I have read thousands of comments on upgraded fuses improving the performance of sound. I am very open minded but not sold either way. So, the question I have is....if fuses were so important, than why don't Amplifier companies all install them as OEM equipment? To me, if they are as good as people say, that would provide companies who use them a competitive advantage?
Every High End Audio store I go to in Phoenix have told me it does not make a difference and is a waste of money. For the record, I have fuses purchased at an automotive store for under $10 and I think my sound is awesome. The Company that built my amp tested the Synergistic Fuses and he emphatically said there was no difference.
If I were to try a fuse for fun, given my equipment, what would your recommendation be to try?
Will golf: I would try a Synergistic Research Black fuse in your amp and DAC. They come with a 30 day return policy so if you do not think the sonic benefits are worth the price send them back. It is a fun experiment to do. I think the sonic improvements are worth the price. I also use a tube amp and a DAC in my system. David Pritchard
To the first part of your question, there are amp makers and makers of other equipment that use aftermarket fuses. I say this as I've read lots of reviews and came across some makes that use them. They are a small subset of this industry, and no, I can't locate the reviews but I wouldn't mislead you on this.
To the second part of your question, I'd start with something like PADIS fuses. They are a German brand who's fuses sell for about $25 a piece. I've found them to be a big step up from the HiFi Tuning Silver Star fuses that I've tried that retailed for about double the price of the PADIS.
PADIS also makes Furutech fuses which sell for more than their own. I can't say how they compare to other makes like SR Reds and Blacks, AMR fuses, or Beewax fuses but they have that low price of entry point which should make it rather painless if you want to experiment with them.
The improvements they made to my system weren't subtle and are well worth it, for me. You can get them by googling PADIS fuses and it will lead you to a Canadian site or the German site. Either way, they are sourced from Germany. If you use the direct German site, there is a drop down box for other languages to make it easy. One is an eBay site and the other is an amazon site. The vendor I used is 'diy-acoustics-24.' Shipping should take anywhere from 4 days to 8, depending on when you put your order in.
This is controversial, but there is a directionality to them, so try them both ways. One way will definitely sound better than the other. And as for a dealer decrying the efficacy of fuses, what else would you expect? He would have to admit that what you bought isn't built to a price point or that his work can't be improved upon. Let you ears decide and if you have thin skin, don't tell anyone if it improves your system. 😀
"So, the question I have is....if fuses were so important, than why don’t Amplifier companies all install them as OEM equipment?"
I can only speak for Merrill Audio...but, my Veritas mono block amps shipped with Synergistic fuses already installed... some manufacturers are quite aware of sound quality differences with premium parts.Others...not so much.
Because they know better and are technicians, who build their amps using all the laws of electronics. If you ever find one that doesn’t, that can’t prove why they don’t, steer well clear of his products. But some may throw these boutique fuses in as bait for a sale. But I guarantee they won’t put in writing the technical reason why it’s there.
Two reasons: one is that a $100 component is a big cost with respect to the rest of the electronics. That costs more than all the output transistors in a high end high power amplifier.
The second reason (I’m guessing): the fuse makers cannot or will not supply technical data such as time-current curves, interrupt rating, melting, and UL approval numbers. UL file numbers are given to manufacturers and if these fuse makers are relabeling other manufacturers, they are opening themselves for legal action if they use another’s file number. Why would an amp manufacturer get in the middle of that. Again, that’s just a guess.
Gs5556 9-4-2017 The second reason (I’m guessing): the fuse makers cannot or will not supply technical data such as time-current curves, interrupt rating, melting, and UL approval numbers.
That’s an excellent point, IMO. I’m not sure how a design can be created in an intelligent manner, that would assure long-term reliability as well as good performance, without comprehensive technical data on the parts that are being used.
Another possibility, it seems to me, relates to expenses the manufacturer might end up having to pay under the warranty coverage he provides, to replace blown fuses. In the past two years or so there have been at least seven different members, and perhaps more, who reported in the SR Red Fuse thread that SR fuses had blown unnecessarily, often soon after being installed. In at least one or two of those cases the fuse that blew even had a higher current rating than the stock fuse. Why would a manufacturer want to risk both the expenses and the damage to the reputation of his company that might result, given also that there may be ambiguity as to whether a failure is the fault of the fuse, or the fuse being overstressed by the design of his equipment.
With regards to at least PADIS fuses, the CE rating allows them to be used anywhere in Europe as they meet any and all applicable standards for safety. There is no 3rd party evaluation like UL does in the US but UL would like to do it (for a fee) as they state on their website.
For me, if Europe is satisfied with their rating system for all the products they make, it’s good enough for me. They sell worldwide and no complaints so far. I can’t speak for SR fuses but I’ve yet to hear of PADIS fuses failing like the SR fuses mentioned.
