Published On: 19 Feb 2024Categories: Reviews

VITAL STATS

Length Approximately 900 mm (20 mm thick)
Construction Blended materials, endcaps made of Kiaat wood

 

PRICE R8 500 (Pro Version)

SUPPLIED BY Magellan Audio 083 325-6017 / phisci61@gmail.com

 

 

The short of it…

When used in my system, the Magellan Audio RFI filters delivered improvements to sound depth and pace.

 

The long of it…

If you Google “RFI filters for high-end audio”, you find the same kind of extreme results that you get when entering the great and mighty Cable Debate.

RF filters for audio use are either totally ridiculous, are snake oil, not necessary in any system with competently designed gear, and are there solely to extort money from gullible fools who call themselves audiophiles.

Or…

They are a vital tool to help overcome the ever-increasing scourge of radio frequency noise that practically every digital device, from cellphones, Wi-Fi routers, invisible fairies and all manner of other gear spew out. This noise has the potential to totally ruin the listening experience and must be eliminated at all costs.

As is usual in the weird and wonderful world of audio, the truth lies somewhere in-between these two extremes. Yes, any competently designed audio device will have some form of RF filtration, but in my experience, a little additional filtration can help improve your listening experience.

This brings me to the Magellan Audio RFI filters listened to here.

 I was lucky enough to have been given a pair of prototype filters by Ryan Hill from Magellan Audio.  Ryan, I would characterise as a science-based audiophile and he has been looking at the effects of RFI interference for quite some time, both from the power side as well as the signal side of things. These filters are predominantly used on the signal side of an audio chain.

Looking like thick interlink cables, sans RCA or XLR plugs, the filters are supremely easy to use.

You can either attach one filter to left and one to a right signal cable, or you can use one filter per signal cable pair, thus using a pair of filters on two sets of signal cables. I also tried the filters on power cables and even the USB cable linking my laptop to Digital In on my amplifier. As I was doing quite a bit of chopping and changing, I used Velcro strips to secure the filters. For a permanent solution, you could simply use cable ties.

Now one of the biggest issues with using something like the Magellan Audio RF filters, is the time it takes to listen, get up and fit the filters and then sit down to listen again. This process may only take a few minutes, but it’s actually long enough to have you second guessing, A: if you hear a difference, and B: is this difference an improvement?

Audio psychology and cable naysayers will state that in many cases, we hear a difference because we want to hear a difference.

To overcome this, I roped in my daughter to listen to music while I fitted the filters. When fitted to the signal cables between my old DAC and amplifier, she said that she did hear a difference and music seemed to open up a little. This comment chimed with what I heard during my time with the filters.

Results differed a little, depending on where in the signal chain I used the filters.

I had the best results when the filters were used between devices with a gain stage. For example, between phono stage and amplifier pre-amp and power amp. The filters also worked well when used on my USB cable. While I did pick up a difference when used on power cables, this was less noticeable than when the filters were used in the signal chain. I even used the filters on my speaker cables, and this was the only area where I found no difference.

Putting a little meat on the bone of what my daughter detected, what I heard with the filters was an opening up of the sound stage and an improvement in image focus and detail. I’m hesitant to say that my system noise floor seemed a little lower, but I did detect some more fine and low level detail, which left music with a little more texture.  Importantly these changes were audible across all genres

In a second test a few weeks after being roped in the first time, my daughter said she heard a change in the sound system when I removed the filters.

I now get to the most important part of this review for most readers — do I believe that the Magellan Audio RFI filters are worth their asking price?

Selling at a price that is below what many reading this would pay for an interconnect cable, and based on the differences and improvements I heard when using them, I would have to say ‘yes’. Best of all, unlike signal cables (that we are told have to run in for a while before they deliver their optimum performance, making quick and objective decisions about performance extremely difficult), the differences these filters bring are immediate.

I’m not going to say that they have the ability to absolutely transform a system from a boombox to an audiophile one. If they did this, it would indicate that you have much bigger issues with your system than too much RFI noise! Rather, what they do — in my opinion — is when used in the best place in your system, they simply let the music you listen to breathe a little easier.

For the RFI naysayers, I have to say that while I understand your reasoning, the fact that I can listen to music for longer with more enjoyment when the filters are in my system (even if this is, according to you, a placebo affect) means that I like what they do and can recommend them.

On the other hand I’ll say to those who have absolute faith that the position of the moon, the orientation of your canary in the other room, or the chemical make of your wife’s lipstick, all make a difference to your system, don’t believe me blindly. Do what I did. Get someone else to fit, or remove the filters while you’re listening. If you hear a difference and an improvement as I did, get the filters. If you don’t hear a difference, don’t get them.

Joel Kopping

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