You will probably burn your house down if you do.
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Could be better to attach power cords directly to Romex. Honestly, I have never tried it. Other than the obvious inconvenience, I suspect such a rig would be against local electrical code as well as a safety issue.
My city requires any splices or connections to be inside a plastic or metal electrical box. Many of the high end power cords I like are so large it would require cutting a custom plate for the outlet box just to get the splice inside, this assuming there is space in the box.
Your idea makes sense on one hand, yet raises issues that complicate what most of us consider an already complicated sound system.
A friend of mine did this years ago, and it did not burn down the house, but it has it's risks. It IS an inconvenient thing to do( his amp weighed 130# to boot).This was before all the new power cords came out,back in about 86. His system was amazing as he had payed attention to every detail. I would not reccomend it today. Get yourself a good outlet and get a good buy on a power cord(look for the most bang for your buck, I hear that the FIM outlets are great for $50 and try a CPCC "High Value" power cord $130). You will be glad you did every time you want to move that amp for any reason. I think that it is possible that this approach could sound even better than the direct romex due to the fact that the romex is not sheilded.
I've got a better solution for you.If your talking about connecting to a dedicated line (you wouldn't want to connect to an existing branch circuit anyway)instead of buying a hospital grade duplex outlet or one of the expensive alternatives go to Home Depot and buy a Leviton or other industrial quality brand female plug to connect to your line.These are the same plugs that Synergistic and other manuf.use on thier power cords(the male counterpart)and are very sturdily made with better contact pressure than most outlets and you get a perfectly matched detatchable connection.Also you can use a blank wall plate with a whole drilled to pass your wire through.
My thought for the last 6 months has been to run the romex straight from the service panel through the hole in the wall (where the outlet would normally be) straight to a WATTaGATE male IEC plug that goes straight into the component.
No breaks in the line, little or no need for power conditioners, or high priced wall outlets, or high priced power cords, no electrical leaks, less RF, and cheap too. If you do this with say 10 gauge OFC romex, I would think the results would be great.
And yes, to pretty things up at the wall, purchase a wallplate with the tv cable hole in the center.
If this is what you are talking about doing, I'd love to hear what you think after it's done.
Stehno, your idea would certainly provide the best available performance for a Romex type run. The point that some of you may be missing is the fact that some aftermarket high performance power cords REMOVE problems when they are inserted just before the equipment.
As an experiment, I connected a standard three wire extension cord (purchased from Home Depot) and then connected the original stock cord to an Audio Research preamp.
After lengthy listening sessions, I connected a high quality aftermarket cord in place of the factory stock cord. The improvement could not have been more astounding.
Point being, even with a $4.98 Home Depot extension cord running from my expensive cryo treated hospital grade outlets, the signature and improvements of the expensive after market cord were obvious.
Whether Romex or a cheap extension cord is in play here, the benefit of the better cord as the final connection to the stereo seems to be the key. Like many things in this hobby I don't pretend to understand why.
I do know that the two other people who observed the experiment had assumed that the inclusion of the Home Depot cord would negate the effect of the experiment. Perhaps it did diminish the absolute performance, but it certainly did not suppress the benefit of the high end aftermarket cord that plugged into it.
Strange but true! Please borrow a premium cord and try this for yourself, it could convince you to make your life simple by installing a premium outlet and your favorite power cord. Certainly would be the safest route.
Albert - great post. I've done the same experiment with similar results.
Here is the solution!! Bypass the main circuit breaker and install a fuse block with a ceramic fuse. This will ensure your power comes direct from the pole. Contact your favorite high end power cord manufacturer and pay them to make you a 75' cord with an IEC on one end and exposed wires on the other.
Drill a hole in the floor next to your system - and run the power cord through the hole and under your house, up to the fuse block.
Tie your high end power cord in to the fuse block and presto!
Audiophile Nirvana!! or Nervosa??
Hi Albert - What do you think...??? a more realistic test might be made by taking a "lesser" or cheap interconnect and coupling it (via a female to female adapter) to your usual interconnect. Then using this creation to provide signal from your source to your preamp.
