The audiophile world is one of the most innovative and creative worlds that I have had the opportunity to explore. Reviewing the Furutech Evolution cable is no different. There is always something new to learn, experience, evaluate and most of the time enjoy. In my opinion, reviewing cables of various types such as the Furutech represents one of the most fascinating and rewarding opportunities because while often the changes they make within a system are subtle, they can greatly enhance or something degrade the ultimate enjoyment of the equipment a person owns.
So, when Steven R. Rochlin, Editor of Enjoy the Music.com, asked me if I was interested in reviewing cables from Furutech represented by Jonathan Scull of Scull Communications in the United States I jumped at the chance. The truth be told, had always respected Jonathan as a reviewer during the days when I was in the market to purchase equipment to buy new things for my system. Always felt that his reviews were both extremely well written and very informational and they guided me to products I was almost always thrilled to possess.
I spoke with Jonathan about the Furutech cables and the Evolution series of cables that he was proposing for review. The Evolution series according to Jonathan was less money than their Reference series, but nearly all of the performance. I couldn't wait to see what sort of performance he was talking about during our conversation.
Before going much further, let me give you a little background about Furutech, for those that are interested. Furutech is a Japanese company that has been around since 1988. They have development many innovative manufacturing processes that resulted in their ability to manufacture products that allow for a significant decrease in levels of distortion and noise. Although they have been manufacturing A/V cables for many years, you might perhaps know them best for their power connectors because there have been a great deal of ads for them recently in many publications.
We had decided during our conversation that the best way to determine what the Furutech cables would do within my system was to replace all the cables in my reference system with the Furutech ones. This meant that when the day came that the cables arrived on my doorstep, I had to essentially rewire my system to integrate them into my existing setup. It also meant that I was reviewing their Evolution series, which consisted for the sake of this review of the Evolution Audio interconnect, in both balanced and unbalanced configuration, the Evolution Power cable, and the Evolution Digi, an unbalanced digital cable. Although this review was of their Evolution series, the speaker cable used was their Speaker Reference III, rather than the Evolution speaker cable because it mated better to my system.
In order to make this a more interesting review, I utilized my dedicated two-channel reference system that consisted of an Audio Research preamplifier, Krell monoblock amplifiers, McIntosh MS300 music server (reviewed here), a Theta D/A converter, Pioneer universal player and a pair of older Wilson Watt Puppies. I have often found that this system is more difficult to control, so I tend to reserve it for reviews where I am not only looking for the quality of reproduction in terms of musicality, but in terms of overall system control as well.
Easy To Use
Once the break-in period was over, I sat down for my first of many listening sessions with the newly renovated system. My first overall impression was one of control. While the system has often times proven to be almost too much for many cables to handle, the Furutech seemed at home. It was as though I could feel that there was something holding the music firmly within its grasp and allowing the system to reproduce more effectively the intensity, fabric and overall visceral impact that one might expect in a live environment.
Easy To Listen To
I did find that there was a small loss of extension in the upper treble region in comparison to more forward sounding cables. According to Furutech, their Pure Transmission Technology quiets the soundstage allowing lower-level information through creating more natural sounding high frequencies. The music was extremely lifelike and palpable without being overly dominate or forward sounding. On particularly quiet passages, I found that the noise floor was lowered and I was able to hear a rich harmony of musical instruments that did not overwhelm the passage with excess noise or distortion.
After listening to this passage a few times, I switched to the SACD version of the same selection. As expected, the music was more full-bodied and even more life-like. The loss that I noted on the CD version was, however, more apparent even though the lower treble on downward tended to offset this issue. Once again I found that the cables had the ability to make sense of the musical information and render it both enjoyable and appealing, even when I listened to it for extended periods of time.
Remaining with that same genre, I moved to another favorite recording of mine, once again on the Telarc label, Erich Kunzel leading the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra on an album entitled Russian Nights. This album has several high-energy passages that definitely can put even the most musically astute system to task. While I did listen to the entire album, one selection did stand out in my mind, Tchaikovsky's "Russian Dance (Trepat)" from The Nutcracker.
