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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.
I decided the next thing to upgrade would be receptacles. After some research, I went with all Furutech GTX-D. Some Gold plated, some NCF Rhodium type. MY basis for this was the soon to be prices all going up for any and maybe all imports, plus the Furutech were on sale. (all told I save 31% off retail)I replaced every Duplex connected to or in my system. Including all in both power conditioners. (in the Furman, moving the duplex piggybacked filters to the Furutech duplex.Later I replaced two Gold ones with Rhodium, as I discovered just how much better sounding the Rhodium are, particularly from the wall, and for amps and preamps. Sources , for me, generally either sound better with the Gold duplex, or no difference that matters in how they sound.(All of my powercords are Pangea, with gold plated plug parts, aside from the (now) Furutech '28' Rhodium plugs at the wall for my extension cords. The Rhodium take longer to sound good. But when they are broken in, they are better than the Gold in many areas. (the main not broken in effect is lean sounding with the Rhodium, alternating from normal, then lean, then way too much bass, back and forth, Until the Rhodium settles down, Others did say this roller coaster happens, but I had to experience it to believe it.)I started with a GTX-D Gold in the 20 amp wall outlet, to my old Wattgate brass plugs. and a few other duplex. I put both a Gold And a Rhodium duplex at the ends of the 32 foot ,and 37 foot extensions. from the 20 amp wall AC to compare them two types at the PC and the amp. Quickly it was obvious the Rhodium GTX NCF was better at the amp, and to the Furman REF20i conditioner. The PS audio P-600 seems better on the Gold. Sources sound better using the Gold GTX. Later i swapped th Gold to a Rhodium, and added Rhodium Furutech Edison plugs Used the Furutech '28 series plugs in place of the Wattgate brass plugs at the wall.Took awhile to find to the preamps sound better on the Rhodium. The Rhodium is cleaner, 'cleaner' but maybe more lean, more 'aggressive' than the Gold. (since no Gold Furutech has the NCF material added to it, I don't know what part that material plays) The Gold is lush but fuzzy sloppy and less clear sounding (only compared to the Rhodium. compared to bronze or brass duplex, they both are miles ahead.) I also made two power cord using the same wire, (Quad twist 12 gauge Teflon 600V silver plated copper MilSpec wire. The same wire in my long extension cords from the wall) one with Wattgate plugs, Brass, one with Furutech Rhodium. The Furutech plug one was vastly better sounding than the one with the brass parts. So much so the brass plug on I consider (now) useless. (And I used to like them. Not anymore! the jump up is that big). I am pleased wit the improvement. I can say the ability to hear Rock lyrics is vastly improved. Way more like using earphones! So the increase in clarity is really the best reason and validates the expenditure. Also the use of a fancy tube buffer I so cherished is no longer needed. It still makes a tiny difference. but no nearly as much as before the Furutech duplex update..I cannot say anything about Oyaide, or other brands. Since I never went with them. For most of the other non-Japanese sorts of high end duplex, they all basically use a regular duplex off the shelf and 'fix' them up in some ways. (Oyaide also makes from their own design, from scratch, but I decided to stick to one brand. Furutech.) So I skipped all the 'fixed up' stuff. And skipped Oyaide mainly due to it not having the Furutech pure copper with a unique clamping system, The Oyaide uses Phosphor Bronze with various plating. the added types of plating I also though would be too confusing to make decisions. So I stuck with just the two, Gold and Rhodium plating over pure copper.
And I second the question about using the receptacle base and cover. It doesn't make sense to me that those additions would do anything other than make the recepacle pretty to look at.Thanks.
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