Fuses that matter.


I have tried six different fuses, including some that were claimed to not be directional. I have long used the IsoClean fuses as the best I have heard. No longer! I just got two 10 amp slow-blows WiFi Tuning Supreme fuses that really cost too much but do make a major difference in my sound. I still don't understand how a fuse or its direction can alter sound reproduction for the better, but they do and the Supreme is indeed! I hear more detail in the recordings giving me a more holographic image. I also hear more of the top and bottom ends. If only you could buy them for a couple of bucks each.
tbg

Showing 50 responses by mapman

Yes, its funny that my wife has no problems with my stereo gear except when I play it too loud, but hates to have "messy" wires showing. :-)
I'm sure different fuses have different electrical properties that can affect the signal passing through it.

Personally I will not lose any sleep over fuses though. There are many other more straightforward ways to tweak the sound as needed.

Might have to consider getting into the audiophile fuse business though. $$$$$$$$$$$s
Well, there must be an explanation if a difference is heard.

MAybe the fuse line material is not electronically consistent from end to end resulting in non symmetric electrical properties that come into play when direction is switched?

When a fuse blows, the gap can seemingly occur anywhere,wherever the conductor is "weakest", and commonly towards one end or the other so that would be consistent with this theory.
I used to sell a lot of fuses at Radio Shack. I also replaced a lot of blown fuses in customer gear at Tech Hifi.

It's been a while since a fuse in an audio device and myself have crossed paths, but the concept of a directional fuse seems new to me. I do not recall anything dealing with one orientation versus the other? Of course, I may have dealt with a few audiophiles but most were normal people who just wanted sound to come out of both channels of their amps.
Kijanki, so what your saying is that depending on the state of that little filament inside the fuse, sound quality can range from extreme paradise to nil...and anything in between?
For me, there are 3 things regarding fuses I know about that I would care about:

1) it's power rating
2) it's blown
3) it's not blown

Otherwise, the fuse probably rates so far down among the things I worry about sound quality-wise that I will likely never get to the point of doing a/b comparisons between fuses.

I guess even an audio nutcase has to draw the line somewhere, right?

GOtta get my new audiophile fuse business a rollin' though. I could use some dough! $$$$$$$$$$$s.
For me, when the day comes when my sound is not right, and all options I know of to correct the situation fail, I might try replacing a fuse just to make sure the ones there are not defective, but again all I would practically care about is the right power rating and size so the dern thing blows reliably when it should. That is the main function of a fuse after all and no doubt that is when they matter the most by far!
"I did it the easy way here"

New toy! Useful! Thanks!
˙ɹɐǝƃ oıpnɐ uɐɥʇ ʎoʇ ʍǝu ɹǝdɐǝɥɔ ɥɔnɯ
"Thank you, Roger, for bringing the expertise of a distinguished designer to this issue."

Amen.

My best opinion is that a fuse that effects the sound in a significant manner is defective and should be replaced by one that is not.
"It's humorous to read this sort of thing, people getting all stressed out about a simple test. Why it's almost like superstition. I guess if you hear about placebo and expectation bias and unknown variables enough it'll psych anyone out. "

Not everyone.....
"These are precisely the same strawman arguments that skeptics of cable differences have put forth for more than thirty years - I.e., cables that measure the same must sound the same. Of course, any yutz with ears knows that's not the case. "

One could argue that with a the right set of complete and relevent measurements, cables with similar characteristics,including things like solid/braided construction, shielded/nonshielded, etc., in addition to the usual common electrical/ratio data type measurements, will tend to sound similar.

"the color of the cable jacket"

My wife would lose more sleep over that one than I.
Nothing spells science like Machina Dynamica....
Home audio is more about perceptions in practice than science, fbofw. Science cannot model human perceptions accurately yet.

Now back to planning out mg audiphile fuse company. $$$$s. M dynamica, watch out. Here i come! Yeeha!
Geof, my new audiophile fuse will be called "The Funky Little Fuse". The design goal will be to deliver the soul of the music. If any music that does not have soul comes into play it will blow but be replaceable for a small fee.

Hope there is no copyright infringements here! The principle by which this fuse operates is proprietary intellectual property so I cannot discuss, although it will be quite amazing I am sure.

Cheers! :-)
Geoff,

There are smart people here. Scientists and engineers. How about actually discussing some of your scientific breakthroughs in scientific terms rather than muddying the waters via logic based on non-facts?

"Onviously a lot of folks think many of my products absurd, while I do not, obviously."

You said it not me.

Do you offer stock for purchase? Opinions might change if there is money to be made.
There are some products I have lower regard for than the MD products I have read about but it is truly hard to come up with many. Cigarettes are the ones that come to mind. Although I am of the opinion that the MD products are a sham, at least they are not hazardous to your health most likely. Then again who knows since as best I can tell nobody in this world is intelligent enough to understand how they work seemingly.
There is such a thing as "technical intuition". This is what enables one to assess technical facts and draw conclusions that have a godd chance of being accurate. Its a rare thing. Based on his posts, i would say almarg has it to an exceptional degree.

