Home Cookin': The Audiodharma Cable Cooker

DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
edited March 2014 in 2 Channel Audio
Introduction

The Audiodharma Cable Cooker is a cable conditioning device that is claimed to greatly improve the sound quality of all forms of interconnect, speaker cabling, and power cabling beyond any normal break-in cycle. The claimed benefits of conditioning with the Cooker are:

1. More transparency and dimensionality,
2. A deeper and wider sound stage,
3. Deeper & tighter bass information.

I realized all of the above with the exception of improved sound stage width. It must be noted that, due to the spatial rendering properties of my loudspeakers, my sound stage width was already exceptionally wide. The Cooker brought dramatic improvements in sound stage depth, three-dimensionality and image weight.

I had been considering acquiring a Cable Cooker since I became aware of them in 2003. The Cooker has been in continuous production since 1999 and comes in three versions: Standard ($789), Pro ($879) and Anniversary Edition ($999). I chose the Anniversary edition and an optional tonearm and phono cable adapter. The interested reader can read more about the Cooker's technology and version differences at the Audioexcellenceaz.com website. There are many (hundreds) of positive consumer reviews of and references to the Cooker online. The Cooker has also been favorably reviewed in several commercial audio publications. Tonearm manufacturer Triplanar uses the Cooker to break in their tonearm wiring and Blueberry Hill Audio uses the Cooker to break in their phono step-up transformers. The Cable Cooker comes with a two year fully transferable warranty.

Be advised that the Cable Cooker comes with a 15 amp switching power supply, but the user must supply their own IEC power cord. The manufacturer does not include a power cord due to the different power cord plugs that are used in the various countries the Cooker is shipped to. I used one of the stock throwaway 18/3 IEC cords that came with some of my other electronics.

I came very close to canceling my order due to the extended delivery date. The usual delivery time is two weeks from placement of order. It took 6-1/2 weeks to receive my Cooker due to parts shortages and the factory being closed to participation in an audio industry show.

CblCkr-Front-s.jpg
Figure 1. The Cooker is a plain looking utilitarian device, but what it did for (most of) my cables was beautiful. The case measures 12" W
x 6" D x 4.75" H.


CblCkr-Inside-s.jpg
Figure 2. Inside the powder coated steel case is a croygenically treated circuit board.

Looking inside the Cooker's sparsely filled case, some might think that the 1 kilobuck price tag is excessive. However, within the context of performance audio and considering the benefits that the Cooker provides, the Cooker is a better long term value than many kilobuck (or more) phono cartridges, cables and other audiophile knick knacks. The parts cost of my Dreadnought custom isolation transformer project was close to $700, and it was just a transformer in an aluminum case with some cables attached.:)

I asked the manufacturer to explain the reason for cryo treating the circuit board even though it is used in a device that does not reproduce a music signal. This was the response:

"Your reasoning was my reasoning for so many years. I have been cryo-treating various electrical parts, cabling, and in-wall wiring for approx. 10 years.....even my line conditioner (and others) have been treated successfully, but I never tried this process with the Cooker on any level.

I mulled over the idea of cryo-treating the circuit board, and possibly the internal wiring and all connectors for quite some time, but didn't think it would be effective. After all, the Cooker is not producing music nor the same type of signal in a regular audio system. Was I wrong! I finally cryo-treated a new EFS (Extended Frequency Sweep) board this spring, then conditioned some identical cables (power cables and balanced interconnects) for exactly the same amount of time on a non-cryo'd board. I then performed blind listening tests for a few different people on two separate occasions. There was no contest, and the effects were immediately heard. The effect is quite similar to the EFS upgrade....greater clarity, more musical texture, tighter bass information, and greater overall musical information. It's a clear winner, and cumulative on top of the EFS upgrade introduced earlier this year. It was an easy decision, and I'm kicking myself for not doing this sooner."


CblCkr-Rear-sa.jpg
Figure 3. Speaker, power and interconnect cables can be conditioned simultaneously. Cables of the same type can be daisy chained together using connection adapters. XLR cables can simply be connected end to end without adapters.

CblCkr-Dynamat-s.jpg
Figure 4. Dynamating the case top was not necessary. I just didn't like the annoying ringing that resulted whenever the case was handled. Thumping the case with my forefinger resulted in ringing that lasted for 3 seconds. The case would also ring just from handling it. The
case was quiet as a mouse in a tiger cage after damping treatment.


CblCkr-PhonoAdp-s.jpg
Figure 5. Phono cable and tonearm wiring adapter. A cap on the end to protect those fragile pins would have been appreciated.

How Cables Are Cooked

The Cable Cooker is simple to operate and comes with four sheets of clear, concise instructions. Interconnect cables are conditioned with a 120 milliamp, 12 volt (peak to peak) signal. Power and speaker cables are conditioned with a 1.88 Amp, 20 volt (peak to peak) signal. The square wave conditioning signal continuously sweeps from 0 Hz to a little over 40 kHz.

