Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors

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Salectric

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Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« on: 16 Aug 2018, 11:06 am »
I recently replaced the IEC plug on my power cord with a FI-50 NCF.  It now has 130 hours of actual playing time and has gone through a lot of sonic changes during this time.  Early on it was very bright and had insuffient weight in the bass.  It has improved a lot and is now sounding much better balanced. 

My question is how long should it take for these NCF connectors to be fully broken in?  Will it take hundreds of hours or are they now there at 130 hours?  I don’t have a Cable Cooker so my break in consists of actually using the cables and with tube gear that isn’t as simple as just leaving the equipment on 24/7.

Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

DaveC113

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #1 on: 16 Aug 2018, 02:03 pm »
If you give them a couple hundred hours that should give you a good idea, but they will continue to improve more subtly after that up to about 500 hours or so ime.

An alternative to a cooker would be to use the cable for something else, like a fan that is on all the time. You can get IEC > female plug adapters that will make the cable into an extension cord, then you can use it anywhere.

Salectric

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #2 on: 16 Aug 2018, 02:51 pm »
OK, that's good.  That means it will get even better!  Thanks for the reply Dave.

Salectric

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #3 on: 22 Mar 2019, 12:57 pm »
Here's a follow-up.  I have now gone through the break in process with 3 different FI-50 NCF IEC plugs.  In each case the new IEC plug was attached to an existing power cord where the wire and AC plug were already broken in.

It takes a good 150 hours for the new IEC plug to settle down and give a good hint as to how it will sound when fully broken in.  Prior to that there are some strange and wild swings in tonal balance.  Another break point seems to be around 350 hours where things start to sound even better.  There are small improvements after that up to somewhere around 500 hours after which I no longer noticed any changes. 

I think it's important to make sure the earth wire of the power cord is being "exercised" during the breakin process.  This happens naturally when the power cord is being used to power an audio component such as a preamp or power amp and music is playing.  I am not so sure that the earth connection is being broken in if there is no signal going through the equipment or if the power cord is being used on an appliance like a TV, computer or refrigerator as some have suggested.

I should also point out that a power cord with FI-50 NCF connectors goes through a "warm up" phase every single time the equipment is turned on.  For somebody with solid state equipment that is left powered up continuously this is of no concern.  For those of us with tube equipment that we turn on when we want to listen and turn off when we are done listening, this can be rather annoying.  According to Furutech the NCF has to literally warm up with the passage of current through the connector before it reaches its normal operating state.  In practical terms this means my system sounds a bit bright and thin when the equipment is first turned on, and the sound becomes better balanced with more body as the minutes tick by.  I figure it takes about 25 minutes for the power cords to reach their normal sound.  Of course, all equipment goes through a warm-up phase after it is first turned on; the NCF changes are in addition to the normal warm up issues.

Lastly I think the warm up changes when the equipment is first turned on are faster with my power amps than my preamps which makes sense since the power amps draw a lot more current.  I have to wonder how they would fare with equipment that draws very little current.

The FI-50 NCF connectors are definitely worth the effort though.  They have a resolving power that is superior to all other power cord connectors I have tried.   

DaveC113

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #4 on: 22 Mar 2019, 03:20 pm »
Thanks for the report!  :thumb:  That is very close to my experience and exactly why I burn-in my cables AND receptacles. The burn-in service for the GTX NCF receptacles is very valuable if you don't want to experience these "strange and wild swings in tonal balance". :)  And I provide burn-in, shipping and maybe even more (? :)) for free...

For the best clarity and natural sound my PL 11 power cable with the NCF plugs is about as good as it gets. Furutech's DPS-4 is a great choice for those who want a little midrange bloom and slight warmth while still retaining great detail.

I also have a brand new UPOCC SILVER ribbon power cable that'll be ready to go very soon, about a week or two away. :) This UPOCC silver PC is intended for source components, and paired with my PL for amps and power distributors will be the best solution for powering a system on the market today... imo. :)


mresseguie

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #5 on: 22 Mar 2019, 04:55 pm »
Thank you, Salectric and Dave for this break-in information.  :thumb:

I have a follow on question if I may...I've got a PC that is terminated with the Furutech FI-50 NCF connectors. It had been thoroughly broken in before I disappeared for 3 1/2 months. During my disappearance, the PC sat unused in a cupboard.

Must this PC burn in for another 300 - 500 hours to be cured again, or do I luck out and does it only need 100 hours to regain its former glory?

Thanks!

