Power Receptacles - Review and Comparison

Once I started comparing power cords on the various equipment in my system, it was undeniable that the power receptacle has a tremendous influence on the resulting sound from each power cord. Switching between the Porterhouse Audio Power Port, Oyaide SWO-XXX, Oyaide R1 with the GPC-Z cover, and Synergistic Research Teslaplex consistently produced significantly different results with each power cord I auditioned. I am amazed at how much each receptacle influences the performance of a given cord and, more importantly, the sound of my system as a whole.

Over a period of months, I compared each of these receptacles, using several different power cords on each of my components, beginning with my Ayre CX-7e CDP and K-1xe preamp. I eventually concluded that I preferred the Synergistic Research Tesla T2 power cords with the Teslaplex receptacle on my front end equipment.

So now for the amp. First, I compared the Oyaide SWO-XXX to the Porterhouse Audio Power Port on my Krell FPB-600c with the SR Tesla T3 UHC power cord. The SWO-XXX provided a little more apparent detail, but I found the Power Port to be much more musical and it provided what I feel to be more realistic soundstage ambience and more natural upper-frequency purity.

Next up was the Oyaide R1. While I can see why so many folks are impressed with the R1, it seems to impart the same sonic signature on every piece I try it with. It has a very refined sound, with impressive detail, good tonal balance, and lovely harmonic bloom; but, in my system, it has much less air than the Teslaplex or the Porter Port and the soundstage is not as expansive. Instruments seem to move forward in the soundstage and vocals have a much more ‘hi-fi’ quality about them. I never get the ‘live sound’ magic from the R1 like I do with the Teslaplex or the Porter Port.

Many audiophiles keep a special component, interconnect, or power cord over the years whose sound they know to be truthful and use it to evaluate new equipment in their systems. The Porter Port is such a product. It is my opinion that it is the most neutral of this entire group and should be the standard by which to baseline power cords and receptacles. This is indeed impressive considering the $36 selling price of the Porterhouse Audio Porter Port.

The Synergistic Research Teslaplex receptacle is somewhat of a paradox to me. When comparing its appearance to the Oyaides, it seems very unlikely that this hot-rodded Leviton will be able to make a mark against those exotically-plated Japanese beauties. Looks are deceiving! This receptacle is revelatory in its ability to generate a seemingly unbounded soundscape that is so transparent it actually seems to breathe. Anyone who has tried the SR Tesla power cords knows what I mean by this. The ‘thereness’ of vocals and percussion is just uncanny. I suspect much of this is a result of Ted Denney’s Quantum Tunneling treatment. If you are unfamiliar with this process, visit the Synergistic Research website for a recorded demonstration. One thing I know for sure is that it enhances his products in a most remarkable way.

The Teslaplex may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Its sound is so transparent and delivers such spectacular clarity that I suspect that many audiophiles will find it to be overwhelmingly different from what they have become accustomed to. Perhaps it is, but if the reproduction of air and limitless soundstaging are your audio drug of choice and your system is up to it, I think you will find this receptacle to be quite amazing. Highly recommended!
Yep, that's the one https://www.thecableco.com/product.php?id=6224.

As for Jea48's questions:

Q: From the picture it appears to me to be just a spec grade Leviton 20 amp duplex receptacle with a steel supporting back strap.

A: According to Ted Denney, these are special-order Leviton receptacles. They do have a steel back strap. I know the concerns about steel, but it is what it is. My first thought after seeing one was that a better base receptacle would sound better, but Ted assures me that this one was selected because it delivers the voicing he wants.

Q: In your review you did not mention the base line for your tests of each receptacle.

A: The baseline started out to be a Hubbell CR5352IG (isolated ground) receptacle. Later, I used the Porter Port as the baseline as I felt it to be the most neutral.

Q: Your audio equipment?

A: Ayre CX-7e CDP, VPI TNT 2.5 with JMW12 arm and Grado Statement "The Reference" cartridge, VPI SDS, Ayre K-1xe preamp with phono, Krell FPB-600c stereo amplifier, Thiel CS5i loudspeakers, 1.5M Transparent Reference Phono interconnect from TT to preamp, 1.5M Audioquest Niagara w/72v dbs XLR interconnect from CDP to preamp, 5M Transparent Audio Reference XL XLR interconnects between preamp and amp, 8 ft Straightwire Crescendo speaker cable.

