Power cords make no difference. Who just ditched that scat on my lawn? Read the sign: Clean up after your own pooch! V1's first handle was on dynamic range. To many that's just an arbiter for how maximally loud things get. They think of ever taller mountains. Lhotse becomes Kangchenjunga becomes K2 becomes Mt. Everest. If you do lots of big romantic symphonica from Brucker to Wagner via Strauss, Tchaikovsky & Co., peaks could mean eighty musicians riding Hawaiian breakers in massed parallel. In the concert hall that's seriously impressive. In the context of a living room which already demands that furniture be moved (out?) to accommodate a real string quartet plus grand piano, it's never realistic.

Then comes the alternate reality. The recorded dynamic range of many files/discs doesn't actually eclipse 10 decibels [graph at right from here]. Now the extended scaling of orchestral climaxes is pure imagination; or treasured if faded memory. Relevant now is to magnify what goes on between far narrower end stops of dynamic variations. Instead of traversing fifty decibels from barest whisper to full-throttle mayhem, we may only flicker along a 6dB stretch. If for that we set our max SPL to the same value as orchestral 90dB peaks—prolonged exposure to sounds exceeding 85dB at the work place is considered dangerous so enforceable by law—everything is very loud all of the time. That quickly gets exhausting and boring, never mind neighbors will/should call the police.

If instead we set median SPL to 65dB so peaks rarely exceed 75dB, it's far more relevant to divide our dynamic range into the greatest number of micro slivers. Instead of just three demarcations like small, medium and large, we get an organ-pipe array of thirty perhaps even sixty differences. Don't get stuck on my numbers. They merely paint a picture of maximized dynamic contrast when loudness isn't grossly rounded up or down to the nearest value. Now music gets livelier. It stops being mostly flatlined. It stops being monotonous. Or think of it this way. Any octave contains 12 semi tones. Human hearing is theoretically good for 10 octaves. If instrumental fundamentals rather than harmonics spanned as far, that'd be 120 discrete half tones before we add vibrato pitch changes and quarter tones. Imagine the wealth of nuanced expressions when dynamic range behaves alike. It's like an extra dimension of new notes. Those values expand the vocabulary of our listening comprehension. The artists we listen to gain more words to present their musical narrative with greater nuance, inflection and personality. Dynamic tedium becomes more chromatic and multi-hued. That's the realm V1 built out. This difference of more finely gradated loudness ripples was unmistakable. Don't just think peaks. Think what happens between them and the lowest valley. That's where the majority action lives. It's not static as though stuck in medium gear. It changes constantly, albeit often in very small doses. Those we want to clarify, not streamline into sameness.

The second difference best illustrates visually to show less clear-cut advantages. Here is the before…

… and here the after. With V1, tone colors saturated and overall density increased. In parallel to its darker heavier softer sonic picture came micro detail harder to make out. In the photos that detail includes blades of grass in the foreground, the reflective wetness of the pathway's wooden planks, actual water in the lower right corner and the surfacing of the two rocks at the left. No doubt the lower aural equivalent was the more dramatic. But equally beyond doubt was that the upper reading felt more transparent, detailed and lit up. In very basic terms, the sound without V1 featured more white; and with V1 more black.

Now we're back at the catch-all term resolution. Many audiophiles apply that primarily or even exclusively to quasi visual elements like image focus, edge limning, layer specificity and separation. How about dynamic contrast, timbre variations and color intensity? Aren't those values which likewise benefit from stronger magnification power so higher resolution? To my mind and the ears attached to it, it's an endlessly variable balance of ever finer nip 'n' tuck. Increasing or improving one value nearly invariably impacts another. Loading up image density for example is bound to eventually undermine layer separation because first-row images overlay thus obscure images behind them. And so forth for any other pair of parameters which interact on a teeter-totter or as either/or polarities. So I'll refrain from assigning better/worse comments to the aural versions of these photos. Instead I'd have you focus on the mere fact that one power cord could cause such an obvious shift.

There's obviously more detail in the bar windows showing brick-wall reflections from across the street. The text on the hanging black panel at left enjoys higher contrast…

Wouldn't this thick cord's current-carrying chops be best exploited with more power-draining amplifiers? Laying snake pipe to ours transferred the same qualities at unexpectedly lesser potency. Returning the front end to our customary €1'735 Furutech DPS-4.1 lightened up the aural imagery. With it, the visual detail count went up. Replacing our Irish Titan Audio high-current long-grain copper cord on the amp stack with V1 made things heavier, denser and darker again, just not by the same margin. Were I in the market for plastic surgery on our big system's overall balance by using a most luxurious if unwieldy €10K power cord as the scalpel, I'd run it on our DC-coupled 1MHz amps. There I'd get obvious dynamic advantages plus higher image density, just without the latter's heavier dose on the front end. On balance there I preferred the DPS-4.1's more visual resolution or airiness over the Project V1's greater darker materialism. Either way I'd use a Furutech cable.

Color saturation is more intense again which particularly benefits the upper brick work and splendid potted greenery. Is one image categorically better than the other? Or is it 50:50?

Power cords make no difference? That—doggie bags over yonder—wouldn't be my pooch but yours; and screwed. The shift in tonality and texture Furutech's Project V1 made was easily on par with exchanging a Chord converter for a LessLoss DAC. Think component not accessory level. Being Furutech's current best, naturally today's specimen came at a price. For something that might better suit your wallet, peruse their extensive catalogue. Either way, there's rewards to be had. Project-level shifts in system tuning/voicing simply must match our ideals. That's something only you decide. Here it's key to work with a dealer who can arrange a short-term loaner. Power delivery is quite possibly the least sexy of hifi categories. Yet it remains foundational. Electronics build on it. The music signal merely modulates our utility power from the wall. A stable strong ultra-quiet foundation makes everything above it work and sound better. It's very basic but because of it, often overlooked; or at least not fully obeyed. Stressing that point in heavyweight fashion is Furutech's latest, the Project V1. It's a true power component. It weighs accordingly, too. When your box arrives you will, make no mistake, mistake it for an amplifier or at least serious preamplifier. It's that kind of material presence.

And yes, anything this extreme triggers instant push-back for overkill or decadence. In certain quarters that's a virtual reflex. But then Furutech call this Project V1. As I did earlier, I suggest again that 'V' ought to stand for 'very': very expensive, very thick, very heavy, very stiff, very potent in its effect on the overall sound. The '1' means that it only takes one specimen to make it so. Whether you want that difference and are willing to finance it; that's nobody's business but yours. This was my cue to exit stage right. Unplug the Project V1. Repack for pickup. Done. Lights. Out!