Last night I replaced the 1A 250V fuse in my Odyssey Candela linestage with a Synergistic Research fuse of the same rating. I had read some good things about this fuse including direct comparisons with the Hi Fi tuning fuse, Furutech and Isoclean fuses. It’s a bit more expensive than the others at $59.95 a pop, but since I only needed one I decided to spring for it.
I’ve never used anything but the inexpensive fuses that manufacturers typically install, so I approached this with a bit of skepticism. However, it makes sense to me that if something as small as a fuse is made from better materials with better preconditioning it could have a positive effect on sound quality.
After the swap I powered up everything and let it warm up for an hour, no music. Then I put on Bonnie Raitt “Silver Lining”. This album is around 10-12 years old, but a good recording with layers of instruments, a great bass player and solid drummer. And of course there’s Bonnie’s vocals, which I’ve come to appreciate in the last couple of years.
While I was in the kitchen pouring a glass of wine (open space between kitchen and LR) I wasn’t quite sure if I heard any changes, positive or negative. The overall sound seemed to have more weight, but wasn’t sure if it was placebo. I sat down on the couch in the prime listening spot and began to listen intently.
As the music continued I realized that it did indeed have more slam, but also more detail, smoother, perhaps slightly better tone. Soft instruments in the background became easier to hear, not louder but more distinct. Busy passages became a little clearer in terms of being able to hear tone: of individual instruments, of individual vocals in the harmony parts, of the several guitars playing at once, and of the organ playing swells and arpegios to fill out the background.
The soundstage became more holographic, with more SDA effect. The width increased by maybe a foot, the front to back depth by 4-5 feet. Instruments could still be heard in their respective places in the soundstage, but there was more natural decay from them. They could be localized but I still heard a kind of secondary tone similar to what I hear when in a recording studio or live performance. This quality was present before, but the fuse swap enhanced it.
Something else I noticed is the volume was louder with the volume knob at the same setting as before. My guess is the fuse is passing more of the signal.
To sum up, the SR fuse in my system had the effect of a good cable upgrade, perhaps going from good IC’s to really good/great ones. This is one of the best tweaks I’ve tried and for me a no brainer if I think of the improvement it brings instead of “$60 for a fuse !#@$%?" It begs the question: should I replace the four fuses in my Stratos with these. It’s a bit of coin so I’m thinking on that one, wondering if it would have a similar effect. If so, it would easily be worth it.
I bought mine from Parts Connexion. For more info here is the manufacturer's website:
Standard disclaimer: I'm a satisfied customer only with no financial interest in this product or company.