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Close Encounters of the FIFTH Kind




es... and what about the redheads one?! Have the author of this very popular pre-war hit performed by Jan Kiepura had any bad experiences from the primary school, or from the backyard? Where some small and of course "malicious" ginger was telling him that he's a chicken on the PE classes, and that he doesn't know where the USA is on the map! Where does such a prejudice against the red hair color comes from? The answer is simple – people were always fascinated and at the same time terrified of the oddity. The people with the hair in color of pure copper are so seldom, that they were always treated like an aliens... Not once and not even twice I've been already writing about the taste on the pages of

The same like the money, you must have the taste, to not to talk about it. If you are interested in my feuilletons about the taste, I am sending you to the magazine archive. I don't want to repeat myself. I admit, however, that in the case of wemen`s color of hair I just give up! Because in this matter, even a such a skeptic like me is unable to find any objective arguments. The only thing I can say for my excuse, is that at a certain age most women become redheads, by a strange twist of fate ... Are they driven by the willingness to please their partners who also in a certain age reach a level of aesthetic educations as big as their tummy which makes them gourmands of to the sublime and rare features of women's beauty? Or is it simply the color of the hair dye which is always at hand at the shop around the corner? Connection between red hair and aging already makes possible a serious scientific discussion. However, I'll give half my kingdom to the one who will point, which color of female hair will be chosen by the man and vice versa!

What does my pre-introduction has to do with the audio again? When I called the guys to say that I'm preparing the next Close Encounters meeting in Katowice, everyone was very "tired" after the Christmas and very "overworked"... However, when I mentioned that this time we will chose between blondes, brunettes and redheads in the RCM atelier with Roger, the next day the bus full of my buddies, brothers-in-law of my buddies... and theirs buddies was ready! The internet forums were roaring and there were temporary interruptions in GSM services. "At last something will happen in audio, finally something interesting, it was worth suffering for all these years...". And here, unfortunately, a big disappointment again, because on the spot the guys have to choose not between the girls, but between the power cable plugs... As a part of mercy and fulfillment, I left them a free choice: they can choose between copper, gold and rhodium.

And beautiful women let's leave to men without imagination - as Marcel Proust used to say.


Yeeees…, today we will not test whether the power cables have any effect on the sound of the system. We will not even check if their length matters ... Many "audiophiles" may say "this is an absurd", from the point of view of their technical knowledge, there are no differences in sound between different plugs of the power cable. Despite this we will test the same plug on the same cable, but with different type of finish of its contact elements. Specifically speaking, we will check if it's any influence on the sound of the system, if the same power cable is equipped with a copper, gold-plated and rhodium plated plug. As the scapegoat, we will use the power cable “The Two” manufactured by a new audio producer WK AUDIO®. For the confection we will use the plugs of the prestigious FURUTECH company from the series "11", which are the standard for this cable.


  • FURUTECH FI-E11Cu i FI-11Cu copper plugs - standard version
  • FURUTECH FI-E11G N1 i FI-11G N1 gold plated plugs
  • FURUTECH FI-E11R N1 i FI-11R N1 rhodium plated plugs
  • FURUTECH CF-080 Damping Ring the ring on rhodium plated plugs

The test involved three power cables “The Two”, “The Two Gold” and “The Two Rhodium” of identical length, same degree of burning, equipped with the above-mentioned plugs.


