FIM 880 AC Outlet-- Best tweak I've ever heard

Summary: Friday morning I installed a FIM 880 AC outlet. This receptacle is made of high purity copper with ceramique insulation. I plugged my amp into it and was treated to the best music I have ever heard in my stereo system-- rich, warm, natural and beautiful.

Story: Last Oct. I got Vandersteen 5 speakers. In preparation for them, I had to go to 15 ft. ICs, short speaker cables, and Syn. Res. Master Couplers for the powered subs in the speakers, and a 14 ft. Master Coupler to reach from amp to a dedicated outlet. I also put in 3 Acme silver plated outlets, two went in non-dedicated circuits for the speaker subs, and the other was put on a dedicated line for my amp. So, I had to break-in or burn-in a lot of different "stuff" at the same time-- not the best way to do it, but to put the amp between speakers, I had to go this route.

I immediately liked the V5 speakers and even though they were very revealing, somewhat bright, and somewhat lean, I expected all the new wires and speakers to mellow as they broke in, and they did smooth out greatly over a 30 day period, and have continue to improve even now. But, even though very smooth and non-fatiging, they were still very revealing and brighter than I prefer.

I considered everything but most suspected the 15 ft. Syn. Res. silver/copper active shielded ICs, but to correct that would be expensive, and I didn't know what to replace them with anyway. I also remembered that the Acme outlets were silver plated, and of course silver has a reputation of being fast, bright, detailed, zippy, clean etc. But recently another A'Gon member, Eagle, recommended the FIM outlet so I bought one-- not cheap at $70. either.

Immediately after exchanging the Acme outlet for the FIM for my amp, I listened to some well known music. To be honest, it was a "jaw dropping" experience (and I seldom "gush"), Alison Krauss' vocals became warm, rich, immediate, live, natural, seductive. Timbral richness is now incredible. I had also just gotten 3 XRCDs and on Thursday night, (with Acme outlet) could only say the XRCDs were very revealing but that's all. But Friday with the FIM outlet, the Jacintha XRCD2 "Autumn Leaves, The Music of Johnny Mercer", music became truly breathtaking. It had ALL the positive characteristics I've noted above, and most of all was beautiful, natural, musical.

The same thing happened with the XRCD Robert Lucas "Luke and the Locomotives"-- a hard driving Blues/Rock CD. With the change of outlets, piano sounded like piano (it was glassy before in the treble range), a Fender Strat at full scream now sounds "right", and soft acoustic guitar was better than I've ever heard. But vocals was where the magic really was-- Jacinth's voice was rich, warm, natural, and "in the room with me".

This review is not meant to critisize Acme outlets, as in a dark sounding system, they may be "just right-- they are fast smooth and detailed once broken in. BUT IN MY SYSTEM-- well, the FIM has transformed it-- I admit to a definite preference for a warm, rich, sweet presentation, and I have FINALLY found it with a simple outlet change. Also, my Vandersteen 5s now sound like Vandersteen speakers.

If my house were burning down, and there was only one of these FIM outlets in existence, I'd save my wife, the cat, and the FIM outlet. The FIM 880s are "Dyno-Supreme", IMO. Sorry for the long-winded gushing, but I wanted to share this 4 month journey and experience with A'Gon brethern, and I also needed an "outlet" for my excitment;>) I've gotta' quit! Any comments/questions are welcome. CHEERS. Craig
Where did you buy the outlet? Hardware store, mail order....??????
Where did you buy the outlet? Hardware store, mail order....??????
.......should also have noted. FIM outlets are available directly from FIM at ($70.) or (an A'Gon dealer) for $60. Also, I'm in no way affiliated with FIM.

My only FIM outlet was put into a dedicated AC system to include Syn. Res. Master couplers. YMMV. BTW, I have copper based Hubbell outlets in my four other dedicated lines. I'm going to talk to FIM on Monday-- there may be more 880 outlets in my future. Is it possible to overdo a good thing? Craig
Ligi; we were posting at the same time-- availability is noted above-- I got mine directly from FIM. Craig
Galen Carol Audio will have them in stock this coming week for $55.oo.A bargain as within the last few weeks they have made even better is a very friendly guy with many years of experience.
Hi Garfsh, I have been using the FIM Outlet for almost a year or when they first came out. I also heard a great improvement in sound. I was not sure if it was the FIM or just replacing old outlets. One reason I chose the FIM is because there is no silver, or nickel. Silver is something I will never put in my system ever again. Anywhere, anytime. Good to hear someone else thinks highly of these outlets. I'm happy for you Garfish. I have a few new toys I feel the same about.
Sherod; glad to hear that Galen Carol is carrying the FIM outlets-- I'll check his website. I've done business with him before and agree he is very pleasant to deal with.

