World's best ac outlets.....Maestro outlet

HiFiSoundGuy -- Thu, 07/08/2010 - 22:04

     Has anyone here tried these new ac outlets yet? A ac outlet is one the most over looked things in a stereo system and one of the weak links in a system too. http://www.cruzefirstaudio.com/maestro_outlet.htm 

HiFiSoundGuy -- Sun, 07/11/2010 - 10:54

   I'm shocked! Nobody has tried these outlets? I believe ac outlets are the most overlooked things in a stereo system and one of the weak links too. Some think that ac outlets are snake oil but they are not. I am using porter ports ac outlets from Albert Porter from over on the audiogon forum and these porter ports were a lot better than the very cheap outlets that came with the house. The porter ports are one of the best that you can buy but on some of the other forums some say these maestro outlets are a lot better than my porter ports. Some say they are a real eye opener.

gb -- Sun, 07/11/2010 - 16:25

HifI -
I agree that the outlets are one of the most overlooked parts of a stereo, along with room acoustics, and clean electricity. I have not yet tried the Maestro. I've gone thru PS Audio Power ports, FIM (both regular and gold), Oyaide R1s and Synergistic Research Teslaplex outlets.
What is your experience with the Maestro and what other outlets have you experimented with  besides the Porter ports?

HiFiSoundGuy -- Tue, 07/13/2010 - 07:47

brion, I have not tried the maestro outlets yet and I have only tried the porter ports after looking at this thread 7 years ago... http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?raccs&1065488253&openfrom&1&4#1

gb -- Sun, 07/11/2010 - 16:28

I just looked at the site: $35k for a line conditioner???? Sounds like something Nordost would have released.
I also noted -- well  after my above post -- that they use OYAIDE spades for their unt. Now, I find that MOST interesting. I would expect that to be significant that they use another manufacturer's spades for their unit, although this is certainly not unique in the audio kingdom.

JLeeMD -- Tue, 07/13/2010 - 11:02

I use PS Audio's Power Port Premier.  If anyone with a high res system is reading this and still uses the stock AC outlets, all I can say is you're in for a real treat when you make the switch.  I was giggling and shaking my head in disbelief the first time I used a Power Port.  The differences are NOT subtle.

Josh Hill -- Wed, 07/14/2010 - 08:33

"Snake oil" is an understatement. These people should be in prison for fraud. Just get a good double-wipe receptacle for a few bucks at Home Depot. Isolated ground if you have metal boxes.

JLeeMD -- Sat, 07/17/2010 - 12:01

It makes NO sense to me either, but the improvements the Power Port made in terms of clarity and transparency were hugely surprising to me. Remember, when CDs first came out everything we knew then indicated that CDs SHOULD provide "perfect sound forever." We had no clue about jitter, reading errors, etc. Keep an open mind and listen for yourself. Please don't make judgements based solely on what we understand in 2010.

Josh Hill -- Sat, 07/17/2010 - 15:31

Well, admittedly I've never tried it. But I did know that the first CD's sounded bad!

I'm chronically suspicious of claims about cables, power cords, etc. Among other things, I've never read a review that didn't rave -- how many huge improvements in transparency, depth, and resolution can you have? -- and I've never read a review that didn't go in the positive direction -- in my experience, about half the components I try are worse than the ones I'm comparing them to, so why do cables and so forth always seem to make an improvement rather than making the sound worse?

Meanwhile, there are all sorts of experiments that show that expectations influence results. I'm not a measurement geek and I don't think A/B tests are perfect, but I'm reluctant to trust my own ears on subtle difference comparisons like this, since I'm no more immune to observational bias than anyone else. Whereas in the early days of digital audio, I *was* expecting perfect sound, and was taken aback when I heard my first digital recording and it didn't sound right.

AudioBrat -- Sun, 09/26/2010 - 04:36

I had these before swithing to the PS audio Power Port Premier and this was no snake oil I'm cured (lol).

rossop -- Sat, 07/17/2010 - 05:32

I use a PS Audio power port premier and a high copper content one I got from Jim Weil. They both make a difference. Both are hooked up to heavy gauge independent lines to the power board. One is for digital and one for analog. For conditioning I use two PS Audio Duets and a step down tranny for CD.

