High performance electric outlets

I just moved into an apartment which has the weakest and most feeble outlets I have ever seen. There seems to be so much confusion and controversy about this subject that I have no idea where to start.

My apartment has the electric panel in the pantry closet, so I will be able to draw 220V for my ONEAC 3000W isolation transformer. The transformer has two 110V outlets and feeds all my system. I would also need two or three more outlets in a power strip next to my equipment.

Should I just get something like two of those orange Leviton Hospital Grade outlets from Home Depot ($11.00 each) to replace the ones in the isolation transformer or is it really worth to go the 'audio grade' route? If so, how can I make an educated decision?
Actually, you should try the upgraded bryant outlets from home depot if you dont want to spend a ton. They have nice contacts and are well built.. they are like 7 bucks each...
other than that, you could get the ps audio outlets for 49.99 each ... I would definately get a voltage tester in there to see what kind of power you are getting before doing anything... in a multi dwelling, sometimes there arent dedicated circuts per unit... in your case, just make sure you are getting decent constant voltage /amperage and then get nicer outlets to make a good contact for your expensive ac gear!!
Good luck,
Joe DiMonte
For some weird reason, the orange ( GFI ) Leviton's ( maybe it was Pass & Seymour ??? ) are supposed to actually degrade sound after a period of time. Someone noticed this and decided to take one of theirs apart after about 6 months of use. They found that the conductive tabs were coated in some type of greasy, oily slime. If you are further interested in this story, do a search on AA. I can't recall what forum it was in. Probably either tweaks or cables.

If you are worried about outlets, buy some good hospital grade outlets. Once you get to that level, i see you hitting a point of diminishing returns. Your outlets and power cords will be strictly at the mercy of the building wiring and ground. I assume that you don't want to get into rewiring that : ) Sean

Two recommendations. The first is a Hubbell hospital grade outlet and the second is also a Hubbell hospital grade, but has ground fault circuit interrupter.
1. HBL2172I
2. HGF8200I

You can see a nice description of these parts at
What should an apartment dweller with expensive stereo equipment do to assure good, clean power beyond an AC Conditioner? AC Cords, new outlets, a voltage stabilizer?
Don't mean to hijack this thread, but I have a related question. If you have a circuit that feeds three separate outlets, you "hospital" upgrade one of the outlets, and don't use the other two at all, is that basically the same as having a dedicated outlet.
FIM and Woodhead should be among the best and may even be the exact same but the Woodhead is supposed be about 1/3rd the price of the FIM.

I'm using PS Audio Power Port outlets and intend to replace with Woodhead.
I put PS Audio outlets in the dedicated curcuit for my system and at $49.95 thought it was worth the cost. The cheap hospital grade outlets did not amke any audible difference in my opinion.
Since I did this I ran across the JPS Labs outlets. I'm not sure of the cost but they look to be very well made. I don't know anything about the Woodhead but maybe stehno is onto something there.
Good luck
Stehno: Can you provide a link for info on the "Woodhead" products ?

Francisco and Dan: I would start with the basics. That is, try replacing the breakers in your breaker box. Breakers deteriorate with age, so start at the source.

Next up would be replace the outlets with something "decent". I think that the Hubbell hospital grade units will probably be about as good you can get without spending a lot more money. I am basing this on other recommendations and my past experience with Hubbell products. Obviously, others might have specific suggestions based on their experiences. I suggest this as the second step as all wires and connections corrode. Going to new outlets will assure you of fresh metal with tighter contacts for your power cords to plug into and a fresh clean connection from the wall wiring to the receptable. Less noise, reduced series resistance and improved conductivity can never be a bad thing when it comes to electricity and electronics.

At this point, i would fire up all of your equipment and measure the voltage at the wall outlets with the gear playing at normal volume. Pick a recording that has a lot of steady high output low frequency info, as this pulls the most power and will create the most voltage sag. Anything between about 117 volts and 123 would be considered normal. If your voltage is much above or below this level, it might need attention. Obviously the further it is away from 120 volts, the more serious the situation becomes. Keep in mind that voltage will vary depending on time of day, what your neighbors are pulling for power at that very moment, etc...

This testing will tell you if you need some type of voltage regulation. Since a voltage regulator will have filtering in it, investing in multiple PLC's and a voltage regulator(s) would be somewhat redundant and quite expensive although some might swear that there are benefits to such an installation. That is possible but i have never tried it myself.

