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April 2007
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

Furutech Evolution Cable Review
Musical ease and excellent control.
Review By Brett Rudolph
Click here to e-mail reviewer

 

Furutech Evolution Review Power Cable  The audiophile world is one of the most innovative and creative worlds that I have had the opportunity to explore. Reviewing the Furutech Evolution cable is no different. There is always something new to learn, experience, evaluate and most of the time enjoy. In my opinion, reviewing cables of various types such as the Furutech represents one of the most fascinating and rewarding opportunities because while often the changes they make within a system are subtle, they can greatly enhance or something degrade the ultimate enjoyment of the equipment a person owns.

So, when Steven R. Rochlin, Editor of Enjoy the Music.com, asked me if I was interested in reviewing cables from Furutech represented by Jonathan Scull of Scull Communications in the United States I jumped at the chance. The truth be told, had always respected Jonathan as a reviewer during the days when I was in the market to purchase equipment to buy new things for my system. Always felt that his reviews were both extremely well written and very informational and they guided me to products I was almost always thrilled to possess.

I spoke with Jonathan about the Furutech cables and the Evolution series of cables that he was proposing for review. The Evolution series according to Jonathan was less money than their Reference series, but nearly all of the performance. I couldn't wait to see what sort of performance he was talking about during our conversation.

Before going much further, let me give you a little background about Furutech, for those that are interested. Furutech is a Japanese company that has been around since 1988. They have development many innovative manufacturing processes that resulted in their ability to manufacture products that allow for a significant decrease in levels of distortion and noise. Although they have been manufacturing A/V cables for many years, you might perhaps know them best for their power connectors because there have been a great deal of ads for them recently in many publications.

Furutech InterconnectWe had decided during our conversation that the best way to determine what the Furutech cables would do within my system was to replace all the cables in my reference system with the Furutech ones. This meant that when the day came that the cables arrived on my doorstep, I had to essentially rewire my system to integrate them into my existing setup. It also meant that I was reviewing their Evolution series, which consisted for the sake of this review of the Evolution Audio interconnect, in both balanced and unbalanced configuration, the Evolution Power cable, and the Evolution Digi, an unbalanced digital cable. Although this review was of their Evolution series, the speaker cable used was their Speaker Reference III, rather than the Evolution speaker cable because it mated better to my system.

In order to make this a more interesting review, I utilized my dedicated two-channel reference system that consisted of an Audio Research preamplifier, Krell monoblock amplifiers, McIntosh MS300 music server (reviewed here), a Theta D/A converter, Pioneer universal player and a pair of older Wilson Watt Puppies. I have often found that this system is more difficult to control, so I tend to reserve it for reviews where I am not only looking for the quality of reproduction in terms of musicality, but in terms of overall system control as well.

 

Easy To Use
Furutech Power CableThe setup of the system was a breeze. The connection between the cables and the components were tight and the cables themselves were flexible enough that even in the few spots that sometimes offer a challenge to stiffer cabling, there was no problem. In fact, in less time that it normally takes to reconfigure my reference system I was finished. Naturally did a few last minute checks to make sure that everything was connected correctly, turned the system on and left everything to break in for a few hundred hours before sitting down to begin my rather lengthy review process.

Once the break-in period was over, I sat down for my first of many listening sessions with the newly renovated system. My first overall impression was one of control. While the system has often times proven to be almost too much for many cables to handle, the Furutech seemed at home. It was as though I could feel that there was something holding the music firmly within its grasp and allowing the system to reproduce more effectively the intensity, fabric and overall visceral impact that one might expect in a live environment.

 

Easy To Listen To
My first choice of music was classical. I chose a new release on the Telarc Classical label Paavo Jarvi leading the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in Britten/Elgar. This SACD release captures the essence of newly recorded symphonies. Specifically, Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, does a remarkable job of giving an overview per se of the various forms that orchestral music can take. The first time I listened to the recording, I played it through the McIntosh MS300 music server, as I have found that the CD reproduction is second to nearly none. The sound I heard was simply put spectacular. The system's ability to take the intensity of the music and blend it with the subtle nuances of particularly difficult passages allowed for a listening experience that I am somewhat unaccustomed to hearing from my system in general.

I did find that there was a small loss of extension in the upper treble region in comparison to more forward sounding cables. According to Furutech, their Pure Transmission Technology quiets the soundstage allowing lower-level information through creating more natural sounding high frequencies. The music was extremely lifelike and palpable without being overly dominate or forward sounding. On particularly quiet passages, I found that the noise floor was lowered and I was able to hear a rich harmony of musical instruments that did not overwhelm the passage with excess noise or distortion.

After listening to this passage a few times, I switched to the SACD version of the same selection. As expected, the music was more full-bodied and even more life-like. The loss that I noted on the CD version was, however, more apparent even though the lower treble on downward tended to offset this issue. Once again I found that the cables had the ability to make sense of the musical information and render it both enjoyable and appealing, even when I listened to it for extended periods of time.

