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In the Forum: Audio Discussions
In the Thread: The power AC Outlets?
Post Subject: Where to Pick Up the Gong?Posted by Paul S on: 10/31/2008

Well, you can go ahead and solder your wire-to-plug connections in the high-end AC cords, etc., but it is almost certain that the whole system up to that point uses screw terminal conections at best, and insanely and (dangerously!) cheap slip/friction connectors at all outlets at worst, and outlet boxes are mostly junction boxes, as well, for all the circuits in a typical residence.  Likewise, the industry standard for simple "junctions" only is the ubiquitous twist type plastic wire connector, which does not get soldered.  This does not even begin to address mutual induction from all the wires typically jambed into shared boxes...  Likewise, stranded wire is noisier, as you might imagine, what with all the current jumping around the adjacent wires.

The best AC plugs and outlets I have found are by Onix.  They use actual OCC copper (versus brass or bronze; VERY rare) with just enough directly-sputtered gold to stay corrosion.  Of course, Onix has been discontinued by my only known source...  Once you go to brass or bronze, conductivity drops to the point where the only quantifier becomes the relative quality of the connection, eithr friction or the quasi-mechanical connection afforded by soldering dissimilar metals.  While I hope someone else doesn't buy up the last of the Onix stuff, perhaps an onslaught of hungry freaks will re-forge the Onix connection (pun intended; sorry...).

I wrestled with solder-versus-screw-down connections for my own "house" cords and finally decided to clean the ends of the SOLID 12 ga. magnet wire, coat the bare wire with "good" solder to prevent corrosion (I also always buffer the soldered stuff with alkiline flux cleaner), and then I just reefed down hard on the pretty-good screw-down-type connectors.  There is very litle relative movement between copper parts, but I cannot say the same thing for aluminum or steel, which should always be swabbed with di-electric grease to forstall arcing down the road.  The truth is, I probably would have soldered the connections, but the way they are housed in the plastic it would have melted it all into a mess.

No reason you couldn't hard-wire the cord to the component and have just the plug end as a friction fit.  Bypass fuses or breakers at your own CONSIDERABLE risk!

Believe me, if you take any care at all with you connections you will probably be doing more than the guys who put together the AC system that you are working so hard to optimise for your hi-fi.  I assure you that they were not thinking in those terms when they wired your house or apartment, etc.

However, oddly and none-the-less, there is no doubt in my mind that there are sonic benefits to be had from taking some care with AC from the wall outlet through the component, given "standard" (versus sub-standard) methods and workmanship up to the wall outlet.  I wish I could reassure you all that everyone gets "standard" construction up to the outlet!  All bets are off if you have aluminum wiring, and any aluminum, even bus bars in service boxes, is always suspect.

Best regards,
Paul S

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