The game of reviewing all kinds of audio gear, as almost all kinds of human doings, has its brighter and darker aspects. The downsides are for example the aftermath of dragging tenths or hundreds of kilograms, spine problems are almost a professional illness, but this is not the time and space for whining, as it is much better to concentrate on the brighter side of things. And there are many more positive than negative aspects, and this is the main reason we do what we do. Besides the obvious ability to listen to lots of devices and accessories, which are often beyond our reach, there are also moments when we become beta-testers. Having a big, and exponentially growing, number of references from a really wide price spectrum, we can say something about a product, that is to appear on the market, how it fits into the expectations and how it really performs. Here we touch upon a delicate sphere of ambitions and feelings – as sometimes you need to be assertive, and when words would not suffice, invite the father of the project, put him in the listening chair and allow to compare his product with similarly priced competition. As you can imagine, this is not always a very positive experience, and not always such a person is leaving our domicile happy. But there are also moments, when we get something, that we do not know absolutely nothing about. That was also the case this time, when I got a call from the Katowice based RCM, during the heat of Christmas shopping, asking if I would like to audition the newest, nowhere shown before, top loudspeaker cable from Furutech, which would be introduced during the CES, the Nanoflux Speaker Cable. Of course we declared our wish to do so, and after a few days we received two three meter long cables, about which we only knew, that they should dethrone the currently reigning Speakerflux. But it was a mystery, almost till the end, what are they made of, and how much they should cost. On one hand, such situation can be confusing, on the other, it offers ideal listening conditions. No correlation of what we hear with the price tag, or stereotypes of sound related to the materials used for the construction of the cable, so that we can concentrate fully on the sonic values. Shortly speaking we are limited to testing, if the sound of the cable defends itself in absolute terms, or not.
Knowing, that every detail counts, and buying decisions are often based on things like colors and jewel-like shine, so Furutech took great care of the appropriately terminate the cables. On the amplifier end there are the brilliant spades CF-201(R) and on the loudspeaker end the rhodium plated, strut banana plugs CF-202(R). Both kinds of plugs are non-magnetic. If you would need different kinds of terminations, there is a possibility to order it in all possible configurations. There will also two and three meter lengths available.
In contrast to what I wrote in the previous paragraph, the technical description will follow, as we received, one day before publishing the review, an abbreviated description leaflet from Japan. Similar to the Nanoflux Power, which we tested not so long ago (in April – time flows quickly…) the conductors are made from α (Alpha) Nano OCC copper covered with Nano Liquid (Squalene oil), containing molecules with gold and silver particles with size of 8nm (8/1000000mm). Interestingly, the proportions between the gold and silver nano-particles are not random, but chosen based on listening tests, what is another confirmation, that even such “small” things have an influence on sound. Also the seven strand wire setup is the same as in the power cord, however this is the last similarity, as instead of 72 wires in the loudspeaker cables 37 were used. As a result of this, the diameter of each of the conductors is 0.18mm. Both wires are isolated with polyethylene (PE) and further with a layer of cotton. All is shielded with a combination of polyester-aluminum tape and seven copper wires. On the outside we have a very flexible PVC sheath and a jacket from braided nylon. It is also worth mentioning, that the “+” and “-“ wires have different colors at their ends (burgundy and dark graphite), what makes connecting much easier. Another small thing, that makes life easier. There is also the company trademark muff present.
