Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does anything in copper wire change when it's burned in?

  1. Nov 1, 2005 #1
    i'm having this ridiculous argument over at: http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=144514&page=1&pp=20
    where we are having a not so friendly disscusion of wire burn in. basicly my question is this does regular copper wire change it's sound if get's "burned-in" over time. now i'm talking about line level audio or even power cables on regular home ac, no super conducting, no heating the wire till it melts.

    i'm afraid i already know the answer but the audiophiles want proof it doesn't.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2005 #2

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    No. The resistance is so low that there is so little heat generated that nothing changes in the wire. The only thing "burn in" does is burn off excess chemicals on components that get hot (making things smell). Computer geeks do it to, and it's the same for computers. For computers, at least, it acts as a good stress-test.
     
  4. Nov 1, 2005 #3

    Cliff_J

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    mugsby - the audiophile crowd will argue about some very very silly things, you can buy wood blocks to hold the speaker wire off the floor, special tiny dots the size of ladybugs to put on your furniture, or special markers to color your CDs.

    Science is not important and is rejected or substituted with pseudo-science. Not that every test is perfect nor may reveal exactly why X is better than Y, but there should be some rationale behind a statement.

    We all want the best of everything, especially in our hobbies where its a point of pride and part of the satisfaction in participating. But there are limits to practicality, and the term 'audiophile' is generally one where the power of suggestion about what is 'better' gets blurred into perceptions. And perception is reailty.

    If there really was a sonic difference to some of the voo-doo type of mumbo-jumbo, there would be a method to measure the difference.

    Richard Clark (he stamps CDs not the security guy) decided to find out himself why people talk so much about differences between this or that. He found that some people could discern changes of .1db and that his statistics showed that people picked the louder. This threshold became his standard for the JND (just noticable difference) and he made sure that he knew how sensitive the ear really was when he put $10k on the line as an amplification challenge. You took challenge for free and could walk away with $10k if you could correctly identify amplifier A from amplifier B 16 times in a row. With his own personal money on the line, he made sure his testing methods to make $100 car audio amplifiers keep pace with $10,000 Krell home amps were very good. He would match within .01db and make sure there were no obvious defects like noise/clicks and that the frequency response was matched too (he would put the EQ on the cheap amp) and a few other basic items most people overlook. He hasn't lost yet, and audiophiles conside it an invalid test because its too controlled.

    His arguement is simple, the audiophiles/salespeople/marketing people talk about sonic difference as the difference between apples and oranges. I can tell an apple apart from an orange 16 times in a row without a problem. Hundreds have tried, no one has passed his test yet and he doesn't bother anymore because countless people discount the test regardless of the setup, even in their own homes with their own equipment! :smile:
     
  5. Nov 2, 2005 #4

    es

    User Avatar

    the audiophiles are the ones who are trying to get us to accept a new fact therefore the burden of proof is on them. until they do, i for one, choose not to accept this fact ;)
     
  6. Nov 2, 2005 #5

    es

    User Avatar

    BTW, this thread got me curious what coined the term "burn-in". I always assumed it was because the first version of a circuit is seldom correct. I was wrong.

    http://www.jargon.net/jargonfile/b/burn-inperiod.html
    Historical note: the origin of "burn-in" (sense 1) is apparently the practice of setting a new-model airplane's brakes on fire, then extinguishing the fire, in order to make them hold better. This was done on the first version of the U.S. spy-plane, the U-2.
     
  7. Nov 2, 2005 #6

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm curious what audiophiles will do once the signal is purely digital, right up until it gets to the speaker...?
     
  8. Nov 2, 2005 #7
    There already are systems like this. They p!ss and moan and complain about how crappy it sounds.
     
  9. Nov 2, 2005 #8

    Cliff_J

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    They sell special digital cables that "improve" the sound.

    I'm serious. The term jitter is thrown around, and while its outside my knowledge to speak in depth on the subject because what I've read makes DSP foreign and frustrating to me, but what I've surmized about jitter is that its a non-issue.

    Regardless, its the same arguement about a super-optically clear cable like a pure silver analog signal cable. Anyone want a bridge, I've got one for sale...

    I have heard first-hand the difference in equipment but certainly do not think its voo-doo magic. I'd just like to have an Audio Precision One to measure the difference instead of inventing an explanation. :smile:
     
  10. Nov 27, 2005 #9
    Tell them you use Cat5 Twisted Pair cable as speaker cable! They will flame you for weeks, but when in reality, Cat5 is designed to run 100Mhz (250Mhz w/ Cat5e) signals with no noise, i dont have the exact specs atm, but its at a higher tolerance then most speaker cables. I personally use it all the time for low power satellite speakers because its cheap, and a 50ft Cat5 Cable is good for 4 speakers. So 50ft Cat5 = 200ft Speaker wire. Just dont use it for anything higher then 20ish watts.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Does anything in copper wire change when it's burned in?
  1. Copper wire (Replies: 3)

Loading...