Jul 302017
 

I was particularly intrigued by Bill’s comment on the post Jim Smith Checking In: “Unexpected results from the Duelund DCA20GA Interconnects”:

Jeff,

Not really sure where to post this. I think I discovered something with the Duelund Tin wire. If its running thin and sometimes cooking them can do this. But I noticed on two different cables not sure if this is coincidence if you cook them in “voltage mode” ( The cable dielectric is excited by electric fields. Leave the far end of the cable open circuited while cooking) you will add more warmth and richness to the sound. As well as overtones ,and texture that were not there before or just hidden. I’m not sure how long this anomaly last , or if it’s just a coincidence. Takes only about 12 hours to. The longer I noticed more effect almost to much. Might be a good way to “charge” up some thinned out ones if this is a real thing. I did this last night to mine I didn’t notice on all sources, but things like a local radio station I immediately noticed. As well as an SRV guitar tone I listen to always as to see where the sound is at immediately noticed the Rhodium was closer now to the sWitchcrafts in the midrange. If you got a a pair to experiment with try it. Only thing is if your completely satisfied with a sound not sure you should as it will change the sound. More relaxed too now. I heard this on two cables, and I do not know if it is just regular burn in. Hagerman recommends this cooking process for the first 24 hours he’s an intelligent guy I’m not so much just a tone guy, but I do not I say do it at the end of the burn as you want that tone and texture to remain. It could get rid of it in “current mode” just speculation. Anyways just thought I would share this. If anyone tries it and hears it as well it would be nice to know.

Best,

Bill

I had noticed I was getting inconsistent results when running-in Duelund DCA tinned-copper cables on my Audiodharma Cable Cooker. Sometimes the cooked DCA cables seemed a little better, but other times they sounded leaner and less musically satisfying.

This was completely different than the results I was getting from regular silver or copper cables with the Cooker, which sounded mellower and richer the longer they were cooked, so leaner sounding DCA cables took me by surprise.

I had concluded that tinned-copper cables were different animals from a conditioning standpoint than silver or copper cables, and had decided that the best approach with the Duelund DCA cables was to let them run-in naturally, even though it takes longer, because it maintains their superb tone better.

Then I read Bill’s message, and he described the same thing that I had experienced after cooking Duelund DCA cables, that they can sound “thin” and less musical. But, Bill found that by conditioning the DCA cables in his Hagerman’s ‘voltage-only’ mode, where the cable dielectric is excited by electric fields, that it added warmth and richness, and provided overtones and textures that were not noticeable before.

That really got my attention, so I checked in with Alan Kafton to find out if it was possible to condition cables in a voltage-only mode like Bill was doing with his Hagerman cooker, but Alan told me it was not possible to separate the current and voltage components the Cooker uses to condition cables.

Alan mentioned to me that maybe the Duelund DCA cables were getting over-cooked by the 1.9A of current from binding posts that was intended to condition speaker cables, and to try using the RCA connections for conditioning instead, which uses about 120mA of current for conditioning interconnects.

I had actually already tried that, but still got inconsistent results with the DCA cables.

Hagerman Audio Labs FryBaby2 Burn-In Generator.

So, I ordered a Hagerman Audio Labs FryBaby2 Compact Burn-In Generator of my own, and it arrived today.

At $229 the FryBaby2 is a fraction of the cost of the least expensive version of Audiodharma Cable Cooker ($999), so if everything works out as hoped, the FryBaby2 is a bargain for those who are running the Duelund DCA cables.

Alan might be right about the amount of current, as the FryBaby2 has a maximum current output of 10mA, compared to the Cooker’s 1.9A/120mA. That’s a big difference in current.

Of course, what I’m really interested in is the ‘voltage only’ mode of the FryBaby2 after reading Bill’s comment.

It might be that conditioning is best done only in voltage mode for the Duelund tinned-copper cables, and current conditioning of the conductors might be counter productive. I’ll find out!

FryBaby2.

Interestingly, the FryBaby2 not only can be used to condition cables, but also to condition electronics like preamplifier line and phono stages, and amplifiers.

The FryBaby2 has settings of 1V RMS (intended for line level conditioning), 10mV RMS (intended for MM phono stages), and 1mV RMS (intended for MC phono stages).

