Furutech NCF Clear Line AC conditioner

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Sam, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. Sam

    Sam Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Well I'll be darned! I read the below review (see link) and decided to give this a shot.

    Furutech NCF Clear Line AC Power Line Optimizer Review A skeptic gets his comeuppance. Review By Paul Schumann

    For $250, it didn't break the bank, unlike some of the other high priced power products. I do have a dedicated 20 amp line right to my main power box and a FIN outlet. My amp is plugged directly into the wall and my equipment goes to a fairly inexpensive power strip from Furmen, a PST-8.

    This device is a passive unit that simply plugs into a spare outlet on the strip. Easy as can be and even easier to pull it out for A/B comparisons.

    Does it work? LOL. Yes it does. Not only with audio, but with my video picture as well. Go figure. Going back and forth with it in and out, one can hear the differences. With it in (after a 24 hour break in), the soundstage gets deeper. Everyone seems to move back, and the ambiance cues are fleshed out with greater detail. Musical passages or voices that were somewhat forward and hard and now just as dynamic, but opened up on larger stage. Playing the same passage with the NCF out of the system collapses the soundstage to a somewhat flatter dimension. This was evident on my UK Abbey Road, MFSL Muddy Waters, and other darn good recordings.

    And as I mentioned, something was going on with my TV as well. My TV is older, and lately I've been noticing some "pixilation" on the screen. It's hard to describe, but it was there. Now, with this device plugged into my power strip, the pixilation went away after a brief warmup of the TV set. I haven't seen the picture this nice in quite a while. Wow, some visual evidence as well.

    All I can say is that for $250, this device is staying put in my system. As I said, it's so easy to do a comparison for yourself. Maybe someone who has already invested big bucks in AC conditioning won't hear a thing. But with my basic power strip, IT DID make a difference, and I just want to share that with you.
     
    Hanks3, Rich-n-Roll, WillD and 4 others like this.
  2. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so

    I've been using one for amonth or so, plugged into the same outlet as my PS Audio P15. It gets better after about a week of "use." I like the tightening of focus it brings and the touch of perceived dynamic contrast.
     
    jfeldt, Rich-n-Roll, LivLif and 2 others like this.
  3. Audiofan1

    Audiofan1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    States
    I plan on adding one soon as I have an NFC outlet I put in a few months back and just can't believe the transparency it brought to my system, took months to burn in be warned the reports are true on the time frame.
     
  4. motorstereo

    motorstereo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ct.
    Glad to hear it made a difference as I'm a fan of Furutech gear to. I have 3 of these in my system and yes they do make a measurable difference. Pricey but the good stuff usually does cost more.
    [​IMG]
     
    jonwoody likes this.
  5. toasty

    toasty Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tiverton, RI USA
    I'd like to compare it to the Nordost QV2 and QK1 that I already have. Much as I love Nordost, my experience with Furutech has also been completely positive.
     
  6. Sam

    Sam Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    I continue to be shocked and amazed at what this little $250 plug in device is doing for my system. Just jaw dropping. I played my original gold label pressing of the Doors first lp last night. I played it louder than usual and was absolutely dumbfounded at the ease, clarity and soundstage depth I was hearing. I have NEVER heard that album sound this good before. Never! No harshness, especially during "Light my Fire." I then proceeded to put on my One Step pressing of Mingus Ah Um. JESUS! I'm going to need surgery to remove the smile from my face. Are you kidding me? For $250? Guys (and Gals), I have no bias in this other than buying the product. I don't know the owner or profit from this review in any way. I'm shocked I'm not hearing more about this product in the audio industry. Wow.
     
    jfeldt, Hanks3 and jonwoody like this.
  7. Sam

    Sam Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    You are correct sir about burn in time. Now, after weeks in my system, plugging and unplugging it brings a clear and noticeable change that anyone could hear. The sound stage becomes so flat without it in. Demonstrably time after time.
     
