I enjoy reviewing products that stray slightly off the beaten path of conventional design and Hi Fi In Touch have managed to create something that has form, functionality and dare I say it, beauty. DSC_0233

CONSTRUCTION

The HiFi In Touch mains distribution block reviewed here isn’t built from the usual plastic or metal enclosure, oh no, it’s casing is fabricated from good solid wood no less. Oak to be precise, fabricated in their own workshops and there are no exposed joints, brackets, nails, or screws to clutter up the external appearance either. There are no user serviceable parts inside, so in the unlikely event a problem should arise with the unit it should be returned for their expert repair.

It is available in 2 way, 4 way, 6 way and 8 way which have the outlet sockets mounted on the top face of the unit and appear to be of good quality, once again with no visible screws to be tampered with, looks rather appealing too. Underneath were fitted four rubber feet. The unit supplied for review had 4 outlet sockets.

Internally, it is wired with Teflon coated silver plated copper wires with a high current rating in a Star wiring configuration so that no one socket takes priority over current demand, as they are all wired equidistant from the inlet socket.

At one end of the unit is mounted the power inlet socket. This can be either a standard 10 amp rated male C14 IEC connector or a high current 20 amp male C20 connector. The review sample was fitted with the high current variant. Both types are connected with silver solder as standard. The unit is sold without a mains input lead, although HiFi In Touch produce a suitable inexpensive mains lead if you so desire for around £9.00 I believe. Prices of the block alone then at time of testing are:
£99.00 for a 2 socket unit
£199.00 for a 4 socket unit
£299.00 for a 6 socket unit
(These are introductory prices valid for 12 months)

SOUND QUALITY

While any mains block is not capable of producing a sound of it’s own, they can nevertheless have a profound effect on the sonic palette of any hi-fi system connected to it. Naturally, one of the first things I listen out for during a review with all mains related products, is whether or not I can hear any suppression artifacts or if the dynamics are being compressed in any way.
I will begin the review though with stripping out all the upgrade cabling and conditioner normally installed in my system, so it has more relevance and meaning to those readers who are considering installing a better block and mains cables into their own systems. In went a generic no-name 6 way block purchased from a local DIY store for the princely sum of £4.99. Made of black plastic with a 2 metre captive input cable and a moulded 3 pin 13 amp plug, it made my system sound bland and lifeless, with sluggish transients and overhung bass. Not having one of these installed in my system for a good many years made me realise that I have come rather a long way since using one of those. Out that one went – smartish.DSC_0232

Next in went a nice looking 6 way block from Brennenstuhl. This is an altogether more substantially built item with an extruded aluminium body and sockets with end caps moulded in plastic. The body and end caps are shaped so you can coil the cable around it and plug it into a vacant socket, so it is neat and tidy when not in use. It has an illuminated on/off switch. Expect to pay around £18.00 for the 6 way variant. The sound of this was only marginally better than the £4.99 generic one from the DIY store, although it does look more the part.

On then to the Hi Fi In Touch block with the £9.00 HFIT supplied mains lead and the difference was immediate and unequivocal. Bass content never once sounded slurred or muddy, kick drum was conveyed with power and authority, while both the snare and tom drums had delineated stop and stop edges with immense crisp energy in between, not lacking at all in the delivery. The remainder of the audible spectrum was fine, with no adverse comments at all noted on the performance and I did listen out for any with close scrutiny.

I can happily report that the Hi Fi In Touch mains block showed no evidence of compression, the music flowed completely unencumbered and the dynamics were delivered with all the power and energy demanded of it.

Little more I can add to that really, except just one more thing. I have a resident mains conditioner in my system of course which has been there a fair while now and I was more than shocked that the Hi Fi In Touch mains block managed to see off that component without any difficulty. My confidence in that device has waned considerably since, so the search starts soon for a replacement. This hi-fi caper has unexpected consequences sometimes.

CONCLUSION

A good no-nonsense performer then, with a lot going for it. No compression effects on the sound quality, real solid Oak wood for an outer casing and at a price that is hard to resist as the icing on the cake, especially so at the introductory price and holds good until the price is eventually finalized by HFIT. The scoring below indicates that the cheaper HFIT mains cable was used during the review.
Construction: 8.6/10hifiintouchpowerblock

Sound quality: 8.3/10

Value for money: 8.5/10

Overall: 8.46/10

Recommended for: A good quality, good sounding, good looking even mains block that won’t break the bank.

A higher grade mains cable built entirely using Furutech wire and connectors is also available. Prices start at £130 depending on cable length and connector requirements. I did evaluate the block with this higher priced cable but the scoring above was made before this cable was introduced, so of course the values were affected, with a higher sound quality score offset by a lower value for money rating – this more expensive option virtually doubles the price of the block/cable combo I had under test.
Dominic Marsh

You must be logged in to leave a reply.