Audiophile fuses or standard Bussman fuses ?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Soundlabs, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. classicrocker

    classicrocker Life is good!

    Location:
    Worcester, MA, USA
    Well said about the fuse certifications Harby. The advantage of an approved fuse is it has been tested and certified to specific performance criteria according to UL (US) and IEC (rest of the world) safety standard criteria.

    The advantage of this is every sample of that approved fuse will theoretically operate the same under an overcurrent condition.

    That being said unless the end equipment, like an audio amp, has been tested by UL, or another safety agency, to the requirements of the audio/ video standards UL/IEC60065 where there they do fault tests to verify the fuse will open consistently under a fault condition having an approved fuse does not mean much.

    As part of the end product testing UL will induce short and open circuit conditions on components in the amp to make sure there are no potential shock or fire hazards. During the faults, the fuse plays an important part in providing some level of protection that the product will be safe if there is a component failure in the amp. This is where using a UL approved (US) or VDE approved (rest of the world) fuse provides some benefit. If you have a nuisance tripping of a fuse you can feel confident that a UL/VDE replacement will trip under the same condition in the presence of an amp fault.

    Regarding audiophile fusing I would not assume they just cheap factory fuses marked up to scam unsuspecting audiophiles. I am willing to bet some of these companies have invested time and money to produce a product they believe produces an audible benefit. Unless I have had the chance to compare I will still be skeptical but will try to keep an open mind.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
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  2. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    I've noticed over the years that (this is a generalization but one that is I think true based on most of the audiophile forum reading I've done over the past 20 years) that UK audiophiles tend to not notice as much improvement, if any, from power related tweaks like those of us in North America. Could be for any number of reasons but that is the way it appears to me.

    I have no experience with the audiophile fuses (I've thought about giving them a go but just never got around to it) but did do some experimenting with replacing standard glass fuses with ceramics (either Bussman or Littelfuse) many years ago. Still have them in my line conditioner and used them in a number of pieces of equipment including CD/DVD players and integrated amplifiers.

    I found the ceramics to make a subtle but noticeable difference in a number of pieces but they had the most effect on digital gear in my experience where the sound quality was noticeably improved.

    For anyone wanting to experiment on the cheap, you can simply replace the glass fuse in your CD player or blu-ray player with a ceramic for probably less than $5. If you can hear a difference, then you might want to proceed to the pricier audiophile versions, many of which are ceramic to start off with.
     
  3. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    You are correct about DC fault, and the fuse may not blow. I have been leaving my desk amplifier on 24/7 so maybe I should turn it off. Speaking of, my original Yamaha CD-x2 from the 80's self destructed in an unusual way. I was in the room as I sensed an electrical odor, and there it was, still on with smoke pouring out of its front panel. The fuse never blew. CD players have no high current circuits, so it should be safe to leave them on? I opened it up to find melted/deformed plastic, cause unknown.. I simply threw it out!
     
  4. classicrocker

    classicrocker Life is good!

    Location:
    Worcester, MA, USA
    Are you talking about ceramic body fuses? If that is the case the ceramic fuses are not necessarily better quality but are rated as "high breaking capacity" fuses. While glass Body fuses are low breaking capacity.

    It has to do with the ability to handle high surge currents during a fault. Ceramic fuses are also usually sand filled to minimize shattering when exposed to high fault surge currents.

    Here is an excellent primer on fuse types.

    Difference between ceramic & glass fuses

    Maybe ceramic fuses sound different but not sure they will provide sonic improvements.

    Also you need to make sure any replacement fuse has the same voltage, current and blow characteristics. If the old fuse is rated slowblow the replacement must be slowblow.
     
  5. classicrocker

    classicrocker Life is good!

    Location:
    Worcester, MA, USA
    Like I said maybe I am overcautious from my job experience but I would not leave any electrical component on 24/7.
     
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  6. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    In my experience with refurbishing integrated amps and receivers, simply cleaning the switches and pots makes a very audible difference. The pot or switch may appear to be fully functional, no static noise nor "dead" channels. The weakest link in any audio device more than 5 years old (or so) would be in its switch contacts and any other replaceable component. The cause can be capacitors and resistors drifting out of tolerance, but most often it's the contacts. The ambient air contains pollutants, natural resins from trees, kitchen smoke, carbon based particulates from automobile exhaust. Most homes are located near enough to a major road, and this is a major cause of atmospheric fallout that deposits on everything. Tobacco smoke is the worst. Then we have this wonderful life-giving oxygenated atmosphere, which works its magic on zinc, steel and copper.

