Unbelievable Indeed

For those of you who do not believe in the changes a power cord or interconnect can make to a system - please stop reading right now. The topic I have for discussion goes far beyond these incredulous stories and certainly approaches the most ridiculous *I've* ever experienced.

Still with me?

This afternoon while at the hardware store, I came across a cheap $1.95 brass outlet cover. I thought, "hey... my system has gold accents so... maybe the brass would look cool." I bought one.

I came home and removed the flimsy, broken plastic cover which I had been using for the past year on top of my PS Audio power outlet and installed the brass cover. Looks nice.

I powered on my system so it could warm up - I planned to spend the evening with Mahler's 5th.

When I sat down to listen, I noticed my system had WAY more highs than I remembered... There was almost a glare to 'em.

I listened for a while to some familiar jazz vocals and quickly realized that the sound from my system had changed.

I removed the brass outlet cover and plugged the components back into the outlet without a cover and my system sounded closer to how I remembered but not exactly...

I switched the covers back and forth from plastic, to brass to nothing at all and with each cover, the system sounded much different.

With the brass cover (might be fake brass for all I know) the system sounded very extended in the highs - almost bright. With the plastic cover on, my system was dull by comparison but a bit on the dark side. Without the cover, the system sounded best - as far as I can tell thus far.

Not only does the material used in the cover plate make a difference but the tightness of the plate itself changes the sound of the system. Tighter=brighter... Also the tightness of the outlet in the wall seems to effect the sonics too.


Folks using locking RCA interconnect plugs have reported similar results. The tighter they lock the RCA plug, the brighter the sound.
You've just blown an opportunity to make some big money selling audiophile quality outlet covers by posting the information here. You could have had tuned dual and quad covers specifically aligned for many of the current (pun) outlets available. You could have offered varying degrees of resonant control with the addition of tuning controls built right into the outlet covers. Even a discrete LED display for optimum settings.

Oh well, another cash cow out to pasture.
Bwhite; Some outlets require grounding of the cover plate if it is made of metal, and the outlet has an isolated ground. Is this the case with the PS Audio outlet? I believe the FIM outlets required grounding IF a metal coverplate was used (plastic is OK as it's a non-conductor). You may have grounding issues that you're unaware of??? I avoided brass cover plates on my outlets for this reason (yeah, I think they look kind of cool too). Maybe you should check with PS Audio? Good Luck and Cheers. Craig
Sugarbrie, I've heard of that too.... Strange isn't it? Somehow it seems more explainable though. The RCA or even Banana plugs carry the signal. But... this is the cover of the outlet!! Its supposed to hide the hole in the wall. The difference between outlet covers was quite significant - not subtle at all.
Hey Garfish... I thought of that but I figured if it was a grounding issue it would be more for safety. The touble with metal covers is that current can arc between the plug and the cover when removing and inserting the plug.
Driver!! That's the same thing my friend said! He came over right after I discovered this and had to listen. He couldn't believe it either.

Believe me, I thought about making an audiophile version! Heck.. if you were to use carbon fiber or some exotic material, I bet it would sell like hot cakes! I like your idea of the LED, tuning and display though! :) We might have something here!
Bwhite; yes, I believe the caution with the FIM outlet(s) was strictly a safety issue, and that's what I was addressing in my above post. We don't need any charred audiophiles here. The fact that you've heard significant audible differences is-- well amazing. But I don't doubt your experience at all as I became a strong believer in the directionality of wire by just trying it. And good luck with your venture. Cheers. Craig
Bryan I can't believe that you haven't been crucified for this yet - of course it's believable. I've been running my dedicated outlet without a cover ever since installation. Mike VansEvers could explain the resonance physics to you, but like much of this hokus-pokus I just use my ears & do what works best without requiring lengthy explanations.

My opening statement is based upon the way that I was bashed for daring to suggest that ceramic fuses sound better than glass fuses or circuit breakers. Ditto when I dared to suggest that one poster try some different interconnects & AC cords before giving up on a component that he liked, but didn't sound quite the way that he wanted it to sound. Ditto when I dared to suggest that someone experiment with resonance control tweaks. It all works for me; but hey - what do I know?
Hi Bob, I'm surprised too - however, I thought if someone didn't believe me they could very easily get a cheap metal outlet cover and try it for themselves - in their system. The $2.00 investment is certainly less than the cost of trying cords, cones, interconnects, etc. Perhaps it would help them see the light.

I'm not saying the metal cover would sound better - just different.
Bwhite: Your experience isn't unbelievable at all. The only thing that's unbelievable are the explanations for it.

Have you considered painting your room to match the brass fixture?
I have found that the sound is further improved by

(1) Painting the inside of the brass fixture a dark Chinese red (Sherwin Williams #3604). Adding a bit of titanium white, readily available at art supply stores, can help to tame overly aggressive tweeters.

(2) Making three small (~2.5mm) parallel scratches in the brass on the lower edge of the fixture in a direction oriented toward the mouth of the Chi. Consult any reputable Feng Shui practitioner for assistance. The effect on the lower midrange is simply phenomenal.

The possible explanation of the brass wall plate is as follows.The brass wall plate is acting in benefit in two ways. Brass is going to serve as a RFI shield at the wall to room junction. The brass wall plate will greatly increase the size of the ground plane...Tom