While I think its way over the top to spend $35K on a line conditioner I think these things are important in a high end system. To all the nah sayers all I can say is have a listen and you might change your mind. These things all add to the experience.

ric escalante -- Sat, 07/17/2010 - 10:09

I recently picked up an Oyaide r-1 and was jaw dropped by the improvement in clarity, resolution, detail, noise floor improvement, etc. This replaced a hospital grade outlet and there really was no comparison and I would put the Oyaide in the category of "upgrade" rather than "tweak" because of the intensity of the improvement. I would love to see TAS do a duplex outlet shootout--outlets should also be listed in the respective reviewers equipment listings . I imagine the problem with outlets is that it is not something everyone is willing to do, which involves a modicum of tools and ability.

gb -- Sun, 07/18/2010 - 12:42

Ric:
I would agree that Oyaide R-1 outlet was a significant improvement over other outlets I had. I then purchased Synergistic Research's Teslaplex, just to put things into perspective (the mad scientist approach). Since I have an Audience teflon conditioner, the music is filtered through that as well. I found the Oyaide to be excellent, although it DOES move the soundstage forward a bit and I'm not completely sure it doesn't reduce depth. Nonetheless, those with higher resolution equipment will, obviously, hear improvements more easily than those of us with "merely" very good components.
I completely agree that the outlets should be reviewed, due to the impact they can have (noise, grain), which can be reduced, not but eliminated completely in the system.

ric escalante -- Sun, 07/18/2010 - 20:04

What is your opinion of the Teslaplex, especially in comparison to...it is quite possible that the soundstage is moved forward, but hopefully the point being what a huge difference a quality duplex outlet makes. As far as those of us with "merely" very good components, that can be a whole other can of worms. For the record my mere components are: Dunlavy SCIII's, Hsu TN1220 subs, VAC Avatar int. tube amp, Rega Apollo, SpaceDeck w/Dynavector 20XH, RS megacable, SR cabling, homemade Hallographs.--far from megabuck.

gb -- Sun, 07/18/2010 - 12:42

Ric:
I would agree that Oyaide R-1 outlet was a significant improvement over other outlets I had. I then purchased Synergistic Research's Teslaplex, just to put things into perspective (the mad scientist approach). Since I have an Audience teflon conditioner, the music is filtered through that as well. I found the Oyaide to be excellent, although it DOES move the soundstage forward a bit and I'm not completely sure it doesn't reduce depth. Nonetheless, those with higher resolution equipment will, obviously, hear improvements more easily than those of us with "merely" very good components.
I completely agree that the outlets should be reviewed, due to the impact they can have (noise, grain), which can be reduced, not but eliminated completely in the system.

HiFiSoundGuy -- Thu, 07/22/2010 - 17:18

Positive-Feedback is going to do a review on these maestro outlets soon.

HiFiSoundGuy -- Fri, 07/23/2010 - 15:31

Well, I got my maestro outlets for my whole audio/video system today and I want to wait until these outlets settles-in good for a week or two before I say anything about how they sound. What I can say is how they look with video, my HDTV picture looks sharper and the colors look more natural with these outlets in my system. It looks more like I'm looking through a window now! All this from just a outlet...more to come later.

Josh Hill -- Fri, 07/23/2010 - 17:20

Sigh. Not to be mean or anything, but look up "placebo effect."

JLeeMD -- Fri, 07/23/2010 - 19:25

Josh:

You admitted above that you have never tried these. I assure you that "mean" is not how you come across.

Josh Hill -- Fri, 07/23/2010 - 19:40

OK, let's change that from "mean" to "understands the laws of physics." Or can you explain how a new power outlet can change the size of a pixel?

JLeeMD -- Fri, 07/23/2010 - 21:42

Unfortunately I am old enough to remember that your argument was exactly the argument used by the proponents of "bit perfect" CD when it first came out.  I wholeheartedly agree with you that I don't understand why an AC outlet should make a difference, but it does.  In fact, the improvement was significantly more pronounced than the improvement between my 1st generation SACD player (Sony SCD-777ES) and its recent replacement, the Esoteric X-05.