Machina dynamica? Not s much in my humble opinion. Sorry but thats what my "technical intuition" tells me. Just being honest.
Geoff,

Yes I do have a technical background. A big part of my occupation is assessing technology and managing technical risks.
What I call technical intuition may be similar to what Al calls common sense, at least in the context of technology and science.

It requires knowledge in order to be able to assess the validity of what is believed to be fact. Science and statistics is the still the tool that would best be applied to quantitatively determine support for any hypothesis, but patterns are detected and applied by knowledgeable and clear thinking humans in real time all the time. If the person is truly good at determining patterns among facts as opposed to non-facts and identifying the meaningful patterns, they develop good intuition or "common sense" over time.

Regardless of the domain over which common sense or intuition develops, the common ingredients are the ability to judge fact from non fact in that particular domain of knowledge and the ability to apply logic and patterns effectively to make meaningful associations.
Tbg,

I'm not saying intuition is science.

Look up the meaning. Two different things!

Maybe someone with nothing better to do will do a scientific study on the effect of fuses on sound in audio systems.

Meanwhile we will have to solely rely on our individual intuition and draw our own conclusions as best we see fit.

My conclusion is I will not lose any sleep over fuses. That's pretty much it.
Well, maybe I'm wrong. After all, its merely intuition. I do always try to keep an open mind though.
One more thing regarding intuition. Some believe intuition is the driving force behind innovation. That makes sense to me and I would tend to agree.
Tbg,

I did not say i rely solely on intuition. Those are your words and you are incorrect in jumping to that conclusion.

Jumping to conclusions is clearly not good science!
So just in case anybody still cares after all this, i will recap my thoughts about fuses

1. Fuses clearly effect sound. No fuse, no sound. Pretth clear.

2. A fuse that sounds bad is probably defective and should be replaced

3. If all seems well there are many other things i can do that i understand enough to try to change the sound in a reasonably predictable manner.

4. Changing a fuse might change the sound in a hearable manner but i have no clue what tk expect if i change fuse a for fuse b. I will not be spending any time worrying about this because it just is not important to me.

5. Science is not likely to offer clear guidelines for determining sound of fuses anytime soon. If i pick a new fuse it wlll have to be done based on intuition. I am ok with that. I think i will survive my next fuse change ordeal in good shape.

6. Others will also have to rely on their intuition to make these big life decisions as well unless they know of some reliable scientific basis for picking a good sounding fuse that i am not aware of.

Time to blow my own fuse on this topic :-)
Well, I was done with this thread but now that there is some more real data to apply, what the hey. Thanks Bryon (I think).

SO it makes sense to me that resistance and voltage across different fuses varies somewhat and is not exactly the same.

Also makes sense to expect fuses with more quality build, cleaner etc. to measure better in these regards. That probably applies to most any electrical part that affects the signal in gear. NOthing much new there. The thing with fuses is that they are relatively easy to change and experiment with if one is so inclined in most cases say compared to soldered parts like caps, resisters, transistors, etc.

That helps confirm some useful guidelines that make sense for deciding which fuses might perform better than others which is useful.

The article is vague though about what sonic differences were heard with different fuses and to what extent. ALso no info if these differences are unique to specific gear or general to all. SO there is a value determination to be made that individuals will make differently.

In the end it would seem to make sense to assure one uses a fuse with good relative build quality. Nothing mysterious there! Some might deem it worthy to invest time in comparing sound of different fuses in their system. Others may not. Nothing new there much either.

In general my opinion is that every part that affects the signal path that goes into making a piece of audio gear affects performance to some degree. The question is always how much and whether it matters to the user. THe answer lies largely with the needs and interests of the user more than anything else.

So what is it we are arguing about again?
Geof from Machina Dynamica asked:

"The data also shows measured differences were due to fuse direction. Hel-loooo! What does your intuition tell you about that data? Lol"

I've already stated that back towards the beginning of this thread. See below.

Tootles?

---

04-27-12: Mapman
Well, there must be an explanation if a difference is heard.

MAybe the fuse line material is not electronically consistent from end to end resulting in non symmetric electrical properties that come into play when direction is switched?

When a fuse blows, the gap can seemingly occur anywhere,wherever the conductor is "weakest", and commonly towards one end or the other so that would be consistent with this theory.
Tbg,

WOuld you agree that there are a lot of ifs and maybes still in this discussion?

Back in grad school, where I did in fact study applied science and even conducted some award winning research, we were taught that the scientific method can be used only to measure support for hypotheses. Nothing is ever proven without a shadow of a doubt. That is why I seldom state anything in absolute terms, even if in my mind I think what I say is in fact true.

Best to not jump to conclusions even if you get the facts right, especially when there is only limited scientific data to support such.

Science alone answers little conclusively. We all have to rely on our intuition to help guide the way to some extent.
"All that am saying is that it is ridiculous to a priori reject that any variable can be found that contributes to the sound of a fuse."

I would agree if reworded slightly.

"All that am saying is that it is ridiculous to a priori reject that any variable that might be found contributes to the sound of a fuse."

That would include the user thinking he heard a difference, not just factors with the electronic equipment. That can clearly be a factor.
"A difference that makes no difference is no difference".