The FryBaby2 comes with connectors for interconnects and speaker cables, and a power supply that plugs into the wall.

Here’s what the FryBaby2 owner’s manual says about conditioning:

“There are two modes of cable burn-in, voltage and current. Both are required for maximum effectiveness.

Voltage Mode

In voltage mode the cable dielectric is excited by electric fields. Leave the far end of the cable open-circuited (see diagrams in following section).

Current Mode

In current mode, the cable is short circuited, and conductors are exercised via magnetic fields. Short-circuit the far end of the cable or form a loop by returning the cable to the other FryBaby2 output.

Current mode is not applicable when using the FryBaby2 to burn in amplification.

Duration

It is best to do a voltage burn for 24 hours followed by a current burn for 48 hours.

Note: silver conductors typically take twice as long!”

FryBaby2.

I’m going to try conditioning  some Duelund DCA with the Hagerman’s ‘voltage-only’ mode and report back.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!

 Posted by at 6:05 pm

  27 Responses to “Today’s Fresh Catch: Hagerman Audio Labs FryBaby2 Compact Burn-In Generator”

  1. Jeff,

    I think I commented previously that none of the Duelund wire sounds good in my system (PS Audio electronics, Wilson Duettes). All were burned in on the Audio Dharma Cable Cooker. I wonder if that had something to do with it.

    Do you know if you can get the Duelunds ‘back to normal’ post-burn by just playing them with music or am I stuck with them as they are?

    Ian

    • Hi Ian,

      Sorry to hear the Duelund DCA cables haven’t worked out for you, that’s a bummer.

      There’s a couple of possibilities.

      The first is that the Duelund DCA just isn’t a good match for your particular gear.

      The second is that the Duelund DCA got over cooked on your Audiodharma.

      If it can be restored from that is a question I don’t know the answer to yet, but one I hope to be able to answer in the near future.

      I’ve got a shielded pair of DCA20GA interconnects I built and cooked on my Audiodharma, and they came out sounding lean and amusical. I’ve put them on the FryBaby2 in voltage-only mode tonight as per Bill’s comments. We’ll see what happens.

      I’m also going to try voltage mode on a pair DCA16GA interconnects, DCA12GA speaker cables, and some DCA26GA wire that I want to build headshell leads out of.

      It should be interesting!

      Best,

      Jeff

      • I’m thinking the Duelund got over cooked but maybe it’s just a match issue. Before I had the Duelund cable I had some WE 12GA speaker cables I built. That’s before I had my Wilson’s but with the PS Audio equipment I have now. The WE cables didn’t sound very good with the Sonus Faber Liutos I had at the time. Maybe PS Audio and tinned copper cable doesn’t work well together. The most recent batch of Duelund cable I got was to fabricate jumpers for the WIlson outboard crossover. The 12GA Duelund didn’t sound very good in place of the WIlson tweeter jumper but I had cooked it for 4 days first.

        I’m sure it’s unrelated but the Duelund resistor didn’t sound very good with the WIlsons either and I switched to a Path Audio. In other setups I have LOVED the cast resistors. I’ve been experimenting with audio gear for 40 years and I am still amazed at how much more I can learn. I used to think it was as easy as buying good gear and just hooking it up.

        Regards,
        Ian

        • Hi, Ian……no doubt in my mind that 4 days on the Cable Cooker was too much for the Duelund 12-gauge jumpers. Even though they are comprised of 12-gauge conductors, the construction is a different animal than most “conventional” designs, and its dielectric even more so (i.e. far less plastic). I would have suggested 2 days to start, then listen for several days (allowing the materials to settle in as well), then perhaps another 8-12 hours on the Cooker….rinse and repeat in your system.

          “leaner-sounding” can be a function of not enough Cooking time, or just the reverse….too much Cooking time. Think of the conditioning process like a sine-wave, with hills and valleys, ups and downs. The materials are constantly changing, and at a certain point you could hear improvements, and at other times you could hear something less-than-stellar. Again it’s a process.

          With that in mind, using the Cable Cooker is not a one-shot process. Performing the progressive Cooking-and-listening tests (as recommend on the Cooker’s FAQ page) best determine the optimal amount of hours needed for a particular design….as we know well, all cables are not created equally, with differing geometries and differing materials.