Josh Hill -- Fri, 07/23/2010 - 22:19

The problem is, I'm old enough to have been one of those who argued from the start that the redbook standard was inadequate -- leading to quite a little brouhaha at AES -- and to have debated Dr. Stockham over the audible flaws in the Soundstream recorder (the converters of which, we learned some years later, had missing codes). Anyone who argued that CD's were audibly perfect was either lying (Phillips knew they weren't) or didn't understand the engineering. Or was listening to them on mediocre equipment. But there's a big difference between using your engineering knowledge and your ears on one hand, and ignoring basic engineering principles, selection bias, confirmation bias, and the placebo effect on the other. An outlet can't make more pixels, or fewer. It can't alter a digital filter or matrix. And it can't change the gamut of a display. Whereas viewer bias can easily do all of these things.

JLeeMD -- Sat, 07/24/2010 - 09:39

But Josh, at least you listened before forming an opinion on CD playback.  Let's consider aftermarket power cords.  I have a heck of a time understanding how they work, but the differences between stock cords and my Shunyata Python CXs are profound.  As you might have guessed, I have a scientific background.  My daily decisions are guided by double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies.  But to hold to the belief that what we know and understand today constitutes the whole truth is foolish. 

Josh Hill -- Sat, 07/24/2010 - 11:13

I agree with you, up to a point. There's no reason power cords can't, in certain circumstances, affect the sound, through voltage drop from inadequately sized conductors or poor contacts, intermittency, hum radiation, and radiation/passthrough of RFI and EMI. There may even be a mechanism I've overlooked. But confirmation and selection bias and placebo effect are real as well, and profound. It's not really in our nature to mistrust our own perceptions and I think that even those of us who know, intellectually, that these things occur can have a hard time accepting that they do in our own cases. I know that I do. But because of that, I mistrust, intellectually, my own perceptions. Furthemore, I've seen enough of a certain class of perceptions by others to suspect strongly that they're the consequence of confirmation bias. Among the signs, the fact that profound changes are consistently reported -- if there were so many profound changes, we would long ago have passed the point of perfect audio reproduction! -- and that the changes are almost inevitably reported as improvements, whereas one would expect them to be, half the time, negative.
Specifically, in the case of power cords, I have fairly strong reason to believe that some *are* audible, because years ago, in the studio, we used a real time analyzer to examine lead dress behind equipment racks and observed hum and other kinds of crosstalk into the audio when power cables were too close. And hum, of course, is audible at a certain point. But that doesn't mean I believe every report of an improvement, or that I would even if *I* noticed it.
In any case, my post here wasn't about this outlet and audio, but rather about reports of changes in the video signal that almost certainly could not occur. You can't change the number of pixels on a screen and if you know a bit of electronics you know that the typical "HDTV" almost certainly isn't susceptible to the sort of influence the OP reported. I worked at pro video facilities for many years and we were very careful to keep our tech power isolated, regulated, and free of ground loops. There were very real problems when we didn't. Hell, there were very real problems with both the audio and video when we did. I"ve been in situations in which we had to shield an entire analog computer monitor with mu metal because it was picking up 60 Hz radiation. But not *this* kind of problem, not with a digital display. And I never knew the outlet to make a damn bit of difference, not as long as the ground was isolated and it made good contact.

JLeeMD -- Sat, 07/24/2010 - 19:20

Years ago, when I first installed PS Audio's Power Port, I was hoping for a small improvement but, realistically, I was expecting to struggle to hear a difference. Instead, I was genuinely surprised by the degree of improvement in clarity and transparency. Before going to medical school, I use to be a musician. I still remember driving around L.A. auditioning different clarinet mouthpieces. I trust my ears. What I don't trust are the opinions of those formed solely on what can or cannot be explained by science or engineering. As I stated above, I remember too well the arguments that were made regarding "bit perfect" CD playback and, more recently, the outrage when Michael Fremer first reported on his experience with Wireworld and PS Audio power cords ("how can 6 feet of power cord at the end of miles of power line make any difference?"). And I routinely see poor correlation between John Atkinson's Measurements in Stereophile and the reviewer's report. My conclusion? Reproduction of the recorded arts is NOT a mature science. Indeed, the playback medium of choice for many discriminating audiophiles is a medium developed over a hundred years ago!

Josh Hill -- Sat, 07/24/2010 - 20:33

As a physician, I assume you're intimately familiar with the placebo effect? And the fact that as far as I know, none of us are immune to it, no matter how acute and well-trained our ears. And in evaluating the efficacy of a new drug, you look for a statistically significant difference in reported effectiveness between the drug and the placebo, rather than merely looking at the raw figures for the drug as a layman might?

