Review: Fusion Audio Enchanter/Impulse Power cord
FUSION AUDIO IMPULSE/ENCHANTER PC’s
I wanted to do a little write up on some excellent sounding power cords I came across while surfing the A’GON. [As I do habitually, daily]
One of the reasons for me spending the precious time of putting this to print is that they offer excellent performance at a very reasonable cost, and the materials/construction is excellent, compared with similar designs.
The company is called Fusion Audio, and the cords I wanted to write about are the Impulse cord, which is for front end equipment, and the Enchanter, which should be used for high current applications.
Let me also start out and state that I am in no way affiliated with Fusion Audio.
BUT, I did promise Eric I would write something up regarding the cords, and put my thoughts to pen [or keyboard]. The key word is ‘I’, meaning ‘I’ opened my mouth after being very impressed with the cords, and now, a year later, have finally made good on my promise.
Also, I would not bother with all of this if I did not think the cords were worth the mention, or were a rip off. We all are aware of cables and cords that are mostly hype, or have a 60-70 point mark up, etc. The Fusion cords deliver, are hand made [well I guess most cables/cords are [-;], and the construction and materials are top notch, compared to similar designs, as I mentioned earlier.
I asked Eric from Fusion Audio to briefly explain some of the details of the cords, since I was not 100% sure of the ins and outs of the design, in his words: “The cords are made with a proprietary blend of copper and silver foils and solid core wire, which are air insulated, with cryo treated terminations, and a unique shielding design that creates a quiet background with lots of musicality”
I also asked him about some possible similarities of the Fusion cords and those manufactured by Electraglide and Dream State.
His response was:
“While other companies use foil conductors that is only part of how the finished product will perform. The Fusion Audio cords went through many prototypes and weary listening sessions with my partner before settling on a design that combined great extension, and a quiet background with a musical presentation. We wanted a cord with all the attributes of silver but allowed you the opportunity to listen all day without fatigue. After much experimentation we feel the Fusion cords deliver these benefits at affordable price points. There are other great cords on the market and Dream State is a good example, however each cord will have its own flavor and appeal to your particular components and taste. The Fusion cords have a unique sound that can also be tailored by customizing the plug/iec. If you share with us your components and taste we make honest recommendations regardless of the manufacturer.”
Those are his words, folks, and I concur with most of his statements. I say ‘most’, because I have not heard the Dream State cords, but I have heard all, or most of Scott’s [Electraglide] cords.
More details can be found @ http://www.audiosurroundings.com/
WARNING: if you don’t want to read about me babbling on about myself or equipment, scroll down to the header marked: “LISTENING IMPRESSIONS’
So, here is some background info on myself:
I have been an Audiophile, or interested in good sound for about 24 years, and have been a member of Audiogon since June-99.
I have my hearing tested yearly, as part of my job, and I can still say I have excellent hearing! At least the trend graphs show that I can still hear clearly……..
At times my associates/friends say I am more interested in gear than music, as my A’Gon feedback may incline one to think, but I think they are partially jealous of me going through some top notch gear in my system. I think they wish they could do this also, but for a variety of reasons, cannot. [Wife, time, $$$, space, more mentally stable than myself, etc.]
Here are some of the long term constants in my system, in my defense of not being a total gear head:
Dedicated room around 17’W by 8’H by 22’L. Its sound proof, and is for 2 channel audio [and tube testing] only.
Treated with ASC traps, RPG diffusers, Room Tunes, the usual suspects.
3 dedicated 20amp lines 12’ from the box, 2 lines are on opposite phase for a poor mans balanced set up for the mono’s. I run 10 gauge solid core cryo Romex [Chris Ven Haus] through separate runs of EMT.
Power conditioning is Shunyata Research Hydra, PS Audio Premier, etc.
Actually, I replaced the Hydra with the Premier, due to power line contaminants in my town. Another story for another day, perhaps.
I have a set of VAC Signature 220 tube mono’s with the latest PHI circuit upgrades from VAC. Think they put out around 200 watts or so per channel?
The second set of mono’s I own are CODA Ultra CM’s, with CODA signature upgrades. They run around 650 watts per channel, solid state.
[all owned for about 2 yrs now] The CODA amplifiers are biased Class-A to around 15 watts or so, then Class-A/B up to the rated 650 into 8 ohms.
I also had friends Krell FPB600 for several months, as he needed a place to store it while his new home was being renovated. My room can tend to be a dumping ground at times, but it does allow me to play with different gear!
My front end was an EMM Labs DCC2 [late version] with a CDSD, non Signature and Signature. The same friend that dropped the Krell off for a few months also dropped off an Esoteric SA50S, real nice. And ANOTHER acquaintance, from S. Korea, asked me to ship a fully loaded Tact 2.2X preamp/DAC/room correction unit to him, since the original seller would not. Shipping to S. Korea is not fun, by the way.
