Speaker (and other cable) burn in.

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jrocks29ms@gmail.com

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Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« on: 29 Jun 2022, 10:27 am »
Hey folks,
I have been working on a system for a while now, and recently moved. After the move I had to completely put my system back together from scratch. I dropped In a few upgrades for my system including new speaker stands, electrical outlets, and cable risers. Ive found out through research, and personal trial and error that most if not all those upgrade paths of a system that a lot of folks refer to as snake oil, really do make some degree of difference, its really just a question if your willing to pay the money for the difference that you get, and willing to disregard  social norms and opinions of others.

Before I moved, I recently bought some high end power cords and speaker cables from GR research. These are teflon cords/cables. I had to really seem to work to get decent placement of these cables for them to open up. IE using cable risers, and placing them far away from walls and other power cords.
I have found that just altering the positioning a little bit or away from other cables seems to make a noticeable improvement every time I did it. So over the course of a couple weeks I sort of developed a “tinkering addiction”. I have never let these cables both power and speaker cables, and tube connector plugs  and speaker positioning just be, for more than maybe 30 hours. Every time I notice they start to break in sound better I seem to think of some way in which i can or rather need to squeeze more performance out of the setup. This urge is usually precipitated by me noticing a flaw in performance at some point in the bass or midrange of the left or right channel. Perhaps the treble starts to develop really nicely but only on one side. During use after hearing these deficits I fear I have not done a good job tightening them or spacing the wires away from boundaries or whatever, and start all over again. My concern, or rather question is, should I expect the system to fluctuate between good and bad more than once during the break in time, and should the variations in frequencies and tone normalize and flatten out in both channels over time? I have noticed this phenomenon in capacitor break in before. But my speakers have been modified for some time now, including the caps in the networks. I’m going stir crazy trying to see if there is some problem that is causing a change in the tone between the left and right speakers as the start to settle in, in the first few hours after setup. I have really-good hearing, and some might even say I have really high standards. But once you hear a truly impressive system, well, its hard to go back or accept less. This standard is especially important if you have invested in a really good (true to source, neutral) sounding setup.
My system is, to a cost no object listener, on the high end of “Mid-Fi” to the low end of “Hi-Fi” at best, but very intentionally well put together to meet my demands of not just audio but AV; from good power cords, interconnects, admittedly budget minded front end gear, and speakers. All of it thought out from individual materials and the total sum of the parts, to meet a good quality for the money, and relatively good quality.
These speaker cables and my power cable both to my amplifier are my concern, as these are teflon coated cables.
Maybe I could be a little more patient if I understood the difference in performance I could expect after total burn-in. This system has its moments, but I’m not blown away or anything yet.  As far as I know I’ve never used teflon in my systems, so perhaps my unsure assessment of the final sound is premature.
I just get the sense that this system sounds a little fatiguing in the the higher registry. I did use non hardening modeling clay on both the horn and mid bass driver basket to help with ringing or resonances.
I know one thing for sure, I am tiring of waiting for the result for them to open up burn in and sound decent, after I adjust them, but i just can’t seem to at some point between hours to a day or two afterwards, as they sound so different every time I mess with them. Psychologically, I think maybe I am trying to get the “lucky” positioning and best performance I can out of them.
I think it myself maybe this speaker cable is too close to my tv, or I should adjust the tightness of the speaker cables at the receiver last if I moved my speaker cables. Always something. Maybe I am just just not accepting the limitations of my gear, and what it can do. But I have heard this thing sound really good at one thing or another in the past just not all at the same time, and not since i introduced these new power cables and speaker cables, which drives me nuts. For instance the upper midrange and deep bass of my right channel is a little short of the left right now. But I recently adjusted the speaker cables at the speaker compared to the left.

