Fancy Audio Electrical Outlet Causing Problems?


After having an electrician install a modified electrical outlet purchased from Bolder Cables the sound of my audio system has waned. It sounds lifeless, limp, like it's trying to get up but can't. No pop, no zing, no excitement. Is it possible that this outlet is causing a reduction in the quality of the sound? The components: McIntosh MA6500 integrated amp, Rega Jupiter CDP and Tannoy speakers. I've messed around with different component, cables, etc and the sound still sounds lifeless. Ideas appreciated.
budrew
Do you have dedicated circuits?
No, no dedicated circuits. My wife would have me institutionalised if I did that.
Either the outlets need more time to break in, or you don't like their sound. You will have to wait and see which of these is the case.

This assumes that other things are not responsible for the problem, such as:

Equipment being off for extended time while repairs to electrical were being done.

Equipment suffered a failure or alteration in set up when taken out of service.

You altered the electrical service when the electrician changed the plug, reversed polarity, used new material not broken in, or pulled the power from a different breaker than before and there is a problem with (noise?) or something on that circuit.

If none of this has occurred, your just going to have to put some hours on the outlets before deciding what they are doing.
If you have a voltmeter you might try checking the outlets voltage both with and without your audio system powered up. If the powered up voltage is more than a couple of volts lower than when powered down, it's possible that either the outlet is defective or that your electrician inadvertantly didn't tighten a terminal tight enough, cracked a conductor or outlet component or tightened the terminal around some insulation instead of bare conductor. If there is an indicated problem it may be potentially hazardous enough that the breaker should be turned off until the problem is corrected.
The sound is really frustrating. I've been running the system night and day and it doesn't seem to be breaking if that's the issue. The sound is just muddy, like there's a blanket over it. Surely, a wall socket wouldn't effect the sound that much. And surely suhc a highly-rated outlet wouldn't perform so poorly. Perhaps not an improvement over a stock outlet, but I doubt it would downgrade the sound so severely. Later today I plan to try a different outlet nearby and see what happens there. The way my system currently sounds I have no interest in listening to it. My wife who is no audiophile has also noticed this sound. Perhaps the next step is to take the amp in and have it checked out.
The sound is really frustrating. I've been running the system night and day and it doesn't seem to be breaking if that's the issue. The sound is just muddy, like there's a blanket over it. Surely, a wall socket wouldn't effect the sound that much. And surely suhc a highly-rated outlet wouldn't perform so poorly. Perhaps not an improvement over a stock outlet, but I doubt it would downgrade the sound so severely. Later today I plan to try a different outlet nearby and see what happens there. The way my system currently sounds I have no interest in listening to it. My wife who is no audiophile has also noticed this sound. Perhaps the next step is to take the amp in and have it checked out.
Trying a nearby outlet is an excellent idea. This puts you back to where you were before the electrician came. If you immediately like the sound on the "old" outlet, then there is definitely a problem with the new super outlet.

Please post your findings.
I was about to switch the outlet, then I realized I should try the FM tuner as a reference. The tuner sounded fabulous, alive, like music should sound. Hmmm... So I tried the CDP again (after I had replugged it back into the problem outlet) and I could swear there was some improvement, but it's hard to tell. The mud seems to have cleared up, the highs more clear, the blanket removed. I tried several CDs and different types of music. I then switched the outlet and there may have been some improvement, but again it is hard to tell. It is subtle if there is any imrpovement and it could just be a factor of the different equipment. The other outlet is not grounded so I had to use a 2-prong cheater.

I plugged the Mc amp back into the old outlet. Again, hard to distinguish any difference. But as I listened to the music I realized it just sounds dead, as if it's a mutated genetic copy of music from some science fiction movie. The midrange seems to be missing and isn't that where the life is in music. There's an emptiness there, a hollow midrange, which seems odd because both the McIntosh and Jupiter should have a warm midrange.

I put on my Tom Petty collection and could not stand the sound (nor could my dog). God, it was awful. Hollow, horrendous, Petty sounded very nasally, the sound was very rough. I'm listening to this same CD on my office Rega system and it sounds great. Tom always slightly nasally anyway, I guess, but on my main system it was unbearable.

Again, I've tried another CDP, tried different cables. None of this work.

Next steps...
* Try the Aux or Video input on the Mc
* Let the Jupiter and the outlet continue to burn in -- how long should this take, months?
* Take the amp in for a check up

I want my old sound back! I want my midrange!
Man I feel for you. I have done this to myself a number of times over the years. You make a decision to go for better quality and it screws up!

The good news is, it's only an outlet. Worse case is that if it does not break in and you determine that it is the problem, I have no doubt you may return it.

Boulder Cable is not interested in unhappy customers, you may simply put the old receptacle back or try something with a proven history ( I'm thinking Hubbell. )
Can you tell I'm ready to resolve this! I just put the Jupiter in place of my Planet in my office system and it sounds byootayful! So the problem is not the Jupiter (thank god). Wow, what a CDP.
At last a clue!!! You said the other outlet was un-grounded.

Was the new and improved outlet a grounded outlet? (probably)

Did the Electrician ground this outlet from a source that was not present before?

Have you added in a new ground source from somewhere?

Have you tried lifting the ground on the new outlet?

Institutions aren't as bad as you think. I'd really consider using dedicated power, It's quite the tweak.

I sold both of my power conditioners after adding 6 circuits to my gear

Ask Albert how many dedicated circuits he uses, I DARE YOU!!!!!! :^)
What did we do before dedicated circuits, line conditioners, and after-market power cords? Just enjoy the music?
Yeah, but then we found that dedicated circuits not only eliminated the lights in the room dimming (Good reason to give wife)when the amp turned on, but improved the sound as well. My Hubbels from Fatwyre.com worked well and still do after several years, for what it's worth.
I was just about ready to install dedicated circuits myself. Then I read your tale of woe. I think I'll wait awhile now.

You have my sympathy. I am convinced that Tim Taylor wired my house. I'm kind of afraid of the can of worms that will be opened up when I rewire. You know you're in trouble when the electrician giving the estimate is shaking his head and whistling.
Did you buy a Acme outlet? I just took one out of my system after 6 weeks. It killed my sound...now I'm using a Hubbell 5362-I and I'm very happy.