The reason is actually pretty obvious. Amplifier manufacturers are either unaware and oblivious to the development of audiophile fuses or they ignore it, most likely the former. Even though audiophile fuses have been around like forever. Amp manufacturers just never got the memo. Case solved.🕵🏻
Uh, that can’t be right. No one has ever lost an amp or burned their house down due to an aftermarket fuse. Not in 20 years. Not to mention stock off the shelf fuses like Littelfuse fail as often as aftermarket fuses. Besides, some aftermarket fuses like Isoclean have always been UL approved. Didn’t you get the memo?
Exactly! Besides from what I can tell audiophiles are very particular about which fuses they want. So it's a lose/lose situation for the manufacturer. Ditto audiophile power cords. Why should audiophiles trust the ears of the manufacturers? Now, if the manufacturer is smart, which he probably isn't, he would use an aftermarket fuse in his amps for the shows. You know, to get a leg up on the competition.
Because Amplifier manufacturers haven't got a clue - if only they knew that amplifier design and sound has nothing to do with the audio signal and related components and everything to do with the 1cm of fuse wire on the mains input.
"I can tell audiophiles are very particular about which fuses they want."
+1 @geoffkait & @joecasey
Let your ears guide you what sounds best in your system! I would like to add, don't get sucked into marketing hype with any tweaks. In my system, the combination of SR Black Quantum and HiFi Tuning Supreme Fuses sounded the best. Every component is unique and a bit of experimentation is the key when implementing after market tweaks.
"Amplifier manufacturers don't have a clue"? That is just not true.
The costs of many of these "audiophile" fuses are pretty high. That would be added to the costs of the equipment sale price. also, if the equipment sounds pretty wonderful with stock fuses, I would leave it to the buyer to fuse roll. Same is true for tubes. I would chose some tubes that suit my equipment. Sell that equipment with that tube set. I'm sure there would be tubes out their that offer different sound characteristics. But, the "consistent" great sound I want from my equipment is reached using the tubes my company would supply. Same is true for fuses.
So, if a buyer wants to change tubes and tube roll as it were. More power to them as long as it doesn't hurt the equipment. Same is true for fuses. As long as the audiophile fuses are at the same voltage/amperage rating as the fuse they are replacing.
But don't believe the hype that manufacturers don't know about audiophile fuses. They do. Lots of reasons why they don't use them.
People on this forum and other places constantly complain about the high costs of audio equipment. Specialty capacitors costs. Same is true for great resistors and other components. Some not off the shelf. Add high prices for fuses to that mix? wow! A fuse. I'm sure it may make a difference. But first, how does it sound with regular off the shelf fuses? Pretty darn good? Then no way would I install high price fuses.
In response to the previous post I would point out that the argument that Aftermarket Fuses are too high for manufacturers to use them is a little weak inasmuch as 80% of all Aftermarket Fuses actually cost $50 or less, according to the list of available Aftermarket Fuses on The Cable Company web site. And many Aftermarket Fuses can be bought at lower prices when they go on sale. For example the SR Black fuse, certainly not one of the less expensive fuses, was offered recently at the price of three for the price of two. So, in fact, amp manufacturers can’t really use the cost argument, assuming they even know about aftermarket fuses which, as I’ve already intimated, they probably don’t.
There are really only two possibilities. The high end amp manufacturers are totally in the dark and blissfully unaware, as it were, regarding the whole fuse thing, including directionality, or they can’t hear. I bet they don’t even put the inexpensive stock fuses in the correct direction. At least not on purpose.
I think we are all forgetting a major contributor to audio products -- logistics. It really depends on how critical this specific area is to an audio manufacturer. If we are talking about somebody like ARC (Audio Research) who is so critical about these things that they have to use a specific brand/type of solder, then the selection of fuse can also be a major contributor.
Wyred 4 Sound used to advertise "upgraded Furutech rhodium fuse" in their DAC 2 SE level, so the boutique manufacturers that use specialty fuses are out there. However, Wyred now only indicates "upgraded fuse" without specifying type/brand.
When an audio manufacturer needs to have a board manufacturer build xx number of boards for them to use when assembling/integrating their audio equipment, they don’t want to worry about sourcing a specific fuse type. I have talked to a boutique amp manufacturer who never knows what kind of capacitors will be available for his main power supply when he gets ready to do a manufacturing run on his amp.
When the sub $10 fuses are readily available at industrial manufacturing houses (such as Little Fuse or Buss), it becomes very easy for them to just assembly and ship. These fuses are most likely sub $2 at this point and time is money. Even at the price point of Krell or Parasound, an additional $50-100 for a fuse will affect bottom line, especially in amplifiers or devices that have multiple fuses. I know the Parasound amps have a total of 5 fuses (that’s $250-500 dollars that affect the bottom line, which is typically 50-60% or retail). The additional time to order/unpack/insert custom specific fuses may also be a major contributor to a manufacturer who just wants to "get the amps out the door".