I’ve owned a pretty much cost no object stereo before, and have that sonic memory of what a wonderful performance can be realized, and I think Ive searched and worked really hard to make this its best, but its falling short in some categories compared to my former system. But I’m using speakers that retail for $600 vs $3000. I hoped my DIY modifications to my speakers and high quality parts across the entire chain would do more than it has. I really hope I can get some advice from anyone who’s in my shoes or has been. When trying to really squeeze all you can out of budget gear.
My logic for my upgrade path is that if mid priced gear can benefit from better power cords, interconnects, cables, and electrical outlets, that when I drop in a better pair of speakers or amplifier, that link in the chain will be covered and make them sound even better. But with budget stuff there now, it can use all the help it can get in the number of places that upgrades are made. If you have say 10 pieces is it better to have 6 medium quality ones and 3 or 4 nice ones. Or 2 really nice ones 2 medium ones, and 6 budget ones. My thinking is that you want to get quality in as many areas as possible before getting to really high end quality that costs thousands in just one category.

Well this turned out way longer than I had anticipated. I look forward to your thoughts.

System:
Denon X4700h receiver
Fire Tv 4k-Max streamer
Modified Klipsch rp-600m speakers
Pangea DS-400 mass loaded speakers stands, with strategic “dynamating”
Svs SB2000-pro subwoofer modified with no-rez and isolation feet.
Audioquest boxer interconnect for subwoofer
Pangea ac-9 mk 2 SE power-cord for Subwoofer.
GR research 24 strand speaker cables.
GR research B-24 power cable for receiver.
Wireworld Starlight 8 usb cable for streamer power.
gallium nitrate usb wall plug for streamer
Pangea BE-CU audiophile grade electrical outlets- 2
TV- 55” Hisense H9G- 4k HDR tv
Tv power-cord -Audioquest NRG-Z2
4k ultra hd player Panasonic DP-UB820-K
Audioquest Carbon 48 hdmi cables for TV and from 4k player to receiver.
Audioquest NRG-Z2 power cord for Panasonic 4k player.

Jordan



« Last Edit: 29 Jun 2022, 06:00 pm by jrocks29ms@gmail.com »

nlitworld

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #1 on: 29 Jun 2022, 10:58 am »
Hi Jordan,
I have been on a similar upgrade path as yours of strategic components piece by piece while pushing off the big kit purchases. You are not wrong in thinking things sound weird after messing with your setup and installing new cables. New cables do take a good while to burn in and I've heard differences in just moving cables around and momentarily unplugging. The big thing is be patient working a system back in and don't stress about it. There are fixes to all things and they won't necessarily cost a fortune. One thing I found was leaving my receiver and subwoofers powered on all the time does sound better. Also I'm not sure what your room treatments are like, but do not ignore those. I know they will make a huge difference overall. I would say make 1 good change per week of placement or dsp settings or whatever, then let it play for a day or two of non-critical listening then listen for real. Take notes on what you change and how it sounds. Keep a few good reference tracks that you listen to. But most importantly don't stress. It's supposed to be a fun hobby of listening to music, and we just happen to upgrade and discuss the gear a lot as well.



-Lloyd

Letitroll98

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #2 on: 29 Jun 2022, 11:07 am »
Hey Jordan, first of all don't worry about the quality of your system, you're a lot closer to the average audiophile system than you think, especially for a mixed audio/HT system.  Yes there some multi millionaires here with shockingly good systems, and some merely successful older folks who've spent decades building a showcase system, but most of us cobble together what we can.

Secondly, stop sweating the break-in period.  You're describing exactly what you should hear, especially with Teflon.  Those wild swings between horrible, just okay, good again, then horrible again are perfectly normal, especially the harsh high end.  Moving them around likely extends the break-in period.  Put them in a good alignment that's worked before and let them cook.  All is well.

corndog71

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #3 on: 29 Jun 2022, 12:16 pm »
To me your weakest links are the Denon and the Klipsch speakers but that’s just my opinion.  I do understand the audiophilia nervosa with feeling like it’s not settled.  If you can, try to let go of that.  It’s never going to be perfect.  And that’s ok.  In my living room I just have an 8-year old Marantz receiver and X-SLS speakers.  They’re not perfect either but they’re pretty damned good for what I paid for them.  I use Blue Jeans video cables and Kimber 4VS speaker cable.  I know it won’t match my main 2-channel rig but thats not the goal for my living room.  Sometimes you just have to live with the compromises and accept them. Especially if you’re on a budget.  After a couple decades in this hobby I’ve learned no amount of tweaking will match a superior pair of speakers and higher than average electronics. 

