First Sounds: Furutech DeStat III
he path of product development is rarely linear and universally positive, and such has been the case with Furutechs simple but simply invaluable DeStat, a handheld device designed to disperse static charges found on CDs, but is equally effective on vinyl discs, metal or plastic driver diaphragms and a host of other audio-related items. Anybody reading the "Associated Equipment" listings on the bottom of my reviews will find that the DeStat and its larger, more expensive brother, the DeMag, are a constant presence. In fact, nary a disc gets played in this house without exposure to the DeStats gentle caress, making it as near to indispensable as anything in the system.
The unit I use is still the original model, an angular, handheld "hairdryer" powered by a quartet of AA batteries that require regular replacement. Its a little bulky and it does chew through those AAs, but the musical benefits are so obvious that Im simply not prepared to relinquish it.
A few years back Furutech, doubtless aware of market feedback, redesigned the device and launched the DeStat II, a smaller, neater machine with a number of refinements. A plastic teardrop enclosure stood on three spindly legs -- it was powered by an internal rechargeable supply and worked in reverse, sucking instead of blowing. Rather than waving the DeStat II over the surface to be treated, you sat the CD on top and pressed a button that dosed it with a predetermined blast of "the perfect mix of positive and negative ions." The problem was that the unit wasnt set up for constant trickle charge -- you had to engage the charging circuit -- and the revised format made it considerably less handy when it came to applying it to things other than optical discs. Naturally, as is the way with such things, it was never charged when you needed it, and I quickly reverted to using my much-loved original unit.
Well, for once it seems that lessons have been learned. The DeStat III ($390) is upon us and really does represent a clear step forward over the original, keeping the best points of the DeStat II and readopting those things that made the first version so handy. The new design keeps the compact form factor of the II, although it is now circular with a handle on top, looking for all the world like an undersized sparring pad or curling stone. The handle itself contains the readopted AA batteries, making for a more balanced feel to the unit while a button on the front face of the handle delivers a timed blast of ionized air, maximizing battery life. A small LED confirms its working and tells you if the batteries need replacing. According to Furutech, the DeStat III is more powerful than previous models and they now point out that its use extends beyond digital media.
Whether the DeStat III is more powerful than earlier models is hard to quantify. After all, once youve removed the static charge from something, its gone, so comparisons are difficult. What I can say is that it is musically just as effective, bringing that added sense of life, color and presence to the reproduction that has kept me using my original long past its shelf life. The III is also quicker to use, a joy to handle and easier to store/accommodate. I now have a DeStat in each of the two main listening rooms, and I no longer have to cart my elderly original from one to the other, or live in fear of dropping it or having it keel over through plain wear and tear.
I love it when a great product gets even better, and the DeStat III achieves exactly that. Its even $70 cheaper than the outgoing DeStat II, and while $390 might look expensive, the musical results are such that youll be using it every time you play a disc. Throw in the fact that when buy it through your dealer you get to try it before you have to pay for it and you definitely have one of the biggest bargains in audio. Can something this simple really be this good? Give it a try and I suspect youll be as surprised as you are delighted by the results.
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