At the same time, perhaps there are times when you have to try a patient on several meds to see if they give him relief, and then you can't always know to what extent his response is due to the placebo effect or the action of the pharmaceutical. But -- to some extent -- you might be able to guess. On the basis of the literature on how that drug benefits people with his condition, say, or your own clinical experience. Or by looking at test results with an expert eye.

Then too, if you read one of those quack alternative medicine web pages that ascribe everything from lumbago to yaws to yeast infections or food allergies, and there were testimonials from patients that their migraines had been cured and their cancers had gone into remission as a result of those therapies, how would you react? I imagine that, as an expert, you'd immediately pick up on the shoddy science -- the impressive but meaningless jargon, the references to anecdotal evidence and uncontrolled studies in obscure journals. And that you would react with a certain degree of skepticism on that basis, and wonder -- without denying the possibility that something is going on that isn't yet understood by medical science -- whether those supposed cures weren't a consequence of the placebo effect, or mere concidence.

That's pretty much how. as an engineer, I react to the more controversial areas of "subjective" audio (and video) evaluation.

To begin with, I'm aware of confirmation and selection bias and the placebo effect, and know that they can have a profound effect on our perceptions not just of headache relief, but of audio.

That doesn't mean one shouldn't listen, or that one doesn't have to. And it isn't about the assertion that measurements tell use everything about the sound of equipment, particularly the measurements one finds in a publication like Stereophile, which are actually extremely comprehensive by the standards of magazine reviewers but nothing like the range of measurements that an equipment designer uses.

In practice, as an engineer, I can usually tell pretty much how a piece of equipment sounds by knowing what technology it uses, something about the implementation (type of drivers, etc.), and a look at JA's measurements -- much I imagine as you can often guess what ails a patient on the basis of signs, symptoms, and test results that would have be meaningless to those without your training and experience.

But I don't think many audio engineers would say that listening doesn't matter, or that we understand every engineering phenomenon out of the box. We don't.

Hoever, there's an awful lot of engineering bullshit out there, superstitious claims that set my engineering teeth on edge much as I imagine the more outrageous claims of "alternative medicine" do a doctor's.

Now in this case, I reiterate, the OP was talking about video, not audio, and making claims that, if you're familiar with electronics, are way out there. I mean, seriously out there. Can I say for sure that the phases of the moon didn't align to produce these results? No. But in my judgment -- my *professional* judgment -- the chance of placebo effect or another error of subjective judgment is much higher than the chance that the power cord made his HDTV sharper. Because there's almost no way that could happen, and even if it weren't theoretically ridiculous, I've worked with literally thousands of video monitors over the years in professional video facilities, many of which I designed, and believe me, if changing the outlets had had that sort of effect on the picture, we would have noticed. Note I said *that sort of effect.* Because we did pay attention to engineering concerns, and there are circumstances in which changing an outlet can produce visible alterations in a picture, but they're of a different sort, generally hum bars in analog equipment.

So yes, I feel confident in questioning the OP's reported results, as confident as I do in questioning a report that claims that someone regained his ability to walk because of intercession by a saint. The placebo effect is simply much more likely than some kind of miraculous engineering phenomenon. Which, by the way, I haven't come across yet, the flaws in reproduction of CD playback were for the most part easy to predict with existing engineering tools. I predicted many of them myself, including the audible effect of jitter, on the basis of clock and PLL specifications and some back-of-the-envelope calculations. As I said earlier, the only people who thought that CD's were perfect were people who were not familiar with the actual engineering issues. Philips, the company that created the CD, knew there were audible problems from the start and in fact designed some of them in intentionally (the two stories being that they chose the parameters so they could fit Beethoven's 9th on one CD -- and the 44.1 kHz sampling rate, which was not only so low as to make filter design difficult but different than the AES/EBU sampling rate, necessitating a difficult standards conversion -- to screw Sony, which didn't have their oversampling technology.

