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Millennium Noise Guard Tube

[ART Millennium Noise Guards]
[Italian version]

Product: Millennium Noise Guard Tube - Anti-RFI cylinders
Manufacturer: A.R.T. Audio Reference Technology srl, via Masaccio 176, 50132 Firenze (Italia)
Approx. price: 70 $ (2 pcs for AC cords) 100 $ (4 pcs. for interconnects)

Another jump into the precious ART catalogue just to discover an item meant to minimize RFI inteferences on our HiFi cables: introducing the Millennium Noise Guard Tube, a self-explaining name, I guess.

What's in a tube

Here are the Noise Guard Tubes: the lenght is the same for interconnects and AC cords but the diameter is different: 3.5 cm the former, 4.5 (1 inch) the latter. The wall thickness of these mysterious cylinders is about 3 mm.
You need 4 cylinders for your interconnects and just two (the larger ones) for your AC cord.
I can only guess they're made out of a shielding material (ferrite compound?) since the cylinders are protected by a plastic black sleeve that I should have cut to unveil what's inside...and the kind guys at ART wouldn't have appreciated this for sure! :-)

What do they do and how to use them?

They claim to stop the interferences coming OUT from the cables, hence avoiding these unwanted noises to reach the near HiFi components.
The installation procedure is easy, as you can guess, and you just make your cables pass through the Noise Guard tubes and then hook up them again to the preamp/amp/CD player or wall inlet if you're treating an AC power cord.
The tubes should be placed both very CLOSE to the HiFi component (at one end) and to the wall AC inlet (to the other end). This is all.
As already suggested for the Q-Dampers, A.R.T. recommends to use the cylinders around EVERY cable of the HiFi system, in order to get the best shielding effect.

Listening to the...Tubes

I had 4 smaller tubes and two large ones. So I firstly used the larger ones with the amplifier AC cord and the smaller ones on the interconnects between CD player and amp. Secondly, I have shielded the CD player AC power cord, leaving the amp cord unshielded.

Detecting the presence of the Noise Guard Tubes has been an easy task: first of all the soundstage has become more focused and precise, with a kind of pin-point imaging. This was especially self-evident with mid-high frequencies and voices in particular.
The singers were easily detected inside the soundstage with in-focus contours and an increased sense of realism.
I guess the reason for this improvement is the increased "silence" among instruments and players, a kind of cleaning effect that allows each player (or singer) to pop up out of the rest.
Another remarkable positive effect could be detected when listening to cymbals: the decays were more natural and spatially pin-point located without flying all around the soundstage.
Using the AC tubes with the power cord of the CD player instead the effect was slightly less evident and clear.

Let me spend a few words on the various levels of upgrade that can be obtained using devices and tweaks like these into our HiFi system.
Provided the obvious fact that our HiFi system is "good enough" to let us discover even subtle changes and differences, we can have 3 different levels of "upgrading":

Level 1 upgrades can be obtained (and heard) quite easily and with cheap tricks, normally.
Level 2 upgrades are harder to hear but are more significant: I call this "refinement" search.
Level 3 upgrades are normally extremely expensive and even a tiny "extra" of musicality can be very hard to reach.
Finally, keep in mind that the higher the level of the upgrade the more expensive it is. Also, these are the hardest ones to hear.
Let me make an example: with a Level 1 tweak I can easily improve the bass range of a CD player.
With a Level 2 upgrade I can improve both articulation and depth of the bass range, but it becomes much more difficult and expensive.
With a Level 3 upgrade I can get all the harmonics of a double-bass but I have to spend a lot of money and/or build-use something special.

Now, the Millennium Noise Guard Tube definitely belong to the Level 3 kind of upgrades and tweaks so I'd laugh to see these tubes used for trying to upgrade a stock HiFi component.
Apply Level 1 & 2 upgrades first, then you can conseider Level 3 ones, otherwise it is money spent...for nothing.


They work, against all odds! :-)
If you decide to try 'em and you will be able to hear differences this will mean two things: first of all your ear is well-trained and second, your HiFi system is very transparent and able to detect even subtle differences.

A huge thank you to the guys at A.R.T for having sent us these tubes for reviewing.

© Copyright 1999 Mimmo Cacciapaglia - http://www.tnt-audio.com

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