Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Denafrips Terminator+ clock-synced to Soundaware D300Ref SD transport/USB reclocker; Preamp: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE VT52/300B or Elrog 50/300B; Power amps: LinnenberG Liszt monos; Headamps: Questyle CMA-800r monos; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Aurai Audio M1 [on loan]; Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, LessLoss C-MARC Entropic cords between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators; Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room so no wall behind the listening chairs
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D100Pro SD transport; DAC/pre: Denafrips Terminator or COS Engineering D1; Amplifier: Bakoon AMP-13R or Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers: Acelec Model 1 w. Franck Tchang magnesium super tweeters, Zu Submission subwoofer, LessLoss Firewall for Loudspeakers; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Room: ~4x6m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win7/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headamp: Kinki Studio Vision THR-1; Phones: Audeze LCD-XC on Forza Audio Lab cable; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 120
Upstairs headfi system: Source: Soundaware A280 SD transport; Integrated amplifiers: Schiit Jotunheim R or Bakoon AMP-13R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a, Audeze LCD-2, Final Sonorous X & D8000, HifiMan HE-1000
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp: Wyred4Sound STP-SE II; Power amp: Pass Labs XA-30.8; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: £129/8
On Ireland's west coast aimed at Clare Island sitting in the entrance of Clew Bay, we faced the Donald's US. That—sorry—meant lots of fog. We also had seriously high-speed storms. Those were powerful enough to prevent opening a car door unless I parked in the house's wind shadow.
Mix in heavy rain. The effect was horizontal power hosing and flexing bay windows. It's why the Irish build strong.
After nearly two years of getting the lay of that wet land, we moved inland just a few miles. That put Ireland's holy mountain Croagh Patrick between us and the wild Atlantic ocean for a change. Adieu fog. But storms still rush through our present valley. They create fierce turbulence which in the upstairs bedrooms keeps us awake at night. Proper end-of-world stuff.
Even if it gains you a better room, relocating won't lift your sonic fog. Here I'm talking capacitive coupling when floors become part of our cables' dielectric because both are in contact. Shy of a vacuum, air is the best dielectric. The solution to lower capacitance thus is… a mundane cable lift. Or rather, quite a few. They surround your cable outers with free air dielectric. Happier cables make less sticky sound.
If you're living with cinder blocks, those lifters could be inverted Starbucks paper cups. Cro Magnon men in a dim cave might suspend wires with spiderwebs straight off the ceiling. If your décor sense is more critical, you'll want something neater. Here the market has options across a broad swath of materials, geometries and shekels.
Those from Furutech and Shunyata include piezo and ferrite-type HF-absorbtive materials. They're not just cable lifts. They're signal conditioners and noise traps.
With a set of Japanese NCF Signal Boosters on review—at €220/ea., those are way uptown—I already knew the concept in action. The layout of my upstairs system lent itself to suspending speaker cables across nearby furniture for a quick'n'dirty but also dirt-free test. Clear sonic benefits. It just looked a bit crap.
I needed a lookier alternative. I also wanted agrarian pricing to befit our rural location and maintain the silence of the lambs. So dry twigs tied into mini tripods just wouldn't have done. I needed a properly engineered sumthin.
The UK's Futureshop to the rescue. One Brexit-prepping isle over, they carry AudioQuest's Fog Lifters. A pack of 8 gets just £129. That was rural enough. I wanted Black Cat Cable's Lupo speaker wires off the floor. Off I also wanted the 3-meter Titan Audio power cord between Furutech GTO-2D NCF passive distributor and UK wall outlet. So I ordered two packs, enough to go around. Their marketing points at minimum physical contact from their thin nylon line. That points fingers at higher-mass competitors with far larger contact patches. Marketing needs targets to shine itself up. Each Fog Lifter slots two plastic parts into one another with a satisfying 'click' to turn four-legged cradle with taut fishing line on top. That nylon thread is sufficiently long to support multiple cables side by side. Meanwhile the two-part concept makes for a neat flatpack compact to ship. It's proverbial why-didn't-I-think-of-that stuff.
Arrows point at the suspended cables. It's the electron highway Los Angeles style.
Of course given that it took me a good year before I ever tried the above, such things are best left to professionals who design for a living. It's why I paid up rather than jerry-rig something fugly. Here's the small print. With a nasty head cold, teasing out a fancy dish is a waste. If our system's resolution and refinement are mediocre, small tweaks won't register or barely at best. With floors, synthetic but even wool carpets add static to the mix. That can add improvement bandwidth to cable lifts. Different cables might react differently. It's try and decide. The perhaps best thing would be to mock up cable lifts with standard household items like bottles or glasses. Hear and appreciate the difference? Get something more purposeful. Don't? Don't. For the above system, I already knew. Getting these speaker leashes off the floor was immediately audible. Downstairs I'd done the same for three power cords. That too had mattered though less. Now I just wanted a tidier solution for a song or two.
Who ya gonna call? Fog Lifters.
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