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Are "audiophile grade" wall outlets worth $50 or more?


sockpit
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Just got an ad from Audio Advisor for this: Pangea Audio Premier SE NEMA 5-20P AC Power Receptacle-Audio Advisor

 

I have an aversion to nerdy looking cable company presidents in lab coats, but have heard people swear by these outlets.

 

Not trying to start a pissing match. Just wondering if the points of contact at the outlet can make any difference, assuming your $1.50 construction grade cheapo isn't ridiculously sloppy and worn out . . .

 

Signed, A Relative Newbie (who has profited greatly from CA)

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IMO, there might be benefits to hospital grade receptacles. These cost more than your $2 general outlet. But not $50.

https://www.amazon.com/Hubbell-Wiring-Systems-HBL8300HI-Receptacle/dp/B005PZSHF0

 

These have higher tension to grab the plug and are more resistant to being pulled loose along with other upgrades. There are other brands and have a green dot if they meet UL specs for hospital grade.

 

If you were interested in better performance for noise you might go with isolated ground receptacles which also aren't too expensive. You would have to probably alter your wiring to provide a safe ground path if you did this, and to reap its possible benefits.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Funny thing about these tweaks. Individually, I find the benefits marginal, just at the limits of my ability to perceptive them, always leaving me wondering about placebo effect. But cumulatively, it really can add up to something major.

 

Listening to my setup today, I was just astounded by how freaking real it sounded. I've incorporated a lot of tweaks, most of which I figured are bullsh*t. Some of them no doubt are, but what I'm left with is something unlike anything I've ever heard.

 

I guess the bottom line is do it if you're ready and willing to deal with all of the perceived weak links in your audio chain. Otherwise, probably best to skip it.

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I did "switch and plug" install construction work many years ago, not much has changed in the home outlet receptacles used. They are basically flimsy and use cheap metal. Its worth it to upgrade to heavy duty outlets that use solid metal contacts. Make sure you do this for all outlets in the circuit as the one you don't replace could be corroded/poorly connected, affecting all outlets in parallel. And use the screw down contacts, not the stab connections.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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For those of you in Australia, do you have any recommendations as to good quality power receptacles here? Nearly all of the higher quality receptacles advertised are US / Shucko / UK, but not AU. Any recommendations welcome.

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I have some premium receptacles. The hospital plugs from Leviton/ Hubbell work great. You just want to ensure a firm connection with the plug. Even a heavy duty receptacle would be an upgrade from the cheap contractor receptacles.

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For those of you in Australia, do you have any recommendations as to good quality power receptacles here? Nearly all of the higher quality receptacles advertised are US / Shucko / UK, but not AU. Any recommendations welcome.

 

The AU market is supported by Furutech with only the plugs. I gave up and use Euro receptacles from Oyaide/Furutech including the plugs, all 230V rated.

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A completely different take on the matter: Ultra Minimalist AC Outlets-shop.mapleshadestore.com

 

Let the skepticism commence!

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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The mains will see a voltage drop depending on the length of wire run from the service panel to the outlet.

 

No amount of plating, treatment or insulation will replace the 'missing volts' at the connection.

 

Hum will be induced by coupling of magnetic fields anywhere along the length of the run, particularly by motors (like exhaust fans or air-conditioning) and even the most expensive receptacles do not address this.

 

Antennae are just precisely cut lengths of wire. Expensive outlets are in the class of improvements that won't hurt, but likely won't make significant improvements, either.

 

Before replacing an outlet, shut off the AC supply at the service panel and verify all the connections are tight.

 

Most AC supply problems are from intermittent connections (loose punch down, splices or broken tabs at receptacle).

 

As to cryogenic treatments - how to verify if something like this was even done? It's like undercoating a car at the dealership...

 

http://m.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-Decora-15-Amp-Tamper-Resistant-Duplex-Outlet-Black-R55-T5325-0DE/202066690

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

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IMO, there might be benefits to hospital grade receptacles. These cost more than your $2 general outlet. But not $50.

https://www.amazon.com/Hubbell-Wiring-Systems-HBL8300HI-Receptacle/dp/B005PZSHF0

 

These have higher tension to grab the plug and are more resistant to being pulled loose along with other upgrades. There are other brands and have a green dot if they meet UL specs for hospital grade.

