August 1, 2009

A Tale of IEC Plugs.(a.k.a. Furutech FI-11)

This is an old post of ours in the blog we previously contributed to.

The FI-11 (G)
This experience is life changing! Why would an IEC plug, even if it's very well made, influenced me to feel like that? I hear you ask, "Are you sure?"
Comparing the crimp terminals, Oyaide fake on the left, Fururech FI-11 on the right.
The answer is a very sobering but truth be told, "YES!"
The plastic shell and inner view for comparison, the Oyaide fake on the right, the Furutech on the left.
I'll start my tale with the standard electronics grade plug, which is a get you started for all intents. It's use in high end audio is limited by it's non-ability to accept the "garden hose size" audiophile grade cables. Sound wise, what do you expect?
The standard electronics grade IEC plug.
Next up is the common grade of fakes, imitations or the so called hospital grade variety. While most will accept the big fat cables the us audiophiles love so much, it's construction quality is indeed a big step up, if in varying steps from standard electronics grade mentioned on the above paragraph. It's also a lot easier to work with, as the chunky terminals provide more space and fitting cables is not a chore. Sound wise, is a step up from the standard grade too. However, there's still some noise(tweeter hiss) detectable if you put your head right next to the tweeters on the speakers with no music playing. At this stage, the whole audio spectrum becomes clearer and you'll probably be perceiving improved staging and imaging too.

Another look at the fakie.
Now the Furutech FI-11, which design, construction and materials looks first class at this stage. The devil is in the details, and you'll never know it until you used it. It's got nice little thoughtful features like a bump stop to prevent total undoing of the cable crimp terminals. They'll never fall off! The plug collar clamps are of floating design, meaning it does not use the plastic shell to clamp the cable, but rather, the clamps itself floats with minimal mechanical contact to the plastic shell once cable is clamped. It's a very clever way to de-couple the cable from the IEC plug. Sound wise, and I really did not expect this, noise was totally zero, zilch! My speaker tweeters were eerily dead silent! I was trying very hard to hear the hiss, but never. With that last bit of noise gone, the whole audio spectrum, i.e. the highs, mids and bass were all flushed out. System transparency went up a couple of notches too. Details previously little heard is now more apparent, but never, I mean never in your face kind. Sibilance is also now a thing of the past in my system. Imaging focus and palpability also improved. Best of all, the high end "air" finally coaxed out from my system. A new level of refinement is attained.
The Furutech post cable termination, note the plug collar clamp.
Now before you accuse me of being high on a certain "illegal" substance while listening and writing this, I can assure you, that I also had my doubts too, about any sonic improvements(if any?) can be so major! It's way beyond my expectations.
Now, I am really contemplating to go Furutech all the way, by including source and pre-amps to be powered via the FI-11 IEC plugs.

Audio Matic (Eugene - 012-3222698)
Centre Circle (Nelson - 012-2876807)
Dong Fong (Ken Sin - 012-4678788)

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