          I am a bit surprised that the results for the Duelund are less-than-desirable (for you and Jeff), but that’s show business. Others have had success Cooking vintage WE wiring, so I presumed the new Duelund would gain similar benefits. But most important is working with what works best…I look forward to reading about Jeff’s experience with Jim’s device, and obtaining the best sound reproduction.

        • Hi Ian,

          My best recommendation for the Duelund DCA cable/wire for now is to let it run-in naturally without conditioning it on any kind of cable conditioner.

          I’m sure there will be instances where the DCA isn’t a good match for particular gear or preferences, just as with copper or silver cables, as there doesn’t seem to be any cable that works ideally for all systems or tastes.

          Once I get some experience with the FryBaby2’s voltage mode I’ll report back on the results.

          Best,

          Jeff

  2. Thanks for the feedback. I probably have overcooked my Duelund cables, particularly the jumpers.

    I think this means a revision is necessary for the Cable Cooker website where it says:

    “Over-Cooking does NOT do any damage to the cabling whatsoever.”

    For some cables that appears not to be the case. I will be more judicious in my use going forward.

  3. Ian….no revision necessary, as the Cable Cooker does NOT do any damage to the cabling. That statement remains as years ago, people were concerned with actual physical damage to a given cable due to their lack of knowledge about what the Cable Cooker was actually doing, and that the output signal would not “burn” their cables. That statement needed to be made.

    Yes, you over-Cooked your Duelund’s, but they are not damaged nor ruined….just keep playing music through them and the materials will eventually settle in and settle down, and find their sweet spot. Again, this is part of the process, no different than a few customers forgetting about their cables, leaving them on their Cooker for 2 weeks. Obviously they sounded like crap….but eventually the cables returned to their optimum state. And eventually they too will retrograde in performance, requiring a recharge months down the road. This process has been proven thousands of times over and over. The Duelund’s will find their sweet spot as well….give them the appropriate time.

    Very good that you will be more judicious going forward….that’s what I’ve always advised, and continue to advise….your ears are the decision-makers, in all cases (if you’re willing to perform the Cooking-and-listening tests). You can always contact me directly for advice and discussion.

  4. Alan,

    Glad to hear they will not be permanently damaged. It was such a PITA to keep swapping the jumpers in and out that I thought I’d just leave them for 4 days and then plug them in.

    Will they recover simply as a function of time or do they need to be in use to recover? If I could find another place to just run music through them I would…

    Thanks,
    Ian

  5. Jeff,
    I’ve had a Hagerman Frykleaner for years and like what it does for interconnects. It’s also a good way of burning in MC SUTs (step up transformers). Just hook up the MC signal to the input of the SUT and load the secondary with 10k or 47k ohms. Or just plug the SUT into the MM input of a phono stage which already will have a 47k ohm load. Leave it running a few days and your SUTs will get the equivalent of many, many hours of records playing without wearing out your cartridge or your patience.
    —Gary

    • Hi Gary,

      Thanks for the tip on the SUT’s, I’ll have to give that a try!

      I’m impressed by the wide array of items that are amenable to voltage conditioning, and am looking forward to trying it on a quite a number of applications.

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  6. Ordered the frybaby. What is the final recommendations to use the fry baby for the duelund dca? as 20 ga interconnect? as a 12 ga speaker cable? i understand that for interconnects, 12 or 24 hours sessions is recommended. voltage only? what setting in the unit? Thanks!

    • Hi Jeffrey,

      I doubt there will ever be a “final” recommendation on the FB2, as the optimum amount of voltage-only conditioning for a given DCA interconnect or speaker cable will depend on a system’s overall balance, and the listeners personal tastes.

      My recommendation is to start at 12 hours of conditioning, listen to it for a day or two, then do another 12 hours of conditioning if your ears tell you it needs more time. Just repeat the process until you get it dialed in the way you want it for your system and preferences.

      Best,

      Jeff

  7. Hi Jeff,

    After treating for 12 hours the Duelund interconnects with FB2 voltage-only conditioning, are the good results lasting for days/weeks or re-conditioning is needed periodically?

    Also, have you done FB2 voltage-only conditioning on the Duelund DCA used as Speaker cables?

    Thanks,

    Nick

    • Hi Nikos,

      I’ve only been using the FryBaby2 to do voltage-conditioning for a little while now, so I’m not really sure how long the conditioning effects last.