 

If you were interested in better performance for noise you might go with isolated ground receptacles which also aren't too expensive. You would have to probably alter your wiring to provide a safe ground path if you did this, and to reap its possible benefits.

 

Since I'm having a home built in the next year, I'm interested in what the benefit of isolated ground receptacles would be. Would you ideally want the same isolated ground receptacle for all components in your system (since they'd be electrically interconnected at some point anyway)? Do I assume correctly the advantage would be having not only power but ground isolated from other electrical/electronic devices in the home? Would these provide any advantage if there were a separate (1) circuit or (2) electrical service for the audio system?

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Since I'm having a home built in the next year, I'm interested in what the benefit of isolated ground receptacles would be.

Isolated Ground systems are only useful in systems that use metal conduit (ridge or flexible) or building that have metal framing. The I.G. system prevents noise currents, interference currents, leakage currents, lost Neutral currents and Ground currents from other circuits from using your audio interconnects as a path back to their voltage source. What is their voltage source? Why it's the Neutral connection in the main breaker box that all Safety Grounds/Protective Earths must be terminated at.

 

Would you ideally want the same isolated ground receptacle for all components in your system (since they'd be electrically interconnected at some point anyway)?

You want to reduce the length of the Safety Grounds/Protective Earths wires from component to component.

 

 

Do I assume correctly the advantage would be having not only power but ground isolated from other electrical/electronic devices in the home? Would these provide any advantage if there were a separate (1) circuit or (2) electrical service for the audio system?

This would be a Separately Derived System. Lots of rules and regulations involved. It takes a big isolation transformer and a skilled electrician.

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Would these provide any advantage if there were a separate (1) circuit or (2) electrical service for the audio system?

 

This would be a Separately Derived System. Lots of rules and regulations involved. It takes a big isolation transformer and a skilled electrician.

 

Thanks for the answers. I want to understand this last point better. I have two separate 220A services coming into the home I live in now. If in the new home I had such a separate box dedicated to the main audio-video system, would it provide any advantage versus having the AV system come out of the same box as other circuits? I'm sure there is no "big isolation transformer" installed in my present home (and not such a skilled electrician installing the service! - though yes, fully licensed, all permits issued, inspector sign-off), so what is it that would require this?

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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IMO, there might be benefits to hospital grade receptacles. These cost more than your $2 general outlet. But not $50.

https://www.amazon.com/Hubbell-Wiring-Systems-HBL8300HI-Receptacle/dp/B005PZSHF0

 

These have higher tension to grab the plug and are more resistant to being pulled loose along with other upgrades. There are other brands and have a green dot if they meet UL specs for hospital grade.

 

If you were interested in better performance for noise you might go with isolated ground receptacles which also aren't too expensive. You would have to probably alter your wiring to provide a safe ground path if you did this, and to reap its possible benefits.

The Leviton version of this outlet in red is only 8 bucks on Amazon....maybe I'll try one, and a red outlet would look kind of cool, even if it does nothing.

 

Sent from my SM-T810 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

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Top shelf receptacles from major (not audiophile) brands are all you need. With hospital grade receptacles, you pay a lot extra for documentation.

Sorry, but that's not all that's different about hospital grade AC outlets. An outlet must pass all standard outlet testing plus these 9 additional tests not required for certification of standard outlets:

 

Abrupt plug removal

Grounding contact temperature

Grounding contact resistance

Fault current test

Grounding contact overstress

Terminal strength

Assembly security

Impact

Increased mold stress relief

 

Details on each test can be found about halfway down the page on this screen.

