You should try the Jena Labs outlets as well. I know the Acme's exremely well and you may hear a difference.
As a dealer for Jena Labs, I found it necessary to many comparisons and really like these outlets.
Sounds like you prefer the sound of the silver in your system, with your hearing. Maybe the silver contact Acme will suit you better? The FIM take about a week to break in.
The Fim oulets took two to four weeks to break in. I didn't like the results when they first were added to my system, but now I am very happy with them.
But remember all of our systems and electical wiring is different and "your milage may vary"
I just picked up a hydra, FIM duplex, and 40 feet of the JPS in the wall elec cable. I plan to hook the cable up the a 20 amp breaker in my office warehouse, hook up the FIM to the cable and plug in the hydra. I will then hook up 6 300watt lamps to the hydra. I will run the whole mess for 7 days and burn it all in at once. There goes the electric bill.
Here's my take on things. I should state that I have no experience with the FIM or the Acme, but in the past year and a half I have experimented with about 5 or 6 sub $20 receptacles, with it being pretty apparent to me that there are some pretty big differences in sound quality, and that is with a system that probably costs about 25% of what yours does (maybe less).
I would doubt that the overall character of the FIM is going to change that much for you. My experience is that receptacles will give you almost as much difference in sound as power cords will. They may also, like power cords, be system dependent and I'll get to that in a minute. My experience is also that if you are running multiple receptacles within your system that you can best judge the "sound" of the receptacle only if you run all FIM, all Acme, all Hubbell etc. In other words, if your system is drawing from more than one receptacle (like most are) you better not mix and match if you really want to establish the true sonic character of the receptacle. All of my conclusions are based on using the same receptacle at any given time, throughout my system (ie. at the wall and in my line conditioner as well).
I had originally been running orange Levitons, and have experimented with the P&S 5262 (better than the Levitons), the Arrow Hart 8200 (better than the P&S), and the Hubbell 8200 and 8300 (better than the Arrow Harts-I changed my mind on this recently after some further experimentation). All of the above "better thans" should be followed by "in my system", which is solid state based and leans toward the brighter side of neutral. As Craig's recent post on the FIM outlined, from his perspective the FIM presents a "darker, mellower, richer" sound in his (also solid state) system. In my system the Hubbells (which I currently use) do this, although I think they actually do more in terms of eliminating "distortions" which the P&S and Arrow Hart introduce. Putting the Levitons (the worst) aside, in my system, the P&S 5262 was the "brightest" and most forward of the bunch. The Acme is a tricked up P&S 5242, so it doesn't surprise me that it is more "detailed", or appears to be at initial listen, than the FIM. I bet it is. The character of the P&S that I used was definitely "front row" as compared to the Arrow Hart which was a bit more "mid hall" or the Hubbell which is possibly even more "mid hall" or further. I've had e-mail correspondence with Dekay about this, and in my system the P&S, although better than the Levitons and initially impressive, totally fell apart when compared with the other receptacles. The Arrow Hart had a beautiful, very open mid-band, but was definitely more forward than the Hubbells and ragged at the frequency extremes compared to the Hubbells. The Hubbells have an extremely "black background" but for some tastes might be a little dark. With a tube set-up, though, it might not be the way to go. Maybe it is a ditto for the FIM.
All I can tell you is that, in my system, the smoother sounding receptacle is, in my opinion, the most accurate, although it may not initially be the most exciting. All the detail is there upon careful listening, although it is presented in a different (I would call it a smoother and more refined) manner. But the "perfect sound" is a pretty subjective matter and what may appeal to you (detail, forwardness, etc) may not appeal to me (a preference for a richer, mellower sound with a more mid hall perspective). Then you have to introduce tubes versus solid state issue and their interaction with the receptacles, so what is effective in one system may not be in another. I think receptacles may just be another example of this.
Wow, this is a great thread!
I have my amp plugged directly into a Wattagate receptical and the rest of the system via a Hydra into a just-installed FIM outlet on the same circuit. The Wattagate is closer to the panel (about 15 feet), the FIM another 10-15 feet away. I have no conclusions to offer up yet except that these things do apparently make a difference and, goddammit, I wish that weren't so. I also suspect that proximity to the panel may be a factor, just to add another variable.
I believe in break-in, but these things should break in very fast, given the amount of juice flowing through them, don't you think?
Nice detailed post Hdm. I'll just add a FIM follow-up to my "rave" review of the FIM 880 of a few days ago. Since then, I've gotten 4 more FIMs, put them on dedicated lines that used to have Hubbells, and plugged ALL my components into them. To make a long story short, after 5 days I did not particularly like the music character of my system with ALL FIMs. With the additional FIMs, music was airy, detailed, very smooth, but leaner and brighter-- not my "cup of tea".
So, last night I put 4 of the Hubbells back in (on everything but my amp) and music immediately became warmer and richer with excellent vocal timbre, and it had more "body and weight". And with the more "meaty" sound-- which I prefer-- I liked the PRT better too. I like the Hubbells much better on all components except my amp.
When I relaced the Acme with a FIM for my amp, I actually think that much of the benefit came from getting my amp off the bright and detailed Acme silver plated outlet, rather than from the character of the FIM, ie a Hubbell or P&S may have worked nearly as well, but I haven't tried them.
