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December 2016
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Furutech DIY Power Cable And Power Outlet
Featuring Furutech's FI-50 NCF, FP-TCS31, FP-209 10R, FI-50M NCF, And GTX-D NCF(R)

Review By Steven R. Rochlin

 

Furutech's FI-50 NCF, FP-TCS31, FP-209 10R, FI-50M NCF, And GTX-D NCF(R

 

  Furutech has long been known as a premiere manufacturer of high-end audio connectors and power outlets. Founded in 1988, much of their range of A/V cables is made with extremely high purity OCC single-crystal oxygen-free copper. In addition, their IEC and specialized power outlet receptacles have a loyal following. All metal components all treated with Furutech's proprietary Two-Stage Alpha Cryogenic and Ring Demagnetization Process during manufacture that "ensures the lowest achievable levels of distortion and noise" says the company. As a guy whose first day job was working for Heathkit Electronics, all the tools to make the cables were already here. All that was needed, basically, is a wire stripper, crimper, and screwdrivers. Now before I go any further, I must say that you are DIY'ing a power cable and installing a power outlet. Get installation wrong and at a minimum you flip off a circuit breaker. Worst case scenario, your home burns to the ground, and perhaps your entire neighborhood depending on your lot, dryness of land and wind conditions. SO let's add a meter with continuity tester to your needed tools so you can verify proper wiring and avoid unwanted wiring shorts.

Furutech's Top-Tier GTX–D NCF receptacles feature nano crystalline, ceramic and carbon powder. Their Nano Crystal² Formula is comprised of a special crystalline material that has two "active" properties. "First, it generates negative ions that eliminate static and secondly," says Furutech, "it converts thermal energy into far-infrared. Furutech then combines this remarkable crystalline material with nano-sized ceramic particles and carbon powder for their additional "Piezo Effect" damping properties. The resulting Nano Crystal² Formula is the ultimate electrical and mechanical damping material – only found in Furutech products!" Mmm-kay. The GTX-D NCF seeks to be the very best in every element of AC and signal transfer. While a pure-copper receptacle might sound good, its malleability lacks stiffness. This is why Furutech adds metals like beryllium copper, phosphor bronze or brass in most receptacles. The company was the first to offer rhodium-plated α (Alpha) pure copper conductors strengthened and sprung by their innovative nonmagnetic stainless steel conductor spring system that keeps a firm grip yet won't damage male connector blades or their plated surfaces. Nano Crystal² dampening material rounds out the design.

 

Furutech's FI-50 NCF, FP-TCS31, FP-209 10R, FI-50M NCF, And GTX-D NCF(R

 

Their FP-209 10R spades are crimped to the FP-TCS31 wire. These α (Alpha) pure copper spades are cryo'ed, and you can either crimp, solder, or a combination of both. They fit perfectly into their power and IEC cord end connectors of course. Speaking of cable, Furutech's FP-TCS31 power cable is of course high purity 99.996% oxygen free copper OFC, and it undergoes variable high-pressure forging and folding. Conductivity is measured at 101.5 IACS%, it has a tensile strength of 250 MPa, and elasticity of 35%. It can handle 20 Amperes @ 125V or 16 Amperes @ 250V. Furutech's proprietary forging process applies variable high pressures, which is said to essentially be the same as folding the metal tens of thousands of times (akin to making a Samurai sword, which I just so happen to have an extremely high quality one of those here). Some people love knives, I love swords. Remember kids; don't bring a knife to a sword fight. This cable benefits from having the copper's crystal grain boundaries transformed from a vertical direction into a longitudinal orientation, which is claimed to allow the electrical signal to flow considerably more smoothly along the completed cable. Mmm-kay. Rounding out the design is a special grade of flexible PVC for the inner wire's cover (available in Brown, Light Blue, or Green/Yellow), an inner sheath of special grade flexible PVC in black, and shielding being 0.12mm OFC wire braid. The main outer sheath, the visual part of the outside of the cable, is flexible dark green PVC with a physical measurement of 16mm in diameter.

Bottom line in plain ol' English, these Furutech products are made to extremely high specification and incorporate the very best technologies by the company. Solid build quality and sensible engineering for the task at hand. Add in a few tweaks and cryo and you have a very high-end, high quality product.

 

Listening Tests
Since everything is a system, I tried them as an all or nothing. After months of use I found that there was a touch more smoothness and soundstage depth to the music. Ultra-high frequencies were very nicely extended, with deep bass not lacking for AC power. This is an average with a variety of piece of gear, including powered speakers, DAC, and amplification. Only one exception, and that is when they were used with the Gryphon Audio Diablo 300. Gryphon Audio pays so much attention to their power supply that there might have actually been a bit too much ‘of a good thing' and thus highs were a teeny tiny wee bit not quite as extended when using the Furutech cables. This is where my old, no longer available Nirvana power cables showed they were a better mating.

