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Audiophile Fuses (Read 8017 times)
HockessinKid
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Audiophile Fuses
04/11/19 at 14:08:24
 
While researching audiophile fuses, I came across this thread on Audio Circle which includes comments from well respected equipment builders Roger Modjeski (Music Reference Amplifiers). One of his important points is that many audiophile fuses on the market lack any kind of rigorous electronic testing. Here's the link for additional information:

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=105425.0

While we all strive for achieving the best sound, I want to make sure a fuse works properly for it's intended purpose - protecting equipment from damaging electrical disruption.

For me, I don't mind sacrificing the nth degree of SQ for piece of mind which comes with a well tested fuse.😉

NB

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Lon
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #1 - 04/11/19 at 14:31:35
 
I've used four different brands of "audiophile fuses." I would say that the effects are not subtle with several, and I've more than five years of use on some with zero failures, and no failures at all on any of them, and my equipment has been protected.
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Showme
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #2 - 04/11/19 at 16:04:05
 
Lon, how do you know they will "blow" at the correct amp rating if you haven't had a failure?
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Lon
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #3 - 04/11/19 at 17:08:41
 
Gee I guess I don't. I don't know if the stock fuses do either, I have only had one go bad on me about 8 years ago. I do know that I have used "audiophile" fuses without any failure, and with sonic improvement, long enough to be confident, especially used in Decware components. I really do like the sound I get with Audio Magic fuses (who at least in some models alter other fuses, don't start out from scratch with their own).

If others don't want to trust or use these fuses I can completely understand. But I really enjoy those I have, the sonic improvement rivaling the use of expensive NOS tubes for example.
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Showme
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #4 - 04/11/19 at 18:49:25
 
I see they're based in Aurora, Co. The area offers a lot of "bang for the buck" when it comes to enhanced audio!
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Ace-Tone
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #5 - 04/11/19 at 22:50:53
 
There's a youtube where McGowan (PS Audio) speaks about fuses. He says they use a audiophile fuse in their equipment. But, he does not state the brand.
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Lon
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #6 - 04/12/19 at 01:08:26
 
Ace-Tone wrote on 04/11/19 at 22:50:53:
There's a youtube where McGowan (PS Audio) speaks about fuses. He says they use a audiophile fuse in their equipment. But, he does not state the brand.

At the beginning of this decade they used to use and possibly modify fuses from the German company AHP, and market them as Critical Link fuses. Not sure if they are still using those in their equipment. Seems they were using Shurter fuses in the PerfectWave line of transport and DAC, not sure what they are using in the DirectStream.
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will
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #7 - 04/12/19 at 01:59:25
 
I have not heard this particular complaint before, audiophile fuses not doing their job. With no mention of the actual fuse used, or verification that the user used the correct amperage and blow types...though this concern over audiophile quality fuses may be "real," emotional bias/"belief" sticks out also for me. At any rate, in the many years since this post, wouldn't we have heard a lot more about these issues if they were prevalent?

My experience is also otherwise. I have had several audio fuses from several companies blow over the years, all caused by shorted rectifiers, usually when I forgot to change to a cheap fuse when trying an unknown rectifier...especially vulnerable, very early European GZ32 types@#$%^ But any rectifier can short, so I am usually careful.

Like Lon, I prefer audiophile fuses. Glass fast blows are clear, but I find them tinselly and audio fuses smoother. My top dollar limit, and favorites for transparency, were Synergistic Reds bought on sale. With my bias for smooth and fast transparency, without color, the SR Red stands out to me over HiFi Tuning Supremes and Gold, Furutech, or AMR, Create and other variations of Rhodium/gold plated fuses. Interestingly, the SR Red is also the least directional of those I have tried, where others are pretty different one way than the other. My next favorite are HiFi Tuning Silvers. Though not quite as nuanced and extended, articulation, spacial clarity and detail are really good...and they are relatively inexpensive, usually on sale @ partsconnexion...

With a batch of rectifiers I wanted to test that were questionable, I decided to try a Radio Shack slow blow glass fuse in my Torii, but with tuning stickers...

I had been modifying my quite transparent Gustard x20pro, and several previously skeptical folks modifying the same DAC really liked the sonic improvements with specific uses of WA Quantum stickers. So I ordered some, and agreed. Cap and chip stickers were quite obvious...too much for me as-is. But cutting them into small pieces and spreading them around by-sound, I found the very fine detail and space I wanted without going too far.

