Frequently Asked Questions
Please review the information below prior to ordering.
The Cable Cooker can condition most types of audio/video cabling. The front panel includes RCA, BNC, and XLR connectors, plus 5-way speaker binding posts. These binding posts accept spade terminations, banana terminations, and of course, tinned or bare wire. The Cooker does not have an S-video connector on it, but Radio Shack or other popular commercial suppliers have an RCA-to-S video adaptor that may be used to condition that type of cable. Microphone cables, guitar cables, and some headphone cables can be conditioned as well with the use of a ¼” plug-to-RCA adaptor.
In addition to interconnects, speaker cables, and power cables, the Cable Cooker can accommodate USB cables, Ethernet cables, and coaxial antenna / satellite receiver cables.
Absolutely. RCA-terminated interconnects may be daisy-chained through the use of barrel connectors (a few pair are supplied with every Cable Cooker). XLR terminated interconnects simply snap together in series, oriented in the correct direction.
Each Cable Cooker is supplied with a set of adaptors -- one for the wall plug and one for the IEC plug. These are professionally terminated with color-coded Deltron banana connectors that insert into two specific binding post sets on the front panel. Power cable break-in occurs on the same high-level circuit designed for speaker cable break-in. Additionally, we have “extension adaptors” available so that power cables may safely be daisy-chained. These extension adaptors are available for $10 each. Each adaptor allows an additional power cable to be conditioned (for instance, 3 extension adaptors allows 4 power cables to be broken-in).
There are also custom adaptors available for Schuko-style, UK13-style, and Australian-style power cables. Please see Adaptors page.
Yes. In normal operation interconnects and speaker cable, OR interconnects and power cabling may be conditioned together… just not all three. The bridging switch allows the simultaneous conditioning of all three types of cables, which is a time saver when performing the recommended periodic recharges.
With the original version 2.0, interconnects and speaker cable, OR interconnects and power cabling could be broken-in together….just not all three. This is due to the nature and necessity of wiring the connectors in series for the best possible signal integrity (from the Cooker). The bridging switch circuit allows simultaneous break-in of all three types of cables without any signal degradation. It is especially useful and time-saving for those who have quite a bit of cabling to condition, and for those who are performing a periodic “recharge” of their cabling on a regular basis. (Please note that version 2.0 is no longer in production)
NO....Bridged mode merely "forces" the direction of the output signal (from the upper left set of binding posts) to the lower left set of binding posts, and then to the upper right set, so they receive full signal strength. The lower left set & upper right set are otherwise "dummies" without direct signal when in Normal mode, following the internal wiring of the Cooker. Bridged mode changes the wiring pattern with a flick of that switch (from Normal mode). Cooking times are therefore the same, since the signal strength remains the same.
The general guidelines for new speaker cabling are from between 3 days to 4 1/2 days. The Cooking time (for all types of cabling) is directly dependent upon the gauge of the conductors, and the amount of dielectric material. Incremental Cooking-and-listening tests are advised to determine the “best” Cooking time for a particular cable. Speaker cables that have been in a system for some time might only need 24 to 36 hours of conditioning. Again, this is recommended on a periodic basis, performing what we call a “recharge”. Cooker owners are advised to do this on a consistent basis to maintain optimal system performance. Conditioning is not a one-time phenomenon.
For vinyl lovers, we make a special DIN-to-RCA phono adaptor that allows both tonearm wire and/or phono cables to be broken-in. In our opinion, due to the incredibly low voltage produced by cartridges (especially low output MC’s), tonearm wire and phono cables are “never” broken-in and fully conditioned. The Cable Cooker produces a multiplex signal that is approx. 2000 times stronger than what the average MC cartridge outputs. Dung Tri Mai uses this phono adaptor, and the Cable Cooker, for all new Triplanar production. The phono adaptor (fully cryo-treated) costs $125. It utilizes a Cardas 5-pin DIN connector and Cardas RCA, along with a high-quality, ultra-flexible 4-foot cable suited for low-level signals. We also include a Velcro band that wraps around the adaptor and tonearm to keep everything immobile and safe from damage during the break-in process.
That is dependent upon the gauge of the conductors, the number of conductors, and the amount of dielectric material. 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. And doing a “periodic recharge” of a system’s cabling every 3 or 4 months insures that a system will be at it’s optimum performance level. This makes the Cable Cooker a great long-term value. Conditioning is not a one-time phenomenon.
Over-Cooking can reduce the performance, at least temporarily. The characteristics of this are a reduced or diminished soundstage 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.
Not at all. Interconnects (RCA, BNC, and XLR’s) are conditioned on a separate, lower-power circuit from the higher-power speaker cable circuit. Therefore, they are independently conditioned and break in times are not related, nor diminished due to conditioning them simultaneously. The signal generated by the Cooker is quite powerful, and multiple pairs of cables may be daisy-chained as well.
