Charging up

April 27, 2017
 by Paul McGowan

I hate it when I am wrong. Or miss something. But that’s life.

I don’t play music through an amplifier or preamplifier that’s burning in. The reason’s simple. What’s going on inside the amplifier is the forming of capacitors and the settling in of parts and circuit boards. Playing music hasn’t much impact on those changes. Running current through the system does.

This flies in the face of Audiophile lore that states: music played through electronics burns in faster than just being on. Not sure I buy that and have never found evidence to support it.

That said, the same isn’t true when we’re talking about an entire system. And that’s the point I have been missing. The key is not the individual electronics, but rather the connecting cabling.

Missed that.

Speaker cables, interconnects, and power cords need music playing through them to burn in. Why would this matter? We know different types of insulation materials impact sound quality: Teflon, Polypropylene, Polystyrene, Mylar all sound different. And we also know that as AC signals passing through cable dielectrics change state—and sound different.

Of the many cables in a system, the most important seem to be the speaker cables.

Many will say this is all BS. And that’s fine.

But there won’t be another show we attend without first burning in the cables with music.

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87 comments on “Charging up”

  1. Agreed, Paul, when using plastics for insulation. But what if you apply cotton for insulation as done in the early days of cable production? And most astonishingly today there are audio cable manufacturers who go back to the old insulation technology.

      1. My litz interconnects are braided runs that are covered in tubes of cotton…. as neutral as I can ever imagine. Just replacing one set of interconnects in my system with another type is all I need to hear the signature sound of the newly introduced cable…

        Just learned that the company is now using French silk instead of cotton.
        http://www.q-audio.com/interconnect-cable

  2. I’m in the sceptics camp, and in my system the signal only goes through two cables, a USB from the streamer and a speaker cable. I would like to know how you play music through a power cord to burn it in.
    I have an issue with burning in generally. I assume that components are made in a factory and measured by quality control to make sure they meet the specification. I understand some audio companies Remeasure them. If they need 100 hours of burning in, surely after 100 hours of use the specification is different? As I know nothing about electronics, is there an explanation for this?
    With regard to music, surely a signal is just a voltage of some level or other. It only becomes music when a speaker reacts to it by vibrating and creating a sound pressure wave. So if burning in occurs at all, surely all that matters is to apply the correct range of voltage?
    Finally, if cables do require burning in, surely the manufacturer knows this. For what they sometimes charge, surely they should be the ones doing it, otherwise they are selling a product unfit for use?

  3. Paul, it is unfortunate that the rotation of the earth means that the first responses to your post seem to be from very skeptical Englishmen. I am not a believer in exotic speaker cables. A cable’s effect on a system is completely described by its resistance, capacitance and inductance. For a few metres of fairly ordinary cable these values are trivially small compared to those of the load they are driving. I recently changed my speaker cables for much shorter lengths of larger cross-section cable. I could detect no change in audio quality (this obviously is a subjective assessment) but it did look much neater, which was the object of the exercise. As to ‘burning in’ speaker cables; if they change the sound then something about them must change. What is it? Obviously as a skeptic I think that a small change in something which has an imperceptible effect is going to have even more imperceptible consequences.

    Having said this I will confess that my extreme audiophile colleague has a set of monocrystalline silver cables which I covet. This is not because I think for a second that they would improve the sound of my system, but they are superbly constructed and, in their way, objects of beauty.

    1. Skeptical, inquisitive, open-minded but inherently audio-nihilist (in that I don’t think there is anything romantic or existential about converting 1’s and 0’s into a voltage at the speaker terminals). Four paragraphs all ending with a question. Answers would be nice.

    2. chrisj1948 have you been reading electrical engineering technical material and looking at equations? You know that’s against audiophile rules. How can you dream the dream when you study things that were discovered by people who were awake and used scientific methods to learn something? Now if you don’t want to lose your audiophile certification like I did, get out of those text books, stop looking at technical information on the internet, and get back to reading Stereophile and TAS. You’ve got to B-E-L-I-E-V-E.

      It’s not the rotation of the earth that influences Englishmen. It’s the tea. It’s India’s revenge. They have a blend scientifically designed to react with alcohol to drive them insane. Remember what Noel Coward wrote; Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcBr3rosvNQ

      1. Guilty as charged. My first degree was in physics. However, in my defense, I would point out that my postgrad research was concerned with defining progress in science, which is pretty damned close to the notion of quality which drove poor old ‘Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ Pirsig crazy, and left me a lot less dogmatic about things. I am still a skeptic, but not a militant one.