  • Aleksandra Sumorok – Ph.D technical sciences, art historian and specialist in the field of Stalinist Architecture and Art of Socialist Realism period. Like most women, she is not interested in audio equipment. With the greatest pleasure she likes to listen to ... silence, which is very rare in our house... ;-). Hereinafter referred to as AS (takes once…)
  • Mark Moczkowski – IT manager, electronics and short-wave radio fan. With audio equipment he has rather little to do, but he likes to listen. He takes part in my "testing" of a new equipment from the moment when I bought in the 90’s my first CD player. It means from the very beginning! Mark was always "good" in physics; hereinafter referred to as MM (not MC…).
  • Tom Gucajtis – multi-year DIY device designer, “Audiostereo” forum member, hereafter called TG (Top Gear ...).
  • Andrew Jasiński – multi-year DIY device designer, “Audiostereo” forum member, hereafter called AJ (Alien’s Jet...).
  • Becik (Swaddle wrap) - the fruit of my loins, he has been listening from the stage of the embryo, because then we did a lot of tests and he had no choice. Now there is no way back for him and he has already his first audio system in his room!
  • Witek Kamiński – architect, audio journalist, owner of WK AUDIO® company; hereinafter referred to as WK (well known).
  • Unspecified being called in dead language-Latin "Spirtus" (rctified spirit), located in different concentrations in beverages which man must drink in order to maintain vital functions of the body ... It hasn’t directly expressed an opinion about the sound, but had a definite effect (purely scientific) on ours ...


Anplifier LUXMAN L-507s
Digital source SACD YAMAHA CD-S2000
Analog source PRO-JECT RPM-5.1/ORTOFON 2M BLUE, Custom Version One
Loudspeakers VIENNA ACOUSTICS Beethoven Baby Grand
Power cables WK AUDIO® “THE ONE”
Interconnect (pre-amplifier→ power section) SUPRA EFF-I/NEUTRIK
Interconnect (turnable/pre-amplifier) SUPRA EFF-I/NEUTRIK rca/XLR
Interconnect (sacd) SUPRA EFF-I/NEUTRIK XL
Anti-vibration platforms WK AUDIO® “PURE SERIES”
Circuit breaker GIGAWATT GC20A
Fuses AHP II gold

Digital source MARANTZ CD-17
Tube head phones amplifier DYI
Interconnect VDH D-103 MKII
Sennheiser HD 580, modified
Power cords WKAUDIO® “THE TWO”
Anti-vibration platforms WK AUDIO® “PURE SERIES”
Fuses AHP II gold


Vitus Audio RI-100
CEC TL2 drive cd
CEC DA5  d/a
Gauder Akustik Vescova Diamond tweeter


  • Audiophile Reference IV, FIM, SACD
  • Sacred Spirit ‎– Volume 2: Culture Cash, Virgin, CD
  • Diana Krall, All For You, Impulse!, CD
  • Gustaw Mahler, Symphony no. 3, W.P Claudio Abbado – DG, SA-CD
  • Linda Rosenthal , The Artistry Of..., FIM, XRCD2
  • Metallica, Garage Inc., Vertigo, CD
  • Miles Davis & Michel Legrand , Dingo, Warner Bros Records, CD
  • Ray Charles : Genius Loves Company, SA-CD
  • Rimsky-Korsakov, Sheherazade, Fritz Reiner, Chicago SO, RCA Living Stereo, CD
  • Tschaikowsky: Symphonie nr. 4, L. F. Jewgenij Mrawinskij, PLATINUM SHM~CD
  • Vaya Con Dios, Thank You All! Live, Sony, CD


First we listened to a WK AUDIO® “The Two” cable with the copper plugs, then with gold plated and at the end rhodium plated. We decided to listen to the several tracks on each type of plugs. After the end of the listening session the discussion began. Thanks to that, we were able to express our opinion on the differences between all plug types (a-b-c test and not a-b and b-c test). In this case, this method was better because it showed a wider spectrum of the problem which we have had to solve: which plugs are playing better, and will there be any difference in the sound system?

|AS: Between the standard “The Two”, equipped with the copper plugs, and the “The Two Gold” version is the abyss! Gold played smoother, calmer, vocals were much more pleasant and much more accurate but the sound was less vibrant and less energetic than with copper plugs where from the very beginning was the "WOW" effect! With golded plugs the bass was deeper and above all it was better controlled, the music scene was deeper and better arranged, more precise because the sounds were just like "separated" from each other. In the “Gold”, compared to the copper version, I had the impression that a "filter" was turned on, which slightly favors the edges of the frequency, and at the same time "cleans" the sound from roughness and dirt, subtly taking away its energy and vigor.

The “The Two Rhodium” version combines all the good qualities of the “Standard” and “Gold” versions! So we have peace and smoothness but understood by control of full sound spectrum, because at the same time we get sound full of energy, vibration and air tremor.

