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Fred's Philosophical Audiophilia

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Ferrite Exhortation
By Fred Stanke
Posted: 2023-09-27T04:25:27Z

I would like to refresh my previous exhortation for The Use of Ferrites on system cables. To recap that article, I found that using one ferrite clamp on any cable improves the reproduction: power, interconnect, and headphone.  Further, more ferrites per cable on all the cables sounded even better.

I had audibly tested the benefits of ferrites in my own system extensively. They also worked well with a cost-effective AntiCable at the Phono Stage Shoot Out, June 19, 2021 on a Boulder 508 phono preamp when compared to its (stock?) power cord. However, I wondered whether ferrites’ efficacy depended on the poorness of the mains power in use. Now that a couple more members have achieved good results applying ferrites in their homes, I have higher confidence that the advantages are generic. I hypothesize that the main enemy that ferrites fight is the rectifier-switching noise of other components in the same system that get transmitted from component to component via the cables, and am working on trying to test that hypothesis and will report on that in the future if something good comes out of it. If this hypothesis is true, it is not “shielding” in the sense of blocking air-borne RF noise.

There are various sources for ferrite clamps. I notice now that Acoustic Revive offers ferrites as Noise Filter FCS-8, e.g., through The Cable Company: four pairs of unspecified sizes and materials for $75. Below are the prices of four pairs of a range of sizes in my currently preferred material, for $54.80. Given that I put as many ferrites on my cables as will fit (see the photo in my above referenced article), the price difference is not completely negligible. I find which ones I want from Fair-Rite’s website and then order them from Kreger Components. BTW, Kreger offers substantial quantity discounts, so the Audio Foundation could consider doing group buys of generic sizes. I have tried their various materials. All of them seem to work. I suspect that their Material 31 for lower and broadband frequencies is best, but am not certain about that.

For me, and I believe generically, there is a lot of mystery in the market for high-end, high price cables. My experience is that ferrites can change the game. I was not surprised that a very high-priced cable sounded better in my system than a much lower priced one, with no ferrites applied. I was (pleasantly) surprised that the relative merits of these two cables reversed when ferrites were applied to both. Because my conclusions are quite counterintuitive, I believe they require more empirical testing to verify their veracity.

So, I am exhorting members to try at least a few ferrites at home and to report back on their findings, good or bad, in the comments to this blog. Then we can build a consensus on their efficacy or lack thereof. Also, my current preference for Fair-Rite’s 31 material is not on a firm basis, so observations on the relative merits of various materials would be most interesting.

Disclamer: I have no financial interest in AntiCables, Fair-Rite, or Kreger.