Foo? What is foo? For the scientifically enlightened the word “Foo” covers the crazier, more out there tweaks. Think Shakti stones or demagnetizers for your CD’s and Vinyl (hilarious!). Basically tweaks that rely on a combination of the placebo effect and expectation bias, along with a lot of positive affirmation from the sales rep, to kid you into hearing a difference. That or actual magic, as there is no way within the laws of physics that they can make any reliably detectable audible difference.
For many, any mention of mains treatment falls into this camp. As in this area possibly more than any other in hifi there is a LOT of foo out there. However, there’s mains treatment and there’s foo free mains treatment. It is fair to say (and indeed the manufacturer concurs) that this “treatment” will not work for everyone as it solves problems that not everyone has. For those with a nice clean mains supply and HiFi equipment that is extremely well protected or comes with external power supplies which will have much of the F3’s tricks built in, there is little need. I might go so far as to say anyone with an all solid state system and a nice clean power supply will probably find much of their kit pretty much “immune” to the F3’s magic. I’d also venture that anyone with an all solid state system needs to get to a bake off or three and re-evaluate some of their life-choices, but that’s another story.
For my money, as a vinyl and valve man, anything that can minimise the dreaded hum and cut down on the nasty effects of mains born noise is welcome. My previous power amp was a Beard P100 and that was a sensitive soul for such a beast of an amp. It’s Tysonesque power was juxtaposed by it having the sensitivity of Alan Bennett on a rainy day. Without a mains filter in place It would complain in little whiny buzzes and hums and even emit the odd dull thud when the compressor on the fridge kicked in, now all this was barely audible and not audible when music was playing, but it really spoiled those “inky black*” moments between notes (*do I win £5.00?). With the F3 in place though, all was calm and silent on the Beardy front. And the same is true since I moved away from the Beard, the difference is more subtle as my Bladelius amp is not quite such a fuss pot, but with the turn table set up using a valve phono stage and valve pre-amp, along with all the inherent microphony of the system itself, there is background noise and the F3 does reduce it.
The F3 is that simple, if you have noise it may well be worth trying. Paul at Wychwood will talk to you about your problems and if he thinks the F3 will help he’ll sell you one on a trial basis. He’s painfully honest and probably not nearly mercenary enough for the Hifi industry, so you really can call him with the confidence that he’ll only recommend it if he truly believes it will help. Even if you are not aware of back ground noise you might still be surprised at the difference. I’ve noticed a general “cleaning up” of the sound with my streaming front end in use, so it’s not just the phono stage that benefits, it’s definitely helping the pre-amp too, I’ll resist going into more detail on the overall sound improvements as they are very subtle indeed. So much so that one could argue I was kidding myself and I would not put up much of a fight, however at £189.00 for an 8 way mains block with serious levels of protection and filtration built in, the convenience and peace of mind are certainly worth the asking price alone. The model reviewed was my own. Do the mathematics!
There’s little more I can add. It does EXACTLY what the manufacturer says it does.
● Up to 16 Amp / 3kW capacity
● Self-indicating surge protection
● ultra-safe RCBO circuit breaker
● 16 Amp RFI/EMI noise filter
● Strong aluminium enclosure – screens & protects
● AcoustiFeetTM vibration isolation
● 8 unswitched sockets – no unnecessary switches
● Earthing post for system grounding
● IEC inlet socket so you can choose your own lead
● All hard-wired
● Slim and discrete – needs no precious rack space
● CE certified, fully British Standard & IEC compliant
● Green too: RoHS & WEEE compliant + negligible energy use
● British Made – to BS-EN9001
Speak to Paul at Purite North for more information