Isoclean fuses: definitely worth it

I just installed Isoclean fuses in my Naim CD5x and Nait5i. I sort of felt like I was going to the fringe by installing these but keep in mind they are right in the AC path so it made sense to me after installing a dedicated line and an "audiophile grade" AC receptacle.

I tried Buss ceramic fuses beforehand and they were just slightly better than stock.

The Isocleans, however, definitely provided a noticeable improvement over stock or Buss ceramics. In a nutshell: smoother treble, a touch more overall resolution (especially in the mids and treble) and elimination of a bit of grain and veiling. Polarity does matter. I checked a few times to verify but arrow down for my equipment was more natural (less bright) than arrow up. You may prefer the other polarity, of course. Note that they didn't affect rhythm as many products do (especially a lot of isolation devices) nor did they add any brightness (at least in the polarity I prefer).

They're not cheap for what they are ($25 per fuse) but the improvement was definitely worth $50 total investment to me.
I've had equal success with the German HiFi Tuning fuses, which I'm using only because I found them easier to find and buy than the Isocleans. I wouldn't have believed it -- although there is indeed a certain logic to the idea -- but they really work. On the other hand, I found that I could get at least half-way there by removing the existing fuses, cleaning/polishing the contact points (and on the fuseholder too) with Flitz and Caig Pro Gold, and then using Walker SST on them. A good cheap fix if you already have the stuff, as I did. Dave
Greg7, in what direction does current flow in AC currents? Or, what does polarity have do do with installing fuses?
Respectfully, Bob P.
I'm a believer in fuse quality impacting the sonics and discovered an all silver fuse (wire and end caps) that provide greater performance in all areas vs. isoclean.

Noticeable improvements in overall speed, transparency, purity, resolution and imaging precision. I have not tried the German ceramic fuses yet.

Jim Ricketts/tmh audio
does anyone know which is better, the Isoclean fuses or HIFI tuning? Also, is it beneficial to also upgrade a fuse in a cd player and preamp as well? Or these fuses produce the most difference in amplifiers?
Greg, interesting that you mentioned the elimination of a bit of grain or veiling as those were just a few of the benefits I experienced as well with the IsoClean fuses on the inside rails (4 of them) of my old amp after about 48 hours of burn-in.

Furutech also makes an all silver Rhodium-plated cryo-treated slow blow fuse.

I haven't tried them use but since I just became a Furutech dealer I will shortly.

"does anyone know which is better, the Isoclean fuses or HIFI tuning?"

Experience obviously differ but HiFi tuning and some other audio grade fuses I tried has left the Isoclean in the trash.
I first changed the AC mains fuse on the amp few weeks ago and thought things cleared up a bit, but I was really pleasantly surprised just this past weekend when I changed the rail fuses on the amp. I can't beleive the improvement these HiFi tuning fuses provide! The good thing, at least with my amp, is that the fuses have not changed the tonal character of the amp, but the separation of instruments within the soundstage is so much better now. It's amazing! It's odd to pay $25-$30 for a fuse....but they do work and that's the case. Although I spent a total of about $150, it is totally worth it. I am really happy with what was achieved. I just can't think of any tweek for $150 that can improve things more than the fuses did.
I would indeed say your experience may vary. I could not stand the HiFi Tuning fuses, but I had been using the IsoCleans for the last year.

Greg7, I have found no instance where an IsoClean does not improve the sound of a component greatly. This includes the five fuses in my Esoteric X-01. In the case of the IsoCleans and the HiFis, you have to get the polarity right. Put the fuse in one way, listen, and then reverse it and listen again. Choose the better sound. HiFi claim they are not directional, but they are.
I was told that the Isocleans were copies of the HiFi's.
Tabl10s, you shouldn't believe everything you're told. They are different.
HiFi tuning fuses are ceramic Isoclean are glass.
Tab110s - obviously you've never seen both the Hi Fi fuses and the Isocleans. They are a long long way from being alike.

And they were out a year earlier and don't look alike???? The opposite seems to be the case if there was any copying.
My dealer gave me the info. What is the overall concensus...Isoclean or HiFi Tuning. I'm about to pull the trigger on one of these items.
No doubt one can buy the HiFi Tuning fuses in Europe atg half price also. I don't know what the purpose is of this post. As with everything some don't find a component to be good and others do.
Well to be blunt there may be good reason that the HF Tuning will "won across the board" versus Isoclean, as another Gon' member put it. The simple truth is though Iso and HF are priced similar, they are not made equal but more likely the result of usual inflated pricing with Isoclean products.