While the passage tends to be extremely easy to reproduce on many systems, unfortunately the majesty of it tends to be lost by many different problems. On my particular system this tends to happen once again from a loss of control over the speakers. The ultimate result is a somewhat muddy reproduction that sounds like somewhat laid back mess of music wanting to be blended together, but somehow not quite doing just that.
Luckily with the Evolution series cables this was not the result. In fact, I found that the music blending nearly flawlessly. While I could tell there was a slight loss of overall sound quality that only the most costly cables have ever been able to reproduce, the result was nearly its equal. There was a nearly holographic quality to the soundstage that drew me into its folds without overpowering my senses.
The Evolution series cables were absolutely up to the challenge. They once again tamed the system in such a way as to reveal nearly all the might of the song without allowing it to overpower me and make everything less enjoyable. The soundstage was slightly laid back but only enough that I found myself being captivated my its presence. I could heard and feel the transitions of both the vocal and instrumental parts without either consuming the entirety of the experience.
On a second jazz recording, Tierney Sutton's I'm with the Band, I found even more subtle sounds that until I put the Evolution series cables into my system I had either not heard or simply overlooked. In particular I found that her rendition of Blue Skies highlighted my system's ability to convey the transients within the music. There are times that I tend to overlook this aspect of jazz recordings, but in this case, I found myself drawn to them and enjoying them as never before.
My final selection of musical genre was rock. I have one album in particular that I am extremely fond of when doing reviews, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. In the beginning of the album, I love to see what a system can do with the seemingly subsonic bass that eventually metamorphoses itself into the sound of a beating heart. So many times I have found that a system's control over the difficult lower bass causes the sound to become nearly unintelligible until it is nearly the end of the passage and the sound of a beating heart is so real that you would almost have to be dead not to know what it was.
Once again I was astounded by the control that the Evolution series was able to maintain on my overall system. The beating heart sound manifested itself much quicker than even my reference cables tend to allow. Almost before I knew that the heart sound was all around me, it was felt. As the passage continued I found that instead of the heart sound just becoming louder and more apparent, it became more full-bodied and rich in texture.
I realize that I have not mentioned any cable in particular, but have rather chosen to write this review as a complete Furutech Evolution series "experience." However, there is one cable that I would be remiss if I did not mention separately. This is the Evolution Digi cable. While it performed wonderfully within the system construct on its own accord, it also did so by itself. You see, there is a soft spot in my soul for digital cables. I think this is perhaps from back in the day when nearly everyone thought that all digital cables were pretty much the same. After all, thought most people, the information is digital and so how much power could a cable have to alter the signal in such a way that it would impact the end result. Those days pretty much over, but there exists those that still feel the same.
The Evolution Digi cable, as one might expect from a company that is dedicated to the betterment of all types of signals and currents is a standout for me. I can honestly say that all digital cables are not created equally and their ability to once again control and accurately pass signal is paramount to their success. In the case of this particular cable it did so in such a way that I found with it in my home theater system, I was able to hear parts of movies in surround sound that I never knew were there.
Easy To Choose
I would wholeheartedly recommend these cables to someone looking for more from their present system.
Price: RCA is $290 (1 meter), XLR/$350 (for 1.2 meter)
Evolution Audio Interconnect
Type: Hyper-Balanced Interconnect
Construction and Materials
Price: RCA/$490 per pair, XLR $560 per pair (1 meter length)
Evolution Speaker Cable
Electrical Properties of Cable:
Price: Evolution-04 $450 (2 meter length), Evolution-06 $585 (3 meter length)
Evolution Power Cable
Type: 2-pole + earth Rating: 15A/125V, 10A/250V or 13A/250V AC)
Specifications: Construction and Materials
Price: $500 (1.8 meter length)