Wouldn't that be very similar to the test with the Home Depot extension cord plugged into the wall and the Purist plugged into the HD extension cord? Which resulted in insignificant differences.
My guess is that doing this with interconnects might make a bigger difference since the signal is so much weaker... but who knows.. it would be interesting to try.
I don't see how the Home Depot extension cord verses aftermarket pc or playing with interconnects have much to do with this thread. Except to say that some aftermarket power cords are better than zip cord.
It seems to me that Jvr's original post had to do with getting rid of the electrical outlet and male plug connections by soldering the two sets of wires together. Perhaps to minimize RF and maximize contact. Or just to see what sonic improvements may be obtained.
Albertporter does make a point that there are some to many aftermarket powercords that attempt to minimize RF but there are plenty that don't. There are very, very few that can act as some type of line-conditioner.
My only point was that by extending the aftermarket OFC romex wire from the service panel straight to the component(s) via a male IEC WATTaGATE plug attached to the other end of the romex would provide the best test for what Jvr is hoping to accomplish. IMO
Stehno - The point made was that aftermarket power cords can produce a significant improvement in a system regardless of what type of conductor (romex or home depot power cord) precedes it.
From your post I get the impression that you do not believe this and have yet to be too impressed with aftermarket powercords in general. I might suggest that you actually try a few good high end aftermarket power cords before you start comparing them to zip cord. This will add credibility to your posts since your oppinion is clearly based on experiences that differ from those of the greater majority. I usually associate comments such as those you've made with a person who tried a cheap aftermarket cord and was dissatisfied with the results.
However, I must say you are partially correct, in some cases, cheap aftermarket cords are not much better than stock or zip cords.
Given that GOOD aftermarket powercords (such as Purist Audio's Dominus) truly DO make a difference we pondered the idea of replacing the romex entirely with an longer version of the power cord. OF course this was purly fantasy since few people have the means to complete such a project and its doubtful that electrical code would allow a power cord to be run from circuit breaker to a component.
Thanks for your help in getting this thread back on track!
How about eliminating the powerline problem totally, including grunge from the street pole? I have a totally solar powered house with no hookup to the street at all. I use a large battery bank and a quality full sine wave inverter. I use a dedicated ofc run directly from my inverter to my system outlets and use quality aftermarket power cords. My amplifier(Berning MicroZ OTL) has a 12vdc optional power connection, so I use that for the amp to eliminate any AC power into the amp at all - and bypass the power stepdown transformer section as well. This can be done by anyone with a little space(basement?) as the batteries should be boxed and vented. Solar panels are not necessary as a normal person could just use the charging capacity of the inverter to keep the batteries up.(Do not charge while using, though). This is very clean power! It costs about the same as one of the expensive power cords mentioned above, and deals with the problem at the source instead of trying to correct it down the chain. Current capacity, you may ask? Mine is 2500watts continuous with 5000 watt surge capacity(15sec). A 1000 amp hour battery bank will supply even large systems for an extended evening of listening, and will be charged and ready by the next evening for your pleasure. For unusual applications, of course you can set up battery/inverter capacity tailored to your needs. Unusual, maybe. Effective? Definitely!
Bwhite, you are assuming that I've not tried aftermarket power cords, and you are also claiming that I have said aftermarket power cords are no better than zip cord.
Don't be silly.
Yes, I am aware that SOME aftermarket power cords can make a positive difference sonincally over the zip cord you brought home from Home Depot. And I'm aware of what a good one can do. That doesn't mean ALL aftermarket power cords make the same sonic difference and in the case of some any difference at all.
Personally, I've chosen to go the in-line power conditioner route instead of the expensive power cord route. The retail price of my three Foundation Research in-line power conditioners (one for each component) would be the equivalent of 3 very nice power cords.
But I believe my in-lines pc's do much more than most any aftermarket power cord could ever do.
My earlier point/idea to Jvr was that if the romex had no breaks from the service panel all the way to the component itself via a male IEC connector, then RF is minimized (since no outlet, no breaks), AC noise minimized because it is obviously a dedicated line. Therefore, the positive affects of most aftermarket power cords is greatly diminished since they do not perform the same functions as line conditioners.
