Warming up

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In response to yesterday's post on break-in, my friend Bill Low, founder and chief Mucky Muck of Audioquest sent me the following note: "The improvement in audio system performance as a result of keeping the system energized is not the result of anything permanent. The 2 dominant phenomena are the forming of dielectric and thermal stability … both of which affect the particular part under consideration, and in an active circuit, the behavior of inter-related parts.

Take away the power source, and after 2 weeks the equipment will essentially be back in it’s “new” pre-burned-in pre-broken-in state.

I prefer the misnomer “warm-up” over all the other misnomers because implicit in the term warm-up is the term cool-down. “Warm-up” is the least dangerous term both because actually warming-up is sometimes accurate, and when not accurate, as with a cable or a speaker crossover, at least is not as misleading a one-way phenomena."

There's not much to argue about here. Bill's correct and I do think the term "warming-up" more accurately describes this process of burn in we've been discussing over the last few days; in particular because, as he points out, it is not a one-way change. It reverts back to its former state over time. I will not, however, change my 'misnomer' use of the term 'break-in' because, while Bill is correct that 'break-in' more appropriately refers to a car; or a one-way event, we have to stick with terms that communicate the meaning we wish to address. So, apologies for what I will continue to refer to it as.

Having written that, he's also correct that in electronics, perhaps the two biggest areas of change with on-time are the dielectric and the thermal properties of equipment.

Tomorrow we'll jump into some of that and what it means.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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