Pop on over to the forum at Audio Asylum and check out this heartwarming discussion on receptacles as they weigh the relative sound quality of various receptacles.
Example: "Any of the P&S receptacles I've experimented with (5242, 5262 and 5262A cryoed) all exhibited the hashy, splashy high frequencies relative to a cryoed Hubbell 8200H. To my ears, as yours, the Hubbell's midrange is more relaxed, but, equally important, it tends to be more open, more detailed and less "congested". I can tend to see why some might prefer the P&S's bass quality, but to me the "tighter" quality of the bass on any of the P&S receptacles will result in a much leaner presentation which I am not really fond of." http://db.audioasylum.com/cgi/t.mpl?f=cables&m=116937
I am going to start a topic of my own- Best quality wire nuts. I find that Ideal's wire nuts present a creamy and forward midrange with expansive highs about 10k. The bass is chocolately rich and it embraced me like a French paramour. I joke. But maybe some of these guys CAN really hear that well. For better or for worse.
I would say that those audiophile-type people are full of hooey, but I actually know a guy at the college where I work who "claims" to have such a sensitive ear. If he is to be believed, vitually all of life must be about as pleasing to him as fingers scratching on a chalkboard.
This is the same guy who will spend as much as $8,000.00 on an amplifier which puts out about 5 watts per channel, or buys custom-made speaker cables to the tune of $300.00 per foot for his home sound system (while his living room is literally void of all furniture other than an equipment cabinet and a single chair. All this while the power to his equipment travels through knob and tube wiring from an FPE (gasp) breaker panel .
#66553 - 06/08/0601:58 PMRe: Receptacles for Stereophiles
They don't call the board "Audio Asylum" for nothing! It is, clearly, a place for audiophiles who need to be kept in an asylum.
Seriously, a number of years ago my wife and I were auditioning some speakers to buy. They happened to be driven at the time by a very expensive Acoustic Research tube amplifier. When we came back to the store to finalize the purchase, I noticed to myself that, while they still sounded very nice, that some of the "magic" was gone. At which point, my wife commented aloud about the same thing. The salesman then told us that he'd connected them to an Adcom amplifier, which was what we were considering getting to drive the speakers with.
So I'll vouch that some of these things do in fact make a difference.
I've watched with amusement discussions about power cords costing hundreds of dollars that are supposed to make things sound vastly better. Sorry, I can't bring myself to believe that six feet of magic power cord will make much difference in series with 75 feet of Romex, the cheapest breaker the contractor could find, and miles and miles of POCO wires.
"cryoed"??!! You mean these guys are cyrogenically treating the receptacle??!! I assume there's a special, high-security wing of the asylum where they keep those guys locked up where they can't hurt the rest of us?
I understand that a nickle plating, such as Hubbell uses on their hospital grade receptacles, is actually rather nonlinear (somewhat diode-like, as I recall) (I'm talking here about actual, measurable properties, not the results of "listening tests"); I would think they would get better results from a receptacle with plain-vanilla brass or bronze contacts. But I guess I'm missing the point--the more expensive it is, the better their ears like it.
[This message has been edited by SolarPowered (edited 06-08-2006).]
#66554 - 06/08/0603:26 PMRe: Receptacles for Stereophiles
If there is an audible difference in the output from a stereo system as a result of nickel contact plating, cryo treating the receptacle, etc., then whoever designed the amplifier's power supply needs to go back to engineering school.
The whole function of the power supply is to convert the incoming AC (warts and all) into stable, filtered DC to operate the electronic circuitry. Any "diode effects" caused by nickel plated contacts would be so far down in the noise floor compared to all the other junk on the typical powerline that it should have no measurable effect on the output of the supply. If tiny pertubations in the incoming powerline ride through to the output rails, then the filtering and regulation of the supply must be essentially non existent, and you would never hear those tiny effects through all the 120 Hz hum from the rectifiers!
The audiophool crowd has a LONG history of falling for all kinds of scams, the more expensive, the better. Green magic markers for the edge of CDs, special magic paint to coat solid state components with to give "tube sound", $1000 wooden volume control knobs, special stones to absorb negative vibrations from your listening room, etc. There was even a "specially treated" digital clock that was claimed to "realign" the electrons coming out of your wall sockets.
You can think what you want, about the coustomer, but take a look at the companies both selling, and installing these systems, they have large profit margins, and increased revenues.
The average cable run, and wall fish, is 2 to 3 times, what an electrician asks, and they mark-up all their material with a hefty figure, less trainning, then an electrician, less truck inventory, and less operating overhead, is there something wrong, with this picture?
#66557 - 06/08/0610:32 PMRe: Receptacles for Stereophiles
There's a stereo store I go into (a lot) that has $45 per foot braided power supply cord... I die laughing everytime I see it because it has a $.50 cord cap on it from the 50's. I should get a picture....
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
#66559 - 06/09/0606:02 AMRe: Receptacles for Stereophiles
Coupling speakers to a different amplifier can certainly make a difference in the sound due to impedance matching, the combined frequency response, source impedance of the amp affecting damping, and so on.
The claims for $300 per foot speaker cables which are somehow directional (with an A.C. signal?!), and sound best if oxygenated, frozen, broiled, or fricaseed are just ridiculous. Yes, if you try to run 300 watts to speakers down 500 feet of 24-gauge telephone wire you'll notice a difference comapared to the same amp and speakers with more suitable cabling, but that's a rather different story.
Green magic markers for the edge of CDs, special magic paint
Don;t forget the little sticky triangles (late 1980s?) which you are supposed to align on all the equipment to improve the sound. I think pointing them in the right direction shows the electrons or the flux lines from the earth's magnetic field the right way to go, or something like that.
Personally, I'm convinced that sound quality is poorer since we adopted the new European cables here. That brown and blue insulation on the conductors adds a certainly fuzziness to the mid-range, and restricts the presence of the highs much more than the old red and black insulation.
#66560 - 06/09/0604:30 PMRe: Receptacles for Stereophiles
Most of the audiophiles who end up wasting money on all this snake oil are mostly people who are not in a technical field, and thus not able to sort the valid improvements from the snake oil scams. Throw in the placebo effect, and that trying to compare subtile changes that might happen since you stopped listening to the stereo while you change out the power cord or such is pretty much impossible (your brain and ears forget too much over ten minutes). Especially if the change had zero effect. Research labs do "ABX" testing, where a listener listens to a system without an improvement (A), then immediately the improvement is switched in (B), and a third selection where A or B is randomly selected, unknown to both listener and the person running the test (but recorded in a computer for later analysis). If the listener ends up picking the improvement 50% of the time, then the improvement has no value.