Serious audio and video enthusiasts understand the importance of clean power. AC power can often be contaminated by voltage spikes, power surges, ground noise as well as power supply noise and digital noise from other components in your audio video system. This power contamination can negatively affect both audio and video quality. High frequencies can become flat and grainy, the midrange can become unclear and thick and bass frequencies can become difficult to control. Video can suffer from loss of resolution, ghosting and color shifting.
Furutech understands the science of clean power and offers a line-up of power products to deal with AC power line impurities. If you haven’t heard of Furutech yet, that’s because their products are relatively new to the North American market, especially here in Canada. Furutech, established in 1988 in Japan, is a respected manufacturer of high-end audio, video and power cables and connectors as well as power distribution products. Since 2003, Furutech products have been quietly making their way into the hands of Canadian audio and video fanatics thanks to Canadian distributor Audiyo (www.audiyo.com).
One of Furutech’s latest power products is the e-TP609 power distributor which we’ve had the opportunity to evaluate. Together with the e-TP609, we also got a chance to test the Furutech Power Reference III Series power cable. The power distributor does not come with a power cable, so you will need to purchase one separately.
I never thought that I would say this about a power distributor but the Furutech e-TP609 is one gorgeous piece of equipment. It has a black chassis topped with a luxurious brushed white plate that houses six translucent power outlets (three dual sets). Four chrome feet lift the unit slightly off the ground, while isolating it from the ground at the same time. Every little detail of the e-TP609 screams “Place me on display, don’t hide me behind the equipment rack!” Six tranlucent soft-rubber outlet covers are included in the box to protect unused outlets from dust as well as white gloves for the true perfectionist when handling the unit.
But good looks are just the beginning. The e-TP609 is loaded with advanced materials and engineered to perfection. Its chassis is made of a special-grade aluminium which shields the unit from RFI (Radio Frequency Interference). A layer of Formula GC-303 is bonded to the interior bottom plate of the chassis of the Furutech e-TP609. GC-303 is a special material designed to absorb EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) generated by all the internal fittings of the power distributor. In order to keep AC resistance to a minimum, the e-TP609 does not use any other filtering beside Formula GC-303. Furutech claims that this translates into a more resolving, powerful, dynamic and colourful performance from your components.
All metallic parts used in Furutech products undergo a two-stage cryogenic and demagnetizing procedure called Alpha Process – the e-TP609 is no exception. Step one of the process begins with a deep, conditioning cryogenic freeze of all metal parts. Temperatures between -196 to -250 degrees Celsius are achieved by using N2 or He. At these extreme temperatures, the metal parts change their molecular structure relieving internal stress. The molecules bond together tighter and form a more stable structure. This results in superior electrical conductivity.
To further improve the conductivity, step two of the Alpha Process exposes the same parts to a patented Ring Demagnetization procedure, licensed by Furutech from Sekiguchi Machine Sale Co., Ltd. in Japan. This process uses controlled attenuation to completely eliminate magnetization of any metal parts.
Another unique feature of the e-TP609 power distributor is a patent pending Axial Locking System designed by Furutech. Inside the power distributor, custom locking screws are used to anchor each duplex receptacle to the chassis. This helps in preventing oscillation and enhances the unit’s durability. Additionally, a 3M material is used to isolate the receptacles from resonance.
The Furutech Power Reference III Series power cable is also a visually stimulating product. Its outer jacket is a glossy dark green nylon braid that covers a flat green PVC sheath underneath. One end of the cable is terminated with a translucent plastic Furutech FI-25M(R) power connector that plugs into a power outlet. The other end is terminated by a translucent plastic Furutech FI-25(R) IEC connector that fits into most standard power inlets. Both connectors are also sold individually by Furutech for the do-it-yourself types. The Reference III Series power cord is 6 feet long and is just over half an inch in thickness. A hexagonal cylinder, containing the same GC-303 compound found in the chassis of the power distributor, embraces the power cable roughly 6-1/2 inches from the power connector. Its purpose here again is to remove all electromagnetic interference from the cable that may have been picked up from other electronic devices. A dark green cloth material covers the GC-303 cylinder.
Under its twin PVC sheath each of the three cable cores is insulated with irradiated PE, which contributes to a reduction in capacitance. Each core is a 49 strand Alpha conductor, 0.32 millimeters in thickness. The male electrodes are made from pure copper with rhodium plating and the female electrodes are made from phosphor bronze. As with the power distributor, all metallic parts of the Reference III power cord undergo the above mentioned Furutech Alpha Process, in order to deliver the best possible electrical conductivity.
I began my listening tests by plugging equipment into the Furutech e-TP609 power distributor. A couple of improvements that I noticed immediately were that the high frequencies became much clearer and that the size of the soundstage grew. In classical recordings, instruments such as cymbals and trumpets were cleaner and more dynamic than before. The soundstage not only opened up but it became more three dimensional and precise. Another improvement that I noticed was the increase in the clarity and detail of the bass. Similar notes played on a bass guitar that normally sounded as one note now became clearly distinct. The Furutech power distributor also improved the tightness of the bass, especially near its lower end. Unlike some other power conditioning products, the e-TP609 did not change the character of the components connected to it. Overall, it made music cleaner, more dynamic and hence more enjoyable and easy to get lost within.
Swapping stock power cords in a few amplifiers and receivers with the Furutech Power Reference III Series power cable produced consistently improved performance. The cord’s heavy duty connectors plugged into every device and the wall socket firmly, making very solid connections every time. During listening tests, I found the most improvement to be in the low frequency domain. With each component, the bass became more detailed and was delivered with more tightness and depth. The background also became noticeably blacker – there was a clean silence during quiet music passages and between individual notes. The Power Reference III Series cord did a great job of being completely transparent in my system, it did not change the character of the amplifiers or receivers that it was plugged into. In a more subtle way, this cord also resulted in clearer and more refined mid and high frequencies.
Both the Furutech e-TP609 power distributor ($1400) and the Furutech Power Reference III Series power cable ($1395) improved certain aspects of performance of every component that I tried them with. Actual results varied slightly from component to component although in general you can expect similar findings if you were to try these components in your system. If you own a high-end audio system and enjoy the finest delicacy in music, both of these products will help to deliver virtually flawless power to your system and heighten your listening experience. For those that are relentless in the pursuit of the ultimate audio system, these Furutech products may well be the final pieces of the puzzle.
Furutech e-TP609 power distributor $1400
Furutech Power Reference III Series power cable $1395