The intended upshot is simple. Higher resolution is more multi-dimensional than much audiophile dialogue credits. I suspect that in the arbitrary dualism of detail versus musicality listeners, playback routinely triggers the latter less visually. It drops down from eye level and the observational mind to the heart or belt line. Now it's not primarily or at all about imaging, soundstaging and edge limning. Instead things like PRaT or texture 'n' tone move into the foreground. In that scheme, my Grimm cables were prattier, the Furutech's more t'd up. But as so often with advanced hifi, none of this was day or night. Shifting emphasis didn't throw other pieces off the board. It just turned it so certain pieces moved closer. Whatever is closer grows in significance. Nothing fell away, no Queen traded for a Bishop. I simply switched seat to look at the same board from another side. That changed my perspective but the chess board, its occupants and their relative positions remained unchanged (until in a different movie, I'd make my move and declare Check Mate for my opponent – but I'm not smart enough to outwit myself).

Which brings me to a necessary qualifier. A shift into deeper richer tonality is often accompanied by a darkening as though the sky overcast a bit. That's not what I heard. I didn't sense any hooding or curtailing on top, no quasi drop in pitch, no shadowing. The fire inside Mariachi-style brasses, strained voices reaching high, overblown flutes or bowed strings hovering between fundamental and first overtone as Middle-Eastern players are fond of… none of it mellowed. When a primitive shehnai oboe squawks, bagpipes wail, an out-of-tune piano or steel drum warbles, a muted trumpet blisters, a piccolo pierces, there's natural bite, briskness and cold-shower effrontery. Toning it down neuters the bull and shaves down the points of his horns. That's not higher resolution. It might seem more pleasing but is certainly less realistic. Again, I didn't think that the Lineflux NCF pursued its broader timbre headroom by darkening. As such it didn't trigger my brake sensor. That's how I typically react when injected warmth or weight slow things down or get fuzzy around the edges. I hear it as truncated vitality or verve. It's not a price I'd want to pay to make the sound prettier.

Whilst I wouldn't disagree that Furutech's Lineflux XLR made the sound richer, it didn't do so at the cost of liveliness and spunk. That was different than how I heard the Project V1 power cord of my last Furutech assignment a month prior. In my book that was a neat trick. It was especially relevant on the speed-freak ribbons and—in their rear-view mirror—the more electrostatic than planarmagnetic HifiMan Susvara. You'd not want to pad down their lucid directness one iota. Yet if one can enhance color intensity and timbral scope independently, so much the better. So I salute Furutech's engineers for the grind of overhauling the legacy XLR plug and endowing it with their proprietary Nano-Crystal² Formula. Isn't it amazing that solely for our playback entertainment, their engineers would labour over creating a better connector?

I do believe that they did just that, exactly. Typically zero-grain metal conductors, exotic amorphous alloys or those containing gold, argon gas or Kapton/Peek dielectrics, active noise-cancellation circuits, complex geometries and outsized terminator boxes make all the noise in the cable sector. But without proper connectors, no signal will go from A to B to eventually reach our ears. For decades already, Furutech connectors have been the choice of some of the most prestigious high-end cable brands. From the same firm now comes an even better XLR and RCA plug. That's cause for applause; and a humble thank you!