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'Audience Forte F5 power chord'

(1,75 m Schuko-terminated)

MARK: 90/100


Unlucky are those who don't know this cable or the other cables and products by Audience...But now you have no more alibis.

The brand-new Forte F5 power chord comes well protected by dust in the usual beautiful Audience box portraying an ecstatic audience during a live event where the golden logo stands out on a blue background. That arrives along with a Deoxit kit and a covering letter by President John McDonald. Every packaging reports the length (1.75 m is the one I chose), and the model with the specific type of termination (a high-quality Schuko in my case).

Visual aspect and trivia

    Unlike its Audience interconnect 'cousins', the Forte F5 is a large cable (not exaggerately thick, tho) with a distinct elegant look in black with occasional thin white stripes. White also appears at the very end of the plug ends so as to increase the feeling of contrast. Both of the terminations are rounded, sturdy and longer than competitors': this translates into an easier effort to plug it in or out when there are space constraints and also into the tranquillity it won't come out by itself so that you have to scotch tape it. Thirdly, the sonic result won't be compromised.
The two tags with the marvellous golden logo at the beginning and end are definitely the icy on the cake, making it even more a piece of audiophile jewellery. Some cables fail at this looking more like either exotic snakes, or shower tubes or water hoses. Audience AV is a company that leaves nothing to chance!

Another important aspect is that this cord (or chord as they like to call it) is solid and flexible enough at the same time to route it in order to avoid touching it other cables, altho I recommend audio beginners not to strain it too much as it might internally get ruined. In a home stereo system I find it has a really functional use in comparison with most of its competitors, which are less adaptable to domestic compromises.

By the way, the Californian company likes to call its cables chords, referring to a game on words between a cable and a musical chord to suggest that their products are analytical but also tending on musicality and harmony.
Also, did you know that Audience Au24 SX powerChord won the 2022 @the_absolute_sound Editor's Choice Award? I wouldn't be surprised if the Forte F5 won more awards, too.

Preparation and first testing phases with my equipment

After detaching the previous power cable, connecting the Audience Forte F5 and then patiently distancing all cables one from another to reduce reciprocal interferences, I started testing the cable after a tester found the right AC polarity.
The following four hours were the ones where the effects of the break-in were marked most.
I tried the baby on different electronics until I finally realized that it's in my bi-amped stereo system it delivers the finest and most audible results on my Exposure 2010s power amp and that is where it is staying. This power amp feeds basses to my Martin Logan 35 XTi's, but I would like you to note that this amplifier is also connected to a Rel T/7x subwoofer, so that I have complete bass frequency control from the same machine.


Genres and place of evaluation
Several recordings of Rock, Heavy Metal, Pop, Electronica, Ambient, Noise, Classical Music: some of that music was recent, some vintage, some well recorded, other was not adequately recorded because it was low-budget.
The listenings were taken in Italy. Keep in mind that in Europe higher line voltages are used, thus the effect of a power cord is diminished, since the cords are built to handle the same current as in the USA, but in practice only see half of that, so losses are reduced.


My approach is premised on the reasoning that no cable can currently bring night and day changes, but it can surely improve a system which is already at a decent qualitative level and, if it's the right cable at the right place, it can undoubtely solve some issues. So test and choose your power cables wisely, and remember that with Audience's products you always get a step up on the ladder to sonic nirvana.
The Forte F5 guarantees a weightier presentation, having the sub shaking my feet and chair more promimently than earlier on. A bit more presence in the lower spectrum of snare drums together with rockier and more explosive kick drums. The electric guitar happens to be more incisive and sculptured, not necessarily sharper. The electric bass appears to be slightly more audible and distinct during crowded musical passages.
What is decidedly extremely appreciated is the fact that the details in the softest moments of compositions are emphasized and chiselled loud and clear. This brings me lots of joy as it makes songs more enjoyable, with an impressive level of detail rendered especially in the acoustic or spoken episodes, probably because of the cable's uncanny ability to reduce noise and grain. Isn't this great? Which of you doesn't want a quieter background, to hear more nuances, more three-dimensional music, with the vocals earning the most in terms of intelligibility?

