brass outlet covers...anyone try them? Sound good


I have got myself in this outlet cover mess recently and decided why not try a solid mid sized brass cover the home depot sells for $4.99. There was a sticker on it that read pegasus. Why not brass. Is not brass good for resanance.

I am in the process of this and will keep posted on results.
freemand
Is it all brass? Try a magnet and check if it has any steel in it.

What brand and type of wall receptacle are you using?

Is the wall outlet box made of steel or plastic?

Last but not least, explain what you are hearing. What differences are you hearing from the sound of your system with the brass plate over the wall plate you were using? Is the old wall plate plastic?
yeah put one on each side of your head covering your ears and see if you can hear the difference in your wallet!

Happy Listening
I only spent a webit of time when I replaced it, but what I did here was nice. I will come back with a more clear result which I may do tonight. A lower noise floor is what I remember.

I have also a steel 51 cent cover that I will use also in the comparison.

I do have to say is it did make a change.

The brass outlet is all brass. I put a magnet to it and there was nothing. Nice thing about the polished brass is it sure looks cool.
To finish the rest of your question jea48 they are the home depot blue plastic outlet box. I have a watt gate 381 as my main two outlets. I Have a full home theater outfit so I but the brass covers on several of them. The other outlets are acme silver plated and a ps audio.

I did have the cheap bendable I guess plastic kind on there before.
yeah put one on each side of your head covering your ears and see if you can hear the difference in your wallet!


Bigkidz,
I noticed from your (Reviews) you apparently have done some on power cords. I did not take the time to read any of your reviews though, as from your post here I can only assume you think after market power cords are merely snake oil at best.....
Jea48,
I did the comparison tonight. It was intersting and anyone who says covers don't make a dif. probably have ears that can not hear the differences.

I compared my brass outlet, pass and seymore plastic, and a 51 cent magnetic steel from home depot. I used the same center screw and tightness for all plates.

Well, this was no contest and here are my findings

The pass and seymore seem to lack in the focus. There seem to be a loss of a little life.

The 51 cent magnetic steel seem to lack slightly in the pace and rhythem. What I did not like about it is it seem to add a sense of roughness or unnatural sound.

The brass outlet was a really sweet deal. The first thing I liked was its good pace and rythem. It was very crisp. It had a better sense of resolution to it and life and the focus was the best yet.
I then thought, why not add a second brass outlet on top of the other one to add more brass bulk for better resonance. Boy, was I wrong! Did the pace and rhythem take a big hit.

I also then messed with the position of the center screw. Having it really tight was like taking the air out of the music. Having it really loose (sticking out slightly) seem to have a bit loss in the focus. Having it tighted just by hand so it is just snug proved to be the winner.

Call me a geek...I already do!!!
How about brass clocks and rocks? Do they work as well?
just of our curiosity, are you referring to the outlet recepticle (i.e what you plug your power cables into?) if so then i agree with you that outlets do make a difference. I cant understand your findings about the center mounting screw though. any ideas why different levels of tightness makes a difference?
>>I also then messed with the position of the center screw. Having it really tight was like taking the air out of the music. Having it really loose (sticking out slightly) seem to have a bit loss in the focus. Having it tighted just by hand so it is just snug proved to be the winner.<<

This is all a joke right?
I found some very heavy cast brass covers at a second hand store years ago. they are all 3/16" to 1/4" thick in a lovely design. I use them in the living room with my stereo, but I NEVER put them in there to alter the sound. Lucky for me they are very nice loking, and what they do to the sound is obviously not actually hearable. What soap I bathed with, and what shampoo I used may have more influence than outlets....
Are you 'super' tweakers displaying other psychotic symptoms, IMO.
(8^Q...
>>I also then messed with the position of the center screw. Having it really tight was like taking the air out of the music. Having it really loose (sticking out slightly) seem to have a bit loss in the focus. Having it tighted just by hand so it is just snug proved to be the winner.<<

To quote John McEnroe, "You can't be serious".

I hope this is a joke but if it's not please list your other system components in order to determine what quality level one needs to attain so that duplex covers enter the tweak realm.
I don't doubt there are differences in sound with various materials covering the outlet. The cover plate can be a drum head for vibration, transmitting into the AC connection.

So, depending on how close your speakers are, room construction, type of AC outlet and overall system performance it could make a nice improvement in sound when you swap out the cover.

I've done a number of comparisons and found (magnetic) steel to be the worst and the stock hard plastic ones (found in most homes), acceptable.

