Al­pha in­sight

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING - By SUJESH PAVITHRAN

LIFE used to be sim­pler when we didn’t ob­sess over ca­bles, in­ter­con­nects and power cords. These days, once you’ve dipped your toes in this ocean, it’s a morass – hard to get out of and over­whelm­ing!

What works well in one sys­tem may not else­where. And while men of sci­ence in­sist all that mat­ters is that the cable or in­ter­con­nect is well de­signed, oth­ers treat wires as tone­shap­ing de­vices. In the crazy and pas­sion­ate world of hi-fi, there is room for ev­ery­thing, es­pe­cially snake oil.

Per­son­ally, I’ve some­times strug­gled to make sense of price tags at­tached to wires I’ve re­viewed. Some would opine that the more you spend on wires, the bet­ter. I would ad­vise to stay within the con­text of one’s sys­tem. Be sen­si­ble!

My ex­pe­ri­ence with Fu­rutech – its power cords, specif­i­cally – has been a happy one so far. My monobloc amps, preamp and source all use Fu­rutech power cords. Thus, when the chance came to try out some Fu­rutech in­ter­con­nects, I didn’t hes­i­tate, and ended up with the Al­pha Line-plus, a one-me­tre RCA pair.

Like other Fu­rutech wires, all me­tal parts and con­duc­tors have gone through a “twostage Al­pha su­per cryo­genic and de­mag­netis­ing treat­ment.” This be­gins with a deep, con­di­tion­ing cryo­genic freeze of all me­tal parts, in­clud­ing con­duc­tors and con­nec­tors. The sec­ond stage ex­poses the parts to patented “Ring De­mag­ne­ti­za­tion” treat­ment. These keep all con­nec­tors, con­duc­tors, and me­tal parts in a per­fect stress-free and sta­ble con­di­tion, im­prov­ing elec­tri­cal con­duc­tiv­ity and hence, power and sig­nal trans­fer.

The Al­pha Line-plus uses OCC con­duc­tor strands, each 1.14mm in di­am­e­ter. The in­su­la­tor is high-den­sity polyethe­lyne foam with cot­ton fillers that are twisted to­gether. The jacket is PVC. From the looks of it, a well-con­structed and pre­sented pair of in­ter­con­nects.

When I ini­tially plugged in the Al­pha Line- Plus in­ter­con­nects be­tween my Linn Ma­jik DS and Odyssey Tem­pest SE preamp, I was not too im­pressed – no big drama. Sure, they didn’t get in the way, but seemed lack­ing in sparkle. Af­ter let­ting them play for a cou­ple of months, I re­turned to re-as­sess my ini­tial ob­ser­va­tion and be­gan to hear what they did - or didn’t – do.

The gen­eral im­pres­sion that they didn’t get in the way was right – tonally, they’re well bal­anced and never ac­cen­tu­ated any par­tic­u­lar area. This was in com­par­i­son to a pair of Rega Cou­ple in­ter­con­nects – a purely sen­si­ble and prac­ti­cal pair of wires.

The Al­pha gave a deeper per­spec­tive of the mu­sic, ac­com­pa­nied by some weight in pre­sen­ta­tion. It also seemed to have a bit more ex­ten­sion at the top, with a well-rounded and tight bass at the other end.

The Linn’s two pairs of ana­logue out­puts meant I was able to do quick A-BS be­tween the in­ter­con­nects – time and again, I felt the Cou­ple more than suf­ficed, but for the price of a bit more, one could en­joy a more in­sight­ful seat in the house, as the Al­pha Line-plus let me hear more de­tail in the bet­ter fleshe­d­out midrange and tre­ble, along with keener in­stru­men­tal tim­bres.

Mind you, if your sys­tem leans to­wards be­ing a shade bright or dark, these in­ter­con­nects aren’t go­ing to hide the fact, and you may end up up­grad­ing other com­po­nents to at­tain a bet­ter bal­ance – which is how good wires should be, pre­sent­ing the sig­nal as it is and never ad­di­tive.

If you’re not one to get too car­ried away with wires, have a de­cent sys­tem and want to up­grade from the ba­sic wires, the Fu­rutech Al­pha Line-plus is a good bet to let you peek deeper into the mys­ter­ies of the mix.

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