When you deal with compressed, tight and rapid music, such as some kind of Rock or Metal, the Forte F5 comes in your help vividly, by allowing faster attacks and decays from your speakers (and subs, if you use them).

Being a well-engineered cable whose unique six-conductor geometry is a proprietary design that, Audience claims, “rejects EMI and RFI noise while balancing energy flow for lowest eddy current resistance", it lays out the full frequency deck without shortchanging the complexity of a note. It's timbrically a bit warm but maintains a sense of realism, plus it possesses the gift of making you forget that you're listening to a solid-state system, being more forgiving of badly-recorded music.

The dynamics are a strong point, but don't forget it's also divinely nimble and designed to deliver a meatier low-end. Organic, with a deep extension and a spacious soundstage. It just sounds so good on any component, but of course synergy reigns supreme, so you'll have fun investigating and finding out between which components it brings the best results.
Careful system matching is essential, because some components are well-designed and are thus theorically indifferent to what cables you use with them, but in reality there is always a possibility to obtain improvements even from them. All you need is patience and blind tests to ascertain where it is better to leave a cable, and where it is better to use another. We've come very close, but so far no cable is perfect, no cable is 100% neutral and the characteristics that you need to achieve to be satisfied with your stereo require several comparisons, and in the end you will choose the cable that does 'less damage' to the sound.
To save you from wasting money and time, and avoid the pains of a fruitless research that brings from one cable to another, and then another and more, follow this piece of advice, which derives from a physics axiom: lower powered devices will benefit less by a better power cable, whereas hungry electronics such as amps or subwoofers will be inevitably more affected, so start from them and then purchase more Audience cables later for the other low-wattage electronics.



Starting from US$ 649 for the 1.5 m version, it is then evident that there is a good price/performance ratio inside of every Forte F5 cable, but in order to offer an honest and realistic review we have to remind you that to get to that fair price Audience had to reach a tiny compromise in comparison with other more expensive (that is non-entry level) cables from them, still the end result at this price surpasses all the competitors I've tested lately.


Available versions and specs
    Unlike the F3 cables, there exists so far in 2022 only one version of the Forte F5, the one with a 10 AWG (American Wire Gauge) of high purity stranded copper, which provides enough current to amps and power conditioners and insures an exceptional degree of low-level musical detail. In addition, the f5 has an ultra-high-quality XLPE (cross-linked polyethylene) dielectric material. It is designed and built to the highest manufacturing standards.
Additionally, the forte f5 is cryogenically treated using Audience’s proprietary process, which results in higher conductivity and improved signal transfer.

While the gauge remains the same, the available lengths are 1,25 m, 1,75, and 2,5. If space and budget are no limits, then the longer version is again recommended, because power cords express their best with longer runs, and once again any test with an oscilloscope, a voltmeter, and so forth can confirm it.

    I've never met an Audience cable that didn't sound good, and ANY Audience cable is a certain improvement over a stock power cable. The percentage of betterment is proportioned to the quality of the speakers and your house or studio electrical system, yet in the end for the price it is sold - basically a B-stock price if compared to other brands - the Forte F5 is in brief an absolute steal.
Audience is so sure about the products they manufacture that they are sold with a lifetime warranty.
Still not convinced? Note that Wolf Audio uses several Audience cords for their 9k-12k streamers, and if a company of the likes utilizes them, it can be no coincidence, it simply means that they are formidable.
To sum it up, the F5 is a refinement of the previous series of Audience's power chords, therefore if you're a lucky Audience power cable owner consider that all previous versions can be upgraded to the latest. What more could you possibly want?


MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 12 February, 2022


120 N. Pacific Street, K-9
San Marcos, CA 92069 - USA
Phone: (800) 565-4390, (760) 471-0202


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