Thursday, June 30, 2016

Little Things That Make A Big Difference: AudioMagic SHD Fuses

I received an email the other day from Jerry Ramsey of AudioMagic. He had come up with another idea for a fuse. This time incorporating not only beeswax internally (which dampens vibrations) but also incorporating his Super Blackout liquid that blocks RFI. He dubbed it The AudioMagic SHD Fuse. The theory being the fuse "wire" acts like a small antenna, picking up noise which masks subtle musical cues. The wire also vibrates, these vibrations can affect the sonic signature of the component. Usually making the high frequencies slightly less transparent. A stock fuse is exposed to these sonically detrimental factors. And why would a fuse maker care? They make fuses for autos, computers, and a multitude of non audio electronics where such damping and RFI blocking simply don't affect the performance to a degree where it is worthwhile for them to address.

Jerry had sent me 3 fuses upon my request. One for my Aqua La Scala (which already had one of the previous version beeswax fuses inside), and two for my Acoustic Imagery Atsah 500 amplifiers which had stock fuses in them.

Old vs. New Beeswax

First the La Scala. The difference between the old and new version of Premium Super Fuse was not subtle and took about 2 seconds to hear. MUCH more low level information was pouring through, and the clarity/transparency of the high frequencies was greatly improved. This was comparing to an already fantastic AudioMagic fuse inside an already amazing sounding Aqua La Scala DAC.

SHD vs. Stock Fuse

The Atsah 500's fuse upgrade produced much smoother high frequencies, again with quite a bit more low level information coming through. More air and space was evident, speed and dynamics seemed to have gotten a boost as well.

Overall, the $525 spent on 3 fuses sounded like a major component upgrade. I had more clarity in the highs, a more liquid sound, with a wider and deeper soundstage. Granted the system is already pretty tweaked out and noise floor is already quite low, but adding these three fuses made me realize there is still more music locked up in the recordings, and the fuses helped release it.  I highly recommend the AudioMagic SHD fuses. In fact, if you buy an AudioMagic SHD Fuse from Tweek Geek and you feel it doesn't give you more than a $175 performance upgrade, I will give you your money back.

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