jrocks29ms@gmail.com

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #4 on: 29 Jun 2022, 12:19 pm »
I think Danny has a video on a beginners introduction to sound treatments. In the past, I had some bass traps and diffusers, but I didn’t have th slightest clue what i was doing in placing them, other than just trial and error. They helped with some of the room boom.
I know reflections can make all the difference, Ive even moved my furniture around a little to give room for the bass to get around my furniture and let the sound “breathe”, but I think your right, I need to let it just be, until what I have installed has reached its potential. The long wait time of teflon has made me make multiple adjustments at the same time, in pursuit of performance which is horrible for troubleshooting.
Thank you, I know this hobby should be fun. I have put many hours into this and so I feel a pressure for it to be correct.
For example I opened my speakers up like 4 times to install better resistors, then dampen the drivers, then add bypass caps to the network. After that, the pre drilled holes wouldn’t keep the drivers and bass port tightly secured to the cabinet. I had to drill new holes, then glue in wooden dowels, then sand them flush, drill new holes, and re solder the drivers, then screw them back in the cabinet, that was a week long project. Between that and the modifications I’ve made I probably have 70 hours of work on just my Klipsch Speakers. Crazy, I mean I have made these about as good as you can get them, but at the cost of putting 2000 times more time invested in my system than someone who say buys a home theater in a box. I do feel silly about that when I say it out loud. But I definitely learned a lot, and for example that some things just can’t be fixed with introducing new or better gear, for example the parts in your speakers. Improving them just produces a sound which speakers that cost 3-5 times as much wont match, because they still use as Danny Richie calls them “cheesy parts.” So DIY is a tradeoff, I do know a second kit would be way easier after having done another pair before.

Curious what kind of system you have, I wonder about people who are serious about performance choose who have say a modest budget of between say 5-8K total. And trust me, I recognize that when you start this, you don’t always choose or perhaps foresee that that kind of money going into your system, but you get things as you go along. I do wonder what else you could do for that kind of money especially in the separates department, that would best a mid-upper tier receiver.
As I need video switching the only real other way to go is pre-amp and amp, then you’ve got another power cord and more interconnects to consider though. I have no idea what amp I would introduce If i were to drop one in. But I suspect that will be my next upgrade, before better speakers at some time, maybe some NX-otica’s.

jrocks29ms@gmail.com

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #5 on: 29 Jun 2022, 12:31 pm »
Corndog, your definitely not wrong. I just recognize I would have no less than a 2k investment for an amp, and use my receiver as a pre out in pre-amp mode. 3k if I were to sell it and start over.
Then I have to ask is 3k more investment to get my klipsch speakers to sound better than what they do now, worth it, maybe it would. It would be a step towards getting better speakers to sound better, so there’s another 2k minimum. So really getting a better system now is a 4k decision. I totally recognize that it would be in another league. But this was always meant to be just a good system to meet a need something to stream background music here and there, and a good 2.1 channel setup for films.
I just don’t have it now, I am a student and have already gone overboard on my budget for the year.
I wish I could hear other folks systems though more than anything, I’d love to hear what someone who has decent basic setup like mine but with maybe a 2 channel amp, or a standalone dac in it was like.
Ive actually never really heard someone else’s rig that wasn’t just a Best Buy throw together setup. That in of itself makes me feel like an obsessive maniac. LOL
I need to find a way to get back to the enjoyment mindset of HI-FI, Ive fallen into the upgraditis, and system analysis mode that makes you just lose sight of how incredible music really is.
I’m just praying, that like the break-in new networks of my klipsch’ s, in a couple hundred hours, when my cables have burned in, I will say, holy crap, so much better.

Danny Richie

Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #6 on: 29 Jun 2022, 02:22 pm »
The cables actually have a polyethylene coating and they will take a good 200 hours to settle in.

nlitworld

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #7 on: 29 Jun 2022, 04:31 pm »
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.  :lol: In my upgrade path, I wanted some nice stuff along the way to set the stage for a nice preamp and amp down the road, so I am still using my pioneer elite receiver, but I have triple the cost of that worth of cables, even more again in turntable/cartridge, and a set of NX-Studios. Point is, some people go for amps and speakers first, with cheezy cables and setup. Then there are some people go for setup, room treatment and cables first. You and I are in the latter group. The nice part of doing it this way is we get endless hours of fiddling and tinkering to maximize the sound while still rolling on a budget. And you learn a hell of a lot along the way. That is something you don't get when you splurge big $ on random expensive gear.

