I can help, but really help, not with what you want but with what you need. Which is, don't waste your time and money trying to build a power cord. Or interconnect. Or speaker cable. There are things in audio its worth doing yourself. Lots of things. These are not the droids you're looking for.
It’s hard to say if the Neotech/Furutech offerings are going to be better than the Sonarquest. I haven’t use Sonarquest, but in all my testing
it really comes down to the metal material used and the plating. Both Neotech and Furutech have excellent offerings. The build quality on the Furutech is a step above (in my opinion). I have used both.
The Furutech gold-plated connectors really give a warm full sound (they really warm up the sound and soften the highs). The Neotech gold-plated do not warm the sound as much - there is more attach on the Neotech gold-plated.
The Furutech rhodium plated are probably the best because they do a heavy/thick plating of the rhodium. These are about the best plugs you can get, in my opinion. Very clean tight bass and excellent high frequency resolution and attack. You can expect a very long 250-300 hour burn-in on this rhodium.
One thing that Furutech does differently than other manufactures is that the screws that hold the body and strain relief clamp are connected to the GROUND conductor (to help with eddy and static). Most of their plugs have this feature except the lower models (such as FI-11 or FI-15 basic)
The FI-28 and FI-46 are similar, but the more expensive 46 and 50 NCF models use different bodies that are design to reduce electrical resonance and physical vibration.
a note on Wattgate. These are decent bargain plugs, but they are made from brass which imparts a harsher tone. I found that Wattgate brass tends to "push too hard" on the voltage and the sound becomes too forward and bright and harsh (in a way). The Furutech gold/rhodium or Neotech do not have this problem (they are pure copper with plating).
I own both the Furutech Fi28R and the 50NCF, and also the Wattgate plugs. The Furutech are definitely a step up, but they may not be a better solution to your particular needs. The Furutech tend to clamp harder on, or into, the outlets than the Wattgate's...which IME can also lead to problems.
Nonetheless, the Furutech are a nice upgrade and as posted above, the Fi28-R's are an exceptional plug...the rhodium plating really gives great neutrality. Not quite as extended as the NCF-50's...but excellent regardless.
Hi guys, thanks for your input! The Wattgate plugs, as you guys have said do sound harsh and unnatural.
I am leaning towards getting the FI-46(Gold) or 48 (Rhodium or Silver), due to the NCF treatment. Which one would be the most neutral?? I know the previous poster said that the Furutech gold treatment significantly warms up the sound.
I am still contemplating getting the Neotech plugs, because of the price difference.
Also, it seems from your post that Rhodium sounds more neutral than the other platings. Ironic, since Rhodium is a comparably poor conductor of electricity compared to gold or silver.
Furutech hardly makes any silver plated models, but i do see the FI-48 Male comes in silver.
For "neutral" I would probably say Rhodium. The Furutech gold-plated is colored in the sense that it softens the highs and also slows the bass. Silver is also not neutral because it tends to push the upper mids and highs and sound bright with lack of bass.
I have found that Rhodium actually has better ultra-high frequency response and extension than silver. I read once that silver does not do a good job at dampening electrical resonance and that's why it sounds so bright. Because it's resonating, it cannot stabilize enough to provide clean very high frequencies.
@auxinput...would you say that the Neotech gold is also colored towards the warm side of neutral?
@auxinput...I forgot to ask one thing in the last post. Do you have any experience with the Neotech rhodium plugs?
sorry, I do not have direct experience with Neotech rhodium plugs.
Would you say the Neotech gold plugs are on the warm side of neutral?
Thanks for all your help!
I think the Neotech gold plugs would be ever so slightly on the warm side of neutral. It really depends what "neutral" is to you. They have more attack and resolution than Furutech gold, but not as much as Furutech rhodium.
Neutral to me means things sound like the real thing. Voices sound like the person and instruments sound like how they sound if you were sitting next to them. unnecessarily warm comes across to me as muted highs and the feeling like you have cotton in your eyes while listening to the music. Could also means everything is recessed. Bright to me, means harsh highs and very forward upper midrange, usually combined with excess sibilance.
If the Neotech gold have a bit more attack than the Furutech, that is probably a good thing. Now it is just a choice between the Neotech gold or rhodium...