In contrast to its power brethren, you do not need to take any sedatives before plugging-in the Nanoflux Speaker into your system. I am mentioning this in the beginning, to prevent you from taking any medicaments, while you can do much better with enjoying some fermented grape juice (I recommend Uruguay Tannat and Shiraz) or the peat-iodine, Scottish distillate. The reason is obvious, because while the power cable somehow improved the flow and freed the dynamics hidden in the electronics, yet the tested speaker cable works with much more finesse, trying to homogenize everything that happens in the midrange and treble. Those are bands, which do not need widening, as this has been taken care of by the power cord. This does not mean, that the bass or dynamics are not treated well, as they are simply perfect, only that when listening, we are not that shocked. This excellence is also confirmed by the fact, that other aspects of the sound do not stand out. Frankly speaking , I had a thought, that the top speaker cable from Furutech comes close to the climate of the Reference … Organic Audio. Maybe it looks funny, but this is just how it is. We get a very dense and saturated structure, spiced with contours, shining in the light of the setting sun, while at the same time as sharp, as a Samurai katana. Let us take for example the album “TARTINI secondo natura” of the Sigurd Imsen, Tormod Dalen, Hans Knut Sveen trio with only natural instruments and a true, and not computer generated, acoustics or the disc recalling even more ancient times “La Tarantella: Antidotum Tarantulae” L’Arpeggiata and Christina Pluhar. Small ensembles and lack of artificial ornaments pulling attention away from the true and natural, rough beauty of the music show the true face of the Japanese cable. A face that gives testimony to the engineering capabilities and audiophile finesse achieved by its constructors. So on one hand we have sweet, but not sickly, saturation of the timbre, on the other the true harshness of the palpable instruments. It is similar with the acoustics. At first nothing overwhelms us, it does not make every, even the quietest whisper sung by the vocalist, or sound coming from an instrument, have a few seconds of echo. But the longer we listen, the more we get acquainted with the Nanoflux, the more obvious and regular our conclusions are. Such overwhelming airiness of the stage is not real. Not every album is able to generate a climate like “Missa Criolla” Ariel Ramirez with Mercedes Sosa, or the “Cantate Domino”, a master for many people. And yet there are many more pieces, which can bring joy, like for example “Smolik/Kev Fox”, where the information about acoustics of the recording room is non-existent. The Furutech do not favor any of them, but at the same time, do not make them equal. Instead of that, they brilliantly differentiate the individual elements of the musical spectacle, leaving the final assessment to the listener, relying on the listeners taste. This is the reason, that he not always digestible, more brute repertoire, also sounds appealing and interesting. From my list of heavy things I would like to mention two things, that are not too extreme, like the “Survivalist” 4Arm with frenzy drums and percussion runs, or the somewhat quieter “Immortalized” Disturbed with one of the most interesting, if not the most interesting, cover of “The Sound of Silence”. In both cases it is hard to talk about any audiophile aesthetics, or perfect recording, and yet we do not have a feeling, that the cable is torturing itself, that it plays against itself, with visible disgust. Why am I mentioning this? Well, all the time, in our hermetic audio world, there is a stereotype, that the higher we go in the hierarchy of the audio gear, the less recordings we find, that would satisfy us. The Nanoflux Speaker show clearly, that this is absolutely not true. They know, what this all is about, and that in this kind of music it is not about taking care of each and every note separately, but about power and spontaneity close to total madness. The guitar riffs are there to cut the air, like the fiery swords of the arch-angels, and not to soothe our ears like songs of the forest goddesses. The same with drummers. A hit of the base drum should be perceived like the right hook from Mike Tyson, and a double base like a roundhouse kick from Steven Seagal (Chuck Norris is too light for this), and this is how we get it. Without any veiling, without any tries to soften the seemingly cacophonic, at least for people who do not understand this kind of music, chaos, the cable allow pure Watts to be pumped into the speakers and move even the most resistant ones, like my Gauder.
Until this moment, the very end of the test and publication, I do not know how much the Speaker Nanoflux will cost, and frankly speaking, I do not care o much, because I can write with clear conscience, that they are just great. In addition they can easily be compared to top offerings from competitive companies, and the effect of such comparison will depend solely on the preference of the listeners, and not the visible/audible quality differences. I just hope, that Furutech will keep the restraint, known from previous models, and will not try to position his flagship cable with a price tag causing heart attacks. If my expectations will become true, then I feel, that many audiophiles and music lovers, who make their purchase choices based on listening, and do not need to have the most expensive cable in the world, will like to keep the tested cables in their systems.
