Tough question. Sometimes audio designers choose a plug because it sounds good to them. This is not always an expensive one. Check with the guys at Audioprism first. I actually spoke to them last week at the CES in Las Vegas. They were a friendly and helpful bunch.
I have added IEC's to gear that came with a hard wired lamp cord, but have never changed just the plugs.
This IS a tough one. There's less difference on the male AC parallel spade end, but do look for a plug that has big, thick spades with large, all-brass screw-clamp contacts.
The IECs were a different story until recently. Used to be that most of us tolerated the flimsy, solder-only thin contacts in the Schurter IEC320 4700.0603, or spent $$$ on Marincos or Hubbell or Furutech.
Just recently Schurter completely redesigned their IEC320 (now called the 4781.0100) into a GREAT connector with heavy screw-clamp terminal blocks and thick spring-clamp terminals! Finally. So building affordable PCs is now easier than ever. In my opinion, however, the quality of the cable itself is overwhelmingly more important than the connector once a certain level of minimal criteria are met.
Email me for details if you want. Cheers.
Subaruguru, I beg to differ as the connectors make up at least fifty percent of the "sound" of a power inlet cord.
This is hearsay from another member, but when he replaced the chintsy plug on his AC cord the improvement was reportedly significant. Based upon my experience with the Wattgate 381 AC outlet, if replacing male AC plugs with Wattgate's product approaches anywhere near the improvement that the 381 accomplished, then you'd be a fool to not do so. But this is only an extrapolated opinion, I haven't tried that although I certainly should.
The first choice are the ones with COPPER contacts (hard to find), second choice would be the ones with brass contacts. Avoid any plating.
The connectors must not be expensive as long as the contacts are of the above mentioned materials.
David d, I don't know where you find copper AC connectors as the better ones all seem to be Olin 688 brass, an alloy which is about 73-75% copper.....The problem with most of these is that the screws and tines on the neutral side are nickel plated and these cost like the devil to have them remade in the 688 brass, so much that I named my new cord the "688" model....
Sorry! I applied more to the IEC connectors. I think that the German firm Phonosophie have the contacts on their cables made from copper(very likely a special order), though. It must be possible to find them (AC connectors with copper contacts) somewhere...
Your'e right the nickel plating is a very bad thing(soundwise). Perhaps you can "get rid" of the nickel plating with abrasive paper or something else?
By the way, can you tell me more about the design of your new PC cord "688" model?
Maybe we should start a new thread about (DIY) PC?
David d, I make my living primarily on TG power cords.....A DIY version of the TG cords would be hard to make as the wire and connectors are either modified significantly or built to my specs....The Belden 19364 recipe I published some time ago will compete with most of the aftermarket cords out there and lends itself to DIY a bit better....Now copper connectors sure would be soft and don't think they would be very useful as they would have very little spring action....They would deform almost immediately.....
Just found the Belden 19364. It's clear how it's to be done. Tell me: did you, and how, used the drain wire?
The last couple of houses I have lived in are only grounded where there is running water; kitchen, laundry and bathrooms, but I would attach the drain wire to the wall plug end only....
Bob, Since 19364 is just plain old unshielded multistrand 14AWG in cheap PVC, why not just use the thinner-PVC 19354, and save 25%? Or use the double-shielded Teflon-insulated 12AWG 83802 for just $2/ft? Very clearly a superior cable for audio use. I can understand using the 19354/64 series for long cheap extension cords for HT, etc., but for better-sounding audio PCs I would expect that DIY'ers would prefer prefer an all-Teflon shielded 12AWG cable at only $10 more per PC.
More interestingly, I do agree that using good duplexes is important, but as long as minimum criteria of large-mass, triple-wipe contacts and strong screw-clamps, why would there be any difference among those that share these necessary, and perhaps sufficient criteria? I've torn apart Pass & Seymour, Cooper, and Hubbell 20 amp 5352, 5362 and 8300 dupes, and they're remarkably identical. Do you think the all-brass backstrap of the "62" and 8300 is important?
