Tuesday, July 1, 2008

US vs. UK mains plugs

Singapore mains sockets use the 3 pin UK mains plug type. However, many local audiophiles choose to change their sockets to US mains sockets. What are the pros and cons between both ?

US sockets and plugs

Pros

1. No fuse (sonics wise)
2. No switch
3. US plugs accomodate thick and stiff power cables better
4. Large variety of aftermarket accessories

Cons

1. No fuse (safety wise)
2. Plugs use thin / folded blades
3. Against local electricity regulations

UK sockets and plugs

Pros

1. Fused (safety wise)
2. Plug terminals are sturdy solid brass type
3. Adheres to local electricity regulations

Cons

1. Fuse and switch degrade contact and sound
2. UK plugs do not accomodate thick wire well (except for the super expensive Furutech plug)
3. Hardly any variety of aftermarket plugs, sockets and cables

Interested to find out the difference between both options, I terminated two identical cables, except one with a US plugs and the other with a UK plug. The US plug was a budget Wattgate while the UK plugs was a hospital grade MK (the one with the red housing). The cable was the excellent and value for money Oyaide PA-23.

Both cables sounded different, but neither were obviously better. You could nitpick on the differences, but I don't think either could be reliably identified in a blind test.

I don't think you really should lose any sleep over deciding which to use.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a belated comment. Thanks for your good summary of US vs UK plug!

mniec said...

Thank you for quick review. Just want to point out on one very good UK plug. Cost only 8.97 and is able to accomodate quite bug cables.

http://www.screwfix.com/prods/10586/Electrical-Supplies/Weatherproof/Weatherproof-IP66/56-Series-IP66-13A-Plug?cm_mmc=Shopzilla-_-Electrical%20Supplies-_-Weatherproof-_-56%20Series%20IP66%2013A%20Plug&source=aw

Eric said...

Thanks for the tip. BTW, the plug looks very much like something used by a certain UK hi-fi cable company.