      With my Audiodharma Cable Cooker, the combined voltage + current conditioning lasts for quite a while, and I don’t recall if I’ve ever even gone back and done more conditioning with the CC after getting things where I wanted it.

      The Duelund tinned-copper cables are different animals though, and they seem to respond differently to conditioning than the regular copper or silver cables in my experience.

      So it may take a while to completely understand how the voltage-only conditioning works over a longer term.

      Bill, if you see this comment, can you share any observations you have on this topic? You’ve got more experience with the voltage-only conditioning than anyone!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

    • Hi Nikos,

      I forgot to say that I did some voltage-only conditioning on the Duelund DCA12GA speaker cables, but I’ve been so busy of late I haven’t had a chance to give them a listen yet.

      Best,

      Jeff

  8. Hi,

    Does FryBaby2 come with speaker wire adapters?

    Regards,
    Alex.

  9. Hello,

    Any update on burning in he Duelund DCA16 with the frybaby2? I just installed he DCA16 as speaker cables and am wondering if I’m better off getting he frybaby2 to burn them in or let them burn in naturally.

    Thanks,
    Tom

    • Hi Tom,

      Here’s my take on on using the FryBaby2 to condition Duelund tinned-copper cables: only do voltage-only conditioning to condition the dielectric.

      The FryBaby2 can be used to do both voltage-only and current-only conditioning, but at least from my trials I’ve come to the conclusion that for the Duelund DCA cables voltage-only conditioning improves tonality, but current-only conditioning degrades it.

      The FB2 can do voltage-only and current-only conditioning only for interconnects.

      For speaker cables you can only do current-only conditioning with the FB2, unless you first build them as a pair of interconnects, do voltage-only conditioning, and then take them apart to use as speaker cables, which works well but is a lot of additional work.

      So I would recommend that you let them break-in naturally, unless you want to do the voltage-only conditioning via the interconnect method first.

      I hope that helps!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

      • Hi Jeff,

        first I must say I have spent many hours reading your excellent articles!

        I was a bit confused by your post above about building speaker cables as interconnects to be able to do voltage only conditioning. I thought the FB2 was supplied with RCA-Speakerwire adapters?

        Another thing, have you tried conditioning coupling capacitors with the FB2?
        They are normally rated with a very high voltage, so I would think the low voltage of the FB2 is insufficient?

        Best Regards,
        Rune

        • Hi Rune,

          Thanks for the kind words, appreciated!

          The RCA adapters for conditioning wire / speaker cables arose out of discussions with Jim Hagerman about the FB2, and you are correct, it is a bit confusing.

          Jim’s FB2 manual is notoriously sparse on information on how to use the device, and doesn’t address voltage conditioning of speaker cables, just interconnects and electronics.

          So that led me to ask Jim about doing voltage conditioning of speaker cables. Jim’s response to me was that you couldn’t do voltage conditioning of speaker cables / wire from the binding post adapters, period, it just didn’t work like it did for interconnects.

          Then in discussions with Robert, Jim elaborated a bit more and told Robert that voltage conditioning is a proximity effect, the conductors have to be right next to each other (as in an interconnect).

          So presumably you could get some conditioning effect through the binding post adapters with speaker cables or wires if you kept the conductors right next to each other.

          So, for example, that suggests that if you keep the conductors very close to each other when using the binding post adapters, say by tying them together with some twine along their length, you should be able to get some conditioning effect of the dielectric during voltage conditioning, but if they are further apart, like they would be when attached like speaker cables, then you probably wouldn’t get much (if any) conditioning effect. At least that’s my interpretation of Jim’s responses to Robert and me.

          So, about my RCA adapters vs. the binding post adapters: I don’t know how much you’ve used the binding post adapters for the FB2, but they’re not easy to work with unless the wire / speaker cables are terminated with spade connectors or are of a small diameter. Using bare wire like the DCA12GA with them doesn’t work very well, it is just too big to fit easily on them.

          So my idea with the RCA adapters was to make it easy to do voltage conditioning of wire dielectric for any type of wire by using alligator clips, which attaches to the wire much more securely and easily than to the binding post adapters. Also, the alligator clips allow you keep the wires together easily with a bit of twine along their length, effectively turning them into interconnects, and maximizing the voltage conditioning effect of the dielectric.

