Burn in thoughts

I was curious to get feedback or your experience on these two questions:

1: Does a burn in / De-Gauss disc work better or faster than just music play?

2: Does the unit being burned in have to have a source connected to it’s output to burn in properly? Example" Preamp to amp. Does amp have to be playing music or can it be powered off?


Leaving the unit powered on seems enough for me, depending on the unit. I have never found the degaussing discs a benefit but, then again, I have never performed an exhaustive test. So, my opinion is probably less than helpful.

Once a cable is burned in, I assume it needs burn in again if it has been disconnected from system for any length of time? I know sometimes people sorta roll interconnects same as tubes to see ( hear ) what works best in their system.

So am I correct in thinking the cables loose burn in if not in use for a period of time?

It certainly is possible, but most seem to believe that once the cable is burned in it is set to go. This is why some retailers offer cable burn in services by connecting new cables to a cable cooker. Others claim that a cable needs to be burned in again any time it is moved or touched.

I assume the latter is more likely. Audioquest DBS system comes to mind.

The most current understanding seems to be that dielectric materials (insulation) are changed – “formed” is a word often used – by current passing through the wires they surround. So the question is whether they revert, to a greater or lesser extent, to their original properties when the current is removed for any length of time. Someone like a chemist who studies plastics and similar materials could probably answer this.

My own listening experience says that some re-break in is usually needed when cables aren’t used for a while, but it’s much shorter than the original time needed.

The parts of break in that involve chemical processes are usually a one time deal: e.g. driving solvents out, the slow release of plasticisers, etc. (But not all chemical processes are unidirectional, there are reversible chemical processes whose direction may depend on heat or electric fields, etc. e.g. electrolytic capacitors.)

The parts of break in that involve mechanical elastic deformations usually relax back to near the unbroken in state given enough time: e.g. long chain molecules with dipole moments that align with the electric field (e.g. AudioQuest’s DBS stuff.)

The parts of break in that involve mechanical non elastic deformations (crystal boundaries, etc.) may be semi permanent, at least until things are moved around.

For cables it seems to me the most likely and most audible things are related to the dielectric and some rebreakin is often useful.