CblCkr-ScopeTrcLowPwr-s.jpg
Figure 6. Oscilloscope trace of the Cooker's interconnect cable conditioning signal.

CblCkr-ScopeTrcHiPwr-s.jpg
Figure 7. Oscilloscope trace of the Cooker's power cable and speaker cable conditioning signal.

The manufacturer offers these general guidelines for cable conditioning:

"Generally, for brand new cable, the suggested guidelines are 2 to 2 1/2 days for interconnects... 3 to 4 1/2 days for speaker cables... and 4 to 5 days for power cabling. Heavier-gauge designs, and those with more complex wiring geometries usually require more conditioning time than what the above guidelines show. Many customers have determined that "more is more" in these cases, performing additional conditioning in incremental stages. Periodic Cooking-and-listening tests are essential to determine the optimal conditioning time for each design.

For instance, if you Cook a new interconnect for 24 hours, listen, and then repeat the listening tests after every 6 to 8 hours on the Cooker, you will find the optimal time for that model. When you find little or no improvement from the previous listening test, the cable is probably fully conditioned.

Cables that have been in a system for quite some time usually need only 24 to 36 hours on the Cooker to improve greatly... with speaker cables and power cables, sometimes a bit more. Again, this is determined by the (heavier) gauge of the conductors and complexity of design."


Fortunately, there is a way to tell when cables have been over-cooked:

"Over-Cooking can reduce the performance, at least temporarily. The characteristics of this are a reduced or diminished sound stage and a dull, lifeless quality to the music. If this situation occurs, merely letting the cables physically rest, and settle, then putting them back in the music system to play for a few hours brings them back to their optimal performance level. Over-Cooking does NOT do any damage to the cabling whatsoever. Again, incremental Cooking-and-listening tests are highly recommended to avoid over-Cooking one’s cables.

I found four references from AudioQuest DBS cable owners who informed that they had realized performance improvements by using the Cable Cooker on their DBS cables for 48 hours. AudioQuest's DBS (Dielectric Bias System) conditions (breaks in) cables by applying a static electric field over the cable's dielectric material, thereby conditioning it against contributing noise to the audio signal by absorbing and releasing energy.
"So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
"Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
"Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
"Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
Post edited by DarqueKnight on
«13

Comments

  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
    edited December 2009
    For the power, speaker and interconnect cables in my two channel audio system, I specified a 48 hour conditioning regimen with listening breaks at 12 hour intervals. I expected that the veiled, dulled sound indicative of over-cooking would appear sometime within that 48 hour period. The following items were conditioned (the hours of prior use are noted):

    1. The silver tonearm wire in my Graham Phantom I tonearm (144 hours). Wire gauge unknown.
    2. AudioQuest LeoPard 72V DBS tonearm cable (281 hours). This is 20 gauge solid silver wire.
    3. Four PS Audio Premier SC power cables (3 cords @9840 hours, 1 cord @ 9170 hours). This is PCOCC copper and silver wire with an effective size of 7 gauge.
    4. Three PS Audio PerfectWave AC-12 power cables (2 cords @ 1440 hours, 1 cord @ 4320 hours). This is effective 8 gauge PCOCC copper wire.
    5. Three pairs of AudioQuest Sky 72V DBS XLR interconnect cables (1 pr. @ 152 hours, 2 prs. @ 3906 hours). This is 20 gauge solid silver wire.
    5. One pair of AudioQuest Everest 72V DBS speaker cables (3906 hours). This is effective 9 gauge solid silver wire.
    6. One pair of customized Monster Cable Z2 Reference speaker cables that are used as interconnect cabled for the Dreadnought AI-1 SDA non-common ground interface (2406 hours). This is 9 gauge OFC wire.
    7. The Dreadnought's isolation transformer (2406 hours). Wire gauge unknown. Wire type unknown (assumed to be some type of copper). Lead wires are 18 gauge copper.

    Per the Cable Cooker manufacturer's advice, the DBS cable's battery packs were disconnected during conditioning.

    The Cooker's case top temperature hovered around 106 degrees Fahrenheit for its entire length of operation, even when heavily loaded down with multiple power, speaker and interconnect cables.

    Conditioning Tedium

    Sometimes, it scares me to think of the lengths I might go to if I were seriously dedicated to this audio hobby. I'll know I'm there when I actually start enjoying these tedious evaluative exercises.:)

    Graham Phantom (ver. I) Tonearm Wire Conditioning

    The first item conditioned was the tonearm wire. I wanted to condition and evaluate the tonearm wire and the LeoPard phono cable separately. To condition the tonearm wiring separately form the LeoPard phono cable, I needed to use another phono cable to complete the connection from the tonearm's DIN socket to the input of the Cooker. To condition the LeoPard cable separately, all I needed to do was connect the DIN connectors of the Cooker's adapter and the LeoPard cable and attach the ends of each cable to the appropriate Cooker input or output.

