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Cable Burn In with regard to Audio Directionality.

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by oldmate, Jun 12, 2015.
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  1. oldmate
    "It is important to mark the source end of the cable with marker or tape (or note direction of the writing on the cable) on the cable as the run in time/process makes the cable directional ( i.e. better sounding in one direction only)".
    "I for example could provide plenty of scientific theory to support my claims but on the other hand - from those who repute our claim - all we get is very little substance other than it's all in your head mate and its is all nonsense.
    Some people don't seem to realise that it is not the copper conductor etc. that requires burn/run in time but instead it is the insulating dieletric covering to the cable that can cause issues to the signal when the cable is new.
    An ideal conductor is one that is purly surrounded by air but practically a good cable will have the lowest dielectric constant as possible (but will never be as good as air).
    Put simply the burn in process saturates the dieletric material with an electrical charge but it is the orrientation of the  electrical charge along the cable in relation to the direction of the signal flow that causes the directional effect on the cable (similar to magnetic polarity).
    If you turn the cable around after burn in you will lose any benefits of burn in."
    These comments were posted in the X3 thread by @Light - Man and I'm of the opinion it's snake oil.
    Please discuss as I would love to be proven wrong so I can eat a piece of humble pie.
    I should also add that I purchased some rather expensive cables from Forza Audio Works and I heard zero difference in sound quality both from standard supplied interconnects from FIIO and the headphone cables supplied by the manufacturer Denon. They look better for sure but that's it.
    I believe the time has come for concerned music lovers, true engineers, competent physicists, academics, mag editors, etc. to take a firm stand regarding much of this disturbing new trend in the blatantly false claims frequently found in various forums.
    Light - Man likes this.
  2. arnyk
    It is well known in scientific circles is that there are all kinds of differences that are easy to measure but are very small. If they were many times larger they would be audilble, but they are only as small as they are.
    To the best of my knowledge, the only evidence that there is  that cables burn in or burn in with an audible directionality are Audiophile Sighted Casual Evaluations which are known to have the following serous and debilitating inherent flaws:
    (1) Audiophile Sighted Casual Evaluations are not admissible because they are not tests. That is, they do not involve comparison to a fixed, reliable standard.
    (2) Audiophile Sighted Casual Evaluations are not admissible because they involve excessively long switchover times, which makes them highly susceptible to false negatives because they desensitize the listeners.
    (3) Audiophile Sighted Casual Evaluations are not admissible because the do not involve proper level matching, which makes them highly susceptible to false positives because people report the level mismatches as sonic differences.
    (4) Audiophile Sighted Casual Evaluations are not admissible because they do not involve listening to the identical same piece of music or drama within a few milliseconds, creating false positives because people report the mismatched music as sonic differences in the equipment.
    (5) Audiophile Sighted Casual Evaluations are not admissible because they constantly reveal the true identity of the UUTs to the listener, creating false positives because people report their prejudices and preconceived notions as sonic properties of the equipment
    Light - Man likes this.
  3. Joe Bloggs Contributor
    At the risk of alienating an existing FiiO customer:

    All I have to say regarding the theory of directional burn in of cables is:

    Audio signals are alternating currents that flow just as much in both directions. :rolleyes:
    castleofargh and Light - Man like this.
  4. oldmate
    Some cable manufacturers and audiophiles believe the dieletric of the cable is the problem and the dieletric needs to be broken in. You cannot break in a cable. A musical signal is random in nature so the idea that the cable somehow magically aligns itself to be ideal all the time in one direction or another is just another myth.
    Audiophiles are passionate about their sound but not necessarily very technical people. They don't have electrical engineering degrees. The industry preys on that. They use pseudo science which is based on regular science or at least the principles and the names of the problems they are trying to identify and then come up with their ridiculous statements that they say address or fix the problem.
    It's a real problem particularly in consumer audio. In the professional industry where you are say setting up a recording studio or sound for a concert they don't have this problem.
  5. oldmate
    Those differences are usually RF related and in the MHz and GHz spectrum. Nothing to do with audio.
  6. oldmate
    Finally. An engineer sums it up. Good on ya Joe!!
    AC 101 people.[​IMG]
  7. Light - Man
    Thanks Joe for joining the debate, this could be more interesting than I thought.
    Can you please give us any insight you may have to why OCC Copper and a Teflon dielectric make a difference to the sound.
    I know Fiio dont make the cables and in the Fiio case, cables are very short compared to Home hi-fi set-ups etc. (inter connects and speaker cables)
    Oldmate, I believe it is a bit early for either side to be claiming a victory and we have not even agreed the duration of the first half before we change sides and play Devil's advocate!
    I also refuse to pay silly money for cables, I try to buy smart and cut through the BS but I do still believe they can make some difference but not in a big way.
    I am heading to a classical music concert today and I always choose to sit in a seat fairly close to the orchestra so I dont have to listen to those dredded speakers and cables that some Audio Engineers think make no difference to the sound because they know no better. LOL
    p.s. Oldmate, I am afraid it might be pushing it a bit too far to rely on mag editors on that list of yours that we are looking to for guidence in this debate of ours, as we all know who pays their wages, I suppose we should not tarnish them all either?
    oldmate likes this.
  8. arnyk
    Speaking as an EE who has worked in audio both as an audio enthusiast and professionally for decades, there is nothing about copper that is purer than 99.9 % or Teflon as compared to ordinary vinyl insulation that serve any but purely mechanical and thermal purposes.
    If you need a cable that lives well in boiling water, then Teflon is great.
    Sometimes they are both counter-productive because they both make the respective materials extra soft and that can make them more prone to crimp and break.
    Teflon insulated wire is relatively fragile at normal temperatures. If you pinch it hard enough you can displace the insulation enough that it shorts out. 
  9. warrior1975
    What about different cable types? Copper vs silver? I'm not a believer in cable burn in, to me it doesn't make sense, but I think I hear a difference between copper and silver. I purchase cables for aesthetic reasons, I didn't believe I'd hear a difference between copper and silver but I did. I don't know it it's in my mind though.
  10. cjl

    Silver is a better conductor, but you could get the same gain by going to a very slightly heavier gauge copper cable (about 3% larger diameter, which is a smaller jump than a 1 AWG change). In other words, there should be a larger difference between a 28AWG copper cable and a 26AWG copper cable than there is between a 28AWG copper and a 28AWG silver cable, and not by a small margin. The 28AWG silver cable will have 5 or 6% less resistance than the 28AWG copper cable, but the 26AWG copper cable will have more than 33% less resistance than the 28AWG copper cable.
    warrior1975 likes this.
  11. Steve Eddy

    No one has shown that it does.

  12. warrior1975

    Considering I did both, heavier Guage and changed to silver, then I'm not crazy thinking I heard a difference. Thanks for clearing that up.
  13. Steve Eddy

    A simple change in resistance doesn't mean there will be any audible change.

  14. cjl
    I didn't say you'd hear a difference. What was the resistance of the original cable, and what was the resistance of your drivers? Chances are, even the original cable was well under a tenth of an ohm, while your headphones are >10 ohms (unless they're a rather unusual design), so it's unlikely you could have changed the total resistance by even 1%, which would pretty much definitely not have any audible effect on the sound.
  15. warrior1975

    You would know better than I would, as I have little to no knowledge or understanding of this stuff. I purchased the cables for aesthetic reasons. Like I said, I "think", and I'm a huge believer in placebo effects.

    All the headphones were under 10ohms,I changed from stock copper cables, to 8 strand silver cables.

    Not looking to start a war, I'm just trying to learn a little more.
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