 

Hubbell and other specialty AC connectors are used for the same reasons in hospitals, but there used to be a more serious concern that no longer exists. When general anesthetic gases were highly flammable, there were many major fires in operating rooms. The original twist-lock connectors (which morphed into today's Hubbell) were designed to minimize sparking and other potential triggers for explosion. So we weren't allowed to bring pagers or other electric / electronic devices into any operating room, and every electrical device used in an OR had to be specifically made for safety in a potentially explosive environment. We also wore either conductive-soled OR shoes or shoe covers with grounding strips to discharge any static electricity, so we didn't make a spark when touching grounded items. I'm old enough to have operated on patients anesthetized with ether. Most of us were unaware that it was still being used, since we had the latest and best at the mother ship (I was a resident at University of Pennsylvania Medical Center). But we rotated through one local hospital in which an older anesthesiologist insisted on using ether because he thought it was safer (!) - the consensus was that he never learned to use modern anesthetics. As a result, I and most of my colleagues brought our pagers into the OR with us the first day we operated there, inciting panic in the nurses (who screamed "GET OUT! "GET OUT!" at the top of their lungs when they saw us do this).

 

There are theoretical advantages to using hospital-grade outlets. Stronger grip on the plug tines and better contact with lower resistance could mean more stable voltage, especially if your line voltage is truly stable to begin with. Here's a partial list of the things that can cause voltage drops at the outlet:

Bad Splice

Loose screw Termination

Stripped thread on wire nuts or terminal screws

Faulty outlet

undersized wiring

too long of run for wire size

loose connection at circuit breaker or fuse

corroded connections

overheating due to loose contacts

faulty or poor quality push in connections on receptacles

cold forming on aluminum wiring, causing loose connections

worn switch or circuit breaker contacts

 

So using hospital-grade outlets could improve SQ over cheap, flimsy contractor outlets for some systems. I've never compared outlets in use, so I have no personal experience - my home system had 2 industrial plugmold strips, each on a dedicated 20 amp circuit (with 400 amp service to the house). But hospital-grade outlets are about $10, and the outlets in our apartment are really ratty - so I'm going to upgrade them throughout, and I'll report back after I do.

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Since I'm having a home built in the next year, I'm interested in what the benefit of isolated ground receptacles would be. Would you ideally want the same isolated ground receptacle for all components in your system (since they'd be electrically interconnected at some point anyway)? Do I assume correctly the advantage would be having not only power but ground isolated from other electrical/electronic devices in the home? Would these provide any advantage if there were a separate (1) circuit or (2) electrical service for the audio system?

Speed skater has given a good answer. The answer about benefits is there might be less noise for the overall system. There would be less chance of a noisy connection between gear. You also may not require it for the same results.

 

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Computer Audiophile mobile app

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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IMO the two things you should consider when choosing an outlet to use with your audio system are connection to the plug, and connection to the ground. A hospital grade plug, and hopefully an audiophile plug as well, will have higher quality materials, tighter tolerances with regards to resistance on the path to ground and power, etc...

 

Are they worth it, yes I think so unless you are confident you can get the same for less.

No electron left behind...

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IMO, there might be benefits to hospital grade receptacles. These cost more than your $2 general outlet. But not $50.

https://www.amazon.com/Hubbell-Wiring-Systems-HBL8300HI-Receptacle/dp/B005PZSHF0

 

.

 

+1, you can find these on eBay for a decent price.

 

Receptacle Hubbell Wiring Device Kellems HBL8300W | eBay

Eric


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...and a lot of money that would probably be better spent on other stuff :)

 

I don't think Speedskater and I are talking about the same thing. His SDS combines a utility service and wind, solar, generator, etc. (which - solar - I'm doing anyway). What I'm talking about is two boxes *from the utility*.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I don't think Speedskater and I are talking about the same thing. His SDS combines a utility service and wind, solar, generator, etc. (which - solar - I'm doing anyway). What I'm talking about is two boxes *from the utility*.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isolated_ground

 

Demystifying Isolated Grounding Systems — Part 1

 

AV: Determining When “Isolated Grounding” Is Needed - Pro Sound Web

 

The last article by Bill Whitlock of Jensen.

 

Such a system should go a long way to ensuring you have no grounding noise issues. However, in a residence you may not have any issues without it.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Such a system should go a long way to ensuring you have no grounding noise issues. However, in a residence you may not have any issues without it.

 

+1

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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