Monday, May 23, 2011

Furutech FP-1363 UK AC Outlet

Singapore Audiophiles do not really have much choice in installing audio grade UK wall outlets. Most make do by buying special US outlet faceplates that fit on our existing UK back boxes. This is of course in violation of local electrical codes.

Furutech is one of the few manufacturers to offer a solution - at a price. They make a single or dual outlet UK receptacle, with a choice of gold or rhodium plating. The base metal of the contact points is pure copper and treated with Furutech's proprietary alpha process, which involves both cryogenic and demagnetization treatment.

Featured here is the gold plated duplex model, FP-1363-D(G)

Plain cardboard box (with a bit of sticker shock, according to Mrs. Audiophile)

The plate is rigid and far less resonant than the stock outlet commonly used
A close up of the terminals. No problem with the beefiest of cables

A few pointers when installing these outlets. The faceplate is slightly longer than a standard socket. Measure carefully if installing them in tight corners, or adjacent to other sockets. Secondly, each outlet has an independent terminal, so make sure you have extra cable to jumper both outlets together in case your existing receptacle only has one set of wires. Lastly, the screws supplied are a bit on the short side. Probably fine if your backbox is not deeply recessed, but woefully short for my house installation.

If you do not know how to switch off your mains supply, test your circuit for live current, or to do the installation, please pay a qualified electrician to do it for you. This is not really a situation where you should be cheap.

First impressions after a 24 hour run-in of the outlet were positive. They gripped my matching Furutech FI-UK-1363(G) mains plug tightly and firmly. Apart from a refined smoothness, micro-detail was a step up compared to the stock outlet (a two year old Legrand). High frequencies were a touch cleaner and more extended. It was a subtle improvement but not of the earth shattering nature.

After a week of run in (my source equipment are left powered up permanently), the Furutech opened up slightly. The positive initial impressions remained but the refined smoothness gave way to openness without any hint of harshness. I generally find gold plated connectors a bit soft sounding, so it was a pleasant surprise that the Furutech did not dull transients or obscure detail. There is a possibility that this boils down to the mating of similar metals between the outlet and the matching Furutech UK plug used in my system.

To put things in perspective, I found greater differences in replacing power cords, or receptacles on my power distributor. The improvement brought about by changing the wall socket probably counted for a subtle but noticeable improvement in the 5-10 % region. In a top notch setup, this little bit of difference is enough to bring the system to a higher level. I would tweak elsewhere first, but for the audiophile that has done the whole works except the wall socket, this is well worth the effort.