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    Breaking In (or Bad)

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    deepee99

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    Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by deepee99 on Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:49 pm

    I've messed around with a lot of electronics in ham and hi-fi over the years. But this "breaking in" business is new to me. Most of the stuff I ever got my arms around was already well broken in, ridden hard and put away wet.
    So the woes of having new stuff are, well, new to me.
    I'm not convinced that a simple wire requires a break-in (or that its directionality matters). Its job is simply to move electrons from Point A to Point B, not modify their collective behaviours.
    However, when you get into tubes, caps, speakers and the like, yes, things do change as they accumulate time on them. Car engines do the same, although having never owned a new one, I can't say for sure how and when.
    Would be interested in your thoughts on optimal break-in time for a few components, my definition being simply, at what point does the device achieve its full potential. Obviously, one's ears adapt to the "new" sound as well, but let's try to eliminate that factor.
    I've listed a few components and (in parentheses) my own experience with them; please feel free to add to this list or set me straight if I'm daft:
    Output tubes: (100 hours)
    Capacitors: (50 hours - arbitrary, just a guess)
    Signal tubes (no clue here)
    Resistors and chokes (is there any?)
    Speakers (1 year).
    That has been my experience and again, we're talking from the time you take the cellophane off to when full potential is realised.
    Thanks,
    David
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    Peter W.

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by Peter W. on Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:02 pm

    RANT WARNING

    Capacitors operate either by chemistry*AND*electricity or electricity alone. Electrolytics are the former, all others, the latter. With the former, there may be some chemical stabilization and evening out during the initial application of electricity. Of this, some of it is actually reversed by idleness, so it would be entirely fair to state that caps "break in" with each use for the first few moments after power is applied - AND - each time they are drawn down when the amp is driven near clipping. With the latter, there is NO possible break-in. Were it so that there was, that would mean, necessarily, that the capacitor was so wretchedly made that there are actual permanent, physical changes in the first use - at any voltage. Further to this, we must distinguish break-in from damage from excessive voltage.

    I would accept that certain types of resistors may have a break-in period. Again, that would have to be a matter of moments, probably seconds, almost certainly not minutes. Consider how many applications would end in complete disaster were this not so.

    Anything wire-based, absolutely not past the first handful of seconds which in critical applications would be completed in a necessary burn-in. Again, consider the potential for disaster were it otherwise. Those things that are extremely 'clearance-based' such as tunable capacitors, Jacob's Ladder devices and similar *MAY* have a very short break-in (minutes if that) due to annealing processes - hence the burn in.

    Tubes - sure. Ranted on this before. Tubes are wearing parts. And their decay processes are well understood. What is under debate to this end is what constitutes "Breaking in" as different from "Wearing out".

    We must also distinguish between "burning in" and "breaking in", and we must be acutely careful when using a mechanical analogy (automobile engine) for an electrical (or chemical) phenomenon. Electrolytic capacitors are very, very fast batteries for lack of a better description, designed for multiple and very rapid charging and discharging. They have a definite service life after which the chemical reactions become less reliable and ultimately fail. Similar to a conventional chemical battery. Other capacitors are essentially static electricity devices - a Leyden Jar in actuality. As long as they are not damaged physically, they will last indefinitely. We "Burn-In" devices to make sure that the parts installed and the workmanship will withstand the use, and to search for any failure or weak components. And, to handle those few components that do undergo chemical or physical changes when power is applied. Heat, and so forth have very real effects. So I can see annealing having clearance effects, as one physical result of burning in electronics - that could also constitute 'breaking in'.

    And where could those disasters take place were there any meaningful break-in periods for well-built electronics made with good, well-specified parts? Thousands of medical devices. Hundreds of devices that are turned on after long periods of waiting - satellites, planetary rovers, solar-system probes, radiosondes, military devices, guided missiles, and much, much more. Even tiny alterations in component behavior would utterly destroy such devices.

    It is enough that tubes have a very real initial break-in. What that means, however, is entirely another discussion.

    End Rant.
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    j beede

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by j beede on Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:14 pm

    Suppose a certain speaker required a year to break in. Suppose it is a high end speaker in the $10,000-100,000 price range. How much above MSRP would the (presumably well-heeled) buyer of such a product be willing to pay to purchase a burned-in pair versus a "fresh" pair? If the effect was noticeable I expect the answer would be "a lot more". Beef, wine, cheese, and tonewoods are sold this way--because the effect is easily noticeable.


