I reviewed the original Reference Fidelity Components (RFC) Pluto cables for Hifi Pig some while back and I think it is fair to say that I gave them a rave review!
I know of quite a few folks who subsequently bought a pair and were very happy indeed with their purchases.
It is only right to remind you that I know Paul, the proprietor of RFC, well. But that cuts no ice as far as reviewing his gear is concerned – as always, I tell it like I hear it!
The Pluto Mk2’s use the same conductor cables as the originals, but take advantage of the latest RCA connector technology with the new Eichmann Harmony copper plugs.
Eichmann claims the following features and benefits for the Harmony plugs;
– Signal/Ground pins are pure Copper and >101% IACS (not Tellurium Copper (95% IACS) or Brass (28% IACS).
– Signal/Ground pin optimization to enhance electron flow
– Signal/Ground pins are now much stronger and shaped like a tag, which makes soldering small/large/multiple wires, very easy.
– Signal/Ground Anti-Short shield has been added between the Signal/Ground solder tags.
– Signal/Ground pins are arranged to maintain a maximised distance from each other, and the utilised foil technology ensures that Capacitive, Inductive, and EMF effects are minimized.
– The Head Assembly jaw structure has been redesigned and mechanically improved, to allow an easy snap-like connection to a Phono/RCA socket, ensuring the ultimate connection with easy removal.
– Ground pin includes thread teeth which ensures that a metal Housing is star-point grounded.
– The Housing Assembly uses 2 screws to retain and secure the Cable.
– Extremely high temperature melting point thermoplastic polymer has been utilized.
If you’re a technical specialist the above will certainly mean more to you than it does to me, but RFC says that connection to sockets is much improved … more positive and plug is more durable, they are lower in capacitance, too, for a cleaner signal and use pure (5 or 6 nines pure) copper rather than using the commonly found pitch or tellurium based coppers, which has then been silver plated.
Well, the proof of the audiophile pudding is, as ever, in the listening ….
They are stunningly transparent cables. A new level of detail has been resolved for me in recordings I have played dozens of times.
Bass is deep, powerful, vibrant and superbly defined. No fat or flab, just the music.
They lock on to rhythms like a hungry python, just amazingly foot-tapping.
Imaging is naturally focused and in-the-room 3D.
Treble is extended and pure, not harsh at all, sibilance is naturally presented.
This is one of those happy occasions when comparisons become difficult, because the component is unequaled in my experience, so superlatives become mandatory!
The Pluto Mk2 are not a ‘nice’ cable like some, colouring and smoothing or accentuating the signal in a euphonic manner. They just allow the most transparent pathway for the music signal that I have yet heard.
They take the excellent Pluto mk1 and just do it all even better.
At £105 for a 1m pair the value for money is completely out of sight.
Build Quality – 10/10
Sound Quality – 10/10
Value for money – 10/10
Overall – 10/10
Price when reviewed – £105
As the RFC Pluto II interconnects achieved an overall score of 8.5 they were sent for second review to Danny Worth for his opinion. A second independent review of 8.5 or over will give a product an Outstanding Product Award. For more details see our FAQ section.
Following Jerry’s recent enthusiastic review of the RFC Pluto MK2 interconnects I contacted Paul for a second listen, which is now common practice at Hifi Pig when a product receives a score of 8.5 or over overall.
The cables arrived the following day sporting the new KLE (Eichmann’esque) plugs which look and feel great and were an extremely snug fit into my amp and dac, which is how a quality plug should be made.
Sound wise, I have a few cables I can compare them to, which due to Jerry’s comments will be ones in much higher price brackets and to get straight to the point I know many readers have been asking ‘are they the best cable I have ever heard at any price point?’ No they’re not in my opinion but do read on…
The Pluto MK2 is what I would deem as a highly accomplished and resolute cable for the money.
It’s a bit forward in the top end and very clean sounding. Midrange is very much of the same flavour, which would have left the cable to sound extremely lean if it wasn’t for the ample serving of bass.
