ASK AN EXPERT: Can a power line fuse change the sound of my equipment?

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Thank you for the question. We didn't think a simple yes or no answer would suffice. So we decided to look up what Paul McGowan (PS Audio) - the most knowledgeable person we know in the industry re this topic. Here's what he has to say:

So, why should a power line fuse change the sound of your equipment? One possibility is its size.

Think of all the trouble we go through to make sure the power cables feeding our equipment are without restrictions: heavy gauge, pure metals, complex geometry. Now, picture what happens to that power when it reaches your equipment through its internal fuse. The power necks down through a wire not much heavier than a thick hair. Now, replace the image of a thick power cable with a fireman’s water hose, narrowed through a squirt gun, and you get the picture.

But there’s more. Wire is a dynamic conductor, changing resistance along with the music. The louder the music gets, the “weaker” the wire becomes – in direct opposition to what we would want in a conductor. Put a lot of current through the tiny fuse wire and it actually moves or dances in response. I am certain there’s a laundry list longer than my arm of how poorly fuses act as power gateway to your equipment.

What’s cropped up because of these problems is not a new fuse type – or a turn towards circuit breakers instead – but an entire cottage industry of better sounding fuses. And most are not cheap. The most expensive I have seen is a hand built ceramic and beeswax concoction that will run you just under $200. And since this is high-end audio, let’s not be surprised if someone doesn’t trump the price point of this exotic protection link. If you go that route, pray it doesn’t blow.

As a company concerned with how products sound, we’ve invested a great deal of engineering time and expense into researching different means of protecting our equipment and your home from damage. We could move to a circuit breaker, but they too have their sonic signature. And, they are not as reliable as a fuse. In the end, we have found fuses we like a lot and can afford to put into our equipment. Can one do better? Yes, but not for nothing.

There’s much to consider when it comes to these little glass tubes, I just thought it interesting how each little piece of the high-end audio pie adds so much to the eating.

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