pilot-wave wrote:I have the feeling that there are many variables at work here, not just with the equipment but also within and between individuals, which muddies what may really be going on.
For myself, I’ve nearly always been conscious of speakers requiring ‘breaking in’ when new, while (no doubt for different material reasons) I’ve also been aware of similar initial period ‘evolving’ sound traits in new amps and CD players... this was strongly apparent with a new NAD 514 CD player when I bough it many years ago... a bit ‘pinched’ ‘stiff’ and ‘dark’ sounding when new, then after several hours/days of running CDs, ‘opening –up’ into a fuller more rounded sound. All other aspects of the audio system, positioning and room conditions were unaltered during this period. On one occasion I remember catching a pair of small Tannoy nearfields audibly shifting from that new ‘stiff, bass-light’ sound into the ‘fuller-rounded-out’ phase, if not within the space of a few minutes, certainly within the hour. Later with PMC TB2S+ monitors they seemed to take an eternity to open up and even then not much, due to them having a much tighter sound than some older TB1s which were also present for comparison.
Here, more on the issue of hearing acuity and hardware differences rather than ‘breaking-in’ which in my experience couldn’t and doesn’t apply, I’ll stick my neck out and say that I’ve also noticed sometimes marked influential differences to the sound between similar thickness/length cables, though cheap mains cooker cable can ‘sound’ different to a much more expensive ‘rip-off’ Hi-Fi speaker cable of similar thickness and length. The word here is ‘different’ rather than ‘better’, though in this instance I preferred the cooker cable. I’ve carried out comparisons like this over and over again in the past, being very careful about overall conditions, and I can say the effects are repeatable and significant. I’ll stick the neck out again and say that cables, more often than not, and maybe presently only God knows for sure, exhibit ‘directional’ characteristics which become noticeable once you know what to listen for after a few back and forth change-overs. I haven’t done this for years now, but I could leave the system between directional change overs and on returning to the room, say the next day, having forgot which way I’d left it, be able to correctly discern - from the sound only - which way ‘round the cable had been left. These are peripheral effects and not the kind of thing that will impact on the essentials of a flat response and mix outcome. Room acoustics, positioning and other factors can swamp this, but for some like myself, this can be a worthwhile tweak for getting things to one’s satisfaction and remove those slight sonic irritations after the main issues have been sorted. These ‘irritations’ for me can have an almost synaesthetic quality which brings a new meaning to the term ‘colouration’! I don’t think I’m that exceptional either as I think there are many others that share these observations but choose to remain quiet about it, particularly in pro sound circles.
To be clear, I’m not a potential peddler of or taken in by the more outlandish ‘snake-oil’ claims! The truth probably resides somewhere roughly midway between the two extremes of belief.
What I’m getting at is that there are probably many other factors beyond just the behaviour of the hardware itself that makes for one person’s ‘truth’ being another’s ‘nonsense’. I would guess, that we all vary not just in listening acuity, but also in ‘how’ we listen and process what we hear in terms of personality traits, what’s deemed relevant, etc, etc. I’m a meticulous type, while somebody else might have a more practical “sod that kind of deluded farting around nonsense” approach and just get on with it with equally good results. I might hear stuff that you can’t or don’t choose to focus on (and vice-versa) while you’ll flatten me with other sensory or intellectual abilities that I may lack... we’re all ‘tuned’, I think, differently in this respect.
Other than maybe straying off the main point with the cable talk, I’m quite prepared to receive some flak for this or to just be politely ignored!
Oh! I shan't ignore you and I apologise in advance SOS...Bollocks!
Now OP, you see where this sort of thing leads?