With respect to the audiophile gods, I can't imagine how a fuse (as long as it is proper value) can have any effect on sound quality. Pile on.
104 responses Add your response
Here is my opinion on the $25.00 fuses.
Another option is ceramic type, which is better than common variety in my opinion. So, basically three price levels. Stock fuse, ceramic and premium (as reviewed). You can decide if it's worth the extra bucks.
OK, how about:
With respect to the audiophile gods, I can't imagine how a power cord (as long as it is proper gauge) can have any effect on sound quality. Pile on.
With respect to the audiophile gods, I can't imagine how an interconnect (as long as it is decent quality) can have any effect on sound quality. Pile on.
With respect to the audiophile gods, I can't imagine how a speaker cable (as long as it is sufficient gauge) can have any effect on sound quality. Pile on.
Do any of these seem ridiculous to you as well, or only fuses?
Albert has a fair point. He's listened to the normal fuse, ceramic fuse, and the $25 fuse. He can hear a difference.
Timrhu asked "pile one" So seem like his request was granted!
I think the main point here is, you can't really question someone who has taken the time to listen vs someone who is basing an opinion with out listening.
I've used normal fuses vs ceramic. I can hear that. It was worth the $1.50 per fuse. All your power flows through this little thing, so if you can hear power cord changes, your chances of hearing this a pretty good.
BTW, I can also hear the contact cleaner improvements when used on the fuse and fuse holder. Pile on.
Garebear - I think there is a bigger chance that the voodoo fuses will give less reliable protection, than that they will do the protection thing as well and make any difference that a human being could detect in a well designed blind test. If you are going to trust them to protect your equipment, I'd want to look close at what data each manufacturer provides for testing,verification and certification by a valid 3rd party.
Thanks Jeff.....I was thinking the same thing. As the fuse's that are in my amp are all UL listed. They protected the amp after I stupidly kicked the power cord while the system was on. The fuse blew and protected my system....I agree, are these real expensive fuse's UL listed ????? Will they protect my amp / system ?????
I've replaced 4 external $.035 fuses with 4 Isoclean fuses and within 48 hours I could not hear any difference whatsoever.
(In my experience, simple electrical and some line conditioners take about 48 hours of burn-in time.)
Several days later I replaced the 4 internal fuses on each rail of my amp. Within 48 hours the sonic improvements were about equal to going from audio grade wall receptacles to cryo-treated and higher audio grade wall receptacle. In other words, a very noticeable improvment.
A noticeable amount of graininess was gone and replaced with a richer, warmer, more detailed and pristine presentation. The improvements were well worth the money.
There is another fuse mfg'er called HiFi-Tuning.com that appears to produce an even better built and better materials fuse than the IsoClean. I've replaced that equipment and left the fuses in place (accidentally). This next round I'm going for the hifi-tuning.com fuses.
With regard to safety, there should be no difference. Safety and construction and blow are the sole purpose for a fuses existence and easily understood even by somebody like myself. An audio grade fuse simple replaces the very cheap alumimun and glass materials with silver, copper, gold-plating, and ceramic type materials.
There's probably more voodoo just by mentioning the subject.
The key to safety is replacing a fuse with an identical spec'ed fuse including amperage, size, and type( slow or fast blow).
Whether or not the 25 dollar fuses sound better, I imagine they do, there is no denying the fact that fuses suck. I've always thought a higher quality fuse would be worth the money. I doubt if Isoclean is going to sell a fuse that will not at a minimum do its job as well as a cheap fuse. Think of the lawsuits.
Have these fuses mentioned in this thread been CERTIFIED by any electrical standards agency or governmental bureau that regulates electrical components and wiring?
I'm not referring to an independent testing company [like Consumer's Union]. I just want to make sure that they conform to governmental safety standards before risking my gear on an uncertified protection and safety device.
Albertporter, I will answer your questions in the order asked, yes, maybe and no.
