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, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; 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; Preamplifier: Passive Preamp icOn 4Pro Model 3 SE; Amplifier: Bakoon AMP-13R or Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers: sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Zu Submission subwoofer; 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: ~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 150
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: €1'735 as reviewed [€416/m for DPS-4.1 wire, €333 for FI-50 NCF IEC plug, €154 for FI-1363UK NCF plug]
Alpha-OCC-DUCC. In this alphabet stew floats Dia Ultra Crystallized Copper. It's from Mitsubishi Material Industries*, the world's foremost supplier for it. Their in-house and strictly quality-controlled process is different from the cast Ohno process but still creates an "optimally aligned long-grain molecular structure" for their oxygen-free copper. To it Furutech add their multi-stage cryogenic + demagnetizing Alpha process. Voilà, power cord OCD up the duct. If you live in the UK/Ireland and desire Furutech's very best, add the above FI-1363 NCF rhodium mains plug. It includes Nano Crystal² Formula, their piezo-electric crystalline compound mixed with ceramic particles and carbon powder which we've heard so much of in my recent Furutech reviews. To splurge, select the matching rhodium FI-50 NCF IEC connector. Hello high-current power cord with passive noise filtering built into either end. It's ideal to go between wall and power distributor. For à-la-carte assembly at your chosen length with your hand-picked plugs, visit the UK's Futureshop. They will also sell you the raw parts if your oujia board spells out DIY. Given the depth of Furutech's parts catalogue, that could quickly lead to PTSD to hit up more letters. Being made of lesser stuff, I let Furutech's Graeme Coley make those choices for me. I merely specified 3m of length and a UK mains plug. What would his team cook up for our upstairs system's primary power connection?
* "Conventionally, high-fidelity sound was pursued by increasing copper purity and crystal size in audio cables to avoid impurities in signal transmission. For the purpose of developing an ideal conductor for audio cables, we investigated the state of impurities in high-purity copper conductors and whether the conductors had any physical directionality. We found that the crystalline lattice does show a strong crystal orientation in the conductor's cross section. Moreover, we found that impurities believed to exist only at the boundaries of crystal grains also exist on the inside of crystal grains" [from Mitsubishi's internal review N°5]. The D.U.C.C.® process thus goes beyond attempts at creating 'mono-crystal' conductors and also minimizes directionality effects.
Mitsubishi Cable Industries have this table to show chemical inclusions found in CDA C10100 i.e. oxygen-free electronic aka OFE copper of 99.99% purity and 0.0005% oxygen content. For contrast, they show the values for their MOF®-6N8 copper [the unit of measurement is ppm]. Armchair warriors will endlessly debate their merits relative to audible performance. Showing this graph just suggests that not all 'oxygen-free' copper is created equal. Titan Audio of Ireland have availed themselves of a local university's tech department to conduct measurements which showed costly long-grain copper to have measurably better current conduction than ordinary copper. It thus shows up in their better power cords. Siltech and CrystalConnect also spend extra to source 'mono-crystal' copper and silver. Furutech are far from alone to think such materials superior for ultimate signal transmission. In fact Acrolink of Japan also avail themselves of the Mitsubishi conductor in their 7N-PC5500. From the periodic table of elements, we see that in sequence, the listed inclusions below are manganese, phosphorous, sulfur, iron, nickel, zinc, arsenic, selenium, silver, cadmium, tin, antimony, tellurium, lead and bismuth. Our takeaway is that Furutech's OCC-DUCC conductor is mono-crystalline copper; very high-purity copper; undergoes multi-stage cryogenics; and adds demag treatments. Phew. If only I were an electron hit by current. Then I could tell you exactly how this makes life easier on me.
In the absence of that nano perspective, I must trust my ears. That's where strict objectivists bow out to return to their oscilloscopes. As in love, all is fair in hifi as long as we're having fun, be it in the seat or on the bench. If power cords bore you stiff, log off now. Today we're headed beyond generic freebie cords. Our tour guide are Furutech who began as an independent distributor of Furukawa Electric PCOCC products in 1988. Furukawa themselves started operations in 1884 with the opening of the Honjo copper smelting plant and Yamada Cable Works. Clearly these folks know more on the subject of copper and cables than average chop shops which dress off-the-spool wire from Mogami or Wanlung Neotech in fancy jackets and heat shrink.
Furutech's NanoCrystal² Formula has also been applied to the plugs of their new Category 8 LAN or local-area network cable. CAT8 means 40Gbps transmission speeds, up to 2'000MHz bandwidth and improved cross talk and noise specs over CAT7. The Furutech LAN-8 NCF [£120/0.6m to £260/5m, 7.5/10m by request] uses 24-gauge silver-plated OCC copper conductors and triple-layered shielding with aluminium foil and copper braiding. When my shipment's DHL tracker arrived, I learnt that the raw cable goes by DPS-4.1 which gets €416 per meter. Furutech had terminated it with a top-shelf FI-50 NCF IEC plug (€333) on one end, a matching FI-1363UK NCF (€154) on the other so €1'735 for the 3-meter specimen as delivered.
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