JLeeMD -- Sun, 07/25/2010 - 11:43

You make some very cogent arguments. As a physician, I too have to wade through alot of "bullsh*t. When there are studies to debunk a treatment (i.e., chelation therapy for heart disease) I tell the patients as such. However, when there are no studies one way or another, I tell them they are on their own. Of course, I may at times give an opinion based on the science while making it clear that it is nothing more than conjecture. With high-end audio, there are no blinded, placebo-controlled studies of almost any sort. So for one to dismiss a product such as AC outlets based on lack of blinded, placebo controlled evidence is unfair. And to discredit it because it doesn't make sense engineering-wise isn't a sure recipe for truth either. In medicine, we not uncommonly discover treatment that is proven to work, but where the mechanism of action is not understood until much later. I am a firm believer that clean power (which includes better AC outlets) and good vibration control are essential to a good high-end set-up.

Josh Hill -- Sun, 07/25/2010 - 22:27

There's almost always a region of uncertainty in these matters.

Even if one understands the engineering and sufficient research has been done (or practical experience gained) to establish thresholds of audibility, conditions vary widely. Many years ago, my colleagues and I actually spent many hours behind the equipment racks in a studio with a real time analyzer, in order to establish criteria for lead dress. We could actually see the effect of hum and crosstalk from power, control, and video signals in real time, as we moved and rerouted cables. And as you might expect, it was highly dependent on both the signals and the proximity and relative orientation of the cables. Which means that whether one hears hum from an unshielded power cord, say, may be entirely dependent on how close the cord gets to the audio cables -- not to mention how well shielded those cables are, whether they're balanced, and so forth. Similarly, over the years, I've worked in locations where RFI was a terrible problem, and locations where it wasn't. Or AC hum from in-wall wiring causing horizontal jitter in high resolution CRT monitors -- in one studio, we actually had to build a mu-metal cage for the monitor, and in my current house it's impossible to use a CRT where I am right now, which happens to be within a few feet of the service panels in the basement.

Because of that, and because most audiophiles (and many studios) don't have the equipment that would permit accurate measurement of these problems, I think that the best course is often to overdesign the power system, where that's practical and economical. For example, in my own listening room, not only do I follow standard industry practice -- separate tech power, isolated grounds, and commercial grade receptacles -- but I have separate circuits for the computer, power amplifier, and analog circuitry, oversized to minimize voltage drop. I don't *know* that any of this makes a difference to the sound, but I do know, on the basis of measurements, experience, and theory, that in some cases it can, and I try to design for a reasonable worst case, particularly when the overkill doesn't cost too much. In a professional facility, I would do even more, e.g., metal conduit, voltage stabilization (often best avoided in the home because in a home setup it's very easy to starve the amplifier of peak current, which does more harm than good), and hospital-grade receptacles.

But, you know, at some point, the bullshit detector kicks in. Sometimes it's when people hear improvements that almost certainly have nothing to do with the power, or just the fact that they hear a huge improvement on everything when in practice one would expect to hear an improvement only under *some* circumstances. Sometimes -- well, I read some of the tech info on the PS Audio site, and it seemed like good, straightforward engineering. But what I read on the Maestoso site was unadulterated BS, such as, "In addition, we believe that mechanical resonance and tuning is also important in Audio grade outlets and this is another area where most other outlets fall short." Sigh. Perhaps their outlets are somehow better than other isoground outlets that make a good solid low resistance connection between the in-wall wiring and your plug, but I'm not particularly inclined to believe it, any more than I'm inclined to believe that I can get good medical care from a chiropractor who claims that diseases are caused by a misalignment of the spine.

JLeeMD -- Sun, 07/25/2010 - 23:44

If you have a problem with the way Maestro markets their products, that's fine. My point here was to defend the aftermarket AC receptacle because it is an overlooked product that really deserves a little more attention as it offers incredible bang for the buck.

Josh Hill -- Tue, 07/27/2010 - 22:21

But does it? Seriously, I haven't seen any evidence that a decent commercial grade outlet won't do just as well, if the system uses plastic boxes. I'm not saying that there isn't such evidence, just that I haven't seen it.

JLeeMD -- Mon, 08/02/2010 - 18:23

Josh,
PS Audio sells the Power Port for $50 and the Power Port Premier for $100. Just try one. I'd love to know what you think!

Josh Hill -- Tue, 08/03/2010 - 08:54

I'd take you up on it, but my system is disassembled right now while we finish the renovations from hell. So it's going to be a month or two before I can even listen. Then so many things will have changed, including all new dedicated circuits and receptacles and probably a new power amp, that I won't have a reference.

