£95 for a mains cable with Furutech hardware and silver plated oxygen free copper (OFC) cable seems to be a bargain in the grand scheme of things. Dominic Marsh finds out.

For those of you who believe that a mains cable should merely transport the necessary amount of electricity from the wall socket to the IEC inlet of your components without spilling any on the carpet, then look away now, there is nothing here for you to see.  For those of you that are still running their hifi system on basic cheap power cords, then read on, as there might be something of interest written here.

With such a bewildering array of cable products on the market these days, it is becoming extraordinarily more difficult for people like me to segregate out what any cable performs like against its competitors.  That aside, it is also becoming just as difficult separating out those cables that offer good value for money and deliver excellent sound for a sensible price.  Introducing then the MCRU No 75 upgrade mains cable herewith submitted for review, which is just one model in MCRU’s impressive range of mains products, ranging from ready built cables like the Number 75 here, all the way up to four figure cable prices, not forgetting DIY options too with unterminated wire and suitable plugs/sockets for buyers to build their own cables themselves.

Construction

If it is true that we buy using our eyes as well as our ears when buying hifi components, then David Brook at MCRU has certainly learned that little secret.  This isn’t a cable that has been chopped off generic reels of bought-in cable, but I am told the entire cable has been specified exactly and fitted with connectors that are only available exclusively to MCRU from Furutech no less.

The wire itself is said to be silver plated oxygen free copper (OFC) cable, with no details supplied for conductor gauge, or silver plating thickness. It is said that cables containing silver in some form or another have a “bright” presentation, but I have found that only cheap cables with the bare minimum of low purity silver content will display that trait, whereas high purity silver plating with a suitable interlayer between silver plate and substrate does not sound in the least bright.  When it comes to pure silver cables, soft annealed “4 Nines” (99.99% purity) silver generally has softer warmer tones and is anything but bright sounding.

Furutech FI-11CU IEC Connector.  This is a high grade pure copper IEC Connector, deep cryogenically treated with Furutech’s patented “Alpha process” – whatever that might be.

Furutech FI-1363CU UK 3 pin plug, with a similar specification to the connector above.

MCRU internal filtering built into the plug.  No details have been supplied by MCRU of what this filtering consists of and it is not within my remit to dismantle components to check, suffice to say it either has an effect on sound quality or it does not during the evaluation.

The entire cable has an outer shroud of acoustic braiding, which MCRU claim absorbs resonances.  Rather than the usual expandable plastic tightly woven braiding, the outer appearance has a series of “bubbles” along the entire length consisting of what appears to be soft cotton interwoven with strengthening nylon weave, so the “bubbles” act as shock absorbers by lifting the cable away from hard surfaces and adjoining cables.

The cable is very flexible indeed and I had no difficulty at all installing it behind my rack.

The biggest surprise of all for me is irrespective of how the cable performs, MCRU have priced this cable at £95.00 for the starter 0.75 metre length, with increments of 0.5 metres in length at £20.00 each.

Sound Quality

If I was sold already on the cable’s price, specifications and outward appearance, there was yet another surprise in store for me when I connected it up to my system.

Given that my system is wired from stem to stern with the superb Studio Connections “Black Star” range, I wasn’t holding up much hope for any stiff competition at all with this MCRU No 75 upstart at one eighth the price of the Black Star power cable, but compete it certainly did.  In fact, if it wasn’t me that was changing cables and someone else had done it, I probably would have quite some difficulty identifying which was which.

From the very top to the very bottom of the audible spectrum, the MCRU No 75 presented a clean uncluttered and thankfully noise-free sound.  Bass was both powerful and very well controlled with no overhang or slurring at all.  Treble and midband were deliciously crisp and clear, with imaging well beyond the speaker boundaries with good depth extension.  Audiences on live albums had a real life and energy to them too.

I pay particular attention to compression effects with any mains product and I can tell instantly if a power cable is restricting current flow by listening out for bass boom and overhang.  The MCRU Number 75 displayed none of that, so that was a major benchmark test passed.

Conclusion

MCRU already has an extensive and somewhat bewildering mains cable product range and I was starting to wonder whether MCRU had decided in it’s wisdom there was room for yet another model, because I thought they already had most bases covered and maybe MCRU was starting to compete with itself.  The MCRU No 75 though I think is an extraordinary product and it has the unique blend of pleasing  appearance, unbeatable specifications and a price that won’t hurt anyone’s pocket for a huge leap in performance over that basic moulded IEC cable costing a mere few pence given away free in most component’s boxes.  They are there just to get you going and nothing more in my view and the sooner you buy an upgrade cable the better your system will sound.

The No 75 cable’s price and performance sets it apart from the competition by a wide margin and so I award it my Highly Recommended status without any hesitation or reservation.

AT A GLANCE

Build Quality:  Starting at just £95.00 for 0.75 metres, I am still scratching my head how MCRU can do such a well built and specified cable for a very reasonable and value-rich price.

Sound Quality:  When the MCRU No 75 couldn’t be told apart from an £800.00 cable, then that speaks volumes.

Value For Money:  I have never said this before but will say it right now… It’s a no-brainer.

Pros:  With top marks for build, sound and value for money, it has to be on your upgrade cable list.

Cons:  None.

Price: £95 for 0.75m

Dominic Marsh

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