What kind of outlet wall plate do yo use?

I was reading a post over on AA last week. The post was about outlet wall plates, non magnetic stainless steel wall plates.

I had seen these posts in the past on AA but always passed them over never really reading them. This time I took the time to read the post and reponses to it.

To cut to the chase I went out and found some non magnetic stainless steel outlet plates at a lumber yard. I must stop here and tell you I was a bit skeptical that I would hear any difference in sound from my system.

I pulled the plastic plates from my 3 dedicated duplex outlets and installed the ss plates. I plugged the equipment back in and turned on the system. I let it warm up for about a half hour and then sat down for a listen.

The first CD I listened to was Diana Krall, "The Girl in The Other Room." I could hear a difference right off, but not for the better. Sound stage was small, Krall's piano sounded like a blanket had been thrown over it. The air had been let out of the music.
I listened to a few other CDs with the same results.

I then carefully pulled the ss plates from the outlets for the preamp and the power amp. Just sliding them down on the cords out of the way. I sat back down for a listen. Every thing was back as it was before I had installed the ss plates.

I should mention here my preamp is a Sonic Frontiers line-1, and the power amp is an Audio Research VT50.
The three 20 amp branch circuits are installed in EMT conduit. The rough-in boxes are 4"x4" 2 1/8" deep with a single gang raised device cover for the sheetrock wall and electrical outlet mounting. Wire is #10 awg solid THHN copper. Recepts Leviton 20A Hosp Grade. Branch circuit breakers single pole Square D OQ. Branch circuits breakers installed on the same line in the panel. Distance from electrical panel less than 25ft.

I still was puzzled why there was any difference in sound at all. I then, just for the hell of it, installed two leviton stainless steel plates. One for the power amp outlet and the other for the preamp outlet. A magnet will stick to the leviton plates like gorilla glue...

I plugged the gear back in, turned on the system and let it warm up for about a half hour or so. I then sat down for a listen. The sound, not bad. Remember this is the electrical wall outlet plate. First impressions the sound is darker, vocals smoother, more body, fuller.

I will compare the leviton ss plate to the plastic plate later after my ears have had a chance to adjust to this new sound.

Have any of you guys experimented with the wall outlet cover plates?
Why is there a difference in sound? When I first read the post I thought maybe it was due to the rigidity effect the plate was placing on the electrical outlet. Was it working as a damper of sorts. I mean a non magnetic ss cover plate verses a plastic plate.
Why did the non magnetic ss plate degrade the sound of my system?
With the Leviton ss plates are they providing shielding, in effect a Faraday cage.

By the way I asked the person, who posted the thread, why the plate changed the sound on his system. Some of those tweakers can be quite defensive when you question them. Though he was not others were.
I also should mention the member is using solid state gear.


Jea, those other folk not only don't know why the sound changes the way it does, they don't care, either...which is, IMO, the way it ought to be. What we ought to care about is the quality of the sound, about carefully determining how the sound has changed and determining if the changes are for better or worse. Looks to me as if you're on the way to being careful.

Let us know what you conclusions you finish with.

Yes, I've experimented with each of those and I agree with your findings, metal wall plates do not perform well in my system either. I tried several brands, including both magnetic and non magnetic, stainless steel types.

My favorite is the non-breakable Pass Seymour constructed of Nylon (not plastic). I have provided a link to an image of that product at the bottom of my post.

Try these if your willing to experiment, and tell us if they work for you. They're very inexpensive and look like a standard builder grade cover at first glance.

For what it's worth, I don't like metal outlet boxes either, I choose the oversize Nylon outlet boxes available at Home Depot ($1.69 each).

The great thing about Nylon boxes, regardless of outlet design, you can have isolated or non isolated ground as plugs do not share contact via the ground strap. A great option that sounds better and provides choices.

Nylon Outlet Cover
Crazier still Rwwear, I believe I can hear differences between tubes and transistors, digital and analog and even power cords and fuses !

As for drugs, I admit I'm taking Lipitor as a cholesterol reduction aid.
>>"You people have to be on drugs or kidding."<<

Nope..... When it comes to audio I keep an open mind. I will believe anything out there untill proven otherwise.