    CblCkr-TonearmCook-s.jpg
    Figure 8. The Cable Cooker had no positive effect on the Phantom's tonearm wiring.



    I sent the following email to Bob Graham of Graham Engineering:

    "I have a Graham Phantom B-44 tonearm (version I).
    I would like to know if you do any pre-conditioning (break in) of the
    tonearm wiring or if you believe that using a device like the Audiodharma
    Cable Cooker would enhance performance. I only know of one tonearm
    manufacturer (Triplanar) who uses the Cable Cooker to break in their
    tonearm wiring.


    I received this reply two days later:

    "We have not done this and feedback - plus our own testing -
    suggests this is not necessary. Of course, everyone has their own ideas,
    so if you wish to try it, and are careful with the voltages involved (so as
    not to hurt the very delicate wire inside the pivot housing) then you might
    find it useful. I'd be interested in your results...
    good luck,
    Bob Graham


    Listening sessions at 12, 24 and 36 hours revealed no changes. After the 48th hour, the sound was slightly veiled and dulled with a constriction in sound stage depth. The sound returned to normal after one hour of play time.

    AudioQuest LeoPard Phono Cable Conditioning

    The LeoPard phono cable showed no changes at the 12, 24, and 36 hour marks. After 48 hours, veiled sound appeared. After one hour of play time, the veiling still remained. I came back 15.5 hours later and the veiling was gone. There were also some new benefits noted:

    1. The rhythm and pace of music, especially bass, was faster.

    2. For each LP music track, the relative positions of images within the sound stage had been marked on charts prior to cooking. Listening to these tracks after the 15.5 hour rest period, images at the far sides of the sound stage had moved two feet forward.

    For listening sessions, I used three LP's that I have owned for a long time and that I (thought I) knew every subtlety and nuance of:

    Dennis Coffey-"Back Home" (1977), track-"High On Love",
    Lenny Williams-"Love Current" (1979), track-"If You're In Need",
    Bob James-"Touchdown" (1978), tracks-"Angela" and "Touchdown".

    The background singer's behind Dennis Coffey's syrupy sweet lead guitar were louder and had more weight. The synthesizer, which had newly acquired a more airy quality, was a solid two feet in front of Coffey's guitar. Before, I hadn't paid much attention to the synth.

    The background singers behind Lenny Williams' vocals were louder and had more weight. There was more detail and weight in Williams' vibrato.

    Bob James' electric piano notes had more weight, sparkle and natural decay. On "Touchdown", there is an electric guitar at the right that came forward three feet forward of its former position. The guitar notes had more growl and I could feel more vibrations from the guitar notes coming through my armrests.

    PS Audio PerfectWave AC-12 Power Cable Conditioning

    The AC-12 power cable of the right power amp was conditioned next. Small improvements in apparent sound level, bass weight and high frequency detail were heard at the 12, 24, and 36 hour marks. I was not going to be able to listen at the 48th hour, therefore I listened a the 44th hour. Further incremental improvements were heard. The right side was very noticeably different from the left, but it was not a night and day difference. When I was able to resume conditioning, I ran the AC-12 for an additional 4 hours but I did not hear further improvements. Bear in mind that this cable had 1440 hours of prior use, is connected to an amp that draws 2 amps continuous (24/7) at idle, and was conditioned with the "brute force" Juice Cyclone current conditioner for 320 amp-hours at 10 amps.

    AudioQuest Sky 72V DBS XLR Interconnect Conditioning

    The Sky XLR interconnects between the phono preamp and the line level preamp was removed and cooked for 12 hours. The right side cable was then placed between the line level preamp's right output and the right power amp. No additional improvement was heard over that provided by the amp's cooked AC-12 power cord.

    At the 24 hour mark, the Sky was reinstalled on the right and a small increase in apparent sound level was heard, along with a little more growly bass detail and articulation. No change was heard at 36 hours.

    At the 48 hour mark, the images in the sound stage on the right were much heavier and I could feel more vibrations coming through the right armrest compared to the left.

    PS Audio Premier SC Power Cable Conditioning

    I have a spare Premier SC power cord that I cooked for 48 hours straight. This cord had 9072 hours of prior use and had been sitting unused for 6 months. The SACD player's Premier SC cord was replaced with the cooked Premier SC. The images in the sound stage became apparently louder, clearer and more layered. Image weight at the sides of the sound stage increased.

    On Sheila E's "Writes of Passage" CD, the intro track is the sound of a freight train passing by. The "clackety-clack" sounds of the train wheels were louder and the metallic squeaks and rattles of the train cars were louder and more detailed. More low frequency rumbles and vibrations were felt on the right as evidenced by the vibrations coming through my right armrest.

