I had the opportunity of trying out a set of eight Furutech NCF Boosters for a few months. I’ll go over some of the common use cases for the NCF Boosters. My preferred combinations may be very different from what you come up with.
Just by having the NCF material in contact with any of your cables changes the sound. And you don’t need golden ears to hear it. There’s a common theme that I’ll go over in the following section.
The impact of the NCF Boosters peaks at the mains outlet. The FI-50(R) connector of the Furutech DPS-1 power cord to the wall was firmly in place without the NCF Booster. However, once locked down by the NCF Booster, and you become a believer in NCF juice.
Music is immediately quieter, more open, and undeniably vivid. The biggest difference is in being tightly focused with precise imaging. It takes the level of delineation up in a huge way.
You’ll get a better perception of the musical layerings and atmosphere of a recording. The soundstage also widens and deepens by a few feet. Everything just sounds so crisp, clear, and uninhibited. There’s wonderful brilliance in the upper regions while keeping bass tight and refined.
The sound seems to be passively “upscaled.” There are more control and way less “fuzz.” It clears the air, lifts the mids, and presents something more alive and insightful. The percussions in Santana’s Migra sets the pace and harmony perfectly – while the guitar and vocals embrace the melody.
Taking the NCF Boosters off and the differences were stark. First, there are less sparkle but more density. It’s more grounded than angelic sounding. It’s also not nearly as focused or deep – and noticeably flatter sounding.
However, the most obvious tradeoff seems to be warmth. With the NCF Booster, cello and violins seem more neutrally toned – but brings more texture to the forefront. Kodo drums don’t quite have that richer coating but punch with better reach and definition.
In my system, having the NCF Boosters at the mains may be slightly overpowering.
Next, I clamped the NCF Booster onto a Furutech DPS-4 power cable at the IEC inlet of the subwoofer. I didn’t expect much of a difference here on the JL Audio F110 V2 subwoofer. I figured it’ll only affect the lower regions.
This wasn’t the case.
I wasn’t sure if it was because the NCF booster was so close to the RCA signal cables – but it had many of the qualities of being plugged at the mains – BUT preserved much of the warmth and soul of the music.
Recordings not only sounded better resolved and nuanced – but meatier and more tangible. It still had a black background, dimensionality, and clarity. But it articulated the space more organically with resonances being effortlessly conveyed. In other words – it sounded “right.”
To be honest, I think the NCF Booster made a larger impact than the connected power cable (which is much more expensive). There was more flex, dynamic definition, and sheer addictiveness.
Removing the NCF Boosters and the sound no longer wraps around you but remains pancake flat. It’s more mushy, loose, and dull. Although, it still has a more romantic color to the sound without the Booster in place. Consequently, there are more masculinity and intimacy to vocals.
Interconnects & Speaker Cables
Cable holding duties is best left for the Furutech Booster-Signal – but I figured I’ll try it out with the NCF Booster. I’ll be testing both at the connectors and as lifters.
At the connectors
Off the bat, using both top and bottom clamps prove to be “too much of a good thing.” Using just the bottom clamp – or resting the top clamp on the connectors (at the preamp and amp), seems to strike a better balance.
It is similar to what I heard with the subwoofer (IEC) but a little more thin in the midrange. Another tweak that is applied in a similar fashion is the Bybee stuff. However, their products (generally) seem to thicken and soften the sound while the NCF Booster sorta does the opposite.
In this scenario, it seems like the NCF Booster-Signal would be a better choice. Not just sonically but having the flat shelf gives more flexibility with equipment and space. The NCF Booster sounds a little” too strong” with both clamps – but works quite well with just the bottom section.
This is where the NCF Boosters are commonly used – and where it excels. It’s not as heavyhanded as having the NCF closer to the inputs/outputs. The closer I placed the Boosters to the speakers or amplifier – the greater the effect. Having two NCF boosters closer to the middle of the cables seem to be sufficient for my near-field system.
Apparently, this NCF stuff is powerful. Especially for lower-level signals. As a sanity check, I used some random items to lift the cables. I tried various materials, including wood, rubber, plastics, and even cardboard boxes. All of them change the sound, but the NCF Booster does so with the intent of clearing the air and strengthening separation and clarity.
This one was a surprise. Using the NCF Booster to lift just a single Ethernet cable – and the sound becomes plenty more focused and quiet. Throwing some coaxial and more Ethernet cables onto the NCF Booster and the sound is further enhanced in this way.
This positioning kept me in my seat. It had a similar impact to what I heard with the Booster at the subwoofer – but with more density and weight. It was also more delicate in its application of NCF.
When the kick drum is struck, a piston of a trumpet is depressed, or the cymbals are brushed – there’s a “feel” to the music. Both in material and resolution. Leading edges and transients are just cleaner.
In short, this was one of the best use cases for the NCF Booster.
The impact at the IEC inlet of the Chord Electronics TToby amplifier was similar to that of having it at the mains. It’s extremely detailed and vibrant – but sounds cooler and somewhat leaner.
Shifting NCF Boosters away from the rear of the amp and you get some of the blood flowing again while still preserving control. For me, it was about 8″ out – where it becomes more of a lifter instead. You’ll have to play around with the distances in your system to find the right balance for you.
I was curious to try out the NCF Boosters on my Dolby Atmos system. With 13 speakers and two subwoofers, this is where tweaks will really show themselves.
Connecting the NCF Booster to the inlet of my Furman power conditioner proved to be quite impactful to the sound – in a good way. The better holographic and dynamic qualities are enough to justify leaving them there.
However, I tried the NCF Booster with a Furutech DPS-4 power cable at the Denon AVR-X8500H receiver. Wow. This receiver is extremely resolving and the DPS-4 adds more meat on the bones. However, it does soften out some of the texture and details. The NCF Booster brings just the right amount back into sound. I ended up moving the NCF Booster from the Furman to the Denon receiver.
Trying out different interconnects (shield and unshielded) and power cables – the “strength” of the NCF Booster seems to vary. But any enhancement aligns with the aforementioned impressions (focus, quietness, detail, etc). Once again, you’re going to have to play around with it.