audiophile grade sub panel and breakers?

Does anyone know of a high quality "audiophile" grade sub panel? I read an article from someone in the audio industry where he mentioned having used a GE industrial grade 225 amp panel with a super duty silver plated copper bus bar and bolt on low noise silver contact breakers. Anyone have any ideas? I only need a 100 amp sub panel. All input would be appreciated.
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I did a little research on this when I upgraded my panel during a renovation. I hear the Square D panel with the copper bus bars is a good way to go. I ended up with a Murray panel and had copper bus bars ordered as an upgrade. Make sure your electrician does a good job grounding the whole system and consider mounting an Environmental Potentials waveform correction device to the panel--excellent surge/lightening protection and also eliminates noise and hash in the line.

Good luck.
Thank you Dodgealum. I appreciate your response.
You may want to contact Audiowaves here on agon. I recently met Jeff W and he really seems to know electrical stuff. Best, Jeff L
I run a 100 amp 8 position Square D QO sub panel. I use four of the eight 20 amp breakers and keep all four on the same phase. Better grounding at your electric meter helps alot too. I'm using two 10' 3/4" grounding rods, spaced 10" apart, and connected to the electric meter with a 3 gauge grounding wire. If your electric meter grounds directly to a copper water pipe, I'd recommend beefing up your grounding wire. Good luck! Stan
The grounding rods should read "spaced 10' apart", not 10". I went to correct it, but Jj2468 posted as I was making my change. I've done alot with dedicated power, including installing a NEMA box next to my electric meter. It's all on my system page. You could also look at Cincy_bob's system. Mine is a variation of his. Stan
Equi Tech makes a high grade subpanel that creates balanced power for all breakers right at the panel. They are usually used in high-end recording studios, but if you want to go all-out, and price is no object then they are the real deal. If I ever get to build a dream theater for myself or someone else then that would be my choice for the theater subpanel.

The above suggestions for grounding from other posters are excellent. There is also some great info on the Equi Tech website about optimum grounding procedures, some of which I will soon follow in my showroom theater.

Basic city electrical codes only require a minimum grounding effort. If you want better, which will greatly help your system then you have to do it yourself or pay an electrician. They may seem expensive, but they are worth it because they know what they are doing and know how to NOT get fried. Some of them will tell you that your extra grounding efforts are unnecessary because they don't really get what you are trying to do. On some of my theaters I have had to finally tell them to just do as I say, even though they don't grok the benefits. Then when they hear the theater and their jaw drops open they finally get it.

Good luck with it all, and don't forget to take extra caution with anything electrical.
DaddyO brought up a good point about Equi-Tech. When I was researching dedicated power a few years ago, I went to Equi-Tech's website and down loaded the following white papers: "Installing a Technical Grounding System", "Lifting the Grounding Enigma" and "Audio Wiring and Grounding". All three white papers were a tremendous help. Also, using a good electrician is a must. I've occasionally done subpanel work myself (with the power turned off at the main power feed), but the closer I get to the electric meter, the more I rely on my electrician. Stan
Thank you all for your input. I appreciate you all taking the time to help me. The Equi-Tech website is great! Thanks again.

Dodgealum, I finally found an electrician who is ready to work with this special requirement of copper bus panel.
Can you please let me know how you special ordered copper bus for murray panel. Can you give supply house phone/details etc ?

Thank you very much
If using the excellent Equitech sub panel be aware there are some excellent power conditioners that wont be effective without a ground reference. In other words they may be useful 'ahead' of the balanced output of the Equitech. I use a 2Q and it's great, but I have improved the power with other units as well. Is there such a thing as a dummy ground for this?
The secondary side center-tap of Equi=Tech products connect to the incoming ground on the primary side, so there is a ground reference all the way back to the electrical service panel main grounding electrode.
My comment was based on manufactures of other products stating the centre ground is before the balanced power output. Mistake?
Here's a good reference:

To BudBurma: Thank you for the referral to the MSB wiring upgrade article. Have you had this work done to your listening room? I'm interested to learn about your experience.