I ordered a WA fuse sticker at the time to try. I was also testing some Telos Quantum, and some experimental stickers a guy sent to test. To me, the WA were exceptional at fine detail and space, with a good balance but weighing on the airy/fine detail side. The Telos were quite good at increasing signal density and weight, but too dense and focussed for me overall...not enough of the very fine information I like from WA. The prototypes were in between.

Testing different arrangements on fuses, changes were audible, enough so to be able to easily choose favorites, and to realize the cheap slow blow fuse with stickers taped on made a respectable audiophile fuse. I ended up with half of a round Telos sticker, and a half WA taped on the glass with a thin strip of white electrical tape. I figured the tape might damp the glass a bit, while also making the stickers removable should a fuse blow. I suspect the slow blow might also help the "tinselly" effect of fast blow glass, with more mass to the conductor, and maybe less resonance. Cardas contact enhancer on the ends helped a little too.

Using this fuse happily for quite a while, I decided to do some tests in the Torii today. I have a Synergistic Research Red with a WA sticker. It is nicely revealing of nuance and high space, very slightly smoother, and with a bit more defined bass. But my stickered slow blow is similarly revealing of fine detail and close elsewhere...perhaps a touch better at some areas of textures and subtle ambient information. It shows the smooth weight and density of the Telos sticker, and fine detail and space of the WA.

PSAudio sent me some replacement fuses after doing some repair work on my P5. I wondered if they were Schurters. I find these smoother than fast blow glass, and clearer than radio shack ceramic, but not as good as others I have tried. Changing from it to a SR Red in the P5 was clarifying to be sure here.

I don't know if there is a way to get single Telos stickers. I do like the combination of a 1/2 Telos and 1/2 WA but would not buy a box of Telos stickers to do it. I do hear everything in my system, and so can't say how this experience would translate elsewhere, but for $8, a WA fuse sticker may be worth a try, perhaps making a cheap slow blow pretty nice, and using tape rather than the sticky back of the sticker, they are easy to move to another fuse.
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maddog07
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #8 - 04/13/19 at 04:42:09
 
I'm not going to jump into the black hole debate on boutique fuses.  Hearing is an individual, psychoacoustic process.  "If you think you hear it - then you do - there is no way to measure your perception."  

However, I will share a personal experience I had with standard glass fuses.  Once upon a time, before my enlightenment, I owned a very popular and highly regarded beast of a solid-state amplifier.  This amp had 10 amp fuses on the + and - rails of the power supply for each channel - 4 fuses total.  One time with the top cover off, and music playing, I actually observed the fuse filament, the little wire that all that power is passing through, "dance" to the beat of the music.  It was actually twitching to the beat.  

From that point on, after a brief discussion with a guy who has been building audio amplifiers his whole life and I described to him what I saw, at his suggestion, I have been using sand filled ceramic fuses.  They cost a little more than the empty glass variety.  
Fuses have two ratings; 1) is the amount of current that can flow before the fuse element melts, and 2) a momentary "interruption" rating, of how much overload they can effectively "interrupt", stop, prevent from arcing across the fuse and letting the overload effectively pass thru(over/around) the fuse.
If for no other reason, as explained to me, if you really do have a catastrophic "blow", the ceramics are rated for HRC (high rupture capacity).
They are more thermally stable, can absorb and interrupt more current if/when they blow and contain it without exploding than an empty glass tube fuse.  If a very high fault occurs, the sand "melts" turning into glass - and glass being an insulator, prevents an arc over from occurring, thus significantly increasing the fuses effectiveness.
And the fusing element can't "dance" either, because it's damped by the silica sand it's encased in...!!!  
Grin
* makes me sleep better at night, knowing that the fuses in my audio equipment stay cooler and can't jump around while doing their jobs!!

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JOMAN
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #9 - 06/06/19 at 14:16:08
 
Recently two fuses blew in my UFO25.  So I used the spare in my CSP-3 to get things up and running.  Now I had to get more fuses and remembered this thread.

Quite some time ago I tried audiophile fuses in a Cary Rocket 88R that I had.  The audiophile fuses did make a difference but I didn’t like the end result so I tried ceramic body fuses from an Electronics Supplier.  These too made a difference and I did like the end result.

The audiophile fuses, can’t recall the brand, cost somewhere between $25.00 - $50.00 from Parts Connextion and the Ceramic Body Fuses, maybe $1.00 from Mouser Electronics.  

This time around I checked out some of the prices for audiophile fuses and thought “not a chance”.  I did want to get ceramic body fuses and as I searched I came across Aucharm Fuses on Ebay.  Silver alloy ceramic body audiophile fuses for $1.99 ea.  Something that was termed ‘audiophile’ for $1.99??? Contradiction in terms?? They are ceramic body and they’re less than a cup of Starbucks Coffee, so why not?