Brulee; I'ts nice to see some others have had success with the FIM outlets. I think my neighborhood has a fairly lousy AC power supply, and I have to carefully avoid anything that has a tendency to be bright. Craig
a question for brulee and a comment for all. first, do you sonically equate nickel plating of brass with silver plating? the reason i ask is because ps audio uses hubbells with nickel plating as their rebadged "power ports," which i find to be very good. my comment: i've heard from several sources that fim's wire and associated products are no longer being produced under winston ma's tradename (fim) and may not be available for very long under any name. -cfb
I feel the same, having used various other "audiophile grade" outlets, the FIM is the king. In the event of a fire, I'd save the Wife and Kids, the bottle of Balvenie, then the FIM outlets. I'd definitely need the Balvenie if that happened ...
Anyone ever compare the FIM to the Wattgate outlet?
I haven't tried the PS Audio outlet but would like to-- I have Hubbells, Acme, hospital grade P&S, and now a FIM. Galen Carol's web site has a bunch of testimonial statements about how good the FIMs are though. Sure hope it's not true that they're discontinued.

Just speculation on my part, but I'd guess that amps may be more sensitive to outlet quality because they use the most power. I'm going to call Galen Carol on Monday, and maybe FIM. Thanks for the interest and comments. Craig
Garfish, your choice of power cords combined with the ACME outlets would likely scrape the paint off the walls in the upper midrange and can see why the FIMs were preferred..... I've had good luck with the ACME outlets here......
Hi Cornfedboy, I do not know. I have been told for years to stay away from nickel no matter what it is plated with. I can't do comparisons on such things. I will take your word on the ps audio.
I've compared against the Acme and found the FIM superior. Tonally, it added great resolve in the bottom end, the richness that Garfish also noticed, while increasing dynamics (both micro and macro). After instaling the FIM, I also immediately noticed the naturalness that Garfish had mentioned, making female vocal especially involving. For the record: I use FIM Gold cabling throughout, with Tube Research electronics and JM Lab Mini Utopias (at this moment). Several years ago, I had installed a dedicated 100 Amp panel for my listening roomWhich is located on the back wall, center, with very short runs. I hope all this helps ...
I recently purchased FIM Gold speaker cables to replace my NBS Monitor I speaker cables. The FIM (after extended break-in) are superior in every way. The highs are very detailed, yet smooth (not bright), the midrange is grainless and voices are lifelike, the bass is awesome, deep and tight. The background is quieter than I ever heard before. These cables have a way of revealing all the infomation and yet have a "silky smooth" sound that truly has enhanced my listening experience. I am tempted to try the FIM Gold IC's and will look into their outlet as well.
Talk to Galen at has been communicating closely lately with the FIM people and is being constantly updated on the outlet upgrades.As I understood Galen last week in our phone conversation the newest outlets have even more copper in them for an even better contact.Galen would prefer phone contact as he is usually too busy at his business to chat on-line.I ordered the new fim outlet from him last week.They should be arriving from factory in Ca. next Tues.for shipment.I have read from many sources that the fim outlet is far superior to any hospital-grade outlets available.( better sound and longevity).There are other fim distributors out there but I live in Texas and Galen is in Texas so I try to keep my dollars locally.
I have heard that the fim gold speaker cables are one of the most musically-right cables on the market.Very expensive and very stiff,so evaluations are crucial for system compatibility.My friend Galen likes this cable line a lot but he told me recently that most of his customers prefer Cardas.Personal preferences and system synergy matching obviously at work here.I have found being new again to the audiophile world again after being away from it for many years that with all cables( interconnects and speaker) you have to be very patient and allow a thourough break-in of these cables before passing judgement,even longer than the manufacturer recommends.I recently bought a pair of interconnects that sounded awful after a week of 24 hr. burn-in and completely transformed after that to become one of the best-sounding cables I have ever heard.Patience is indeed a virtue in today's hobby of auditioning high-end gear. Happy listening fellow audiophiles.
Hi Rcrump; two years ago I had a dedicated AC system put in (copper Hubbell audio grade outlets) and initally it was much, much too bright with the stock power cords (maybe it just needed time to breakin?), so I auditioned (Redkiwi's advice) seven name brand power cords in the $200. to $1000. range. Of the seven, the Syn. Res. Master Couplers were the best of the bunch and they got rid of the brightness completely, and over time, I added them to all my components.