I had been leaning toward an Equi-Tech conditioner to balance the power delivery to my system ( hybrid solid state and tube ) and lower the noise floor but there are other fine products, including Isoclean, that I've considered in the past.

I've read the 6 Moons evaluation of the in-wall Equi-Tech panel and followed up with pertinent technical articles about balanced power and the effects of correctly performed wiring. It's clearly a subject that requires both theoretical and practical information to make an informed decision.

Hey David (Cdk54) … I looked at and read about the Equitech offerings, too, and think, like you apparently do, that it makes sense and is probably amazing. I met a guy from LA who has his entire studio wire with Equitech and swears by it. It seems like you can find someone who swears by almost every type of power conditioning system out there.

Full disclosure: Electricity scares the bejesus out of me and I am a neophyte muddling through this as best I can…

My priorities are cleaned and isolated power and less boxes/conditioners in my actual listening room…I spoke with Vince Galbo and have spoke with or emailed a lot of others including members Lak and Jmcgrogran2 her and Chris VenHaus. A good number of conditioners have passed through my system as well and I have been pretty happy with my present suppressor/conditioner (Elgar 5kVA, 0.0005pf) in the basement on a dedicated 20A line feeding everything through a single bank of 3 duplex Avatar Afterburner 8's wired in series.

Chris VH was kind enough to contact the engineers at Environmental Potentials for me regarding placement of their surge protection/wave correction and ground devices.....

SO, as my final assault, I plan to follow the white paper and suggestions from everyone above with some additions:

30A dedicated line/circuit through a Topaz Ulta Contitioner (5kVA, 0.0005pf) to a subpanel. Topaz on solid stand with four soft outdoor hockey pucks underneath (variation on a Lak theme!). Sub Panel with as good copper busses as can be reasonably found. All breakers with silver plated or silver alloy contacts. All contacts treated with high silver content contact grease. Solid copper wire everywhere. Cryo'ed 10g Essex Diamond Handiwire (rec from Alan Kafton) from subpanel to the outlets. 3 separate dedicated lines. 1 each for amp, preamp and tt, and digital…all on the same phase/leg from the sub panel. Environmental Potentials 2050 on the subpanel and 2775's on each line. All Avatar Afterburner 8 outlets (I already have 3 duplexes and trying to choose between the R and G GTX's was driving me a little nuts).

I have the Topaz, outlets, contact grease, hockey pucks, Handiwire, and EP 2050 in hand. The circuit breakers and panel are being researched and money for the 2775's is being squirreled away....An industrious chipmunk in the Spring!

In the end, I am going by intuition and desire…Antennae akimbo…OH, and, of course, suffering through the incredulous head wagging, snickerings and wide eyed guffaws of my non-audiophile friends and electricians and loving it!!

I move slowly through this type of project, but am getting closer and gathering steam. Although I tend to only participate intermittently in these forums, I'll try to follow up and post my progress for you and whoever might be interested.

AND, I am happy to get any other suggestions or insights that might be interesting or helpful.

Hope that helps. Don't forget to enjoy the tunes!

Warmly, Art

30A dedicated line/circuit through a Topaz Ulta Contitioner (5kVA, 0.0005pf) to a subpanel. Topaz on solid stand with four soft outdoor hockey pucks underneath (variation on a Lak theme!). Sub Panel with as good copper busses as can be reasonably found. All breakers with silver plated or silver alloy contacts. All contacts treated with high silver content contact grease. Solid copper wire everywhere. Cryo'ed 10g Essex Diamond Handiwire (rec from Alan Kafton) from subpanel to the outlets. 3 separate dedicated lines. 1 each for amp, preamp and tt, and digital…all on the same phase/leg from the sub panel.
06-02-15: Budburma


If the 5KVA transformer has dual primary and dual secondary windings I would recommend you configure the primary to be fed by 240V. Wire size minimum #10awg. Breaker size, 2 pole 30 amp.

