Esoteric RFI/EMI repellants are beginning to appear in various guises in audiophile applications. There's Stillpoint's now declassified but formerly military-secret ERS cloth and the Japanese GC-303 material used by Furutech and Zanden Audio. There's Z-Cable's ERS-derivative Z-Sleeve technology [left] and whatever hi-tech composition is used in HMS' newest Silenzio noise blockers presently taking Europe by storm [right]. There's an unnamed material inside Jerry Ramsey's top-line Audio Magic Eclipse conditioner and the patented FE-Si granules of Shunyata Research's Caelin Gabriel. There's the fact that the chief ingredient of ERS is carbon fiber which makes one suspicious whether, perchance, Carbon fiber shelving properly engineered didn't bestow secondary inter-component shielding benefits besides effective resonance control. Regardless, protection from radio-frequency and electromagnetic interference, as a sign of the times, has become mandatory for high-performance audio. Just think computers, cell and wireless phones, radar detectors. Their operative bandwidths keep going up in frequency as transmitter bands formerly occupied by the military and other governmental agencies are being vacated for yet faster and higher ones.

The most recent home appliance to benefit from such bandwidth increase? The 2.4GHz cordless phone now available with 5.1GHz functionality. Both power line filters of today's test incorporate hi-tech protection to shield the AC sine wave feeding your audio/video components from ultra-sonic contamination. If left unattended, such exposure to high-frequency radiation creates glare, hash and hardness that intermodulation steps down into the frequency band which us ordinary humans can perceive, to become unpleasant treble quality, smudged micro detail, hazy ambient data and an overall out-of-focus effect. Or, in data lingo, anything that ain't signal is noise and thus to be battled like a deadly disease if signal fidelity were your preferred poison. The 8-outlet Furutech e-TP80 provides such protection in the form of the GC-303 compound [below]. It is applied to the inside of the chassis' bottom panel to face the wire leads coming off the power inlet to the four individual duplexes. The 10-outlet BPT CPC incorporates it by way of a custom Z-Sleeve. That surrounds the incoming power wire before it attaches to the distribution rails feeding the outlets. Either technique operates passively, just by proximity.

Unlike the just-reviewed Furutech Digi. Reference cable which would compete with his own cable offering, the e-TP80 [$499] and its 6-outlet, no-filter e-TP60 companion [$299] are distributed in the US by Harmonic Technology's Jim Wang. My lengthy investigation into $2-5K conditioners over the last year plus hasn't armed me with exposure to $500 units, so I requistioned a comparator once the Furutech arrived. Having been extremely impressed with BPT's previous two review loaners, I contacted Chris Hoff for a sample of his CPC which starts at $349/$399 in basic 15/20-amp versions. Depending on à-la-carte options, it can be tricked out with various upgrades just like all his bigger units, including small 300VA isolation transformers. As delivered -- no isolation transformers -- the CPC was intentionally configured to cost as much as the e-TP80 for an apples-to-apples comparison.

Time to make some juice, of the unfiltered apple and filtered AC power kinds. But first, a closer visual inspection of both units to investigate construction and features.

The 2-tone Furutech's sculpted appearance cuts quite the dapper profile and includes a green grounding wire to connect to its side-facing ground post and a flexible power cord with the firm's own plugs which make a tighter, more wiggle-free contact than most competitors I've come across. Measuring 2.25 inches tall in the back and 1.5" in the front due to the elegantly curved, sloping cover, overall wide is 15.75" to which the grounding post adds a half inch. Two small circular LEDs on the cover's black third confirm power [green] and polarity [red]. The latter is checked via a skin-contact probe, a small aluminum nipple between the LEDs that, when touched, causes the red indicator to light up if power polarity is correct. The IEC inlet sits on the right side, adjacent to the ground post, with a resettable circuit breaker of the push-button kind in-between. All in all, this is a very smartly designed and put-together unit with excellent fit'n'finish and Furutech's own duplexes which sport translucent receptacles and high-conductivity, tight-fitting contacts.

The two left duplexes marked "Digital/Accessories" incorporate a preceding filter and may draw up to 500 watts. The third and fourth duplex do not insert a filter and offer 800 and 1000 watts respectively, for a total supported RMS draw of 2300 watts.

The BPT CPC meanwhile represent a more basic 13" W x 6" D x 5" H black box of substantial-gauge metal that puts beauty on the insides, with heat shrink-clad thermistors for spike protection on each duplex; capacitors for high-frequency filtering; 10 AWG silver-over-copper distribution wiring; a 20-amp Swiss-made Schurter thermal circuit breaker; resonance-damping sheets on each panel; and one of Mark Hampton's custom Z-Sleeves which runs longitudinally and hot-glued to the bottom plate to envelop the hot/return legs of the incoming AC inside what Z-Cable's maestro dubs a quasi 'zero gauss chamber'. I currently have 10 of these sleeves in-house to experiment with on Mark's top-line signal cables while our own John Potis received 30 to report on their effects in his high-RF environs.

To get the CPC to $499, Chris Hoff had sent the 20-amp version which includes the C-7 power cord over the C-10 that's packaged with the 15-amp unit ($349), and had installed the Z-Sleeve filter [below] which brought the outlay to $499.

The CPC can be further upgraded with Chris' High-Current Filter; one or two small isolation transformers; upgraded capacitive filtering; Bybee filters; solid silver hookup wire - for all the details, consult his website. Furutech's 6-pointed star fasteners with central nipple meanwhile required a hollow specialty key to losen. By obvious design and despite my special screw driver with all the possible tips under the sun (or so I thought), it thus eluded my greedy plans to pop the e-TP80's cover for a look under the hood. Alas, some surfing on Harmonic Technology's website netted the two following pix which, respectively, show the GC-303 material resembling open-cell foam lining the chassis, and the simple digital filter circuit with its small coils, capacitors and varistors preceding the twin duplexes of the 'Digital/Accessory' outlet bank.