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POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 24
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Audio Ramblings - Let's move on ...to the RD-2 from Furutech, Footers from EquaRack, and gold interconnects from Dual-Connect
by Dave Clark

 

In the last issue of PFO, Carol and I published an article reporting our experiences with the Clever Little Clock (http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue23/clock_nespa.htm), and well …did we take a licking (even though the clock kept on ticking) from just about anyone within reach of a keyboard and monitor. I mean on some sites it got really ugly and ugly really fast! Some people took a more rational position and then there were those who simply see the world only through their reality and have no place for those with a different perspective on what is what. Come on man, give us a break! We were only reporting what we heard, and what we wrote was the truth (Several people have approached me in person asking if we were serious, if the whole thing was a joke …ah Noooo it wasn't!). We also admitted that what we did was quite casual and should not be viewed as being the least bit scientific, nor should it be seen as an attempt to prove or disprove what the Clock is purported to be doing to whomever or to whatever—just our experiences at that time. We still have the clock in the room and whether what we heard (and continue to hear) is real, imaginary, or a side effect of too much vino, we really could not give a rat's behind. It is what it is, so let's move on to something new and just as likely to stir the pot of "You guys have got too much *%$# for brains" from our fellow audio neurotics.

From the Furutech website:

Disc Magnetization Is No Mystery

The silk-screened label on an optical disc contains chemical compounds such as iron, nickel, and cobalt. These materials are all strongly magnetic and easy to remagnetize. The reflective information-bearing surface of optical media contains 99% aluminum, but 1% of these same highly magnetic materials! Even aluminum is a weak magnetic material.

Amazingly, optical discs actually become magnetized as they play! A magnetic field is induced as the disc spins in the player. In fact, demagnetization was routinely carried out by disc manufacturers everywhere. Because of tight, ultra-competitive pricing, most manufacturers now skip this important step.

Other so-called demagnetizers on the market -- head erasers, bulk erasers, demagnetizing bars, "rotary" demagnetizers -- don't actually demagnetize your discs. Some of them actually induce magnetism! For example, when a disc stops spinning in a rotary demagnetizer, some part of the CD is over a fixed magnet that once again magnetizes it.

Because Furutech's RD-2 Ring Magnet technology ramps the power up then down again, the RD-2 is ideal for removing magnetic field buildup from cables, connectors, and power cords! (See illustration below.) No part of the playback chain should be influenced by resolution-sapping magnetic interference.

As you will see by examining the graphs, untreated magnetic fields have a direct effect on data retrieval (visit this page www.furutech.com/news/RD-2%20web.htm on the Furutech site to read the graphs… too many to post here, but they do offer evidence to support Furutech's claims).

So what we have here is a smallish device that demagnetizes a CD, cable, or what have you. Demagnetizes?! And that means what to me? Well based on what Furutech says, all this should result in the RD-2 reducing misreads while lowering the noise floor. That is, it should cut down on error correction and allow a CD to sound "better" due to less reliance on error correction and whatever ills it may bring to the table. Naturally, this is very dependant on the CD player/transport one uses; at least I am willing to make that assumption. The better the unit's ability to buffer or correct for errors, the less one should perceive a problem. Makes sense …yes? Even so, with the wham-bammed CD-306 from Cary, CDs were better Furutized than not. Mo Better? Well better than what one hears from a disc that is played prior to being demagnetized. That is a disc after a visit to the RD-2 offers a more relaxed, less edgy sound. Not as dramatic, as say a sucker punch to the nose or the Nespa, but music has more clarity while at the same time possessing less glare and that gritty grit grit one associates with digital. More air, more space, more musically nice music. More more more. Not a lot of more more more, but enough that it is worth it for me to use it on a regular basis. Way easier than cleaning and treating discs with "flavor of the day" disc cleaner. To you? No way to tell; only you can decide that!

All one has to do is place a disc on the RD-2 ($360, www.furutech.com), hit the erase button and wait as the unit does its thing—about 30-40 seconds later, the green light fades out and the disc is ready to play. The on/off button can be left in either position, though naturally it does need to be on to work.

Changes are not permanent and a disc should be demagnetized every 368.26 seconds, and NOT a second later! Actually, it should last a few months though naturally this is all dependant on how often one spins a disc. More spins equate to more potential magnetization. Just use it prior to playing a disc regardless of how recent the last treatment has been. I mean, why get so anal about it? Just use the damn thing and enjoy. It works.

Up next are the really cool and yet so #%@% aggravatingly $#*&! to get them just right EquaRack Footers (http://www.equarack.com/footers.htm). A very slick idea that, once they are "right", are quite right sonically. What I mean is that they are not a simple set and play sort of thing—one has to do some math, be somewhat nimbly dexterous in placing the correct number of Viscoelastic pellets in the bottom piece, then centering the top piece just so, so that it all sits straight and proper. Not so easy the first few times, but with practice one sees the ins and outs of how to get everything to stay as they should, and off we go…

I approached the Footers as an alternative to the Townshend Seismic 3D Sinks I use under the Cary CD306 SACD player and Blue Circle BC3000 or Cary SLP-05 preamps—the dang Townshends tend to loose air over time and as such require a periodic pump or two. Yeah and who doesn't?

