QSA : My take on their expensive products

Ian B

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Oct 20, 2020
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I just replaced my SR Purple fuse with QSA Red in my Ferrum Oor+Hypsos headphone amp stack. Some preliminary impressions: Big increase in soundstage size and resolution. The sound is so pure it seems more like light and shadow than texture and solidity. Overall a very round signature, though also a bit analytical in the way it reveals all the layers and details. Seems to have a little bit of sheen and politeness. Extremely smooth and low ear fatigue.

Not as good: Doesn't seem to have the involving and energetic punch in the bass and midrange as SR, more restrained. Not as black of a background, or vibrant color. Some will miss the musical midrange signature of the Purple. I am hoping that all these things improve over the coming days. This first impression is after only a few minutes, so these have a way to go. Difference is obvious.
 
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ozzzy

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I am using a combination of both.
I have the QSA red on my Lumin X1 and CR-1 electronic crossover and the Synergistic Purple on my tube mono block amps.

ozzy
 

Willgolf

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Jul 22, 2019
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I am using a combination of both.
I have the QSA red on my Lumin X1 and CR-1 electronic crossover and the Synergistic Purple on my tube mono block amps.

ozzy
Are you able to tell whether the SR or QSA provides more musical impact?
 
May 30, 2022
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I just replaced my SR Purple fuse with QSA Red in my Ferrum Oor+Hypsos headphone amp stack. Some preliminary impressions: Big increase in soundstage size and resolution. The sound is so pure it seems more like light and shadow than texture and solidity. Overall a very round signature, though also a bit analytical in the way it reveals all the layers and details. Seems to have a little bit of sheen and politeness. Extremely smooth and low ear fatigue.

Not as good: Doesn't seem to have the involving and energetic punch in the bass and midrange as SR, more restrained. Not as black of a background, or vibrant color. Some will miss the musical midrange signature of the Purple. I am hoping that all these things improve over the coming days. This first impression is after only a few minutes, so these have a way to go. Difference is obvious.
Just wondering how the Red fuse sounds after the burn-in period. I just bought the Violet (traded up from the Yellow) and by the end of today should be fully broken in. So far, the Violet sounds more natural and less analytical than the Yellow. I’m looking forward to a/b testing later tonight.
 

highstream

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Nov 16, 2013
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I just replaced my SR Purple fuse with QSA Red in my Ferrum Oor+Hypsos headphone amp stack. Some preliminary impressions: Big increase in soundstage size and resolution. The sound is so pure it seems more like light and shadow than texture and solidity. Overall a very round signature, though also a bit analytical in the way it reveals all the layers and details. Seems to have a little bit of sheen and politeness. Extremely smooth and low ear fatigue.

Not as good: Doesn't seem to have the involving and energetic punch in the bass and midrange as SR, more restrained. Not as black of a background, or vibrant color. Some will miss the musical midrange signature of the Purple. I am hoping that all these things improve over the coming days. This first impression is after only a few minutes, so these have a way to go. Difference is obvious.

Give it a lot of time, 200-300 hours, which can go more quickly if it's in a device that has power to it all the time. I found the Red to be polite at first and a bit withdrawn. But it will definitely come around with ups and downs along the way.
 
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Ian B

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Oct 20, 2020
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Just wondering how the Red fuse sounds after the burn-in period. I just bought the Violet (traded up from the Yellow) and by the end of today should be fully broken in. So far, the Violet sounds more natural and less analytical than the Yellow. I’m looking forward to a/b testing later tonight.
I think the full burn-in phase is longer than advertised. So far I think most of my original notes are accurate (more or less), however after a couple days it got quite bright and has been a long ride back down. I'm going to give it a few more days.

What I can say is that it is probably a couple steps up from the Purple in terms of resolution, stage, and width, and easily makes your components sound thousands of dollars more expensive. On the other hand, much less bass than SR, less midrange emphasis than SR Purple, less saturated/vibrant color, less black background (but more subtle detail), and a little more treble.

