Furutech's GTX Receptacles

It was my dirty little secret.

Up until a few months ago, I had been plugging my hi-fi into a Furutech e-TP60 power conditioner, with the power conditioner going into the only AC receptacle in my small living room. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone about it, but from the very start of my hi-fi journey, I was concerned about that single electrical outlet: not only was it limiting, it was in desperate need of repair. This thing was no hospital-grade outlet. I’m not even sure if it you could call it “ghetto-grade.” The old and cracked plastic cover plate was pulling from the wall, as if it was tired of being there. The top receptacle could barely hold a power cord and the bottom receptacle’s grip was extremely delicate—the slightest touch could send a power cord to the floor, silencing my hi-fi. Connecting the hefty Furutech AC cable required a balancing act and a little prayer. It was embarrassing. Whenever hi-fi friends came over, I made sure to keep them away from the AC. But how long could this go on? How long could I keep it a secret? Were these old receptacles limiting my system?

The situation invoked feelings of fear and insecurity, and I hate those feelings.

Then, in August, when the weather was warm and the skies were blue, I received an e-mail from Scull Communications’ Jonathan Scull, Furutech’s US PR representative, announcing the company’s new GTX wall receptacles. I had been waiting for this, and I think Jonathan knew it, too. A few weeks later, a small box containing a Furutech GTX dual receptacle arrived at our office.

Soon after, I made plans with my dad and Uncle Omar to install the receptacle. How many Puerto Ricans does it take to replace a wall receptacle? Definitely at least three: One to screw the thing in and two to play the maracas. Seriously: I had no experience with this sort of thing, and I figured it’d be a fun way to spend some time with family. Plus: Maybe I’d learn something new! The only thing I knew for sure was that I had to cut the power to the outlet before we began working on it.

It was a sunny Saturday in September when my dad and Omar came over to help out. Fortunately, just as they arrived, my landlord was walking down the street and I told him what we were planning to do and asked that he turn off the power in my living room. No problem: He went to his truck, reached into a toolbox, and handed me one of those live-circuit tester things and asked me to call him from my living room while he went down into the basement and cut the power. Cool. A minute later, I was back upstairs. As I unscrewed the old cover plate from the electrical outlet, the whole thing pretty much turned to dust in my hands. Yikes. The Furutech GTX receptacle had arrived just in time! I touched the ends of the circuit tester to the slots of the wall socket and the thing lit up. I called my landlord. “Got juice?” he asked. “Yeah,” I replied.

We tried again.

“Juice?” “Juice.” “Juice?” “Juice.”

This went on for like ten or fifteen minutes.

“Something must be wrong,” my landlord said. “Let me call Mo.”

Mo is our maintenance guy.

A couple of minutes later, Mo was at the base of the wall, fiddling at the electrical outlet with a flashlight and a cell phone, making stuff happen. (It’s funny: I almost never see my landlord or Mo, but, on this day, when I needed them, they were there in a flash.)

Anyway, unfortunately, I never found out what the problem was, and I never found out how to install a wall receptacle because Mo wound up doing it all by himself. I was thankful, though: After our initial troubles, I didn’t feel comfortable with the situation. Meanwhile, my dad and Omar sat in the kitchen, playing the maracas, while I took a few pictures.


As I unscrewed the old, plastic wall plate, the whole receptacle pretty much turned to dust in my hands. Yikes!


Furutech’s 104-D carbon fiber cover plate ($85.20) is no joke! I doubt it will be crumbling to dust any time soon—or ever.


Furutech’s GTX wall plate ($138) was too large (5.3” x 3.4” x 0.5”) to fit in the space where the chintzy old receptacles lived, so we had to cut into the wood trim at the base of the wall. The aluminum, CNC-machined wall plate is finished with a non-resonant coating and is said to shield against RFI. It fit snugly around the rhodium-plated GTX-DR receptacle ($211), which uses pure copper conductors strengthened and sprung by Furutech’s “Stainless Steel Conductor Spring System,” meant to keep a firm and safe grip on connector blades.


Setting the cover plate in place only required one Puerto Rican: Uncle Omar.


The finished product is handsome and strong.

