Originally Posted by Joe Skubinski
A cable's capacitance should be looked upon not as a lump sum but rather an incremental. It's basically one long capacitor made up of many small capacitors in series. If you have ever experienced the break-in of a capacitor in any fashion in electronic, cable break-in is similar.
Like in a camera flash?
In my experience I have attributed the break-in characteristics of a cable to a few variables.
Break-in of a cable as it pertains to audio reproduction can be defined as any gradual change in it's sonic character over time. Typically rated in hours or days, break-in is measured from the time of first installation to the time where no appreciable change in sound is heard. This assumes the cable is left in place and not moved or disturbed. With most cables the first few hours show a much more rapid change as compared to the days following, making the process difficult to hear primarily due to the short audible memory of an untrained listener.
As opposed to being difficult to hear because of the short audible memory of a trained listener
? But hearing is a lossy process Joe that depends upon the rejection of audible information that is affected by a host of variable such as mood, health, hunger, disposition, and auditory focus.
The cause of break-in seems to be the effect of the electrostatic field on the polarization of the dielectric material. Without a voltage applied over time, audible changes are nearly imperceivable, primarily otherwise caused by the contact resistance of the terminations or connectors.
Factors in order of importance that point toward polarization effects in which we've been able to repeatably and consistently vary the break-in characteristics include:
1. the type of dielectric used.
2. the spacing of the surface of the dielectric relative to the surface of the conductor,
3. the method of applying the dielectric to the conductor,
4. the construction of the conductor,
5. the composition of the microscopic surface layer of the conductor.
It all matters, doesn't it? Maybe even how far off the floor they are too or if the carpet is wool, nylon, polyester?
Where the conductor is in intimate contact with the dielectric, such as in a pressure extrusion process, the break-in characteristic 'swings' tend to be much greater. Since the insulation fills even microscopic voids in the surface of the conductor, this process produces the greatest, most intimate surface contact.
Nothing like a tight fit I say.
Tubular extrusions on the other hand can be adjusted to create a gap between the conductor and dielectric, therefore reducing surface contact to a consistent yet variable amount. Minimizing intimate contact between the conductor and dielectric tends to help minimize the break-in characteristics.
But then you move the cable and that alters the spacing and where it all touches and then it has to break in again.
There much much more but would require a book to cover, so please take the above as a very condensed version.
I'll be looking for you on Oprah when the book comes out.
Must be a university up there in the land of 'wide right' with a EE professor you can collaborate with. Of all the cable mongers, I like you the best Joe.