Sonarquest plugs do you have? They come in all four of the following configurations:
- Unplated copper
- Gold plated
- Rhodium plated
- Silver plated
I have the unplated copper plugs.
ah ok. I have found that unplated copper plugs do not have as much resolution as even the gold-palted. Unplated copper is very punchy in the midrange, but it lacks high frequency detail and I feel that it smears the sound just a tiny bit.
The gold-plated Neotech will likely be an improvement in resolution and tonal balance. The Furutech rhodium will have the most detail, tight deep bass and extended high frequency range. If your cable is not extremely thick, the lower price Furutech FI-15 Plus (R) rhodium connectors are an excellent value at about $55. You just have to be careful not to tear off the casing when you tighten down on the clamp screws. The casing folds open and it attached at 2 points with flexible plastic.
Thanks for the advice. I was seeing the IeGo plugs as well. Are these any good or are these cheap chinese knockoffs?
I don't know anything about the
plugs. sorry. I've looked at pictures of the IeGo and the wire clamp mechanism sort of reminds me of Wattgate. I think you're better off getting Furutech or Neotech. I love the build quality and design of the Furutech wire clamping. The Neotech is excellent as well.
I've used Furutech and Neotech. Oyaide is another good brand, but I've never used them. They have a palladium plated product, which is interesting, but I don't know how it sound.
I do not recommend using the Cardas plugs because the fold-out casing just rips away with hardly any pressure and you have a plug case that just fallen apart.
Yes, you're probably right, auxinput. I saw how cheap they were compared to the Neotech and Furutech and was thinking of giving it a go based on price, but then I thought about the usual Chinese quality.
I saw that it uses the Wattgate terminals, which is a blessing and a curse; it is much easier to terminate, but you have to be careful because they do not grip as tightly as the screw type terminals that most other brands use.
I wasn't considering Cardas or Oyaide because they don't use conductors with high electrical conductivity. Phosphor Bronze and Beryllium Copper are not that great.
Phosphor Bronze and Beryllium Copper are copper alloys (probably 92 to 98% copper). They are actually not that bad - I have used them. They are significantly better than the low end brass plugs (like Wattgate). Pure copper is better though. However, the low conductivity of Rhodium plating doesn't necessarily mean that it performs worse. Low conductivity is almost like self-damping resistance. The plating actually helps with two metals mating/touching that aren't actually soldered together (like you find in plugs and interconnects).
The Furutech FI-15 Plus (R) rhodium plugs are probably the "best for the money" at $55 each. They are actually cheaper than the Neotech gold-plated plugs.
Yes, I was actually originally looking at the FI-15, but you said to stay away from the clam shell design, since it is easy to break.
The Sonarquest plugs replaced Wattgate, and I can safely say the Wattgate is GARBAGE.
One of the things that attracted me to the IeGo was the Wattgate-type clamp. It is both a blessing and curse. It makes it very easy to terminate the plug, but it also can be hard to know if the plug is tight, which can lead to it loosening. That being said, I like not having to maneuver the wire around the screw in the screw-type connectors.
The IeGo connectors are 55/pair for the unplated copper. That's hard to beat. Shipping is $20, from Taiwan though, so I am debating buying those and seeing how they are.
The Neotech seems like it may be my first choice, as for the money they are hard to beat. To get the high end Furutech seems outrageously expensive, to me at least.
The Cardas clamshell is very fragile and not well manufactured. It's almost like "you touch it and it breaks".
The Furutech FI-15 clamshell is actually very durable. I have actually switched one of these FI-15 between about 5 or 6 different cables before one of the edges actually broke. A good way to handle it is to have the bottom clamshell completely down while you tighten the clamp screws on the top with the top clamshell open. The bottom clamshell actually helps hold the unit while you tighten the screws (and then vice versa with the top clamshell).
I don't like the Wattgate clamps as much. Once you use the Furutech clamps, you will find that it's actually a very good design. It operates in a similar way to the Wattgate clamps, but it is definitely superior. You unscrew the clamp and it opens up a space in the hole. The Furutech clamp actually forces the wire into a curve so that you have more contact surface to the plug conductors.
The IeGo connectors are definitely low cost, but just remember, you get what you pay for.
That is good to know! I didn't know the Furutech used a design similar to Wattgate. I really like the ease of use of the Wattgate, but the design is very fragile.