    Last edited by j beede on Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    sKiZo

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by sKiZo on Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:12 pm

    Don't forget ears ... any time you make any changes in your system, you got to give them time to adjust as well.

    Me ... I'm busy breaking in my new Lazy Boy ... have to do me some serious listening before that fits right.
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    deepee99

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by deepee99 on Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:25 pm

    sKiZo wrote:Don't forget ears ... any time you make any changes in your system, you got to give them time to adjust as well.

    Me ... I'm busy breaking in my new Lazy Boy ... have to do me some serious listening before that fits right.

    Yes, a new recliner needs "forming up" same way lead-acid batteries and electrolytics do. And once the recliner is fully formed up, room treatments, speaker placement &etc. will have to be addressed as your ears will now be slightly off-axis from optimum. It could be a long weekend, Skiz. I trust you are amply provisioned.
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    corndog71

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by corndog71 on Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:21 am

    I've only heard break-in with speakers and depending on the drivers take anywhere between 50 and 200 hours of use.

    I've also heard film caps take 100-300 hours. I had a pair of caps start sounding good but not great for the first 100 hours or so and then turn weird. They lost bass and made voices sound weird for the next 150 hours and then turn again after 300 hours to sound clear as a bell and balanced from top to bottom. I swear no other changes were made to my system during that time!

    I've never heard these kinds of changes with resistors or chokes although changing types and brands of both brought changes to the sound. Not sure about burn-in changes.

    Can't really speak for tubes. Except for perhaps getting worse (more distortion) they always seem to maintain their character.

    Dogstar

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by Dogstar on Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:58 am

    Peter W. wrote:RANT WARNING

    Capacitors operate either by chemistry*AND*electricity or electricity alone. Electrolytics are the former, all others, the latter. With the former, there may be some chemical stabilization and evening out during the initial application of electricity. Of this, some of it is actually reversed by idleness, so it would be entirely fair to state that caps "break in" with each use for the first few moments after power is applied - AND - each time they are drawn down when the amp is driven near clipping. With the latter, there is NO possible break-in. Were it so that there was, that would mean, necessarily, that the capacitor was so wretchedly made that there are actual permanent, physical changes in the first use - at any voltage.  Further to this, we must distinguish break-in from damage from excessive voltage.

    I would accept that certain types of resistors may have a break-in period. Again, that would have to be a matter of moments, probably seconds, almost certainly not minutes. Consider how many applications would end in complete disaster were this not so.

    Anything wire-based, absolutely not past the first handful of seconds which in critical applications would be completed in a necessary burn-in. Again, consider the potential for disaster were it otherwise. Those things that are extremely 'clearance-based' such as tunable capacitors, Jacob's Ladder devices and similar *MAY* have a very short break-in (minutes if that) due to annealing processes - hence the burn in.

    Tubes - sure. Ranted on this before. Tubes are wearing parts. And their decay processes are well understood. What is under debate to this end is what constitutes "Breaking in" as different from "Wearing out".

    We must also distinguish between "burning in" and "breaking in", and we must be acutely careful when using a mechanical analogy (automobile engine) for an electrical (or chemical) phenomenon. Electrolytic capacitors are very, very fast batteries for lack of a better description, designed for multiple and very rapid charging and discharging. They have a definite service life after which the chemical reactions become less reliable and ultimately fail. Similar to a conventional chemical battery. Other capacitors are essentially static electricity devices - a Leyden Jar in actuality. As long as they are not damaged physically, they will last indefinitely. We "Burn-In" devices to make sure that the parts installed and the workmanship will withstand the use, and to search for any failure or weak components. And, to handle those few components that do undergo chemical or physical changes when power is applied. Heat, and so forth have very real effects. So I can see annealing having clearance effects, as one physical result of burning in electronics - that could also constitute 'breaking in'.

    And where could those disasters take place were there any meaningful break-in periods for well-built electronics made with good, well-specified parts? Thousands of medical devices. Hundreds of devices that are turned on after long periods of waiting - satellites, planetary rovers, solar-system probes, radiosondes, military devices, guided missiles, and much, much more. Even tiny alterations in component behavior would utterly destroy such devices.