Secondary winding configured for 120V out, not 120/240V out. (Two secondary windings paralleled). Minimum wire size from transformer to new main electrical panel #6 copper.
(New panel is not a sub panel.)
You will not need a main breaker in the new electrical panel provided you will not be installing more than 6 breakers, handles. The electrical panel will only need to be a MOL, Main Lug Only panel. 100 amp busing is plenty big.

How far will the 5KVA transformer be from the new electrical panel?

Your electrician will need to create a new AC grounded system. He will intentionally connect one of the Hot 120V secondary output legs of the transformer to earth. This grounded conductor will become the neutral conductor.

By NEC Code the earth connection shall be connected at any point on the main earth grounding electrode system of your home's main electrical service. He will not drive a new dedicated ground rod outside for the earth connection. If he does, per NEC Code, he will have to connect the new ground rod to the existing main grounding system of your home's electrical service with a minimum #6awg copper wire.... The safety equipment grounding conductor of the 240V circuit that feeds the primary winding of the transformer cannot be used for the earth connection.

As for the new electrical panel the Square D QO panel has copper plated busing. The Square D QO breakers are second to none.

If money is no object check out the Square D NQOD electrical panel board that uses QOB bolt on breakers.
QOB bolt on breaker.

Note. The electrician you hire from your area will know what is required by the State and Local electrical codes for your area. For example, local code may require AFCI breakers in the new electrical panel.
JIM! I have the manual for those connections. Thank you! That all looks very well thought out, presented and understood. Warm regards and enjoy the tunes, art
I’m reviving an old thread. 
I’m having a sub panel installed so I’m thinking I’ll go with the above mentioned Square D panel with copper bus and the QO silver circuit breakers. Anyone have any model numbers they recommend?
My electrician mentioned a 60amp but don’t see any 60amp, should I just go with a 100amp just in case I ever add to the room? They don’t seem to be that expensive. 
He’s also installing a new 8’ ground rod specifically for the sub panel. He mentioned he would use a insulated wire for that. Which would go from the ground rod to the sub panel and then (I think) to each 20amp outlet. Is there any recommendations for this?
He’s also installing a new 8’ ground rod specifically for the sub panel. He mentioned he would use a insulated wire for that. Which would go from the ground rod to the sub panel and then (I think) to each 20amp outlet.
You probably misunderstood your electrician because what you describe doesn't satisfy NEC. You need to have all the grounds bonded together at the main panel only where they connect to the utility's ground and your safety ground rods. Having a separate ground rod for a subpanel is hazardous because a fault won't trip the breaker. All grounds and neutrals tie together at the main panel and at the main panel only.
I I probably did misunderstand him. 🤷🏻‍♂️
He’s actually very qualified and knows a lot about getting the best AC to my room. 
He mentioned another product that said would clean up the entire house but I’m not sure what it was just yet but it wasn’t the Environmental Potentials product. 
I’m waiting to here back about that. 
Also, I was looking at the Square D panels mentioned here but this is an older thread I was told that Siemens PL series was a good one as of now. 
He’s also installing a new 8’ ground rod specifically for the sub panel.
NEC 250.54 Auxiliary Grounding Electrodes.
It is permissible provided the sub panel feeder from the main electrical panel equipment grounding conductor is connected to the equipment ground bar in the main electrical panel as well to the equipment ground bar in the sub panel. The Aux ground rod ground wire is connected to the ground bar in the sub panel.

I would not recommend using an Auxiliary grounding electrode, (ground rod), though. If serves no purpose and can actually introduce noise on the equipment ground bar in the sub panel. It can/will provide an alternate path for lightning to enter the electrical system of your home. In the event of a thunderstorm it could damage your audio equipment.

Go to time marker 10:45. Auxiliary grounding electrode.

Mother earth does not possess some magical mystical power that sucks nasties from an audio system.