As for video switching, you could always have your video sources just go into your TV, and run an optical toslink out to a dac for movies. Feed that into a nice integrated or even separates down the road. If you still need dsp for some room correction, there's always the minidsp ddrc24 that would go between preamp to amp. I know Danny would give a big eye roll :roll: to that, but some rooms need some extra help. That will be my upgrade path next year. But having your audio going straight to an audio only preamp or integrated would get it out of a noisy receiver unit, thus lowering your noise floor and increasing the grin on your face. Just my $0.02.  :thumb:

jrocks29ms@gmail.com

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #8 on: 29 Jun 2022, 05:14 pm »
Danny are you sure on that, I have read multiple times that its a teflon coating, I think if I’m not mistaken in audio circle.

I mean If anyone would know, it would be you, that’s just contradictory to what I have been told, maybe by Hobbs. Don’t quote me on that.
« Last Edit: 30 Jun 2022, 01:35 pm by jrocks29ms@gmail.com »

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #9 on: 29 Jun 2022, 06:20 pm »
Jrocks29ms,

Hi!

Did you or did you not do the GR Research mod to the RP-600M (version 1) ?

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/gr-research-klipsch-rp-600m-upgrade-review-speaker.35326/

Best,
Anand.

Letitroll98

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #10 on: 29 Jun 2022, 11:49 pm »
It's all a matter of degree.  I just bought some used speakers, Celestion 7 mk II, cheap when new, I paid $40, can't stop listening to them, absolutely love them.  Are they perfect?  Of course not, but I'm having a lot of fun playing with them.  Amazing detail and dynamics, just don't turn them up too loud.  Have fun, it's a hobby, get a cheap chifi amp for a hundred or two and see if you like something different.

jrocks29ms@gmail.com

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #11 on: 30 Jun 2022, 07:06 am »
Poseidon, feel free to read my system details in my original post.

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #12 on: 30 Jun 2022, 07:59 pm »
Jordan,

Poseidon, feel free to read my system details in my original post.

Yes, I did read your original post. But since it wasn't clear I posted to clarify (I figured you would just answer Yes or No). I didn't know if the modifications you had done were ad hoc based, i.e. replacing the caps, inductors and resistors with higher grade types or you had actually gone through with the GR Research version of the modification (you didn't clarify in your 1st post of this thread, i.e. it says "Modified Klipsch RP-600M"). But perhaps I should have assumed given that you posted in a GR Research thread  :D, lol!

So I searched:

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=179359.msg1885283#msg1885283

And there I found that you had done the GR Research modification. Of course, the reason to clarify this point  is obvious as the original RP-600M had a glaring crossover oversight which GR had corrected in their modification, ameliorating some of the strident highs since the middle of the frequency response was filled in. So at least we know now, that the modified speaker is less likely to be the primary cause, although nearby reflections  in your room/setup could still cause stridency.

So let's get to the point. The room and how your speakers are setup within that room.

Can you post some current pictures of your room and setup including listening position, etc...? What are the approximate dimensions? I am in agreement with corndog71. You may be reaching the limits of what you can do with the room that you have especially if reconfiguration of your room (and how your 2ch main speakers are arranged within that room, +/- treatments, etc...) is not possible. Have you done any measurements with REW to see if there are any glaring peaks and troughs? If you post this info, others can chime in as well.

Quote
I’ve owned a pretty much cost no object stereo before, and have that sonic memory of what a wonderful performance can be realized, and I think I've searched and worked really hard to make this its best, but its falling short in some categories compared to my former system. But I’m using speakers that retail for $600 vs $3000. I hoped my DIY modifications to my speakers and high quality parts across the entire chain would do more than it has.

You mention that you owned a 'cost no object stereo' - can you describe that somewhat in detail and what room it was in? It's important to understand your perspective on this.