    3. There is an easily measurable electrical parameter beyond impedance: dielectric absorbtion. This is a a property of insulators between the two conductors that carry electron flow between a source and load. It includes both linear and non-linear components. It is also expressed as “dissipation factor”, which is equivalent to a non-linear resistance in parallel with the load. Dielectric absorbtion also varies with frequency, out to periods of hours. This correlates to sound quality of capacitors and cables, and changes with burn-in.

      I can assure you there are more subtle characteristics of wire having to do with boundary defects, in effect voltage and frequency dependent noise generation. These do not have affordable electronic instrumentation to measure them; and there are likely other audible parameters of wire beyond my knowledge.

      These effects are, of course, masked by other veils in the audio chain starting with the recording and ending with your ear training. It takes really good source material, electronics, speakers and room to hear the cable difference reliably.

      I recommend season tickets to your local Classical Hall before you start upgrading, earplugs while in transit and listening tests as soon as possible after you get home from musical events.

  4. I don’t wanna spoil the party and I like the post, but is this the trigger for the umpteenth discussion between believers and non-believers about the (lack of) influence cables have on sound…
    Scary idea.

    1. Yes. The argument is essentially the same as that in The Bacchae, written by Euripides about 2,500 years ago. Mankind is no closer to an answer now and I doubt will be by the year 4,517, if we last that long.

      1. Yes if we will last that long. I’m not confident about that, looking at what we do with this planet.
        But one thing is for sure : you and I will never know.
        But I know about cables. I do believe that….oops, almost did it again…

        1. I do quite a lot of expert work and give evidence to courts and tribunals. In 30 years I have never used the word “believe” or its derivatives. There is either stone cold fact or opinion based on expertise. Belief is invariably speculation defined by a personal value-system. The only factual truth is in blind testing, but if people want to “believe” and it makes them (and their audio dealer) happy, then that is a good thing, as I am a Benthamite, considering there is merit in man’s endeavours being largely in pursuit of mutual happiness.

          1. It is much harder to hear the differences through a system of low quality, or without quality power conditioning, as most cities power grids are musically compromised

            I recently added a Equi-Core 300 before my PS Audio Dectet (which was plugged into a dedicated 20 amp outlet). The improvement was nothing short of stunning, and jaw dropping

            1. I have used a P3 Power regenerator for some years. In January I bought an all-in-one unit with a supremely well designed power supply. I now cannot hear any difference with or without the P3, so have removed it. The unit is plugged into the wall with the mains lead supplied (a third party cable that retails for about $80).

        2. It’s what the planet does to us not what we do to the planet jb. The earth doesn’t care or know we humans exist. It will keep on living til that last perfect day and sun gobbles it up about 5 billion years from now.

          As for cables, I believe in science.

          1. I believe you’re contradicting yourself. As a believer in science, you must understand the profound effect we humans are having on global warming, unless you’re a Republican.

            1. Be careful what you say. The last time I said something like you say now, rwwear said I suck.
              Fortunately I don”t know what that means, but somehow it gave me the impression he does not love me.

              1. I do love you jb. I don’t know what gave you any idea otherwise. As for believing in climate change of course I do. It changes all of the time. But the earth will not die because of it.

    2. It’s not a question of believers and non-believers, imho. It rather is a question of EM-effects influencing the sound perceived! Everybody is familiar with the fact that a wire acts as an antenna. And a wire being coiled up acts as an inductor. And there are many other effects related to frequency dependent AC phenomenons. However which effects are really audible or rather a trigger for cognitive biases? There are many people getting sick when exposed to electromagnetic pollution. A matter of autosuggestion or an effect that could be measured objectively by EEGs?

  5. As a good friend once said, “You don’t always get what you want, but you always get what you expect.”

    Our expectations create our reality, and this is especially so of such immeasurables as the effect of speaker cables, both for believers and non-believers.