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. This makes owning the Cable Cooker a great long-term value. Highly recommended!
Transparent cabling (all models, including Opus) is fine on the Cable Cooker, and MIT cabling performs without incident as well. Contrary to the language on MIT’s website, there have been NO problems with any of their cables when conditioned on the Cable Cooker. If fact, I have a number of customer reports stating that numerous models of MIT cabling (including Oracle) performed splendidly, and their performance was suitably improved, as would be expected.
Some manufacturers are using the Cable Cooker to break-in transformers, capacitors, and bulk wire. A few customers have successfully conditioned Bybee filters and Bybee Wire, the Richard Gray Power Company Line Enhancer, and various parallel-design AC line conditioners including Acoustic Revive, Audience, Audio Magic, Shunyata, Sound Application, and Walker Audio. AC duplex receptacles are easily conditioned as well. Customers have also reported great success conditioning various aftermarket capacitors, including Audience, Duelund, Mundorf, and VH Audio. Since Teflon caps typically have the longest break-in periods, the Cable Cooker provides an exceptional benefit for those as well. Customers should first contact audio excellence az to inquire whether (or not) a particular piece of equipment is suitable for conditioning on the Cable Cooker. Active components such as phono stages, preamplifiers, and amplifiers are not suited for use with the Cable Cooker….low wattage parts such as 1/4-watt resistors may be damaged by the intense multiplex signal.
The answer is an enthusiastic YES! Here is the procedure:
Customers have been successfully conditioning Audience RX, Auricaps, Clarity Caps, Duelund Coherent Audio, Jupiter, Mundorf's, Sonicaps, and VH Audio V-Caps (including their Teflon products) using these easy-to-follow instructions.
Caps are best conditioned via the binding posts, and they can be connected in series for multiple units. You can hook them up like speaker cables, going from the top set of binding posts to the bottom set of binding posts (on each side of the Cooker), or connect them like you would power cables....upper left set of binding posts to lower right set of binding posts.
You will need to connect *each* pole with a cap lead, i.e., one lead from black-to-black, and one lead from red-to-red in order to have signal continuity (this is because of the Cooker's internal wiring). Note the direction of your installation, as you will want to install the leads (and condition the caps) in the same direction you plan to install the caps in your gear. And as already mentioned, you can daisy-chain the caps (via alligator clips or electrical tape) as well, as long as you make sure the leads are secure and not moving or rubbing....this can create a short.
As far as conditioning times, I would recommend giving new caps at least 4 or 5 days of Cooking time (unless they are very small value), and possibly 6 or 7 days for larger values. Large Teflon caps (such as Auricap and VH Audio, for instance), will probably require at least 7 or 8 days of conditioning. When in doubt, or if you have any questions regarding your installation or conditioning times, please feel free to contact me.
Here are some questions from a Cooker owner (and my answers) that helps illustrate how caps should be installed:
QUESTION: "So I just pretend I have a pair of speaker cables hooked up. Instead I will have 2 (or more) caps, one to replace the black wire and one to replace the red. One cap black-to-black (binding posts) and the other red-to-red (binding posts). I'm assuming since I have two caps I'm only going to use only the right or left side and the other side is unused."
ANSWER: If you're only conditioning 2 caps, you need to connect them like a power cable (upper left set of binding posts to lower right set of binding posts). If you connect them like speaker cables, on one side only, you won't create a closed loop because of the internal wiring of the Cooker. To condition the caps like speaker cables, you will need 4 caps....one pair per side, one cap per pole. Then you will successfully achieve signal continuity for all the caps.
QUESTION: "As far as polarity on the caps, would the top pair of binding posts be the positive ones?"
ANSWER: The binding posts aren't designated plus or minus, just color-coded to replicate system cabling....both (upper left) posts carry the same signal. That's why I stated black-to-black and red-to-red for your connections to maintain consistency. Simply maintain the same direction (for installation on the Cooker) as you plan to solder them into the gear, and you'll be fine.
See the Adaptors Page for a full list of all available custom adaptors.
The Cable Cooker circuitry was designed around a “universal” switching DC power supply, which will operate with any line voltage and frequency around the world. Simply use a generic power cord (from the wall), plug it into the DC power supply, and then plug the DC adaptor into the Cable Cooker.
Shipping weight for the Anniversary Edition and HI-POWER versions is approximately 7 pounds, with the shipping box measuring 13″ x 9″ x 7″. The Cable Cooker chassis itself measures 10″ wide x 6 ” deep x 4.75″ tall (approximately 33cm. x 23 cm. x 18 cm.) including rubber footers.