    The remaining interconnect and power cables were daisy chained and cooked for 48 hours straight. When all cables were reinstalled, the sound was veiled and dull with apparent lower sound level and a shrunken, flattened sound stage. Something was overcooked. The poor sound quality was evident whether the analog or digital source was playing. This result was surprising, since the batch cooked cables weren't processed any longer that the initial trial specimens. It took 45 hours for the veiling to totally disappear. When it did, the images within the sound stage were a little heavier. Everything didn't come back all at once. For example, it took 14 hours for the sound stage dimensions to return. It took 25 hours for the pace and rhythm of music to return. It took 36 hours for certain high frequency details to return. It took 45 hours for the bass to get back right.

    AudioQuest Everest Speaker Cable Conditioning

    The right side AQ Everest speaker cable was cooked for 45 hours straight. Due to some other activities, I was not able to check in at the 12, 24, and 36 hour marks. When the Everest was reinstalled on the right speaker, the sound was louder but veiled. Not only was the sound apparently louder, but it also measured 2 dB louder than before. The cable was allowed to rest for 7 hours. When I came back, the veiling was still there. After 2 hours of play time, the veiling lifted and was replaced by:

    1. Much more clarity and detail.
    2. More speed and dynamics.
    3. More percussive percussion instruments.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
    edited December 2009
    I was pleasantly surprised by the increase in sound stage depth on the right:

    The first note of Boney James' "So Beautiful" ("Body Language" CD) is a crackling electric guitar note from the center. That note is echoed from the right side of the sound stage. It used to come from a position 5 feet from the right speaker's right side and 5 feet ahead of the speaker plane. Now it came from a position 5 feet from the right speaker's right side, 10 feet ahead of the speaker plane, and 6 feet from the floor. The echo was also clearer, and the echo decays were louder and clearer. I sit with my head 12 feet from the speaker plane. I use red flags on a camera tripod to mark image locations during listening evaluations.

    A similar increase in depth at the right was heard on Bob James' "Touchdown" (Touchdown LP). There is an electric guitar at the far right that came forward 2 feet from its previous position so that the guitar player was standing behind the chair to my right rather than between the chair and the right speaker.

    The left Everest speaker cable was cooked for 45 hours straight. After re-installation, the effects of overcooking were evident on the left. After 2 hours of play time, the sound had improved but detail and sound level was much lower than the right side. I let the cable rest for 11 hours while I pursued some other activities. I came back to a spectacular enhancement of the sound stage's dimensions, clarity, detail and weight. I did not gain any sound stage width, but, depending on the source material, I gained another foot in the center and one to three feet (and in some cases, more) at the sides. The sense of layering and three-dimensionality was greatly enhanced.

    I do not know if the improvements heard after the speaker cable cooking were due solely to the speaker cables or if they were due to the cumulative effect of the cooked speaker cables and all the other cables. Whatever the contributing factors were, I was deeply appreciative of Such Good Sound.

    Dreadnought Interconnect Cable Conditioning

    There were no changes after 12 hours. After 24 hours, there was evidence of overcooking. There was a small veiling, particularly at the sides of the sound stage and the sound was a little bit lower in volume.

    The veiling and apparent decrease in sound level went away after one hour of play time. There was a new enhancement to the the sense of depth and layering between images in the sound stage.

    Dreadnought Transformer Conditioning

    Overcooking was evident after the first 12 hours of conditioning. The bass was slow and muddy. However, the sound was a little louder and the image weight at the sides increased a little. I listened to each speaker with its respective power amp turned off and the dimensional drivers sounded much louder. I measured the voltages at the stereo and dimensional outputs with 60 Hz and 1000 Hz sine wave test signals and they were about the same as the voltages recorded in October of 2008 when the Dreadnought was built. Therefore, the increased sound level was apparent, rather than actual, and was due to a lowered noise floor.

    The muddy bass significantly improved after 2 hours of play time but the increase in apparent sound level and image weight at the sides remained. After 9 hours of rest, bass speed, detail and articulation had returned, along with more image weight at the sides and rear of the sound stage.

    Afterthought: Input And Output Waveforms

    I know my fellow meter pontiffs will be bitterly disappointed by this, but it did not occur to me to look at the pre-cooked and post-cooked cable waveforms until I started cooking the speaker cables. By that time, the interconnect and power cables had been cooked. My original review plan for the Cable Cooker only included listening evaluations...since all that really matters is the SOUND.

    Everest Speaker Cable Input/Output Waveforms

    000Cooker-OutSwWave-Cr-s.jpg
    Figure 9. Output square wave from Cooker.

    003Everest-LtSqWave-Cr-s.jpg
    Figure 10. Output square wave from pre-cooked Everest Cable.

    Everest-Lt-Aft45hrs-SqWaveOut-s.jpg
    Figure 11. Output square wave from cooked Everest Cable.

