Upgrading wall outlets


Curious if anyone has found much difference in sound quality upgrading wall outlets.
eagleman6722
Ok, I'm not looking to start a flame war. But can someone tell me why the power from the plant to my house is going to be noticeably improved by an outlet? I have an open mind some please tell me.
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There's a full moon out tonight.....
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Well, believe it or not. The premium outlet (like PS Audio's PowerPort) that I am using does make a big difference. In fact, it was one of the best upgrade I have ever made in my audio life. I am not an engineer. I can't explain why. The premium outlet has better metal and it also allows very tight grip on the power cord. That may explain the sound improvement.
I used the FIM in place of a "Hospital Grade" receptacle on my two dedicated lines, I was expecting a possible slight improvement but it was a considerable one. By "Logic" no power cord or other change you make should produce a difference given the distance the current travels before it gets to your house. But it makes a difference to my ears and there are explanations why this should be so; there are many threads on this topic.
I did not experience major sonic advances on a household shared circuit by upgrading to a Hubbel industrial or Leviton commercial, although there was definitely worthwhile improvement in either case.

However on a dedicated 30 amp circuit when I swapped the Hubbel for a Wattgate 381 (made by Leviton) the difference was fantastic, amazing, incredible, unbelievable! Best return on audio investment I ever made. It's hard to believe the difference realized for a measly $150, which is peanuts in this hobby.
AudioBeer,

Put down your beer and go out and buy one and report back.
From 2003. I have not tried the newer more expensive products out.
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?raccs&1065488253&openfrom&1&4#1
You are not improving the quality of the electricity coming out of the wall . You are improving the connection to it .

Happy tunes .
If water travels dozens of miles through dirty pipes, why does putting a filter at the end of my spout make it taste better?

While it's better to have the pure filtered spring water to start with, that isn't always an option. So I try to clean up the crap that comes in as much as possible before consuming it.
Start with some Porter Ports..Very inexpensive and work very well..You may never have the urge to go any further...I put mine in a few years ago and have been totally happy with them and have moved on to other things to worry about.......
Countingbackwards well put!!!
Countingbackwards, well put except that the outlet isn't a filter at all!
Countingbackwards, well put except that the outlet isn't a filter at all!
08-04-09: Marakanetz
True, it is a convenient means for connecting an electrical piece of electrical equipment to available electrical power.

Important factors for a good connection.
*Electrical conductivity of material used.
*Contact surface area.
*Cleanliness of the connection.
*Contact pressure.

Other factors that come into play for receptacles used for powering audio equipment.
*Ferrous or non ferrous material used.
*Contact plating material used.
*Materials used for the body of the receptacle that holds the contacts in place.

The average convenience receptacle outlet used in home construction cost about 79 cents. It uses a steel ferrous back strap and nickel plated contacts. Contacts have bare minimum contact pressure. Receptacle body is made of cheap plastic.
The premium outlet (like PS Audio's PowerPort) that I am using does make a big difference. In fact, it was one of the best upgrade I have ever made in my audio life. I am not an engineer. I can't explain why.

If you were an engineer you wouldn't be able to explain why either. At least based on generally recognized science.

You are not improving the quality of the electricity coming out of the wall . You are improving the connection to it

This is what is well put, not the reference to outlets serving as filters and cleaning things up (which they don't).

And of course improving the connection will only help if the original connection is somehow deficient, and if the deficiency is somehow great enough to affect the signal path despite the filtering and isolation which the power supply of each component provides between the ac and the signal path.

Disclaimer: I have not tried any audiophile-grade outlets, so I express no conclusion about them, just a lot of skepticism.

Regards,
-- Al
The Hubbell HBL8300H see page 10 for a cutaway view of the receptacle.

This is the receptacle that Albert Porter has cryoed by NASA and sells as the Porter Port....

Note:
No ferrous materials used.
Non plated brass contacts and non plated brass back strap.