I have exchanged power cords with cables made with high grade components and haven't noticed any sonic benefit. Is it my ears which don't hear as well as others? Is it my home's wiring which won't allow six feet of high quality cable between the wall outlet and my amp to improve what the 40 feet of 14 gauge romex provides from the breaker box? Is it my auditory memory which isn't acute enough? Maybe my equipment just isn't good enough to reveal the difference? Am I not interested enough? Whatever the reason, I don't hear any difference with power cord changes.
Now with interconnects my answer is maybe. Although I have tried quite a few different interconnects I have never heard a difference. This one I chalk up to laziness/indifference.
As for speaker cables I am convinced I have noticed differences. Surprisngly the most expensive cable I've owned, Straightwire Black Silk, made no impression on me. Pretty certain Audioquest Midnight was the first cable I noticed a significant difference with. Depth was the word I remember associating with this cable. There have been others that impressed me with their sonic signature.
These are my personal observations. I have no problem with the fact that others come to different conclusions. We experience the world through different ears and eyes. We have different desires and different expectations. It's no surprise our outcomes differ when we experiment with system changes. I don't claim there is no difference, only that I don't hear it and am not interested in listening for it.
The question I have to ask about fuses changing the audible character of an amp is this. If a certain fuse makes an amp sound better, why doesn't the designer/manufacturer of the amp use it. If a manufacturer is out to sell the best sounding amp, why wouldn't he spend $10 or $15 to make this simple change? I'm assuming we're talking about amps costing $2k+. If I'm paying $3.5 on an amp, I'd surely pay $10 more if it sounds that much better and save myself the trouble of changing fuses.
Timrhu, I don't know why you don't hear differences in power cables and such. It's a big deal on my system and based on posts here at Audiogon, lots of people get good results with swapping these things out.
Now if you said you thought the price of these were not commiserate with performance gained, that would be a value judgement. I agree that many times a system must be pressed to the upper edge before hyper expensive tweaks make any sense.
As for why manufacturers don't add such things. It's for the same reason as other products, money.
Most of the time OE tires on new cars are not the best available, new homes usually don't have the highest quality faucets or appliances. Photocopiers frequently come only partially charged with toner, and that new triple blade shaver has only two spares in the five slots available.
It's smart marketing. When a manufacturer adds one dollar cost to an audio product, the retail goes up $5.00.
A wise manufacturer leaves off the super AC cord, the gold fuses, the designer caps and doesnt include high end interconnects, so the retail price remains attractive.
Frequently, an audio customer enters the store with maximum price already set in their head. Make a product too expensive and you loose that guy.
Add the fact that not everyone believes in or want's those tweaks and those that do, have more fun adding the ones THEY choose when they've recovered from the initial purchase shock.
Certainly a $25.00 fuse is not a make or break deal performance wise. There are systems that likely would not benefit, even at that small price.
In my system and several others in my group, $25.00, for what's gained is a good value. Factor in (if you don't blow a lot of fuses), you could get three to five years of increased listening pleasure and still be able to pull that fuse when you sell.
I like things that add performance to my system that don't cost a lot. It usually doesnt work that way, so I'm grateful for small, reasonable improvements.
I did read a post on another forum some time ago about a guy that replaced six(?!) fuses in his active speakers for Hifi-Tuning fuses... Infinty Reference Series?? (don´t remember name of the speaker - sorry) and got very good results.
Also I read on the same forum that one guy swapped fuses in his ML speakers with good results also.
Russe41, I'll bet they use common fuses.
I'll also bet you could venture to the local Porsche dealership and find less than state of the art tires on the prettiest model in the showroom.
Something less than the best possible choice for maximum performance? Were talking about a very fine quality, very expensive automobile!
Maybe the tires they choose cost less, ride smoother and last longer at the expense of not being the absolute last word in performance.
I get tired of that argument, it appears all the time in Audiogon forums. People claim that if fuse (or fill in aftermarket product here) was important, the designer would have included it.
It's odd that every year at CES these same designers show up with their equipment sitting on premium stands and feet, hooked up with aftermarket interconnect and power cables and (in some cases) the room is acoustically treated.