    Comparing figures 10 and 11, the cooked cable's pulse leading edge overshoot spikes and the pulse trailing edge backswing spikes are lower in amplitude. The bottoms of the pulses are also flatter.

    Dreadnought Interconnect Cable Input/Output Waveforms (Monster Z2 Reference Speaker Cable)

    Z2Ref-SqWave-In-s.jpg
    Figure 12. Output square wave from Cooker.

    Z2Ref-SqWave-Out0Hrs-s.jpg
    Figure 13. Output square wave from pre-cooked Dreadnought cable.

    Z2Ref-SqWave-Out24Hrs-s.jpg
    Figure 14. Output square wave from cooked Dreadnought cable.

    Comparing figures 13 and 14, the amplitude of the leading edge overshoot spikes were decreased after cooking. The lower backswing spikes are gone, but the amplitudes of the trailing edge overshoot spikes are higher. Overall, the pulses are closer to a square wave after cooking.

    Dreadnought Isolation Transformer Input/Output Waveforms

    I know some of you have wondered what a toroidal transformer's secondary output waveform would look like if a square wave was fed into the primary. Now you know.

    003DN-Pri-SqWv-In-s.jpg
    Figure 15. Cooker square wave input to primary side of Dreadnought transformer.

    004DN-Sec-SqWv-Out-s.jpg
    Figure 16. Dreadnought transformer pre-cooked output waveform.

    006DN-Sec-SqWv-OutAft12Hrs-s.jpg
    Figure 17. Cooked Dreadnought transformer output waveform

    Figures 16 and 17 show the pre and post cooked Dreadnought transformer waveforms. The filtering function of the Dreadnought transformer is doing what many transformers do to square waves: forcing them to become as sinusoidal as possible. There is no appreciable difference between the pre and post cooked output waveforms. We would need to look elsewhere to account for the differences and improvements in sound quality after cooking.

    PerfectWave AC-12 Power Cable Input/Output Waveforms

    The input and output waveforms of the cooked AC-12 power cables are shown in figures 18 and 19. The AC-12 output waveform has much cleaner pulse edges than the input waveform from the Cooker. Since I did not measure the output of the pre-cooked AC-12, I don't know how much of this improvement is due to the effects of cooking.

    PWAC-1-SqWv-In-Ckd-s.jpg
    Figure 18. Cooker square wave input into cooked PerfectWave AC-12 power cord.

    PWAC-1-SqWv-Out-Ckd-s.jpg
    Figure 19. Square wave output from cooked PerfectWave AC-12 power cord.

    There was virtually no difference between the 60 Hz power signal noise spectrum measurements taken in September of 2009 (figure 20, pre-cooked) and the measurements taken in December of 2009 (figure 21, cooked). [Link to AC-12 power cable review.]

    Whatever the cause of the improvements I heard, I didn't see evidence of it in the noise spectrum.

    002PWFFT9-8-09-sa.jpg
    Figure 20. Noise spectrum (FFT) of power signal from un-cooked AC-12 power cable measured in September of 2009.

    PWAC-12-FFT-12-05-09-s.jpg
    Figure 21. Noise spectrum (FFT) of power signal from cooked AC-12 power cable measured in December of 2009.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
    edited December 2009
    Summary Of Results

    The cable cooking results, in order from most to least improvement were:

    1. Everest speaker cables (most by far).
    2. Sky XLR interconnects.
    3. LeoPard phono interconnect.
    4. Dreadnought isolation transformer.
    5. Dreadnought interconnect cables.
    6. Premier SC power cord.
    7. PerfectWave AC-12 power cord.

    There was no change, improvement or otherwise, in the Phantom tonearm wiring.

    Cable Maintenance

    This is from the manufacturer's website under "frequently asked questions":

    "Will cables revert back over time requiring a second burn in, or are the results permanent?

    Unless cabling is completely disconnected for a long period of time, we don't think they completely revert back to their original, raw state. However, in our experience, all cables retrograde in performance over time. Break-in or conditioning is a long-term, but not permanent phenomenon. Cabling performance improves (as does one's system) with a periodic "recharge" of 24 to 36 hours every few months, and many long-time Cooker owners continue to enjoy this benefit."


    I'm not too enthusiastic about this "recharging" business. I'm a "set it and forget it" type of guy. Perhaps I will be fortunate enough to escape this maintenance chore since my two channel audio system stays powered up 24/7. I also expect that my AudioQuest DBS cables will significantly reduce, if not totally negate, conditioning reversion. I'll check back in 6 months to hear if I still hear the same things I heard and noted during the original post-cooking listening sessions.

    Complaints

    For most who buy the Cooker, it will spend most of its time stored away. For a utilitarian type product costing between $800 and $1000, I would expect some type of protective storage case with an inner protective cloth bag to be included.

    A protective plastic cap over the four-pin connector end of the phono adapter cable would have been appreciated.

