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You really opened a can of worms that tends to bring out the worst in people...
I have used several better outlets and have found all of them to be worthwhile. The PS Audio aren't bad but for the money I'd opt for porterports (available here from AP himself) but the best I have are Oyaide. They are very expensive for an outlet, but they sound good.
Many will argue that there is no audible difference, but most of those drew their conclusions apart from testing, so they have no justification for even responding to a thread like this...
I have never seen a post from someone who tried the specific outlet being discussed, and then posted a negative response. It might have happened, but i never saw it. If anyone says anything negative, ascertain what outlet they used, if they tell you they didn't actually conduct the listening test, but that they just know... they are a horses ass and should be ignored.
Get real results from real listeners.
I have PS Audio Power Ports I switched from Pass & Seymore hospital grades. Can't say I heard much if any improvement but figured what the heck I've spent this much on my system already why short change it here. I would suggest you try a couple of brands and hear for yourselve. Relative to everything else in most systems this is a pretty cheap upgrade or experiment.
As to what brands to try I would suggest Pass & Seymore (cheap outlet about 6.50 at most electrical supply houses). Hubbel or Porter Ports (Which I believe is a Cryo'ed Hubbel) PS Audio Power Port and the Wattgate which looks interesting but expensive at around 100 bucks used 150 new.
Also if you havn't done so already a dedicated circuit is a good idea.
I use two Porter Ports on two dedicated lines. I'm glad I have them but I don't believe there is any way to prove they are any better than stock hospital grade outlets. I certainly don't hear the orgasmic differences that others
attribute to this and other tweaks. I'm a skeptic. If I have to struggle to hear differences I believe those differences are suspect. If I can easily hear a difference, without prompting, then I believe it is real.
At present have a PS Audio power port in play
Was not expecting to hear much of a difference but what I heard was nice
It tightened up everything, gave a better bass definition and had it from plug in on.
From something that was tried on a lark and given to me as a gift, not much was expected but it workes others may work better, have not had the chance to try them but do intend to down the road.
This afternoon, I've just swapped out a PS Audio Power Port for an FIM outlet. Doesn't sound worse, can't say it sounds better. I suppose some would say you've got to let the new stuff burn in before you can tell if there's an improvement. I'm like Narrod, if I've got to strain to hear a difference, I'm skeptical there's anything meaninful going on.
Thanks to everyone thus far with you comments. I am somewhat of a skeptic as well, i.e. bought a few different power cords, PSAudio and a few others and think that the only one I really noticed a difference from the stock cords on was Audio Art Cables PC.
Photon46, is there a 'name' that FIM stands for, any reason you went with that?
Facten, not sure exactly what or who FIM is. The FIM880 was an outlet that has gotten good reviews and Galen Carol Audio extolls it's virtues. There are numerous testimonials from customers on his website ( gcaudio.com.) I had a chance to pick up a new one for a real good price so I thought I'd give it a whirl just to see if I'd hear a difference. FWIW, I have heard very substantive, immediate, no doubt about it differences between power cords. I've had such good luck enhancing my system with pc's, I couldn't imagine going with stock units anymore. As you say though, not all cords I've tried affected salubrious or audible effects.
No doubt there are quality and mechanical differences between receptacles.
Whether those differences result in an audible change is an entirely different matter.
Personally, I'd skip the hospital grade and other high-dollar stuff and get good quality commercial grade receptacles. Put the savings towards something that makes an undisputable improvement such as acoustical treatments for the room.
I just wish that it was possible to put R1's in the PS Audio Powerplant Premier.
I think I was told at the time it was not possible, but I'll have to contact Rick the guy that designs and mods some of the PS gear.
I think that would make an ultimate distribution box. However even if possible it would add quite a bit of cost between the parts and the labor (I'm guessing easily over $1000). Man I would love to have that unit, maybe with an upgraded IEC jack as well.
Power outlets do make a noticeable difference in sound.
So do the plug ends on your power cords.
Think of them as interconnect ends for your power connections.
Clean power to your equipment is just as important as your interconnects and speaker cable.
Ironically, one of the best sounding plug ends is the cheap Leviton three prong plug ends from your hardware store.
These are the ones for around $10, and have a white nylon insert on the three prong end.
I replaced the end of an MIT Z-cord with the Leviton, and it sounded significantly better.
One of my local high end audio dealers was making his own power cords using Leviton end plugs, and I still run his cords today on my power line conditioner and preamp.
The high end manufacturers know about it, too.
Did you know that Synergistic Research power cords use these cheap Leviton plug ends?
They heat shrink the entire plug end so you can't tell what it is!
I looked closely at two of my Synergistic Research power cord ends, and sure enough, the tell tale signature Leviton plastic ends and screws were there.
At my old job we ran playback equipment on a dedicated 20 amp feed using an isolated ground and power that is filtered through a bank of batteries to remove ripple prior to being rectified back into AC. Clean power is critical to good sound. No arguement. We did an interesting experiment using pink noise and analysis software to see if there was any change in measurement when changing just the electrical ends on the amp cord and receptacle. Proving me wrong, a good, clean connection does make an measurable, audible difference. It's so small any ambient change such as room temperature or humidity would negate it, but it is there. If you're worried about power spend the money on a good conditioner and buy whatever ends make the best match to your gear. FWIW, if you want to swap both male and female, Hubbel hospital grade male to female did make a measurable difference. I personally run an isolated ground dedicated cicuit at home using Leviton ends everywhere. Best $200 ever spent on my system.