There is no sign of slowing or suppressing dynamics here. The sound is very harmonious and consistent and at the same time very accurate and genuinely. I have the impression that all ranges are presented in a very linear, natural way. The sound stage is not only as deep as in “The Two Gold” version, but also wide. The sound easily breaks away from the speakers, and the equipment disappears from the room.

The vocals are beautiful, they are as deep as in the copper version and as calm and smooth as in the gold one, they are also long sounding and vibrating. The “Rhodium” version is very musical. We have the impression of a natural cementing of sounds that make up the music being played, without any holes and deaf voids between the sounds. At the very beginning, I thought that the rhodium version played bright. But this impression appeard only after switching the cables and I think that it is only the result of the differences between the darker versions of “Gold” and “Standard”. The “Rhodium” version simply shows the full range of medium tones in their natural, non-diminished, way.


|MM: WK AUDIO® “The Two Gold” version, in relation to the “Standard” version with copper plugs, definitely improved the depth of the music scene and the way the bass was reproduced. It has become richer in information and better controlled. The sound generally became very clean and tidy up. “The Two Rhodium” version turned out to be absolutely the best! The sound began to rise, a huge amount of detail appeared, the scene became deep and wide. I just immersed myself in the music and sounds, the transmission became very engaging, but for me the bass is a bit too strong here.

Despite the fact that I think that the “Rhodium” version objectively played the best, the most natural, if I had to choose something for myself, I would choose the “Gold” version. It was calmer and more "distanced" to musical events, it played with weaker bass, what is more suitable to me. It was quite an experience to listen to a standard (means bad) recorded CD with "metal" music. Only the “Rhodium” version coped with the disadvantages of this recording. It presented this music in a soft manner, devoid of sharpness and roughness, but at the same time very energetic, holding the rate and with the dynamism. In addition, the high level of resolution in this version ordered the storm of metal sounds and arranged it simply into the music. There were no signs of a slowdown of “Gold” or the chaos of copper.

A big surprise was the use of the FURUTECH CF-080 ring on the IEC connector. While maintaining all the features of the “Rhodium” version described above, the sound began to look a little like in the “Gold” version I liked. It gained depth in the sense that it began to present everything with a certain distance.

|TG: I will say it briefly. Copper played fast and wide, but a little dry and colorless. Gold is on the opposite pole with its color and filling. The sound became dense, slow and detailed. Rod combines the positive features of both previous cables: there is color as well as speed, there is a pace but also a control, and there is ... cool stereo. The use of Furutech's Damping Ring on a rhodium plated IEC plug "only" strengthened the effects described above, just added some more flavor to the already tasty soup ;-). The only change of a different character was a significant deepening of the music scene

|AJ: Each change gave a really big difference. “Gold” showed more color and saturation. The high notes were less obtrusive, the lower registers played here the first violin. The effect of this style was, for example, more hidden, but also less clamoring, more pleasant vocals appeared. The sound stage of the “Gold” was wider and deeper than with the cable with copper plugs. The sound was basically better built and more tangible, but slower, with a lower pace than with copper. Rod really pulled out what was good in gold and copper. All sub-ranges of sound were very even, and the recordings were presented at a very good pace. The spirit of music has appeared!

After placing the Furutech ring, the cable with rhodium plated plugs can be easily compared to twice as expensive cables from the prestigious manufacturers.

|WK: Generally this time I could, not to take a part in this debate, because basically everything has been said ... with what I simply agree. So I'll try only to sum it up. In my opinion, the WK AUDIO® cable “The Two Rhodium” played the best, both in a very expensive system in Katowice and in my reference system in Plichtow. It turned out to be the most equal and the most musical, it showed the music recorded on silver and gold discs best of all three cables. Yes, I am not afraid to use this word: MUSIC!

The whole sound spectrum of “The Two Rhodium”, of course, can be divided into individual components: it best reproduced the tempo of recordings, best and most fully defined the instruments and the atmosphere of recordings. It showed the fullest and the most natural color. “The Two Rhodium” created the widest and deepest music scene, where the sound easily detached from the speakers. It was the most homogeneous and, at the same time, it has the best resolution. And this kind of effect we would expect from much more expensive cables.