Whether it is possible to get HF Tuning in Europe at halve the price I can't tell, but I would certainly be interested in getting audio cables at 1/3 of what they sold for in the US. I would recommend anyone thinking Isoclean "definitely worth it" to take the benefit of the doubt. There are better choices out there.
I just read that Paul McGowan has Ceramic and foam fuses.
I think it may be the AHP fuse from Germany that you are referring with Paul McGowan. Featured in PS audio's newsletter this month.
in what direction does current flow in AC currents? Or, what does polarity have do do with installing fuses

This is so simple that many overlook it (same thing for directionality of cabling). It is the direction of POWER flow which is of concern here, and *power* only flows in one direction: from source to load.
Sorry Bob Bundas but power doesn't flow, but is a concept to describe how much power is consumed in the load. P=VxA. We know that the current reverses itself according to its frequency, but the power consumed in the load is a function of the current and the voltage and is directionless.
respectfully, Bob P.
Bob Bundus: You'll be glad to know that there is hope after all. My Brother is currently in school via the local electrician's union. In class, his instructor asked the class to vote whether fuses or circuit breakers were superior. My Brother and one other guy voted for fuses with the rest of the "electricians to be" voting for breakers. The instructor went onto explain how fuses were superior to breakers in every respect, except one. That one exception? Convenience : )

After discussing that, my Brother brought up wire geometries to the instructor. In the long run, my Brother ended up explaining the benefits of various wiring configuration to not only the class, but to the instructor also. The instructor had him bring in some wiring as an example.

This worked out well for the class, as they will now be better versed in dealing with various types of installations and wiring products that can benefit A/V enthusiasts and their dedicated installations. It also worked out good for the instructor, as he wasn't familiar with the various designs and ended up learning quite a bit himself !!! Hopefully, he'll keep passing on what he learned to future generations of electricians : ) Sean
Greeni, I find no evidence that HiFi Tuning fuses won across the board, if fact the reviews have been all IsoClean and there certainly is no evidence that IsoClean marks up their products more than HiFi Tuning.
Pretty soon Isoclean fuses will be sold in delis & bodegas. A salami on rye & an Isoclean coming right up.
Whatever that means. Maybe salami on rye with smartass.
Sean you've always known me as a big fan of fuses, not only for their superior protection qualities but also for their sonic characteristics. Apparently not everyone understands nor agrees with the fact the fuses can actually impart a sonic signature of their own and that ceramic cased designs sound absolutely superior in my experience.

Regarding the concept of power flow in a circuit, let's call it ENERGY instead so that any (nonregistered posters who can't spell correctly) aren't getting all hung up on semantics. Unless you're dealing with a significant impedance mismatch between source to load, the power, or energy, or ishkabibble (call it whatever you will) only goes one way. That is my own (partial) interpretation of the reason why signal (energy) flow direction is a contributing factor in regard to sonic signature, whether it be via a transmission cable, or a fuse, or whatever device. If my semantics may confuse, then call it what you will - the theory or concept remains clear to me because I've certainly heard it myself, and whatever (directionality) mechanism is in play is certainly valid regardless of whatever the textbooks might say.

And thanks to the likes of yourself & your bro, hope for the unwashed masses thrives anew. Bravo!
Bob-bundus, it is quite clear to many people that the earth is flat and they don't care what the textbooks may say. Just because the "model" that you have in your mind is clear and "explains" what you percieve, doesn't make it correct. If you perceive a difference when changing the direction of a fuse on an AC line, the reason is NOT because of the "directionality" of the current nor the direction of the fuse, since the fuse witnesses the current reversing at 60 times a second. The fuse does not experience any power transfer through it, however, so it doesn't know anything about that.
When the possible doesn't explain something, then one must look for the impossible for an explanation. Is it impossible that you imagine such differences. Now that would explain the perceived difference.
respectfully, Bob P.
Or it is possible that he and I hear the differences and no existing scientific measure can explain it. As I have suggested there is directionality to wire also and there is a draw direction of wire. Some manufacturers go to great means to assure the direction of the wire draw is that used consistently in their wire. Micro Omega is one such company. Perhaps there is a direction to the fuse conductive element.

