High Quality Fuses: Real Gains?


I'm generally suspicious of "tweaks" but I had an interesting conversation with a service representative from one of the major audiophile companies about the potential benefits of replacing stock fuses with higher quality ones like the HiFi Tuning brand. I thought he would dismiss the potential gains of using an "audiophile" fuse but he affirmed that they might actually produce audible improvements since all the current must travel through this junction. He also admitted that the stock fuses they use are pretty ordinary throwaways. So, have any of you used these and if so what were the results? Are there brands other than HiFi Tuning that are worth considering? I should have probably checked the archives so if this has been debated already sorry to bring it up.
I have been a naysayer all along about the effects that upgraded fuses would have. Well, that's about to change.

I am going to try one of the Furutech fuses in my new preamp. I have done quite a bit of research and was going to try one of the HiFi tuning fuses, but everything I've read says that the Furutech are supposed to be better.

I'll report back on my findings after I've had awhile with the new preamp and fuse...
I can only say that one place a hi-end fuse would make a difference is in tweeter protection.
Eventually I WILL swap my Maggies four fuses for some hi-end ones.. Those guys are right in the signal path. But Fuses in power circuits.. i do not know.

A while back I replaced the stock fuse in my LS25 mk2 with a HiFi Tuning fuse. I really could not hear any difference. I played around changing the direction and still could not hear a difference. I left the HiFi Tuning fuse in my preamp but did not think it was worth replacing any of the other fuses in my system. I think that it may really depend on the component and the design of the power supply in it.
I have used the Hi Fi Fuses on a Krell 400xi, Kav 2250 and a Cary SLP-05 all with positive results. In each case they added a touch of refinement and resolution - I can compare it to how a system sounds at night as opposed to the day, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN
Some previous dicussions on the same topic: (http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1267760833&openmine&zzRodman99999&4&5#Rodman99999) (http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?htech&1246453097&openmine&zzRodman99999&4&5#Rodman99999) (http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1206983240&openusid&zzRodman99999&4&5#Rodman99999) Happy listening!!
Firedrums is right on target in decribing "refinement and resolution." That is what i experienced in moving to HiFi fuses in my MC275, C2200, Bryston BCD1 and my Playstation 1. For me it is a no-brainer upgrade. Although I believe that they are overpriced.
I put a HiFi Tuning fuse in my YBA Passion integrated and found the sound had a little more "bite', most notably on Alison Krauss's violin.
So Jgiacalo, can you elaborate a bit more about your Playstation 1?

Do the video games play any better, or faster, on the Playstation 1 video game console with the new high end fuse?

Do the graphics have a higher resolution perhaps?

Or does it upgrade the stereo sound to 5.1 Dolby?

How about the sound quality of the explosions?
Are they, well, more explosive?!

(Just giving you a hard time!)
I swapped my Maggie fuses to high end "Audiophile" fuses and the sound GREAT!! Of course, they don't sound any different from before I changed the fuses, but the speakers still sound great.
Macdadtexas has one of the few systems that's so refined that it can't possibly bennifit from any kind of power upgrade.
A little more research has produced three brands: Hifi Tuning (which now has a silver model), Isoclear (sp?) and Furtech. Any reason to pick one over the others?
The siver sounds promising.
I bought the HiFi Tuning ones (not silver) as I said, I heard no difference good or bad, switching back and forth between fuses.

Yes, I am blessed with sublime resolution, thanks for the kind words.
Added refinement and resolution has me interested.
Hi-Fi uses silver burn wire (the only one that does) and silver ends. They also use the ciramic shields. It's gotten some VERY good reviews. That's were I'll be putting my $39 when it comes to fuses. It wasn't long ago I would have laughed at you for even suggesting to pay $40 for a fuse.
I accousticly treated my listening room and all of a sudden I can hear subtle changes. The MAC HC sound pipes where very audible. The porter Port, again, audible. I went to battery power on my Virtue Two and it was increadable. So, I'm a believer in cleaning up the connection to the ac tap in your wall. Anything between the amp, cdp, dac, ect.ect.. that will give a purer and cleaner connection is a plus. You also get the bennifits of a better sounding system. zman
OK, I just removed the fuses (Isoclear not HiFi Tuning, but I have those around here somewhere) on the back of my too resolving and refined Maggies, and tried the standard fuses again.