The bass notes are fairly extended but lack the overall drive, presence and information conveyed with the Oriton Symphony Orange cables which also hold a strong coherent spread and never sacrifice tonal complexity for perceived resolution, which with some cables equates to an emphasis on top end registers or a certain brightness which is slightly evident in the Plutos.
Sound staging is exceptional with these RFC cables. Central focus is strong and soundstage width and height is a great attribute to the cables. Indeed I have heard cables costing way more than the new Plutos that are not as keen to spread their wings as wide and some other cables which have the ability to do so but can mask the finer details with overwhelming coloration.
My Audioquest Sky interconnects, have a hugely developed harmonic graduation to rolling off room boundaries beyond the physical parameters and explore micro dynamics in a far more developed manner whilst still drawing the listener in the centre of the stage and pulling your gaze back towards the next cue whilst your following the decay of the previous note. The Plutos show the bigger picture so convincingly but just don’t have the fine inner details on the further points of the stage.
There is a definite sharpness to the sound of the Plutos, very similar in presentation to the Acoustic Zen Matrix Ref II, in fact I’d go as far to say in many systems I have heard with the AZ’s in I think the better control of the Plutos leading edges would lean me more towards them rather than the AZ’s which cost considerably more.
I would say that the AZ’s have a little more weight and presence to vocals but the Plutos have an encapsulating effect to them which is unmistakably awesome. As I mentioned before they don’t have the complexity of the Sky’s spread/resolution, but the direct sphere of sound which I find myself sat in is absolutely incredible – you could argue that its three dimensional capabilities and imaging is right up there, never over exaggerated width wise but front to back I’d firmly say that they do it better than most other cables – I’m throwing in the mix here and I believe that this where the MBL’s that Jerry has are making this cable sound pure magic.
To accompany the marvelous soundstage is the sheer control that the Plutos have and their sibilant free nature which makes for an extremely accurate yet non analytical sound.
Bandwidth registers the top end miles beyond many cables I’ve heard costing many times the price. However, I would have liked it to have more refinement and the ability to have discerned the higher and lower frequencies with more rendering, displaying notes with more individual tonal detail to deem it ‘the best cable at any price point’.
The cables have fantastic speed and timing, one off the best cable I’ve heard for absolute precision in this area is the Graditech Kides – the Kides have a better rendition of inner detail, being more accurate to each detail, instrument or vocalist. Although the Plutos once again have a trait of a high-end cable their overall capabilities are masked a little, but I am finding this slight trade off a small factor in comparison with its sheer imaging capabilities.
I could sit here all evening and keep throwing comparisons at the Plutos, as I could any cable I might add so I think it’s best to now concentrate on what I think about them as a whole.
The Plutos delve into the music way further than their price could even begin to suggest, there is huge amounts of detail which manages to remain strong through the central focus and can still remain prominent enough to fill a huge soundstage convincingly, displaying great height, width and three dimensionality. The absolute rendering of the details is not as ‘grown up’ as some of the big boys and where as some individual frequencies are displayed perfectly they don’t all have that trait and one minute sparkles will sound incredibly clear and natural and the next a guitar rasp would sound a little muted, but in comparison with cost the Plutos take bounds and leaps to push themselves closer to the high end completion that no other cable anywhere near this price point has ever achieved for me.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Pluto MK2 from RFC is ridiculous value for money. Its performance is second to none in its class and can even play with the big boys without being out of its depth. The overall refinement of the detail it displays is slightly lacking, but its overall presentation and magically immersive soundstage will have many people trading in their more expensive cables for a pair I’m sure.
In their price range, popular mainstream branded cables simply sit in awe of the Pluto’s capabilities and comparing them to the rest in this review should be a joke.
Build quality – 8.5/10
Sound quality – 8/10
Value for money 9/10
Highly recommended for their bewildering performance to price ratio.
Author – Danny Worth