I still have the Tact, as I have not heard from him in 2 months, and his cell has been disconnected.[I finally heard from him, guess he was in a car accident? Shoot, now I have to ship it!]
Anyway, my final digital front end, what I have now, is the latest 20th Anniversary Esoteric D-5/P-5/G-03X digital. [has full digital volume control]
Preamplifiers I own are the ARC REF 3, a custom tube unit, and a few others left around the dumping site from friends.
Don’t really use the preamps too much, as I am addicted to the ‘direct’ sound.
In fact, I sold the ARC REF 3 recently, probably will buy another tube pre again, once I have the cash/credit available, maybe.
The main 2 sets of speakers I used initially were a tricked out set of Magnepan 3.6R’s, with the Mye stands, outboard crossovers, Nordost Valhalla jumpers, fuses by-passed, the whole 9 yards. These were augmented by a set of Martin Logan Depth subwoofers.
The other speaker I owned also during this time was the new Legacy Focus HD’s, which are a lot more linear sounding than the Focus 20/20’s, IMHO.
A friend also has the new Legacy Whisper HD’s, real nice, and nice step up over the Focus HD’s.
I currently own a set of Audio Physic Scorpio’s, and finally, as of right now, have a set of Wilson Audio Sophia II’s set up, which I used for final assessment of the Fusion Cords.
Cables are Nordost Valhalla, Purist 20th anniversary, etc.
Power cords on hand: Nordost Valhalla, Purist 20th Anniversary, Silent Source Signature HC’s, Electraglide Epiphany X, Synapses 1 and Synapses 2 cords, and an all silver Mini Khan Plus with Watt-A-Gate 350i AG/330i AG connectors, and a few others, including of course the Fusion Audio Impulse and Enchanter cords. Towards the end of the review I purchased a Fusion Audio Predator [all copper entry level PC] for the Esoteric clock unit.
During the final assessment of the cords, they were used with the new Synergistic Research Apex speaker cables with the Precision Reference XLR interconnects. Real nice also………..
I would like to start out stating that the Impulse and Enchanter PC’s took some time to fully settle. I had experienced the same type of break in process with other power cords, including the Electraglide cords in the past. The Nordost Valhalla did not seem to need as much break in time, perhaps it has something to do with the foil width, quantity of conductors, type and amount of shielding, etc., of the Fusion cords. The Silent Source HC’s did need some time, for sure.
They do sound great right out of the ‘box’, or bag, but in a high resolution system, you need to give these cords time to break in, and to fully settle down and ‘focus’ in.
Right from the get-go, the Fusion Audio cords have good flow, present music as a whole, and have good dynamics and extension at the frequency extremes. They are very quiet, perhaps due to that proprietary shielding, which Eric/Fusion Audio says is a unique blend of 4 different materials.
The cords had nice weight, and had that substantial sound imparted to images, meaning the soundstage did not sound light and the images inside the soundstage had a nice amount of physicality to them.
A quick note on foil/ribbon based designs:
As I have found with foil/ribbon cords in the past, including interconnects and speaker cables, the way the cords allow the music to flow as a whole, to allow the music to present itself as a continuous whole, was certainly there in full measure with the Fusion cords. They seem to have a slight organic/continuous way of presenting music, which greatly add to flow and musicality, which are both related to one another.
My opinion with foil/ribbon type conductors is that sometimes things can get lost in the translation, as I tend towards a live, clean, accurate, if ever so slightly lean presentation. I have at times thought that foil/ribbon based cables[or to many in any one system] can rob a system of that ‘live’ sound, that helps fool you, at least in part, that you are listening to a live musical event.
Basically I have never really liked more than 1 or at most 2 ribbon/foil based cables in any of my past systems at any one time. I always felt, though, that at least 1 was needed.
Some of the cables that use these types of conductors, and that I have used over the years, are: Electraglide, Alpha Core, Audio Magic, Silversmith, Xindak, and of course Fusion Audio.
Anyway, now you know how I feel about foil/ribbon designs. It’s my opinion, and I am entitled to it, yes?
Getting back to break in, some of the PROS of the sound of the cords were mentioned above; some of the CONS [before break in] were as follows:
I felt that the cords sounded a bit ‘tight’, or ‘constrained’, just a tad constipated at the outer most frequency extremes. The midrange also sounded tight and stressed. Image focus at times were all over the place, and images shifted back and forth, in and out. Typical cable break in sonic anomalies for sure.
They also sounded a tad mechanical sounding, just a tad, to go along with that flow I mentioned above. An oxymoron I guess, but that’s what it sounded like.
There were not as bad as some of the older Electraglide cords I owned, including the Synapses 1 and Synapses 2 cords. The Epiphany X cords were not as bad, except the focus, image stability and float was. The Nordost Valhalla cords were much better at breaking in, along with the Silent Source Signature HC’s, but the SS HC’s took a lot longer to sound more musical and relaxed.