However, the soft Nylon covers labeled "unbreakable," the ones that are easily twisted with your fingers, performed best in my system.

Regardless, all these tweaks are CHEAP, generally .69 cents to a few bucks, so your next trip to Home Depot consider buying few to try in your own system. Worst case, you might be inspired to clean your AC plugs male connectors with Caig Gold and replace those old scratched up outlet covers.

Before anyone criticizes wall plates and those that wish to experiment, ask yourself if you've ever bought anything for your home or car because it looked nice and only cost a couple of bucks.

This is supposed to be a fun hobby. No harm in experimenting and showing pride in your music making machine.
Albertporter,
I will have to check on the covers that read unbreakable. I was going to go around my house and see if I have anything different. I was not nuts about the plastic pass and seymore, but like you said it was acceptable. I could not deal with the magnetic steel one however

Try the brass next time your at the Depot
So, depending on how close your speakers are, room construction, type of AC outlet and overall system performance it could make a nice improvement in sound when you swap out the cover.

A 2 3/4" by 4 1/2" electrical cover of surface area 12 square inches in an average 16 by 12 by 8 ft room with total surface area of roughly 120,000 square inches.

This makes less than 1 hundredth of 1 percent of the surface area???

Surely, in order to make a "nice improvement in sound" then

1) the cover would need to be totally loose and rattling terribly - unusual but possible.
2) An extremely stiff power lead connected to a humming device (transformer or shaver or something like that) - again unusual
3) next to one's ears (listening position on the floor near a wall) - again unusual

I can't see that being simply close to a speaker would be enough. I also can't see how changing the cover material could be possibly be enough to be audible under ordinary circumstances.

Have I experimented like Freemand? No....but come on guys! It ain't April the 1st is it?
Audiofell, you're not forced to spend the .69 cents, I would not worry about it if it offends you. I still think it's possible to hear the drum effect of an outlet cover and in any case, it's a harmless experiment that forces the user to pay attention to their AC connection.

I think there should also be discussions about cleaning RCA connectors, AC blade connectors and speaker spades (or banana) too. Cleaning all of these are audible and always an improvement.

Many times I've gone through my system, doing nothing more than "housekeeping" cleaning of connectors and gotten significant improvement.

In fact, I think sometimes audiophiles doing equipment testing, plugging and unplugging tubes, cables or AC connections the new piece of equipment gets a slight advantage because that connection is improved in the process.

As Neil Young says "Rust Never Sleeps," (neither does oxidation :^).
tboooe,
Yes, the covers that sit over the ac outlet.

My guess when I tightened the screw very tight it had something to do with the outlet and cover extreamly tight up against the wall, thus all the vibrations are much more able to effect and conduct through to the outlet. When its loose the vibrations are not able to conduct from the wall to the outlet as easily. Just a guess???? We do know that ac has a lot to do with our systems so I am not surprised

When the screw was really tight is when it made it much worse.

Having it real loose was another thing. It is close or maybe upon further review (copyright...NFL) it is not much different. I do know that having it really tight to just snug is a noticable difference.
Regardless of the amount of area of the cover, it constitutes a direct vibration pathway to the electrical connection between the male and female AC circuit.

In fact, the AC connection would be better if it were a crimped "gas tight" fit or soldered to eliminate the friction fit, but then it would be a pain to connect and disconnect.

Have none of you never experienced the benefit of reducing the connection strain on a RCA plug, damped a connection (or chassis) with a damper or noticed a tighter AC connection improved bass and reduced distortion?

The idea is the same but in miniature. I'm not saying the outlet cover is a big deal, I did not begin this thread nor is it a subject I would have chosen for a thread topic.

HOWEVER, since it's now on the table because Freemand opened that can of worms, I see no harm in encouraging Audiogon members to experiment with the cheapest of cheap tweaks and consider cleaning up their connections at the same time.

If this was a $100.00 deal I would be the first to cry foul, but it's not and there are no motives on behalf of the Freemand to make money or defraud anyone. It's a harmless test that could result in an improvement in sound. If you don't believe in the cover, at least clean the connections, I think you will be surprised at the change and that is FREE.

Hopefully "free" is enough cheaper than .69 cents to not garner criticism as a subject for tweaking.
Albertporter,
You sparked a thought in my mind.