It was only in Oct. 2001 that I put in the Acme silver plated outlet for my amp, and as noted made several other system changes too-- it was difficult to sort out. Well, for my system anyway, the Acme was not a good choice. But I do not consider the SR Master Couplers to be inherently bright, in fact just the opposite, and I don't consider the Acme outlets to be inherently "bad"-- but in my system, they are too bright. The Acmes are very smooth, detailed, and fast and I would recommend them for a darkish, overly warm, or "slow sounding" system. I'm glad they work well for you. Cheers. Craig
Craig and Bruce, thanks for sharing your experiences here. I am so glad both of you have found an outlet that seems to be the last word in terms of what you are looking for. When a system is at the level that yours are, such a product is truly a gift. Wresting the last bit of goodness from systems that seemingly cannot be improved upon.

I am currently breaking in a new pair of speakers, but once that is done, I should definitely give the FIM outlet a try in my new listening room. To be honest, I still have not gotten over the improvement the room itself has presented me.

Take care,

We'd bought two Fim Audio Outlets for 20 amp dedicated lines and installed them in our system and after a long break in the change in nothing short of amazing. The music is smoother with more air, staging inprovements with no minuses.

We highly recommed this product as one of the most cost effective ($55*2+installation) changes for the system.

These were puchased at Galen Carol (NFI)

Would the FIM 880 outlet make an improvement for a power conditioner such as Equi=Tech Q2?
Lak; I'm not "hands on" familiar with the Equi=Tech Q2, but it's my guess that any component will take on the sonic signature of whatever it's plugged into. If you want more warmth, richness, and fullness then the FIM 880 may do that. OTOH, if you want more speed, detail, and a brighter presentation, then the ACME silver plated job may be better.

But in either case, if you have a fairly high resolution system, I'd bet you'd certainly hear a difference in whichever you chose, and it would be up to you to decide which you prefer. Good Luck. Craig
This message is for Craig(Garfish)A little off the subject it may go to another thread.Anyway, I noticed in your bio and other threads that you have or are using Synergistic Research cables.I read recently that SR is offering effective 3/01/02 an inexpensive upgrade to the new "X" series i.e. active versions. I have a pr. of Signature 2 speaker cables which I was thinking of selling and upgrading to the reference level,but the new SR website says an upgrade to the x-series would make your current model superior to a non x-series reference model.Have you or anyone else with SR cables tried this new upgrade and what are the sound differences.I know they are throwing in a $50.00 power supply and they boast of the neat-looking cool blue lights, but is there a dramatic betterment of the sound.Anyone that's heard these new x-series cables please respond.Thanks Also the website is .When you get in click the big blue X. They are currently revising their website so this is all you can get into for now.I think I see why so many dealers are trying to dump all the SR models at 1/2 price in order to make way for this new revolutionary X-series.
Two questions come to mind. One, the copper alloy will be softer and might not retain the grip desired. And, two, copper tarnishes as do most metals. Copper tarnish is a very poor conductor. Silver tarnishes, but the tarnish is an excellent conductor. Nickel plate does not tarnish. How do you handle the copper tarnish?
Sherod; I am using SR X series ICs and they were a significant upgrade over the standard ICs-- especially noticeable in sound staging. I have not tried or heard the new X series speaker cables (or PCs), but that's something I will be considering as a future (potential) upgrade.

Badge; I agree that the copper tarnish is a potential problem, and I have no solution. My approach is philosophical I suppose. The outlets will tarnish very slowly and it may be that music quality will degrade slowly too-- but so slow it may be imperceptible. And as of now, I'd much rather enjoy the benefits of the sound quality of these outlets than listen with those that sound too bright to me.

When I had a dedicated AC system installed, I noted in the main breaker box that the heavy copper wire feeding the sub-main was a bit tarnished so I pulled it out cleaned it with a pocket knife and on re-clamping it, new copper was also exposed, and afterward I thought music sounded cleaner and clearer-- that big wire had been in place for about 25 years.

Finally, I also think that just unplugging and re-plugging will have the affect of exposing a cleaner contact surface-- others have noted this too-- and it wouldn't have to be done often. Finally, while these FIM outlets are exceptional sounding, even inexpensive copper based outlets, such as P&S hospital grade (about $10.), and audio-grade Hubbells @ two for $25. also sound good in my system too. I use Hubbells on my other components (until I get more FIMs;>).

