e-TP309 Power Distributor
as reviewed by Guido Corona
When, approximately one year ago, Scott Markwell of Elite Audio Video Distribution proposed a review project of the new Furutech e-TP309—an outwardly simple, but deceptively sophisticated power distributor—I was intrigued, but admittedly somewhat skeptical: prior experiences with the audible anomalies created by some conditioning products on my system had been less than encouraging. Yet, ever the experimenter, I jumped to the opportunity, and soon took delivery of a UPS shipping carton. Inside—together with a complete suite of Furutech High End Performance power cords, interconnects, and speaker wires, as well as 3 sets of advanced Furutech FT-D20A duplex outlets—there was a relatively small yet hefty box, sheathed in a multicolor cardboard slip, in turn inserted in a protective cellophane bag. Inside the inner box, supported by a well designed shell of urethane inserts, rested e-TP309, or, to be more precise, rested a heavy vinyl weather-proof bag, from which, lovingly wrapped in whisper-thin rice-paper, finally emerged the e-TP309 power distributor. A set of just slightly small white cotton gloves, themselves protected inside their own zip-lock-type bag, reminded me that I should not dare handling the functionally handsome unit using my lanolin-grimy bare hands.
At almost 7.5 Lbs., the e-TP309 seems completely non resonant to finger-touch and knuckle-tap. It feels massively hefty for its compact size: approximately 11.7 inches long, 5.2 inches wide, and 3.2 Inches tall. Its construction is a typical Furutech technological tour de force. All main chassis components have been machined from heavy aluminum billet to control mechanical resonance and RF interference. The unit's top plate is finished in carbon fibers to further control vibrations. Shielding continues inside the chassis, where Furutech has bonded a layer of its own Formula GC-303 material to the bottom plate to isolate the device from any vanishingly weak electromagnetic interference generated by the internal fittings of the device.
4 outlets emerge from the darkly-gleaming graphite-finished top plate FT-D15A(R) x1 and FT-S15A(R) x2 nonmagnetic rhodium-plated a (Alpha) phosphor bronze Pure Transmission Receptacles, that feature nylon/fiberglass bodies, which also incorporate carbon particles. According to Furutech, the blended materials form an extremely effective non-resonant connector structure.
Resonance control is almost an obsessive concern at Furutech: to ensure the tightest and most secure connections, as well as the very best mechanical isolation, a special 3M resonance-dampening material surrounds each AC receptacle, which is then fastened against the bottom plate with a patented Axial Locking Screw. In turn, the screw is hand-torqued at the factory and—according to Furutech—it reduces receptacle resonance by a factor of ten.
e-TP309 is not shipped with its own power cord, but a FI-09(R) rhodium-plated Alpha pure copper IEC Inlet, complementing one of its short sides, supports any after-market power cord terminated by 15A male IEC connectors. Furutech's application of isolating technology continues inside the e-TP309: all conductors are treated with Furutech's own Alpha Cryogenic and Demagnetizing Process. Furthermore, all electric conductors are Star-wired, and are fabricated using Furutech Alpha-10, 5.5 sq. mm (10 AWG) aggregates. Finally, conductors are insulated within resonance-absorbing tubing.
Context and Sound
The new equipment was soon deployed: FT-D20A outlets were installed on a dedicated 20A circuit; three outlets of the e-TP309 distributed power to my reference system, TEAC X-01 Limited CD-Player, Rowland Criterion preamplifier, and Rowland M312 stereo amplifier. The 4th outlet accommodated periodic single-chassis house-guests, such as the wonderful GamuT CD3 CD player, and the recently arrived Sanders MagTech power amplifier, while whenever twin-chassis devices, like the Bel Canto REF1000M and REF500M monoblock power amplifiers were connected to e-TP309, the M312 was temporarily fed directly by a wall outlet.
A full year later, I realized how the e-TP309 is much more than a well crafted composition of synergistic technologies. Even during its relatively rapid break-in, the device had started to show its potential, and after only 300 hours of music making, it was fully proving its considerable sonic worth. My initial skepticism evaporated like a morning mist. Music selection after music selection, e-TP309 proved to be a deepener of sound stages, a solidifier of images, a clarifier of textures, a revealer of harmonic structures, a normalizer of frequency extensions, a gentle enlivener of the mythical black background, and an assistant to the exposure of inner detail, of ambient cues, of those little musical and extra musical nuances alike that distinguish the merely precise from the emotionally enthralling.
I shall not claim that the e-TP309 has no sonic signature of its own. Yet, its sonic signature is neither one of darkening a presentation, nor of shifting its balance towards the treble; it is neither one of smoothing or caramelizing details, nor of etching sonic detail on to the working edge of an audible knife-blade. Rather, it is perhaps a signature that might be defined as that coherent and nimble transparency which lets more chromatic density be generated during the reproduction of a musical performance.
During 12 months, the Furutech e-TP309 has worked synergistically with a number of components and of suites of connectivity products. It has further enhanced the wonderful musicality of the Furutech Evolution II Suite—sadly only following my PFO review in Issue 45; it has revealed the energetic detail of the Furutech Flux line (see my review in PFO Issue 47); it has also demonstrated the considerable musical focus of the High End Performance line, a suite of Furutech custom connectivity products that embodies some of the most desirable sonic characteristics of both Evolution II and Flux, without suffering from those occasional energetic excesses peculiar to Flux wires.
Interestingly, the e-TP309 has proven not to be current, transient, or authority limiting. Feeding the 500W per channel Bel Canto REF1000M mono amplifiers and the equally powerful Rowland M312 stereo amplifier through it has not shrunk, dampened, or bleached their fine musical performance, nor has the e-TP309 reduced their exceptional stage presence. Rather, like other components, through e-TP309, these amplifiers have been able to express even more of what their respective creators have designed inside them.
The e-TP309 and I have been inseparable for almost a year, discovering together some real pearls of the High End audio industry, while other components, wires, and accessories, have not passed its muster. In other words, while this power distributor has systematically enhanced the performance of components that generate good music in their own right, such as the units I have reviewed for PFO during the past year, it has also proven to be a stern task-master and a revealer of shortcomings and anomalies for several products for which I had initial great hopes, but whose performance in the end fell short, and whose review project was in the end abandoned.
This has been admittedly a slightly unusual review: rather than my typical illustrative anthology of musical works and passages, accompanied by detailed observations, leading to a summary conclusion, I decided this time to depict broad strokes about a product that I have grown to admire and love, and which has been for me a valuable reviewer's tool as well as an irreplaceable instrument for the enjoyment of music. Admittedly, the e-TP309 power distributor has one major drawback: its comparatively significant price yields only 4 outlets, while I would have preferred if it supported a more flexible complement of 6.
In the end, the e-TP309 is not a showy creator of dizzying or facile sonic fireworks. It may not appeal to the seeker of quick sonic thrills, or to the quester of hyper-energetic audible bubble-gum. Similarly, it will likely dissatisfy the ever-present valiumizer—that lover of the blended, the eternally smooth, the safely dampened. Rather, the e-TP309 will become inevitably an indispensable friend of the emotive lover of sound and music. The audiophile who quests ever deeper into the beauty of sound, into that dimension of sensorial perception which sometimes reveals facets of the unexpected imbedded into the familiar, the grit of angst in the garden of serenity, the emotional implications of a lonely note rising from the drama of a large orchestra, and the hidden sigh of a female vocalist suddenly emerging from the kaleidoscopic complexities of a jazz improvisation. Guido Corona
e-TP309 Power Distributor