The Red is still a very good value proposition compared to power cables, but less so than the SR Purple, even if it is more resolving and accurate.
 

highstream

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250 hrs/24 = ~10 days, assuming constant power
 

Ian B

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Oct 20, 2020
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I gave the QSA Red a full two weeks, and then swapped back to the SR Purple. I added some NPS-Q45T contact enhancer to even the fight. It's honestly almost like comparing speakers as they are so different and have different frequency responses.

The Red is clearly more resolving and wider, great staging, has a very transparent frequency profile, with slight brightness. It's musicality comes from how refined and clear it is. It also can be a little shrill in the lower treble because it is so dynamic, and I think it is better paired in a warmer system, particularly a tube component. The Red does not have much in terms of texture or color, so a tube system is a better match. Steer far away from silver cables!

The SR Purple has an obviously more uneven and heavily bass and midrange emphasized frequency profile. It does not have the resolution, however it does have MUCH more color and texture, and the frequency response is pleasing. Definitely a more thick and "analog" sound. And though the soundstage is not as precise and wide, it also seems more holographic and tangible. In a clean SS component it brings a slightly tube-like character. Where I think it really brings something special is how vibrant and colorful it sounds, whereas the Red is almost translucent in how refined it is.

It's good to have both of these around. My guess is I will be using the Purple more, and then when I feel an itch for more detail or resolution, I will put the Red back in.
 
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Willgolf

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Jul 22, 2019
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I gave the QSA Red a full two weeks, and then swapped back to the SR Purple. I added some NPS-Q45T contact enhancer to even the fight. It's honestly almost like comparing speakers as they are so different and have different frequency responses.

The Red is clearly more resolving and a little wider, and has a very transparent frequency profile, with slight brightness. It's musicality comes from how refined and clear it is. It also can be a little shrill in the lower treble because it is so dynamic, and I think it is better paired in a warmer system, particularly a tube component. The Red does not have much in terms of texture or color, so a tube system is a better match.

The SR Purple has an obviously more uneven and heavily bass and midrange emphasized frequency profile. It does not have the resolution, however it does have MUCH more color and texture, and the frequency response is pleasing. Definitely a more thick and "analog" sound. And though the soundstage is not as precise and wide, it also seems more holographic and tangible.

It's good to have both of these around. My guess is I will be using the Purple more, and then when I feel an itch for more detail or resolution, I will put the Red back in.
Thanks for the update on QSA Red and Purple. I am trying to decide what fuse to put in my Lampizator Horizon DAC. I have tube monoblocks with QSA yellow. It is hard to discren because I have 16 Western Electric 300B Tubes and and NOS TS 6SN7 black plates in them.

Did you by chance try SR Purple? If so how did it compare to QSA?
 

Ian B

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Oct 20, 2020
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Thanks for the update on QSA Red and Purple. I am trying to decide what fuse to put in my Lampizator Horizon DAC. I have tube monoblocks with QSA yellow. It is hard to discren because I have 16 Western Electric 300B Tubes and and NOS TS 6SN7 black plates in them.

Did you by chance try SR Purple? If so how did it compare to QSA?
My comparison was with the SR Purple, not the QSA Violet, so it's all there. You will probably notice what the SR Purple does more, but with the Horizon+tube mono blocks it could get too thick. I think the Red will get more clarity out of tube gear (I'm guessing that is what the designer is mostly using), but it is not going to be a huge departure in character from the Yellow, just resolution.
 

highstream

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Nov 16, 2013
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@IanB When you say a full two weeks, is that two weeks continuously powered, whether playing or not?
 

Barry2013

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Oct 12, 2013
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I gave the QSA Red a full two weeks, and then swapped back to the SR Purple. I added some NPS-Q45T contact enhancer to even the fight. It's honestly almost like comparing speakers as they are so different and have different frequency responses.

The Red is clearly more resolving and wider, great staging, has a very transparent frequency profile, with slight brightness. It's musicality comes from how refined and clear it is. It also can be a little shrill in the lower treble because it is so dynamic, and I think it is better paired in a warmer system, particularly a tube component. The Red does not have much in terms of texture or color, so a tube system is a better match. Steer far away from silver cables!