Grounding Myths

"Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineering" by Henry Ott

3.1.7 Grounding Myths

More myths exist relating to the field of grounding than any other area of electrical engineering. The more common of these are as follows:

1. The earth is a low-impedance path for ground current. False, the impedance of the earth is orders of magnitude greater than the impedance of a copper conductor.

2. The earth is an equipotential. False, this is clearly not true by the result of (1 above).

3. The impedance of a conductor is determined by its resistance. False, what happened to the concept of inductive reactance?

4. To operate with low noise, a circuit or system must be connected to an earth ground. False, because airplanes, satellites, cars and battery powered laptop computers all operate fine without a ground connection. As a mater of fact, an earth ground is more likely to be the cause of noise problem. More electronic system noise problems are resolved by removing (or isolating) a circuit from earth ground than by connecting it to earth ground.

5. To reduce noise, an electronic system should be connected to a separate “quiet ground” by using a separate, isolated ground rod. False, in addition to being untrue, this approach is dangerous and violates the requirements of the NEC (electrical code/rules).

6. An earth ground is unidirectional, with current only flowing into the ground. False, because current must flow in loops, any current that flows into the ground must also flow out of the ground somewhere else.

7. An isolated AC power receptacle is not grounded. False, the term “isolated” refers only to the method by which a receptacle is grounded, not if it is grounded.

8. A system designer can name ground conductors by the type of the current that they should carry (i.e., signal, power, lightning, digital, analog, quiet, noisy, etc.), and the electrons will comply and only flow in the appropriately designated conductors. Obviously false."

Henry W. Ott

Who is Henry Ott?


Thank you Jim. It is obviously unwise to argue with Mr Ott. The only important issue in your house's electrical system, assuming your electrician was good at his job is that each circuit can handle the load it will be subjected to. Otherwise this is all nonsense and a great waste of time and money. Buy more music or a more powerful amp or better speakers. Chasing minuscule or imagined improvements is a fool's game.  
The only important issue in your house’s electrical system, assuming your electrician was good at his job is that each circuit can handle the load it will be subjected to. Otherwise this is all nonsense and a great waste of time and money.
The type of wiring used, and the wiring installation methods used, can greatly affect how your audio system will sound.
It may handle the load but, ...........

I recently posted this on another thread:
Use 10/2 with ground NM sheathed cable, (Romex trade name) or MC (Metal Clad) Aluminum armored cable.

Look at page 16. Read pages 31 thru 36.

It is important that long parallel runs of NM cables need to be separated from one another by at least 12" or so all the way to the wall duplex receptacle outlet boxes. If pulled next to one another the chances increase that the hot and neutral current carrying conductors of the branch circuits will induce a voltage onto the EGC, (Equipment Grounding Conductor) from cable to cable. This can/will cause ground loop hum. Also any noise traveling on one branch will be induced on the conductors of other branch circuits. One of the reasons for multiple branch circuits is to decouple the power supply’s of digital equipment from analog equipment. That won’t happen if the NM cables are running parallel against one another.

Also keep them away from other parallel running branch circuit wiring.
Especially lighting branch circuits. (Therein branch circuit wiring feeding LEDs, dimmers, and any other harmonic creating noise items that could/would induce a voltage, noise, onto the two audio dedicated branch circuits.)
Here in an interesting video on harmonics caused by a lighting dimmer control.

Make sure to tell the electrician to install both branch circuits on 20 amp breakers fed from the same Line, leg, in the electrical panel. Both on L1 or both on L2.

Here is an old quote from a White Paper by ExactPower. (The Link is no longer any good. The last time I clicked on the Link was in May of 2013 when I posted it in a thread)

"Less than 300 microamps of ground loop current can cause hum as it flows in an unbalanced audio interconnect cable. However, harmonics of 60Hz that are generated from lighting dimmers or switch-mode power supplies sound like Buzzz mixed with a bit of Hummm and are more easily coupled by even smaller currents. Harmonics can add together when equipment is powered from different phases, so clearly there is an advantage to specifying same-phase electrical service to power the electronics systems in most cases....