An obscure quote from an obscure scifi novel I read years ago that has always stuck with me. I find it quite useful to help sort through priorities in life.
Yep. No doubt it could be. Nothing has been proven as best i can tell.
It is very possible that the reported observations regarding benefits of certain fuses are biased.
Tbg,

You indicated a preference for slo blow fuses.

The main function of a fuse is protection. Are you sure use of slos blow fuses is recommended for your gear? They may be more conductive than thin filament types but may not be appropriate always as a substitute.
Is fox news biased?

How about cnn?

These are major providers of news to millions.

So yes it is quite possible.
Geof,

As a vendor of controversial tweak audio products, is it reasonable to think that you might be biased?

When i start my audiophile fuse business and bring the funky little fuse to market, i will likely become a member of that club also if you would have me.
There is nothing wrong with people buying what they want but surely nobody can object to getting the facts straight as well?
Twilight Zone!

Where's Rod Serling to explain these things when you need him?

Seems to me the two possibilities (not mutually exclusive) are the differences in fuses do make a noticeable difference in sound or the listeners think they heard a difference that they attributed to the fuse but in fact they were mistaken.
So based on the measured data provided, I'm still leaning towards that the electrical effect of the fuse is in general too insignificant to matter.

Maybe someone else will come up with some new measured data to contradict? I will not discount hearsay as data categorically but it will take a lot of that from a lot of people that I trust to sway my opinion.
Bryon,

You are a brave man!

Will look forward to your findings.

Remember that the primary function of a fuse is to provide protection against current surges. If a fuse sounds great but fails to blow when it should, that would be a no go for me.

Also I would be interested in value proposition as I am with all audio gear. IE is the cost justified? Is the cost of "audiophile fuses" justified compared to similar fuses sold for general use?

Also how can you determine if the same fuse will produce similar results in different designs, or at least reliably positive results in all cases?

THose are my questions. I don't expect you to answer them all for free, but might as well get them out there.
Yes, good point Kijanki!

I tend to shy away from a/b tests likely involving subtle and unpredictable differences because it is so hard to control all variables that can affect sound in subtle ways.

Now when I hear a consensus that clear major differences can be heard in a predictable manner, I tend to take more notice.

BE careful Bryon. Those streets could be slippery!
How about listening both with hands cupped behind the ear and without in each case?

That's the cheapest and consistently best tweak that I know of! :-)

Also just to be sure, you have no financial interest in expensive audiophile fuses/tweaks right?

Seriously, that would be a killer for me. When I launch my funky fuse business, my 100% pure unbiased opinions will be shot right down the drain I fear.

Funky fuses. $$$$$$$s!
"Me? No. But my wife does. Her financial interest is that I stop buying them."

Bryon, you are too funny!

"For my ears they clearly and without any question remove "gray noise" across the Spectron from high frequencies to low - making sound much more "liquid" and involving."

Well fuses are not supposed to act as filters I think, but whatever.

I like any fuse that any particular qualified designer recommends for their gear.

Its when I have to decide for myself or when tweak mongers tell me what works or not that I tend to think twice.
Haven't done the math but would not surprise me if a fuse directly in the signal path in a speaker like Magnepan is more significant in terms of resistance than in an amp say and would therefore have a better chance of making a discernible difference. I might buy that and be willing to give it a try. But I would still argue that the better fuse still need not cost much more than the standard as anything labeled "audiophile" typically does. But if the results were consistently repeatable and significant enough, I would likley then be willing to pay more.

$30 for a fuse is outrageous but won't send anybody to the poor house I suppose if they are already running a big buck system.

It works from a business perspective for the audiophile tweak makers to make their case based on possible vague benefits associated with the unknown. As opposed to clearly identifiable benefit with an easy money back guarantee perhaps. How do you know until you try? Can't try until you buy! What a racket!
Oh, as long as the fancy expensive fuse does not sound WORSE than the standard, most are not likely to return it even if they can. Its a $30 insurance policy essentially. No problem. Except the seller made a huge profit for nothing. Everyone's happy but especially the guy who made a huge profit on a cheap placebo tweak.
"Everyone's happy but especially the guy who made a huge profit on a cheap placebo tweak."

Frankly, I don't think I would be happy at that point knowing that the fruit of such dealings was now in my signal path, even if it sounds just fine.
"fact that these fuses have not been tested or approved by any agency, wouldn't matter."

The buyer should get the fuse for discounted price compared to standard then since fuse might not even do the thing it was designed to do properly, which is blow when there is a current surge to protect your gear.

SO a risk is that if fuse does not function correctly to protect gear as it should, damage to other parts of your equipment may occur and sound actually deteriorate before you realize it. I doubt that will sound better to anyone!
People waste way more money on way worse things than fuses I suppose.

I sold 100s if not thousands of fuses to people at Radio Shack years ago. I often also replaced them for people when their stuff did not work. 3 for 99 cents was the price I recall. Slo Blos were 1.29 for three I think. Choosing the right fuse was pretty cut and dry.

Times change I suppose.
Bryon,

I nominate you for the next nobel fuse prize! :-)

Nice job.