Remaining with that same genre, I moved to another favorite recording of mine, once again on the Telarc label, Erich Kunzel leading the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra on an album entitled Russian Nights. This album has several high-energy passages that definitely can put even the most musically astute system to task. While I did listen to the entire album, one selection did stand out in my mind, Tchaikovsky's "Russian Dance (Trepat)" from The Nutcracker.

Furutech Loudspeaker CableWhile the passage tends to be extremely easy to reproduce on many systems, unfortunately the majesty of it tends to be lost by many different problems. On my particular system this tends to happen once again from a loss of control over the speakers. The ultimate result is a somewhat muddy reproduction that sounds like somewhat laid back mess of music wanting to be blended together, but somehow not quite doing just that.

Luckily with the Evolution series cables this was not the result. In fact, I found that the music blending nearly flawlessly. While I could tell there was a slight loss of overall sound quality that only the most costly cables have ever been able to reproduce, the result was nearly its equal. There was a nearly holographic quality to the soundstage that drew me into its folds without overpowering my senses.

 

Easy Jazz
Switching gears a tad, I next concentrated on the jazz genre a bit. I often like to use this type of music to see what qualities the cables might or might not lend to a passage. I chose John Pizzarelli's Dear Mr. Sinatra to start. It offers both a great male voice to evaluate as well as a wonderful band to compliment it. My first selection on this recording was Witchcraft. For those of you unfamiliar with Frank Sinatra, you should really do yourself a favor and listen to it at least once. The song is extremely delightful and it allows you to hear what a male voice can do with the right artistry in my opinion. Many times I have found myself knowing that there is more information to be heard in a playback system, but somehow I just can't quite hear it.

The Evolution series cables were absolutely up to the challenge. They once again tamed the system in such a way as to reveal nearly all the might of the song without allowing it to overpower me and make everything less enjoyable. The soundstage was slightly laid back but only enough that I found myself being captivated my its presence. I could heard and feel the transitions of both the vocal and instrumental parts without either consuming the entirety of the experience.

On a second jazz recording, Tierney Sutton's I'm with the Band, I found even more subtle sounds that until I put the Evolution series cables into my system I had either not heard or simply overlooked. In particular I found that her rendition of Blue Skies highlighted my system's ability to convey the transients within the music. There are times that I tend to overlook this aspect of jazz recordings, but in this case, I found myself drawn to them and enjoying them as never before.

My final selection of musical genre was rock. I have one album in particular that I am extremely fond of when doing reviews, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. In the beginning of the album, I love to see what a system can do with the seemingly subsonic bass that eventually metamorphoses itself into the sound of a beating heart. So many times I have found that a system's control over the difficult lower bass causes the sound to become nearly unintelligible until it is nearly the end of the passage and the sound of a beating heart is so real that you would almost have to be dead not to know what it was.

Once again I was astounded by the control that the Evolution series was able to maintain on my overall system. The beating heart sound manifested itself much quicker than even my reference cables tend to allow. Almost before I knew that the heart sound was all around me, it was felt. As the passage continued I found that instead of the heart sound just becoming louder and more apparent, it became more full-bodied and rich in texture.

Furutech Digital CableI realize that I have not mentioned any cable in particular, but have rather chosen to write this review as a complete Furutech Evolution series "experience." However, there is one cable that I would be remiss if I did not mention separately. This is the Evolution Digi cable. While it performed wonderfully within the system construct on its own accord, it also did so by itself. You see, there is a soft spot in my soul for digital cables. I think this is perhaps from back in the day when nearly everyone thought that all digital cables were pretty much the same. After all, thought most people, the information is digital and so how much power could a cable have to alter the signal in such a way that it would impact the end result. Those days pretty much over, but there exists those that still feel the same.

The Evolution Digi cable, as one might expect from a company that is dedicated to the betterment of all types of signals and currents is a standout for me. I can honestly say that all digital cables are not created equally and their ability to once again control and accurately pass signal is paramount to their success. In the case of this particular cable it did so in such a way that I found with it in my home theater system, I was able to hear parts of movies in surround sound that I never knew were there.

 

Easy To Choose
Overall I found that I totally enjoyed my time with the Evolution system in my system. While I did note some loss in the extreme areas of playback, it was not enough to make my time with them anything but enjoyable. I think if I had to sum up the most notable part of my evaluation, I would have to say, you might have guessed it control. I might have heard cables that were able to do more with certain aspects of playback, but can't remember any that had the control these had without some sort of penalty in other areas.

I would wholeheartedly recommend these cables to someone looking for more from their present system.