System used in this test:
– CD/DAC: Ayon CD-1sx
– Digital source selector: Audio Authority 1177
– Network Music Player: Olive O2M; laptop Dell Inspiron 1764 + JRiver Media Center
– Turntable: Transrotor Dark Star Silver Shadow + S.M.E M2 + Phasemation P-3G
– Phonostage: Abyssound ASV-1000; Trilogy 906
– Integrated amplifier: Electrocompaniet ECI5; Musical Fidelity M6 500i; Alluxity Int One
– Speakers: Gauder Akustik Arcona 80 + spike extenders
– IC RCA: Antipodes Audio Katipo; Siltech Classic Anniversary 770i
– IC XLR: LessLoss Anchorwave; Organic Audio; Amare Musica
– Digital IC: Fadel art DigiLitz; Harmonic Technology Cyberlink Copper; Apogee Wyde Eye; Monster Cable Interlink LightSpeed 200
– USB Cable: Wireworld Starlight; Goldenote Firenze Silver
– Speaker Cables: Organic Audio; Signal Projects Hydra
– Power Cables: Furutech FP-3TS762 / FI-28R / FI-E38R; Organic Audio Power; Acoustic Zen Gargantua II; Ardento Power
– Power distribution board: GigaWatt PF-2 + Furutech FP-3TS762 / Fi-50 NCF(R) /FI-50M NCF(R)
– Wall Socket: Furutech FT-SWS(R)
– Antivibration platform: Franc Audio Accessories Wood Block Slim Platform
– Ethernet cables: Neyton CAT7+
– Accessories: Sevenrods Dust-caps; Furutech CF-080 Damping Ring; Albat Revolution Loudspeaker Chips
When I was finishing the test of the new Furutech power cord, what happened not so long ago, in spring, I started to look out for other products from the Nanoflux series, as the changes introduced by the power cord were very positive. I must confess, that even considered very thoroughly the purchase of that power cable, hoping, that I will not need to wait very long before having the opportunity to test the loudspeaker cables from the same series. I am not a fan of “small steps” strategy, I rather do much larger, almost radical, yet very thought through, changes to my system.Life has taught me, that smaller steps generate additional costs, and this is the reason why I do changes in big chunks, and it would be good not to regret hasty moves afterwards. But now my waiting is over, the speaker cables are there, and after thorough listening, I can finally share my observations with you. So I invite you to read on.
The cables received for testing, despite the significant diameter, are absolutely not problematic during connecting, they are flexible enough to be placed even in cramped spaces behind audio racks. It may look like distancing itself from the audiophile hi-end dogma, stating that for placing any cable you need to use brute force, bending them on your knee. Fortunately there are engineers in the world, who do think about such seemingly non-significant things, and making the life of potential buyers easier. When we talk about the looks of those cables, then it is outfitted with a dark blue – light blue braid and a shiny, metal and Kevlar barrel, mounted at about one third length of the cable. But this is not all of the audiophile jewelry, as the cable wires (plus and minus) are terminated with elegant plugs. The supplied cable had spades on one side and banana plugs on the other, but the manufacturer is open for the client, and all kinds of terminators are available on demand.