If the voltage seems to be hanging within an acceptable range and you don't think you need regulation, i would suggest working with power cords and parallel line filters. This is not that i think regulation or regeneration aren't important or worthwhile, it's just that all of the devices on the market that i've seen are quite expensive. My goals in most systems are to build a solid platform to build upon with the least amount of initial cash outlay. Should one want to make changes or add further refinement, that can always be done later without having to backtrack to correct smaller things that should have been done first. Obviously, others may have a different point of view on the subject. Follow your heart and what your common sense tells you. 99% of the time, your gut reactions are typically correct. Just don't allow yourself to be fooled by what you "want" to hear.

Others might feel that a good PLC should be next. I have my reasons for taking the approach that i mentioned. First of all, a good power cord reduces the potential for RFI and eases the delivery of better quality power to the component. It does this by reducing the resistance within the circuit ( typically heavier gauges with better connectors ) and by taking advantage of proven geometries that are beneficial to power delivery. Personally, i am not a believer in "high dollar" PC's or "brand names". I think that this is an area that most people that are willing try can make noticeable improvements to their system. The REALLY great thing is that you can do this for pennies on the dollar compared to what one would have to pay for an equivalent commercially available product. Besides that, a good power cord will always benefit the system / individual component even if you were to add additional filtering / regulation at a later date.

As to the parallel line filters, these help reduce the amount of grunge floating throughout the entire AC system. They do this without placing any type of filtering or impedance altering devices in series with the equipment that could limit current flow under dynamic conditions. Some of the results of these might not be readily apparent right after installation, but the typical results are a lower noise floor, blacker background, reduction of hash in the upper frequencies and an overall more liquid presentation. The effects of parallel line filtering are additive. In effect, the more parallel line filters that you run, the more benefit you'll get. I would advise reading an article written by David Magnan.

Once you've done all of this, and if you've paid careful attention to what most "audio tweakers" would consider the bare minimum set-up procedures, you should be enjoying your system to a great extent. As a further note, you might want to check out this thread about AC Polarity. I found that it made a difference in my system and think that it is worthwhile to investigate such things. Disregard my "knuckleheadedness" near the end of the thread as i was clowning around at Bob's expense. Good thing he has a sense of humour : )

It is at this point in time that i would begin to experiment with various PLC's / electrical isolation devices and see if you like their effects. Don't think that all of these filters are created equal, as they surely aren't. Keep in mind that most PLC's shunt the "filtered" noise to ground. If the ground in the building is not up to snuff due to poor connections or a long run of resistive wire to get to Earth ground, they won't do much for you at all. The parallel line filters work no matter what as they are strictly connected between the hot and neutral.

I hope this helps and you can understand why i have recommended the path that i have. Obviously, it is nothing more than my opinion and worth just slightly less than what you paid for it : ) Sean
We recently started using the Furutech outlets from Japan. this is the company that supplies the single crystal copper to Harmonic Technology for their cables. our previous outlets were the FIM and Wattgate.
Quote: "We recently started using the Furutech outlets from Japan. this is the company that supplies the single crystal copper to Harmonic Technology for their cables. our previous outlets were the FIM and Wattgate."

What's your point?
I think it is pretty obvious that Artistic Audio finds the Furutech outlets to be of very high quality and recommends them. As to whether or not they are a dealer for such item, only they know the answer to that. At least they were honest enough to post under their business name and didn't try to sneak in as a shill. Sean
Sean, oops. This is what I was informed by one who usually does some pretty thorough homework prior to making any audio purchase.

> Get a Woodhead extra heavy duty industrial 20
> amp outlet, as far as I can tell, it is
> IDENTICAL to the FIM outlet at 1/3 the cost.
Looks like the ivory hospital grade 20-amp duplex from Woodhead (85362DWI) is about $20 accoridng to the site and downloadable price list.
I know Artistic Audio wants to sell...and they're using their business name (wich is perfectly honest). What I want to know is what they're basing their opinions on so that we, as potential customers can make educated decisions.

Psychicanimal *is* in the market for outlets. In fact, I just ordered a "B Stock" PS Audio Juice Bar from Jeff's Sound Values this afternoon.

I am in an excellent position to instantly A/B outlets. My 3000W ONEAC isolation transformer has separate feeds for its two 110 outlets (it's 220V in). My system is getting to be revealling enough so that my listening tests will be useful to a lot of people. Once my Swans M1 come back from MODWRIGHT I will start working on testing different outlets and sharing my findings.