          So the RCA adapters are a bit of a hack to get maximum conditioning effect for wire dielectric by keeping the conductors as close together as possible, and by making it easy to attach and detach the wire.

          Anyways, I hope that helps explain the logic behind the RCA adapters for conditioning the dielectric.

          As for using the FB2 for conditioning caps, I don’t think I’ve tried that (don’t remember for sure), rather I’ve been using the Audiodharma Cable Cooker for that.

          The main advantage of the FB2 over the Cable Cooker is that the FB2 allows you to separate current (the conductors) and voltage (the dielectric) conditioning so that each can be optimized for whatever works best for a given wire. For example, I’ve had the best results with the Duelund DCA wire, for example, by doing only voltage conditioning of the dielectric, with no conditioning of the conductor.

          I hope that helps.

          Kind regards,

          Jeff

  10. Thanks Jeff,

    Yes, that helps a lot. I’ll let the speaker cables burn in naturally and get the Frybaby2 for the Duelund interconnects I’ll soon be ordering from Parts Connexion. I’m done with expensive cabling! I’ll still experiment with using the WE 10ga speaker cables I like so well, maybe using the Duelund and WE together. It’s nice having multiple great sounding cables at such reasonable prices.

    BTW, I believe it was you on another thread that recommended Cecile McClorin Salvant. Great call, she’s amazing. I especially like her live recording.

    Thanks,
    Tom

    • Hi Tom,

      I know what you mean about expensive cabling. While it can be good, I’d rather have the Duelund DCA, which I like better than most all the expensive cabling I’ve heard, and it’s inexpensive! A definite win-win!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  11. Hello Jeff–

    I came across this recent discussion on use of the Frybaby2 and I thought I might add some information I received from Jim Hagerman. I found the instructions that come with the Frybaby a little on the sparse side so emailed Jim with a few questions. I’ll try to summarize his replies.

    How to do parallel burn in of speaker cable. Jim said you cannot do it, for instance, on a spool of bulk wire. Parallel burn in will not happen without a signal/return pair of wires running together. Also, parallel burn in is impacting the dialectric and not the wire. It is best to have the speaker cables made up first, with signal and return legs tightly coupled, as in a twisted pair and any other cable sleeving in place. Connect one wire in the cable to the red side of the binding post adaptor and the other wire in the cable to the black side of the binding post adaptor.

    Parallel burn in of XLR cables. Jim said it must be done in two steps, first step, you burn in the pair of signal wires and second step, you burn in the shield/return. To complete first step, connect pin 2 to (the center pin) on one of the Frybaby outputs and connect pin 3 to the (center pin) on the other output. After it has cooked the desired length of time, connect pins 2 and 3 together into one output and pin 1 into the other output to complete the burn in.

    Burn in of capacitors. He stated you simply hook up a single capacitor or several capacitors in series from the black side to the red side of the binding post adaptor.

    Burn in of resistors. He was not sure it would have much affect, but resistors could be connected in the same way as capacitors.

    Hope this may help others that may be needing a bit more information, as I was.

    • Hi Robert,

      Jim’s instructions are very sparse about the FryBaby2, so many thanks for sharing the results of your conversations with him.

      I’ve been using my FryBaby2 exclusively to condition the dielectric of my Duelund DCA wire. The Duelund DCA wire is a bit unique in my experience, as I have found that conditioning the dielectric beneficial, but in my test systems conditioning the conductors degrades its performance, to my ears.

      Personally I have found that speaker cables perform better when not terminated, but not everyone wants to use them that way.

      You can actually condition wire / speaker cables with the FryBaby2 by making up a simple set of RCA adapters with alligator clips on the pins & grounds, then condition the wire or speaker cables’ dielectric like they’re interconnects. That’s handy if you want to use the DCA wire for internal speaker wiring, crossovers, etc.

      In fact you’re giving me the idea that I should write that up for a blog post so that those who want to give that a try know how it works.

      Thanks for your comment, appreciated!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  12. Thank you Jeff for your very elaborate and informative response!
    I think it is extremely impressive that you find the time to reply to all the comments to your articles. You are truly dedicated to your readers 🙂

    Best Regards,
    Rune

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