As usual with loudspeaker wiring, when I receive single wires for testing, my loudspeakers requiring bi-wiring require a few different variants of cabling setups, what is a certain compromise with regard to my listening system. However being thorough with what I am doing, I always try out all possible configurations, so that my conclusions would have any informative value for the reader. And when I finished the sequence of all possible connections, it turned out, that those loudspeaker cables are maybe not ideal, but follow the path set forth by the power cord. What path? The first thing that comes to our ears, is the increased discipline on bass, with slight toning down of the coloring of the world by the midrange, and this all with the treble soothing the whole on the top. So where is the difference to the power cable? The only difference, that I was able to catch clearly, was the treble, toning down the whole sound. But please do not perceive it as choking the volume of the sound phrases, but only as a certain aspect, noticeable in direct comparison with my synergetic reference system. However I would like to remind you, that my test approach is not orthodox about one stable, and some nuances may be different, than they would be if only products from one company were used. It also turned out nicely, that I used an analog sound source for the test, that by chance, but nicely showed the main characteristics of the loudspeaker Nanoflux. In the role of testing material I used the Modern Jazz Quartet with the album (pressed in the previous century) titled “The Legendary Profile”. Slightly overbassed presentation and fantastic vibraphone, reverberating beautifully against the background of other instruments, almost immediately revealed the approach to sound of the Japanese cable. It was here, where the lower registers told me, that the intervention to tame the licentiousness of them is very useful, the midrange did not seem undervalued, however my beloved percussive instrument – vibraphone – did not pass through my ears as it did with the reference set. I would like to add, that this was not an effect of degradation, but you could feel a kind of restraint in the exploitation of ether between the loudspeakers. I can however assure you, that this feeling disappears after a few pieces, and many potential buyers will just pass over this, as this may be just a testing setup coincidence, and not any shortcoming. To make a full assessment of the hero of our test today, we need to check how it approaches the question of the sound stage. And it would absolutely not be anything strange, if not for the fact of using the newest vinyl disc from Adele “25” for this purpose. I still cannot believe, that this disc was among the testing set, but the weirdest thing is my first contact with this music, on CD, which was disastrous. This was to be the last contact, but Saint Nicolas was generous and provided me with the vinyl version as well. I was a bit forced by the ladies in my family, but I put the disc on the platter and I was very surprised. The artist was not shouting, and the recording itself showed solid approach to many aspects important for the audiophile, like positioning of the sounds, what was not present at all with the CD version. And when I played this disc during the test for the second time, it turned out, that the visiting Furutech ideally reproduced the realism of the reference set, without any special ado. The far planes prepared space for Adele’s performance brilliantly. I still claim, that this is disc with only one song, but the amount of emotion flowing from the first piece is still enough to place it on the library shelf. And this is where I leave the sparring of the Japanese cables, leaving further testing to you. If the complete set, of the power cords and loudspeaker cables are for me – I will check, but for now I can clearly recommend the speaker Nanoflux to all people searching for discipline in the sound, without letting it drift to artificial sharpness, what often happens with its competition.
This dozen days spent together were a very nice experience, not only due to the sound of very good quality, but also because it fit almost ideally into my taste. What seems to be important, despite living in the world of strong color every day, I would be able to live with the temperature of the sound as presented by the tested cable without any problems. The mentioned control of the bass is not a brute cut of a butcher’s knife, but just a slightly improvement of its management. Of course I do not need to tell, that everybody will perceive the word “better” differently, this is why I put it in parentheses. The treble, as I mentioned during the test, does also not turn off the light on the stage, it is just a little element re-touching the sound. But whatever I would tell or write, only your own experience with the cable can point you in the right direction, my test can only be a kind of advice, nothing more. Anyway, I really recommend the Nanoflux to listen to, under a crossfire of your discs, as plugging it into your system, will bring some interesting changes to the sound of the host system.
Price: Unknown (official premiere during CES 2016)
System used in this test:
– CD/DAC: Reimyo CDT – 777 + Reimyo DAP – 999 EX
– Preamplifier: Reimyo CAT – 777 MK II
– Power amplifier: Reimyo KAP – 777
– Loudspeakers: TRENNER & FRIEDL ISIS
– Speaker Cables: Harmonix HS 101-EXQ (mid-high section); Harmonix HS-101 SLC (bass section)
– IC RCA: Hiriji „Milion”
– Digital IC: Harmonix HS 102
– Power cables: Harmonix X-DC 350M2R Improved Version, X-DC SM Milion Maestro
– Table: SOLID BASE VI
– Accessories: Harmonix TU 505EX MK II, Stillpoints „ULTRA SS”, Stillpoints ”ULTRA MINI”, antivibration platform by SOLID TECH, Harmonix AC Enacom Improved for 100-240V, Harmonix Room Tuning Mini Disk RFA-80i
– Power distribution board: POWER BASE HIGH END
Drive: SME 30/2
Arm: SME V
Cartridge: MIYAJIMA MADAKE
Phonostage: RCM THERIAA