Possibly. It depends on how many fuses the fuse maker is able to produce. To further the logistics/sourcing issue, I ordered ONE specific size Isoclean fuse from a reseller. He did not have it in stock and had to go to his distributor who responded with "we have no idea when we are going to get another shipment from Isoclean". He then offered me the option to wait (could be 2 weeks, could be 6 weeks...?) or to get a Hi-Fi Tuning fuse at the same price.
Another time, I had tried to order 8 Synergistic fuses of a specific size and the reseller just did not carry that many at a time in stock. I had to wait for Synergistic to finish their production run before I got the order shipped.
Now try ordering 50 fuses of a certain type? 100 fuses? You could be stuck waiting 2-3 months for a production run to get your amps out the door. The Little Fuse / Buss are available anywhere/everywhere right now (or just order from Digikey’s stock of 2,000+). The alternative is to try to mass order a huge number of fuses from the fuse maker. This could overload them as they may not have the tooling to put out that many and still provide all current distributors/resellers their supply. Then the fuse maker can be burned when the audio manufacturer doesn’t order more within a certain time frame. (i.e. does anyone remember when Patron stopped supplying their tequila for a long time?) Then the audio manufacturer has another logistics point to make sure they have enough fuses in house to supply 4-6 months (or whatever) of production runs.
Of the consumers that buy stuff at the Krell/Parasound level, I bet that over 80% of them use the stock fuse. Heck, I bet over 50% still use the stock power cord (I mean, it’s just a power cord, right?!?!) lol
What do I use in my Pass F5 clone? Bussmann. They sell them in 6 packs at AutoZone. They work great. They blow very consistently if I fumble with the power switch wrong. $50 for a fuse? I don't think so!
Huh? It’s basic economics. Obviously manufactures don’t want to keep product on the shelf. This is especially true in hard times like uh, now. Especially for esoteric and exotic products, like audiophile fuses, who knows what the lifetime is for many esoteric products? A year? A month? What every small manufacturer wants, hopes for, is a BIG ORDER. If Isoclean received a big order they would find a way to meet it, no doubt about it. It would be worked out in advance. If SR got a BIG ORDER they would find a way to meet it. It wouldn’t happen overnight, obviously. It’s called planning. Plan for the future! Taking the easy way out is not really the best course of action. That's so Mid Fi. Strategic planning is the only way to go for High End results.
kosst_amojan What do I use in my Pass F5 clone? Bussmann. They sell them in 6 packs at AutoZone. They work great. They blow very consistently if I fumble with the power switch wrong. $50 for a fuse? I don’t think so!
Good for you! What direction do you put them in? Just curious. Maybe one day you'll be able to afford a real Pass F5. Fingers krosst.
@geoffkait I put them in the long way. It's the only way they fit. Nelson seemed to like my amp. He called me a "fearless amp builder" for my going with 34.5V rails and removing the current limiting. In fact, my build is a full 50% more powerful than the First Watt version. Why would I try to hunt down a very rare amp when I can build as many as I want any way I please?
HA HA HA. Why don't they use better resistors, capacitors, chokes or transformers, chassis metal thickness, feet, etc. Cost to price ratio? I think those would make bigger improvements than some fuses IMO. Why not just use a copper bar?
Exactly. I want to make improvements that make differences big enough to measure. I can clearly tell the difference when one side of my amp is making more second order distortion than the other by a couple hundredths of a percent. If the improvement can't even be measured in the thousandths of a percent you're buying snake oil and the money is better spent elsewhere.
HA HA HA. Why don't they use better resistors, capacitors, chokes or
transformers, chassis metal thickness, feet, etc. Cost to price ratio?
I think those would make bigger improvements than some fuses IMO. Why
not just use a copper bar?
Any designer worth it's salt don't just assembled a combination of most expensive parts but a combination that meets a goal.
I understand every time a DIY replace a part, WOW!!! Unbelievable improvement, more organic, resolving ...
Nice dodge. The point was that designers think about how to design their best sound into a component within a certain price range and given more $$ would choose to spec a better traditional component that they feel more confident in than a fuse.
Components in well designed amps are selected for their sound quality and reliability, often from actual listening to the differences between them, and designers clearly understand the logical design parameters of the components. "Special" fuses have no actual design benefits or any logical explanation anywhere as to how they improve anything (thousands of comments…still no "how or why"), and trusted brands like Littelfuse products are extremely reliable, properly rated, and generally work perfectly for a few bucks each. That’s why.