Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Source: Zanden Audio Model 5000 MkIII DAC; Accustic Arts Drive-1; Audio Aero Prima [on review]
Preamp/Integrated: Bel Canto PRe2; Wyetech Labs Pearl [on loan]
Amp: AUDIOPAX Model 88
Speakers: Avantgarde Duo; Gallo Acoustics Reference 3
Cables: Stealth Audio Varidig S/PDIF, Stealth Audio Indra (x2), Crystal Cable Reference speaker cable and power cords; ZCable Hurricane power cords on both conditioners
Stands: 2 x Grand Prix Audio Monaco four-tier
Powerline conditioning: BPT BP-3.5 Signature Plus for source components; Walker Audio Velocitor
Sundry accessories: GPA Formula Carbon/Kevlar shelf for transport; GPA Apex footers underneath stand and speakers; Walker Audio SST on all connections; Walker Audio Vivid CD cleaner; Furutech RD-2 CD demagnetizer; WorldPower cryo'd Hubbell wall sockets; Musse Audio resonance dampers on DUO subs; Mapleshade 4" solid maple platform under BPT conditioner
Room size: 30' w x 18' d x 10' h [sloping ceiling] in long-wall setup in one half, with open adjoining living room for a total of ca.1000 squ.ft floor plan and significant 'active' cubic air volume of essentially the entire (small) house
Review component pricing: $180

Today's brief writeup is exclusively for those who love the voodoo that I do - i.e. for those who, like one reader once wrote to another about my credentials, believe that I'd dance around my rig in a white tutu if I thought it made things sound better. The contentious item under attack here is IsoClean's deluxe ICP-002 wall receptacle from Hong Kong, dispatched to Arroyo Seco by importer Brian Ackerman despite my cantankerous warning that I already had some of Alan Kafton's cryogenically super-treated top-line Hubbells in the wall and was thus set 'til bleeding eternity do us part. "Ah, but you won't believe the difference these make," was Brian's instant repartee. Where had we heard that esoteric bit before?

I'd just returned from a little Sunday morning stint to Dixon/New Mexico where a friend was participating in an Arts'n'Crafts faire. In the local gymnasium, vendors had set up shop and one artisan sold beautifully hand-crafted bead bracelets with full cloth lining and complex patterns including Celtic double helixes. Her ladies' section was labeled Women's Power Bracelets, the men's Wild Love Men's Bracelets. Noticing my raised eyebrow Nicholson-style, the seller's contention was that men had enough power already but were perhaps a little short in the wild love department. What is it with guys & power? Well, if this were a movie's pre-film reel, you'd now be reminded to deposit all trash in the proper trash receptacles. And wouldn't you know it, some audiophiles do put a lot of trash into their receptacles - wall receptacles that is.

Okay okay, I admit it. Time out. That was a bit of a stretch for an intro. But hey, how much am I gonna say about a freaking wall receptacle? Besides perhaps that where build quality and raw perceived gumption is concerned, this one does leave all others in the dust by a long shot? The included hardware presupposes that one will happily crimp gold-plated lugs to the bare Romex ends before affixing them to the terminal screws. Alas, I didn't at all fancy the notion of a redundant connection plus the good likelihood that in the absence of a professional crimping tool to create a cold-weld connection, I was just as likely to screw up. I might have things come apart on me after the fact for a nice toasty short across my $90,000 rig. Not.

But while I was at the screwing bit, I whipped out Lloyd Walker's latest craziness, Extreme SST which is his previously reviewed Super Silver Treatment contact enhancer with an extra heat and cryo treatment. All electrical connections are prone to micro arcing when propagating electricity attempts to overcome minuscule air pockets created by insufficiently fused contact patches. The suspended silver flakes of SST are said to prevent micro arcing by filling in the molecular gaps. I and other experienced listeners have already gone on record about how one of the audible benefits of SST is a measurable 3dB increase of gain. So on with the goop. After all, I'm a man - I love power. If a few minutes of fussing about with makeup applicators promised improved power transfer, this was a far better deal than the infamous tutu dance (and makeup applicators are Lloyd's preferred poison for how to apply SST).

One practical item of note on this luxo outlet are the fully removable terminal screws that allow you to loop your Romex ends into a complete 'O' before inserting the free screw through it and back into the threaded hole. This insures that no matter how gnarly the applied Romex torsion in the cramped quarters of a junction box might turn out to be, your connections couldn't possibly come loose once you tighten down on the solid-metal dress plate.

Resetting the circuit breaker post-installation netted no acrid incidents so back in went the massive ZCable Hurricane power cord for the main system and the external Romex run for the computer rig that sits in a corner with no electrical outlet anywhere near it. And that, fellow voo-doers, is it for today. I'm not going to tell you that the Red Sea parted or that William Wallace broke fire from his arse to defeat the English. While I'm positive that my system didn't take a step backwards from the prior cryo'd WorldPower Hubbell affair, I couldn't in good conscience tell you exactly what -- if any -- overt forwards strides were netted without allowing for some break-in. As I'd warned Brain upfront, I was in really good shape already and I couldn't really go back for an A/B/A now, could I? By the time whatever break-in was necessary had concluded, I wouldn't remember what things sounded like before.

What I can tell you is that when I deposited the prior el cheapo wall outlets into the proper trash receptacle to cruise henceforth on WorldPower, the differences were clear, impressive and completely unambiguous. I'm fully convinced that paying attention to such apparent silliness as 24-carat gold-plated power receptacles with tighter contact fittings does make a nice difference. It's one that's completely in line with the small expenditure involved. I'm just not prepared to conduct shoot-outs between audiophile-approved receptacles. For that, you'd need a bank of multiple junction boxes to install diverse contenders in parallel and then simply swap your main power cord back and forth. I'm neither set up for such madness nor mentally predisposed to even consider it. I'd rather wear panty hose under my Jeans when it gets cold enough.

However - if your rig's currently still slurping juice through one of those sorry-ass local hardware store outlet jobbies, get ye with the program and do something for Chrissakes - WattGates, cryo'd Hubbells, Furutechs, FIMs, IsoCleans, whatever - take your pick. If you sweat $800 designer interconnects with WBT NextGen connectors, why would you be so cavalier about the contact integrity and quality of your main power source? This ain't tutu tatters but plain common sense. In fact, our own Candyman in the cold white north has installed one of today's outlets in place of whatever his home's contractor had put there a long time ago. He flipped over the results. "Knocked my teeth right out" is how he paraphrased the effects on the phone today. Stay tuned as Paul prepares a report on various power-related and other tweaks he's worked his way through over the last few months while I'll use nail polish remover on all of my SST connections to report on Extreme SST when I get a chance. Now, where's my pink tutu? I'm feeling a bit - er, flushed right now...
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