The HBL8300H not to be confused with the standard HBL8300 which uses nickel plating on the contacts and back strap for use in corrosive areas.
I use Wattgates on my dedicated lines, I give a 2 to 3 in sound improvement (on a scale of 1 to 10)
Al , they do make a difference. At least if you have dedicated lines. Like the poster above I put one on a standard line and didn't notice much, if any, change. I had not expected much change on my dedicated lines but it was in line with 883Dave's experience. If you have dedicated lines you should try them, if you don't you should get them if at all possible. Makes more difference than almost anything else. Stan
Al , they do make a difference. At least if you have dedicated lines. Like the poster above I put one on a standard line and didn't notice much, if any, change. I had not expected much change on my dedicated lines but it was in line with 883Dave's experience. If you have dedicated lines you should try them, if you don't you should get them if at all possible. Makes more difference than almost anything else. Stan

Thanks Stan. I respect your opinions, which are backed by a great deal of experience. I don't have dedicated lines per se, but there is essentially nothing else on the line feeding the system other than some incandescent lights.

I do plan to give audiophile-grade outlets a try eventually, after I finish baselining and optimizing my present setup which has undergone several component changes recently.

Regards,
-- Al
Agreed that wall plugs are not filters - the water filtration argument is more accurately ascribed to the idea of using after-market power cords and conditioners.

I just get bothered by the logic of the argument: "if there's 8 miles of crappy electrical wire leading up to your house, why bother with the audiophile stuff?" Whether it's filtering, or whether it's the connection to the power, it's all about making the best out of the power that comes in.

The idea, as I see it, is to connect to the electrical power as securely as possible (via a dedicated line and quality power outlet), then remove the grunge that comes in from the 8 miles of crappy wire. Removing that grunge is not an easy task - many a power cord also seems to remove some good stuff too. But in my experience, a good power setup has more of an effect on my system than interconnect changes do, given a similar budget for each.

Think about it - there are 2 inputs in an audio system. The CD or record or digital file, and electrical power. That's it. Care should be taken to (a) preserve the source signal and (b) deliver the electrical power as effectively as possible, in order to power the equipment that is converting the source into what we hear.
When I tried these premium outlets then, I didn't have dedicated lines yet. But replacing those cheap $1.50 outlets that come with the house with the audiophile grade ones brought huge improvements. Try it.
Dude, Your's is not to wonder why, your's is just to do or die. Any (Hubble, Bryant)... 20 amp Hospital grade receptical will be much better than the regular receptical. I can't emphisise enough the importance of using silver conductive grease on the wires going into it, the plug... Willian "Tweaker" Shakespere
My house is about 12 years old and at least average in construction quality but I was struck by the difference in the quality of the wire I had installed in my dedicated lines and the wiring in the existing lines which I saw while while installing the new receptacles. Get as heavy a wire as possible installed if you do have the lines put in. You can put receptacles in yourself as long as you exercise caution; trip the main circuit breaker and plug a lamp in if you don't have a meter to make sure the current is off. Lines are best left to pros unless you are an advanced DIYer.
I had 10 gauge wire (30 amp) dedicated line put in when the house was built. As time passed, I noticed a lack of dynamics and weak bass. One day the stereo was playing in the dedicated basement listening room as I was attending to the clothes dryer. I noticed a change in the sound as I touched the dryer. After some thought and running a line of copper wire from the dryer chassis to the brass water main pipe, I established a strong ground for the dryer and the system sounded better once again.

This experience led me to, TAKING PROPER PRECAUTIONS, open the door to the 200 amp service, and with a flat head screwdriver, tightening the grounds of every line in the service. Please trust me, this made a tremendous overall improvement in the system.

In addition to adding a PS Audio Power Plant Premier regenerator, replacing the orange "hospital grade" outlet with a PS Audio Power Port Premier was a great improvement. The new outlet tightened the sound and significantly improved transient detail and dynamic swing. My PS power cord is as in a vice grip in the Premier outlet.
Hifiman5;
Your experience , with the dryer , is the reason that we should also install an isolated ground to those dedicated lines !
Doing so removes any affects from the household electrical system .

Good luck .
"Furutech FT-D20A
Gold duplex receptacle. Did not expect much but a strong grip on my heavy power cords. I heard a tremendous improvement in bass and clarity. When my wife came home and asked what I had done to the system with a cheerful tone I knew that I hadn't gone crazy."