I would also add that I have Furman IT-Reference 20i and a Chang Lightspeed CLS6400ISO power conditioners, but neither of these were used in the evaluation, except to power the SR min-couplers that are part of the SR active shielding network for the Tesla power cords.

Q: Was the receptacles used to power all the equipment, or just some?

A: All receptacles mentioned in the article were tried on the CDP, preamp, and amp.

Q:Pre break-in time?

A: Per others' recommendations, the Oyaides were given 200 hours powering my HT equipment before critical listening. The Porter Port and Tesla Plex were given hundreds of hours in place on my main equipment during the evaluation (they both sounded good from the beginning and improved very slightly as hours increased to a point). I noticed no discernable change in the sound of each receptacle during the last half of the evaluation.

Q: Connected to what type of branch circuit wiring?

A: I have two 30 amp 10/2 Romex lines dedicated to my amp and two 20 amp 12/2 Romex lines dedicated to my front end equipment.

Q: Did you try other manufactures power cords with each receptacle?

A: Yes - In addition to the SR Tesla T2 and T3 UHC power cords, the Tel Wire, the VH Audio Airsine, TG Audio SLVR, Raymond 1512, Tara Labs RSC Master, and the stock Krell power cord were used. The Tel Wire is an excellent cord and works very well with all of the receptacles auditioned, especially the R1.

There was a constraint because my Krell has a 20 amp IEC receptacle and the rest of my equipment uses a 15 amp IEC. The SR T3 UHC, the Airsine, and the stock Krell power cord have 20 amp IEC connectors, so these were only used on the amp with each of the receptacles.

Q: Receptacle mounted to a wall rough-in box installation?

A: The boxes are simply mounted into the drywall and receptacles were mounted using standard hardware, excepting the Oyaide/WPC-Z which used the provided hardware.

Q: Rough-in box, plastic or ferrous metal?

A: All rough-in boxes are plastic.

Q: Cover plate used?

A: I used the Oyaide WPC-Z carbon fiber/billet aluminum faceplate with the R1 and the SWO-XXX. The Porter Port and Teslaplex used standard HD metal faceplates.
Thank you for your detailed response to my post.

The Porter Port and Teslaplex used standard HD metal faceplates.
Ferrous metal? If you would please check with a magnet and post back...

If the cover plate is ferrous the Hubbell HBL8300H will sound better with a non ferrous cover plate. Try a nylon P&S or Leviton nylon plate.
The metal faceplates are non-magnetic so I assume they are non-ferrous (aluminum?). I now have the Tesla Plex mounted in the Oyaide WPC-Z faceplate assembly, but the Porter Port Hubbell 8300 has the metal faceplate. I can try the nylon one to see if there is any difference.
Dave -- My compliments on a well written review, and on the very extensive effort you obviously put into all of this. However, as a technically-oriented person who as you'll recall is something of an audio skeptic, albeit one who considers himself to be open-minded, there are some questions I would like to raise.

I don't doubt that your descriptions of what you heard were accurate. What I wonder is if your methodology adequately eliminated extraneous variables, and if what seemed to be differences attributable to the receptacles may have actually been due to something else.

Were the differences you perceived typically immediately recognizable, on the first recording you listened to after switching receptacles, or did they only become apparent after listening sessions that extended over weeks or months?

If the former, did you switch back to the previous receptacle to confirm your perceptions?

If the latter, the same question applies, and also how do you know that the differences were not due to things like ongoing aging or burn-in of system components, seasonally-related temperature changes in the room affecting component performance, changes (also possibly seasonally-related) in line voltage, or in noise levels on the ac line, subtle wear in your record grooves due to repeated playings, etc.?

Again, I'm not necessarily disagreeing with your findings, just raising what I think are questions that need to be addressed before your conclusions are fully persuasive.

-- Al

Thank you taking the time to share with us the results of your extensive evaluations. This is most interesting, and I find your results consistent with my much less rigorous testing. While I can't speak directly to the Porter Ports, I've settled on and use the Jena Labs and Walker Audio outlets (which are similar) and have found them to be the most neutral and the most musically natural of all the various outlets I've heard. Given the similar provenance, I expect the Porter Ports to sound very much like what I'm hearing here.