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"New fuse makes stereos sound fantastic"--article

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
New Fuse Makes Stereos Sound Fantastic
Gary Krakow
03/11/08 - 10:39 AM EDT
Updated from 7:29 a.m. EDT

Among hi-fi enthusiasts, they're called "tweaks." These are little items and things you can do to improve the sound of your home music-reproduction system.

For instance, some people believe wires that carry music signals should never run parallel to wires that carry AC electricity (have them cross at right angles). Or that using a black Magic Marker around the edges of a CD improves the sound (it does). Or that certain small pieces of wood or even stone pebbles -- placed judiciously on hi-fi components -- can change the sound (you could spend thousands of dollars trying this).

Actually, for a price, I'd be willing to come over to your house and wave a magic wand to make things sound better!

But I've found something that makes an incredible difference -- not only for your hi-fi, but also for your high-priced video-playback system.

All it means is replacing a fuse.

Home electronics (audio and video) were fitted with user-replaceable fuses for decades. These fuses consist of a piece of wire inside a tiny glass tube with metal caps at each end. To this day, they're usually sold in small, slide-open metal containers -- three to five fuses per pack. Each fuse now costs 50 cents or so. (I remember when a package of five fuses cost 50 cents, but that was back when gasoline was 30 cents a gallon.)

Ultra Systems

These fuses were (and still are) made to blow if there was something wrong with the AC power supply -- or the equipment. If a fuse is accessible from the outside, replacing it takes no tools and about 30 seconds. Internal fuses could take a few minutes longer to get to.

Over the years, little had changed when it came to fuses. They blew. You went to an electronics store (or the local RadioShack RSH to buy replacements, and that was that.

Until recently.

That's when electrical engineers and hi-fi addicts started thinking about the fuse itself. Engineers were spending hundreds of hours -- and dollars -- to find the best-sounding components for their gear. But they soon realized that the AC fuse was the lowest common denominator. The inexpensive, throwaway part acts like an hour-glass for electricity. What would happen if they could re-engineer the fuse?

Enter the HiFi-Tuning fuse imported by Ultra Systems of New Hope, Pa. Made in Germany, this is a super-premium, drop-in replacement for short (0.75 inch) and long (1.25 inches) glass fuses.

Instead of cheap, throwaway items, these are hand-made and tested, the wire inside is pure silver, the casing is ceramic rather than glass (for better resonance characteristics) and the end caps are made of silver but they're also coated in gold. When finished, they're cryogenically treated (super-cooled) for maximum clarity.

The result is a rugged-looking little fuse. But forget about how it looks (you'll never see it once it's installed). It's how it sounds.

The fuse makes the largest change I've ever heard in my home stereo equipment. Currently, I'm testing a great-sounding system from Resolution Audio (I'll tell you more soon). The system sounded very good with the cheapo fuse. With the HiFi-Tuning device, the system is world-class. The difference is anything but subtle.

I've heard similar differences with older Quad hi-fi gear. Changing to the HiFi-Tuning fuse changed the sound of my system -- all for the better.

And, I've gotten similar results when changing the fuse in my Sharp flat-screen TV. Colors and sound were both improved -- all by changing one small fuse.

This magic doesn't come cheap, though.

These fuses cost $30 each (for the shorter version) and $40 for longer ones. They're available in a slew of amperages -- in both regular and slow-blow versions.

I know that sounds expensive -- but not when you hear the difference they can make.
post #2 of 22
Thanks for sharing your experiences

You should search the archives, there was a thread on this a little while back.

I have been using these for some time now...in my system (home system) I found the difference in sonics to be very subtle (although positive). I have not tried them with my headphone system
post #3 of 22
These audiophile fuses have been discussed here before. You can find the thread with a search.

I myself tried Hi Fi tuning fuses first with good results. Lately I have tried Isoclean fuses. These do even better.
post #4 of 22
Why not removing the fuse, it will sound far better, and will save you $30.00?

Guys do you realize that all the fuse sockets, and all traces of that board after, are just soldered with an alloy of lead/tin (and maybe if you are lucky 4% of silver) An alloy is far worst conductor than the cooper wire you removed on the AC line, not even in the signal path??...

Let's analize that the fuse has only one purpose, to melt the inner conductor while certain parameter of current exceed the working temperature, changing the material to a better conductor, requires change the gauge on the fuse conductor. Cryo it will make the material different as well, i would like ot see what kind of investigation, study they did indeed, as I'm assuming that most likely they are completelly defeating the protenction purpose...
post #5 of 22
Ill second removing the fuse. Why gold plate the fuse, but let the socket oxidize in the equipment.

I would be interested to see some data sheets if they are even available for any of these fuses. I'm curious if they really did anything more than plate the fuse and change the inner conductor.

If you replace a copper conductor with a silver one you will have to make it a smaller gauge, since you will have less resistance (for the same amp rating less resistance means less heat to melt the conductor). Well that is assuming the ~200 degree difference in melting points is negligible. I'm really just wondering where the sonic improvement comes from, just seems like an "high class" fuse to me?
...the engineer in me is now thinking too much...
post #6 of 22
I have Hi-fi tuning fuses treated with Xtreme Quicksilver throughout my entire rig now. The impact is equal to an entry level power cord upgrade. When combined with upper end power cord upgrades, it has an amazing impact on speed and instrumental clarity with a more synergistic signal flow then a power cord alone would make. This is my second favorite tweak and by far the best relative "bang for the buck" tweak one could make, IMO.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Millheim View Post
I have Hi-fi tuning fuses treated with Xtreme Quicksilver throughout my entire rig now. The impact is equal to an entry level power cord upgrade.
That makes total sense.

See ya
Steve
post #8 of 22
Why not just go all the way and solder the power cord to the power supply. If changing the fuse makes that much of a difference imagine what just getting rid of it and the $1 IEC will do.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Why not just go all the way and solder the power cord to the power supply
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by naamanf View Post
Why not just go all the way and solder the power cord to the power supply. If changing the fuse makes that much of a difference imagine what just getting rid of it and the $1 IEC will do.
I didn't hear a difference from a HiFi-Tuning fuse, but I heard huge improvements from bypassing my fuses. I don't want to pay for worse sound just to get a little safety.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
That makes total sense.

See ya
Steve
Seriously, I am not into being rude or personal attacks but I find your constant bashing and the way you treat others, with differing opinions then yours with such arrogant disdain, so unnecessary and a bore.

See ya
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Millheim View Post
Seriously, I am not into being rude or personal attacks
Could'a fooled me!

See ya
Steve
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Millheim View Post
Seriously, I am not into being rude or personal attacks but I find your constant bashing and the way you treat others, with differing opinions then yours with such arrogant disdain, so unnecessary and a bore.

See ya
Use the Ignore function

Recommended by 9 out of 10 audiophiles
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by 883dave View Post
Use the Ignore function
...and avoid the ad hominem function.


.
post #15 of 22
Ok, to get the thread back on track....

"If" I decide to bypass the fuse altogether, is there any protection left for an AC problem? What about attaching an in-line fuse to the power cord itself (pre-power supply)?
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