This ia the post I made on my system after I added the Furutech plug. I have a dedicated 20 omp line.

Go for it!
Oyaide R1's (best I've heard) or Pass & seymour 8200 MRI. The differences are not subtle
tried both furu ftd20a and the oyaide r1. both very good and a definite improvement over my former psaudio power port. ended up using r1 - more synergistic with my system, but you can't go wrong with either.
Speaking of dryers and improvements made, there are other appliances in your home that will definitely affect the deliver of electricity in your home. Generally anything that has a big draw on it will do this. Most notable the washer, since that barrel full of water needs some good torque to be moved back and forth, and your fridge.

I actually used to see the neon light in the wash room throb as the washer was working. I put an Audio Prism Quiet Line filter on the washer outlet and it decreased very noticeably. So I put another on the fridge outlet. Overall a very small investment that works quite well, though not perfect.

Enjoy,
Bob
A few other things that can have an affect ; microwave ovens , HVAC units , some remote controls , flourecent lights and small appliances .

Good luck.
I have noticed meaningful differences as well. Can those who used Furutech, vs Oyaide vs others comment on the character of the differences? I have used standard, Porter pots, sound application, and the new synergistic tesla and find them all to be quite different. I have used the sound application primarily for the past 2 years.
I noticed a great improvement from porter ports, much like a power cord or interconnect upgrade
Going to hardware store and getting new outlets (spend a few bucks on the better grade) should provide a tighter connection and possibly better performance to almost any system. But getting anything more exotic or expensive than hospital grade? Placebo effect. Spend your money on music.
I respect your opinion regarding the “Placebo effect”, but I don’t think so. I don’t want to start an argument however for the record, (in my opinion), in blind tests that I ran with several other audiophiles, a difference could be heard using some exotic or more expensive outlets other than hospital grade. To take it a step farther, as long as the outlets were not gold, having them cryogenically treated enhanced the outlets even more after initial break-in.
This thread is a hoot. I mean no disrespect to anyone who has previously posted and has found audio nirvana by simply changing out an electrical outlet. But with 30+ years in the business of designing and building computer datacenters, and dealing with a myriad of power issues on a daily basis, I must post the following short reminders:

1. I'm sure that most of you guys understand that NONE of your gear actually runs on AC power - that the job of component's power suply is to convert AC to DC. Having said that, have any of you ever measured the AC in vs. the DC out? If you have, have any of you seen a measurable difference in the DC out after making of the above recommended changes? If yes, you have a defective power supply.

2. Hospital grade outlets - I'm also sure that you guys who are using them understand that so called "Hospital Grade Outlets" are designed for safety purposes, and have nothing to do with quality of power delivered. In fact, there are thousands of Mil-Spec power connector types that are much more efficient at providing a stable, cold current connection than the NEMA 5-15 plug. Unless your existing electrical outlet is very old (25+ years), you will probably see the same improvement by simply cleaning the outlet with Deoxit and adjustng the receptacle contact gap (shut off the circuit first or unwire the receptacle first, please).

3. Household wiring - yes, I would imagine that you would see an improvement by rewiring or running a dedicated line, under some circumstances. In general, there is no reason why average audio gear requires a "dedicated" circuit, unless (for example):
a. You have an old electric clothes dryer or other "noisy" appliance on the same circuit (eve then, it might be cheaper and easier to simply replace the appliance).
b. You have aluminum wiring - 'nuff said.
c. You have an outdoor exposed breaker panel or fuse box and live near the ocean. It is probrably better in that case to relocate the panel indoors and keep your contacts clean.

Gee, this is almost fun. Can we talk about ultra premium ($$$) power cords next?
This thread is a hoot. I mean no disrespect to anyone who has previously posted and has found audio nirvana by simply changing out an electrical outlet. But with 30+ years in the business of designing and building computer datacenters, and dealing with a myriad of power issues on a daily basis, I must post the following short reminders:
08-12-09: Br3098
The earth is flat, and that is that!
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Br,
As far as hypnosis goes, it easier acts on the crowd of people; that's why if you're just beginning to master this art, you should work with groups in order to find one that would fall under your convincing commands...
Who do you think will fall under hypnosis first??

