What's the difference between connectors?

Higher-quality connectors use purer metallurgy, better plating, and have cases that shield better from RF and EMI as well as dampen mechanical resonance. The result is smoother, more liquid, more coherent, and more transparent sound. By revealing low-level micro-details and micro-dynamics they present better time, tune, texture, and timbre.

Mojo Audio exclusively uses Furutech's highest performance connectors on all of our power and signal cables.

All Furutech rhodium-plated copper plugs use the same metallurgy and are given the same proprietary cryogenic and demagnetizing Alpha treatment. Furutech makes rhodium-plated copper plugs with a variety of casings. The better casings are less prone to mechanical resonance and electrical noise. Upgrading to Furutech's CF series of connectors result is a smoother and more refined sound, with a quieter and darker background, and more low-level detail.

In power connectors, Furutech's cryogenically treated unplated copper plug sets are an exceptional value. Many cosider them to be the most neutral sounding of all AC connectors. Their only drawback is that unplated copper requires more frequent cleaning and enhancement to prevent oxidation.

Periodically using a contact cleaner and enhancer like Caig DeoxIT Gold is recommended for all the connectors in your system.

The only drawback we've found with Furutech connectors is that as a result of their deep cryogenic treatment they take about twice as long to break in before they show their full potential. Initially, Furutech connectors can sound a bit cloudy and awkward. As they break in, they open up and gain detail, dynamics, and smoothness. Be patient and give Furutech connectors at least 300 hours of break in before evaluating their performance.

What's the best length and wire gauge for a power cable?

Shorter is always better. Even the best power cables degrade in performace as they increase in length, and coiled or excessively long cables have the potential to both pick up and create unwanted noise.

Due to lower resistance, larger wire gauges sound more effortless and relaxed as well as more detailed and dynamic. The greater the current draw of a specific component, the more noticeable the improvement when large-gauge power cords are used.

High-current draw components, such as AC power distribution centers, AC power filters, and some amplifiers, benefit most from larger wire gauge, whereas upgrading the plug quality is more significant for low-current components.

What's the best break-in method and how long does it take?

Playing dynamic music at full volume is necessary to properly break in cables and components. Cable cookers, frequency generators, appliances, and other out-of-system break-in methods can save you significant hours of break-in time but will only begin the break-in process.

Appliances such as computers and refrigerators are ineffective for breaking in power cables because they have energy-saving modes. Using appliances such as heaters, air conditioners, and powerful fans is recommeded for the first 100 hours of break-in to save in-system break-in time.

Some audiophiles who have expensive phono cartridges or tubes prefer to use an inexpensive second audio system to break in new cables without sacrificing the life of their expensive consumable components.

There are several silent break-in tricks, such as using 10K ohm dummy load RCA/XLR plugs to break in interconnects, source components, and preamps or high-power 8 ohm dummy load resistors in place of speakers to break in speaker cables and amplifiers. Instructions for making your own dummy loads is in our Breaking in Cables and Componets blog.

Most cables and components do not sound good for the first 24 hours. Most sound quite good after 100 hours. Improvements after 100 hours are less noticeable. Cryogenically treated cables and connectors must break in for over 300 hours before they show close to their full potential.

When cables are bent or components are moved, it usually takes 48 to 72 hours of additional break-in time before they regain their former level of performance.

Is any periodic maintenace required?

All cables and components are subject to atmospheric influences. Dust, dirt, smoke, contaminates from cooking, climate control systems, and organic sources all leave particles and films on contact surfaces. Even though some metals don't oxidize or oxidize slowly, all metal contacts degrade in conductivity over time due to airborne contaminates and therefore require periodic cleaning.

Periodically using a contact cleaner and enhancer like Caig DeoxIT Gold is recommended for all the connectors in your system.

Prior to cleaning, unplug your system from AC power. Clean all external metal surfaces with a residue-free cleaner, such as high-purity alcohol. Make sure you don't use a metal cleaner that will degrade polymers and plastics on nonmetallic surfaces. Use canned air to blow out connectors and ventilation holes. 

If improperly used, contact enhancers can short out connectors and even get onto circuit boards and cause problems. Apply all contact enhancers sparingly with a soft cloth or cotton swab to prevent dripping or overspill. Also note that many so-called "audiophile" contact enhancers initially improve the sound but then degrade over time and leave residues that are hard to remove.

Caig Gold has been used by professional electronics technicians and the US military as a contact cleaner and enhancer for decades. It is the only safe and effective contact cleaner and enhancer we can recommend. 

A trick to enhance and protect the chassis on electronic components is to use Pledge furniture polish or wipes. There are also many automotive polishes and protectants that work well on the metal and plastic surfaces of electronic components. Before applying an unknown cleaner or protectant to your components, test a small amount on a less-visible area to make sure it works well and does not discolor or degrade the finish. 

Periodically taking these steps will make your equipment look good and perform optimally over time.

Read a more about breaking in cables and componets on our Audiofiles blog.