The slight mechanicalness I mentioned before could perhaps be attributed to the silver conductors, as I have found in the past that silver based designs can sometimes take a bit longer to settle in, flesh out, and sound relaxed, compared to copper.
So again, the cords need break in time, and to be honest, I would say around 200-500 hours. But, they still will sound good out of the bag, and even better at the 50 hours, 100, and 150 hour run in periods.
I’d recommend a burn in machine, if possible, or throw them in the second system or on your HT set up for a few weeks.
If your equipment is less fussy, perhaps the extended break in time may not be needed, but it was my experience that in a very high resolution system, the settling in of these cords was most obvious and necessary.
But perhaps you are not as anal as myself………..definite possibility I suppose.
I did mention to Eric that I felt that cryogenically treating the entire cord would make a nice upgrade.
I also asked him if he had found that certain lengths of his cords sounded better compared to other lengths. I don’t think he mentioned any preference, but you can always e-mail him if interested.
I have varying lengths of the Fusion cords, and could not detect any major difference in sound, more or less.
Just figure I would throw that out there.
I used the cords mentioned below on the following equipment:
EMM Labs DCC2, CDSD SE, Esoteric 50s, and the Esoteric P-05/D-05 dual mono converter with volume control and the transport.
AND, the Audio Research Reference 3:
Now when I compared the Electraglide Synapses 1 and 2 [the S2 is a silver/copper hybrid, compared to the all copper S1] to the Fusion Impulse, I noticed that the Impulse was a bit quieter. Images and the associated backdrop projected out from a blacker soundscape. This helped give the Impulse the impression that images had greater density, and image palpability, compared to the Synapses 1 and 2. The same for the Epiphany X and all silver Mini Kahn Plus I mentioned at the beginning of the review.
The Electraglide cords presented a lighter more agile presentation, although they have very good palpability and thereness, just the Fusion Impulse did it better and took the sonics a notch higher.
The Fusion cord also had greater focus, and presented a larger soundstage than the cords just mentioned. Image height, width, and depth were more readily apparent, or larger, than the other cords.
Dynamic contrasts where also greater with the Impulse cord.
The Impulse simply had a little bit more of everything that the Electraglide cords have: More focused, transparency, quietness, more dynamic, more frequency
extension, greater dynamics, and an overall cleaner presentation. Everything was simply moved up a notch.
It did depend on what source component I used the Fusion cord, but the results were pretty much consistent across the board with the equipment I had on hand.
But, do I feel that the lesser conductor quantity all silver Mini Kahn Plus cord may be a better match on the transports, depending on system and downstream cords? Perhaps.
It’s all about system matching, component compatibility and personal taste at times.
But regardless, the Fusion Impulse cord did sound the way I explained above, compared to the 4 EG cords. I do believe that in most high resolution systems the Fusion Impulse would be an upgrade, again compared to the EG cords.
Now compared to the Nordost Valhalla power cord:
The Valhalla cord was quicker sounding, cleaner and more transparent, and more extended at the frequency extremes, especially on the top end, less so on the bottom end, but still more extended nonetheless.
The Fusion Impulse had a more organic/continuous presentation to it, perhaps a bit more musical, which go along with the organic/flowing qualities that the cord imparts to the signal.
Both cords were very quiet, but the Nordost cable had better focus, image outline, speed, and a more direct presentation. It also has a ‘rightness’ to its presentation, but at the same time a silvery coldness/sterility could be detected. But minor mind you, and with the right set up, perhaps not there at all………….
Would I use the Nordost Valhalla cord on the EMM Labs DCC2? Probably not, not in this system and with my ears. Maybe on the transports.
Is the Valhalla a better cord? Well, one needs to define ‘better’.
Which cord has greater applicability, and can be used on a greater variety of equipment, and appeal to more listeners?
Another tough question, yes?
Both cords have their applications, and each will season the sonic presentation of a given system and component accordingly.
Mix and match, component/system compatibility, personal tastes, that’s what it’s all about, at least in my experience. Although there IS something to be said about using one manufacturer cables throughout, like the Synergistic Research approach. [I mentioned I have the Apex/Precision Reference combo]
Bu I still like the mix and match route. Also, you can do your research and find what others say about given cords, cables, and the like, and how they sound with given components and systems.
One such example may be that many EMM Labs owners lean towards Jena Labs cables. They also say the Nordost Valhalla sounds great with the VTL 7.5II preamplifier.
The Purist cords and the Silent Source HC cords also offered a different sonic perspective, depending on which component they were situated on.