    It is enough that tubes have a very real initial break-in. What that means, however, is entirely another discussion.

    End Rant.

    Logically a break-in period that lasts a few seconds to a few minutes makes sense. I would even go so far as to accepting that the break-in period should last a few warm up and cool down cycles so as to allow the components normalize. A few years ago a high end cable manufacturer gave me a pair of their 'starter' interconnects and told me to allow them a 10 to 20 hour break in period. To be honest I am sceptacle of high end cables to start with and I don't really recall whether I noticed a difference between those cables sounding better than a decent pair I bought from Parts Express.

    Maybe it's my ears or maybe it's my reluctance to want hear differences though when I was younger I swore I could here the difference between my Yamaha receiver and a Pioneer receiver.


    Last edited by Dogstar on Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Bob Latino
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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by Bob Latino on Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:30 am

    At the link below is one THEORY of cable break in found in wires that are carrying current. This theory has to do with electrons in the wire "migrating" into the wire insulation around the wire. Don't know if any of this is true but I can say that I have heard coupling capacitors, speaker wire and interconnects sound better (or worse!) after a period of time.

    One cable break in theory ..

    Bob
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    Peter W.

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by Peter W. on Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:07 am

    Bob Latino wrote:At the link below is one THEORY of cable break in found in wires that are carrying current. This theory has to do with electrons in the wire "migrating" into the wire insulation around the wire. Don't know if any of this is true but I can say that I have heard coupling capacitors, speaker wire and interconnects sound better (or worse!) after a period of time.

    One cable break in theory ..

    Bob

    Interesting, if true. But, in any case, the 'break-in' will be instantaneous, voltage dependent, and end the moment power is cut off. This posits that any wire is, effectively, a capacitor by virtue of its insulation. Following from this is that uninsulated wire has no break-in, or, that electrons are randomly fired into the air, suggesting infinite break-in as no equilibrium can be reached.

    Mostly, we know and accept that insulated wire has some level of capacitance. And multiple conductor wire perhaps more-so, and coaxial wire, most of all. And why such things as cable capacitance matters with phono-cartridges and more. But, this is hardly break-in as the phenomenon is well understood, repeatable and predictable (and, of course, instantaneous). Science is useful when applied reasonably. But can also lead to false conclusions if not well-presented or poorly understood. Example: William Shockley may have won the Nobel Prize - but did not understand human evolution very well.

    As to speakers - we need to remember that they are mechanical devices - linear motors. And so, as such are subject to some level of break-in. Using an automotive analogy, my last VW had a break-in period that lasted 0.002% of the miles I owned it. And it is still going for its present owner. Speakers are far less complex devices and so should require even less of a break-in relative to their expected service life.
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    deepee99

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by deepee99 on Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:37 pm

    Bob Latino wrote:At the link below is one THEORY of cable break in found in wires that are carrying current. This theory has to do with electrons in the wire "migrating" into the wire insulation around the wire. Don't know if any of this is true but I can say that I have heard coupling capacitors, speaker wire and interconnects sound better (or worse!) after a period of time.

    One cable break in theory ..

    Bob

    I have read (will try to find the source) that speaker wire capacitance/impedance does become an issue with mile-or-longer zip- cord runs at frequencies >100 kHz. I know there is an ongoing and oft amusing p-ssing match between Audioholics and the folks over at AudioQuest (the cable-maker) on this matter. This discussion seems to be more an argument apropos of geeks with too much test equipment and time on their hands than the above-average listener.

    OTOH, I don't know why or how bi-wiring works but on some speakers (Vandersteens, notably) it makes a definable improvement. This applies to single-post connexions (!). Makes no sense to me but it is what it is. Bi-wiring seems to offer no appreciable improvement on other makes I've used.
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    deepee99

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by deepee99 on Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:30 pm

    Peter W. wrote:
    Bob Latino wrote:At the link below is one THEORY of cable break in found in wires that are carrying current. This theory has to do with electrons in the wire "migrating" into the wire insulation around the wire. Don't know if any of this is true but I can say that I have heard coupling capacitors, speaker wire and interconnects sound better (or worse!) after a period of time.

    One cable break in theory ..

