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!

It would indeed take some effort to cover all the combinations and permutations of each power cord with each receptacle.

I'll make you a deal though: You tell me how you built those hug honkin' DIY tubes traps in your listening room and I'll try to hit the high points of the power cable/receptacle combos for you ;o)
Dave -- Thank you for your comprehensive and persuasive answers, which fully answer my questions. Again, I was not questioning your characterizations and assessments of what you were hearing, which I think is what you were referring to when you used the word "psychosomatic." I was only questioning whether the methodology adequately controlled other conceivable variables, so that what you heard was correctly attributed to the receptacles.

The dust hasn't yet settled here on numerous major changes, upgrades, and repairs that my system has undergone recently, and unfortunately my house is older and has two-prong outlets(!), but I hope to explore the whole area of power cords, receptacles, and possible house wiring upgrades in the not too distant future.

-- Al
Dave, I only mentioned power cords, I neglected to mention their connectors. Different combinations of metalurgy result in different sonics. I've experimented quite a bit here as well, way to much to go into here. If you're interested, check out Dusty (I believe that's his handle) threads at audioasylum.com. He goes into this sort of thing in depth, my findings are very similar. People shouldn't underestimate the sonic differences between outlets and connectors in a high resolution system!

As for my present choices, and in my system. I'm liking a combo of Porter Ports and R1 receptacles, along with Wattgate connectors. I also find Oyaides in general to have a bit more forward sound, Anyway, a little of this, and a little of that, voila!

If you want the recipe for the DIY tube traps, email me. I made them quite a while ago, don't recall the exact recipe at the moment.
In thinking about the DIY tube traps. I still recall the day I first put them in my system, one of those red letter days you never forget about. It was amazing how much information I had been losing from excessive bass resonance due to room interactions.

I'm now to the point where I hear can't bear to hear this sort of resonant bass, it hides so much of the rest of the frequency spectrum. Sounds like low resolution to me, and this with systems that can cost hundreds of thousands. Room treatments are absolutely necessary for most of our systems and rooms!