All of these advantages have been mentioned by my colleges. These advantages are pragmatic and easy to define when analyzing the sound, they are also the basis for an "objective" evaluation. However for me the most important thing is that after pluging in the cable in the version with rhodium plated plugs, all of the above-mentioned elements, sound components, simply go to the backgroun. MUSIC is at the foreground. It starts to flow, to trickle into our ears, and we "simply" feel pleasure in communing with it. This is probably this moment that you stop analyzing and stop looking for a hole in the whole, you just start to listen.

Two things interested me in the copper and the gold. “The Two Standard” with copper plugs charmed me with vocal and some intimate closeness, tangibility of sound in jazz recordings, with the participation of small, acoustically recorded bands. The cable in the “Gold” version appealed to me in the recordings of large symphonic compositions.

Calming, more in the sense of taking a distance from musical event than slowing down the sound, and the depth of the soundstage, all of it had a very positive effect on the presentation. I had the impression that I could almost see every instrument suspended in its own place, on an invisible thread. It was not a real presentation, it had strong features of its own creation, esthetics, probably a kind of theatricalism typical for gold, but it was very interesting...

As Jan Kiepura sang:
Brunettes, blondes – I want to kiss you all my girls
Yet there is only one I dream about
This one I want to love…
For me it is ROD!



This simple test once again showed the diversity in the World of Audio. How the seemingly “insignificant” details seriously affects the sound of the whole system! Once again, in “Close Encounters” we have dealt with the theme for many audiophiles marginal, even ridiculous and, from pragmatic point of view, unnecessary. And once again, I hope, we managed to show that such a "prosaic" elements as the kind of material which is the layer in the plug of the power cable is not a matter of aesthetics, fashion, elegant-expensive gadget. They have a huge impact on the sound of the whole and complex system.

And these differences did not require an intense listening to the nuances at the level of perception threshold. The changes were very important and begun from changes in color, tonal balance, level of details and resolution, into changes in the width and depth of the music scene. In two systems, from very different price group, including this in Katowice in RCM studio and this in my house, one could observe practically identical impacts on the sound.

However, I would be careful about implementing this "scheme" in inconsiderate and mechanical manner as an axiom to any other audio system. In both of the above-mentioned configurations, rhodium simply let to play and show the best features of the system. Once again, I repeat: the rhodium will not fix anything, will not improve and will not forgive... It will only show all the features of our equipment, those that have not yet speak to us, have not had the opportunity to reveal themselves! So if we are moving in the more budget zone of audio devices, through their price convicted to certain concessions, we must be careful and attentive.

Let's just do the experiments, let's borrow cables, because, paradoxically, it's gold that can introduce the changes that we desire through its peace and refinement, or just copper through its vitality and energy. Audio World is in the first place a matter of a perfect synergy that can really happen at any price level. Besides certain marginal and uninteresting cases, in my opinion there are no audio devices that are objectively bad and objectively good.

There are, however, objectively well and objectively bad fitted audio systems. All cables and other accessories are a full-fledged members of the audio systems. Their conscious use is a perfect solution for those who, not to spend a fortune (in relation to the price of the whole), want to significantly improve the sound of their equipment. And you, which one do you prefer brunette, blond or redhead? The conclusion of this article should be: the one that better suits your... personality. However, I know from experience that reality can be quite astonishing.... ;-).


  • Close Encounters of the FOURTH Kind - INCA GOLD – The AHP Fuses HERE
  • Close Encounters of the THIRD Kind - The “fishermans” from Lodz to the “miners” in Katowice, close encounters hits the road. HERE
  • Close Encounters of the SECOND Kind - About the black death. HERE
  • Close Encounters of the FIRST Kind - about dogs and cat, or: does the length matter? HERE

The FURUTECH plugs supplied for testing by distributor: RCM
The power cables “The Two Standard”, “The Two Gold” And “The Two Rhodium” delivered by manufacturer WK AUDIO