The SR Purple has an obviously more uneven and heavily bass and midrange emphasized frequency profile. It does not have the resolution, however it does have MUCH more color and texture, and the frequency response is pleasing. Definitely a more thick and "analog" sound. And though the soundstage is not as precise and wide, it also seems more holographic and tangible. In a clean SS component it brings a slightly tube-like character. Where I think it really brings something special is how vibrant and colorful it sounds, whereas the Red is almost translucent in how refined it is.

It's good to have both of these around. My guess is I will be using the Purple more, and then when I feel an itch for more detail or resolution, I will put the Red back in.
That is interesting Ian.
I have the mauve and yellow and plan to try the red at a future stage.
It rather seems that fuses take us back to the perennial choice and debate over warmth and transparency where at the end of the day it becomes a matter of personal choice.
I had a very similar experience recently with my new Sikora Standard Line turntable. The stock clamp istheir own make, a very substantial stainless steel and black model. I used it to begin with rather than the Stillpoints V2 which I had been using previously. Initially I was very pleased with it, but reverted to the Stillpoints. The Sikora clamp imparted a noticeably warmer sound but lacked the transparency of the Stillpoints clamp which I have now reverted to.
I guess it is all a question of balance and personal taste and even small changes to one's system can make a significant difference.
 
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highstream

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I’ve found less isolation almost invariably sounds warmer. That’s presumably because it’s picking up resonance in lower frequencies. Sort of an analogue to developers adding an mid-upper bass hump in the frequency response for the same effect. In my case Stillpoints weren’t enough (I also couldn’t figure out what their mechanism for two directional isolation is).
 
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wil

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Jul 22, 2015
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In my video setup, I use an HDFury Vertex2 to split the feed from an Nvidia Shield TV Pro to a monitor and an AVR in order to improve video quality while allowing the AVR to run my 7.1 channel audio. The SMPS inside the AVR degrades video quality. I use a Farad3 LPS with an SR purple fuse for the Shield TV Pro and a Farad3 with a QSA silver fuse for the Vertex2. In this setup, the QSA silver fuse has a huge impact on video quality in terms of color saturation, contrast, and blackness. I am mesmerized by the picture quality whenever I watch TV.

Obviously, I have not directly answered your question, but given my results, I would expect a QSA silver outlet to have a similar effect.
I'm curious about the description of the effect of the silver fuse on video quality? Does it make the video look more natural and realistic? That is, more like what you see with your eyes, or does it create more of a exaggerated color saturated and contrast? A good reality test for this is to look at a still image on the video screen of trees. And then look out your window (assuming their are trees outside!) and compare the greens of the trees there.

As a professional photographer, this is what I do when working on an image in Photoshop. It is very easy to lose contact with what is real, natural color when looking at monitor. It's easy, with Photoshops controls, to ramp up the saturation and contrast little my little where the brain adjusts to a new, over-baked image. A quick look outside always brings me back to what natural color is, and where I want my images to be.

My idea of improved video quality is more nuanced color and tonality, more gradations and without blocking up of color.

I'm not asking this as a challenge to the fuses. I've heard many good reports on them.
 

highstream

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Nov 16, 2013
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My understanding is that QSA’s gold and silver are model names, not about their materials. Is that mistaken?
 

auricgoldfinger

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Dec 8, 2019
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I'm curious about the description of the effect of the silver fuse on video quality? Does it make the video look more natural and realistic? That is, more like what you see with your eyes, or does it create more of a exaggerated color saturated and contrast? A good reality test for this is to look at a still image on the video screen of trees. And then look out your window (assuming their are trees outside!) and compare the greens of the trees there.

As a professional photographer, this is what I do when working on an image in Photoshop. It is very easy to lose contact with what is real, natural color when looking at monitor. It's easy, with Photoshops controls, to ramp up the saturation and contrast little my little where the brain adjusts to a new, over-baked image. A quick look outside always brings me back to what natural color is, and where I want my images to be.

My idea of improved video quality is more nuanced color and tonality, more gradations and without blocking up of color.

I'm not asking this as a challenge to the fuses. I've heard many good reports on them.

