June
2024

Country of Origin

Japan

GT2 NCF USB-B

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (i5, 256GB SSD, 40GB RAM, Sonoma 14), 4TB external SSD with Thunderbolt 3, Audirvana Studio, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 & SW-6 switch, Laiv Audio Harmony and Sonnet Pasithea; Active filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos & Gold Note monos on subwoofer; Headamp: Kinki Studio THR-1; Phones: HifiMan Susvara, Meze 109 Pro; Loudspeakers: Qualio IQ [on loan] Cables: Kinki Studio Earth, Furutech; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: FiiO R7 into Soundaware D300Ref SD transport to Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Preamp/filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Amplifier: Kinki Studio EX-M7; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF, Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Head/speaker amp: Enleum AMP-23R; Speakers: Acelec Model One
Headphones: Final D-8000 & Sonorous X, Audeze LCD-XC, Raal-Requisite SR1a on Schiit Jotunheim R
Upstairs headfi system: FiiO R7; Headphones: Meze 109 Pro, Fiio FT3

2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m

Review component retail: €347/3.6m

NCF Furutech novelties at Munich HighEnd 2024

DSc. Doctor of science. MBA. Master of Business Admin. BCL. Bachelor of Civil Law. CIA. Certified internal auditor. When we look for specialized expertise from a solid education, such three-letter groupings can hold meaning. At Furutech, NCF stands for nano-crystal² formula. It's their proprietary material with noise-attenuating properties. They include converting static build-up to negative ions and thermal energy to far infrared. This is enhanced with piezoelectric damping from ceramic nano particles and carbon powder. Be it as chassis liner for AC distributors, as coating on XLR, RCA, power-plug parts or cable-lift braces, in any Furutech model name these three letters tend to signify their best effort in a category. It was thus only a matter of moons until NCF would factor in a Furutech USB cable. The GT2 NCF USB-B returns from its Japanese spa treatment with silver-plated 0.12mm OCC conductors exposed to Furutech's Alpha cryo immersion; triple shielding of two 100% alu/mylar-foil wraps plus braided silver-plated copper sheath; a polyethylene dielectric; and PVC damper. Dressed in a Purple Rain herringbone jacket of woven nylon, this leash is available in 0.6, 1.2, 1.8, 2.5, 3.6 and 5m lengths.

If you're a WiFi freak—who then thinks us of the hardwired brigade freaky—you don't need this cable. For dodos like me who listen to predominantly local files streamed not over the nefarious LAN but plain old USB, today's contender is yesteryear's S/PDIF or AES/EBU pipe. It's the first signal cable of our entire system; in the digital domain. That mandates very high bandwidth and tight conformity with the USB impedance standard to minimize transmission jitter from signal reflections and lazy-edged square waves. For listener who prefer offline streaming to wireless cloud broadcasts, today's link won't induce rolling eyes or yawns. Whilst we could argue that they are in the shrinking minority, Furutech's market research suggests that enough of us continue to populate the audiophile foothills. And of course you surely have heard that DNA scientists are about to reintroduce the dodo bird as a living species?

USB. Still. Lives. So get on the bus. We'd hate to depart without you.

That wraps my breezy intro. To test today's ride, a 3.6m Furutech sample went up against my 3m Curious Cable which connects a 2022 27" iMac with 40GB/RAM, Audirvana and an external 4TB SSD to a Singxer SU-6 USB bridge before a Laiv Audio Harmony DAC enters the signal into the analog domain. Digital. If only it were just 1s and 0s. Then bit perfect would be all. Then a stable WiFi connection and €100 Topping DAC would suffice. Product like today's is for when we know that there's more to it even if the complete science behind it is foggy. Having ears, comparing then picking what sounds best to us is enough though it still won't win arguments against theoreticians. Kicking off arguments of a different colour are fakes. Just as China clones Rolex and other elite wrist watches—if caught, Switzerland fines domestic buyers of such rip-offs—Furutech know of unauthorized online portals which shamelessly market fake Furutech products. You won't get fined of course, just end up with inferior merch and no warranty support. Caveat emptor and all that Latin Jazz. An authorized British outlet for all things Furutech is FutureShop. Just then they listed Furutech's non-NFC 3.6m USB link at £370. With today's equivalent NFC link at €347, I asked my Japanese contact whether those figures were legit. "Our loyal customers can thank the downward spiral of the Japanese yen for that. More bang for the buck." More yousa for the yen is my take on it.