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"The two step-up Furutech plug options offer additional build quality and a better wall/component socket fit as well as different sonic characteristics. Both Furutech FI-11-N1 models use pure copper pins and contact points and with their new N1 series improved gold or rhodium plating. This is where the sonic differences come into play. Gold offers a warmer more burnished perspective whilst rhodium gives your sound a more open airy detailed tilt. The two optional plugs give you the ability to tailor your system’s sound. This kind of 'tweaking by design' gives the listener a unique opportunity to shape a system’s presentation and character to either suit personal preferences or to balance out synergy."

That aroused my inner skeptic and piqued my curiosity. Living with the company’s SE product had already convinced me that there were extreme quantitative improvements to be had by upgrading to a better power cord. No problem. The differences were obvious. But different flavors of power cable? That went beyond simple incremental increases in control, power and detail and headed into the territory of qualitative changes. It was time to see if Mr. Fritz was offering a group of legitimately targeted solutions or simply indulged in a bit of marketing snake oil. Out went the e-mail.

Q: Hello Mr. Fritz. About those other two Classic power cables….. how would you explain the assertion that a power cable can possess a unique sonic character?
A: The explanation that serves most hobbyists here I believe is that different metals used in signal carrying cables, power cables, connector parts and even solder can and do alter the sonic characteristics of a finished cable product and how it will most likely interact with a system’s synergy. Whether this makes logical sense or whether any differences can be measured or not is immaterial. The differences exist and are consistent from system to system. Some component types also can demonstrate more dramatic improvements than others. This can be helpful to someone who’s just getting into power cords, has a budget, is skeptical or otherwise wants to try just one cord and have good results. I’m always happy to throw in an opinion if a customer wants a suggestion to get started.

Q: And how could the choice of conductor materials and plating change that character?
A: In a nutshell, copper and gold produce a slightly more warm, burnished, rich and full-bodied sound. Silver and Rhodium are slightly more open, transparent, detailed and energetic. Your choice here isn't going to completely change the performance of your system of course. Rather it simply 'tilts' the overall perspectives one way or the other. This can provide a very effective solution to tailoring the performance of a system, to meet with personal preferences, to alter less desirable system attributes or expand desirable tendencies. It’s important to keep in mind that copper or gold do not necessarily sound muted or dark nor do silver or rhodium sound bright or fatiguing. Brass parts provide more economical solutions and are good conductor materials. I won’t go into any downside of brass here as I think you may have hit on a few good points in your assessments of our power 1 Classic with Wattgate’s entry-level plugs vs. the power 1SE in your previous review already.

Q: Would those attributes be repeatable with different core cables or would the results not be predictable?
A: Predictable? Absolutely, but cable gauge, dielectric materials, shielding and other factors play a part as well. For example, our new Statement power cable is both an alternate flavor and a universal step up. With the former said, it may not be a universally beneficial choice with some components or in some specific system synergies. Another conversation for another article perhaps?

Then Mr. Fritz challenged my continued skepticism. "Would you like me to send you the two other Classic power cables for review?" So two new Audio Art Cables Classic power cords arrived, making for a total of four variations in my crib all based on the same core conductors. Four varieties of connectors, one pair of Wattgates, three different Furutechs. Here was a test bed to explore the concept as well as assess the two new Furutech FI-11-N1-based cords. We had the power. Would we have the flava though?

To keep methodology consistent, the two new cords were put in rotation through different components one at a time to build and maintain reference points throughout. Our Classic power pair saw duty through two speaker reviews, the Capriccio Continuo Auralea 309 and Casta Model C, two different loudspeakers with very different personalities. First up was the Rhodium FI-11-N1-R followed by the FI-11-N1 G gold-plated variation. Both were given suitable break-in on the CD player and made the rounds through DAC and amplifier from there. Performance character remained relatively consistent regardless of component and changes during break-in amounted to a decrease in intensity of those exhibited after initial insertion.