I will welcome if anyone wants to send me outlets for comparisons (either from dealers or particulars).


I purchased a FIM 880 outlet based on a recommendation in my dealer's newsletter.

In that newsletter, he stated that FIM went to a major outlet manufacturer (presumably Woodhead) and asked what they could do to improve their outlet if cost was no object. Their response (copied directly from the newsletter) was:

- greater contact pressure
- increased contact surface area
- higher tolerances throughout
- less resonant housing
- higher copper-content mating surfaces

So, presumably the FIM 880 is a custom version of the previously mentioned Woodhead design manufactured to FIM's specs.

P. S.- has anyone had this outlet cryogenically treated? If so, can you elaborate on any audible changes that you noted? Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
Be careful about Hubbell hosp. grade. My understanding is that for hospital purposes they have a treatment that is not good for audio applications. Hubbell has the same level of outlet without these treatments. Also I would check out FIM outlet they are excellent.
The cryo treated Hubbell outlet Jena Labs sells is a "semi custom" model not carried by Hubbel dealers (according to their WS). It is a mere $100 each.
My experience with outlets over the past year and a half or so leads me to believe that there is literally a truckload of misinformation or disinformation on receptacles out there. I have tried a number of outlets from various manufacturers, and the best stock outlets I used were Hubbell 8200/8300 hospital grade, although I did not use a stock Hubbell 5362. The Jena Labs is a stock Hubbell 5362 that is cryoed, and both the Hubbell 5362 and 8300 are available cryoed from Audio Excellence/World Power, for $55 and $60 respectively. I can say that the cryoed 5362 is substantially better than the stock 8300 (which is also the basis for the PS Audio receptacle) and believe me, I was very skeptical that there would be much improvement. I posted a review of this receptacle at Audio Asylum (in the cables section) and tried to post it here, but apparently it didn't go through. Haven't heard the FIM, and wasn't keen on the Pass & Seymour stock receptacle that the Acme is based on.
"My understanding is that for hospital purposes they have a treatment that is not good for audio applications."

Ksales......I don't mean to throw a wrench into the works, but this is not exactly correct. For the hospital grade outlets, Hubbell uses a different, and higher-impact resistant face material (rather than the nylon used on non-hospital grade products) and bright-nickel plates all the power contacts and metal strapping. The multi-layer plating insures the metal won't oxidize or corrode, especially in a medical environment.

Sonically (and I beta-tested these units with others), the 8300 and 5362 are *very, very* close. They are both quite musical, with an extended and smooth frequency response. The 5362 gives a "slightly" more laid-back or relaxed presentation, the 8300 a "slightly" more immediate (one customer described it as more 'intimate') presentation, as if you moved your listening chair a bit closer. Again, these differences are ones of subtlety, not night-and-day differences.

From my understanding, bright nickel plating is on a different level than standard nickel plating, about which many have thought to have sonic problems, and consequently, have labeled anything with nickel plating to be "bad". In the Hubbell's case, au contraire.

I hope this information helps.
Alan, thanks for the info. I personally found it very informative. Just a few more questions if you don't mind : )

Do you know what the physical differences between the 8300 and 5362 are ? Have you ever had an 8300 cryo'd ? If so, what were the differences ? Thanks again... Sean
"Do you know what the physical differences between the 8300 and 5362 are?"

Other than the bright-nickel plating and differing face material of the 8300, they are *identical* in construction and size/dimension......again, identical. The brass alloy for the power contacts, etc. is identical as well.

"Have you ever had an 8300 cryo'd? If so, what were the differences?"

Yes. All the 5362's and 8300's I'm offering ARE cryo'd....in fact double-cryo'd. I mentioned the sonic differences (between the two duplexes) in my previous post. If you're asking about the sonic differences between a cryo'd 8300 and a non-cryo'd 8300, I can't offer an opinion, as I never did such a comparison. After cryo'ing a few different test items earlier in the year, I decided to cryo *everything*, as the sonic rewards were clearly evident to my ears. As of tomorrow, all my system cabling (and extras) will have undergone double-cryo processing so I can listen to music again!
No wrench in my comments only looking for the truth. I wasn't sure about the info I had heard about the Hospital grade Hubs. Anyone demoing would have better info.