Diy Audio Cable Cooker

Diy Cable CookerOn a recent browse of the Internet as I tend to do, I came across an interesting yet simple project that interested me.  It is on a blog named desireableaudio,  a communal blog with several members. Panzer would appear to be the author of this item.

 

Now the subject of cable burn in is a contentious one.  The idea is that audio cables change their properties after use in their current location.  Manufacturers of high end cable will quite often recommend some burn in time before evaluating their cables.  Now if only there was a quick way of doing this?

Many audio reviewers wax lyrical about how much the sound changes on cables as burn in time increases.  Claims on some cables I have seen extend to 120hr burn in times being required.  That is a lot of musical listening before reaching the peak of the cables capabilities.

 

The audiodharma Cable Cooker™: Flooding With Signal - A Review

 

Many believe that it simply does not exist as a phenomenon. and if you want to start a fight on an audio forum, this is one of those hot topics that can create a breach of the peace in an instant!  Its a light the blue touch paper topic...  Many other people, including it would seem a lot of audio reviewers are very convinced on cable burn in being a fact of life and unsurprisingly, where their are audio beliefs, there are plenty of companies out there prepared to accept your money in exchange for magical goods.

 

My opinion is sceptical, though I am open to the idea (could I sit any more squarely on the fence?).  My experience so far has been only with cables that have been burned in the old fashioned way, i.e. by playing them for many hours on my hi fi.  I don't think that it is possible to make a judgement based on this as there is definitely a psychological effect in play.  If you listen regularly to your hi fi, familiarity comes into play and as you get used to the sound of equipment, you will generally become more aware of its nuances and eventually like what you hear.

 

Purposely emulating the effects of hours and hours of play on a cable is a great idea if you do buy into the existence of burn in.  The audioexcellence site explains that the product that they sell accelerates the burn in time for cables extensively by using higher voltages and therefore currents than your hi fi can produce.  The signal that is passed through the cable is not DC, but some form of AC signal with various wave forms contained within.

 

cable_cooker01Sounds convincing?  Well here's the rub.  An Audioharma Cable Cooker sets you back $689 for the basic version, $799 for the Pro model.  That's way too much money for my blood.  Sure, even at that price, its winning awards consistently and has many fans, but I wont shell out for boutique cables never mind spend  that kind of money for what is a product I would use rarely.

 

Panzer perhaps feels the same and had a go at producing a cable cooker for himself.  This is not a straight clone by the way, Panzer says himself that all the info for his design is based on what he has picked up from web sources.  Having read the claims that are being made for the commercial unit, Panzer's design would appear to use just a mains generated sine wave where Audioharma are hinting at a more complex wave being used.

 

Best bit about Panzer's magic box is the price.  The parts he uses internally are not expensive not exclusive, in fact you may already have them in your spares box.  There is a 6-0-6v output transformer, some high powered load resitors and some cable.  I can't see anything more exotic than that.  Any case presuambly could be used leaving the only major expense to be the connectors to attach your cables.

 

This will burn in speaker cables, phono interconnects and XLR leads as well.  There are two blog entries detailing the cooker, and although no schematics are issued, this project is simple enough to follow from the articles.

 

Part 1: DIY Kabel Kooker

 

Part 2: DIY Kabel Kooker Rev B