Would you not agree?
Hi Stehno, Glad we cleared that up. When I talk about good power cords, I usually speak of those which retail for more each than the cost of three Foundation Research LC1/LC2 conditioners so forgive me if I get defensive when I read claim that only SOME aftermarket power cords are better than zip cord - because I have personally never tried one which wasn't better.
A single run of Romex from pannel to component will not minimize RF unless it is twisted 180 degrees every 5 to 10 feet the full length of the run. 10AWG Romex sounds the best and a step further would be to bypass the pannel completely and install a fuse block with a ceramic fuse.
The Romex is then terminated with a male IEC connector (Wattagate (Marinco) accepts 10AWG conductors) and connects to the component itself.
While this is a minimalist approach and does a good job of limiting the number of breaks in current it isn't all that fantastic sounding.
Plugging a simple 5Kva Topaz Ferroresonant power conditioner in to the wall receptical and connecting the amp, preamp and another stand alone isolation transformer in to it (plug your digital in to the isolation transformer) will produce better sonic results and cost under $150 if you get the conditioner/transformer on ebay.
Bwhite, I perceive thou art pretentious and self-elevated. At least that part appears clear. And perhaps that you had a philosophy 101 course.
I find it funny how your power cords are ranging in the $2k plus price range and yet you are performing all these tests with the zip cord you purchased from Home Depot (doesn't make sense unless you're displeased with your power cords performance). But for the sake of this thread you now pretend that it is I who performed the expirments. This is silly and should be a waste of your time and mine.
Although I've not tried any power cords retailing at the $2k plus range, I have no problem assuming there to be some to many even at that price break and beyond that probably offer no sonic improvements over the zip cord that you purchased at Home Depot for your expirments.
For the same reason one could spend $30,000 on an amplifier that may offer no sonic improvements, and may in fact sound worse than a $995 amplifier. I'm sure you would agree with this.
Based on what you claim to have spent on your system, you more than most, by now should realize that this hobby usually requires one to spend a lot of money to realize one does not need to spend a lot of money.
And, yes at this point, I'm having great difficulty believing that you have actually tried running romex straight from the service panel to a male IEC connector which plugs into the component(s).
Per your request, I forgive you.
Stehno... Sorry you took what I said as being pretentious and self elevated. I will accept your comment and bow my head to you with sincerity - I feel bad about coming across that way (understand that I may have) and do not wish to argue further.
A point I would like to make is that most people (including myself) do not jump directly into a 2000+ power cord without trying MANY less expensive solutions first. I have experimented to the point where the cost of my failed experiments actually rivals the price of my power cords. So what's better, to blow a bunch of cash (which can never be reclaimed) on projects that really aren't terribly successful or to just look the other way while paying WAY TOO MUCH for something that works better?
It isn't much different than buying a pair of speakers that sound worse and cost less because we want to save money. Only to find ourselves upgrading - selling at a loss and spending even more money to eventually get what we should have purchased in the first place. It's the audiophile trap I guess...
I wish I had someone who provided me guidance, suggestions or oppinions before I embarked upon my past experiments because it could have saved me lots of anguish.
Fortunately, today we have Audiogon - a means for people to communicate and learn from the mistakes and experience of others. This is a very valuable tool.
Stehno, great observation! I came to that conclusion years ago - about not having to spend a bundle, just spend enough in the right places. I have found that all systems have their limitations and that getting perfect 20Hz bass is one of the most expensive roads to go down. I just accepted that for my needs/budget I could get very good bass down to 40Hz and really excellent performance everywhere else for a fraction of the cost. BTW, I rarely listen to Saint Saens Organ Sym. #3 anyway.
Thanks, Twl. I'm sorry Bwhite, but I couldn't help but feel I was now put into the position of defending Home Depot's zip cord of which I've never dabbled with in my system. So I got a bit defensive and lashed out a bit. Please accept my apologies also.
