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Oyaide R1 AC Outlet Report

Image: Oyaide R1 AC Outlet

The new premium Oyaide R1 AC outlet features platinum and palladium plated beryllium copper contacts, and like the new Ultimo line of SWO AC outlets, a larger sized body and ground strap mass than the original SWO's. Along with the Oyaide M1 AC plug and F1 IEC connector, the R1 is a flagship product and the first AC outlet I know of that features nominally pure copper base metal contacts rather than brass or bronze copper alloys. The copper is processed with a small amount of beryllium to provide a resilient springlike mechanical characteristic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beryllium_copper and while technically a copper alloy (CuBe aka BeCu), the R1 maintains the sonic signature of pure copper to my ear. Important to note is the R1 is a 20A receptacle and the neutral matte-white body departs from the purple, red, or black colored SWO's (perhaps WAF came into play for this cosmetic choice).

To my ear, the R1 presents a sense of robust and effortless timbral delineation against an inky black background. The subjectively lowered noise floor and high tonal contrast is remarkable, even when compared to the superbly liquid-sounding Oyaide SWO-XXX which actually sounds just a bit constrained in direct comparison. How else does the R1 compare to the XXX? It’s a different animal. The R1 is warmer sounding but still vividly hi-rez, presents a fuller-bodied bottom end, a more relaxed top end, and a more effortless crystalline presence, likely due in part to the high conductivity of beryllium copper which lacks tin or zinc content like that of other copper alloys. The analogy of listening to the quiet smoothness of OCC copper vs. OFC might fit as an R1 descriptor.

Other than the somewhat burnished sound of high-purity copper, I find the R1 to actually sound more transparent than the XXX, which presents a more analytical and less organic sounding experience to my ear. While fantastic in it’s own right, I think the palladium XXX is better said to offer a more neutral tonality rather than utter transparency as compared to the gold GX and rhodium DX AC outlets. IME, the sonic signature of the SWO-XXX is ruthlessly neutral, so much so that some folks have found the XXX's top end to sound too spotlighted and the bottom end to sound too lean. The XXX’s presentation is perhaps like a high-end loudspeaker that’s been voiced/tuned towards ruler-flat and a low-Q, which may sound bright and bass-stingy to some folks, within some audio systems, rather than offering a musically satisfying experience. In contrast, the R1 simply seems to get out of the way in a musical manner more than any other AC outlet that I’ve experienced.

Unlike the SWO-XXX, I believe the R1 should perform well in just about any system, and mate well with most AC plugs. Tonality can be tuned via the use of various AC connectors as often done with the SWO's, however a rhodium Oyaide P-037 seemed to take it in the wrong direction. In my system, a gold Oyaide P-079 connected to the R1 sounds excellent; a Furutech FI-11M(Cu) not so hi-rez. A palladium P-046 might be an outstanding option depending on how the combo affects the bottom end. An R1/M1/F1 combo would likely be a real jawdropper. BTW, the $125 Oyaide R1 AC outlet is comparatively more affordable than the Oyaide M1/F1 AC connectors ($275 each) and a great bang for the buck value, IME.

I don’t find the R1’s platinum + palladium plating to impart an identifiable sonic flavor such as what the various SWO AC outlets produce. In this way I would say the R1 allows the sonic signature of downstream power connectors/cables to be revealed without affectation. Within my particular SS system, a gold Oyaide P-079 AC plug connected to the R1 presents a relaxed yet dynamic top end and a rather meaty bottom end which does not come off so much as being bass heavy, rather it simply sounds more naturally authoritative. Other than a slight glow of copper warmth, the midrange is utterly uncolored, see through, very open. In essence, the R1’s gestalt is that of smooth and effortlessness high conductivity with an unconstrained presence. It’s about as close to the holy grail of AC outlets including the proverbial “grip of death” that was actually a bit scary at first insertion until the R1’s contacts resoundly clicked onto P-079’s blade holes.

An allegorical impression of the Oyaide R1 is how it now seems as if all the connectors in my system have been cleaned and treated for higher conductivity, while the most captivating quality from the get-go that’s often entered my thoughts is how much better integrated my system sounds, as if the synergy of various components, cables, connectors, and tweaks have become a more close-knit homogeneous group rather than “a strategically placed series of individual devices”. It’s an uncanny notion (I know).

Cheers, Duster

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Topic - Oyaide R1 AC Outlet Report - Duster 12:40:46 04/10/07 (45)


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