    Bob

    Interesting, if true. But, in any case, the 'break-in' will be instantaneous, voltage dependent, and end the moment power is cut off. This posits that any wire is, effectively, a capacitor by virtue of its insulation. Following from this is that uninsulated wire has no break-in, or, that electrons are randomly fired into the air, suggesting infinite break-in as no equilibrium can be reached.  

    Mostly, we know and accept that insulated wire has some level of capacitance. And multiple conductor wire perhaps more-so, and coaxial wire, most of all. And why such things as cable capacitance matters with phono-cartridges and more. But, this is hardly break-in as the phenomenon is well understood, repeatable and predictable (and, of course, instantaneous). Science is useful when applied reasonably. But can also lead to false conclusions if not well-presented or poorly understood. Example: William Shockley may have won the Nobel Prize - but did not understand human evolution very well.

    As to speakers - we need to remember that they are mechanical devices - linear motors. And so, as such are subject to some level of break-in. Using an automotive analogy, my last VW had a break-in period that lasted 0.002% of the miles I owned it. And it is still going for its present owner. Speakers are far less complex devices and so should require even less of a break-in relative to their expected service life.

    Ty Lashbrook would disagree with you on driver break-in times. Tweeters can take months before they hit their sweet spot.
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    Kentley

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by Kentley on Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:10 am

    There is a very real, if intangible, variable in this discussion which is:
    The reproduction of sound is a vastly complicated process, and this is so because the "science" of perception of music is well beyond the boundaries of science as it currently exists. This of course does not imply that the brain is an arcane, magical machine, merely that science has not divined its mystery yet.
    An auto may seem complex, but in effect its function is rather simplistic and unaffected by the sorts of minute effects that a system of musical sound reproduction involves. The difference between an auto traveling one mile vs. traveling 1.01 mile won't seem particularly significant to any driver. An equivalent disparity in a sound system might spell comfort vs. dissatisfaction.
    A speaker is simple on the face of it. Hasn't changed so much in 75 years (except for electrostats). But this simple device is charged with a task far beyond its seeming simplicity: to take electrical impulses which have gone through dozens of various manipulations and are expected to spit out a terrifying clone of something so far removed from it physically that the mind boggles. Tiny tolerances become crucial.
    What I'm getting at is that there are forces and processes at work here that are not quantifiable. The most complex and least understood elements of musical sound, apart from the mystery of the creative mind itself, are the capture and release of the goods - the initial gathering of sound via microphone {perhaps?}, and its offering via speaker to the expectant hearer. I am currently in the process of verifying Tyler and deepee's claim that it takes months to settle a tweeter. Glib explanation will not suffice. It just is.
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    Peter W.

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by Peter W. on Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:17 am

    Not ,meant to be argumentative - but consider the implications of that tweeter taking "months" to settle. What this means is:

    a) That _any_ speaker purchase (with tweeters) is an act of faith, and that the ultimate results may not be satisfying.
    b) Speaker designers - the mechanics and specifiers - do a wretched job with their choices of means, methods and materials such that this kind of break-in is required.
    c) On the face of it, any responsible speaker manufacturer would therefore burn-in their drivers for the specified/required period of time before attempting to foist them on their customers. I can see it now - speakers labeled just like single-malt Scotch or Bourbon.
    d) AND, again on the face of it, were that "burn-in" be anything at all like a "break-in", the results thereby must be sufficiently variable as to make speakers have to come in "matched pairs" after all that time.

    Oh My! The opportunities for snake-oil, and quackery have just multiplied!

    Dogstar

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by Dogstar on Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:47 am

    Audio component manufacturers should be required to provide instructions for the break-in procedures the same as car manufacturers.

    And they should specify what kind of music to not listen to for fear of straining the component.

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    Peter W.

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by Peter W. on Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:29 am

    Dogstar wrote:Audio component manufacturers should be required to provide instructions for the break-in procedures the same as car manufacturers.

    And they should specify what kind of music to not listen to for fear of straining the component.


    In the eye of most manufacturers, that would be the fallacy of a) false premises and/or b) begging the question, depending on one's peculiar point of view:

    a) I just spent the last six months breaking in my speakers - therefore breaking in is necessary.

    b) The reason I am breaking in my speakers is because everyone knows they need to be broken in.