This simple tweak will cost you about 3 or 4 bucks to buy a few plates. You may even have a little fun in the process.
The thing that I find disturbing about this isn't that it might be bogus, but that it might be true. Think about the implications if the wall plate can affect the sound, what about everything else anywhere near your system. What about the wall studs that the lines pass through? What about the conduit diameter? What about everything that happens to the electrical wiring on the other side of the fuse box? What about EVERY other object in your sound room and house?
Yes but if you keep your mind too open, trash will fall in. I too can hear differences in equipment but thinking you can hear the type of wall plate you are using is ridiculus. If you want to hear a difference you will.
I've found that the Home Depot plastic wall plates
impart a loss of spatial information and lack of
coherency. Ace Hardware wall plates have an extended
high frequency response but muddy, one-dimensional
bass. I tried and quickly eliminated Sears wall plates
as they had no pace and rhythm. I plan to try some
$75 cryogenically treated plates which hopefully will
be a significant upgrade over the K-Mart plates
presently installed.

By the way.....anyone interested in buying a bridge?
I have one for sale in Arizona........
Everything that is changed in your room may affect the sound in some way. Someone standing or sitting in a different place will affect sound. But that doesn't mean you can hear it. Another thing. It is impossible to prove something doesn't exist. That's why we have so many different religions and UFO and Nessie sitings. I prefer to not believe until it is proven otherwise.
Well guys, all I can say is if your afraid to spend a couple of dollars to see if it makes a difference, I don't know why you would take the time to type a response here.

I clearly remember when arguments raged over interconnect cable, people said it was impossible for cabling to make a difference. Then it was power cables, they could not make a difference.

Now, thousands of end users hear and enjoy the improvements wire and connectors make. I have not attended a high end show in the USA or Europe where a system did not sport these aftermarket upgrade parts.

AC power connections can be just as important, even to the plugs and covers and in time this will be accepted just as quality speaker posts are accepted today.

In response to Honest1:
What about the wall studs that the lines pass through? What about the conduit diameter? What about everything that happens to the electrical wiring on the other side of the fuse box?

Absolutely you can hear if the electrical is run in open air (under pier and beam home for instance) or through steel conduit.

I have experimented with this and just like the wall plates, install boxes and AC runs, the simplest, most direct, and least expensive usually works in these situations.

I would have thought this would be good news to readers, guess everyone would be happier if I suggested a $1000 option instead of a two dollar one?
Rwwear, tell you what I will do. If you have a separate outlets for your preamp and power amp you buy 2 non magnetic ss plates, 2 magnetic ss wall plates, and 2 Pass & semour nylon plates as Albert suggested. Try them, If you do not hear a difference, good or bad, in the sound of your system send me an email with your address and I will refund your purchase price of the plates up to $8.00.

If you do or do not hear a difference with the plates you will post back here on this thread of your findings...Sound fair?

It's a huge waste of valuble time and energy and it will drive you mad trying to hear non-existent differences. Why not just enjoy the music? Are going to next change the springs in your chair to something other than metal? Are you going to paint your walls dark to tame the bright sound? Do you plan on changing every receptical plate in your house? If one makes a difference, why not all of them? And how do you know which ones to change to what?
The best outlet plate is no outlet plate. An outlet plate can only add distortion, eliminate it if you can. This tweak cost absolutely $0.00. Be bold, expose your outlets and join the coverless revolution.
It's a huge waste of valuble time and energy and it will drive you mad trying to hear non-existent differences.
So why are you on this thread?
I'm here to help save the world from foolish activities that hamper the listening process. Besides I can listen to music while typing. Why are you here? Why does one even exist?
>>"The best outlet plate is no outlet plate. An outlet plate can only add distortion, eliminate it if you can." >>>>>

Yep. someone posted that one also on AA. I tried it. On my system the sound was thin, bass was light...

Fellas I know to some of you this cover plate thing sounds nuts.