I have witnessed (personally) tube equipment at CES that had all NOS tubes to give the performance edge they wanted the public to hear. If designers believe in and make use of all these things, why don't they include them?
As stated above, its the money.
Better to keep initial cost low and allow each audiophile to decide how to spend their post "initial purchase" dollars.
Well guys I bought the HIFI-Tuning Fuse's for my Rowland Model # 5 amp. Four of them in total.....My system is the Rowland amp and a Rowland Synergy IIi pre amp along with a CEC TL-1 transport, dcs Delius / Purcell combo and Avalon Eclipse speakers. Purist Audio Dominus digital interconnects ( 3 of them...thanks Albert Porter ) and Synergistic Absolute Reference IC's with all Shunyata Anaconda Alpa and VX power cords.... MY JAW DROPPED !!!!! ALL I could say was ; ''WOW ''. Now remember...I found these fuse's due to a stupid accident , I was not out there trying to tweak. They work.
Albertporter - I think what you are really seeing, sometimes, is showmanship (looks count and dem gadgets look pretty cool) and otherwise neccessary behavior to keep a business viable. If you don't play nice with other vendors, & if you disdain highly profitable product catagories for your dealers, you won't be in business long. Also, it is probably handy, occasionaly or consistently, to have some of the tweaks vendors chip in $'s to help defray show costs. FWIW, most of the sport car/sport bike makers now days are figuring out how their vehicles are going to be measured in the mags. and tiring up to suit.
Jeff_Jones. On that point I agree, appearance is absolutely important.
Sound at shows (any audio show) is typically not very good. Equipment just survived the long trip, the room is cramped and often still has the bed headboard attached to the wall and people are opening and closing the door and talking.
No doubt this is a difficult way to conduct business. However, I don't believe for a moment any high end manufacturer would add tweaks to the system that did not help.
Remember, every costly extra in the system is telling the listener that the amps, speakers, or whatever they are displaying requires extra's to sound good.
I agree that these tweaks are sometimes present as they are sharing room costs. Even with this arrangement, it's typically due to the fact the two designers are friends, share common values and think each others products sound good.
I know a lot of people in the high end audio business and power cords, fuses, speaker cables and all the other tweak products that bear the brunt of detractors are a non issue with these designers. I have sat in dozens of manufactures and reviewers home and witnessed these tweaks in action. They use them because they work and are an audible improvement.
If you don't want to use them, no one is twisting your arm. I don't know why everyone is so defensive. If a tweak does not work for you, ignore the review, just the same as you would if it were a pair of speakers you didn't care for.
I recently replaced all 5 fuses in my Esoteric X-01 LE with the IsoClean fuses and must say this is the biggest improvement I have heard with the IsoCleans. I have them throughout my system and always found they were an improvement, but the Esoteric was shocking.
Initially, I could not figure out what the direction of the fuses should be and guessed wrong. When I got the direction right (from the transformers toward the circuit) was when I really heard an improvement. I also cleaned with AudioTop Desktop.
I have heard that a review comparing IsoClean with the German silver fuses found the IsoCleans superior.
I have found this subject quite interesting.With good arguments on both sides.I have a highly modded,and rebuilt Audio Research pre/phonostage,so decided to actually call the technical folks,at Audio Research,for their thoughts.BTW-I do hear differences in cables/cords,in my set-up.
Here is EXACTLY what Audio Research said--"We have been aware of these fuses and have tried them,in some of our own equipment.We believe that in some cases they slightly improve performance,but not to any significant degree,or to make them worth obtaining.In most cases we feel they change the sound for the worse"!
Now I do have a friend who has just put these in his identical pre/phono,but he,in the past,has been very unreliable regarding any kind of changes.He almost always considers any change to be better.This has usually NOT been consistent.I hope he's correct here,as he likes them,but has not bothered to re-orient them,for comparative purposes.!!
Believe me,I would love these to be viable,but would have to hear for myself,in my own set-up.I'm perched on the fence,for now!
Actually,next week I'm going to my "same pre/phonostage" friend,who has just bought the fuses.He has almost the exact componentry that I do.Except my system is better voiced,and sounds better -:)(a joke,in case he sees this).