 

Furutech's FI-50 NCF, FP-TCS31, FP-209 10R, FI-50M NCF, And GTX-D NCF(R

 

Midrange was a tad bit cleaner or no change depending on the gear I used. Keep in mind there are many custom designed battery power systems here, so tried the power cables in a variety of positions including from wall to battery power unit, out of battery power unit to the audio device. In the case of self powered speakers, it was always from the battery unit to the speakers, since I had a pair of Furutech power cables made and so it made sense to keep right and left channel matched. The best use, within my home, was using them with self-powered speakers such as the KEF LS50 and ADAM Audio ARTist 5. With those, there was an overall cleaner, less grainy sound versus bog-stock cables as supplied by the manufacturer. Midrange was more natural and heard a more cohesive sound in general. Ok, it's not nigh-and-day bold difference, yet subtle and simply presented and enjoyed. You know, like the way you want your system to sound.

The AC receptacle is excellent, with easy installation and solid grip on even heavy AC power firehoses, I mean snakes, make that cables. The excellent grip and big surface area ensures there is an abundance of material making contact to deliver power. If you're seeking a real upgrade and still using lousy bone stock outlets, you definitely want Furutech's GTX-D NCF(R). This is their very best unit and we gave their Nano Crystal² formula connectors an award earlier this year during AXPONA. The DIY power cable may be a bit of a project for some, and I'm always cautious to recommend a power cable as a first-timer project due to the fact if you get things wrong, a very bad outcome is a distinct possibility. If you are handy with stripping wire and crimping a connector, plus know how to use a meter for continuity testing then you're all good to go.

 

Conclusion
Within my systems both the finished power cables and AC power outlet are a welcome addition. As I said earlier, the Furutech GTX-D NCF(R) is an easy choice if you're still using whatever outlet came with your home. The DIY power cables are a more works well here, not so much there and so is a roll of the dice as it were. The main drawback is that Furutech does not sell complete cables, only parts, and so you really are rolling the dice. A common sense idea would be to analyze the power supply within your gear and if you feel there has been any compromise, then the Furutech cable has a far better chance of making a larger difference. If the power supply is over-engineered with cost-no-object, such as that found within the Gryphon Audio Diablo 300 integrated amplifier, then it is less so that the power cable could be of benefit.

 

Furutech's FI-50 NCF, FP-TCS31, FP-209 10R, FI-50M NCF, And GTX-D NCF(R

 

 

Overall high quality of each Furutech product is unquestionable. They are among the best-of-breed and incorporate solid engineering and design. Lifespan should be, well, virtually forever. One thing I did not write about is aesthetics, and here is where Furutech's parts shine. The craftsmanship is beautiful, especially the silver colored carbon fiber IEC and wall end power connector. Also of note is that the earth/ground jumper system connects the securing screws to a ground terminal within the plug. This is said to eliminate the field disturbances as stray fields are grounded by a series of interlocking parts within the connector that attach to the ground conductor. SO go ahead and have fun building their impressive power cable. Guys like me love audio projects, and this is really a simple cable to build. Note that Furutech does offer five distinct factory-terminated power cable lines that are for sale to those who do not want to roll their own. They are the Evolution II, the Reference II, the PowerFlux, NanoFlux, and the NanoFluxNCF. Retail prices for those are $835, $1533, $3000, $4395, and $5800, respectively. This fun-filled DIY cable project is a wonderful bargain! Of course in the end what really matters is that you…

 

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

 

Specifications
Type: Do-it-yourself AC power cable
MFI-50M R NCF 15A Power Plug: $385.00 each
FI-50 R NCF 15A IEC Plug: $385 each
FP-TCS31 Bulk "Triple-C" Power Cable: $157 per meter length
FP-209-10 R Miniature Spade Lugs: For terminating ends of the power cable wire into IEC/plug is $35 for a 10-piece pack.

 

Company Information
Furutech
Furutech Bldg.
3-9-1 Togoshi
Shinagawa-Ku, Tokyo
142-0041 Japan

Voice: +81-(0)3-6451-3941
Fax: +81-(0)3-6451-3942
Website: www.Furutech.com

 

United States Distributor
Elite Audio Video Distribution
P.O. Box 9389
Los Angeles, CA 90093

Voice: (323) 466-9694 x22
E-mail: scot.markwell@eliteavdist.com 
Website: www.eliteavdist.com  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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