    A local speaker designer and builder has a warehouse where he has carved out rooms of various sizes and once rented out space to a West Coast audio distributor. One night, when the distributor had gone home for the night, he slipped into their demo room, disconnected their speaker wire and installed 22 gauge, Radio Shack grade speaker wire. He did it in such a way that a casual observer wouldn’t notice anything. The next day he overheard the distributor raving about how good his system was sounding. After a few days, he slipped back in during the wee hours and put the original cable back and pulled the 22 gauge stuff. The distributor never knew.

    Expectations create our reality.

    1. Obviously in your episode the quality of the contact between plugs and sockets were improved by removing the old cable installation! Simply make a comparison between more (!) than two different cables not knowing the price! The results are too often most surprising and against every expectation based on a price information made before the cable exchange!

      1. A fair point. My skepticism about speaker cables does not extend to connection posts. I know from experience that poor connection can lead to a degradation in audio quality.

      1. I’m a big believer in empirical evidence.

        I confess to hearing audible differences in interconnects, but they aren’t dramatic, or as readily apparent as say, CD vs. vinyl. I have not heard differences in loudspeaker cables.

        My own multi-amplified loudspeaker system has eight 25 foot long cable runs and would be prohibitively expensive in anything other than 14 gauge zip cord, so it’s kind of a moot point for me anyway.

        But I do believe with all my heart, that our expectations have a much, much greater impact upon our experience than any wire geometry, alloy formulation or engineered plug could possibly have. If you expect it to sound different, then it will and your mind will find ways to validate that expectation.

        Until you can find repeatable and physically measurable “evidence of something going on” then we’ll continue to be sliding down a slippery slope lubricated by snake oil.

  6. A simple solution for audio show preparation or for any set-up prep: get and learn how to use a cable cooker or several and prepare cables before installation. (It won’t solve all problems, but it will most. Cables need to settle in without movement or disturbance to sound their best.)

    Personal experience: I was an agnostic regarding “burn-in” or “run-in” regarding components and cables. I just did not know. I performed “burn-in” procedures on new speakers, cartridges, amps, CD players or DACs because I wanted to ensure that when I sat down to critically listen or just enjoy my system, I would not hear a less than optimum collection of gear. I had not quantified any changes that may or may not have occured. I had a sense that mechanical/moveable components required run-in just like a car’s engine or tires. So, it was not a stretch for me to believe that burn-in was essential for speakers and cartridges. Nevertheless, I asked that vendors “burn-in” any cabling I bought before delivery. Just in case.

    Several years ago, I purchased a pair of double bi-wire speaker cables. I forgot to ask the vendor to “burn-in” the cables. I just connected them. Low frequencies were soft and lacked definition. High frequencies were missing. I decided to run in the cables myself. A week later after playing music through the system 24/7, the cables sounded horrible. I was concerned I had purchased junk, so I called the vendor. We talked for awhile and I elected to continue to run in the cables. During the next week I peeped into the listening room to see if any progress was being made. Screechy highs and rough sounding middle frequencies did not calm me. Skip ahead about 10 days and I was surprised – the system sounded fantastic! No mistake. The transition was obvious. I became convinced that “burn-in” was essential, for all elements in my music system.

    (I now use a cable cooker for all new ICs, PCs and speaker cables before I evaluate wire in any of my or my friends’ systems. It works.)

  7. Beeernd!

    No Bernd!
    I said no Bernd!
    Pace yourself!

    If you do not obey I will connect your loudspeaker cable with the arrows pointing in the wrong direction!

    OMG

    1. Good point again.
      I always thought a major factor in audiopsychosis was anthropomorphism. When I see arrows or read about directional cables I think of electrons gasping as they struggle uphill. Perhaps if we screwed our audio components to the ceiling so the speaker cables dangled down to the speakers gravity would counteract any such factors.

        1. Mark, the same joke twice in two minutes. Stop it! It’s not a laughing matter. It’s deadly serious, unless Paul is just winding us up!

          What’s the score so far, Skeptics vs Believers ?

          1. You shoulda been at Axpona, so you could wax Benthamic on the $200k-worth of cables with massive bar magnets attached, tethering the PS products to the Scaenas ; )

            Maybe if I make my coffee Irish, I can catch up to you guys’ state of dudgeon. It’s 7am here.

            1. Someone will buy the cables, love them, night & day difference, etc., and the dealer’s wife will get her Christmas Caribbean cruise. Everyone’s a winner.
              Go back to bed.
              The skeptics are ahead methinks.