I also remain deeply skeptical about the ability of listeners including myself to make an objective comparison here. I just read an excerpt from a review by Art Dudley:

"Switching my amp and CD player back and forth between the upgraded [Power Port] receptacle and a nearby one in original condition yielded the same differences consistently with all kinds of music: stronger music and blacker silence, with a slight overall improvement in listening ease. Not a big difference, but a consistent difference, and always a step in the right direction."

OK, plausible so far, but then:

"Replacing the outlets that feed my Quads had an even bigger effect, which surprised me. Whether those original outlets happened to be in worse shape – science be damned, but I'm not about to switch receptacles back and forth on the same wires and outlet box – is nearly impossible to tell. Yet I was sufficiently convinced that I asked PS Audio if I could buy some more Power Ports for my other system."

http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PSPPPRE

Polarizing voltage? There's virtually no current draw, so no possibility of voltage drop, and to maintain constant charge operation the polarizing voltage of an electrostat is intentionally filtered to below 20 Hz with some combination of a series resistor/diaphragm coating resistivity. At this point, he loses credibility with me. If he imagines a difference in his Quads, why should I think that he isn't imagining a difference on his other gear? Or that I wouldn't do the same, one way or the other?

JLeeMD -- Tue, 08/03/2010 - 14:15

I've had lots of gear where I spent good money and very much wanted to believe it would improve my systems performance but which, after a period of time, reluctantly removed because my ears told me that what I wanted to believe wasn't consistent with what I was hearing (i.e., PS Audio's power cords). I trust my ears...my music background helps. With the Power Ports initially and with the Power Port Premiers eventually, the improvements were unambiguous. Do a Google search for reviews of the PS Audio Power Port and Power Port Premier. If you're waiting for an objective (blinded, "placebo" controlled) study, you will be waiting...forever.

Josh Hill -- Tue, 08/03/2010 - 20:32

I've had the same experience, e.g., with a highly regarded Conrad-Johnson preamp that was never anything but a sonic disappointment. Or, in other cases, I'm not sure if I hear a difference, or, if I do, I'm not sure whether it's an improvement or not. Or I hear no difference, and can't say whether that's because it's below the threshold of audibility, or because it isn't apparent with the program material or system I'm using, or just that I have a tin ear. Which raises an interesting question: are some people less prone to confirmation bias than others? I believe there are some studies that say that's true, in politics, anyway. And the same question might be raised regarding the placebo effect, since it's known that some people are more suggestible than others. But -- even if there is such a continuum, how does one know where one sits on it?

I've tried always sought objectivity, in politics, philosophy, and everything else, and I believe that those of us who do so are slightly better able to scent the truth than those who are given to ideology and religiosity. But that tendency to seek objectivity leads to the recognition that I'm subject to the same prejudices as everyone else, and that I have to fight to overcome them by ruthlessly questioning my own beliefs and assumptions, as well as those of others. And that skepticism leads me to believe that there's a penumbra in which neither blind AB tests nor subjective listening can tell us very much about what we actually hear.

In practice, of course, there really isn't any substitute for using one's ears, however imperfect they may be. But where a phenomenon is subtle enough to fall within the penumbra, I try to use other criteria to make practical decisions about it. Often, those are engineering criteria, as when I expressed doubt on theoretical and empirical grounds that a receptacle could increase the sharpness of a digital display, or affect the sound of an electrostatic loudspeaker. Independent confirmation also helps, e.g., when I hear a certain sonic characteristic, and someone else reports independently hearing that same characteristic, although there are still possibilities of systematic bias, such as the expectation that tubes or transistors will sound a certain way.

In this particular case, my inclination would be to listen, out of curiosity and because that's always a necessary step, at least to decide if a sonic difference is of a sufficient magnitude to be accepted unequivocally. But as I said, in this case, I'm not really set up to do that, since I will have changed so many things -- new dedicated lines and receptacles, new amplifier and source, etc. I *could* say to hell with it, I might as well just put in some fancy outlets because they can't do any harm and might do some good, but that (if I used the fancy gold ones) would be four or five hundred dollars, and such is the state of my half-dismantled system now that there are many places I could spend that which would have guaranteed bang for the buck.