    Audiofan1 likes this.
  8. returnstackerror

    returnstackerror Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Area 51
    "I played my original gold label pressing of the Doors first lp last night. I played it louder than usual and was absolutely dumbfounded at the ease, clarity and soundstage depth I was hearing. I have NEVER heard that album sound this good before. "


    Not to rain on your parade but maybe playing this album louder than usual is the root cause of it sounding better and not the device?

    I could make comments about measuring the power for distortion levels etc with and without the device in place but I do recognize that for many, the cost of such a device doesnt warrant it but it is potentially possible to rent these from specialists. All in the name of science, of course.

    And no I am not a sceptic as such, just would be interesting to align the subjective with the objective.

    Peter
     
    Frost, vwestlife, JediJoker and 3 others like this.
  9. ayrehead

    ayrehead It was like that when I found it...

    Location:
    Mid South
    :cop:
     
    macster and siebrand like this.
  10. returnstackerror

    returnstackerror Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Area 51
    :hugs:


    This is the first time I have used these emoji things... so you should feel honoured.
     
    GerryO likes this.
  11. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Eternal Champion, Master of the Universe

    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    Is using one of these still a good idea if you have a power strip that claims to include mains filtering, and linear power supplies that contain filtering? I am just wondering if having lots of things simultaneously doing filtering is a good idea ?
     
  12. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit

    Surfing the web, trying to research this product (or, heaven forbid trying to purchase it), provides one with a tour of some of the most dodgy-looking 90's-vintage websites I've seen in forever. (Furutech's website notwithstanding.)
     
    Arliss Renwick, cendres and Agitater like this.
  13. WillD

    WillD Active Member

    Location:
    NYC
    Interesting, will take a look and potentially listen.

    Somewhat relatedly, I'm using a couple of Triode Wire Labs' Obsession PCs, which use the fancy Furutech connectors. The other day I was wondering whether those were overkill, maybe I should sell them and free up cash for other things...I replaced the PC on my amp with a different brand-name PC. I lasted half an hour before I lost patience and had to put the Furutech-finished PC back in...
     
  14. Sam

    Sam Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    I'm aware that sometimes "louder" can equate to "better." In this situation, with this recording of the Doors first lp, that's not the case. Go louder with that record on a lesser system and you'll be covering your ears. And since I've made that post, I can unequivocally state that the differences are clear and pronounced with the Furutech in or out of the system with any source material at any volume. I'm as shocked to be saying that as I'm sure you are to read it. But it is what I'm experiencing on each and ever comparison.
     
    jonwoody likes this.
  15. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    Agreed. Another effect as noted in the linked review is that it has is a kind of clarifying, where leading edge transients are more apparent.

    JohnK
     
  16. Jim0830

    Jim0830 Forum Resident

    Thanks to the OP for bring this to our attention. I will admit to rolling my eyes a bit at first, mostly out of old habits. Recently as my system has gotten better, I have found I am hearing more subtle differences. I don't dismiss thing out of hand quite much. I just replaced my speakers with the Sonner Audio Legacy Duo's which are highly resolving and cost 4X the cost of my last speakers. At $250 the Furutech seems like amazingly short money for the type of improvement being described.

    With my BS meter initially set to full sensitivity, I followed the link posted here. I also read other reviews from websites I trust as much as I do any review web sites. They were all consistent in their praise. Lastly I watched some YouTube videos and I did indeed hear the differences in the systems being used to demonstrate the product. Whether or not I will hear it in my own system, through my speakers, in my listening room, remains to be seen. It sure doesn't seem like it will be hard.

    I am happy to say my unit shipped from the midwest last night and I expect to be testing it for myself early next week.
     
  17. Sam

    Sam Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Have you received it yet? Remember, it does take a week to break in fully.
     
  18. Sam

    Sam Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
  19. Jim0830

    Jim0830 Forum Resident

    I have been away, I will find out in a week when I get back home
     
  20. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Eternal Champion, Master of the Universe

    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    I have one on order and can report back what effect it has on my relatively modest $15k hi fi rig that centres around Cyrus amplification, Dali speakers and digital front end from Innuos
     
    sound chaser likes this.
  21. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Eternal Champion, Master of the Universe

    Location:
    Surrey, UK
  22. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Eternal Champion, Master of the Universe

    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    Mine is due for delivery today so I will post some thoughts in due course
     
  23. mcbrion

    mcbrion Forum Resident

    Location:
    Connecticut
    This is like Furutech's "response" to the Nordost QV2, which looks exactly like this (and which I owned two of, until a few years ago). The Nordost were, as I recall, $350 (they like their high prices), so this should certainly be welcome. I wish I still had the QV2, so I could buy the Furutech and compare them.