            2. I have named all my electrons “Dave” (a la Dr. Seuss) so when I call them, they all come running.

              When something’s not right, I say, “Dave’s not here, man” (Cheech and Chong).

              I realized the Harbeths I bought from you were burned in with electrons that drive on the left, so I reversed my speaker leads, and it’s all good.

              1. I suspect my speakers had jet-lag and were a bit sluggish to begin with.

                Chord called their DACs “Dave”, “Hugo” and “Mojo” and they’re the best selling in the UK. There’s something in it.

                1. So if I ever buy some stuff from you, don’t send it by plane. Especially not the french pizzabox (if you ever decide to go back to real hifi..).

                  1. They got from North London to the Chicago suburbs in 48 hours. Quicker than most pizza deliveries.

                    I resent this appalling abuse of groundbreaking European design, although I take your point. I’m done with component audio, it’s not the components, its the cable thing and whether $2 or $2,000 makes a difference. Returning to Euripides, what if Medea had bought some posh cables and found they made no difference? She wouldn’t have taken it sitting down.

                    1. Ok, ok, all kidding aside. Time for a serious answer (my first one today)
                      I’ve got some very fine components (you know, the bulky ones that take too much space in the living room) that sound wonderful.
                      Some PSAudio (not the amp). And so far I did not have the need to sell them. Probably won’t do that in the near future.
                      But if I had to start all over again (let’s say the house burnt down) I definitely would size down and Devialet would be on my shortlist, top 5 that is.
                      I heard the amps several times and I liked them very much; the speakers (Phantoms) not so much.
                      They sounded very bass-heavy to me and that’s fine when you are totally into hip hop.
                      The concept is very appealing. As you said, no more clutter in the room.
                      And one day I might go that way, although a class A/B amp still has it’s advantages. Not necessarily better, but different. And for me not a pre-power combo anymore. There are lots of exceptional integrated amps.
                      IMO PSAudio could do a very good job in developing an fine integrated amp.
                      But since in America everything has to be bigger (no exception in audio), I’m afraid we have to wait for that till hell freezes over.

                  2. I wanted to answer on your following post about Diabvalet speakers and Hip-Hop, but this post was too deep in structure and provided no answer button.

                    So what I want to say is, that Hip-Hop for me would be the last style to ask for a bas heavy component. In opposite, as it has mostly too much bass already, for this would be time to ask for the most controlled and neutral component.

                    1. Totally agree with you. But the target group (mostly young people) like a lot of bass. They can’t get enough of it, controlled or not.
                      And on a few shows I noticed especially young people enjoyed the booming bass of the Phantoms very much.

                2. They said they were fine, I gave them a dram of ’63 Scapa and put them to bed. The next day they sang for their supper.

                  I was calling my electrons Dave when Chord was in short pants.

                  1. Devialet suited me as it allows two phono connections and has an excellent phono amp. It’s connectivity was a big factor for me. A top notch integrated and a streaming DAC is ideal these days, but the market is congested with excellent products. Luxman (class A) is popular in the land of the tea drinkers, also Audio Research. American in Paris about to start …

                    1. When I was a Grad student at the University of Michigas, (where I got really good-ishly larned) Gene Curran Kelly came by and asked for whatever young hot thing we had to dance for him. (dunno if sex was specified)

                      A lovely lass in my class with a beautiful…Pass prototype, as I recall…was asked to perform for him. She was understandably thrilled to be asked to perform for the Legend, and nervously asked me what she should do. I think I gave some vague advice that she should “do her thing”.

                      She acquitted herself admirably.

                      So – Mr. Modern Digital – you still need TWO PHONO connections? Sheesh.

                3. Not that I want to say Chord isn’t good, but it seems to me since ever folks in the UK generally limit their interest even more to local brands than other folks, correct?

  8. THIS of all things really surprises me.

    Having been Alan’s partner in Audio Tweakers, I know he knows full well the importance of bringing well broken in cables to a show. I suspect Sunny does as well. And important enough to have discussed this with you prior to packing up for the show

    Mind Blown

      1. Obviously it was the room. I have yet to go to an audiophile show when at least half of the exhibitors didn’t complain about the acoustics of the room they were given. Funny, most of those hotel rooms are roughly the same size and shape as many peoples’ own living rooms. 🙂

        1. Nothing funny about it – most rooms suck for audio. Empty hotel rooms high on the list. Yet another thing that’s more important than cabling. Though if the cables are altering the source signal in a negative way (be they $2 or $200k), there’s nothing the room can do about it.