You have mentioned about the drum head effect analogy. Being a drummer I know how significantly the drum sound changes by tightning and loosening the drum head. I am no scientist but I have an open mind cause theres so much I don't know. Out of everything there is to know I don't know even a half of a percent. In fact, theres probably no one on this planet that knows 1 percent of everything there is to know. So it's not fair for me to say that this can or can't make a difference....cause just don't know enough to say.

That being said, I am going to go back and trust my ears...thats all I can do!!!
(Still) ROTFLMAO
I found some very heavy cast brass covers at a second hand store years ago. they are all 3/16" to 1/4" thick in a lovely design. I use them in the living room with my stereo, but I NEVER put them in there to alter the sound. Lucky for me they are very nice loking, and what they do to the sound is obviously not actually hearable.

Elizabeth, at the time when you put the new heavy brass plates on your receptacles you would not have necessarily noticed a change in the sound from your system. You were not even thinking of the plates having anything to do with the sound from your system. Your were only concerned with the appearance of the covers. With just a little bit of your time you could check if the plates are indeed causing an effect on the sound from your system. Take just a few minutes and pull the brass plates and replace them with the regular plates you have in your home. Please post back with your findings.
Jim
(also) ROTFLMAO

I'm mostly certain I couldn't tell if there is sonic difference between covers, and I absolutely know I couldn't describe what it is.
How about cleaning connections as I suggested? Can't hear that either?
your points on connection quality are well taken Albert - i do clean connections (though probably not as much as I should given most of my equipment is a few years old, or older). I understand conductivity, and impediments to it such as oxidation and poor fit. Mostly I can hear distortion and noise that appears when there are problems. I don't accept your "direct vibration pathway" point however.

My skepticism, and amusement, relates to the discussion of outlet covers and how tight screws should be on them . . . although if one of my outlet covers began to rattle because it's too loose, I may take an interest in it.

Maybe I just wish my system was to the point that it was down to the outlet covers for that last little bit of sonic advancement. Then again, I think I'll spend my time just listening to the music.
So the outlet cover acts as a drumhead transmitting vibration to the electrical current? Regardless whether one can hear the differences between types of covers, that "explanation" makes absolutely no sense.

Freemand, make a video tape of you describing the differences in sound between outlet covers you observed and post it on YouTube. I guarantee that you'll have your 15 minutes.
Brass as an RF shield. New constuction electrical boxes with proper mechanical grounding for resonance control. AC mains box with proper mechanical grounding/direct coupling for resonace control. Rememeber this is your first chance for control as IT enters your home. Interested..Tom
Here is some reading material for those of you that may be interested in outlet cover plates.

Why or exactly how the darn things works, heck if I know. I also can not tell you why a receptacle with a brass back mounting strap, like that of the Hubbell HBL8300H or the Hubbell 5362 will effect the sonics of an audio system.... Smoother sounding, lower noise floor, deeper tighter bass, ect, ect. And as many of us know a receptacle of equal quality as the Hubbell receptaces but with a steel back mounting strap will not give the same effect. Why is that?

The only sure way for a non believer to totally disprove that a receptacle cover plate will not cause change of the sound of your system, good or bad, is to try it.

http://www.audioasylum.com/scripts/t.pl?f=cables&m=118116

http://www.cryo-parts.com/oyaidewpcxxx.html

http://www.radixcables.com/products_wpc-xxx.html
This is purely an absurd waste of bandwidth. I'd like to know how much time you spend on room acoustics? Room acoustics are a part of your system than can have very audible improvements.
No offense but you got to be pretty bored listening to receptacle covers.
Just another application of vibrational behavior/acoustics, musical instruments or electronic chassis's.Another benefit maybe a gain in efficiency. Tom
In my system this 5 dollar cover has done more then what a 200 dollar shakti stone has done in my system. Does that mean shakti is no good? No, but IN MY SYSTEM a 5 dollar brass cover was a huge value. People can doubt it, and it would not matter if they do, cause in the end I enjoy my system more and it only cost 5 bucks!!! Good times....

People think we are nuts for putting cones or maple slabs under or components and say that cant change the sound. Anyone who has done it knows how important it is. There will always be naysayers, but if it works in one mans system then who is anyone to say it don't. They can say its a waste of time and just listen, thats fine.

Your right onhwy61, this sounds totally nutty to the normal person and even the audio lover, and I would not be necesarily telling anyone outside the audio world and maybe even in the audio world.....!!!
Albert, what specifically do you recommend as a cleaning agent?
Caig pro gold works well and not expensive, I use it on interconnects, speaker terminals and even tube pins.

