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Firewall 640X & 640X C-Marc Entropic

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 Gaia/Avatar, Soundaware D100Pro SD card transport; Preamp: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with Elrog ER50; Power amps: LinnenberG Liszt monos; Headamp: Kinki Studio; 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, 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: 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 D300Ref SD transport; DAC: Denafrips Terminator; Preamp/filter: Passive Preamplifier icOn 4Pro SE w. custom 4th-order/40Hz hi-low pass;
Amplifier: Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers:sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Zu Submission 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: ~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 120
Upstairs headfi/speaker 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; Loudspeakers: Acelec Model 1
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: $654 standard, $1'272 C-Marc Entropic

Add a zero. That's the new LessLoss Firewall 640X, a latest-gen refinement on their 64X inline filter/conditioner for power cords. It borrows tech from their awarded Firewall for Loudspeakers and their Entropic Process of accelerated aging aka burn-in. The new zero behind the 64 reflects "coming ever closer to zero loss" whilst the LessLoss name and price remain unchanged. No extra zero there. The oak case hides potted Firewall modules for hot, neutral and ground [below] which present as 20mm² of specialty copper each so there's no current limitation. One ideal use for a single 640X unit would be at the far end of the power cord that feeds your power distributor. Now its noise-filtering action benefits all components at once.

"Our pure copper rods situate such that live and neutral connections are made directly to the internal ends of the over-engineered pins of our IEC C14 inlet. These pins are solid copper and directly gold plated. The module itself glues to the wood housing for maximal micro vibration absorption. The use of 100% clear epoxy resin guarantees zero coloration as the surrounding electromagnetic field permeates the housing of the conductive rods. The Firewall elements themselves are created under precise control by advanced 3D additive laser sintering. They are the only element which conditions the power. Also shown above are our translucent inserts for both ends of the Firewall elements. These have glass-like dielectric properties and are precision formed by advanced 3D laser printing for precise alignment. At the same time, the electric and magnetic interaction of copper and Firewall element is controlled to very tight tolerances."

In short, this is purely passive power conditioning without caps, coils, resistors or crystalline powders to instead exploit the company's massively surface-enlarged copper as those finned centers of their bespoke potted module.

As reported in these pages before, Sven Boenicke of the eponymous speaker house and Martin Gateley of sound|kaos—back side of his Vox 3awf crossover below—have embraced LessLoss Firewall  tech by optionally installing it inside their speakers. That's quite an endorsement of its efficacy. How does it work? A cable manufacturing friend of Martin's has an idea: "I really think that the Firewall units make sense from a Physics perspective. What LessLoss did is exploit the order-of-magnitude frequency difference between the usual sources of noise and the analogue music signal which is almost direct current by contrast. By tremendously increasing the surface area of a portion of their conductor, HF noise experiences an enormously higher resistance than the 'DC' signal to simply dissipate into heat. Clever indeed. Of course they put a large effort into finding a material science lab which could make their nano-level surface structures."

Now the same tech can 'bolt' onto component or power distributor AC inputs. This follows the mandate that in high-performance hifi, noise is public enemy N°1. That's because it's not signal; overlays the signal's quietest parts; and can cause 'intermodulation' effects with component parts and circuits despite being far out of band. With UHF pollution from cellphone towers, switching power supplies and wireless protocols aka electro smog escalating, noise is virtually everywhere. That definitely includes our AC and signal cabling.