  9. I myself have been using the Purist Audio Design break in cd for years now. Whenever I add a new audio product downstream of my cd player it sems to work very well. In fact I believe that if run thru its break in cycle that the end result will actually surpass that any amount of break in by itself will achieve. Plus that when say setting up a system for exhibition that running the Purist Audio Design break in cd say two or 3 cycles-2-3 plus hours, should bring it back to full potential.. That is if the system had gone thru the entire break in cycle beforehand. Anyway once I first discovered the Purist Audio Design break in cd-the first version well over 20 years ago, the whole subject of break in itself has been taken care of. As simple as that.
    Anyway, it is very simple to check out and possibly at no financial risk. Simply purchase one where you can return it if not satisfied. It will either work or it will not. I know that there are a few of the online audio dealers to choose from.

  10. Remarkable comments so far.
    First of all I was right about my fear of the start of a new cable discussion. Well, not so remarkable.
    And of course some tried to drag me into that, but I could resist the temptation.
    Secondly, Soundmind2 (aka Bernd) gave us (at least) the impression he has some sort of humor.
    I didn’t see that coming to be honest.
    Or was it not meant to be humor ? In that case I apologize.

    1. Bernd was probably hacked. Looked like fake news to me.
      No sign of Soundmind yet. I read this forum as I enjoy not understanding how his mind works. I expect something special from him today. He gets through literary styles like (Mr) Trump gets through hairspay. I doubt he will ever get to Garrison Keillor. I think of him as Caractacus Potts’ long lost twin brother.

    2. jb4,

      be careful!
      Do not call me and Soundmind in the same post!
      Soundmind despises people of my profession because me and my colleagues are all fools.
      What the heck – what kind of humor are you talking about?
      Ever met a German who has humor?
      Well, I accept your apology 😉

      Have a nice day!

      1. Sorry, you are right, I was wrong accusing you of being humorous.
        Totally out of line, inappropriate.
        I’ll never do that again. Please forgive me.
        But…but… I never mention you and Soundmind in the same post.
        Just gave you the titel of honour “Soundmind2”
        Consider it a privilege. You deserve it.
        Seems to me your ideas and his are very much the same, except of course he thinks your a fool, as we all are in his mind, but that’s a minor detail.
        So we’re good I suppose. If not, we don’t live too far away from each other to kick some asses.
        Well, just kidding. I’m in a good mood today because my king celebrates his birthday. So today it’s Kaffee und Kuchen.

        1. Jb4,

          so no beer at “Prinz Pilsje” birthday?
          OK – I think he’s doing a quite good job in representing the Netherlands. I’ve seen him a few times here in Münster at the “Eerste Duits-Nederlandse Legerkorps”. He and his fellow countymen are allways welcome!

          Regards

  11. I’m not going to get into the great capacitor debate again. However Paul you have made a factual error that needs to be corrected.

    ” And we also know that as AC signals passing through cable dielectrics change state—and sound different.”
    “I hate it when I am wrong”

    No signal passes through dielectrics in capacitors or cables. By definition they are insulators. 15 KV cables subjected to 13,800 volts RMS AC (+/- 19,500 volts peak to peak) for over 30 years often submerged in water recently tested at 10,000 megaohms.

    Electrical engineers invented the mathematical fiction of “displacement current” through a capacitor so that they could use Kirchoff’s laws without anxiety so they could sleep at night. It’s almost laughable.

    Before an electrical voltage has any appreciable effect on the dielectric in a capacitor or other insulator, the field strength has to approach the ionization potential of the molecular bonds between the atoms. But it had better not equal or exceed them or the bonds will be broken and the capacitor destroyed. I’ve tested 15 KV rated cable to 95,000 volts RMS without any ill effect. It’s no longer considered good practice to do that anymore.

    “But there won’t be another show we attend without first burning in the cables with music.”

    I assume that the recent demonstration at Axpona was less than satisfactory to you. Sorry to hear that.

  12. Come to think of it, I’m surprised some lunatic hasn’t designed and marketed cables and capacitors for audiophiles that use a vacuum for an insulator. You can’t beat a vacuum. You’ll just need a small pump to keep the vacuum at one Torr or less. Now that’s the kind of innovation that would squeeze a lot of money out of audiophile bank accounts.

