Audiophiles for years – excuse the pun – have heard cable manufacturers’ and experts’ claims of “cable break-in.” It’s a huge, ongoing debate, though most seem to believe it’s folly. In the guitar world, I haven’t heard of this from cable manufacturers; at least from the brands I buy. But I have heard it from seemingly well-informed musicians who claim they can hear the difference between a broken-in cable and a brand new cable. These people pride themselves on their “golden ears,” and often pull rank by providing their “bonafides” of degrees or what-not to add credibility to their claims. They are so convincing that lots of uninformed, unsuspecting musicians fall prey to their claims and in turn take them as scientific fact. Then in turn spend hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars on super, high-end cables that they’ll “break in,” and magically, their tone will be right. Hey! More power to ’em.
Me? I won’t mince words: I think they’re full of shit.
There is no scientific basis for cable break-in. It’s purely subjective. And with cable manufacturers who make the claim that their cables sound better after they’ve been broken in, to me it’s all just pure marketing bullshit. But some of these “pundits” and their sycophants (I love that word) will bring Einstein into the equation with the following quote:
Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.
I dig that quote! But then it just points back to the subjectivity of cable break-in. Note that NONE of these so-called experts have ever provided numbers behind their claims. But they’ll take it further with an argument that it’s not the wire, but the insulation that breaks in; that is, the molecules of the dieletric will align to the signal over time. I _might_ buy this for a constant, uniform signal, but audio signals are random, plus the signal’s AC outside of any device in your chain. And again, they don’t have numbers to back this up. Molecules lining up to a random signal? If you buy into that, I have a couple of rental properties in Indiana I’d like to sell you (that’s actually true, and I’m trying to unload, er, sell them).
As I always advise, do your homework and find out for yourself. If you can hear those differences – though most everyone claims they’re psychological as opposed to physical – then I commend you on your auditory acuity. But my question, dear readers – especially for us regular joes – is this: If us mere mortals can’t hear that difference, does it really matter?