It seems that having one FIM in my system adds some beneficial dynamics and "sparkle" to music. I now have Hubbells on all components except the amp on which (for now), I'll leave the FIM. My Vandersteen speaker sub amps are plugged into non-dedicated Acme silver plated outlets-- I think this works well as the speaker subs only handle 125HZ and down, ie no brightness problem, yet I get excellent bass articulation.
One other point: my 4th and 5th outlets ARE dedicated, but are wired together. I have nothing plugged into the 4th outlet-- which is a Hubbell, and my amp is plugged into a FIM, the 5th outlet. So, AC flows from amp to FIM to Hubbell to breaker box. I really don't know what the hell all this means. It gets confusing fast, but I agree that outlets have their own colorations just like power cords. And as of now my system is again sounding excellent. I have found beneficial places for Hubbells, a FIM, and 2 Acmes. YMMV, Whew! and Cheers. Craig
I have 8 dedicated 20 amp lines in my room, and installed ACME 20 amp non-cryo outlets in each one last October. Three days ago I replaced two of the ACMEs with FIM 880s, one for my cdp, and one for my preamp.
I can identify with many of your observations. In the first few hours of use the FIMs sounded slow and muddled, and the highs rolled off. It is day 3, and there is improvement. The top end is starting to open up, although not to pre FIM status, transients have more snap, and familiar details are starting to emerge. The FIMs seem to be breaking in more from the bottom up. This is the area that is improving most in terms of speed, transparency, and extension.
Overall I like the FIM's tonal qualities better then the ACME's. There is less chalkiness/whitening (not sure how else to describe it) of the mid/upper registers, more of a natural tonal color and weight across the range. They are darker sounding, so this additional weight and richness may not suit a well balanced tube system that already has these qualities.
Meridian 508.24 > FMS Zero XLR > SF Line 3 w/Amperex 7308 > MIT Proline Reference > Classe Omega Omicron > MIT Oracle V3 > Thiel CS7.2
I have 16 dedicated 20 amp lines powering my system on 4 200 amp service boxes. Just kidding.
Seriously, I have 3 FIM outlets on two dedicated lines (12 AWG/20 amp). I've had the FIM's for quite a while, in audiophile time that's more than a few months. A week ago, I had wonderful dynamics and couldn't believe things could get better. That's when the Progold and DeoxIt arrived. I figured, here we go...another small tweak.
I started with speaker connections and RCA's. WOW...maybe a little better, well, it all sounded a little cleaner...but things already sounded good. So, moved onto power cords. Yep, sounds good. Went downstairs and cleaned the wire and the breaker...and my digital cable. Hmmm, now I lost my air and things kinda went soft. WTH? So I took a little rubbing alcohol to the digital cable to clean it up. No change.
Are we in the Matrix or what? This is nuts. Now I'm thinking I should backtrack and clean everything up with alcohol and see if I can get back to where I started.
Thoughts? It's been about 5 days since this happened. TIA.
Glad to hear that the FIM will open up then! From the "bottom up" is very unusual, but the fact that my system changed SO MUCH from going to the FIM from the Acme Non-cryo is mind boggling enough. Just got finished w/ about 4 months of power cord evaluations and to think I could go off on an outlet junket just about sends me over the edge!
Tom, The Cryo Acme are supposed to take care of that "chalkiness/whitening" you mentioned, that's why I got one when I bought the FIM. Definately FIM are "darker" sounding! Part of my panic was when the Acme went in I loved it from the get-go! So to pull it for the FIM and then NOT like what I heard instantly sort of threw me. Even today though as I played the rig for about 8 hours straight it did begin to give up a little more detail. I did replace my CCa driver tubes for more revealing Siemens E88CC and that helped a small amount too. I am a self proclaimed detail fanatic so the Acme CRYO may be my route in the end? Going to be patient though and givce this FIM another week or ten days to start to turn around.
Hdm. Thanks for that detailed lesson on the various outlets. Looks like this is my power cord evaluation all over agin? Apparently once we get to a certain point then EVERYTHING we change on the power side no matter how small is going to have some effect on our systems.
At this point though there is NO doubt that the FIM is masking info that is plainly there just yesterday when the Acme Non Cryo was in the rig at that location. The Cds I used are just too well known to my ears and when I can barely hear something while the FIM is in that is prominant w/ the Acme it just bugs the hell outta me! Still if in the end the FIM even gets me back to 90% of the Acme detail and keeps the smoother vocals I'll give it it's due. I have a sneaky feeling though that knowing how I am I wont be able to rest until I let the FIM burn in for a couple weeks then go w/ the Acme Cryo in THAT location and see how much it is improved or not over the Non cryo & FIM IN THAT PARTICULAR spot. having the Cryo where the old cheap outlet was isn't as significant. Possibly the thing to do is first swap the FIM & current Cryo locations THEN get another Cryo for the dedicated spot where the darn FIM now rests? Oh crap, here I go again! ;~)
Try replace the CCa with a (genuine) Valvo for the HF sparkle.
I installed the FIM and replaced my PS Audio PowerPort 10 days ago. Had the same results as Blazter did. Extremely rolled-off,less detail and dynamics compressed. Even my Velo sub was about 3-4 dbs lower. WEIRD!?! My dealer says that 100-150 hrs. should be enough to "open" things up. 200 hrs. came and went with no change. Went back to the PS Audio today and I'm happy again.