PS AUDIO POWER PORT
Reference Audio Video introduces
the PS Audio Power Port, a high-end AV grade AC receptacle that
can make a significant contribution to your system's performance. This is a
custom built, hospital grade, isolated ground, 15 to 20 amp receptacle that is
easy to install either in your home's wall socket or in your Power Plant.
These small miracles may just be the finishing touch to any system.
Just a plug?
Yes this is a very cool, nickel plated, hand polished, fire breathing, rapid
pulse inspiring AC wall plug, but it is still 'JUST A PLUG!'. No it won't do
anything for world peace or the national debt or even help you keep your house
clean, but what it will do is create a better connection for your stereo.
You know the one. That same stereo that you spent hundreds of hours scratching
your head and reading endless reviews and visiting 5 or even 15 different stereo
stores before you purchased each and every component. Yes, that very same stereo
that is right now plugged into a $1.89 mass produced AC wall plug that was
purchased at your local hardware store without a single thought as to
performance, construction, quality control, durability or power capabilities. A
wall plug that was selected by a general contractor with only the purpose of
installing a plug with minimum cost in order to maximize his profit margin so he
can buy the parts for his next house. Why does this matter? Why do you need to
consider the importance of this single connection that provides 100% of the
power that your system consumes?
Here's what it's all about
From the day the first Power Plant P300 hit the streets, Audio and Videophiles
alike have come to appreciate the importance of 'getting it right' when it comes
to AC power.
Power Plants have not only made a major impact on our close-knit community of
music and film lovers, but they have also raised the level of performance and
expectations for a growing number of people that appreciate great audio and
at the heart of everything we do with AC power is the interface between our
equipment and our power sources. The AC receptacle. Most every home in the US
and Canada has a 15 amp duplex NEMA socket in the wall. Some have 20 amp
versions, most have 15 amp varieties, but all are basically the same.
When PS Audio was designing the Power Plant in the first place, they knew they
wanted a better quality receptacle than what you find in your home. Home
receptacles are usually pretty grim, and can be purchased at most hardware
stores for around $2. They are constructed very poorly and tend to corrode
easily. So, they chose an excellent sounding Hospital Grade plug for the
Plugs do sound different; a fact they discovered during their research of which
receptacle to use on the (then) new Power Plants.
PS Audio introduces a new receptacle: the Power Port
Based on their research of existing brands of hospital Grade and Spec Grade AC
receptacles, and coupled with what they had learned from reverse engineering the
excellent UK receptacles found in England and British wired countries, PS Audio
concluded that a better plug could be created; one that could make a significant
improvement in both performance and longevity.
formed an engineering and manufacturing alliance with one of the world's leading
manufacturers of AC receptacles. The results of this alliance are significant:
we are able to produce a nearly perfect receptacle, and present it to our
customers at an affordable price. It is called the PS Audio Power Port.
PS Audio's first task
PS Audio's first challenge was to identify why plugs sounded different. Was it
materials? Was it construction? Electrical characteristics? The plastic housing
To find the answers to these questions they purchased virtually every style of
plug available. We can generalize their attributes by placing them into three
- Commercial grade
- Spec Grade
- Hospital Grade
The commercial grade plugs are bad sounding plugs, and noticeably so. They can
also degrade the video quality of any large screen device. Constructed out of a
combination of stamped steel and brass, the ground connections are typically
riveted in place, and are constructed of dissimilar materials. These are the
type of plugs found in 90% of all North American homes.
We can further narrow the field down by lumping Spec Grade and Hospital Grade
together. Spec Grade and Hospital Grade are essentially the same construction,
with the exception of contact tension and the plastic housing. Hospital grades
have a tested and certifiable tension they maintain on the male plugs, and they
are constructed such that they minimize the danger of explosion from the
(sometimes) rich oxygen environment found in a hospital. From a practical
standpoint, and from a listening standpoint, we find little to no difference
between the hospital grade and the spec grade plugs.
The hospital/spec grade plug contacts are typically made from stamped brass.
Upon closer examination
Both the hospital/spec grade plug contacts and the commercial grade contacts are
made from either stamped brass or stamped steel, or a combination of the two.