Those, who mastered this art properly, can even convince convinced not to listen to you or read what you're saying i.e. to decline truth.
Br,
As far as hypnosis goes, it easier acts on the crowd of people; that's why if you're just beginning to master this art, you should work with groups in order to find one that would fall under your convincing commands...
Who do you think will fall under hypnosis first??

Those, who mastered this art properly, can even convince convinced not to listen to you or read what you're saying i.e. to decline truth.
It sounds better for the same reason that your car drives better after you wash it, for the same reason you're more likely to buy a house if you smell bread being baked in it, and for the same reason your impression of someone is dramatically different depending on whether you happen to have a cold beverage or a hot one in your hand when you meet them. I'm assuming, of course, that the old wall socket will not have been made of a pig snout.
Or pig snot!!!!
Coming up on 50 years in audio, I wish I had written down every time an engineer, usually not one in audio, has explained how some effect could not possibly exist. I am sure a chemist could prove by analysis that there is no significant difference between wines and those who claim the opposite are fooling themselves. As for me I agree with Ivor Tifenbrun that " If you haven't heard it you don't have an opinion".
Stanwal, if you knew me better you would understand that:

1. I haven't learned how to hear what doesn't exist, and
2. I always have an opinion

Cheers,
Br3098,

Some of the high end audio equipment is so unreliable that almost anything can cause a change in response. In fact some equipment probably never sounds the same twice ever anyway. In this case, every change including the material used in the cover plate on the wall socket to the minutest change in listening position ,volume level etc. will make an audible difference, sounding slightly different every time a critical observation is made.

As you correctly point out, some types of equipment are specificially designed (manufacturers go to great lengths) to ensure they are largely immune and largely robust to significant changes in the operating environment.

So it really depends what equipment you are referring to or what you prefer to use. Some folks will shun robust equipment as being unresolving and favor something that is highly setup dependent (resolving). For some, setup sensitivity to a variety of factors is good proof that the equipment is highly resolving. (If a mere wall socket changes the response then said equipment must surely be able to pick up even finer details in the music than most)

It is a difference of philosophy.
"I am sure a chemist could prove by analysis that there is no significant difference between wines and those who claim the opposite are fooling themselves."- Stanwal

Robert Parker has a working memory of hundreds of wines, and he can identify them in blind tastings, and has done so, thus refuting your hypothetical--and in fact, unlikely--scientist. A moderately skilled oenophile, far below Robert Parker, can at least distinguish wines--if not name them--in blind tastings.

Cable, cord, and socket connoisseurs, on the other hand, reject blind tests, b/c blind tests never show that they hear what they say--and indeed believe--they can hear. That said, some of my best friends are cable freaks.
Shadorne, thank you for your careful explanation. But what, exactly, constitues this "unreliability" of high end audio power supplies that you mention? And how would simlpy changing a household power outlet cause a significant change to the sound (via a change in output to the speakers) from said high end audio equipment?

I'm not saying that no one ever heard a real difference after changing out an outlet. I'm simply suggesting that the real reason for the change is most likely not (as in almost certainly not) the reason that several of you have stated. Bad contacts, yes. Dirty, oxidzed or corroded connections, yes. Magical power genies, no.
I was only saying that the opinion of someone who had never listened to something should be given its proper value. By coincidence I was looking at the HIFICHOICE for this month in which Paul Messenger points out that in regard to outlets:" I've still found it possible to make quite dramatic changes in sound quality , using numerous usually mutually exclusive techniques of wildly varying prices." This has been the experience of most of us WHO HAVE ACTUALLY TRIED IT. Of course, we simple folk lack the wisdom of those who are able to know without actually having to go to the trouble of listening themselves. They live in the world of Aristotle and not of science where pure logic can tell you what will happen without messy experiments.
1. I'm sure that most of you guys understand that NONE of your gear actually runs on AC power - that the job of component's power suply is to convert AC to DC. Having said that, have any of you ever measured the AC in vs. the DC out? If you have, have any of you seen a measurable difference in the DC out after making of the above recommended changes? If yes, you have a defective power supply.
08-12-09: Br3098

Especially Part 2
http://www.conceptorg.com/techlibrary/PowerTechnology/AC_and_Audio.pdf
>>>>>>>>>>>>>

2. Hospital grade outlets - I'm also sure that you guys who are using them understand that so called "Hospital Grade Outlets" are designed for safety purposes, and have nothing to do with quality of power delivered.
08-12-09:


Hospital grade receptacles? The little green dot.... means the ground contact of the receptacle is beefed up and makes a tighter contact with the inserted ground pin of the plug than a regular spec grade recept.

