Furutech Power Connectors Compared part 2 – FI-25 & FI-E35 Gold & Rhodium – Mini Review
Finding out to what extent connectors are responsible for a power cable’s sound
This review is a follow up of the IeGO Gold and Furutech Rhodium connector comparison.
In this review I’ll compare two Furutech Alpha 3 powercables, but with different connectors:
-Furutech Fl-25/Fl-E35 Gold IEC and Schuko connectors
-Furutech Fl-25/Fl-E35 Rhodium IEC and Schuko connectors
Furutech Alpha 3 with Furutech Fl-E35/Fl-25 Gold connectors
From the first musical notes I definitely liked this cable. It is at once refined and articulate, smooth, dynamic and lively. Very special indeed. In fact, it offers some similarities with another cable that I like a lot: Harmonic Technology ACII in the later version of this cable, with Furutech connectors, although the HT does not sound quite as dynamic and powerful as the Alpha 3. This begs for further investigation but at this stage I haven’t compared them side to side yet. Overall, the Alpha 3 is quite neutral, neither warm nor analytical, but with connectors that are smooth sounding themselves it can err ever so slightly to the relaxed and smooth side, which is fine for me because I’m a smooooth kind of guy, but for some tastes and some setups, one might feel that attack is slightly diminished compared to some other cables. For me however, the Alpha 3, with Gold plated Fl-E35/Fl-25 connectors, is the perfect cable and already one of my favorites.
Furutech Alpha 3 with Furutech Fl-E35/Fl-25 Rhodium connectors
Okay, now here we have the exact same cable, with the same brand connectors, albeit slightly different types: instead of a gold plating there’s now a rhodium plating. Details details you say? Think again! This cable sounds very, very different from the Gold plated version. Well, there’s a family resemblance in that both cables are refined yet articulate and both smooth and differentiated, but the Rhodium version seems to be layered much more finely. It’s like it has massively higher resolution, better focus and as a cherry on top it also has smoother, more fluid treble. All praise then? Sadly no, the Rhodium version also sounds a more measured, more technical if you will, even though it is absolutely not harsh or shouty/forward, or grainy, quite the opposite, it is ever so smooth and refined. But emotion seems to be lacking somewhat, there’s less character and colour and most importantly, dynamics seem less vivid. That’s the worst part of this cable, that music just doesn’t seem alive. Listening more closely, the highest treble is a little less open than with the Gold Plated version, which has less articulate lower treble, but more upper air. At this stage I’d like to indicate that both cables were bought new at the same time and have been given the same amount of playing time. Also, these results are consistent in multiple setups.
Interpreting the results
These results point ever stronger in the direction of connectors potentially being an even larger deciding factor than the cable itself. But before I can fully support this statement, there’s rather more testing to be done.
Update June 2016: From comparisons between Alpha 3 and its successor FP-TCS31 in perspective it is now clear that the Alpha 3 cable itself sounds a bit cool and dry, consequently explaining why it makes a less stellar match with the Rhodium connector versions.