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For review we received a set of four
DFPC Reference cables of 2 meter length each. Just like the DFPC Signature reviewed here, the cable is constructed of three separate wires of equal diameter plus a thinner one. The thicker wires are dressed in a brown-beige checkered nylon sheath. The thinner wire is dressed in blue. Two of the thicker wires are meant to carry the hot signal, the third is the return. Protected earth is handled by the blue wire. This geometry requires proper power polarity protocol. With our EU two-prong Schuko plugs it can mean that the ‘L’ on the Oyaide IEC plug is really the hot/live leg. Obviously the LessLoss cable has current running through both intended hot conductors. What it doesn’t imply is that your component ends up connected in proper polarity.

Many components in our collection prefer their hot pin to be the ‘N’ of the IEC connector. This is no issue with symmetrically configured power cords. Simply reverse the Schuko plug orientation in the wall or power distribution block. Should this be impossible, you’ll have to do surgery on the component’s power inlet or rewire your wall outlet. This is very common for unsymmetrical three-prong power countries which can’t simply invert their plugs. To not void your equipment warranty or prevent a claim on your life insurance policy, a better alternative might be a second power distribution block in which the hot and return on the input side are reversed.

Louis advised us to have the cables undergo proper—very long—run in. Think at least 600 hours to get the best out of these is the word. Before we sentenced them to domestic chores like powering a fridge (that would teach ‘em), we got out our trusty Blue Horizon Noise Analyzer and Fluke VoltAlert. One of our wall outlets and hence its electrical group offers up a nice test. When the Noise Analyzer is plugged in, its readout jumps to max = 999 and its built-in speaker emits a terrible noise. Now we plugged the DFPC Reference into that wall outlet and connected the Noise Analyzer to its business end. To our surprise there was no difference. We still suffered the max reading and unattenuated noise to show absolutely zero effectiveness of this cable at dealing with this particular HF noise. By contrast the just reviewed Audiomica Allbit Consequence cord from Poland had reduced the display figure to 087 for a more than 9/10th noise suppression and completely eliminated any noise from the speaker. However the LessLoss did not engage the Fluke VoltAlert when its tip was passed along the cable’s length. The Audiomica had lit up its LED so the hot wire could be readily traced.

Whist the DFPC’s shielding was thus very effective at making the capacitive current and more specifically the changing electric field around the wires undetectable to the VoltAlert*, its connectors on either end weren’t properly shielded. The VoltAlert lit up when nearing the Oyaide plugs. This showed us that not only are both ends of the DFPC cords able to leak noise, they can also pick it up from these ends. That’s exactly why several vendors of power plugs offer fully shielded plug casings.

* This test also proved the danger of relying on non-contact electrical probes like the Voltalert. Even when the meter’s LED does not light up, you might when you touch the wire. For electrical maintenance always use a full-contact tester like a multi meter.

Another option and one already adopted by Siltech and Karma is the invention of Fritz de With of Dutch STS Digital to effectively shield any plug. Forthcoming cables from these companies will be equipped with Fritz shielding. We applied a crude version of it during some of our tests. As per Louis’ secondary advice after burn in, start with the source. These components deal in tiny signals to be most affected by unwanted noise. Once noise enters the signal, the rest of the audio chain only amplifies that contamination further. Our Phasure PC streamer and matching Phasure NOS1 DAC were the first to get the DFPC Reference cables. Phasure’s Peter Stordiau does not believe in aftermarket cables and is a strong evangelist of using $1.50 cables: "If there is a change with high-end cables, there is something wrong with the equipment" is his motto. Well, maybe there was something wrong ‘somewhere’ but the introduction of the LessLoss power cords made a definite change in the sound!