Yes, of all the tweaks I’ve tried, audio fuses have yielded the Biggest Bang For The Buck (BFTB). Think about the $1,000+ power cable you just purchased. All that pristine power is now going through your ordinary fuse, which is now the new bottleneck. An Audio-grade fuse is probably the least expensive tweak you can find that, provided the rest of your system is dialed in, can noticeably improve your sound.
There are two types of audio fuses, Slow-blow and Fast-blow, so you should be sure to check with your manufacturer about which is the correct one to use with your component.
- Slow-blow fuses are the most common. They’re more durable and able to take a spike of energy.
- Fast-blow fuses blow faster, so they offer more protection for delicate electronic components.
You don’t want to use a fast-blow fuse in a slow-blow circuit, because you’ll have to replace the fuse more frequently and you don’t want to use a slow-blow fuse in a fast-blow circuit, because it has a lower level of protection and you may damage or excessively wear the circuit.
Audio fuses come in 2 sizes, the 20mm (European, mini), used by most of today’s components and the 32mm (American), which is often found in older gear. Audio fuses are often directional…they have an arrow on the fuse that points in the direction of the current. You could ask your manufacturer which direction the current flows, but you can also just listen to it installed both ways; the wrong direction will sound out of phase. However, it’s not uncommon for an audiophile to be listening with the fuse in the wrong direction, without knowing.
The brands of audio-grade fuses that I’ve used so far include Furutech, HiFi Tuning and Synergy HiFi. I like the Furutech’s sound but they’re rather expensive. The HiFi Tuning are about half the price of the Furutech, but I was absolutely disappointed in their performance; it made the treble much sharper and even reduced the sound stage in our reference system and had a similar effect on another system on which I tried them. Currently I’m using the Synergy HiFi and Jaguar sells these as well. The Synergy fuse employs the same nano materials and sound just like their tubes…brilliant. The amazing thing about these fuses is how even they are throughout the frequency range and the level of resolution and harmonic detail they generate.
The Synergy beat the others in sound and for the lowest price, so they’re our current reference. Regardless of which brand you choose, don’t be surprised if you find yourself agreeing that this was indeed your Biggest BFTB.
Caution: never bypass a fuse on your components. They’re there to prevent damaging the unit, giving you a severe shock or burning down your house.