You are right about "you get what you pay for." I just got burned buying screw-type XLR plugs from China. They were complete garbage. The screws were either stripped or stuck in the holes. They must have been tapped incorrectly. 3-8 plugs were completely useless and it cost so much to ship back.
I will likely go for either the Neotech or the Furutech. It makes me twitch spending almost $1500 for plugs from Furutech haha. I need 6 plugs. The Neotech sounds like the better deal, overall. Whatever brand I go with I will likely go with Rhodium as apparently it sounds more neutral.
You felt the Rhodium was the more neutral performer?
Furutech/Neotech design is similar in the sense that turning the screw will lower a clamp and close the hole. However, the actual design and parts are much different. You can get a much tighter and stronger clamp on the wire with the Furutech/Neotech.
Furutech FI-15 plus (R) rhodium plugs are $55 USD each (I usually order them from Hi-Fi Heavan, but you can get them multiple places).
The Neotech Gold-plated plugs are normally $80 each retail, but Sonic Craft currently sells them for $64.
Neotech Rhodium are $100 retail, but Sonic Craft sells for $80 each.
I don't know that I would say rhodium is the most "neutral" because "neutral" is so subjective to someone's opinion of what "neutral" really is. I will say that Rhodium give you the most resolution and it is very revealing ( it can be revealing of bad electronics). Gold plated is more forgiving and will give a warmer and possibly more engaging sound, but will hide flaws in electronics and hide detail in the sound.
On the other hand, only rhodium will allow you to get the most out of a very high end piece. For example, I have compared two DAC, one low cost and the a very expensive discrete high end DAC. With basic power cords / interconnects, you really could not tell any difference between the two. However, once you get in some Furutech rhodium XLR with OCC copper solid-core wire and it becomes apparent that the low cost DAC just cannot compete with the sound quality of the expensive one.
For the XLR connectors, the Xhadow XLR connectors are the only ones I know of that use screw-type clamps on the wire instead of soldered. They are well made and the screws work good. However, they are silver-plated and I don't like anything silver-plated, lol. (with the exception of Nordost HDMI and digital cables).
Funny you mentioned the Xhadow XLR. I actually bought them after buying the cheap plugs from AliExpress. The cheap plugs were EIZZ. There is also another legitimate company that makes screw type XLR Plugs- ETI. The Xhadow XLR are really amazing! I was worried about the silver plating, because it has a tendency to sound bright and strident, but much to my amazement, they did not sound that way.
One of the reasons I got the Sonarquest plugs, was that it was unplated, and therefore removed that variable from the equation. As I said before, they sound amazing. I am also surprised that a power plug can make that much of a difference, and I am even more surprised hearing people say that the PLATING on a power plug makes a difference! However, I do believe it, because I have heard it myself, after being very skeptical. The Sonarquest plugs were an experiment to see if I heard a difference between power plugs, and at $11/each, if I didn't hear a difference, it's not like I threw away a ton of money.
A long time ago I compared the Xhadow silver plated XLR to Furutech gold-plated XLR. The Xhadow was okay, but it had sort of a phasing effect to the sound. The Furutech gold on the other hand sounded so natural and organic. It is warmer sounding, of course, and softens the highs. If you are using Xhadow in your interconnects, it's possible that the Neotech gold may be the best pairing. It's up to you.
So.. I ended up splurging and getting the FI-46 and boy was it expensive, but boy does it ever sound good! I was not expecting much.
Nice! Be aware that the sound could possibly get very painful to listen to during the break in. Just be patient. 250-300 hours.
Yes, the sound has softened up considerably. I have had the equipment on 24/7 since Friday. It started off kind of bright and thin.
@parimento1I'm looking forward to purchase FI-46 G with
FP-S022N for my DAC. Could you please tell me how do like FI-46 so far?
They are absolutely fantastic highly recommended. If you want a cheaper alternative, the Viborg connectors are very good, but not at the level of the Furutech.
I think it may help to put this a little into context. IMO, while the Furutech plugs are superior to the Wattgate’s, the Wattgate’s are still a respectable plug and in many cases, depending on the cable and the cable manufacturer’s skill and ability, will sound excellent. Put a Furutech Fi-NCF 50 on a cheap and poorly designed/poor quality cable and a well designed/quality constructed cable with Wattgate’s will beat that every time, IMHO and IME!