Of attachments. The last time I'd conducted a 3-meter wall-to-distributor power cord shootout was in the main rig. It'd been between Titan Audio Eros Signature with optional ForceField module and LessLoss C-Marc Entropic. That had been unexpectedly major. The Irish cable priced far more budgetarian had lost; big. What was coarse, constricted and pale the LessLoss replaced with far greater textural sophistication, higher resolution and more dynamic expression. To be fair, on price Titan had been badly handicapped. To even the odds, I'd have needed Titan's two-up model instead. Today's mention is only about saying that the extra money spent on the Lithuanian mains cord paid off very handsomely. As it happens, an older £1'000 Eros Signature was still on duty upstairs. With it I had a virtual reset of my prior match. Afterwards I'd run €1'735 Furutech against $2'122 LessLoss borrowed from downstairs. At right is a DPS-4.1 terminated with ETI Legato plugs compliments of Tweekgeek who will also build you this cable with Furutech NCF plugs upon request.

They find the ETI to stage wider, the Furutech narrower with superior focus. If the notion of plugs having a sonic impact strikes you as odd, consider the metallurgic/mechanical role of their contacts (metals/plating, grip, shielding) and in the case of NCF, additional noise-attenuating properties. Are the conductors then crimped, soldered or screwed to their respective contacts? Each material junction in the AC path presents contact resistance and micro-arcing potential. That's when two conductive surfaces meet with small gaps. On a microscopic level, those are caused by surface imperfections like pitted/scratched plating. On a larger level, they're caused by insufficient spring tension as the dreaded wobble which has cables loose in their connections because the plug pins aren't gripped tightly enough. Finally there are corroded, oxidized and dirty contacts which simply need a good cleaning and polish. All of it explains why AC plugs can and do perform differently. But because swapping out cable connectors for extensive A/B is far less convenient than rolling tubes or socketed opamps, it's only the hardcore tweaks and manufacturers who tend to bother auditioning plugs. The rest of us—definitely moi—go with whatever happens to be attached. With our LessLoss, that's another Furutech FI-1363UK. With our 2007 Crystal Cable cords, it's prior Furutech versions. The brand has an excellent reputation with cable manufacturers who must outsource their ends.

Unlike Schuko or US plugs, BS1363 mains plugs—used in the UK and Ireland plus 50 other countries including Bahrain, Malaysia, Malta, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Sri Lanka—are fused.

For appliances up to 700W, standard is a 3A fuse. For appliances up to 3'000 watts as a wall outlet's max rating, the fuse limit becomes 13A. If you felt that auditioning plugs was a chore fit only for lifer inmates of audio, testing fuses seems headed for the insane asylum.

Yet there's no arguing that with a UK power plug, the AC signal first must clear a fuse which hifi extremists view as a potential bottleneck.

It's why for overload protection, premium power distributors often prefer magnetic circuit breakers from the likes of Carling over any sacrificial parts. For today's review subject, the UK's folks of McRU feel that they've identified the best solution for a power cord mains fuse: Synergistic's £155 Orange. You see why shop keepers love that tiny critter.

I didn't have any of those premium Californian oranges on hand. I did have a fistful of less furious AMR fuses in most common denominations including 10A. For the upstairs system and the front-end stack of the downstairs rig, that would suffice. Asylum fitness confirmed.

Next comes our system where the Furutech fronted its GTO 2D NCF passive distributor mate. Both purple cord and our resident Titan Audio routed atop AudioQuest Foglift elevators. For quick A/B, either sat in its own switched wall outlet. Removing our floor's additive action on a cable's dielectric constant does have easily verified sonic benefits. That's back to the asylum but these AudioQuest cable lifts aren't expensive. Experimenting with them won't break the bank. I recommend you try it with power cords and speaker cables. It's what I've done for this system and with Furutech cable lifts for the downstairs version.