    Future Work

    Eventially, I'll get around to cooking the 11.4 million miles of speaker, interconnect and power cables in my home theater rig. Pulling my 8000 pound home theater equipment cabinet from the wall and disconnecting, and reconnecting, all those cables is just not an appealing task.

    Associated Equipment:

    ■Pass Laboratories X.02 Preamp
    ■Pass Laboratories Xono Phono Preamp
    ■Parasound Halo JC1 Monoblock Amps (400 wpc into 8 ohms)
    ■Teres Audio Model 255 Turntable with Graham Phantom B-44 Tonearm Ver. 1 and Teres Reference II Motor
    ■Ortofon MC Windfeld Moving Coil Cartridge
    ■Sonic Purity Concepts and Design Record Clamp (“The Clamp”)
    ■Acid Etched Holographic Mylar Turntable Belt
    ■Cary Audio CD 306 Professional Version SACD/HDCD/CD Player
    ■Polk Audio SDA SRS 1.2TL Speakers (Hot Rodded)
    ■Audioquest Sky 72V DBS XLR Interconnects for Amps and SACD player
    ■Audioquest LeoPard 72V DBS Phono Cable
    ■Audioquest Everest 72V DBS 9 AWG Speaker Cable
    ■PS Audio xStream Premier SC Power Cords (7 AWG ) for Preamps, Turntable Power Supply and SACD Player
    ■Salamander Synergy Triple 30 Audio Credenza
    ■PS Audio Power Plant Premier AC Regenerator
    ■PS Audio PerfectWave AC-12 Power Cord (8 AWG) For Power Plant Premier and Power Amps
    ■PS Audio Soloist Premier SE In-Wall Power Conditioners for Power Amps and Power Plant Premier
    ■Signal Cable Magic Power Cord for Turntable Power Supply
    ■Dedicated 20 Amp Circuit for each Monoblock Amplifier and for source components and preamplifiers
    ■AI-1 Dreadnought Non-Common Ground Interface for SDA speakers
    ■Hifi Tuning and Isoclean audio grade fuses for amplifiers and source components
    ■VPI 16.5 Record Cleaning Machine with fan modification
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • madmaxmadmax Posts: 12,438
    edited December 2009
    I wish you would do a nice book with all this info in it.
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D
  • hearingimparedhearingimpared Banned Posts: 21,473
    edited December 2009
    WOW! Awesome write up and piece of gear. Now if I could only afford one.
    sucks2beme wrote: »
    Crap is a sound signature, isn't it?
    madmax wrote: »
    Nothing like vinyl, thats for sure.
    madmax


    Quotes of the year!!!
  • megasat16megasat16 Posts: 3,534
    edited December 2009
    I usually cook my cables in crook pot at low setting over night before critical listening and they are soft and warm the next day when I use them.

    Sorry DK! I can't resist not throwing a joke! Nice write up, man!
    Trying out Different Audio Cables is a Religious Affair. You don't discuss it with anyone. :redface::biggrin:
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
    edited December 2009
    I know quite a few forum members use MIT cables. The following blog (December 6th, 2009) by an MIT S3.3 owner discussing his results with the Cable Cooker might be of interest.

    MIT S3.3 + Cable Cooker Results
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • hearingimparedhearingimpared Banned Posts: 21,473
    edited December 2009
    Very interesting read. I still can't afford it though.
    sucks2beme wrote: »
    Crap is a sound signature, isn't it?
    madmax wrote: »
    Nothing like vinyl, thats for sure.
    madmax


    Quotes of the year!!!
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
    edited December 2009
    The manufacturer read my review and provided a link to an audio accessory review that briefly mentioned positive results using the Cable Cooker on the Graham Phantom tonearm:

    "Remember the friend who came over to help me with the AUDIOTOP Connect cleaning process? He recently bought a new Graham Phantom arm, and loves it. When I told him he needed to cook his new tonearm and phono cables, he was apprehensive that the cooking process might be harmful, and even called Bob Graham to make sure it was OK to cook those wires. He also had new Argento interconnects, speaker and power cables. He is now one happy audiophile, and has apologized for doubting my assurance that cooking his cables was the right thing to do."

    Link: Enjoy The Music - Audio Accessories Review - December2009 (Scroll to halfway down the page.)
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • sk1939sk1939 Posts: 295
    edited December 2009
    Alright, call me a newb to all this, but couldn't all this be achieved by using your cables for the same period? I don't get the point to this device?
    Home:
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  • Fireman32Fireman32 Posts: 4,899
    edited December 2009
    Great writeup! Always enjoy reading your reviews.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
    edited December 2009
    sk1939 wrote: »
    Alright, call me a newb to all this...

    Ok. Will do.

    =============================================
    sk1939 wrote: »
    ...couldn't all this be achieved by using your cables for the same period?