>>"Jea, those other folk not only don't know why the sound changes the way it does, they don't care, either...which is, IMO, the way it ought to be. What we ought to care about is the quality of the sound, about carefully determining how the sound has changed and determining if the changes are for better or worse"<<

Kind of says it all doesn't it....
Geez guys, I'm with Albert - why not spend a few bucks and try a few instead of dismissing them out of hand? But unlike him I don't find metal to necessarily be a bad thing; it all depends upon what it is and how it's made. There are other outlet tweaks as well.
On my system the sound was thin, bass was light...
Is it possible that you're using the outlet cover distortions to mask or compensate for other faults in your system and/or setup? If the goal is fidelity as opposed to simply what sounds good at that moment, then I'd side with the thinner sound and work forward from there.
If the no outlet cover suggestion is serious, please be careful. It would be pretty easy to contact hot wires if you use the outlets that attach the house wiring via screws on the sides (as oppossed to push connections at the rear of the receptacle.
I'm here to help save the world from foolish activities that hamper the listening process.
Like typing, you mean?

Why are you here? Why does one even exist?
To discuss audio reproduction receptacles, why else? I use the Porter Ports and a Hubbell, which cost a whopping $8. Is there an audible sonic difference between the various materials? Yep. Do I care about getting to the pinnacle of sound? Nope. But I do care about edginess, grain, nausea, and headaches. Some cables, tubes, cords AND outlets are quite good at producing any one or all of those effects, and my wife don't like 'em none neither. Says they hamper the listening process somethin' fierce.

So I guess the bottom line is that I'm respectful of your non-experiential conclusions in this matter, and would hope that you would consider my listening results as being equally valid...for me.

Enjoy your holiday!
Post removed 
It's like washing your car and thinking it runs better afterward. I can guarantee you that spending 8.00 on a throw pillow will make more difference and moving it around the room will make even more difference. The number of people in the room will have more effect on the sound than any power cord or interconnect you can ever hope to obtain or wall plate.
It's like washing your car and thinking it runs better afterward
From the National Safety Council: A clean car body can reduce drag by up to 12 percent thereby improving fuel economy.

Your guarantees are no good 'round here.
>>"However, if I place a plastic outlet cover over the silver fillings on the right side of my mouth everything sounds really liquid. So far my wife hasn't complained about the drool stains on my shirts."<<

Grant did you try a nylon cover plate by chance.

Your story of the drool stains on your shirts reminded of Dudley Moore in the move "10". I can still see him after his visit to the Dentist in the coffee shop, LOL.

I didn't say anything about going faster or improving fuel economy, a perfect example of hearing(reading) what you want to hear.
Albertporter, Last night I stopped at Home Depot. They did not have any of the Pass & Seymour nylon plates, but they did have some made by Leviton. Leviton ProGrade "Midway" Unbreakable nylon commercial grade. Kind of pricey, 44 cents each.

I listened to my system last night for about 2 hours. With the Leviton nylon plate my system has a slightly different sonic signature than the Leviton ss plate. Bass was about the same. Vocals were very smooth. The nylon plate did not quite have the bloom the ss plate had. That is the ss plate with the trim screw removed. With the trim screw used the sound of the nylon plate was better.

Tonight I stopped at Menards, a midwestern lumber yard, to see if they had the P&S plates you are using. I think they are the same, TP8-W, W=white, 27 cents each.... I pulled the Leviton nylon plates and installed the nylon P&S plates. Plugged the gear back in turned on the system and let things warm up for about 45 min or so. I then sat down for a listen. Again I could hear a difference in sound with the P&S plates. Compared to the nylon Leviton plates the sound from my system, with the P&S plates, there was more air, more detail, very clean. Vocals, not quite as smooth. Bass did not seem to be as deep.

Albert I would not begin to compare my modest audio system to yours. But if you get a chance would you try the Leviton plates I described above and give us your thoughts.

I spoke earlier of the sound from my system using the stainless steel plates and not using the trim screw. I discovered this by accident. When I first installed them I fastened them to the duplex outlet with the trim screw. When I wanted to listen without the ss plate I removed the screws from the plates and pulled the plates onto the power cords. When I wanted to hear the effect with the plates I just pushed them back over the outlet, placing a small piece of scotch tape on the top of the plate to the wall to hold it in place.