    1. I have a prototype speaker cable that essentially consists of (patented) 8 gauge bullet-train copper threaded through Bissell Pro Heat pet carpet cleaner VACCUUMs on each side. If the humidity conditions in desert regions are poor, one can activate the sprayer, which is filled with (patent-pending) negative-ion solution.

      The only issue I’m having is the vacs are loud as hell. Some of the beta testers are complaining. Effing audiophiles!

  13. The BHK mono’s sounded mediocre at best with MIT cabling to the point I was about to send them back. Swapped out for Transparent cabling and everything fell into place. Cabling don’t matter? Think again. Note: I was a major cabling skeptic for years myself. I made a full recovery.

      1. Because they have to put their kids through college. This stuff is not cheap. Thankfully the cables can be bought and sold for around 50% of MSRP, so depreciation cost is low, but you still tying up the cash.

  14. I guess Soundmind missed his coffee today. “No signal passes through dielectrics in capacitors or cables. By definition they are insulators.” If by signal, he means current then yes he is right. But the electric field passes through with the greatest of ease. This is how a transformer works. The electric field from one well insulated wire induces current ie” signal” into a secondary well insulated wire.

    But these insulators and the construction techniques of how the wires are laid together ( wound , braided etc.) have a profound effect on the electric field.

    1. I really hate to have to correct more than one factual error in the same posting but no, that is not how a transformer works. It works by AC magnetic fields coupling primary and secondary windings. You can couple the primary and secondary through air. That’s how farmers used to steal power from utilities whose lines passed over their fields. But magnetic material like iron and its alloys concentrate the magnetic fields making transformers more efficient. A current passing through a wire has a magnetic field around it. Many turns of wire increase the magnetic field. As the primary is wound around the magnetically soft transformer core, it induces a magnetic field in the core. If the signal is AC, the magnetic field alternates causing a voltage to be induced in the secondary winding as the field lines traverse the wire also wound around the same core. If what you said was true, a transformer would pass DC current but it can’t because the magnetic field is stationary. One of the best transformer insulators is PCB. It is unfortunately toxic. Even worse the products of combustion of it includes difurans and dioxins which are very toxic.

      Electric fields pass through even the vacuum of space. The electric field permeability of free space is represented by the symbol epsilon sub zero. The electric permeability of a material is represented by a constant “K” specific to the material times epsilon sub zero. The dielectric strength of a vacuum is infinite. Magnetic permeability is similarly represented by the symbol mu.

  15. I believe this topic has been discussed before and there were two sides even then. All I can add is what my experience has been over the years. In my TV system I have a pioneer receiver. Plenty of power and the sound is not bad. But it sounds the same always . No burn in required nor does it make any difference no matter whether it is left on or played for hours. On the the other hand my main audio systems require at least forty five minutes to an hour of burn in after they have been switched off the previous day to sound the way they should. The improvement in sound is not subtle it is quite significantly better. I tried an experiment where I began listening just after turning the system on. The sound was not bad but was bright an edgy which was not acceptable but I sat through it and about an hour later the sound audibly changed for the better. It lost it’s edge and brightness and electronic sound and became sweet,smooth and more life like. I have done this on more than on occasion and the result has always been the same. So yes break in is a fact of life depending on the quality of the system. As to why I will leave it to the experts but your explanation makes sense and till I come across a better one I will go with it. By the way is it possible that some people’s hearing is not acute enough to detect the very obvious change even though the pure tone audiometry is normal. After all the sound of a sound system is a lot more complicated than pure tones. Just wondering. In conclusion if one hears the change it exists and if one does not than either its the quality of the equipment or else the lack of ability to hear the change even though it exists in both instances. Regards.

  16. Okay, here’s something few people know that electrical engineers got wrong. Remember electricity was used way back in the telegraph days when Samuel Morse invented his famous code. They thought current was carried by positive charges. Then J.J. Thomson many years later discovered electrons and that electricity was actually the flow of negative charges. But electrical engineers stuck with their incorrect math and called what they had “conventional current.” So what engineers calculate is actually backwards from what is really happening.