One final suggestion. Since I suspect that you have failed to hear the direction of a fuse, or perhaps never even tried to do so, you may merely be imagining that you hear no differences.
Tbg, that's Omega Mikro, not Micro Omega, and if anyone canot tell the difference between their "red" and ""blue" power cords in any given circuit, the only answer is deafness or denial. And the only difference is the direction in which the the wire was drawn.
Greeni, as always YMMV applies, but I find none of the consensus you describe among my friends, most of whom do not post here.

I don't think that IsoClean is hardly unique in terms of what their home market prices are like relative to import pricing. Having a friend in Japan and another in Germany, I have repeatedly seen great price disparities. Part of this is transportation, duties, and profits for the importer/distributor.

Bear in mind that there are at least two other companies making audiophile fuses. Our experiences fall short of conclusive findings about which fuse is best across all systems and tastes. I am sure that other elements also interact with what we hear from fuses. Wall outlets, ac filtering, contact enhancements, the quality of component power supplies, and isolation all play a great role in what we hear.

Basically, forums can only serve the role of a heads up about personal experiences. I have never seen even a close approach to consensus here or on AudioAsylum on anything. I fact many would reject out-of-hand any possibility that fuses much less their direction could matter.
I have been following this and similar threads about which fuse is best, and most often feel I'm reading a re-run of power cables from five years ago. Of course fuses make a difference, as do other components we have not yet thought of. Both fuses are a great improvement from standard Radio Shack Littlefuse... Of course personal experiences will differ based on equipment used, power cords, dedicated circuit design, conditioners, outlets... Every step in the power supply chain has an effect, and the quantitative sum of these efforts will be the net result. Isoclean may better HF tuning or not. The argument is mute until you understand the entire chain of affecting components.

Why must we always be right?

How about this, fuses make a difference, it's logical and the degree of affect will vary so try both, and choose for yourself. They both cost $25-30, so they both have 1000x mark-up, so does everything audio!

What I would like to have discussed is the fact that Isoclean claims (in the owners manual) you will need to replace their fuse every six months due to degradation of the fuse. Is this true with HF Tuning literature too? Does this not concern anyone using Isoclean?

You do made a valid point, though I am less certain the trasportation, etc., could wholly account for that much difference. I do ackowledge however that I might have over-reacted; and feel sorry if in anyway I might have appear to have been dis-respectful in forcing my own opinion upon you. That's not my intention, but I do feel the way those Isoclean Chinamen price their products are bordering on dishonesty; or looking for fools; and I do have a strong distaste for that. You are an open-minded person and I am glad I learn something from you with this discussion.
"...I feel sorry if in anyway I might have appear to have been dis-respectful in forcing my own opinion upon you. That's not my intention, but I do feel the way those Isoclean Chinamen price their products are bordering on dishonesty; or looking for fools..."

Thanks for not forcing your opinions on us. :-)
hi JD, all that you get for "literature" that comes with the HF Tuning fuses is a little piece of paper that has a name of the company and web site address. No instruction manual. No mention of fuse degradation. This sounds weird to me that the Isoclean fuses need to be replaced every 6 months. Glad I didn't get them and went with HiFi Tuning instead.
JD, Thank you for bringing up the important point about IsoClean recommending replacement every 6 months or 7500 miles whichever comes first. OK, I embellished a little. I just finished doing the 6 month oil change on my car. I did not see that information on the web site so I am glad you brought it to my attention.

I have three amps with 6 fuses each. Only 5 are sizes that IsoClean makes. A dealer recommended only replacing the main 8A fuse but even that requires me to remove an amp from the system and take the top off. Three amps equals three times the expense, three times the labor -- every six months----no thank you.
If you read the IsoClean literature, you would see that all fuses experience the shock of surge current. In other words, according to IsoClean, all fuses should be replaced every six months. I have no real plan to replace my fuses every six months. Like all products of products that are consumed, the manufacturer encourages quick usage. Change your rasorblades every week, change your oil every 3000 miles, etc.