    My overall experience with Furutech is that the sonics lean towards the slightly "whitish" side, sonically. I still have the NCF wall outlets in two places in my music room. Perhaps that one minor flaw has been ameliorated, as most of my listening is to classical, jazz and older r&b, opera and a few other genres, mostly records made before 1980, when things started going digital, and people didn't notice that a trumpet didn't sound as "golden" on digital as it did on analogue.

    The first generation Furutech wall outlets came in "Gold" and "Rhodium," and the Gold unit had more of the colors of the orchestra, while the Rhodium was more "whitish," although that did not detract from its other considerable merits. The "Gold," however, sounded just a bit "soft" especially on transients, and the pace of music (or else it was my system, but I don't think that it was!)

    With the Rhodrium wall outlet, I just wished the sonics were more consonant with the symphonic concert hall colors. It was a bit like Audio Research hybrid electronics: transparents as you'd ever want, but didn't quite sound as close to music as it should have. A violin, for example, was "washed out" tonally and sounded rather too generic.

    I'd enjoy hearing people's experiences, especially if they've listened to classical, older rock, or jazz (anything recorded in the 50s/60s/70s) to see if the "colors" are all there compared to not having the unit in the wall. I think the unit will make modern (mostly non-acoustic instrument) music sound "cleaner" and "clearer," but it's my opinion/experience that only acoustic instruments show the full "colorfulness" of music, mostly because they have an analogue in the real world.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2021
    jfeldt, Salectric, jgrillo and 2 others like this.
  24. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    Interesting point about “whitish” sound, as in my experience and experimenting it was possible to have too many of the NCFs in the circuit, giving a sound much like you describe.

    JohnK
     
    jfeldt likes this.
  25. mcbrion

    mcbrion Forum Resident

    Location:
    Connecticut

    I think Furutech (and maybe this was the first generation) put out both Gold and Rhodium wall outlets because they realized the differences were easily heard. (Harry Pearson heard it very easily and he chose the Gold). I had both (Gold and Rhodium, but I got the Gold first and listened to it for a while. The Gold had more color - more consonant with the concert hall experience, but as I said, sounded slightly sluggish. The Rhodium's sound didn't immediately register with me as "whitish" because I also bought an integrated amp around the same time that was, in and of itself, slightly "whitish" sounding (it was an NAD C456BEE), and compared to the 326BEE, it was clearly more neutral, but that neutrality "bleached" the colors of the orchestra, although it was superior to the 326 in other ways). But if one wanted tonal colors, the way I hear it in the symphony hall, the 326 was the winner. I couldn't imagine why they'd do that, but even designers make mistakes - and not all designers are intimately acquainted with the sound of acoustic instruments either IN a concert hall or even outside the concert hall. Which is to say, some designers could no more identify the sound of a cello as differentiated from a viola as they could differentiate a squirrel from a chipmunk.
    I had also put Furutech IEC outlets on my ASL Hurricanes (don't ask me why: I suppose I thought they would be an improvement) and the amp sounded SO different, I was dismayed with it. It lost its colorfulness and quite a bit of low-level detail. I wondered if it was my technician who screwed up, but then I thought, 'Naw, it's just an IEC outlet. How much could he have screwed up?" But my "take" on Furutech (at least back then) is that it - like Nordost - "bleaches" out the sound a little bit. (And Nordost definitely does that: I've had every interconnect and power cord since 2001 and compared to say, MIT or Transparent, Nordost is clearly less "rich" sounding. And that is not a euphonic coloration, either. It's just part of Nordost's "sound." Furutech resembles Nordost just a bit in that respect.
     

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