, particularly since it appears impossible to prove or disprove with absolute certainty

 at the present time. However, having such staunch views also suggests that you must hold some beliefs that

 many thousands are somehow keeping this sham under wraps.

 

 Finally - I really do fail to see the brand building benefits or customer satisfaction in actively telling your customers

 to 'burn-in' the product if it really does not need it in the first place. Most folks these days want instant results,

 if anything cable makers should be promoting a 'plug and play' approach. But they don't. Why?

post #58 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwarmi View Post

 

 Finally - I really do fail to see the brand building benefits or customer satisfaction in actively telling your customers

 to 'burn-in' the product if it really does not need it in the first place. Most folks these days want instant results,

 if anything cable makers should be promoting a 'plug and play' approach. But they don't. Why?

 

Cynical answer? I'll provide a sample scenario - when a customer gets a product that doesn't make a difference in the sound of their system - and the recommendation is that the have to use it for 100, 200 or 1000 hours before it "settles in" or "burns in" by the time that period is up, their auditory memory is not sufficient to tell if there is a difference after a week or two or five, and they'd feel silly returning a product well after the 14 day trial period. And heck you already spent the money, and look at all these famous people who claim it makes a difference - there *must* be something to it, right? I guess things *do* sound *bit* brighter than I remember them two weeks ago... surely that's the the new expensive cable... right? 

 

And of course, I they didn't buy two identical cables to burn one, and leave the other - and don't really want to bother with a blind test anyway (after all, I'd feel silly if I spent that much for no reason), plus look at all these famous people who *swear* by them... surely there must be something to it, right? 

 

I guess I'll look online at my favorite forum - oh, and look there are so many people there saying it sounds brighter for them too.. I guess I'll chip in with my *impressions* from a few weeks ago... I know there are people asking for evidence, but I trust my own ears... or at least it looks like I should... I mean, science doesn't know everything right? And I spent all this money, there must be something to it, right? the Cable company is started by an engineer it says, and he talks about the changes I should expect, so that's reassuring... I'll listen for that when I plug it in again... 


Edited by liamstrain - 8/12/12 at 4:52am
post #59 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

 

Cynical answer? I'll provide a sample scenario - when a customer gets a product that doesn't make a difference in the sound of their system - and the recommendation is that the have to use it for 100, 200 or 1000 hours before it "settles in" or "burns in" by the time that period is up, their auditory memory is not sufficient to tell if there is a difference after a week or two or five, and they'd feel silly returning a product well after the 14 day trial period. And heck you already spent the money, and look at all these famous people who claim it makes a difference - there *must* be something to it, right? I guess things *do* sound *bit* brighter than I remember them two weeks ago... surely that's the the new expensive cable... right? 

 

And of course, I they didn't buy two identical cables to burn one, and leave the other - and don't really want to bother with a blind test anyway (after all, I'd feel silly if I spent that much for no reason), plus look at all these famous people who *swear* by them... surely there must be something to it, right? 

 

I guess I'll look online at my favorite forum - oh, and look there are so many people there saying it sounds brighter for them too.. I guess I'll chip in with my *impressions* from a few weeks ago... I know there are people asking for evidence, but I trust my own ears... or at least it looks like I should... I mean, science doesn't know everything right? And I spent all this money, there must be something to it, right? the Cable company is started by an engineer it says, and he talks about the changes I should expect, so that's reassuring... I'll listen for that when I plug it in again... 

 

 There in lies the quagmire - I'm the first to admit that many 'name brand' companies are peddling interconnects and power cords 

 that are made up entirely by virtue of guesstimates or even blatant deceit in order to make a dollar or two.

 

 That should still not taint the entire industry, particularly those who do hold credentials in their resumes for having worked

 with the military and other government institutions. That's where it becomes rather grey, rather than black and white.

 

 If you check out my thread in this section on the Shunyata ZiTron Cobra powercord you'll note my comments on that

 after plugging it into many pieces of equipment - mid range and high end - ranging from the Luxman P1-u, Ray Samuels

 Dark Star, Burson Soloist, Woo Audio WA22, Violectric V200 - I personally found a range of improvements and in

 some cases - some barely worthy enough of mention over a stock IEC.

 

 It's not quite that simple ~ the very same power cord on two different pieces of gear produce different results,

 stemming mainly from the power supply design inside the unit and how the power cord reacts to it in the

 first place. 

 

 You leisurely omitted a very crucial point that I made earlier ~ there are companies out there like Shunyata

 who *advocate* - please do not use the product out of the box - burn it in. I fail to see any marketing advantage

 by stating this openly to the customer, if anything it remains a hindrance to a sale.

 

 Does that mean that every Shunyata product will provide positive sonic benefits to every customer who

 purchases it for their setup? Not really, the synergy with their gear may not be there - as I found out

 with the Burson Soloist. Not that it really relates to Head-Fi at large in any great sense because by

 percentage few people on here see reason to use anything other than basic interconnects and $4 IEC power cords.

 

 My opinions aside - it is what is holding Head-Fi back ~ you would not demo a $500,000 Focal or other system at the

 Hong Kong Hi Fi Show with $28 worth of power cords and expect to be taken seriously and yet the irony is that

 we gladly expect the finest headphone gear on offer to cope with the same treatment.

 

 It is a grey area with no real absolute guidelines on how any interconnect or power cord will react with any given

 system. So much so that in my opinion - recommendations should be limited to a certain to fellow Head-Fiers

 who more or less own a similar or exact setup. Even then, it is fraught with misinformation.

post #60 of 138

 As for blind tests ~ here's one you were not expecting. Just like those blind tests where the material is usually foreign 

 to the end user. I'd bet a very penny or two that your very own rig could have you blind tested against a range of unknown

 sources and amps only for you to fail to recognize your very own rig with a blindfold on.

 

 Back on topic ~ 'if you do not like how the cable sounds out of the box then chances are, burn in or not - satisfaction

 is not coming your way anytime soon',


Edited by Gwarmi - 8/12/12 at 5:50am
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