Yesterday I put the first one in my CSP-3 and they did make a difference that I liked.  Seemed to “clean up” the sound which also took on improved density... for $1.99.

So I ordered spares.
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Lon
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #10 - 06/06/19 at 15:27:28
 
Cool. Try the fuses in both directions. For some reason I have found most fuses to be directional. One direction clearly sounds better than another. Palomino discovered this as well with a fuse he installed.
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #11 - 06/06/19 at 15:53:33
 
Joman, thanks for the ebay seller info.  Did you just match the rating of your existing fuse with the new fuse?
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #12 - 06/06/19 at 16:39:37
 
Hey Lon and Archie,

Yes they are directional per the info on the body of the fuse and that’s the next thing I have to do.

Archie I just matched what was in the CSP3 and UFO25. 3.15A/250V 5x20 slow blow.  

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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #13 - 06/07/19 at 00:44:11
 
Thanks.  At that price they are sure worth a try.
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #14 - 06/08/19 at 05:43:43
 

I can say that fuses are probably one of the weaker links in any amplifier, or any audio circuit for that matter. A necessary evil if you will. I know that when I have direct wired test amplifiers with no fuse they sounded better than with a fuse, no question.

Also, when selecting parts and wire for our amplifiers, about 1 or 2 AWG larger than required sounds better as well. Both have the common denominator of being able to handle more current.

I also have vivid memories of ruining the sound of a fantastic amplifier by running a 12 inch piece of high-voltage wire from the rectifier to a standby switch in the front and then another 12 inch piece back to the rear of the amplifier where it needed to go. The wire was well oversized as was the switch, but after this mod, the amp lost it's magic and wasted probably at least a week of my time looking elsewhere for an explanation until I finally listened to the super quiet voice in the background that kept telling me to take the wire out Steve, just take it out. So finally I did, and guess what, amp sounded great again. This is why I know that how an amplifier is laid out has a bigger effect on its sound than the type of connectors you use for example.

So, if these things can make such an audible difference it stands to reason that different types of fuses could sound different.  A ceramic fuse for example would resonate at the frequency of the chassis, whereas the filament inside a clear glass fuse could vibrate independently of the chassis resonant frequency.  That said, both frequencies are ironically likely to be 60Hz (or 50Hz in the rest of the world).



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HockessinKid
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #15 - 12/28/19 at 23:32:18
 
Well, I have to admit I was wrong about audiophile fuses. I ordered a 6.3 amp Synergistic Research Red fuse for my ZMA. While the fuse probably hasn't fully settled in, it has already made a substantial improvement in the sound quality. The amp is also playing louder too. I had to dial back my ZDAC volume control from the normal +1.0 to 2.0 to -3.0 to-4.0.

Completely unexpected. I guess I'll be springing for an SR Red for my CSP3-25 and ZROCK2 after I get some hours on this first fuse. The tweaking never stops 😁.

HK
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mperdue63
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #16 - 12/29/19 at 14:49:30
 
HockessinKid,
I've been wondering about fuses too. Any particular reason you selected there SR Red over the SR Black ?
Many Thanks for all the insight you guys share on here.
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HockessinKid
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #17 - 12/29/19 at 16:12:40
 
mperdue63,

Well opinions on the best audiophile fuses really vary widely on audio forums. There are quite a few options out there including some that cost mucho $.

I chose to try the SR Red fuses based on positive comments from forum member will, who gave me great advice on ZMA modifications based on his extensive experience. I figured if they sounded good in his ZMA then they should sound good in mine😊.

Also these fuses are available from Chris VenHaus (VH Audio) for under $100/each. Chris has a great reputation and will handle any problems should they arise.

HK
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mperdue63
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #18 - 12/30/19 at 16:31:09
 
Thank you.
FYI,  The Cable Company has the SR Black fuse which is a newer version on sale 30% off or about $84.00. I picked up a few to try.
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #19 - 12/30/19 at 19:24:31
 
What is different about these fuses? Materials? Construction?
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mperdue63
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #20 - 12/30/19 at 20:59:40
 
From the company! Consume at your own risk...LOL

The Synergistic Research BLACK is the most advanced fuse to date.  With Synergistic Research's cutting edge UEF Coating and Graphine first developed for Synergistic Research's new Atmosphere Series AC power cords, Synergistic Research Black Fuses deliver performance far beyond their world class RED Fuses. Improvements over RED include a lower noise floor, improved dynamics and clarity, and soundstaging that must be heard to be believed. In fact the performance gain over RED is far greater than the difference between SR's RED fuses and their original Synergistic Research 20 Quantum fuses. Sold with a 30-day no-risk money back guarantee, you won’t believe how good your system can sound until you try BLACK but don't say we didn't warn you because once you go BLACK you’ll never go back to your old fuse!
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mperdue63
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #21 - 01/03/20 at 19:41:23
 
Any idea which direction the power crosses the fuse on the ZMA , CSP3 and ZRock? Looking from the rear where the power connection is located is it left to right or right to left? My fuses are directional!
Thanks
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HockessinKid
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #22 - 01/03/20 at 20:19:48
 
Left to right facing the rear of each unit.