    What elements of a tweeter would be responsive to break-in (vs. burn-in)? Keep in mind that break-in implies reaching a state of unpredictable equilibrium after no specified or predicable time, within a range, and a possibly steady-state thereafter. Burn-in means reaching a state of predictable and specific equilibrium, after a predictable period of time to a steady state thereafter.
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    peterh

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by peterh on Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:56 pm

    I don't break in cars or motorcles, they will be best when run hard from start.

    I don't break in speakers or amp's, i'll use them as i like. If the sound bad they are bad and will be
    replaced. If they become bad , same thing, i'll replace them.
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    deepee99

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by deepee99 on Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:25 pm

    Peter(s)
    Big difference between breaking in an undersquare Fiat and breaking in an oversquare three-mains MGA motor.
    @ Peter W., I would wager you there's a Bell Curve for many components (electrical or mechanical, physicists don't care) in any good hi-fi system and hopefully it is a gentle U-shaped curve, not a V-shaped one.
    FWIW, I don't differentiate between "break in" and "burn in." Just semantics. Now "burn out" -- that's A Bad Thing.
    You say electroytics get weaker over time. Then explain how the 30-year-old caps in my 30-year-old Bedinis will still discharge music for a minute or longer after shutdown.
    Lastly, no-one has addressed signal tubes. Do they sound the same out of the box as they do after 1k hours on them? Do they not undergo any performance changes until failure? Or is there a break-in time for them, too?
    Kentley's right; getting music from the mike to your ears intact is a Byzantine and complicated process. Getting it close to right is more than having a room full of scopes. Alan Blumlein, David Hafler, Bob L. and Roy M. all have made huge contributions to the quality of the aural experience, as have many others. Frank McIntosh and Saul Marantz, and their forebears, also come to mind.
    I don't view opening this thread as a solicitation for "snake oil." Simply a request for informed information/opinion.  But whatever turns your crank...
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    peterh

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by peterh on Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:33 pm


    Dogstar

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by Dogstar on Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:52 pm

    I was only trying to be facetious....not taken seriously.
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    Peter W.

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by Peter W. on Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:02 am

    Please note the interpolations.

    deepee99 wrote:Peter(s)
    Big difference between breaking in an undersquare Fiat and breaking in an oversquare three-mains MGA motor.
    @ Peter W., I would wager you there's a Bell Curve for many components (electrical or mechanical, physicists don't care) in any good hi-fi system and hopefully it is a gentle U-shaped curve, not a V-shaped one.
    FWIW, I don't differentiate between "break in" and "burn in." Just semantics. Now "burn out" -- that's A Bad Thing.

    You probably should as they are substantially different phenomenon. The former is not necessarily predictable, the latter is necessarily predictable.

    You say electroytics get weaker over time. Then explain how the 30-year-old caps in my 30-year-old Bedinis will still discharge music for a minute or longer after shutdown.

    I expect that when they were new, those caps may have had many minutes of discharge - nor is that the point. Electrolytic caps are chemical engines, and rely on the efficiency of the chemical reaction and the ruggedness of the electrodes in place. Back in the day when the Phone Company used glass-jar liquid-filled batteries, they used massive electrodes in very large jars stacked in massive racks. Replacing such cells was difficult, so they built them for a very long service life. Consider capacitors in the same light. Well made devices with rugged electrodes and stable chemicals will last a longer time than others not so well made. And, as it happens, 30 years in the life of a modern cap *THAT HAS BEEN IN USE* over that time, is really not very long. What damages capacitors is, again, the same thing that damages some rechargeable batteries - self-discharge. Or those chemical reactions usually driven by electricity happening on their own. The salts formed thereby tend to be far more stable, and so harder to reverse (and why it is that reforming caps is for the most part a fool's errand) and. further, the electrode, typically in the form of a foil, gets punched through - at which point the cap starts to short.

    Lastly, no-one has addressed signal tubes. Do they sound the same out of the box as they do after 1k hours on them? Do they not undergo any performance changes until failure? Or is there a break-in time for them, too?

    They do. But the process is so much slower as the amount of energy going through the tube is so much less relative to power tubes. I have some small-signal tubes manufactured in the 1930s with tens of thousands of hours on then that are doing just fine, thank you!

