The notion that one can “demagnetize” LPs is certain to raise the hackles of certain members of the audio community. “What’s to demagnetize?” the skeptics will scoff. Well, according to Furutech, the carbon employed to color vinyl black attracts a magnetic charge that has a deleterious effect when the stylus hits the groove (a reason that the late and much-lamented Classic Clarity label began producing fabulous- sounding LPs sans black carbon).
Hocus-pocus? Not in my view. No, I can’t vouch for the technical aspects of the Furutech DeMag device, which retails for a hefty $2715 and comes with a pair of white gloves. But what I can tell you is that it only took one LP subjected to the DeMag to convert me from skepticism to conviction—a recording of Johnny Hartman on the old Impulse label. The before-and-after test was pretty darn convincing: The Furutech removed a layer of grit, glare, and haze, revealing a smoother treble and increased dimensionality. And it did this on degaussed LP after LP. On Dickey Betts’ album Highway Call, for example, it was obvious that his voice was cutting through the ensemble a lot more vividly. There was just no way that I could gainsay—as much as I would have liked to—the potent effect the DeMag had on improving the sound of a variety of LPs, ranging from classical to rock to jazz.
Operating this exotic device is a breeze. It’s hefty and requires a bit of space. But after hitting the power button, you plop an LP down and press a second button that triggers the demagnetization process. I didn’t stand there with a stopwatch, but I’m guessing it takes about twenty seconds to complete its operation. You can also place CDs and even bunch up cables on top of the unit for degaussing. Furutech advises against leaving the unit powered up when you’re not using it. Finally, watch your wallet: It can also wipe out your credit cards, and not just because of its price.
So where does the DeMag fall in the pantheon of analog products? Here’s the skinny: I’m not going to tell you that the DeMag will magically transform beat-up old records, turning dross into gold. It won’t. Nor is it an essential piece of equipment. You can probably get more bang for the buck by upgrading a cartridge or tonearm or maybe even by improving the isolation of your ’table with a device like the Minus K product.
But if you’re pretty much set on your analog rig and looking for a nifty upgrade—one, let’s face it, that will likely have your friends questioning your sanity until they experience what demagnetizing an lP accomplishes—then the Furutech DeMag is a no-brainer. Put bluntly, Furutech, which makes a variety of devices for improving analog playback, has hit a home run with the DeMag.
If you think this makes me sound bonkers, so be it. I only know what I hear. And what I’ve heard, and am hearing, has more than convinced me that I would be guilty of dereliction of duty if I passed up procuring this cutting-edge device. There are many bogus offerings in the high end that promise improved performance. This is not one of them. The DeMag simply magnetized me with its stellar performance.
SPECS & PRICING
Dimensions: 19" x 2.7" x 18.5"
Weight: 24 lbs.