Best,
Anand.

jrocks29ms@gmail.com

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #13 on: 1 Jul 2022, 11:29 pm »
Poseidon,
I think your missing the point of my post. I am trying to just get to a point where I enjoy my system. It did in fact turn out I was dealing with not leaving the system alone long enough to just break in. The cables and tube connectors are so picky with being adjusted. And the whole system soundstage just collapses when you mess with it. I guess that’s a good sign, lower end systems don’t really do this so much. Unfortunately, I did have to adjust my left speaker, so that one is running in again.
As for measurements it doesn’t really make sense yet until I get some more play time on my system. I have run an initial audessey setup, looks pretty smooth but a slight 2-3 db dip in 6-8k and about a 10db hike at around 53hz. I think the dampening of the horn may play a part in the high end but that segment of the fr response from the modified 600 from gr-research was already low there anyway. That calibration was run after only a couple hrs after I set it up though and the upper bass there is always exaggerated initially I’m that region to some extent.
A lot of the play time is just movies, which has a lot less information/volume going through your system per hour. So run in has and is taking a while.
It does seem the limitations of my system could be addressed by better standalone amplification and the accessories that would entail, or better speakers. But if treatment is so essential based on cost and performance value that probably makes more sense next? Either way, the advices I received to just let it run in for a couple hundred hours seems sound.
My rp-600m mk1 modifications are a gr-research upgrade kit, with mills resistors, plus sonicap (midbass) and Miflex copper foil (tweeter) bypass caps, point to point soldered with Cardas solder on a mdf crossover board, which was treated with strips of the dampener layer of no rez. Tube connectors, no-rez, and dampened driver basket and horn, using non hardening modeling clay. I used dynamat to line the inside of the connector plate, and added about 1/6 the stock amount of polyfill in addition to what was present to cover the area behind the woofer in front of the binding post terminal.
As for my room it’s kinda irrelevant because it’s, as far as I can tell, in the best (albeit limited) place I can manage for it. It’s somewhat of a tight fit, but, out from the walls 2 feet and there’s a wall a little over 2 feet on the left side. It’s open maybe 12 feet to the right side. No furniture in between my speakers, and I have carpet.
I have raised/spaced almost all the cables, including power cables and speaker cables.

I’ll try and post and update on how it’s sounding and measuring after a proper run-in.

I am still looking for an answer to my question if the power cables and speaker cables from GR-research are polyethylene for sure. Seems the kimber  12tc speaker cables which essentially look identical, use Teflon.


nlitworld

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #14 on: 2 Jul 2022, 05:11 am »
One helping bit I found on my setup was leaving my receiver, subs and dac on all the time. I realize it's wasting power, but it does benefit sonically to do it that way. I turn off my phono stage cause it has tubes. Next up, I will say room treatments are absolutely a benefit (and somewhat a necessity) to any system. First reflections and behind the speakers would really benefit, also maybe cover the TV with heavy blanket for critical listening. Yes, blanket on the TV makes a measurable difference. Those are just a couple things that helped my system along the way.

Danny Richie

Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #15 on: 4 Jul 2022, 09:06 pm »
I am still looking for an answer to my question if the power cables and speaker cables from GR-research are polyethylene for sure. Seems the kimber  12tc speaker cables which essentially look identical, use Teflon.

Teflon is actually fairly porous and Copper can oxidize through it. That is why you rarely see Teflon over Copper. It is usually done with Silver coated Copper.

Polyethylene is actually pretty close to Teflon but doesn't have the oxidation problem. We use it on all of our cables.

jrocks29ms@gmail.com

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Re: Speaker (and other cable) burn in.
« Reply #16 on: 5 Jul 2022, 11:13 am »
That’s interesting in regard to Teflon. You would think it creates a good barrier since it’s used in nonstick applications. But, on the other side of that coin, letting water sit in a Teflon pan will ruin it because it seeps in and destroys the bond. So that seems to align with your porous assessment. I am definitely no expert on the chemical nature of either of those dielectrics.
« Last Edit: 5 Jul 2022, 01:46 pm by jrocks29ms@gmail.com »