HK
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will
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #23 - 01/03/20 at 20:47:56
 
Since fuses that show more directional difference are usually darker one way, and cleaner the other, even if they are marked for direction, I like to check by sound. Might be worth a check anyway. Then after putting time on them, I check again in several weeks to see if burnin might have changed my opinion of the best direction.

Interestingly, with the Furutech fused IECs I have used, the direction through the fuse is opposite those that came in my Decware...looking from the back, the Furutechs run right to left through the fuse .
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #24 - 01/03/20 at 20:52:29
 
My methodology as well. Every "audiophile" fuse I've tried has been directional.
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mperdue63
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #25 - 01/03/20 at 21:23:27
 
Thank you Gentlemen, I appreciate the help.
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HockessinKid
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #26 - 01/18/20 at 14:44:16
 
So given my positive experience with the SR Red fuse in my ZMA, I decided to peruse several audio forums to gather additional intel and insights. What I found is that there is a lot of mixed opinions on audiophile fuses. Some think they're snake oil, some think they're great, but no consensus on which is best. Go figure, audiophiles don't agree.

However, i did come across many recent positive comments on Synergistic Research latest offering, the Orange fuses. My initial enthusiasm over the positive comments were dampened somewhat by the cost  - $160/each. Ouch!

Well it turns out that SR had an end of 2019 sale on these new latest & greatest fuses, buy 2 get 1 free. So I thought one for the ZMA, one for the CSP3+, and one for the ZROCK2. Time to spend of that Xmas cash😊.

After some delay due to tremendous demand for these little buggers I received my set from VH Audio on Monday. I've only got about 30 hours on the fuses, but they are starting to settle in and open up. Initial listening results are very positive. Hard to explain but vocals & instruments are just sounding so incredibly realistic. Maybe it's just my mind playing tricks, but my ears are so very happy.

I'll report additional observations after ~100 hours. I have always been a fuse skeptic, but the proof is in the hearing.

HK
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #27 - 01/21/20 at 17:37:33
 
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Palomino
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #28 - 02/06/20 at 18:59:43
 
I bought one of these for fun.  Won't get it till March.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1pcs-Aucharm-hifi-single-crystal-silver-nano-gold-plate...
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lazb
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #29 - 02/06/20 at 19:11:48
 
at least the manufacturer has a sense of humor!  "Au" being the chemical symbol for gold and we all know what a charm is!!  Hope it sounds as good as it is "charming"!!!     Grin
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #30 - 03/02/20 at 18:09:08
 
i got the fuse mentioned above last week.  Definitely a good fuse.  

At first I thought it lacked high end but had good bass definition and increased soundstage - relative to my hifi tuning fuse.  After some hours either the high end got better or I got used to it.  

At any rate, I think its worthy of consideration as a replacement of the stock fuse.  Especially at the low price.

I'm leaving it in for now.  Its running in the same direction as my hifi tuning fuse, but I will probably switch it at some point just to see.  I'll also toss the hifi tuning fuse back in to see if my opinion changes.
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Showme
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #31 - 03/02/20 at 22:32:12
 
Let us know how  it works out or if you have any associated health issues considering it’s country of origin.
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Palomino
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #32 - 03/02/20 at 22:58:57
 
I’ll let you know if I develop any upper respiratory issues.

I also ordered a cheap Bluetooth amp for a boombox as well.  Risky audio behavior.
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i7 Mac Mini with LPSU/SSD running Audirvana 3.5, Uptone Audio Regen on LPSU, Mytek Brooklyn DAC+, Ven Haus DIY Silver ICs, 25th Anniversary Zen, PS Audio P5 Power Supply, PS Audio Power Cords, Zen Styx Speaker Wire, DIY Big Betsy and Crystal 10 Open Baffle Speaker
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Audiophile Fuses
Reply #33 - 03/10/20 at 18:33:39
 
Don't be licking your Chinese fuses!  :P
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