He agreed that we would do some comparisons,and I will then know.
BTW--Steve Huntley of Great Northern Sound,who rebuilt/modded my pre/phono claime the fuses are superior to the stock stuff.Steve is a really honest and unbelieveably knowledgeable guy,so he basically cancels out the A/R folks.It becomes a split decision,as of now!!
I'll know for sure,next week!!
First, let me say that I have only tried the HiFi-Tuning Silver Filament Ceramic Body Fuses... and not the Isoclean Fuses (with a glass body and no solid Silver filament). Also, I am an audio manufacturer... and make reference quality cables as well as highly regarded Audio & Video contact enhancers.
I put SIX HiFi-Tuning fuses in my Atma-Sphere MA-1 MkII.3 Silver OTL monoblocks... and TWO in my Atma-Sphere MP-3 Preamp. All I can say is... WOW!!!!
The difference was huge... equivalent to if not better than an expensive Power Cable or Component upgrade. Better resolution, dynamics, instrument weight and image separation. Just more real... with dynamics closer to the live event.
I then QuickSilver GOLD pasted them... which even took them to another level!!! I was so impressed... that I became a HiFi-Tuning fuse dealer.
One of the HiFi-Tuning fuses for my RGPC 400 power conditioner was on back order. I also want to add that I have my TRL modified Sony SACD plugged into it... as I am out of outlets to plug directly into the wall. I received the fuse about 2 weeks later... QSG pasted it... and put it in. DOUBLE WOW!!! I couldn't believe what just one fuse could do to my system... although I totally understand it follows the proven philosophy of "Garbage In... Garbage Out". In other words... improving components upstream usually make a greater difference (with the exception of speakers)... as everything is amplified from that point forward.
I was so surprised at the DRAMATIC improvement with replacing that ONE fuse in the RGPC 400 for my source CDP (which has its fuse removed and is hard-wired) that I called several audio friends to let them know what just happened.
All I can say is that I know the HiFi-Tuning Silver Filament NON-DIRECTIONAL anti-resonant Ceramic Body Fuses work in my system... and the improvements were not only surprising... but DRAMATICALLY HUGE.
So for everyone who has yet to upgrade their fuses with a premium fuse from HiFi-Tuning (or perhaps the IsoClean variety), you can't go wrong... and should be very pleased with the performance improvements. Although I haven't A/B'ed the HiFi-Tuning fuses with the Isoclean fuses... people will probably find that as with cables, components, tube vs. solid state, etc., some people will prefer one type over the other type depending upon their listening preferences and system synergy. In other words, does one like chocolate ice cream... or vanilla ice cream... or neither.
Upgrading one's fuses is definitely on the list as one of the best bang-for-the-buck performance accessories in Audio & Video today... and should be tried by all audiophiles and videophiles. The energy transfer bottleneck at the fuse interface can now be minimized... with eXceptional results.
I strongly recommend that if you are an audiophile or videophile... upgrading one's fuses should not be considered as an optional accessory... but an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY... that will allow the full potential of one's electronic components to be realized.
I hope this helps...
Albert, nice analogy with cables above. They all sounded ridiculous to me until I decided to listen for myself. As you may guess, I heard a difference with cables and tried probably 30 different cables over the last 5 years before finally finding one that made me say "I'm done."
All: FWIW, I have the HiFi Tuning Fuse as the AC fuse in my McCormack DNA-125 Platinum. It makes the sound airer, and instruments sound lighter. My considered opinion is they are very much like cables in the sense that some people will like the change they bring, while others won't. I also suspect, though I am not sure, that the level of difference they bring is system-dependent as well.
Hope everyone here has a great week ahead.
Aggielaw, if you've only replaced the fuse accessible from the back of the amp, then you might consider opening the lid on your amp to see if there are a few fuses on either rail inside your amp.
On my DNA-2 Rev A amp there were 4 internal fuses (2 per rail/channel) and replacing these fuses provided substantial sonic improvements perhaps because they are in the direct signal path.