    I am always amazed after refurbish on how amazing the device sounds, I just never get over it. I have not improved on anything, but simply restored the device to spec. (I am probably one of very few who has desoldered switches, disassembled, cleaned and micro-polished the contacts... clean and dry as they are meant to be)

    The improvements by changing fuses, and audio cables can be in part, or completely from "disturbing" the patina, or accumulated resins, and re-establishment of a good electrical connection. It may not be the new fuse, but simply a better connection made. The same fuse could be removed and re-installed with the same perceived improvement.

    Therefore I question everything... the improvements can be (sometimes) not really improvements. In many or most cases, we simply restore the device to spec.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
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  7. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident


    Yes, ceramic body fuses. Which replaced glass like for like.

    If you think they might sound different but want to know if they will provide sonic improvements to your ears, and in your system, there's only one way to find out. Spend the $3-$5 and find out. If you hear no improvement, then audiophile fuses may not be for you.

    Not really that difficult to do. That's all I was suggesting. Do it in digital gear first.
     
  8. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    All very true. Simply unplugging and re-seating power and signal cables every 6 months or so will "tune-up" a system. It's a very good idea.
     
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  9. classicrocker

    classicrocker Life is good!

    Location:
    Worcester, MA, USA
    I agree it is a cheap experiment to do.

    I have to respectfully disagree on your last comment. Just because someone does not hear difference between a glass or ceramic bodied fuse does not mean they won't with audiophile fuses.

    Ceramic body fuses were never designed to be better quality than glass bodied fuses. They may cost more to mfg than glass but both are just common fuses.

    Audiophile fuses are supposedly designed to improve sound quality with some magic sauce technology.

    I would not assume a ceramic fuse sounds better than a glass fuse or compared with audiophile fuses.
     
  10. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    That is not what I said at all.

    What I will say again, is simply that if you are curious about improvements that fuses may make but are skeptical and don't want to spend a huge amount of money initially it makes sense to try out the ceramics from Bussman or Littelfuse first.

    Certainly logical to do this as well as most of the audiophile fuses are ceramic bodied fuses.
     
  11. petertakov

    petertakov Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    If I tell you that in theory you should die if you get run over by a road compactor would you try it yourself just to gain direct experience?
     
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  12. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Experience counts! In the case of the road compactor, it doesn't! :eek:
     
  13. petertakov

    petertakov Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Personal experience is highly subjective and only counts for the respective person. What counts universally is knowledge and fact.
     
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  14. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    It's already been pointed out that the country where you live is probably a fundamental factor. In the UK you'll find that that switched sockets shouldn't be used and if you have double sockets you should use the left hand socket, plugs make a difference but a £43 Furutech fuse doesn't.
     
  15. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    I will not comment on Audiophile fuses, as I haven't "heard" any.

    You are absolutely correct, in the UK we now have 13A plugs with various fuse ratings, 3A, 5A, 13A. The fuse is there to protect the circuit and the cable, not the equipment. Previously we had 5A and 15A plugs, without fuses. Some people simply replaced the 13A socket and plugs for 15A ones, giving a bigger contact area and doing away with a fuse in the process.

    A former colleague instead of using a 4/6 way distribution block, hard wired enough mains leads for his active system from a junction box. I once bought a power amp, which came with a 13A MK plug where the fuse had been replaced by 56 strand speaker cable soldered across the fuse terminals.

    I guess I am saying that some obviously believed this was worthwhile, and I remember a number of Hi-Fi dealers using the gold plated Inca Tech 15A outlets.

    Replacing a standard fuse for an "audiophile" one obviously shouldn't pose the same potential risk as no fuse, as it should perform the role of protecting the circuit, so back to if there are sonic gains.....

    I have had my power amp on standby for the last decade, maybe I've been lucky, but never had a problem in 40 plus years with any equipment I've owned, but not bought any equipment with known potential reliability issues. I do know of several amplifiers (including some highly recommended) that have burst into flames, so your approach is sensible.



    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
  16. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Location:
    MI
    Use standard Bussman. I do not believe in $100+ fuses or even a $5 fuse..
     
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  17. Done A Ton

    Done A Ton Birdbrain

    Location:
    Rural Kansas
    Apparently they are less than a fancy sticker on a factory made fuse.