In my experience, the higher end TVs in a given product line typically have better color saturation and contrast as well as deeper blacks. To my (non-professional) eyes, the entry level screens offer little in the way of nuanced color and tonality. I find them bland. The change in my setup was akin to going from an entry level screen to the best in class. My TV was a top-of-the-line model when I bought it, but it has gotten even better with the arrangement I described above. I would say the colors really pop.

That is the best analogy I can give you. Hopefully, it helps you assess whether the silver fuse might suitable for your personal taste.
 

highstream

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Nov 16, 2013
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I agree with auricgoldfinger. After years with a top of the line F8000 Samsung model that even the cable guys marveled at, I picked up a LG C1 model from Costco over the holidays when they were reduced in price (the Samsung QLED didn't look as true to me in tests). In addition, I think one will get a lot more for their money from the following:

- a good HDMI cable. AQ says the Vodka gives the greatest gain from the video side and behind that the gains are in audio. Previously, it was the Carbon model
- change the power cord if possible to a high quality one, even if it's only, in the case of LG, to theirs. Samsung allows a full run
- run the power cable from a regenerator or conditioner (put a good fuse in there).
- if you have cable, get a good in-line filter
- unless you calibrate yourself, check out the settings the best have come up with at AVS's model dedicated forums. I found the settings there for the Samsung to be a very good starting point, while surprisingly Consumer Reports' settings for the LG C1 are awfully good.
 

Willgolf

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Jul 22, 2019
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Gold Canyon, Az
My comparison was with the SR Purple, not the QSA Violet, so it's all there. You will probably notice what the SR Purple does more, but with the Horizon+tube mono blocks it could get too thick. I think the Red will get more clarity out of tube gear (I'm guessing that is what the designer is mostly using), but it is not going to be a huge departure in character from the Yellow, just resolution.
Ian --oops one of the problems of being functionally blind is that I don't see all the words presented so I missed the SR purple part....my bad. I do appreciate your comments on tube components. I will probably add a QSA red to the Lampi Horizon when it arrives. Then I will debate in my mind whether to add the SR Purple to my Mono tube amps and LDMS Music server. Prior to having all QSA yellow, I had SR orange. All of these decisions would be easier if I was still making money in. the Stock market. A $1,400 fuse times three is tough to swallow right now.
 

wil

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Jul 22, 2015
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I agree with auricgoldfinger. After years with a top of the line F8000 Samsung model that even the cable guys marveled at, I picked up a LG C1 model from Costco over the holidays when they were reduced in price (the Samsung QLED didn't look as true to me in tests). In addition, I think one will get a lot more for their money from the following:

- a good HDMI cable. AQ says the Vodka gives the greatest gain from the video side and behind that the gains are in audio. Previously, it was the Carbon model
- change the power cord if possible to a high quality one, even if it's only, in the case of LG, to theirs. Samsung allows a full run
- run the power cable from a regenerator or conditioner (put a good fuse in there).
- if you have cable, get a good in-line filter
- unless you calibrate yourself, check out the settings the best have come up with at AVS's model dedicated forums. I found the settings there for the Samsung to be a very good starting point, while surprisingly Consumer Reports' settings for the LG C1 are awfully good.
What I was trying to hone in on with my question was: Does the tv picture, with a silver fuse, look more like the color, saturation and contrast that you see in the real world? Or do the colors seem more saturated, with more contrast, more pop than what you see in the world?

My experience is that most TV monitors are already factory set at artificially hyped levels of color, contrast and saturation. Just walk into a Best Buy store. Every TV on display is screaming look at me!

I use a calibrated monitor for my photography editing set to be a close as possible to what one sees in the real world. I don't have experience with TV monitors, but I'm guessing the best ones can give you the ability to achieve a more natural rendition than what you'll see on display at Best Buy.

The ideal I have both for a TV is to have natural color with many subtle gradations and with a natural (not hyped) level of resolution and contrast. In sound reproduction, I'm looking for the equivalent in auditory terms. So, I'm wondering, in visual terms, if you experience the silver fuse as making your TV's images more natural looking or a bit more exaggerated? (And I realize that whichever you like the best can be a matter of preference!). Thanks
 

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