Michael

DaveC113

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #6 on: 22 Mar 2019, 05:17 pm »
Thank you, Salectric and Dave for this break-in information.  :thumb:

I have a follow on question if I may...I've got a PC that is terminated with the Furutech FI-50 NCF connectors. It had been thoroughly broken in before I disappeared for 3 1/2 months. During my disappearance, the PC sat unused in a cupboard.

Must this PC burn in for another 300 - 500 hours to be cured again, or do I luck out and does it only need 100 hours to regain its former glory?

Thanks!

Michael

I'd guess it'll only need a few hours, once a cable is burned-in what seems to set it back is rough handling. If you take an IC and bend it around then put it back in your system it'll sound a bit rough for a while, so it's always best to handle cables as gently as possible. When I ship demo cables it usually takes a couple days for them to "recover".

maxima95

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #7 on: 24 Mar 2019, 04:41 pm »
Here's a follow-up.  I have now gone through the break in process with 3 different FI-50 NCF IEC plugs.  In each case the new IEC plug was attached to an existing power cord where the wire and AC plug were already broken in. ...

Salectric - What Male plug ends did you use?  Did any particular metal on the plugs work well with the NCF IEC(s)?

mresseguie

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #8 on: 24 Mar 2019, 04:54 pm »
I'd guess it'll only need a few hours, once a cable is burned-in what seems to set it back is rough handling. If you take an IC and bend it around then put it back in your system it'll sound a bit rough for a while, so it's always best to handle cables as gently as possible. When I ship demo cables it usually takes a couple days for them to "recover".

Dave,

Thank you for replying.

I was viewing your website a couple days ago and discovered your silver and gold/silver ICs. Hmm. I may wish to try one or the other once I've grown accustomed to my new DAC and selected which USB to SPDiF converter to use. I'm already inundated with new equipment and their associated sounds, so I do not want to play with them (your ICs) quite yet.

Michael

DaveC113

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #9 on: 24 Mar 2019, 05:37 pm »
Sure, I also have a new S/PDIF cable that is excellent! It'll be far better vs any coax type cable.  :icon_twisted: 

$700 for 1.5 meters, shielded and WBT silver 75 ohm RCA plugs.

Salectric

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #10 on: 24 Mar 2019, 05:45 pm »
Salectric - What Male plug ends did you use?  Did any particular metal on the plugs work well with the NCF IEC(s)?

Maxima,

I use Furutech FI-11M Copper AC plugs on all of my cords.  Frankly I have never tried any other AC plugs.  That particular one has a reputation for a relatively neutral tonal balance even if it is not the last word in detail.  I have thought many times of trying a FI-50M NCF AC plug but the thought of going through that long breakin process yet again has always stopped me.  One of these days.....

Also, I use Furutech FI-06 Gold IEC chassis inlets on all my gear.  I have tried a number of other inlets including the NCF but the Gold has always pleased me most.

paul79

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #11 on: 24 Mar 2019, 10:29 pm »
What can you share about the build of this new digi-cable? I like it when you make something cool....

maxima95

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #12 on: 25 Mar 2019, 03:39 pm »
Also, any more on the silver ribbon power cable for source components?

DaveC113

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #13 on: 25 Mar 2019, 07:53 pm »
Paul, the new S/PDIF and AES cables will be more resolving vs what you heard before, and they are shielded... but should otherwise sound about the same as the cables your tried a few years ago. Minimum length is also 1.5 meters, starting price is $700.

maxima95, I'm assembling the 1st cable right now. I'll start a thread on it after I get some time to test it.

« Last Edit: 14 May 2019, 09:49 pm by DaveC113 »

DaveC113

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #14 on: 26 Mar 2019, 04:12 pm »
Also, any more on the silver ribbon power cable for source components?

Here it is...  All the layers added up to a decent sized cable. It has the hot and neutral conductors in the center, ground wrapped around them, then a layer of pure cotton, teflon tape to seal up the cotton, shielding and finally a techflex jacket. LOTS of work and the silver ribbons are a PITA to strip and terminate, but it's not quite as unwieldy as it looks, it's decently flexible.


maxima95

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #15 on: 26 Mar 2019, 04:58 pm »
Thanks for the information Dave.

DaveC113

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Re: Break in time for FI-50 NCF connectors
« Reply #16 on: 28 Mar 2019, 04:46 pm »
Thanks for the information Dave.


No problem... After a bit of testing I can say this cable is in a whole 'nother league vs the Furutech DPS-4 or my own PL cable. It makes those cables sound like bottlenecks and the new cable is clearer, more lively and dynamic, less compressed. I'm pretty blown away right now!  :green: