Twist-lock AC plugs, a bit of a rant

People…for the 87 billionth time I have re-inserted my fat, high-end AC cables into my supposedly death-grip audiophile outlets after they droop and pull out a little. Now to be fair: I find PS Audio’s Ultimate Outlets to be up there with the very best in terms of grip, though the cables are too friggin’ stiff. But leaving that aside, it’s not like a technical solution doesn’t exist: If we’re going to be retro-fitting our receptacles, why not go with twist-locks and then of course use the appropriate matching plugs on our high-end cables? We already have locking IEC’s for those who desire. Has anybody gone this route? To be honest, I am unconvinced that the problem needs to exist; manufacturers ought to make flexibility a required design criterion and be, uhh, inflexible about it. IMHO. But inasmuch as we are where we are… why not go locking? Seems to me that sound quality begins with the best possible physical connection, especially if we are talking about a high-current device (or a Power Plant.) Why accept compromises? (I’d argue that the IEC end is also a totally unnecessary compromise, but the market wants what it wants.)

EDIT: I use now a mixture of various PS Audio power cables and come Shunyata Venoms. The Venom 3 (which is 12 AWG) is pretty flexible, the HC at 10 is not really too bad but still stiffer than I’d prefer. I recently came into a Sablon Corona which is 7 AWG; at worst it’s no stiffer than the Venom HC, and it’s better than any of my PS Audio cords. So… it can be done :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t mind buying a high quality socket saver for receptacles. On the back of my P5, I’m ever fearful of pressing the heavy AC cord plugs in with such force that the P5 receptacle(s) would be damaged.

First, I have a huge investment in PSA products and I love them. That said, my favorite cables, power, interconnects, speaker, come from ZU Audio. (Event series). The power cables beat the AC12 by a country mile in sound quality and they are flexible, light weight and they’re the only ones that don’t pull down and come loose due to their weight. Whenever I move something, they’re the only ones that are always firmly fixed.



I imagine it would be very easy for a power plant version with these sockets, and AC cables with compatible plugs.

Netsprecht-2, FWIW, I have never had that happen with my P5 or my PS Audio Ultimate Outlets. Nor FWIW do I have complaints about sound quality (though in all honesty it’s only very recently that I’ve started taking the time to experiment with different power cables to a significant degree.) I also think it’s reasonable to expect serious audiophiles to install decent outlets, as I have… but if your cords tend to come loose even in those, it’s time to re-think your design. (I am not singling anybody out here, it’s an industry-wide issue, even if not a universal one.)

anyway, that said, I also really like cables with molded-on connectors, because I have owned others (older Shunyata Diamondbacks, etc) where the outer jacket shrank with time and pulled away from the connector. Nothing that’s a big deal to rectify but who needs it? So I do lean towards the way PS Audio builds 'em, in that regard, anyway. I have some PS cables that are easily 15+ years old and they’re just fine in terms of mechanical integrity,

It’s too bad that there is so much voodoo in audio. If there wasn’t we could all use the Neutrik powerCon and solve these issues and have a MUCH better connection.

What ZU Audio power cables are you using?

I’d like to ask Paul about the feasibility of giving customers the option of Powercon sockets on the back of Powerplants, and building AC cables with Powercon plugs. There is something intrinsically satisfying when you hear that Powercon click as it locks into place. Much like an XLR over RCA. The AC cable is probably too thick to suit generic Powercon dimensions, but if they’re working on a new AC series cable I’d like to see the Powercon connector option. Also the option for a 5m long cable. The xStream AC Prelude had a 5m option, no other PS Audio cable ever did.

Both excellent ideas.

The EU/UK/AU sockets up to this point take up a lot of real estate on the back panel of a power plant. Some models can only fit 4 sockets whereas the US version of the same model fits twice that number. The Powercon would solve that problem, all markets would get access to the same number of output sockets on their power plants. And the Powercon is universally accepted in all markets. Here in Australia I’m using US plugs and sockets, which isn’t in compliance with our local electrical standards. Powercon would solve that…I’d buy the power plant with Powercon and buy a new set of AC power cables.

Speakers and interconnects are ZU “Event”. Power cords are a combination of Event and AC12.
Most effective were the speaker cables, replacing Kimber 8TC and an Event power cable from the wall to the P5, replacing an AC5. In both cases, the improvement was stunning. BTW, Zu has a less expensive series they call “Mission” and they’re unremarkable.

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Thank you Ron.
I will look into ZU.

Look carefully before you buy, although their return policy is excellent. But if you still believe that cables must be very thick and very heavy to be good, you’ll be disappointed.

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Any other power cord brands you can recommend?

Cullen Cables…

There are some used Crystal Cable power cables on eBay now.

I wonder how many cables sold on EBay are fakes?

Crystal Cable all have serial numbers readily verifiable with the factory.

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