    Kentley's right; getting music from the mike to your ears intact is a Byzantine and complicated process. Getting it close to right is more than having a room full of scopes. Alan Blumlein, David Hafler, Bob L. and Roy M. all have made huge contributions to the quality of the aural experience, as have many others. Frank McIntosh and Saul Marantz, and their forebears, also come to mind.
    I don't view opening this thread as a solicitation for "snake oil." Simply a request for informed information/opinion.  But whatever turns your crank...

    No snake oil intended. But you also need to keep a few things in mind.

    a) Tube topology and circuitry, together with the parts-and-pieces that go with them have been settled since the 1950s. These days, we are playing around the margins and at the same time handicapped by the lack of infrastructure such as it existed even through the 1960s. Once upon a time, Zenith could go to Sylvania (which made all of Zenith's tubes) and "order" a tube for a specific purpose with specific characteristics. The collaboration between Zenith and Sylvania resulting in the 1L6, as an example, resulted in Sylvania being the exclusive manufacturer and supplier of that tube, and a total run in the several of several millions. Today, all 'we' get are 'bigger' versions of existing types, and anything with any real complexity attached or quality required is dropped by the wayside (7199s come to mind).

    b) Solid-state stuff is probably settled with the effective advent of reasonably sounding "Class D" amps. Further miniaturization is very likely not practical as the amount of energy to be carried across components of a given sized, and the inevitable heat resulting is approaching hte limits of available conductors. This is not to suggest that future materials (Harvard claims to have made metallic hydrogen just recently) will not change this. But this is today.

    c) As to things being Byzantine, Edison had it right, as pig-headed as he was. Vibration used to engrave a medium that, in turn, would reproduce the vibration in the same frequency (but not with the same energy). To get the volume. he used the horn, and some of them were designers' works of art. But, there was that awkward issue of energy over area. So, he added electricity to the process by incorporating Bell's inventions, and further refinements - and so forth. Today, we have a range of options that are all entirely inadequate, but some are less so than others. To which we add engineering at various levels (root of that word being a maker of siege weapons, or a user of machines to make machines) further muddying the waters. Point being that these processes, while complex, are not complicated. And they use well established processes and systems that have been around as long as most of us, and a bit longer than many.

    d) We may choose to attribute discernible results to poorly understood processes, and define those processes as we choose (circular reasoning, as it happens). We may choose to attribute dubious results to well understood process as it fits the model we wish to use (leaping to conclusions). And any of many options between. All that it comes down to ultimately is enjoying the music.  


    Writing for myself, I tweak, poke, prod and diddle until I get results to my liking. And when that happens, I stop. So far, I have three active systems that have reached a stopping point. I am working on several others - this related to the volume of options open to me and all the niggling 'what-if' things I have not yet tried. That is what makes it a hobby, not an obsession. Most of the 'Greats' in the audio world are so because they took the exotic and brought it within reach of the commoners. Consider that when looking at the latest 5-figure or 6-figure obscenity coming out of wherever using this or that part rolled only on the thighs of Virgins on Walpurgis Night. There are but so many things that can be put in a box, and those things each can cost only so much. How much that is - consider a very well made, very expensive 0.1uF cap - perhaps $8. And the same cap as a poly-film cap from a careful and reliable manufacturer at $0.25. What justifies a multiple of 32 times the cost?

    Thoughts?
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    deepee99

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by deepee99 on Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:09 pm

    It's all in what you like best and that fits the budget. Inputs can be added or upgraded later but imho tiz best to focus on the right mix of amp, pre-amp and speakers, in that order.
    If you've got a need to invest in braggin' rights, well, it ain't even on my list. Nobody in my circle knows anything about my gear, except how much they love its sound and that it was made in North America except for some of the tubes.
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    Peter W.

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    Location : Melrose Park, PA

    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by Peter W. on Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:19 pm

    deepee99 wrote:It's all in what you like best and that fits the budget. Inputs can be added or upgraded later but imho tiz best to focus on the right mix of amp, pre-amp and speakers, in that order.
    If you've got a need to invest in braggin' rights, well, it ain't even on my list. Nobody in my circle knows anything about my gear, except how much they love its sound and that it was made in North America except for some of the tubes.

    YIKES!!

    Speakers last?

