Looks they are still viable to me.
Duster on AA generally does his research and their website does nothing to make me think this is other than a readily available mass-produced outlet without plating that they cryo, coat and somehow "break-in.
I have owned Acme, which are nothing special either, except for silver plating but the late Bob Crump (RIP) endorsed them.
On Saturday, I received a Furutech GTX-D(R) and even compared to the highly regarded (Hubbell HBL5362) Porter Port outlets I use, the Furutech outlet is built like a tank.
I have been using Furutech for years now before they became 'force' in United States. I started with Hubbell outlets, then switched to FPX (G) and finally to GTX-D (R) on all of my wall outlets, power conditioners and FI-28(R) on my power cords. IMO, every tweak has a cumulative effects on the sound. The overall synergy of outlets with plugs is simply outstanding.
I was able to achieve ultra smooth vocals at higher volume, better dynamics, tighter base and excellent tonal balance with Furutech's in my rig.
I agree it's a expensive upgrade but guys it's worth every penny. The outlets and plugs build quality is phenomenal.
I won't be trading up to NCF for a good while.
I just received the Furutech GTX-D(R) on Saturday and have not had time to install it yet. After I do, I will come back and post my impressions. I have to agree with lalitk,
The outlets and plugs build quality is phenomenal.I use their plugs, rca and xlr connectors on cables I make and the build quality of the connectors is excellent. The build quality of their wire is also very good as I have used their bulk IC, speaker and PC wire. I have been very happy with the Porter Ports but I was able to purchase the GTX-D(R) as a "new, open box" item at a very good price so I thought I would see what all the fuss is about.
I use and like the Porter Port outlets. I started to use them when Albert started up the sale years ago. For the price I think they are hard to beat. With that said, I find the Furutech GTX-D (R) outlets to sound superior in both of my systems, I use 5 of the Furutech GTX-D(R) outlets along with some Porter Port outlets. The sound is more dynamic, three dimensional, with more detail and bigger bass. The down side is the price and the "LONG" break in time. Sometimes up to 300 hours! Luckily I have and used my Audiodharma Cable Cooker to break in the outlets and I did not have to put up with the misery that so many others had to listen to during break-in. There is a lengthy discussion in the Audiogon Forum regarding the Furutech GTX-D(R) outlet and other outlets.
These might be the two Forums I was thinking of if you have the time and patients to read through it all. There really is some good information here:
I was told by someone in the industry that I trust, Maestro is just a cryo’d hospital grade outlet.
No green dot.... For the receptacle to be a hospital grade outlet it would have to have the green dot.
Looking at the picture of the Maestro outlet compared to the Cooper BR20 Commercial grade outlet they are identical. Right down to the Trade Mark found around the wall plate mounting support screw hole.
This photo is not mine, it came from the following website: http://www.audioexcellenceaz.com/ Photo:http://www.audioexcellenceaz.com/products/audiodharma-cable-cooker-cable-conditioner/#jp-carousel-17...
That's certainly disappointing if the Cruze Audio Maestro is simply a Cooper BR20 outlet, cryoed and nothing more but.... actually, I wouldn't mind at all. I would buy a nice stash of the Coopers and send them off for cryoing and then have several of these fine outlets for very little $$$. I have a few of these, a few more Porter Ports, and had the Oyaide R1 and SWO-GX. The SWO-GX was hugely outclassed by the other three sounding opaque, slow, bloated... not only nothing special but a hindrance to clarity, transparency, and pacing. The R1 was nicely detailed with a clearly defined soundstage and excellent control but both the Maestro and the Porter were obviously less colored and more transparent. I think the Porter may be the slightest bit more transparent but it sounds less controlled, almost a bit loose compared to the Maestro. I have no experience with the Furutech outlets so can't comment on them but the Cooper/Cruze Audio Maestros are legitimate, higher end outlets. Buy them from Lowe's for $3.47? You bet I'll check into that. I agree the mark-up and deception in audio is B.S. but don't dismiss the Maestros. Just my 2cents worth...
JMHO the cooper BR20 is in no way in the same league as the Cryo’d Porter Port, (Hubbell HBL5362 Extra Heavy Duty Industrial Series duplex receptacle.)
Look at pages A-12 and A-13
The Hubbell retails for around $28.00
The Cooper BR20 is just a cheap garden variety spec grade commercial grade outlet. The cooper BR20 has a galvanized steel back strap for starters. That alone is bad for the SQ of audio equipment.
Here may be an ever bigger bargain for you to try.
The outlet looks like it is made by Pass & Seymour.
Is the back strap made from galvanized Steel on the Synergistic Black AC outlet?
It sure looks like galvanized steel. Easy to check with a magnet.