This is one of those cases in which I'd like to see measurements. A receptacle isn't like an amplifier or a speaker, it's a very simple device that can pretty much only arc, radiate, filter, impede current flow, cause a ground loop, or catch fire. Once arcing is taken care of with a strong wiping force and ground loops by isolating the ground, there are only a few parameters, which happen to be easy to measure. I'd be curious about seeing such measurements, and, really, would want to see them before I dropped 100 bucks on a receptacle. If it were 20 bucks, well, I'd just spend it. Or as I said, try it, if I were in a situation where I could do a reasonable A/B comparison, which I can't.

What I can't do unfortunately is rely on the likes of the Stereophile review, since the reviewer has made it clear that he's hearing things that just ain't there.

JLeeMD -- Wed, 08/04/2010 - 01:56

I'm confused. Are you replacing your AC receptacles?

Josh Hill -- Wed, 08/04/2010 - 07:33

Not without engineering or blind test evidence that it does something. I'd be relying on a Stereophile reviewer who appears to be imagining things.

Maybe once things are up and running again I could try replacing one outlet and A/Bing it. I'm not wild about sighted A/B tests, though, or at least not very good at it. I find that some subtle sonic characteristics become apparent only with extended listening.

rossop -- Wed, 08/04/2010 - 15:40

One of the best things I did for my system was to run two heavy duty dedicated lines into my listening room to two good quality duplexes. One for digital, the other for analog. They took a couple of months to break in and sound their best. All up about $300-$500 (I cant remember)
In a high end system I found it to be a great leap forward.

Josh Hill -- Wed, 08/04/2010 - 15:48

That's what I've done, we had to replace the wiring anyway so it didn't really add much to the cost. I tried to put enough circuits around the periphery so that I could move the gear wherever I want it, and still separate the low level analog stuff, the digital stuff, and the power amp, which can really pull down the voltage during loud passages. Alas, I'll never know what effect the new lines had, since when I reconstitute my system much of the gear will have changed . . .

HiFiSoundGuy -- Sat, 07/24/2010 - 21:35

I think clean power and better ac outlets are two of the most important things you can do for a system.

Robert Harley -- Sat, 07/24/2010 - 23:29

Shunyata founder Caelin Gabriel sheds considerable light on this phenomenon in his groundbreaking chapter on AC power for The Golden Ear's Guide to System Set Up and Evaluation. This is the book we've just put together for Golden Ear Club members, who should be receiving them shortly. Gabriel has some fascinating (and unique) insight into AC power for audio systems, and lays it out in a logical and consistent way in his chapter.

HiFiSoundGuy -- Wed, 07/28/2010 - 09:39

These maestro outlets have only been settling-in for about 4 full days and nights playing music non-stop and they are already much better than my porter ports...clearly superior! They are the most neutral and most accurate outlet I have ever heard! I want to wait a month or so to see if they improve much more.

HiFiSoundGuy -- Sat, 07/31/2010 - 12:30

The Trasparency of these maestro outlets are getting better.. WOW I am loving it!

pal1 -- Thu, 08/12/2010 - 10:26

I too was skeptical about power upgrading and slowly I started "improving" the power supply to my system.  I started with upgrading the power cords to dedicated lines to outlets to conditioners and each move made IMO, significant improvement.  Of course, the improvement that someone else may realize is dependent upon the weakest link in their system.  What a masochistic hobbie.

Josh Hill -- Thu, 08/12/2010 - 13:35

That's why I try to focus on the most significant elements rather than worrying about a tenth of a dB here and a tenth of a dB there. It's easy to become obsessive about minor flaws that you start to hear because you're so familiar with your system. And the thing is, you can never really get rid of those. You can fix this and you can fix that, but it's still going to have a few things wrong with it.

Of course, there can be a pleasure to tweaking and honng, I've spent many an hour moving my speakers a quarter of an inch in this direction and that . . .

pal1 -- Thu, 08/12/2010 - 15:17

I agree. For some of us, it's a little harder to decide when enough is enough.