    Repeat - YIKES!!
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    deepee99

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    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by deepee99 on Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:58 pm

    Peter,
    Well, how ya know how your speaks gonna sound if you haven't something besides an iPad to drive them with. Smile?
    Seriously, speaks are every bit as important as the amp/pre-amp configuration. Jes' making sure you were awake.
    OTOH, a $40 driver tube might make as big an improvement as a $40 million speaker upgrade.
    While you're awake, you started or contributed to thread ref: slow-blow fuses and the advantages of a certain type. Just looking for a description and model range.
    Tnx
    dave
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    Peter W.

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by Peter W. on Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:09 pm

    deepee99 wrote:Peter,
    Well, how ya know how your speaks gonna sound if you haven't something besides an iPad to drive them with. Smile?
    Seriously, speaks are every bit as important as the amp/pre-amp configuration. Jes' making sure you were awake.
    OTOH, a $40 driver tube might make as big an improvement as a $40 million speaker upgrade.
    While you're awake, you started or contributed to thread ref: slow-blow fuses and the advantages of a certain type. Just looking for a description and model range.
    Tnx
    dave

    On the fuses, look for MDQ/MDL-series 3AG size. These are true dual-element fuses that behave as standard-blow fuses during normal operation, but can handle 3x - 5x surges at turn-on. Not cheap at fractional amperages, but reasonable from about 2A up. Also standard issue for "back-in-the-day" Dynaco. MDL can be spiral slow-blow or dual-element. Stick with the dual element.

    As to speakers, keeping it really basic: I know what I like in speakers, I know the environs in which they are expected to live. Therefore it is incumbent on me to provide them what they need to do so. And, I am perhaps irrationally a huge advocate of the concept of Headroom. At this moment, I run:

    Maggies - power-pigs requiring my biggest brute-force amp (Citation 16) in a large room.
    AR3a - part of a classic pairing, the AR receiver and speakers. In a much smaller room. My ST70 would likely be OK with them, but tubes are not as 'wife-friendly' as a one-knob solution (the AR receiver).
    AR M5 - driven by my all HK Citation system. Very good against the Citation 19 at 100 wpc.
    AR Athena - a very nearly perfect match to the ST70.
    AR 14 - a very nearly perfect match to the Scott LK150. Two-way speakers that remind me a great deal of the 'large Advents', only with better drivers.
    AR4x - a very nearly perfect match to either the ST35 (in a small room) or the AR amp/tuner combo (in a slightly large room). I have owned *these* speakers for more than 40 years. They were my very first speakers back in those distant days.

    I have rejected speakers by Boston Acoustics, Allison, Klipsch, Advent, KLH, Accustat, ADS, McIntosh, Fisher and many others over the years. One of the kids has a pair of Dynaco, another Revox. So, amongst the non-exotic, consumer-grade speakers, I have tried more than a few.

    But, the bottom line is that the speakers drive the electronics, the electronics do not limit the speakers. Ah, well. And Baskin-Robbins has many flavors of Ice Cream!

    OT Comment: I just realized the other day how absolutely lucky I am with this hobby and my habits. Not only does my wife permit me to put the AR3a and Maggie speakers where they should be in two key rooms in the house, but for my birthday, I found a soldering re-work station, and a set of 'helping hands' https://www.amazon.com/QuadHands-Helping-Hands-Third-Soldering/dp/B00GIKVP5K wrapped up for me. Neither prompted or requested. She, apparently, got in touch with a neighbor-friend for whom I have repaired some tube stuff - and asked what I might need. OK the soldering station is from China, but it adds capacity that I do not have, including hot air and desoldering functions. I will not complain. BUT, she does know my fixation on hand-tools. The helping hands are made in USA, and very, very nice.

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    tubes4hifi
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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

    Post by tubes4hifi on Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:31 pm

    #1 component in a hi-fi system (besides your ears) is the ROOM the stereo is located in - put 10-20% of your budget in room treatment
    #2 component in a hi-fi system are the speakers - put 50% of your total budget here ($5K speakers for a $10K system)
    #3 component in a hi-fi system is the preamp and/or the source material (turntable, CD player, DAC)
    LAST component in a hi-fi system is the amplifier (and the cables, interconnects, speaker wires)
    IMHO
    when upgrading your system, FIX your room first! Then get better speakers! Then get a better preamp! When it's all perfect, maybe a better amp and wiring.

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    Re: Breaking In (or Bad)

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