I wouldn't think so, and like the 5352s for value and VERY tight contact in all three of these manufacturers. The only one that seems to fall short is the Leviton, so far.
Thanks for your help.
Ernie: I beg to differ with you on the receptacles being "remarkably identical". There are pretty substantial "build quality" differences between, say, the Arrow Hart (Cooper), Hubbell and Pass and Seymour and what I would say are major differences in the blade configuration of these receptacles. This difference in blade configuration or contacts, along with possibly the materials the contacts are made of (although Bob says the P&S and Hubbell both use the same 688 Olin brass and I have no reason to disbelieve him) probably contribute most to the difference in sound quality between the various receptacles.
I just received a few Hubbell 5352, 5362 and 8300, as well my standard P&S 5352 and there's probably an A&H (Cooper) somewhere. I'll take 'em all apart (except maybe the $$$ 8300) and see for myself. Sure look damned similar on the outside and through the ports....
Ernie: Look closely at the contacts. Both the Arrow Hart and Pass and Seymour use (even in their 15 amp rated receptacles) a contact that can be, and is used in their 20 amp receptacles, allowing either a 15 OR 20 amp male plug to be inserted. Furthermore, the AH and P&S both use contacts that, if flipped around, would still work exactly the same way. The result is that the both the "live" and "neutral" contact accepting a 15 amp male plug (which probably 90% of users are going to have) are only going to make full contact along one side of that blade that is inserted. On the other side (again, when you are using a 15 amp male plug) of the contact, which is designed to accept a 20 amp plug, the surface area of the contact touching the blade of the male plug is going to be minimal.
The Hubbell contacts are totally different. If they are flipped by mistake during manufacture, they simply will not accept a 20 amp male plug. The "live" side of the contact in the receptacle is identical on both sides of the contact, resulting in a more complete and full connection (via surface area of both sides of the contact) gripping both sides of the male plug being inserted. The "neutral" contact in the 20 amp Hubbells is still going to suffer the connection problems of the Arrow Hart and P&S when a 15 amp male plug is used, but I am guessing the neutral side is less important, although I've wondered about this too, and think that for 15 amp male plugs, the 15 amp Hubbell receptacles may be even better, because, unlike the Pass and Seymour or Arrow Hart, the 15 amp Hubbells do not use contacts that will (if the face of the receptacle had the horizontal slot) accept a 20 amp plug. In the 15 amp Hubbells (ie. 5262), both the live and neutral side contacts grip the blade of the male plug fully along both sides of the plug. Thus, unless you're inserting a 20 amp male plug (how many audiophiles are really doing this?), the Hubbell 5262 may actually be the best choice, at least if the neutral side has anything to do with sound quality.
Apart from that, to me, the Hubbell's are overbuilt compared to the others and more solid. But I see this fairly substantial difference in the contacts as being pretty significant and probably the main reason why the Hubbell's perform so well.
The 19364 cords I made up was over twenty years ago as I brought out my first commerical power cord in 1985 which was a highly capacitive/low inductance cord, a different design altogether....I never sold 19364 cords, but that is where I started as 19364 cords came with Levinson gear and some off brand came with Threshold gear and the 19364 sounded "better" which made little sense to me then, but I ran with it.....You will find the duplexes remarkably similar as they all have to work with the same plugs you know! I think most everyone is using Olin 688 brass, but they all are really secretive about their annealing processes that the brass goes through to make it "springy"....I like the Pass & Seymour myself, but the cheapest one, the 5242-I as it just has nickel plated screws on the neutral side that need to be replaced is all and no steel in the AC's path at all....The really expensive Pass & Seymour uses brass clamping plates and might be really nice, but I haven't played with it. The ones I use here are the ACME silver plated 5242-I and, other than a really nasty and long break-in, are my favorites as they focus better than the others I have tried....