    Here is a quote from Roger Modjeski from the link I posted earlier:

    'The design and manufacturing of fuses is no simple task. The name brands (Bussman and Littlefuse) test and publish extensive time vs overload graphs and breaking capacity (a very misunderstood quality) among other things for their fuses. They also get Safety Ratings from every organization on the planet (UL, CSA, CE, and about 6 others whose symbols are not printable here). Tuning Fuses (and other tweak fuses) have none of these industry approvals, nor do they publish any graphs or specs on breaking capacity. Therefore you have no assurance that they will protect your equipment and in some applications (such as tube fuses) they will damage your equipment.'
     
  18. classicrocker

    classicrocker Life is good!

    Location:
    Worcester, MA, USA
    I did not mean to panic people so let me try again.

    For a well designed product the risk of fire when sitting powered is very very low. If the product has been tested by a safety lab it is even lower as they specifically test for failure conditions that can cause fire and also require safety critical sub components, like fusing, mains connected switches, power cords etc., to have UL, VDE, BSI etc. approval for safety reliability.

    For a well designed product the risk of failure could be 1 in a million but my point is the risk is there do why tempt fate by leaving an amp or similar component powered?

    Again please realize I am a safety engineer and am sensitized to safety risks based on my work experiences so I am very conservative when it comes to eliminating potential risks in my home. And one of the easiest risks to mitigate for me is to power down any electronics when not in use. YMMV
     
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  19. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Location:
    MI
    No protection from standard fuses is non-sense. Fuses have been manufactures since early 1900s.
     
  20. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    No, I'm not panicked and as I said have had my power amp on for over a decade. It is not very accessible, so the standby feature is a bonus. However, I do understand other's approach.

    I guess I go for the approach which says most equipment fails when powering on, or off, so leave them on permanently, for increased reliability!

    I couldn't ever see myself spending money on an audiophile fuse, but if it works for people, brilliant.
     
  21. Ephi82

    Ephi82 Still have two ears working

    Location:
    S FL
    Holy expectation bias Batman!

    I’ve believed in this since an event happened one day as I was mixing a song in my home studio. I was trying to get a vocal to sit better in the mix. I gave the vocal a little more presence by boosting the track eq level at 4khz by a couple of dB. Wow, so much better!

    Then I looked at the board and realized that my eq adjustment was in my head. I failed to punch the little button that engages the eq strip on that channel! ( it has a little glowing red light) Holy Batman!
     
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  22. karmapolice

    karmapolice Forum Resident

    Location:
    los angeles, ca
    I think its interesting that the people posting here who have not tried an audiophile fuse are the ones who mock its potential value the most...

    If it's a hobby to you and money back guarantee why not experiment and see for yourself...after all what is the harm to trying it..

    The Synergistic Blue fuses make an obvious positive difference in my system but YMMV. I think room treatments are far more important as is a dedicated AC line and power conditioning but even with all that the fuse difference was immediate...trick is wait 2 weeks and see if worth it still

    Many people prefer vinyl to digital despite the fact that digital has better lab test scores...

    I get it that stuff costs too much but if you can afford it and if money back guarantee then what are you afraid of trying....

    I have pass monoblocks and pass claims power cords should have little affect on the sound....startling statement to me but I tried it and ugh I disagree....

    Meanwhile REL SUBWOOFER rep says no aftermarket power cord needed and I agree that aftermarket power cord for it didnt have a positive effect in my system
     
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  23. Au Lait

    Au Lait New Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I too run Pass monoblocks and noticed a difference using Master Coupler PCs over the stock cords. Curious, which monoblocks are you using and did you add the REL sub because the amps were not hitting low enough? I assume your REL is powered? I am considering adding a sub.
     
  24. tomd

    tomd Senior Member

    Location:
    Brighton,Colorado
    There’s nothing to “fall for”.Fuses by themselves are the weak link of the power supply.Different materials inside the fuse may change the sound but making the fuse transmit current better through it is more important.There are fuses out there that do reduce noise in the circuit.Alan Maher has fuses that reduce noise in the circuit by 50,85, and 100 dB.
     
  25. Swann36

    Swann36 A widower finding solace in music

    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    Hi there Pastafarian.... i'm in the UK too and want to know more about this "use the left hand socket only, in a double socket" as i'm wondering why ? .... hope you're still on here
     

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