 

Tonality

Sub-bass (10Hz - 60Hz)

Mid-bass (80Hz - 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz - 3,000Hz)

High-frequencies (3,000Hz on up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Soundscape width front

Soundscape width rear  
Soundscape depth behind speakers

Soundscape extension into the room

Imaging

Fit and Finish

Self Noise

N/A

Value for the Money

 

Specifications
Evolution Digital RCA/BNC Digital Cable

Type: Hyper-Coaxial

Features: 
· Finished with beautifully engineered High Performance FP-110 (G) RCA connectors or FP-3-117 (R) BNC connectors
· RCA center filament pin a high-contact work of engineering art composed of 24k gold-plated nonmagnetic Alpha-OCC conductor with Teflon dielectric
· RCA connector backbone composed of nonmagnetic 24k gold-plated eutectic cast brass with beautifully finished nonmagnetic brass outer locking shell
· BNC connector FP-3-117 (R) has characteristic impedance of 75Ω ±5 
· Shield: 0.12 mm Alpha conductor wire braid
· Insulated with polypropylene reducing capacitance and damping vibration
· Results in greater resolution, clarity, powerful dynamics, and an ultra-quiet soundstage in which music develops more fully without artificial upper-frequency "presence region" glare.

Electrical Properties:
Max. Conductor Resistance: 25.1 Ω/km
Min. Insulation Resistance: 1000 MΩ/km
Dielectric Strength AC.: 1000 V/1 min.
Electrostatic Capacitance: Approx 56 PF/m at 1kHz
Characteristic Impedance: 75 Ω ± 5 at 100kHz

Price: RCA is $290 (1 meter), XLR/$350 (for 1.2 meter)

 

Evolution Audio Interconnect

Type: Hyper-Balanced Interconnect

Construction and Materials
· 30-strand Alpha-OCC Conductor·0.18mm, 1.86mm diameter
· Insulation: Polypropylene (Red, White) 2.46mm diameter
· Cable Lay: Two twisted cores with cotton yarn
· Cable Wrap: Non-woven fabric wrap ~5.0mm diameter
· Shield: 0.12mm braided Alpha Conductor·6.0mm diameter
· Sheath: Flexible PVC (Dark Green) 9.0 mm diameter
· Jacket: Nylon Yarn Braid ~10.0 mm diameter

Electrical Properties:
Max. Conductor Resistance: 10.0 Ω/km
Min. Insulation Resistance: 1000 MΩ/km
Dielectric Strength AC: 500 V/1 min.
Electrostatic Capacitance: Approx 42 PF/m at 1kHz
Characteristic Impedance: Approx 120 Ω at 100kHz

Price: RCA/$490 per pair, XLR $560 per pair (1 meter length)

 

Evolution Speaker Cable

Features: 
· Beautifully engineered speaker cables featuring Alpha µ-OFC Conductors around a center PE core to minimize transmission loss 
· Insulated with special formula polyethylene to reduce capacitance 
· Finished with High Performance FP-203 (G) Spade Connectors or FP-202 (G) Banana Connectors 
· FP-203 (G) Spade Connector: 24k gold-plated nonmagnetic pure-copper a (Alpha) conductor 
· FP-202 (G) Banana Connector: 24k gold-plated nonmagnetic eutectic cast brass Alpha conductor

Electrical Properties of Cable:
Max. Conductor Resistance: 5.4 Ω/km
Min. Insulation Resistance: 1000 MΩ/km
Dielectric Strength AC.: 1000 V/1 min.
Electrostatic Capacitance: Approx 48.2 PF/m at 1kHz

Price: Evolution-04 $450 (2 meter length), Evolution-06 $585 (3 meter length)

 

Evolution Power Cable

Type: 2-pole + earth Rating: 15A/125V, 10A/250V or 13A/250V AC)

Specifications: Construction and Materials
· Three 7 x 35 bundles of 0.18mm Alpha conductor total 3.69mm 
· Insulation: Polyethylene (Red/Natural/Yellow) 5.5mm diameter 
· Sheath (Inner): Flexible PVC (Black) 13.5mm diameter 
· Shield: 9 x 24-strand 0.12mm copper stranded wire braid 
· Sheath: Flexible PVC (Pearl Blue) 17.5mm diameter
· Jacket: Nylon yarn braid approx. 18.5mm

Electrical Properties:
Max. Conductor Resistance 2.2 Ω/km
Min. Insulation Resistance 2500 MΩ/km
Dielectric Strength AC 3000 V/1 min.

Price: $500 (1.8 meter length)

 

Company Information
Furutech
3F, 7-11-1 Nishi-Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku
Tokyo 141-0031
Japan

Voice: +81-(0)3-5437-0281 
Fax +81-(0)3-5437-8470 
E-mail: service@furutech.com
Website: www.furutech.com

 

United States Contact
Elite Audio Video Distribution
P.O. Box 93896
Los Angeles, CA 90093

Voice: (323) 466-9694 x21
E-mail: peder.beckman@eliteavdist.com
Website: www.eliteavdist.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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