The Hubbell HBL8300H hospital grade receptacle seems to be a very good receptacle for feeding audio equipment though.
Features:
*Non plated brass contacts.
*Great contact holding pressure.
*A brass yoke, connecting back strap. Not steel.
*Non nickel plated brass back strap.
*No ferrous materials used.
*The body that holds the contacts in place, a narrow nylon body design. Not cheap plastic.
The HBL8300H does not color the sound, is neutral sounding.

Another good Hubbell receptacle is the HBL5252 and the HBL5352.
Hard to believe but this recept will cause a warmer sounding audio system. Works great for some digital equipment.
See page #10

I have experimented with both the HBL8300H and the HBL5352 receptacles. My findings match what others have found using the recepts.

Br3098, you should take some time and check the archives here on Agon and on Audio Asylum regarding how a receptacle effects the sound of an audio system.
>>>>>>>>

In fact, there are thousands of Mil-Spec power connector types that are much more efficient at providing a stable, cold current connection than the NEMA 5-15 plug.
08-12-09: Br3098
Ya but the NEMA 5-15P plug is the norm for audio equipment sold here in the US..... And NEC says that the receptacle used in residential occupancies for 120V convenience outlets shall be NEMA 5-15R or 5-20R receptacles.

>>>>>>>>

Unless your existing electrical outlet is very old (25+ years), you will probably see the same improvement by simply cleaning the outlet with Deoxit and adjustng the receptacle contact gap (shut off the circuit first or unwire the receptacle first, please).
08-12-09: Br3098
Bad advice.... The contacts loose their memory over time due to heating and just plain wear out from usage. Recepts with poor contact pressure should be replaced. They can be a fire hazard.
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This thread is a hoot I must post the following short reminders...

...all amplifiers sound the same...
...all cables sound the same...
...all (insert ignorant statement) sound the same...

AND: ALL DOUBTING THOMAS'S SOUND THE SAME

fwiw: this one's been here for all of 90 days; what more would you expect? They come & they go. We've seeen it all after 10+ years on these boards.
Hmmm, so now all of the psuedo-experts and engineers come out. Guys, by all means believe what you want to believe. By all means discount physics and electromagnetic theory.

Stanwal - I never claimed that I hadn't tried ever tried changing an outlet. Nor had I claimed that there could not be an improvement by do so. What I DID claim is that I don't believe that, in and of itself (and barring some major issue with the power delivery in an average home, which should be addressed at the source of the problem), changing an outlet will make a substantial difference in the sonic signature of an amplifier (or any other piece of analog and/or digital) audio gear.

Jea48 - Interesting article. It starts out with some good factual information, then concludes with some personal examples and advice which has little or no correlation with the factual information.

Bob_bundus - 'nuff said.

One last word: if "hospital grade outlets" are so important, why doesn't any high-end audio equipment manufacturer recommend this necessary upgrade? If super-expensive rooty-tooty power cords are so necessary, please advise me of which high-end audio equipment manufacturers design, build, sell and/or recommend this essential part? Can you explain why CJ, or ARC, or Krell, or McIntosh amongst others would both compromise their expensive systems and leave money on the table?
Gr3098's last question is excellent. I've often wondered at it myself. The old "aiming for a price point" excuse is not gonna fly here.
Okay, I’ll take the bait.
All major manufactures attempt to hold costs down to be completive. Suggesting additional purchases or modifications suggests more dollars spent for additional equipment can be counter productive to a sale. Some audiophiles always have their expensive gear modified. Why you ask? Because the manufactures attempt to hold the cost down. This is true across the board at all levels.
You are playing devils advocate…we’ve seen this in audio ever since the start up of the internet and on line audio websites.