Thank you for the input. My response, more than anything else, was to defend the sound quality of the Maestro outlets. The original post seems to suggests that the Maestro doesn't compete with the Oyaides (and the Furutechs, of which I have no opinion as I have no experience with them). I've had the R1 and the SWO -GX and the Porters as well. For transparency and detail, just getting out of the way and letting me hear the most, the Maestro is better than the Oyaides and about the same as the Porters but has more control than the Porter. In my system(s), the Maestros are at the top. So, if the Coopers are the same, then surely they must be excellent outlets. If the Coopers aren't anything special soundwise, then either they aren't the basis for the Maestros or the work that Cruze Audio did/does on the outlets is truly transformative. The Maestros probably aren't the best sounding outlets on the market but they are fine sounding and won't break the bank like some of the others indicated. OK, many thanks for you time.
Hey there gents. I have no input on the differences between all these outlets, as I installed the HBL5362w in my wall and in my home made power box. They sound great and I’m not about to dismantle everything for the nth time.
I did want to share, though, that the Hubble 5362 outlets in various colors can be found on Amazon for less than $10 now. I keep seeing a price quoted at $28, which was the going price 6 months ago. I was lucky to find them on Amazon for around $9. Looks like all the other sellers have adjusted their prices downwards. Yay free market capitalism!
In my experience, the Maestro, while a very good outlet, lacks the dynamic vigor it should. It seems not to have a very dynamic upper midrange/lower treble range, which gives it a "polite" sound in comparison to either Synergistic’s Tesla SE or Furutech’s GTX-D receptacles. Of those two, the Tesla is quite a bit more detailed, but then, it is a bit brash in the upper midrange/lower treble. I find that it works fine in the PS Audio Power Plant P300, but when put directly into the wall, although dazzling on vocals ( certain letters, usually the "p", "d", "t" and "s" and "k, as well as words like "kick," "can,""lost" and words that end in the letter "d" (which usually disappears in most vocals), pop out at you, as they would in real life, but with a little added sizzle), they can make classical compositions (especially Mercury Living Presence, already bright in the upper midrange/treble frequencies) sound a bit fatiguing. The Maestro - which has been called "natural" - is clear, but uninvolving on large scale music.
I got a GTX-D NCF a couple of months ago, and was please - and somewhat surprised - with the improvement over the GTX-D Rhodium outlet, which now shows itself to be a bit sterile (heard easily on chest/throat tones even on pop music, especially on female singers, but even Frank Sinatra’s voice lost some of its beauty). The newer outlet fills in that sterility, something I had missed somewhat, due to using an integrated instead of separates over the past few years. (Having finally gotten back to separates, I now have a CJ ET3SE with an EAT tube in it (expensive tube, but it’s quite good).
I’ve generally found the Furutech to be great stuff, but there is a signature sound, somewhat akin to first generation Nordost Valhalla: a slight suckout in the lower midrange/upper bass frequencies, where music has a great deal of its "power" (meaning, fullness and punch, easily heard live in say, Carnegie or Boston Symphony Halls). This is, not coincidentally, where the chest/throat tones of singers also reside. The NCF outlets are an improvement. I still have a GTX-D, but will be removing it tomorrow to put in Synergistic’s Black UEF outlet, when it arrives. What I like about Synergistic is that everything comes with a 30-day guarantee, so if you don’t like it, you can return it. It give the buyer a certain confidence that he/she will not be ’stuck’ with something they don’t like. I’m guessing here, but I imagine the improvement in the newer outlet will cure that brightness I heard. I asked what the improvements were, and was told there was less high frequency hash, more detail, more ’natural’ and better microdynamics. I’m guessing that the "hash" is the lower treble brightness instead of the highest frequencies, which allow music an ’airy’ quality. Just a hunch. For now. Other than that, I found the Synergistic to be quite good. It was hard to decide if I liked the Furutech or the Synergistic (Teslaplex SE, just to be clear) better, but the brightness was not endearing, so, just because of that, I guess the Furutech, while not as detailed, and with less ’pop’ on the consonants mentioned, came out ahead. But I sure missed the Synergistic’s vivid portrayal (somewhat similar to the Oyaide, but not the same: from cut to cut, the Synergistic would tell me about the recording venue, while the Oyaide did not). When a component changes more from cut to cut and record to record, that is an indicator of truer ’neutrality’ to me.
The Oyaide , which I had 5 years ago, initially ’wowed’ me, but eventually I realized it moved the soundstage forward on EVERY recording (RCAs should sound far back in the hall, but not with the Oyaide). The ’signature sound’ was evident on all recordings. resulting in a too-much-the-same sound on all cuts I played. I can see why someone would like it, though. It IS exciting, but it imposes itself too much. If imposition there must be, I prefer it to be less evident, and even then, only on certain genres of music (pop would suffer the least, since most pop music is overproduced and overdubbed), so the Oyaide would just bring the whole presentation ’closer’ to the listener, which will make it sound louder. It saves you the trouble of turning up the volume, too.
As for the steel strap on Synergistic outlets? Ted Denney commented once on this forum that he had seen the comments about the steel strap. The Teslaplex SE has a copper or bronze strap (I can’t remember which), and it seems unlikely, given his comment back then, that the then put a steel strap back on the newest outlet. I’ll know tomorrow, but it doesn’t seem logical to go backwards and put something that can be affected due to magnetic fluxes.