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$39 gold-plated fuses improve sound quality

Isoclean's audiophile-grade gold-plated fuses improve the sound of speakers and amplifiers. They can help bring a fuller, weightier sound, with more 3D stereo imaging.

Steve Guttenberg

Isoclean makes audiophile-grade gold-plated fuses. This fuse is a "tweak," an accessory that promises to improve the sound of your hi-fi.

Audiophiles eat this stuff up. We put special cones or pads under our equipment to eliminate bad vibes, plug our electronics into AC power line conditioners, and buy equipment stands to coddle our components.

Isoclean isn't the first company to offer audiophile fuses, and I can't say I'm game for these types of tweaks. They reek of "snake oil" silliness, but an audiophile buddy couldn't stop raving about the difference the Isoclean fuses made to the sound of his hi-fi, so I decided to give them a try.

My Magnepan 3.6R speakers have a total of four fuses (two in each speaker), and the fuses are $39 each.

Each Isoclean fuse is packed separately with a thick cleaning cloth you use before installing the fuses. The gold plating is of a high quality, and with the supplied cloth, I buffed it to a shine.

Also noteworthy is the fuses' glass body, marked with a direction arrow. Isoclean recommends experimenting with reversing the direction of the fuse to see which direction sounds better (turn the gear off when reversing the fuses).

To cut to the chase, yes, the fuses did make a difference. The sound was fuller, weightier, and the stereo imaging was more 3D with the fuses in the speakers. Was it a jaw-dropping improvement? No, but it was there.

Audiophiles looking for a little boost to their sound should check out Isoclean fuses. You can use the fuses in some speakers, CD players, preamplifiers, power amplifiers, and other devices.