Friday, December 22, 2017

Oyaide Armored Series IEC / AC Plugs


Oyaide has just released a new line of AC and IEC plugs. It's been more than a decade since they launched their original lineup of premium AC and IEC plugs, so it is nice to see that they are not resting on their laurels.

The three model lineup consists of the AP/C-004, 037 and the 029. Sharp eyed readers will notice that two models models has been omitted, the 046 and 079. So, that leaves you with the two choices of plating, silver / rhodium, and platinum / palladium.

Here is a quick comparison table :-

Model  Blade Material       Plating

029      Brass                     None
037      Phosphor Bronze  Silver / Rhodium
004      Beryllium Copper  Platinum / Palladium

Oyaide and their local dealer X-Audio were kind enough to supply me with their new plugs, as well as the original versions for comparison purposes, and enough bulk cable (Oyaide Black Mamba V2) to hook everything up. Me old fingers will take a while to strip and terminate everything, so please be patient in the meantime.

Comparison of the armored AP-004 (top) with it's predecessor, the P-004
Teardown of the AP-004

A close-up view of the front housing

The new "floating" cable clamp
Cable clamp of the P-004

Rear housing

AP-004 (left) vs P-004 

Initial Impressions

Readers expecting the new plugs to be massive machined pieces like some of the competition out there will be sorely disappointed. Weight wise, there isn't any noticeable difference. The AP-004 weighed in at 65 grams vs 60 grams for the P-004.

Visually, the star-shaped terminal clamp is much thicker. The three piece body also feels more sturdy, with the pressure exerted by the screws more evenly distributed. Both the front and rear screws are secured through the metal insert in the midsection. A quick test with a multi-meter confirms that the plugs when assembled, the screws are fully conductive from rear to front screw. The next surprise is that the plastic body is conductive too. A quick check on Oyaide's website confirms that the polycarbonate is actually metal film deposit infused. It is not connected to protective earth though.  

A big thumbs-up goes to the "floating" cable clamp. The previous design had an annoying habit of pushing the cable off-center, and putting unnecessary pressure on the cable and weakening the mechanical connection between the star-shaped terminal clamp and the bare wires. I never really tightened down the cable clamp on the old design for that reason. The new cable clamp "floats" and is therefore self-centering.

You may also notice that the cut-outs for accessing the terminal clamp are larger now, and the clearly labelled as Earth, Live and Neutral. Hardcore DIYers have such information etched into their brain and can recite this in their sleep, but it is a nice touch nonetheless. Even nicer is the supplied instruction manual that is so detailed that it lists maximum torque for tightening each screw, and even recommended screwdriver sizes and brands. You really can't get more detailed than that !


Luckily for users, the double "0" does not refer to a licence to kill - we all want to enjoy our hobby for many years to come. The original 004 was a bit polarising, you either loved it or hated it, thanks to an extremely unforgiving level of resolution coupled with a slightly cool / analytical tone.

The AP/C-004 on the other hand is a much more likable plug. It does not sound drastically different from the P/C-004 but improves on it's resolving and focussed character. The Armoured plugs go deeper and tighter in bass notes, while mid-bass has a subtle sweetness and fullness. This was very obvious on the Oyaide Black Mamba V2, but not so obvious on the Acrolink 4030 Anniversario power cord. Midrange has a softer and gentler character, while high frequencies are both neater and more refined. I always considered the P/C-004 to be a poster child for neatness - very tidy imaging and soundstaging - everything being neat and stable. However, the Armoured plugs just go that extra mile and bring noticeable improvements in those areas !

It's difficult going back to the P/C-004 after hearing the benefits of the Armoured plugs. Well worth the extra expense in my opinion.

M1 / F1 dethroned ?

Does this mean that the M1 / F1 is no longer the king of the Oyaide castle ? Surely, Oyaide will have a new and improved version of the M1 / F1 soon ? Curiosity never did kill this cat, so I decided to terminate some Mamba cable with my personal set of M1 / F1 plugs.        

To be continued ...