Yeah, no change, still sounds the same. I'll find those HiFi Tuning ones around here somewhere and try those.

So my vote is, makes no difference. But then again, my system is so refined I can't hear any difference. Well, actually, isn't that pretty much the opposite of how it should be??

I can tell you that when something sounds like crap upstream, I can hear it. I have tried many a piece of gear, only to turn around and sell it, including some great amps that just didn't match well with my other gear.

But, back to the fuses, I'm voting for Audio-Placebo effect. Then again, for under $100 it can't hurt to try!!
Just giving you a hard time Mac. I know you can take it. I've seen alot of you responces in power cord threads and had to rib you a little. I do agree with you on the fact that after the first upgrade, the bennifits don't ballance out the cost. It's better if you're going to spend a thousand dollars on a power cord to spend a hundred and take the 900 left and buy a better front end.
I think alot of people misunderstand what you're getting at when all you're saying is don't go overboard on cords or cables. Upgrade yes. But keep it in reason.
Hmmmm. I put three of the original HiFi Tuning fuses in my integrated amp after blowing two of the stock fuses, and it made a noticable difference in that application. Less grainy. Just another system enhancement like better wires, isolation, placement, room treatments, etc. Everything is additive, although benefit of fancy fuses seems to be system, application and ear dependent. You could conceivably drop a lot on these fuses and not hear an appreciable difference. I would start with your amp and see what it does for you there.
Hi-Fi Tuning fuses are not intended for speaker protection, but rather as an upgrade for AC power supply, or B+/rail voltages(though they MAY provide some audible differences in speaker apps). Best place to begin experimentation is the AC mains fuse on your power amp. If you can't hear a difference there: Forget about it!
I changed from glass body to ceramic power fuse by default because I only had the correct value on hand in ceramic. I forgot all about it and didn't even run the rig until several days later.
Initially I could tell the rig sounded different even when cold, but went outside to do yardwork leaving the tuner playing. After a couple hours came back in and was *really* wondering what was up because the musicality was better overall with clarity and bass definition especially notable. Couldn't figure out why it sounded better although there was plainly a significant improvement.
It wasn't until a week or so later that I remembered the fuse change, so I reverted to glass and sure enough that was the proof. Restored the ceramic again and it's been better sounding ever since. So there you have it; I had done my own blind listening test without even realizing it.
Have never tried the really fancy fuses myself, but wouldn't be surprised if they are even better yet based upon this interesting experience.
I had the opportunity to chat with the head of the service department at said high end company and he had some interesting insight I thought I would share. He said that they have tried all the available aftermarket specialty fuses and that while they may sound "different" they don't necessarily sound "better". In some areas there were performance gains, in others losses. At the end of the day they decided that their stock (inexpensive) fuses were no better or worse than the expensive ones. But there is a big BUT....that how the fuse is positioned in the holder actually has more of an impact than the type of fuse itself. They do extensive listening tests with each product that comes off the line and part of this final production process involves changing the fuse direction and rotating the fuse until they get the best possible sound. Then they put a piece of electrical tape around the fuse holder so that it isn't moved during packing, shipping etc. I thought this was very interesting. So, while I had been leaning toward trying one of these aftermarket fuses, now I'm leaning the other way.
Thanks Dodgealum, That puts a whole new view on the subject. I can't speak for anyone else but, if I'm to the point of rotating a fuse to get better or differant sound from my system, I've lost it.