NEC 2005 406.5 (B)
"Grounding. Metal faceplates shall be grounded."


I can't believe I read throuh all of this! The bottom line on wall plates is the best ones for audio are made of WOOD {8~ ) The best wood ones you can get are made of TEAK and can be purchased at yatch supply houses for about $25.00. How's that for HI-End???
>>"When did they move the Brooklyn Bridge to Arizona?"<<

I think you have your bridges mixed up. They moved the London bridge to Arizona.....
Wood ?? You yacht to be kidding Phil.

Next thing you know they’re gonna be making speakers out of wood.

And Philztops, they tried to sell me that there Brooklyn Bridge but I was out of cash. I spent my last $1.29 on a Nylon outlet cover.

Frankly ,I don't know how any audiophile can be so reckless as to spend a $1.29 for a cover, unless maybe theirs is cracked, or dirty, or could look a bit nicer or maybe sound better.

But who cares? It's SNAKE OIL and damn expensive snake oil at $1.29 !
crazy you say ...

I actually went as far as to eliminate the cover and the outlets altogether. I'm hardwired from the fusebox to the component . There is a huge difference.All of them...with seperate fuses for each component.
12-19-05: Onhwy61
The best outlet plate is no outlet plate. An outlet plate can only add distortion, eliminate it if you can. This tweak cost absolutely $0.00. Be bold, expose your outlets and join the coverless revolution.

YES SIR.... The thing to do is loosen the outlet and let it hang.If you don't want that extreme..then loosen the screws just a bit.No a/b listening.....that's wrong. Let it play for about 24 hours with the volume on low.Actually play while you sleep (repeat). Not 2 hour warm up.
How can you hardwire all of your components? It would take a separate circuit for every device and would have to be permanently attached to each component. Fuses would mean it is not hardwired. This must be a joke but with so many other outragious claims, I can no longer be sure.
The joke is on you....

All my components are hardwired ,on the component side. On the fusebox side ...I have seperate fuses for each component. Yes ,the wires are screwed in,(NOT TIGHT) as they would be if regular 14gauge solid core. I don't use 14 g wire. It blows away all ...and i mean all other set ups available on the hi-fi scene.

Now that is true dedicated circuit....
>>"If one can hear the difference between cables, one should surely be able to hear a capacitor in line with his equipment. After all, they make a difference in speakers. And if someone did make an amplifier that sounded like tubes, who would admit it that it did?"<<
[12-25-04: Rwwear]
Ah, you are not one of those that believes the world is flat....
I've never stated that I can't hear differences in equipment and audio components. But wall plates and even power cords are not in either of those categories.
I find that sticking my finger in the power socket has the biggest impact on my system's sound.

It's more forward and strident when I stick my finger in the same socket as my gear. The effect is darker and more mellow when it's a socket on a different circuit.
You know when....

A hair trigger on a shotgun...fine sensitive fishing line. when balancing a house of cards..,It doesn't take much pressure ,energy or vibration to sense or feel this things happen ,move or shift.

When you make a change in an audio system ,whether this be wall plate ,ac cord ,brass feet ,and all the minor yet sensitive moves one does do, it must ,your gear, be sensitive enough to feel the change. Your system is too massive.Mass....as in not only heavy but too tight,too many blockages as in you rack . Hey how many guys gear is not even level or centered on the racks.Balance...Or your walls have not enough give in them .Too much absorption etc...Too much furniture in your room....MASS

Your gear or system includes all of the contents of your room. Including the walls. The same gear in an empty room will not sound the same in an over crowed ,over saturated ,dead room. How do you expect to hear the difference. This is basic science. But hi-fi has to answer to no natural laws it seems....Becauce a few guys with bad systems, ( great # 1 brands a-list stuff) but set up like really bad ...all that is sensed ,experienced and measured is snake oil...