    Evidently not. You must have missed the part where I described the hours of prior use for each cable:
    The following items were conditioned (the hours of prior use are noted):

    1. The silver tonearm wire in my Graham Phantom I tonearm (144 hours). Wire gauge unknown.
    2. AudioQuest LeoPard 72V DBS tonearm cable (281 hours). This is 20 gauge solid silver wire.
    3. Four PS Audio Premier SC power cables (3 cords @9840 hours, 1 cord @ 9170 hours). This is PCOCC copper and silver wire with an effective size of 7 gauge.
    4. Three PS Audio PerfectWave AC-12 power cables (2 cords @ 1440 hours, 1 cord @ 4320 hours). This is effective 8 gauge PCOCC copper wire.
    5. Three pairs of AudioQuest Sky 72V DBS XLR interconnect cables (1 pr. @ 152 hours, 2 prs. @ 3906 hours). This is 20 gauge solid silver wire.
    5. One pair of AudioQuest Everest 72V DBS speaker cables (3906 hours). This is effective 9 gauge solid silver wire.
    6. One pair of customized Monster Cable Z2 Reference speaker cables that are used as interconnect cabled for the Dreadnought AI-1 SDA non-common ground interface (2406 hours). This is 9 gauge OFC wire.
    7. The Dreadnought's isolation transformer (2406 hours). Wire gauge unknown. Wire type unknown (assumed to be some type of copper). Lead wires are 18 gauge copper.

    and
    I ran the AC-12 for an additional 4 hours but I did not hear further improvements. Bear in mind that this cable had 1440 hours of prior use, is connected to an amp that draws 2 amps continuous (24/7) at idle, and was conditioned with the "brute force" Juice Cyclone current conditioner for 320 amp-hours at 10 amps.

    =================================================
    sk1939 wrote: »
    I don't get the point to this device?

    That's ok. Some things only become clear with time and experience. Stick around.:)
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
    edited December 2009
    Be advised that the Cable Cooker comes with a 15 amp switching power supply, but the user must supply their own IEC power cord.

    The power supply is 12 volt/2.5 amps with a 15 amp rated IEC receptacle.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • MontoyaMontoya Posts: 493
    edited December 2009
    I wish I knew someone in houston with one of these.:(
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
    edited December 2009

    Complaints

    A protective plastic cap over the four-pin connector end of the phono adapter cable would have been appreciated.

    CblCkr-PhonoAdp-s.jpg
    Four little pins needing protection from a cold, cruel world.

    I was in the grocery store checkout line and the Chapstick display caught my eye. It wasn't the Chapstick itself, but rather the Chapstick cap...it looked to be about the right size for the pin barrel end of the Cable Cooker's phono adapter...and it was.

    The Chapstick cap was just a little bit bigger than the adapter's barrel. The slack was taken up with two 1/4" x 1/4" pads of electrical tape opposite each other inside the cap.


    Cooker-PhnAdp-Cap-s.jpg
    That's better. One less accident waiting to happen.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • hearingimparedhearingimpared Banned Posts: 21,473
    edited December 2009
    I'm always looking for all kinds of gizmo's like that for my rig when I'm out shopping too.
    sucks2beme wrote: »
    Crap is a sound signature, isn't it?
    madmax wrote: »
    Nothing like vinyl, thats for sure.
    madmax


    Quotes of the year!!!
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
    edited December 2009
    In this instance, I was restocking food and audio wasn't on my mind...at least not consciously. I just looked at the Chapstick cap and my mind immediately ran to the phono adapter. Maybe audio subroutines are always running in my subconscious.:confused:

    This was just fortuitous coincidence. I was actually planning on fabricating a cap out of a hard plastic rod.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
    edited December 2009
    The Cable Cooker manufacturer has asked me to pass along the following:

    The Cardas DIN connector used in the Cable Cooker's phono adapter does not come with an end cap. Cardas does not supply a cap because the connector is designed to be connected to a tonearm's DIN Socket. If Cardas had provided an end cap with this connector, it certainly would have been provided as part of the phono adapter.

    The manufacturer has also informed me that:

    1. I am the first person ever to mention need of such a cap.
    2. No one, ever, has reported "an accident" with their phono adaptor.
    3. No Cable Cooker adapter has ever needed to be replaced because of damage.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 40,510
    edited October 2010
    I don't know how I missed this thread, excellent write up as usual. What I find most interesting is the solid evidence that cable burn in does occur.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • KnuckleheadKnucklehead Posts: 3,614
    edited October 2010
    I read the entire post and It really brought a few things about cable break in to light. Now unless I missed it, I'm just curious how long you had been using your current cables before you cooked them? I can also see where in order to get true results from this product you really have to know what to listen for, I can tell when something sounds good or bad but I can also see where an audio-novice would not benefit from this piece of gear. Nice write up.
    Polk Audio Surround Bar 360
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    Office stuff

    Allied 395 receiver
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    RT8t's & Wharfedale Diamond II's[/SIZE]

    Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music. ~Ronald Reagan
  • janmikejanmike Posts: 6,158
    edited October 2010
    Great review DK as usual.
    A bunch of folks that are close to each other should all chip in and purchase one. That way you guys could share it, something like the device I noticed at Polkfest at Teds a few years ago. The LP “straighter”.
    Michael ;)
    In the beginning, all knowledge was new!

