I’m currently evaluating a pair of interconnects between my DSD and amp. I’m running a signal to the DAC, but is it necessary for the amp to be on, or can it be in standby and still provide proper break-in? In other words is it necessary to have a load at the other end of the cables?
The amp can be off. There is a load whether it is on or not.
Elk is correct, the cables need a current LOAD to break in, as such we feel they do over time. Interconnects see the 47k ohm, or higher, load value at the amplifier end so they see the same resistive load with the amplifier off.
There could be isolation circuits in some devices that aren’t a valid load unless they are biased on, however. Check your amp to see what the input is, a resistor or an active isolation stage.
Speaker cables need current, too, and the high current needs are satisfied with the amplifier driving the cables to better emulate how they are used.