The Purist cord projected an even quieter presentation, was a bit more relaxed, focused, etc. BUT, takes forever to settle in, at least to my ears. The Silent Source cords sounded a tad more linear throughout, and had an organic quality and certain ‘rightness’ to the midrange. The Silent Source HC cords do take some time to fully settle in, and are built to be used on high current applications, but work very well on source components also.
I have had 4 sets of the SS HC cords, and 4 of the standard Signature cords over the past few years, really nice cords, designed by someone with a military/electrical background, etc.
But, they be a different beast than the Fusion cords altogether.
Everything has its application and place………..
You also have to take into consideration the cost of the cords mentioned, the Fusion Impulse may seem like a bargain, if you shop around and take a look at going prices these days………
Now regarding the Fusion Audio Enchanter:
From what I am told, and by holding it in my hand, it has a lot more conductor than the Impulse cord, which makes sense to me.
I have 2 of the Enchanter cords, and I used them on the VAC Signature/PHI mono’s and the CODA ULTRA CM solid state mono’s.
I also used 2 of the Nordost Valhalla PC’s on the amplifiers, and the 2 Silent Source Signature/ceramic HC’s.
Nice cords of very different designs.
A logical comparison would be the Impulse, since the design principle and concept is largely the same, except conductor quantity, from what I understand.
I can say this for sure, that the Enchanter more full, or substantial, than the Impulse, which makes sense more or less, as the Enchanter has more conductor.
They were quick sounding and agile, but not to the same extent as the Impulse.
They had greater weight, body, and fullness compared to the Impulse, with excellent focus, detail, and sounded very quiet.
They were not as quick, extended, or agile as the Nordost Valhalla, but sounded fuller and had greater body/weight to the presentation. They were not as transparent either, compared to the Nordost or Silent Source, but they were very close, very, very close.
The Enchanter cords worked just as well on the CODA amplifiers as they did with the VAC Phi amplifiers. And while I appreciated the speed and transparency of the Valhalla cords on the solid state CODA amplifiers, I preferred the Enchanters. It was a toss up with the Valhalla cords on the VAC tube amplifiers, as it depended on the speaker cables being used at the time.
And don’t for a minute think that the VAC Phi amplifiers are slow, tubey, and the like. They are fast, clean, and transparent, more transparent than the CODA amplifiers, and sound more ‘right’ and believable than the solid state amplifiers. Just the CODA and Krell amplifiers beat the VAC out in the bass and ultimate authority and bottom end control, which is expected.
The Silent Source HC cords were somewhere in between, and project a very believable sound, everything sounds ‘right’ and proper with the Silent Source cords. They tell it like it is, but at the same time have a slight organic quality to the midrange, but again, they took some time to break in to sound that way.
In a high resolution system, you really need to take your time with cords, allowing them time to fully settle in and relax. Sometimes even moving a cord can screw things up a bit, and then it takes a day or two or three for things to settle back in.
ALTHOUGH, I would like to note, the Nordost Valhalla cords/cables can be moved and bent, and still sound excellent, without loosing too much of the ‘magic’.
I can say this regarding the Enchanter power cord: It should more or less be used as intended by the designer[s], on high current applications like amplifiers and power conditioners.
I suppose you could use it on a source component, which I did on a few occasions, but I kept going back to the Impulse for the front end equipment, including the ARC REF 3.
So that’s pretty much it.
Great cords that have musicality, body, speed, focus, are very well designed and shielded, extended at the frequency extremes, and sound organic and relaxed, ONCE FULLY BROKEN IN.
They have great applicability with a variety of components, and DO NOT COST AN ARM AND A LEG, YET.
There are faster cords out there that have greater transparency, transient response, detail, etc., but it can come with a price.
And sometimes listener long term satisfaction can be affected.
But again, I love the mix and match thing, for the most part.
I did find that more than one Fusion cord in a system does not hurt, and the more you add, the greater the effect, for the better.
You may find a point where things may be a bit much, then just back off and remove a cord.
As I mentioned at the onset of the review:
“One of the reasons for me spending the precious time of putting this to print is that they offer excellent performance at a very reasonable cost, and the materials/construction is excellent, compared with similar designs”
I still believe that, especially after having lived with the Fusion cords now for around a year, which is almost a record for me!
I think Eric can do loaner cords, to prospective buyers with good feedback, at least he did for me. He can also install the connector of your choice, but I would listen to his recommendations on that.
I don’t think you can go wrong with these cords, or at least one cord somewhere in your system!
EMM Labs CDSD SE
EMM Labs DCC2
ARC REF 3
VAC Signature/Phi 220's
CODA Ultra CM's
PS Audio Premier
Legacy Focus HD's
Audio Physic Scorpio
Wilson Sophia II
Purist 20th Anniversary
Purist Aqueous Anniversary
Synergistic Research Apex/PR
Silent Source HC
Purist 20th Anniversary
Purist Aqueous Anniversary
Synergistic Research Apex/PR
Silent Source HC