I've had good luck with the Walker silver paste, but use it very sparingly. I find it works well on fuse holders where additional contact is beneficial and there is little chance of the silver creating a short. So far I've been hesitant to put the silver on output tube pins of my VTL 750 amps.

For cleaning without adding any treatment, ordinary alcohol works very well. Just be careful to avoid splashing it around stereo equipment that's powered up. A friend of mine spilled a very small amount of alcohol into the chassis vents of an Aesthetix Io and it ignited into full flame. I don't know what the repair cost was but it was not a pretty situation.

Anyway, Caig is safe and I don't know anyone who thinks it's bad for connections or sound.
You guys may think I'm nuts, But I bid on the tru tone covers so I will be able to see how the brass holds up.

Keep you posted, though my guess no one will care.
I don't think you'll have many competitors. Bid low.
I think your on to something audiofeil or maybe on something!!! I won the auction.

Since I am this knee deep in madness I need to finish.
Why stop at the outlet covers?

I've got a connection for "audiophile grade"(AG) sheetrock for only $400 a sheet.

Sure...some of you are thinking...why in the hell would I spend $400 for a 4x8 piece of sheetrock that I can get at Lowes for less than 1/10 the price?

Because the stuff at Lowes doesn't have the "Audiophile Grade" stamp of approval nor does it go through the same "lengthy expensive testing process" that the AG sheetrock does.

and if the new AGsheetrock doesn't blow your hair back...just wait until you slather multiple gallons of my $800/gallon AG paint on top.

What's that?

You say you can't/didn't hear a difference.

Well then you're probably just screwing the sheetrock into ordinary "studs" and not the special audiophile grade ones.

When will you guys ever learn? sheeesh.
Audiophile grade sheetrock and studs sound great but I think that paint price is out of bounds. No way it should cost more than $500/gallon.

I think you're pulling a fast one on us.
The funny thing is unless you try it its hard to say anything about it...though it would seem logical.

The best thing is is my system is sonically more natural and it cost me 5 bucks only.

I guess thats what I learned!

Ellery911, please get me the info on the $400 sheetrock, I may be in and also, have you tried various covers?

Who knows why sonics are so acceptable to small changes. I thought it was a joke and that outlets can't do anything.
Ok here we go.

I have been racking my brain over this thread for three days now trying to figure out how a cover plate can make an audible difference. First of all I don't seem to be the typical audiophool as in the fact that I seem to be looking for scientific reasons behind the sound/tone we are trying to acheive.

So here is the hypothisis. Reduction in RFI that is leeching into the plug at the receptical. As long as the receptical is properly grounded the center screw that attaches the cover plate is connected to ground. Although brass is not a great conductor it is still a conductor connected to ground through the screw. That may be one reason Freemand had poor results with the screw loose, not having a solid ground for the RFI from the plate to flow through. I am still working on why he had poor results with the screw really tight because unlike Albert I cant figure out how EMI will have an effect.

Surface electrical charge. Say on plastic cover plates, in theory it should go to ground through the screw but we are talking thousands even tens of thousands of volts of static electricty that can build up. Can some of this voltage leech into the receptical due to its close proximity? Could be why plastic is not the best choice. As for nylon which Albert says he has had the best luck with. Nylon is a better insulator than plastic therefore it rejects static charge build up reducing the available voltage that could possible leech into the receptical. As for brass and static it being a better conductor then either plastic or nylon there should be little or no static build up as it should all flow to ground.

The RFI or stray static voltage leeching on to the line through the receptical or plug corrupts or adds noise to the electrical line that your equipments power supply may or may not be able to filter out.

Have fun and remember PFM.
Has anyone considered bacteria? Some types of bacteria will break down petrochemical products, albeit very slowly.

Theory: The cover acts as a drum head and amplifies the sound of the bacteria mulling about along the surface.

Of course, brass is of no interest to bacteria - so it is better than plastic. Wood has natural toxins that kill bacteria - so it might be even better still.

As long as there are no termites in your climate, I 'd go for wood, brass would be a close second!
Artizen,
I am no scientific wizard, but theres seems to be some logic with what you said.

I think the RFI has at least a part in this. One reason I say this is when I have installed stillpoints ERS in the wall behind the outlets I have had great results. Within the same wall studs I have 5 outlets. Two in the home theater side and three on the other side oposite in the walk in closet which houses all the components. Theres a lot going on within that one wall cavity which may be why I used quite a few sheets of ERS. I know living only 15 miles from all the radio towers in the city suburbs don't help.