pal1 -- Thu, 11/03/2011 - 09:14

Wow, just noticed I misspelled hobby in my first comment,sorry. Actually, forget the entire last sentence

gb -- Sat, 08/14/2010 - 20:07

Ric:
Sorry, I've been away and didn't respond to your inquiry about the Teslaplex. The answer is: I don't know! I didn't experience the same epiphany that I did with the Oyaide outlet. I suppose the easiest thing is simply to remove the Audience line conditioner and plug the CD player into each outlet on its own. The Audience is truly a dazzling component and may be swamping the smaller changes that the individual outlets make.
Also, and on a different train track, I had two different power cords on my Hurricane amps (and the Hurricanes are QUITE good at showing differences in preceding components, although I now believe my Hale Revelation 3s (not my best speakers, but the ones in the system for the past 5 months or so) are the limiting factor.
Back to the power cords: they're Shunyatas: on one amp, the Python CX, on the other the Viper. Grant Samuelson of Shunyata advised me recently that the Viper could be upgraded to the newer Black Mamba for a small fee and that the Viper was a bit "lean." It's entirely possible that the difference, with two different power cords on the amps made it harder to hear the differences in preceding components, although I could CLEARLY hear the Oyaide's improvements when I inserted it into the system. I still had, fortunately, a Taipan Helix power cord sitting by its lonesome in a corner and, after boxing up the Viper and shipping it back, I put the Taipan on the preamp and Lo! The instruments fleshed out quite a bit more. I was non-plussed (did someone mention placebo???) by this, but considered that  the Viper IS superior to the Taipan in clarity and a lower noise floor, but traded off some of the richness of acoustic instruments. To be fair to myself, I DID hear that instruments had less body, but went searching elsewhere thru the system (I put new tubes in EVERYTHING: the Convergent got Amperex tubes; the input tubes on the Hurricanes got the new Sophia Electric 6SN7s,; the Hurricane outputs got  Gold Lions) but the body didn't re-appear. Since I got the Viper over 18 months ago, and was using the Cambridge 840 and the speakers were the Usher 718s (non-BE version), I frankly overlooked that it could be the power cord change. In the case of the Viper, I heard the improvement immediately, but still, at that time, had bought one Viper and One Python CX, so it wasn't quite as easy to hear what was missing as much I heard what improved.
So, in summation.....I'll have to move the cords to the Teslaplex outlet and see if I can hear the difference. Again, I've made enough improvements to the system that I think the Hales are limiting what I can hear without switching cords directly into the outlets without the Audience, which I'll do over the next few days.

HiFiSoundGuy -- Sun, 08/15/2010 - 10:33

What I'm finding out about ac outlets is unplated copper outlets gives you a more direct sound without adding or subtracking anything from the music....the purer the copper.. the more direct and more natural the sound will be. It took about 40 days for my porter ports outlets to settle-in really good and sound their very best and the way its looking with my maestro outlets still improving more and more as the days go by now. I'm going to wait now for 45 to 60 days so I see just how much more these outlets will improve and hear their full potential. I have been having a lot of problems with my old computer lately and I'm hopping it will last a little longer because I don't have the money to get an new computer right now.

ric escalante -- Sat, 08/21/2010 - 10:15

Brion-
    What surprised me about the Oyaide outlet was how easily I could hear an improvement, and it sounds like it may not be the same case with PC's, where there is A/Bing involved to acertain the differences. The same may be true for acertaining outlet qualities, which would mean running all gear from a single duplex outlet (via a multi-outlet conditioner--it's own bias!) then swiching to the other say Oyaide vs.Teslaplex, and observing what those system specific differences are. For myself, I have to be very careful when tweaking, as it's tempting to do more than one tweak at a time in order to try and hear that difference. Fuses are on my upgrade list, and there is another topic that begs comparison in a professional manner, which is covered at AudioAsylum, Head-Fi, etc.. I look foward to hearing your results, Happy Listening!

HiFiSoundGuy -- Fri, 08/12/2011 - 19:27

 There's even a Electrical Engineer that is raving about these Maestro ac outlets, saying they made a "BIG DIFFERENCE" TOO... http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1280092337&openflup&24&4#24

downunderman -- Thu, 08/18/2011 - 03:44

At a more mundane level one consequence of switching outlets will be that the screwing in/out of the wires will possibly mean that at a mechanical level the connections of the old v's new outlets will be different in some respects.
For example, will the amount of bare wire connecting to the outlet be exactly the same and will the bare wire be in exactly the same physical condition with regard to deformation or oxidation? - if not, does the potential exist for these changes to impact on the performance of the outlet?
Again at a mechanical level are there differences with regard to the tension with which the different outlets will grip the plug.
If so, then it's not surprising that people might note that the performance of the outlet changes - but that change may have little to do with the fancy characteristics of the outlet itself.
 

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