If you system cannot ....cannot ,in 24 hours of changing ac cords.If you cannot hear ,sense ,experience a change....I don't care good or bad.....You changed the bloody cords ,there will be a bloody change.

If there is no change.. 1) your ears are not sensitive enough ...2) your "whole" system etc ..is not sensitive enough

"whole" means the room and ALL it's contents in it!
Oh ....hold that thought.

Merry Christmas to all

I'm back on the 3rd of Jan.....happy new year as well.

So try to keep it interesting while i'm GON. LOL
Lots of talk about this outlet cover plate, pros & con. $199.00 each....
Oyaide WPC-XXX outlet cover plate.
I was trying to instal a Furuteck outlet yesterday, and found that the plastic wall plate was cracked in the center on one side.
i placed a metal plate on and didn't put in the new outlet. We ate lunch and an hour later, the sound was different. I didn't a/b it.
But we all thought that the system (not awake before as it was just turned on) sounded nicer than with the matal plate. My point is not brak in, or warm up, but that at about the same warm up there was a diff.
Why do people resent the hearing, or systems or discussion of this?
I had an associate tell me if he did the dirty on my CD it would sound better, in response to my saying that "the chip" or "cryo" can change the sound of a CD. My AM listening hillbilly Dad with whom I wasn't raised can tell the diff in these... How can someone with such a closed mind as above actually enjoy the music? Aren't they too busy saying "a woman can't play that well" or "if that were an in country made piano it would sound better?" these prejudices get in the way of the whole life experiences as I'm sure they extend into the "organic" question, or the "water purification" question, or the "corn syrup vs sugar" awareness.
I have no macho restrictions to saying "I've never heard that" instead of "It Can't! happen!" as that set s one up for being embarrassed if excersized too often.
BTW the furuteck has changed the sound, and I personally like it and so does the guy who'd system it is powering.
Spiro, thank you for your response. The whole thing about an outlet cover plate changing the sound of my system is still a mystery to me, but my ears tell me it is a fact.

So far experimenting with various cover plates, the plate that yields the best sound for me from my system is the Leviton magnetic stainless steel plate. Problem is to achieve the desired sound, the plate is not bonded, grounded, to the equipment ground via way of the 6/32 trim
Here is an answer to a question I posted on AA. I asked him if he would test the SS plates in the manner I am presently using them.

Posted by Al Sekela (A) on February 10, 2006 at 09:53:28

In Reply to: Al, my system is dead quite. posted by jea48 on February 8, 2006 at 14:49:09:

">>I just finished a five-way comparison of outlet cover plates (on 2-gang metal box):
1. no outlet plate (old standard);
2. magnetic SS outlet plate with Nylon screws (verified not grounded with ohmmeter);
3. same, but with one steel screw to ground it;
4. same as 3. with magnets stuck to outside of plate;
5. High-abuse Nylon plate with Nylon screws. Also tested with both 2-gang boxes covered with Nylon plates.

Test CD was Shirley Horn, _You Won't Forget Me_, Verve 847 482-2.

Numbers 1 and 5 were so close I decided to leave the Nylon plates in place.

Number 2 gave an added sense of air and resonance, which led me to test the SS plate for acoustic ringing. It rings like a bell with a pure, sweet, high sustained tone, and a lot of atonal immediate crash like a cymbal. With this thing vibrating near the outlet and not grounded, it is acting like a dynamo and converting acoustic vibration into electrical noise within the power circuit and/or safety earth.

Numbers 3 and 4 dulled the sound compared to number 1: not in the sense of lost treble, but in a lack of midrange presence. With my system tuned up, I can hear Shirley smile as she sings, "...should there be eyes like [:)]yours..." near the beginning of track 12, "You Stepped Out of a Dream." This sense of a smile was diminished with treatments 3 and 4. The piano tone was also less appealing in general. Her voice seemed less cohesive over her range.