Your report indicates that careful evaluation by professional engineers showed them that these higher grade fuses do indeed change the performance of their equipment by making it sound "different", adding support to the notion that there is indeed a real effect. Furthermore, the engineers found that orientation of even off-the-shelf fuses was critical, consistent with the claims of HiFi Tuning which actually prints the desired circuit direction on their fuses. I have only very rarely read here or elsewhere reports that these higher grade fuses actually resulted in a reduction in sound quality or anything other than a perceived improvement in sound quality when end users applied them in their systems. As noted previously in the thread, my personal experience was that HiFi Tuning fuses provided a significant and noticeable "improvement" in the audio quality as perceived by me when used in my amplifier in place of stock glass fuses.

Your sharing of the comments made by the head of the service department of the high end manufacturer is interesting to me in other ways. Their perspective is similar to that of most manufacturers when it comes to aftermarket or upgraded power cords - they just don't come with. I have heard the same comments made by the service department head about fuses applied by industry professionals to aftermarket cords, essentially "they do sound different, just not necessarily better". I wonder if in the case of higher grade fuses, manufacturers are hesitant to break convention and design their gear around fuses that are only available from mail order specialty houses and cost tens of times more than standard issue, even if the higher grade fuses might be a little or even a lot better than the cheaper ones. If one of these fancy fuses blow and the end user replaces it with a convential product from the hardware store, there is a risk that the equipment may no longer perform to spec or expectation, a clear potential headache for the service department in the end.

My experience with power cords and HiFi Tuning fuses - applied at least to my amplifiers - indicates to me that next to room treatments and isolation, they are the most profound and effective tweaks I have tried, providing more sonic bang than new interconnects or speaker cables, and actually allowing me to better resolve differences in the latter two items when they are changed.
Very good responce Knownothing.
I'm almost positive that there would be a better sound in an amp with a better fuse.
I too have a treated room and can hear without a doubt, very subtle changes in power connectors (Porter Ports, Power cords,Dedicated line). All were a great improvement as I upgraded.
My reply above is to the fact that fuse direction is understandable. But spinning the fuse within the fuse holder is a little to much.
The fuse is a bottle neck into the system. It makes no sents to buy very expencive power cords and a dedicated line w/cryoed receptical and ignore the fuse. Espeacialy when they make an upgrade for it.
I have been using IsoClean fuses for about four years and have consistently thought them the best. I have tried HiFi Tuning fuses also, starting when they said they had no direction, which I found untrue.

More recently I have had many fuses "quantum tunneled" by Synergistic Research and found even Bus fuses were greatly improved. I have also found that painting the glass on fuses with Anti Vibration Magic paint even further improves the sound. Yes this is all a pain and I have several components were I need to update the fuses. I have even tried magnet in place of fuses. I did not like them and thus did not have to face the issue of no protection.

I view all of this as optimizing ones system.
I have also found that painting the glass on fuses with Anti Vibration Magic paint even further improves the sound.

I like magic,it makes everything better!!!
Tpreaves, if you are serious, I agree. No one likes to work on a board that has been painted, however.
Main Entry: 1mag·ic
Pronunciation: \ˈma-jik\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English magique, from Middle French, from Latin magice, from Greek magikē, feminine of magikos Magian, magical, from magos magus, sorcerer, of Iranian origin; akin to Old Persian maguš sorcerer
Date: 14th century
1 a : the use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces b : magic rites or incantations
2 a : an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source b : something that seems to cast a spell : enchantment
3 : the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand

Mama always says magic is as magic does.
Please be professional.
A Magnet and Not a fuse of any make is more than a component upgrade for me and a few other local audiophiles. AVM does benefit anything in motion including electrons in motion on a magnet.
Tom, I'm interested. Please give some info on the magnets.
I'm also conserned about safty from damage to my amp with out a fuse.
I just put my Hi-Fi Tuning fuse (10a SilverStar) in my Virtue2 and this is my first impressions.
The first thing I noticed was the highs where much more extended. In a very smooth but detailed way.
The second thing I noticed was the sound stage got much more three dimensional. Very airy. More depth.
It seemed to also smooth and balance everything out and still maintain the detail.
I'll let in burn in a few days and report back on any changes. I like it, and I'm not going back to regular fuses again.
I was not expecting anything much at all. What a great surprise.