Twl, that great observation came from a very knowledgeable friend and probably saved me quite a bit of frustration and money.
But it certainly did not take me long to believe that observation.
Twl, may I ask what you've done to try reproducing the bottom-end?
Sure Stehno, I'll tell you what I can about my trials and tribulations regarding that topic. I have built quite a few different speakers in my day, and the designs varied based on my knowledge at the time I made them. Good low bass isn't hard to get, it just requires the introduction of other design parameters that can be very problematic to the rest of the design. Most people would say that direct radiating bass from a large cone driver with a proper Fs and system Q is best for deepest bass. Vented or unvented propose different quandaries: vented usually creates notches or cancellation effects at some points, unvented tends to raise the Fs and limit low extension( large boxes and isobarik helps this problem, but adds others.) It's a "pick your poison" situation. TL(transmission line) can be very good if you get it right. Alot of tuning. To be short, this requires multi-way since no one large driver goes to 20k(or near). You already know my feelings on that. My solution was to address the problems created for the system by impedance spiking at the Fs(resonant freq of the driver). At this point, either a crossed-in sub or rolloff in response is the normal choice. The rolloff is caused by the increase in impedance creating a load that is usually 9 to 24 db down for the same power input level. It spikes around the Fs and tapers down below the Fs. By paralleling a properly calculated resistor(non-ind) across the speaker terminals, this spike can be reduced by about 60%-70%, thus allowing the amp to "see" a more driveable load with consequently reduced rolloff. This evens out the response curve in the most critical area - Fs and below. Now the amp can drive the speaker to much lower frequencies(+-3db), with rolloff ocurrring much deeper than before. Now, with my current one-way system, spl is limited by cone size and won't move the air necessary for real low bass. So I tuned a transmission line for half the Fs to bolster the additional octave of bass response(83Hz-41.7Hz). This is a big can of worms to tune without messing up the lower mids. Since it is a front firing line, notch effects do happen, but I reduced it down to slight by tuning. This impedance adjustment w/resistor also corrects the high rollofs as well, since they are also due to impedance rise, although at a much slower slope. Both ends improve, in my speaker's case, to within the 3db down point of the amp with regard to impedance. The price to pay is that the nominal impedance of the system is also reduced by some 25%. Some amps may not like this. However, you'll notice that the peaks are improved by a far greater amount, due to the product divided by sum nature of the load. It amounts to a very simple way to flatten and widen response of the interface between amp and speaker, with a minimum of additional complexity. Just for fun, go look at some driver graphs where they plot frequency response and also have a graph for impedance curve. You will notice that on a good driver, the flat section of the response curve is also the flat section of the impedance curve(around nominal). You will also notice that the rolloffs in the freq response curve also correspond to the rises in the impedance curve at the same frequencies. By flattening out one's rises(impedance), you also flatten out the other's dips or rolloffs(freq response). How about that?
Twl, I think I have a headache. You're obviously way into this.
I know a few people at your level who also complain about the same type of thing. Because they cannot quite synergize the sub to the monitors as they see it should, they do away with that reproduction of the lowest regions all together.
That's the part I don't understand. It truly is throwing the baby out with the bath water.
My system is listed in virtual systems here on audiogon with Aerial Acoustic 10t's and a Triad Platinum 18inch sub. I love it. Dialed it in a bit and it still blows me away just how much low bass information exists in all types of music.
I wouldn't want to be without the sub. And just in case you're wondering, I'm quite familiar with the fact that there are many, many subs that have absolutely no musical definition whatsoever.
I'd suggest you buy something like an Aerial SW12 12 inch sub for $5000 new or $3000 used and see how you can configure it to your mains.
If it gets you 9/10th's of the way there, why not keep it?
John, I see your point. I have considered the possibility of using a separate amp and subwoofer combo with an active crossover. I realize that if it is crossed out low enough, there will be little or no problems created in the lower mids. I have a design in mind that's sort of like the Pipe Dreams sub: a vertical transmission line tube, but quarter-wave design is not best for deepest bass so it would have to be long. Who knows, maybe I'll go for a sub? Thanks for your input.