I was hoping to hear a dramatic and obvious improvement in the overall sound of my system, but I can’t say that I did, and attempting to perform extensive A/B/A comparisons would just be silly. I do, however, feel a dramatic and obvious improvement in my sense of hi-fi security. There is no way in the world a power cable is coming loose from the Furutech GTX receptacle. The thing has got G.I. Joe’s Kung-Fu grip. It’s well built, seems made to last forever, and looks like serious business. Over time, I have gained the sense that my system is quieter: Sudden stops in music are sometimes almost enough to knock me off my seat. In addition, bass kicks in rock music seem to have a rounder, fuller, and more controlled wallop. I like that. Mostly, I like feeling secure about my AC receptacles. If anything, I’m now embarrassed by how good they are.

But that’s my problem.

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COMMENTS
Drtrey3's picture

My wife and I call Stereophile porn because porn is stuff that does not happen to me. Audio porn if you will, but porn still. I say this with love and respect for Stereophile and the writers who make her, please do not take it as an insult. Reading audio porn consistently as I do, I am used to being titilated and teased. It is ok, I bring it on myself. To be honest, I enjoy it.

But today I was lusting after an electrical outlet cover.

I need help.

Trey

Stephen Mejias's picture
It is pretty sexy, for an electrical outlet cover. (It's all about that black carbon fiber.)
cececd's picture

I was wondering, did you pay retail, or this was given to you so you could advertise it here.

TheArt's picture

The guy writes,

"I was hoping to hear a dramatic and obvious improvement in the overall sound of my system, but I can’t say that I did"

... and you're accusing him of advertising??

If J-Scull was tryting to buy a good review with a free outlet, I think he got screwed, don't you? Either that, or I guess Furutech's new motto is,

"It may not do anything, but it won't turn to dust."

bseabrook's picture

Now you can worry about the quality of the wiring in the wall, the breaker or fuse panel in the utility room, and the entry service from the power company. That outlet was probably the least of your troubles.

TheArt's picture

While the purest approach is to re-wire your entire house, the wiring & conncetions in closest proximity to your gear are the most critical. That is why power cords, A/C conditioners, and upgraded outlets have any effect at all.

Most people think of this as "the last six feet" of the power line. But that is nonsense, as anyone who understands Alternating Current should know. As a Shunyata rep told me years ago, it's really "the FIRST six feet" from your gear, and that is where A/C nasties (unavoidable, unless you're battery-powered and off the grid) are most effectively cleaned up.

rsachs's picture

Let's do the math:
Outlet: $211
Wall plate: $138
CF cover: $85
=$434.

"Mostly, I like feeling secure about my AC receptacles." Priceless.

And we wonder why the average person does not look fondly upon the audiophile scene?

If this whole 'review' was meant as a joke, then bravo. If it was in any way serious, then, well, that's just plain sad.

earlmanley's picture

Not sure why you wasted time writing this article but it was at least informative occassionally. However, I found your use of the term “ghetto-grade" insensitive. Was this really necessary to make your point? Are you implying that low income neighborhoods are poorly constructed? If I want to read articles about house construction I will read Home and Garden magazine.

dbowker's picture

" Are you implying that low income neighborhoods are poorly constructed?"

There is no need for implication: they ARE. I never lived in a cheap apartment that WASN'T poorly constructed, or at the very least poorly maintained for so long it no longer mattered! But how is it you don't get that the term "ghetto" is just general slang for poorly maintained or uncared for? Lighten up, yo!

I liked the review, though it was more about the process than the product in many ways, and that's fun too. The outlet I can see being worth it; the cover, not so much (though it IS pretty).

When you get your own digs some day, getting a separate circuit to your system WILL make all the difference in the world. And luckily, it's actually cheap to do (probably less than $200). I finally got my own place a few years ago that had a room to dedicate for my system, and I almost fell out of my chair when I first heard it with it's own "personal" juice! I put in a PS audio outlet/in-wall conditioner too, and combined they were a worthy investment. And that thing REALLY looks bad-ass.

http://www.psaudio.com/ps/products/detail/soloist-in-wall-power-conditio...

Doualezos55's picture

Hardly a ringing endorsement Stephen. You could have the same security spending $20 at Home Depot. I became a believer recently. I moved to a new house and as I was dismantling my system first I replaced my Oyaide SWO XT with the original outlet. Then I checked the sound. I expected no major change and I had planned to keep the stereo running until the very end. There was major deterioration listening to a CD I know well. So, I put everything in boxes.

bseabrook's picture

It's amusing to read the comments on this subject. The nasties you are trying to eliminate are generated within the public power system, and appear as over and under voltage, spikes, and distortion of what should be a pure sine wave. Look at it on a scope if you're skeptical. If you can't afford to regenerate this waveform, you're wasting money on all the small stuff.

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