Further, if you put these contacts under a magnifying glass, you quickly note
two problems detrimental to performance: they quickly oxidize and tarnish, and
they are pitted. Oxidation of the brass or steel hampers conductivity over time,
and the pitted surface (which resembles a moonscape under close examination)
reduces contact area by as much as 40%. Worse, the combination of pitted surface
oxidizing over time creates a 'colony' of metal 'barnacles' that actually become
the conducting surface of the contact. Oxidized brass is not very high on the
Finding a solution
PS Audio first considered simply gold plating the contacts of the brass, but
quickly rejected that notion when several facts became apparent: gold is soft
and will be quickly scraped off of the high spots of the contact area unless a
gold plated male plug is inserted, and unless the surface is highly polished
beforehand the problem of low surface contact area will not be addressed.
After many hours of consultation with the experts, here's what they learned: if
they were to machine the contacts out of solid high purity brass, polish the
surface, then nickel plate and polish the surface again, we could achieve our
goals of maximum conductivity, high surface area without pits, and prevent
oxidation and corrosion over the life of the plug.
This isn't as easy as it sounds
After a number of attempts and rejections, they discovered that this simple idea
would take more time and more money to solve. Polishing the brass, followed by
nickel plating, followed by another polishing operation produces a very thin
coat of nickel and while the surface area is increased, it isn't close to
perfect. They eventually settled on 15 separate coats of nickel, and 15 separate
hand polishing operations to achieve the desired results.
That's a lot of plating and polishing (we can assure you), but the results are
well worth the effort. The PS Power Port AC receptacle is, in our opinion, about
as good as it gets.
The end result
The Power Port is a certifiable Hospital Grade outlet. This means that the
contacts have the 'grip of Mickey Mantle' and there's a reduced risk of spark
from heavy breathing due to the excitement you'll experience when you audition
these outlets -:). Seriously, the Hospital Grade certification is important to
insure that the tension is maintained on any male plug that is inserted into the
The Power Ports also have an isolated ground. This means that the ground
connections of your AC plugs are not common to the strap that affixes the outlet
to the wall housing. In many homes the boxes that contain the receptacles are
grounded through the house wiring or the metal pipes that contain the wiring,
and leaves you little to no control over grounding. The Power Ports are fully
You can even separate the top and bottom receptacle of each duplex Power Port.
If you want to, you can run a separate dedicated circuit to the top plug as
isolated from the bottom plug. This allows the user maximum isolation within the
system. Use the top plug for digital, the bottom for analog for example.
Power Ports are 20 amp ready, but can be used in any 15 amp circuit as well. Due
to the construction of the Power Port, you can run anything from a 10 amp to a
20 amp circuit and be perfectly legal and approved. You can even run a 15 amp
circuit on the bottom plug and a 20 amp on the top plug or vice versa.
The Power Ports are completely UL listed and are safe to place in your home.
So what's involved in outfitting your room with Power Ports? Not much. They are
incredibly easy to install, and come with complete instructions. Turn off the
power to the outlet. Remove the cover plate. Remove the two screws affixing the
existing receptacle and pull the receptacle out from the box. Using a Phillips
screwdriver, simply disconnect the wires from the existing plug and place them
on the Power Port. Reverse the removal procedure and you are done.
What about inside the Power Plant?
PS Audio now makes an inexpensive kit so anyone can easily upgrade their
Power Plant to a Power Port equipped version. Power Ports now come as
standard equipment on all new Power Plants.
What is the price of the Power Port?
$49.95 each. Which we feel is a great bargain considering what they provide. Not
only will the Power Port ensure that your system will always be provided with as
much power as your listening habits require, but it will also give you peace of
mind that your AC wall plug is no longer the weak-link in your power chain. And
since Nickel is a precious metal that does not corrode or oxidize, you are
guaranteed a lifetime of listening enjoyment without ever having to worry about
your wall plugs again!
Pricing for adding Power Ports to your Power Plant
If you want to upgrade your Power Plant to have the Power Ports, the price is
slightly lower than buying individual Power Ports. This is true if you are
installing Power Ports on an existing Power Plant. Contact us for pricing
Power Ports are easy to install and are proving to be one of the best
improvements you can make for such a small investment of both time and money.
Ready to try one?