Thus, my results are similar to yours with respect to grounded versus floating plates, but I believe the apparent improvement with the ungrounded plate is due to euphonic coloration rather than increased detail retrieval. You can confirm this by listening carefully with the ungrounded plate in place, and then with it removed. Other inmates have observed improved performance with no plate at all on the outlet, but clearly this is not safe for most people and violates code. In my case, anyone who approached the uncovered outlets would probably have died from tripping over the equipment and cables before reaching the outlets, so I was not concerned about the safety aspect. The Nylon plates' appearance matches the other outlets in the room, so I will leave them on."<<
[Al Sekela]
I saw the thread on AA a long time ago and decided to give a SS wall plate a try. For $1 investment I didn't feel it was much of a risk since I'd already spent $100 on a Jena Labs cryo treated socket.

I thought the non-magnetic SS plate varied between no change and very slightly better (I never tried with and without screw). At someone's suggestion, I then applied two small strips (each no bigger than a postage stamp cut in half) of ERS adhesive backed cloth to the inside of the SS plate. To my surprise that difference was easier to hear and it was an improvement. I left it in the sytem that way.

Since my system has been in storage since October and I did this test a year ago, I won't try to use any superlatives to describe the change because my memory isn't that good. Plus, once I determined it was better I just moved on to the next challenge and didn't think about it any more.

So my recommendation would be to try a little ERS cltoh and see if it helps your system. I also found careful applications of it helped in other places as well. But go easy with this stuff and do lots of experimenting. A little goes a long way and it IS possible to make things sound worse or better depending on how good you are at placing it. I'm convinced the people that said it made their system sound worse were both sincere and correct, but based on my experience that also means they either used too much or put it in the wrong places. For example, I found it sucked the life out of the music if placed near the power supplies on my components, but definitely made it sound better when place elsewhere.

FYI, I was using PS Audio Statement xSteam power cords going to and from a UPC200. My CDP is a highly modified Wadia 301, my amp is a highly modified PSA HCA-2 and I was using Soliloquy 6.5 speakers at the time.
I have found that using different receptacle outlets changes the sound effect obtained by the outlet cover plates.

I moved from the Leviton 8300 hosp Grade outlets to the Hubbell 5362IG outlets. Then onto the Cryoed Hubbell 8300H Hosp Grade duplex outlets. I am presently using the Pass & Seymour nylon plates. At the present time I prefer the sound from the combo.

In each case when I changed the outlets I would install the Leviton SS ferromagnetic cover plates using a nylon supporting screw. I wanted to keep the cover plate the constant and hear the difference in sound the receptacle might make.

The Hubbell 5362IG receptacle/Leviton SS plate/nylon screw.
For the Amp and Preamp I preferred this combo best over all other cover plate combo. The Hubbell 5362 beat the Leviton 8300 outlet hands down.

The CDP was a different story with the Hubbell 5362IG outlet. For the cover plate I found the Cooper non ferromagnetic plate/nylon support screw sounded the best for me.

The HBL8300H/Leviton/nylon screw (amp and Preamp outlets only). I listened to this combo for a total of about 10 hours off and on. Imho the sound from my system was not as good with the HBL8300H as it was with the same plate combo, hubbell 5362IG outlets.
I pulled the Leviton SS plate from the HBL8300H outlets and installed the P&S nylon plate. Imho the P&S nylon plate is best suited for the cryoed HBL8300H over the Leviton SS plate/nylon screw.

I have yet to change out the CDP outlet to the HBL8300H outlet, not sure I will. I like the sound of the Hubbell 5362IG outlet. Just a note, my dedicated branch circuits are installed in metallic EMT conduit and metallic rough-in boxes.

I ran across this thread while doing some research for another thread on this forum.......

You want to hear insane?


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Posted by rcrump ( M ) on March 21, 2003 at 01:28:05
In Reply to: Genuine insanity: What kind of cover plate do I need? posted by rhizomatic on March 20, 2003 at 09:10:15:

I made some power strips probably fifteen years ago using some black plastic boxes and ordered some really beautiful cast brass plates for the fourplex boxes only to find that the solid brass made the sound just bright as the devil....A couple of nylon screws and some tape on the backside of the plate took care of the problem....Aluminum doesn't have that sort of problem BTW....


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I got a new door knob in my sound room last week and it really opened things it up.