    Do electrons move at the speed of light in a wire? No. The field created by the application of voltage travels down the wire at the speed of light in a vacuum times the index of refraction of the wire which for copper is about 0.5. That’s how quickly the electrons feel the force to move. I once calculated that at 100 amps electrons travel about 2 inches per second in a wire but I’ve forgotten if it depended on the gage of the wire or not. So electrons travel rather slowly in electrical circuits.

    1. If sound generation and sound quality would only (!) depend on the movement of electrons shouldn’t it be easy to measure the parameters characterizing the movement of electrons (rather hypothetical effect particles showing also mass effects) before and after burn-in? And isn’t is strange that the electrons moving in the voice coil finally do the job? 🙂 Your provoking (?) and most selective art of arguing is quite obvious, imho: whenever it fits referring to more or less old textbook know-how not mentioning the basic underlying assumptions and simplifications often optimized for daily engineering application. Or referring to the latest break through research in physics but not proving the relevance for audio application. Or referring to your own theories and findings never reproduced by third parties. But always pretending to be the master of the truth. 🙂 Why not let everybody be the master of his / her subjective truth?

      1. More elementary blunders. Sound has nothing to do with electrons. In air, sound has to do with the vibration of air molecules. It starts with something colliding with air back and fourth and ends with vibrating air causing vibrations in someone’s ear causing your ear drum to vibrate stimulating your auditory nerve and then your brain. We had sound long before we had electricity. In fact sound has been around to hear or experience since the first living organism on earth. I give up. I can’t larn yuz $##%%T$ nuthin’ 🙁 Maybe you know more about acorns.

    2. Put on a record with a loud opening, you can hear the music start directly off the platter, the delay before sound comes out the speakers is measurable.

  17. This has nothing to do with today’s post (other than it has me charged up, LOL), but, I didn’t know where else to ask and perhaps get someone who is “in the know”. I was on Amazon a bit ago looking at upcoming new releases for some pop and folk artists I follow, and in two cases the upcoming albums were being released on CASSETTE in addition to CD, vinyl and streaming. Cassette? I didn’t think there was any resurgence in that medium, do you all know something about this that I don’t?

    PS: I am shaking my head at the number of responses to today’s post. It was 71 at last count. What is the record for a number of comments on one of Paul’s Posts, does anyone keep that stat?

    1. That’s interesting Larry. I too saw a recent album released on cassette. Although cassettes can sound truly excellent. I don’t know anyone building cassette decks any more. The last one I saw was a few years back by Tandberg which was 4000.00 and special order only. Probably one of the best if not the best deck ever built, the 3014.

      1. I am going to keep an eye on this, but, to me it would be a strange thing to have a resurgence. Vinyl I can see due to the sound, and the fact there is a lot of space for cover art and all. Cassettes have even less space for artwork than a CD. Strange as I said!

  18. Yup…manufactures laugh at me when I say that stuff. All I know is that’s what I find and that’s what my ears tell me. But if it makes you feel any better Paul, I didn’t get your room until Sunday and it sounded wonderful!that is the first time I truly love those speakers and it turn my head away from the MBL101E mk ll. Of course Electronics electronics included but I already have those.

  19. Cassette is the next revival. No more streaming, back to the tape !
    Fits in the same niche as albums.
    And with this post we count 76. New record ?
    However, if you subtract all the “not so serious” posts (including this one), then you got about 6 left…

  20. I don’t get the burn part never did and hopefully never will.
    Devices yes not wires.
    But interconnects and speaker wired matter very much sorry of some don’t hear it. Speaker wired kept very short is good
    A high enough gauge too min 12
    Regarding mit. Funny I have two sets of them one is 10 gauge the other is 8 gauge. When I went from two amps two one Stereo in the middle I needed a longer cable so a whipped them out. Wow did they sound bad
    But I am anogstic and any good or bad must be repeatable. Wow it sure was. Using simple 12 gauge lamp cord each pair is positive and the next pair is negative. Effective copper is double 12 gauge. A simple twist to keep them neat. Best sound I have yet from my monsters.
    Maybe wire direction and burn is real but. It for me as of now.
    But all wires do sound different somehow. If you don’t hear you need a better system sorry. Interconnects even more as they effect the overall sound to what is connected to them.
    For me mogami gold mic is close enough to neutral as balanced cables have less influence. I was one who felt speaker or interconnects did not matter snake oil. I am a true believer that they do ina big way. But burn in and direction your killing me with that one.

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