I think, in my system at least, just removing the silver plated outlet may have been responsible for much of the improvement in music quality that I experienced. But really, I think it was both removal of the silver outlet, and addition of the copper based FIM that created the significant improvement in music quality.

As I've already noted in this thread, I think in some systems, silver plated outlets could perform beautifully. I have a "lousy" local power supply too (dirty and fluctuating) that may be greatly responsible for excess brightness, and the fast, pure silver just made it worse??? :( Cheers. Craig
What wire is used for your source wire from the transformer to the panel, Badge? How about prior to there? Is it silver coated?
Acme now has their outlets cryo treated at Jena Labs. I have one of the stocks here now & find it to have a nice touch of added detail and tightness of bass w/o inherant brightness. However, after hearing about how much better people were doing w/ the cryo versions (same great detail, shorter burn in time, & sweeter mids) I recently purchased one of those as well as a new FIM outlet from GCAUDIO. THE FIM still has not arrived but Galen said they would ship soon. I plan on hooking one of these up to my dedicated line and run the PS Ausio UO HC from it to the amp then the other out of the "noraml" house wiring set up and plug my digital to it as is at first then via the two outlet Stealth from Audio MAgic. This will give me a chance to hear the Cryo version of the Acme as well as the FIM as is and then decide which may be better suited for the Stealth plug.I am also considering having the Leviton that comes w/ the Stealth replaced by the cryo Acme to keep it all silver. However, after reading this review I will keep an open mind on the idea that possibly the FIM maybe the better choice to have Jerry replace? All depends. I LIKE LOTS OF DETAIL! I am actually worried somewhat that the FIM may be too laid back but hey, I can always sell it here at Audiogon if it don't pan out. ;~)
Blazter, I'm sure you will, but please post your test results here for us to read! Thanks...
Yes, I will post the results but it will most likely be 5 or 6 weeks. The FIM just arrived today so I hope to install them both over the week end and take my stock non cyro Acme down to the "B" system. Thing is the outlets should most likey run in for 30 days before critical listening I would imagine.

I think we've communicated before. I too have the Fives. Do you use the stock power cords for the subwoofers, or have you found something you like better?

Hi Phil; I use Syn. Res. Master Couplers plugged into Acme silver plated outlets for the V5 subs. These are non-dedicated lines, but if I have the bucks this summer, I may have the Vand. 5 outlets dedicated. I didn't really A/B this combo and just use them based on my experience elsewhere. I want nice, tight, articulate bass. I hope you enjoy your V5s as much as I enjoy mine. Cheers. Craig
The FIM #880 outlet I ordered finally arrived yesterday. I agree with Brianw, Garfish and others. I replaced one of my dedicated Hubbell outlets with the FIM 880, and what ever I plugged into the FIM outlet (including the Equ=Tech Q2) sounded great.

"Tonally, it added great resolve in the bottom end, the richness that Garfish also noticed, while increasing dynamics (both micro and macro). After installing the FIM, I also immediately noticed the naturalness that Garfish had mentioned, making female vocal especially involving."
Does everyone still like their FIM 880 outlets? I was reading in some recent audio asylum cable threads that some people prefer the new Jena Labs and Acme silver cryo'd outlets.Anyone ever do a comparison with these?
I use Vandersteen speakers model 2Ce and had a similar experience with ACME outlet. After test many differents outlets, my best combination was use de ACME outlet only for the CD player and use the Hubbel Hospital Grade ($14) for the Integrated Amplifier.The sound is natural, organic, warm, very clean and dinamic.
To better results I use dedicated lines, different phases and 4mm2 solid copper wires.

Also the last entry with other form sites on Audiogon.
Yes, I've tried and have compared in my system both the Acme and Jena. The FIM still works best within my system.
I am normally very cynical about the hocus-pocus that I see online, but after spending enough on components to buy a decent new car, I broke down and bought an FIM 880. I was very amazed at the improvement that a simple outlet could immediately make -- the deeper bass and the greater dynamics made me sad that I had waited so long. For $80-$120, you cannot lose on this tweak.
I've been using a pair of these for about 5 years and have no complaints. They are a bit more reasonably priced than many audiophile outlets.
Wow - a twelve year old post comes back to life. Is that a record?
I don't think so.