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Heat treatment and cryo treatment can sort of achieve the same thing in terms of stress relief in a metallic crystal structure. The creation of springs is a high deformation process, leaving a huge amount of residual stresses in the material. This isn't always a bad thing, as that can in theory harden the material. However, hardening also typically means more brittle, so it's a tradeoff that you must weigh. (side note: the popular "quenching" process also does something similar, most notably for steels)For the purposes of this post, we will assume that the majority of the residual stresses are contained within the grain boundaries. In simplified terms, the crystallographic misalignment between grains is undesired, as if a chasm has opened up between them. The chasm is a mix of empty space and "broken" unaligned material. Relieving said stress can be done in multiple ways, and this is where the manufacturers tend to play a bit to find the balance between strength and ductility (and cost). I'm grossly simplifying things, but heat treatment is like making the sides of the grains grow and closing the chasm gap. Cryo treatment is like having the unordered stuff in the chasm reform itself into little island that help bridge the gap. Either way, you're reducing the apparent chasm between the grains. There's lots more to it than that, but we'll leave it here for now. I am not offering any comment on how this translates to sound.
I understand contact resistance vs. wire. I guess I don't see the home environment as necessitating Rhodium-level protection. I guess I'm just a (as close to as possible) bare copper kind of guy.
The use of Rhodium is more sound of the music quality than any other reason to use a rhodium AC duplex or AC plug with Rhodium plating. The Furutech GTXD Gold and GTX-D Rhodium are identical in every way except the final plating on the blades. THe gold does sound warmer, and thicker. The rhodium clearer more detail.I had purchased a total of 17 Furutech duplex, over a few months. I actually replaced a few original Gold to Rhodium once I realized how much better sounding the music was with the Rhodium in the AC path. For folks who cannot accept power cords making a difference, The Rhodium plating making a major difference claim must be bewildering. The addition of the Furutech AC duplex was the best, most important tweaky sort of upgrade I have done. The improvement opened new vistas...
(the only better design could be if a company designed a duplex which was lax on insertion,and then when you flip a lever would grip the plug in the vise like grip. Removal, flip lever and plug can fall out easy. hey you guys designing duplex...).
One thing to keep in mind, rhodium sounds very different depending on what the base material is. I don't particularly like it over brass or bronze but it's great over pure copper. You might be better off with gold over brass or bronze. The quality of the plating matters too, not all are equal! Furutech in particular has excellent plating quality and their rhodium plated alpha-copper parts are among the best on the market imo. I agree with Genez about scratching the plating off, the worst for this is hospital grade receptacles... these are usually built on heavy-duty chassis and have very high clamping force, these will leave deep gauges in your male prongs, and if you just spent $$$ on rhodium plated pure copper plugs it's gonna be a downer when the outlet carves a trench in it. I've sold hundreds of GTX NCF receptacles and pretty much 100% of folks think it's the best $ they've spent on their system, despite the fact the receptacle it's self is priced insanely high. I burn-in the receptacles for free, imo this is important if you don't want to have a system that sounds randomly different for 4-6 weeks. Even with burn-in you'll gt some of these effects but they are reduced in magnitude and don't last as long.
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