    NORTH of 60°
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,400
    edited October 2010
    Thanks DK, as always very interesting and detailed.
    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD | Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2L | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; Belden 1694A Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • heiney9heiney9 Posts: 23,891
    edited October 2010
    F1nut wrote: »
    I don't know how I missed this thread, excellent write up as usual. What I find most interesting is the solid evidence that cable burn in does occur.

    I'm sure the cable naysayers will have a bunch of BS to add as to why these specific, measureable changes either didn't occur, don't matter, or can't be detected by the human ear.

    Great work DK, I rememebr when this first post appeared.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • fishbonesfishbones Posts: 954
    edited October 2010
    Where do you live DK? I'm comin' over with an armful of cables!!! hehe :D

    Nice write-up as always!
    ..... ><////(*>
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,400
    edited October 2010
    YEAH....cable cookin party at DK's!!!!
    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD | Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2L | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; Belden 1694A Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • RicardoRicardo Posts: 10,503
    edited October 2010
    I have the feeling that some members that love to get into cable threads will conveniently miss this one.
    _________________________________________________
    ***\\\\\........................... My Audio Journey ............................./////***

    2008 & 2010 Football Pool WINNER
    SOPA
    Thank God for different opinions. Imagine the world if we all wanted the same woman
  • heiney9heiney9 Posts: 23,891
    edited October 2010
    Ricardo wrote: »
    I have the feeling that some members that love to get into cable threads will conveniently miss this one.

    Ricardo is correct, he emailed/Pm'd me ahead of time and told me that's how it was going to go with those members. :D

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • reeltrouble1reeltrouble1 Posts: 9,313
    edited October 2010
    Ray,

    I am blocked from the Link on the MIT cables, I recall MIT particularily stated that cable cookers should not be used with their cables.........????????

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000



    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
    edited October 2010
    Now unless I missed it, I'm just curious how long you had been using your current cables before you cooked them?

    You bring up a good point. I should have mentioned this in the review, particularly since I was very skeptical about this device doing me any good due to the length of time I had owned my cables. The manufacturer claims that cable conditioning with ordinary music or test signals does not adequately condition cables. I found that to be correct for my cables. The manufacturer also offers to cheerfully and quickly refund the money of dissatisfied customers. He claimed to have not received even one returned unit in over ten years on the market.

    This evaluation was done in December of 2009. The purchase dates of the items tested were as follows. All items were previously broken in according to manufacturer's directions:

    1. Audioquest LeoPard tonearm cable, October 2006 (3 years of intermittent use).
    2. PS Audio AC-12 power cable, September 2009 (1 month of use).
    3. Audioquest Everest DBS speaker cables, December 2007 (2 years of use).
    4. Audioquest Sky XLR DBS interconnect cables, January 2008 (1 year, 11 months of use).
    5. Dreadnought isolation transformer, October 2008 (1 year, 2 months of use).
    I can also see where in order to get true results from this product you really have to know what to listen for, I can tell when something sounds good or bad but I can also see where an audio-novice would not benefit from this piece of gear.

    Another good point. In any hobby based on sensory experience, the depth of the practitioner's perception will depend on their interests, abilities, experience and training. This isn't elitism, it is just common sense and reality. The experiences of those practicing on the high end of any hobby may not be transferable to those at the entry and mid-point levels. I had known about the Cable Cooker and other similar devices for six years before I decided to buy one, and even then I was highly skeptical and was looking forward to returning it.:)

    janmike wrote: »
    A bunch of folks that are close to each other should all chip in and purchase one. That way you guys could share it, something like the device I noticed at Polkfest at Teds a few years ago. The LP “straighter”.

    In reading Audio Asylum forum posts about the Cooker, I found that this is exactly what some people do, particularly those fortunate enough to be members of an active audio club.
    heiney9 wrote: »
    I'm sure the cable naysayers will have a bunch of BS to add as to why these specific, measureable changes either didn't occur, don't matter, or can't be detected by the human ear.

    There is no need for any BS, anger, or antagonism. If I have made some error in my quantitative analysis, then it should be easy to point out such error in quantitative terms. Criticisms along the lines of:

    "I don't like the title of the article",
    "the author doesn't have a clue",
    "the differences are there, but they are not audible",

    do not aid understanding.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,332
    edited October 2010
    Ricardo wrote: »
    I have the feeling that some members that love to get into cable threads will conveniently miss this one.

    Ricardo,

    You are too impatient. This thread has only been around since Dec. 2009.;)
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
«13
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