A little while ago now I was able to have a listen to the LessLoss DFPC Signature mains cables, which made quite an impression on me and my listening experience offering fantastic refinement, liquidity, presence and an overall natural presentation, which really made for an enjoyable listen.
The Reference cables are similar in construction Utilising a similar geometry to the Signatures they employing four separate conductors – two Live – 12mm cross section, One Neutral – 12mm cross section and a single Earth – 12mm cross section.
Where the cables differ from the Signatures in the processing stages, through LessLosses’ ‘Skin-filtering’ techniques. The Signatures reach a Level 2 whereas the Reference chords achieve a Level 4 in what is a labour intensive and timely affair carried out in house.
I’ll allow Louis Motek (Managing Director) of LessLoss give his overview;
“Each LessLoss Skin-filtering grade marks audibly significant improvements in performance. The DFPC Original uses Grade 1. With just this technology, many customers insist that their stand-alone “caps & coils” power filters are no longer needed, and often that comparing with a DFPC reveals that their previous filter imparts an undesirable flavour to the sound. Grade 1 Skin-filtering makes a substantial step beyond the performance of standard or industrial power chords; indeed, a substantial step even over power cords with much higher price tags.
The DFPC Signature’s Grade 2 Skin-filtering requires a more extensive processing of the conductor’s outer skin. It involves a unique utilization of pigments in a specialized in-house preprep process. This achieves more attenuation of wide-bandwidth HF noise and results in an even cleaner sound as the true nature of the signal is better revealed above an even lower noise floor.
For three years we have been refining Skin-filtering Grades 3 and 4, found only in the new DFPC Reference. Here, we not only implement all steps involved in the production of the DFPC Signature, but, in addition, carry out several more crucial steps in the processing and assembly of each cable. This level of attention to detail and performance places this cable in an entirely different category. Each DFPC Reference undergoes half a month of controlled steps in production. Assembly alone takes 12 hours of scrupulous labor. There is much more than meets the eye in this product, with performance to match.”
There is a plethora of technical information on the LessLoss website referring to each aspect of the entire conception of the cables, right down their choice of Oyaide plugs implemented on each cable.
Note: If a UK power plug is required then the Furutech 1363 is employed.
So on to the important bit, how do they sound and are the added techniques, processing and cost worthwhile?
Sometimes when progressing through a companies range of products, upgrades can offer a marginally subtle improvement and sometimes improvements can be larger in relation to the additional costs.
Sometimes a subtle change is all that is needed to really have a product click or just sound so right. Other times a huge difference can be obtained which presents itself very differently and can be unexpected and destroy all expectations of a house sound.
The LessLoss DFPC cables sit somewhere in the middle (no I’m not a politician, I don’t have the patience to be diplomatic).
When listening to one of my favourite albums from Chris Jones ‘Moonstruck’ I am presented with a core sound of liquidity, exceptional detail and a smoothness that allows for leading edges to imprint their note into a wonderfully dark soundstage that oozes musicality and presence.
The References developed these leading edges with more defining realism, organic flare and responsiveness to the transient nature of strength, dependent on how intensely each note is struck or blown. Decay just dissipates magically into the blackness where notes are still emerging from, retaining overall rhythm through smaller delicacies and nuances.
Chris’ vocal is so genuine sounding and focused it just draws the listener right in, gets you toe tapping and singing along to the point where I for one thought I needed to shut up and listen, I can have a good old sing song when I’ve finished the review!
That didn’t last for long, soon enough I was off again…
Right, so getting back on point I contrasted Jones’ vocal with the power and delicacy of Loreena McKennit. What a treat her vocal really is, fortunately for review purposes I can’t even begin to sing along to her voice, it’s something to really sit back and admire.
I started off with ‘The Mask and the Mirror’ album and the track ‘Full Circle’. A very old world Celtic vibe flows throughout this performance; I can imagine it being played during a Macbeth play when panning across the highlands at dusk. I can only describe the flavour of Loreena’s vocal as intense. The decay of each phrase simply washes through the depths of the soundstage and the ability of the Reference cables over the Signatures was one of added control in upper octaves, instead of describing this factor as restraint is more of a freedom of expression. The violin in this track emanates from the upper centre of McKennits vocal and the breath that was added with the DFPC References allowed the graceful notes to shine… so well polished with no smear or masking of itself or the vocal.
From ‘the Nights at the Alhambra’ album which is a live recording I love the ‘Raglan Road’ track. McKennit’s seductive vocal is as delicate and powerful as in any other track she has ever performed, but a real stand out performance for me. The pure liquidity of her vocal which is already established with such grace and beauty in my system was enhanced so well with the Reference power cords and violin which sat to the right hand side of centre stage had a quality that one would imagine the musician to almost be in the room. The overwhelming realism really was something special within the acoustic space of the performance.
Moving into some more beat driven music from the likes of Fleetwood Mac and The Beautiful South, rhythmic qualities were very strong and natural, detail rendition and dynamics were effortlessly proportioned in a busy soundstage of more than one lead vocalist and accompanying instruments.
A cleanliness took over Stevie Nicks vocal which had a smoothness to its edges during ‘Seven Wonders’ that allowed me to really turn up the volume and let her wail.
If I have to balance this review with a negative then the only portion of the wondrous display which I can be critical of is the upper bass drive. As with the Signatures when I reviewed them they stay clean in this area and my own personal tastes want for a little more fullness in this area to help really drive along the dance music I enjoy so much… but that’s just me. I don’t come across too many audiophiles who still think they are 18 in a nightclub, well there’s one I can think of who edits my reviews before they are published, so we’ll see if ‘Disco Stu’ leaves this comment in…(Oh ye of little faith.)
To sum up the time and the experience which I have had with all the LessLoss power cables (DFPC Original review to come) it can be said that their natural presentation coupled with masses of detail retrieval, undeniable purity and smoothness just culminates in a soundstage which is enhanced with such musicality, grace and presence that they can only be described as one of the very best power cables I have had the pleasure of listening to, plus they look sexy too.
The DFPC Signatures were great, but the Reference just takes things a step further in overall refinement, precision and soundstage presence without changing the core character of LessLoss’ take on the sound.
Build Quality – 8.5/10
Sound Quality – 8.75/10
Value For Money – 8/10
Overall – 8.4/10
Highly Recommend – For their clean, smooth and detailed sound, build quality and great style visually and musically.
Price at time of review – $1824 – up to a 2m length (reviewed at 1.5m)