Like I said before, I will keep trusting in my ears and enjoying the home theater!
Freemand, you are going down the wrong track. The difference in sound you are hearing from the wall plate has nothing to do with RFI.

Here is some more reading material.
http://db.audioasylum.com/cgi/search.mpl?forum=tweaks&searchtext=Oyaide+WPC-Z+wall+plate

If you truly want to interact with others that are interested in why a wall plate can effect the sound from your audio system you are on the wrong audio forum. You need to post your thread on the "Tweakers' Asylum"
http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/tweaks/bbs.html
You will find a more open minded audience.
Jim
I'm with Albert & Tom ( Audiotweek ) on this one.

Anything that physically touches or connects to your componentry becomes a transducer for mechanical energy. This mechanical energy alters the sonics that we hear and can be excited at a variable rate acoustically. If one doubts this, try hooking up a cable to a distortion analyzer and watch the distortion measurements jump around as you move or "flick" or tap on the cable lightly.

This is probably one of the reasons why cables that make use of mechanical damping can sound "blacker" than cables that are more sensitive to microphonics, either airborne or mechanically coupled.

With all of that in mind, i really don't know how much "damping" a wall cover can offer, but i do know how much more metal rings compared to a composite material. Given that the power cords are mechanically coupled to the outlet cover / wall receptable box, maybe a mechanically damped metal shielded plate would work best.

Anyone want to market a highly damped composite material outlet cover with bits of metal impregnated for shielding purposes? With this kind of stuff, the sky is the limit.... Sean
>
10-23-06: Elizabeth
I found some very heavy cast brass covers at a second hand store years ago. they are all 3/16" to 1/4" thick in a lovely design. I use them in the living room with my stereo, but I NEVER put them in there to alter the sound. Lucky for me they are very nice loking, and what they do to the sound is obviously not actually hearable. What soap I bathed with, and what shampoo I used may have more influence than outlets....
Are you 'super' tweakers displaying other psychotic symptoms, IMO.
(8^Q...

Elizabeth, If you are still using the brass plates and they are installed on grounding type electrical duplex outlets chances are the brass plates are degrading the sound of your audio system. You may want to replace the brass plates with nylon outlet cover plates.

Here is a post of Bob Crump's posted in 2003 on AA.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

.
want to hear insane?
24.167.92.81

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Posted by rcrump ( M ) on March 21, 2003 at 01:28:05
In Reply to: Genuine insanity: What kind of cover plate do I need? posted by rhizomatic on March 20, 2003 at 09:10:15:

I made some power strips probably fifteen years ago using some black plastic boxes and ordered some really beautiful cast brass plates for the fourplex boxes only to find that the solid brass made the sound just bright as the devil....A couple of nylon screws and some tape on the backside of the plate took care of the problem....Aluminum doesn't have that sort of problem BTW....
http://db.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.mpl?forum=tweaks&n=79013&highlight=oyaide+outlet+cover+plate&session=

I've become so confused by the issue of the sonic attributes of outlet covers on audio that I've just taken them off and let the the open outlets act a mini diffusors. Cheaper and less angst. :-)
07-31-07: Newbee
I've become so confused by the issue of the sonic attributes of outlet covers on audio that I've just taken them off and let the the open outlets act a mini diffusors. Cheaper and less angst. :-)
Newbee

Newbee, I believe there are others out there that feel the same confusion as you.
While reading your post a terrific idea came to me.
What if AlbertPorter included a FREE nylon outlet cover plate with the purchase of every Porter Port 20 amp receptacle he sold. What do you think, great idea! .....LOL.
I bet matching light switches in your dedicated listening room could only add to the superior sonics of those wall plates.
awwwwwwwww...c'mon....now covers for the outlets have an impact on music???????.....boy, this garden is wider and deeper than i thought...keep going guys...i'm having too much fun with all these posts of pebbles, phone calls, outlet covers, etc....and to think that my system sounds dam good without any of the above...hmmm...i think i'm the one that is insane....LOL
So why not wood covers? It doesn't conduct and might add that magical touch folks claim when using it under components.
Meagan02, I started this thread long ago forgot about this zesty topic.

I thought too about perhaps maple.
For a nice sonic upgrade, Try a solid brass duplex cover,
with a maple mounting screw, & a cork/rubber lamenated
gasket. Make sure the maple screw is made by amish craftsmen.