Are you guys new to a capitalistic society? You should neither believe everything you read nor disbelieve everything you read. I had experience with direction of fuses being important and so far I have found that the direction IsoClean indicates for their fuses sounds best. I will, however, keep trying. I wish I knew why the direction they say is so, but it does seem to work.

HiFi Tuning fuses also have a "best" direction, but they do not tell you which is which.

Jadem6, who has to always be right? Most of us are limited to our personal experiences, and I suspect few of us would choose to buy what is second best in our judgment. We just differ in what we find best.
I'd like to try some Isocleans or HiFi Tunings ... but I need a 12.5A fuse for my amp (5x20mm) and seem to be out of luck. An Isoclean supplier wrote to say that Isoclean would soon offer a 12A at 5.20mm (slow-blow), but the amp manufacturer can't seem to tell me if it would be okay to use the 12A.

Suggestions or similar experience?
I looked at the list of fuses HiFi Tuning makes(the little paper that came with fuses I odrdered) and there is no N/A next to a 12.5A fuse. So give cable company a call to verify they make this fuse. (800)fatwyre
good luck
Geoffkait, you are welcome.

Now here is a simple explanation from Isoclean itself of why replacement every now and then is necessary. I quote this from an audio article written by an oriental reviewer living in Seattle. I can actually read their language and translate them for you. There are of course sematic differences which cannot be 100% translated so bear with me.

"Because of the few samples on hand, I haven't directly compare AHP against Isoclean, but both are effective. According to the properitor Mr. So of Isoclean, their fuse have limited life, and even if not bow up, overtime the sonics with degrade, the primary reason being that the thin conductor core within cannot withstand overtime the micro heating from prolonged passing of current; or the instaneous heating up upon switching on of the equipment will cause change in the thin conductor core, resulting in the fuse losing its initial glamour and softening in sonics. Based on my observation over the months, the effect described is in fact true. Looks like we have to replace our fuse from time to time to keep up with the sonics".
This is the wording of the above that I have from IsoClean. "Fuses always carry high electric current thereby causing metal fatigue. This would then adversely alter the conductivity behavior of the fuse element and hence the performance of the equipment." Notice that there is no suggestion that this is limited to IsoClean fuses. I think Greeni that for some reason, you have a vendetta against IsoClean. Why, because they cost less than HiFi Tuning fuses?
Note that I was quoting the article to address the question raised by JD, i.e., "What I would like to have discussed is the fact that Isoclean claims you will need to replace their fuse every six months due to degradation of the fuse". Nowhere did I mention that this situation is limited to Isoclean. And indeed Isoclean made public such situation, even if the Gon' members have a problem with that. I was only offering an explanation given, one that is not commonly available to Gon’ members. The explanation from yours may be better, but I do find they share a common theme.

I thought we are over with Isoclean versus HF Tuning. Really you don’t have to seize every opportunity to find fault with my posting. If I have a vendetta against Isoclean, I have already declared above that I find their practice bordering on dishonesty. Faking a product several hierarchy above what they really are smell dishonesty to me. Pricing a Honda as Mercedes to unaware customers smell dishonesty to me. Here my friend is the lyrics from a song from Billy Joe : “Honesty is such a lonely word……..Honesty is hardly ever heard…..most I need from you.” Call me cynical but I don’t think the Gon’ members are interested in my moral standard, and that doen’t affect the explanation offered in the article in anyway. You have a problem with that ? Drop me a PM and we can discuss this topic.
"replace their fuse" "Nowhere did I mention that this situation is limited to Isoclean" Huh!
As i've mentioned in other threads, simply pulling and replacing fuses can improve conductivity. This is due to breaking up corrosion and making fresh metal to metal connections. Whether or not this is audible would depend on how corroded those contacts were.

Other than that, maybe Isoclean has found that the corrosion takes appr 6 months to build up to the point of measurable degradation, hence recommending this as the interval to replace their fuses. Replacing the fuse at this point "might" achieve the same results as simply cleaning the contacts on the old fuse and replacing it.

