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Cryoparts Power Strip II Review  Print E-mail
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Written by Todd Whitesel   
Wednesday, 02 February 2011
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Cryoparts Power Strip II Review 
Testing and Conclusion

Just before Thanksgiving 2010, several boxes arrived at my house – the latest round of gear to review. Among them was Cryoparts Power Strip. As I showed my dad and wife the newest goodies, they both asked with no lack of incredulity, “How do you review a power strip?” I tried to explain the function of audio strips and how they can make a good system even better, but the eye rolls stopped me before I could really get going. That skepticism got me thinking, however.

Making Contact – and Keeping It

A power strip is designed to distribute electrical current to one or more devices without imparting a sonic footprint of its own or somehow impeding the flow of electrons. To do so effectively and efficiently, there needs to be secure and jiggle-free contact between the male AC prongs and the female receptacles. That sounds simple enough, but recently I discovered how potentially wrong things can go when that doesn't happen. The components of my computer system were all plugged into a six-outlet power strip (Woods Industries E115193) that I purchased 5 or 6 years ago and spent $10 or $15. The unit's cord is fairly heavy duty, 14 gauge, but the strip itself is just a rectangular piece of hard plastic.

Plug Front

While working away one morning, the plug for my Mac mini came loose from the outlet – somehow. I'm not sure how a three-prong plug wiggles itself free from such captivity but it happened as I had several documents open along with the Internet, etc. Suddenly my monitor went blank and the drive shut down. I scrambled trying to figure what happened until I looked down to see the white plug looking suspiciously loose. Damn! After I re-secured that sucker and made sure that the contact was tight I restarted my system, prepared for the worse. Fortunately, my Mac booted up and no data was lost – this time. After that, the lowly power strip took on new importance. Some online research led me to Cryoparts, an audio dealer/distributor based in Saratoga Springs, Utah, which offers customers an array of equipment including power strips, but with a kicker – these strips undergo cryogenic treatment prior to sale. An updated offering, the Power Strip II ($229) was made available for review.

Construction


Unpacking, the first impressions of the Power Strip II were of its build. This rugged strip wears a chassis constructed solely of aluminum and polished to a brilliant sheen. Six high-grade receptacles sit snugly in machined recesses that create extra-secure connections between the receptacles and top plate. The IEC outlet is similarly brawny and ready for any power cable you choose to mate with it. Four feet keep the Strip II in place and provide a bit of decoupling from the outer environment. Completing the inner connections, the receptacles are wired to each other and the IEC with pure copper wire.

Plug inside

Into The Deep Freeze

After the strip is assembled, it's ready to chill. I live in northern Wisconsin, where winter time temps can easily reach 30 below zero, but that's nothing compared to the extreme cold of Cryoparts “Cryofreeze” process. The Power Strip II undergoes a three-step process over a period of three to five days, in an environment that, facilitated by liquid nitrogen, becomes ever colder until reaching temperatures approaching 300 degrees below zero. Finally, the cryogenic chamber is gradually brought back to ambient temperature. According to Cryoparts, “When copper, silver or brass, or any metal used in audio, is formed into cables or AC plugs, the materials develop residual stress. For example, microscopic examination of the Copper in an AC cord would reveal many voids in the crystal lattice structure of the Copper due to these residual stresses. Deep cryogenic treatment works at the atomic level; research indicates that as the temperature decreases the atomic bonds start to weaken and the crystal structure of Copper reverts to its original state and removes these stresses. These changes, theoretically, are one of the reasons why cryogenic treatment makes a positive difference to the sound.”



 

 
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