What we hear with the Footers under either the Cary CD player or either preamp is pretty much what we hear from the Townshends: less smear, more openness, cleaner more articulate bass, and well, they simply make the music more involving and less work. Who wants to work to enjoy the music? I was though hoping the Footers would offer an audible advantage over the Townshends, but going back and forth between the two revealed little if any preference for one over the other. Both appear to work as claimed by addressing vibrations and whatnot that can spoil a component's ability to let the music flow. I say appeared as I have no way of measuring any vibrational changes in a component—for the better or worse - when either is in use. They do though change the sound, that is, they do make an audible difference.

Compared to the any of the components au naturel, either one will be a dramatic improvement in cleaning up—or opening up—the music. Simply better with, than with not. Compared to more traditional footers (cones and such), again either product is better in offering isolation from vibrations as opposed to coupling or draining via a fixed point. I say better only in terms of my audible experiences; here with my components in my room. A lot of this tends to fall into the realm of taste and preferences (let alone what works with which component on what shelf), so items like these must be taken as a "got to hear it to see if I like it" sort of thing.

I do recommend the Footers for those who are not interested in going the air-bladder route as they do address differences in weight distribution and loading to insure maximum performance. Additionally, a component will not end up being askew due to one side being heavier than the other, nor do they require adjustments over time. The Townshends will loose air and as such, will change in character as the deflate or are inflated (like to what pressure—trial and error based on listening …meaning that one can easily become way too neurotic!). Once the Footers are set, they are set. To do this one weighs a component and determines its distribution. You then use the appropriate number of Pellets per Footer based on a formula in the instructions and off you go. Check out the Equa site and there is a plethora of information on the how's and why's.

It should be noted that the Sinks I use have been redesigned using something other than air-bladders so my issues are a moot point for most readers unless one finds the desire to go down the used market. No doubt, one can still find some of the older Sinks being sold as new, and at a going price of around $300 for three Footers, one can save a hundred bucks or so over that of a Sink. Even so, I am not saying one should pass up either the older or newer Sinks—either work as advertised. It is just the Footers offer a nice alternative.

You indeed may have had difficulty with the placement of the Pellets in the Footer Bases because you have pre-production bases. The insertion of the Pellets will be tricky because the counter-bores in the Footer bases were obviously under-sized. The first production run has corrected this design problem. The counter-bores are sized so that the Pellets just "sit" in them with no twisting or forcing, and they don’t "pop-out" as they did with the pre-production under-sized counter-bores that you reviewed. Joe Ciula, EquaRack

Last but not least, the gold DC-100 cables from Dual-Connect ($879 RCA/meter). Bob Levi wrote these up an issue or so ago (www.positive-feedback.com/Issue23/dual_connect.htm), and well, Bob hit this right smack in the sweet-spot. Meaning that there is no need to beat a dead horse here—read his review for a more in-depth look at the cables, but let me have a few words anyhow. The cables feature a three-weave design (think Kimber) of solid-gold 24 gauge conductors in a Teflon tube, these are very simple looking interconnects. Unfortunately, it appears that the construction limits the lengths to one meter, so if you need to get to the other side of the room, better look elsewhere.

This is unfortunate for those needing longer lengths. These cables offer a refined presentation that is quite extended at either end of the audio spectrum with light and airy highs and deep powerful bass—no added boom or mush. I have used them primarily from the Sutherland phono stage to the preamp and really like what they do sonically. The midrange is velvety smooth and rich with such a sense of glamour and style …the music takes on a level of sophistication or presence resembling a fine 24 year old Glenlivet scotch—smooth and oh so delicious. But not so refined or smooth that one looses resolution, presence, clarity, detail, yadda, yadda, yadda. No, you get all that too, it is just offered up from a different perspective. They do sound quite, quite good and I have had no issues with noise, hum, or whatever one can come up with that might raise its ugly little head regarding an unshielded cable.

Ergonomically, these do require a light touch—so numbnucks take note. They can be twisted and pulled to some degree, but I would treat them like a fine jewelry and show some restraint or control—these are on the light-weight side of the cable scale. The Eichmann RCAs do require a little effort to be seated, but once done the connection is solid and firm. Other quibbles are that they may be a bit too refined and relaxed overall. These are not cables for the audiophile on the quest for speed or visceral rush. They are more relaxed than upfront, more smooth with calmness than edge and aggressiveness—simply said they are more like a Rolls than a Porsche. Roll on.

Electrum Audio
web address: www.electrumaudio.com

Dual Connect
web address: www.dual-connect.com

 

 

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