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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, Sonnet Pasithea, Soundaware D30Ref SD card transport & USB bridge; Preamp: icOn 4Pro S w. hi/lo-pass filter; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 mono, Enleum AMP-23R; Headamp: Kinki Studio; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Aurai Audio Lieutenant w. sound|kaos DSUB 15 on Carbide Audio footers, Audio Physic Codex, Cube Audio Nenuphar Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; 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 Krion and glass 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: Soundaware D100Pro SD transport clock-slaved to Denafrips Terminator +; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp/filter: icOn 4Pro + 4th-order/40Hz hi-low pass; Amplifier: Goldmund Job 225; Loudspeakers: sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; 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: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headamp: COS Engineering H1; Headphones: Final D-8000; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 120
Upstairs headfi/speaker system: Source: smsl SD-9 transport; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; Integrated: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: €9'990/1.8m
Concept. When that word precedes a car, it tends to be an experimental one-off to gauge commercial viability or test new technology. Today a similar word precedes Furutech's best new power cord: Project V1. At €9'900/1.8m, it's loaded with their most advanced tech. Unlike a concept car, it's very much available. Its aggregate gauge is 10 or 5.26mm², overall diameter is 3.2cm. Construction is "3-tier concentric" so with an inner 127 x 0.18mm silver-coated conductor bundle twisted with a right rotation, a middle 37 x 0.18mm equivalent rotating left and an outer 43 x 0.18mm rotating right. There's resonance-damped double insulation of fluoropolymer and polyethylene. And of course there's a heavy helping of Furutech's proprietary NCF nano-crystal² formula compound which "generates negative ions to eliminate static and converts thermal energies to far infrared."
The conductor is dia-ultra crystallized copper aka DUCC, a Mitsubishi Materials Industries exclusive. It's described as "processing extremely pure oxygen-free copper to optimally align its crystals whilst reducing the number of their grain boundaries".
Furutech then apply their own α-OCC process of super cryogenic and demagnetizing treatments to enhance conductivity even further. Even the plugs are exclusive to this cable so carry special anti-static/anti-resonance NCF combined with nylon insulation. The conductor pins of non-magnetic rhodium are coated with pure copper.
Various microscopic views on molecular boundaries of different grades of copper.
Why throw the whole kitchen sink at a power cable? Furutech would remind us of how hifi power supplies work. "They're directly in the signal path. As amplifiers transfer energy to speakers, they draw down storage capacitors by that exact amount. The storage capacitors try to remain fully charged by drawing energy from rectifiers that turn AC into DC through a transformer which draws power from the wall. Ultimately everything we see, hear and experience with an A/V system is modulated AC. And that travels through a power cord which makes it part of the component's power supply." Project V1 leverages Furutech's 30+ years in the biz to produce "extremely fine resolution down and through a very low noise floor with improved soundstaging, image palpability and power and dynamics to spare."
We might say that Project V1 represents Furutech's attempt at a super(ior) conductor¹. All they've learnt over three decades about optimal AC signal transmission is packed into this cable. The ultra-serious price reflects that. So does the 'project' prefix. It suggests the equivalent of a street-legal race car for a few well-heeled enthusiasts keen on disobeying the speed limit. But unlike companies which play exclusively at the bleeding edge, Furutech cover the gamut. They even supply DIY with off-the-spool wire and connectors. That enormous breadth of their catalogue makes talking a walk on the wild side today more egalitarian. The very same know-how and technical resources polished up to maximal shine in the Project V1 filter through the company's entire range. Nobody is left out just because their wallet squeaks early. In that sense, V1 is proof of concept for what Furutech can ultimately do when their engineers are goaded to pull out all stops and just go for it. "Let all reasonable restraints be damned. We'll figure out pricing afterwards."
¹ From Siltech: "Its type of conductor is central to the performance of any audio cable. Over the years various materials from copper to carbon-fiber were tried. These have a fundamental effect on sound quality. But it's not just what you choose. It's how you make it. Looked at under a microscope, metal is a lattice of individual atoms forming multiple large crystals all locked together. Between those crystals are boundaries and voids so barriers a signal passing through must cross. These interruptions and discontinuities in the conductors don't show up via empirical measurement techniques but subjective listening can detect them all too clearly." It's why Siltech inject minute amounts of gold into their 9th-gen silver conductor. That pushes out impurities and fills in molecular gaps. In their very best 'zero-crystal' conductor, Siltech attempt to avoid gaps in the first place by controlling very precisely the speed, temperature and cooling-down process of the wire drawing processes and subsequent annealing and cryo treatments. At High End Munich 2022, Gryphon Audio introduced their silver/gold Vanta and Rosso cable lines. According to Stereophile, their conductors are sourced from Siltech. In Japan, Furutech pay special attention to the purity and grain of their conductors. With today's flagship power cord, that includes raw materials from Mitsubishi to which Furutech apply proprietary protocols to further increase conductivity. Also in Munich, Ansuz bowed their new Gold Signature cable range which introduces a new copper/silver/gold alloy. According to Dawid Grzyb who visited their exhibit, that power cord will retail for €60'000. In that extremist context, the extreme Project V1 remains – less extreme…
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