Any leakage currents on the safety ground wires of split single phase load circuits fed by different phase legs will add together due to the 240V potential difference....

Power conditioners do not solve any of these common problems: Cross phase coupling (doubles hums & buzzes) .... What actually does solve them: Same phase power.


Here’s another post from another thread.

Dedicated branch circuit/s?
A branch circuit that is installed to serve a specific purpose. In your cause to feed your audio and or audio/video system equipment. That’s its’ dedicated, specific, purpose... I don’t know what part of "dedicated" the electrician didn’t understand.

For audiophiles the definition of a dedicated branch circuit is a circuit that has a dedicated,
Hot conductor,
neutral conductor,
and equipment grounding conductor.

For branch circuit wiring that feeds audio equipment dedicated circuit/s should not share a neutral with other circuits. (Multiwire branch circuits.)

Back in the early 1990s I learned it also meant a dedicated branch circuit does not share a raceway, conduit, or cable, with other branch circuits.
It’s not an NEC requirement, but it is a requirement of many manufactures of sensitive medical equipment manufactures.
( Induced voltages from the current carrying conductors of one branch circuit will induce a voltage onto other branch circuits, including insulated equipment grounding conductors, installed in the same raceway, conduit, or cable. As well as noise that may be on a circuit or circuits.)

So if the AHJ, (Authority Having Jurisdiction), in your area requires conduit must be used do not install more than one dedicated circuit in a conduit. If you do there is a good chance you will end up having ground loop hum problems. If you have to use conduit see if 2 conductor with ground MC aluminum armor cable is allowed. (Actually aluminum armor MC cable is better than Romex for feeding audio equipment.

Romex, just a guess, is probably the most widely used though to feed audio equipment. There are some best practices that should be followed for the installation of Romex though.

*Try to keep the Romex cable away from the close proximity of other parallel running branch circuits. Especially branch circuits that feed lighting circuits where florescent and LED lighting are used. That includes dimmers. That includes ceiling can lights that are on dimmers whether the lamps are incandescent or LED. The further away the electrician keeps the dedicated branch circuit/s away the better.

*If you decide to install more than one dedicated branch circuit using Romex have the electrician keep them separated from one another as soon as practical after getting out of the electrical panel as starting the straight parallel runs of the Romex cables to the wall they will drop down. Keep them separated even where they drop down the wall to the wall outlet rough in boxes. Distance apart? At least 12". 18" or more if possible.

**Definitely, not pulled side by side one another the entire parallel run of the cables. That’s a good prescription for ground loop hum problems.

Read pages 31 through 36.

*Solid wire only!.... Do not use stranded wire. Romex is solid wire.
MC cable comes both ways, solid and stranded. The Box Stores, as a rule, only carry solid wire MC aluminum armor cable.
Individual single 600V building wire, that is pulled in conduit comes both ways. Probably most electricians prefer stranded over solid wire. Why? Because it is easier to work with. The ampacity rating for #12awg copper stranded wire is the same as #12awg solid copper wire, 20 amps.....

*What size of wire should you use?
I would not waste your money installing a 15 amp dedicated branch circuit to feed your audio equipment. #12awg is only a few dollars higher than #14awg. Labor is the same whether the electrician installs #12awg or #14awg. Last time I checked a 20 amp single pole breaker is the same price as a 15 amp single pole breaker.

I installed 2 dedicated branch circuits using #10/2 with ground Romex. One circuit for analog equipment the other for digital equipment. The two runs are 75ft each. The branch circuit breakers are 20 amp. That’s the maximum size breaker that can be used because of the receptacle rating of the outlets used.
Future? All kinds of future.

My audio system is dead quiet.


As you can see there are other factors that need to be considered besides the branch circuit wiring handling the connected load.

My audio system is dead quiet and and I didn't do any of this. I simply plugged a panamax  into the existing outlet. Unless you've had problems with your electrical system or need more capacity I wouldn't worry about it.