One approach is obviously a lot cheaper than the other whereas the manufacturer stands to profit from the other. Use your own judgment and go from there. Those with the Isoclean's and / or HiFi Tuning fuses aren't the only folks that can try this either : ) Sean
"replace their fuse" "Nowhere did I mention that this situation is limited to Isoclean"

If you care to look closer, the writer of the article actually wrote "replace our fuse". To quote in full, "Looks like we have to replace our fuse from time to time to keep up with the sonics". I think the writer was referring in a general sense to most fuses and not specific, but I won't make it out of proportion one way or the other. Tbg, why the Freudian slip ? Take care.
So if I read all this right, the fuse replacement is more a sales ploy than a fact. The sound will improve by replacing the fuses at around six months, but this would be true in any situation because of corrosive buildup on the fuse and or the holders. Cleaning the fuse every time I change my clock with day light savings will solve this issue.

I tend to not agree with the fuse degradation or my 35 year old Marantz tuner would have surely died by now. Or Grandpa's '50 Scott amps would would certainly have died. No the fuse I believe will not degrade to a point of needing replacement or we would see this problem more often.

I do think fuses matter however, I just don't buy Isocleans comments. This type of comment tends to make me shy away from them as a company, for they can not be fully trusted???

Jadem6, you read the thread wrong in my opinion. There is no question that there are multiple replacement fuses that are superior to what you normally get in electronic. I have replaced fuses in 9 components thus far. Some are dramatically improved; others are less improved.

Fuse direction with all fuses often makes a great difference. IsoClean marks their fuses direction and thus far I have found them right.

All fuses get brittle with turn on surge. I have never tried replacing fuses just to see whether or not I got a sonic improvement doing so. Your expeience with a fuse lasting 35 years on your tuner may not invalidate this as you have not replace it to see whether sonics improve.

I do not know whether the IsoClean comments have validity or not, but I have much experience to suggest that their fuses offer a great improvement. I have been using some of their fuses for well over a year now with no problems. I guess I could try replacing them to see whether sonics improve, but I probably will not. I am still struggling with which products best clean cds and sacds. I have resolved to my satisfaction what is the best vinyl cleaner.
Interestingl little thread. Let me see if I can stir the pot a little.

If I need to replace a fuse every 6 months, what about the rest of the power supply? For that matter, maybe I need to replace my whole stereo every 6 months.

As to directionality, even a piece of wire will exhibit some amount of inductance, capactance and resistance. Lots of capacitors are constructed by rolling an inner and outer foil together with an insulator like polypropalene in between. There will be a lead attached to each foil. Depending on whether the inner or outer foil lead is connected to the higher or lower impedance point in the circuit will affect the capacitors tendancy to pick up noise from radiated fields around it.

So what am I driving at? It is possible that the construction geometry of the fuse makes it more susceptable to noise pickup in one direction than in the other and this will be dependant on the SPECIFIC circuit it is used in. Meaning that it is possible that one direction will be preferable to the other and that this will vary from one piece of equipment to another.

OTOH maybe it's all BS.
read above that there is slow and fast blow fuses. is it not functioning the same? how to know if you amp take slow or fast blow one? my amc do not mention any.
Willster, I have thus far ignored the notion of replacing the fuses each six months. I did replace one once and heard no difference. This would, of course, increase sales.

It is certainly possible the construction geometry may account for the directionality of fuses. I have many times identified what I am told is the proper direction for using IsoClean fuses, listened, and then reverse the direction and listened again. Each time the right direction sounded better. I have tried Hi-Fi Tuning fuses and found they also have direction but it is not consistent with any external indication on their fuses, such as printing.

There is one quick way to decide whether this should be of any concern to you, try reversing several of your fuses, one at a time. If you hear nothing,...

Milen007, I have only found amp manufacturers to strongly suggest using slow blow fuses as they have a strong turnon surge that might overheat a fast blow fuse and blow it.
Bob P. If power doesn't flow in a particular direction then I should have no problem telling the Electric company that I will no longer be paying my bill. As a matter of fact, I think I'll start charging them!
Davemitchell: If I understand your comment (and I'm not altogether sure that I do) the fuse directionality issue has little to do with power. It is a matter of impedance.

For example, with capacitors constructed by rolling layers of film and foil together, if the lead attached to the outer foil is connected in the circuit to the lower impedance of the two possible connection points, it will be less susceptible to noise pickup.

If the fuses are indeed directional, it is likely due to some similar effect of their physical geometry.

However, I'm all for you selling the power company as much as you can manage. Go for it.