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Tweakers' Asylum: REVIEW: Acme Audio Silver plated AC outlet Accessory by Metralla

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REVIEW: Acme Audio Silver plated AC outlet Accessory

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Model: Silver plated AC outlet
Category: Accessory
Suggested Retail Price: $35
Description: Silver plated 15 amp duplex receptacle, cryogenic treated
Manufacturer URL: Not Available
Manufacturer URL: Not Available

Review by Metralla on September 23, 2001 at 14:01:31
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Michael Brinkman's "Acme Audio" makes the best outlet I have tried. You won't believe the improvement this will make in your system, and for the meager sum of 35 bills, it has to be the most cost-effective upgrade you can make. End of story.

Surely too presumptuous of me - you deserve more.

I connected this yesterday and want to capture my impressions at this early stage while the changes are fresh in my mind. I have every confidence things will improve - it seems to be the way with AC modifications. I did play a few tracks before and after in order to make some comparisons, and although I am very impressed with the improvements on all CDs I've been playing since then, I'll concentrate on the songs I compared.

Some background. The first AC tweak I tried was replacing the original outlet in my apartment (probably '70s vintage) with a Leviton. This was a nice back-entry receptacle from their "Industrial" line that was easy to insert and provided a fair improvement using stock cables. Since the original outlet was extremely cheap and very old I figured that this would be the biggest margin I would experience. Some time later I won one of Bob Crump's TG Audio HSR-A Gen II power cords in an Asylum Auction and he graciously threw in a Pass and Seymour 5242-I and I eventually got around replacing the Leviton. Naturally, this took ages to break in so I never felt that I could focus on the changes it made. I thought that the sound was better, but did not feel it was a giant leap forward over the Leviton. I had read that the Leviton degraded over time so I was happy to swap it out anyway.

I read on AA that Bob was very impressed with the Acme Audio outlets and they had surpassed his previous P&S reference, so when Michael put one up for auction I grabbed it. This time I wanted to see if I could avoid the break-in period and get a better handle on the change to the sound so I replaced the outlet my computer/monitor was using, and ran that for 30 days. Yesterday, over to the hi-fi, out with the old and in with the new.

As you may know, Michael takes the P&S 5242 and dismantles it, and then silver-plates the parts inside. I can't verify that but I can see that the sides are silver-plated and so are the screws - it's a side-entry unit, which have some advantages over back-entry. I know the screws are silver-plated because the traditional brass for hot, silver for neutral convention was not there with these outlets, so you need to take care when wiring it up. Acme Audio cryogenically treat the outlets and this may have something to do with their performance - or maybe it's mainly the silver-plating; who knows. But perform they do - and how.

Starting with imaging, that old warhorse "Amused to Death" - track 8 with the wood-chopping, sleigh and F-40. We all know that one - and it was awesome. But track 6, "Late Home Tonight", impressed me with the very low-level clock ticking at the start of the song. It was located well to stage left, and completely realistic with a wooden "body" to it I had not experienced before. The spacious sound effects from the cockpit and the sound of the jet crossing the stage were excellent.

"Both Sides Now" from Joni Mitchell's latest album showed her voice off with more reach into the deeper registers, and the bass line at the start was richer by far. Wayne Shorter's (soprano?) saxophone solo was very dynamic and edgy, sounding better than ever. What a great song.

I thought a live performance would be a good comparison and had selected "Hotel California" from "Hell Freezes Over" mainly looking for realism in the audience. But I was shocked by the enormous extra weight in the bass, and stunned by the opening acoustic guitar and drum interplay. Very cool. Where the hell did that extra bass energy come from?

"All Apologies" as performed by Sinead O'Connor always entices me and with the Acme Audio outlet in the circuit this really impressed. It's a simple song and her voice is so pure and sweet without tremelo. Lovely. I often use "The Lamb's Book of Life" from her "Faith and Courage" album because there's a nice driving rhythm, and a great use of the bell on the off-beat to punctuate the timing. This song really took off with the change in outlet.

Last one - Liza Minelli's "Cabaret". My copy is a normal CD and I haven't hunted around to see whether I can get one with better sound; the sound is not fantastic, but it's small scale and depicts the club scene as in the movie in a realistic way. I love "Maybe This Time", as it's just a great song, and Liza rips this one from the heart. I heard new inflections in her voice with the Acme Audio outlet, and the ending just soared. It shows how perfectly she was cast as fraulein Sally Bowles. I couldn't help myself and played a few more tracks from Caberet, including the p-c incorrect "Tomorrow Belongs to Me"; love that boy's voice.

I'm listening to Eric Clapton's "Pilgrim" as I type this and it's wonderful. I have used this album many times to judge system changes and I know it very well. Big step forward.

I have to conclude that I would not have thought 6 months ago, that changing the socket in the goddamn wall could make the juices flow - but there it is. By the way, there's five on the charity auction - and I'm getting another one.

Good job Michael, and Bob - you were right on!


Product Weakness: Care required when playing with electricity supply
Product Strengths: Incredible bang-for-ya-buck

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Arcam Alpha 10 with TG Audio Lab HSR-A Gen II power cord
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): n/a
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Arcam Alpha 9 with TG Audio Lab HSR-A Gen II power cord
Speakers: Paradigm Mini Monitor V.2 on Sound Anchor Three Post Monitor Stands (22" high)
Cables/Interconnects: Belden #1585A Cat5 braided 3x3x3 (ChrisVH's recipe) with Kimber PostMasters, Coincident CST IC interconnect
Music Used (Genre/Selections): female vocal, classic rock
Room Size (LxWxH): 26 x 13 x 8
Room Comments/Treatments: Apartment. Thick wall-to-wall carpet. Speakers on the long wall.
Time Period/Length of Audition: 1 day
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): PolyCrystal 18" rack, natural oak, 2 UHD shelves
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: Acme Audio Silver plated AC outlet Accessory - Metralla 14:01:31 09/23/01 ( 11)