Yeah, but are the tube amps he rebuilds hi-fi amps, or guitar/bass amps? If hi-fi, are they Heathkit/Eico/Dynaco, or are they high end designs? Being an electrician, even one who works on tube amps, does not necessarily mean he knows what to listen for in music reproduction. Ask him to describe his hi-fi system!
I've lived in houses where I was able to have a dedicated circuit and ones where I didn't. I now live in my retirement house, a detached patio home, and to install a dedicated circuit would be very costly, entailing a new panel box and more it's weird wiring involved, anyway I have never really heard any huge improvement from having dedicated circuits. Of course I'm only going by memory but if any significant or game changing difference involved dedicated circuits that would be something memorable.
I agree with the extra ground. He obviously doesn't own a refrigerator or air conditioner...get another electrician. Generally I can't hear the difference but with a dedicated grounded circuit I don't have any ground loop, hum or whine issues.
Get a whole house surge protector too. He will tell you that you are wasting $400. You still need a conditioner or surge to protect from minor surges but that big surge can really save you from lightning or transformers on the pole blowing.
@elevick he actually recommended a whole house surge protector.
@tomic601 he mentioned hospital grade outlets and grounding and all but I really don't remember exactly what he said. But he did act familiar with high end outlets like those from PS Audio..
He said it certainly won't hurt that's for sure.. And IF there's any difference is HAS to be on a totally separate grounded system. NOT another 20 amp circuit ran from your existing box.
Yes dtximages my electrician had the same reaction. This was back when my listening room was being built as part of a major remodel. This was also nearly 30 years ago. Didn’t know near what I do now. It wouldn’t have added much cost either in wire or labor at that point but even so he convinced me its just not worth it. Not at all. So I didn’t do it.
Well, he was wrong. Your electrician is wrong. I know they are wrong because I have actually compared side by side. And it is not exactly night and day but neither is it nothing like they say. It is obvious and very easy to hear the difference. For a while I even had the two lines- one continuous dedicated, the other identical but wired normally- coming in to where they could be compared by simply unplugging from one and into the other. Normal (rolling their eyes doubting type) people, they could all hear the difference.
Search around this website, let me know when you find someone who actually has experience with this stuff to know what they’re talking about like I do. Maybe someone does. If so I just haven’t seen it.
I’m not done. I’m just getting going.
The first improvement that is noticeable is simply from eliminating all the outlet to outlet connections electricians think is harmless. If that’s all you do, run one standard gauge dedicated circuit, you will hear it and it will be worth the extra line.
Next after learning that actually does matter I decided to run a larger 4 ga line. This was better still. Although I will tell you it is a hassle, hard work, and you can forget it unless DIY because of the difficulty of doing to code. 4ga is as thick as a pencil, does not even fit into normal outlets, requires junction boxes, etc. But I did it. Like I said, try and find someone....
Next I found a used Audio Consulting pure silver step down transformer. This allowed me to run 240V most of the way to the room, step down to 120V, so the lower voltage only has to travel about 5 to 7 feet to the system. This was better still! But even more hassle, and again DIY or fuggetaboutit.
Still not done. Then I found a local cryo tank. Pulled all the wire, had everything cryo’d. Better still!
And remember, all these changes, they are all being done in the same room with the same system, which I am intimately familiar with because its all done slowly over a period of several years. These are not snap decisions. These are as solid a comparison as you ever will get.
Along the way a separate dedicated ground rod was driven into the ground right below the room and next to the stepdown transformer. Everything in the system has been run a variety of ways- regular ground, floating ground, dedicated ground. Grounds are funny. I could write double this amount on grounds alone. Its nowhere near as simple as its made out to be. None of this is. Almost everything you will hear is BS. Because it comes from people who are merely repeating what they have heard, and do not really know because they have not done. Pay attention to those who have done, and are accomplished audiophiles- ie have a proven track record of actually being able to hear. Otherwise, no matter how sure they sound, they are clueless.
There must be at least a half a dozen people here who according to their (I can’t use the correct word) opinion I have killed myself, destroyed my system, burned down the house, the whole neighborhood, and probably Puget Power if not the entire Pacific NW. So be aware, there are a lot of awfully ignorant people out there- including a great many with "electrician" on their resume.
Now, what you really want to know: is it worth it???
Running one normal dedicated line is relatively cheap and totally worth it. All the other stuff like I did is totally worth it- but only in light of all the other similarly minor things that also make a difference. Almost all of which are a whole lot easier and should be done first. Unless you are doing it as part of new construction. These details matter.
Anyone building new I would totally advise to do what I did. Anyone seriously skilled and motivated enough to DIY and is dedicated to having a bona fide audiophile nirvana system I would recommend they do it all too. Average guy, especially if paying an electrician, forget it.
Its not snake oil. Its for real. Check it out.
I brought my electrician out to my house today to show him where I would like to install a dedicated 20a circuit for my system. He laughed and said that’s the stupidest thing he’s heard and laughs when people talk about it.That just shows how ignorant the guy is when it comes to improving the sound of a descent sounding audio system.
It said, if you’re going to do it, you have to have it separately grounded (shoving a new 8 foot rod into the ground) but even then, he sees no way there can be an audible improvement.It said? Do you mean HE said? If you meant HE said He is stupid! Installing an isolated, dedicated, ground rod for the equipment ground of an audio system is not only a code violation, it is also dangerous. Very dangerous! Can be great for hunting fish worms though. Lightning loves them too.
He was right about one thing....
As for an isolated, dedicated, ground rod improving the sound...
Mother Earth does not possess some magical mystical power that sucks nasties from an audio system. If anything it can add noise. Especially if not properly done correctly.
Yes a lot of electricians in my family. My, brother, Brother-in-law, their kids my son-in-law. 4 out of the 7 can hear, 3 can’t. The 3 that can’t, admit they can’t hear that well. All 7 learned a lesson, 10 years ago... One day at a BBQ they listened to what my system sounds like with and without the "snake oil". LOL
I had a freezer, that could mess up good sounding system, if it was on the same rail. All 7 heard, the motor noise via a listening session.
Swapped to the other rail, all 7 could hear the difference. Swapped to a dedicated 20, the 4 that could hear better, notices the difference in SQ.
The fact is you may not "hear" the difference but you’ll know there won’t be a problem either. The lack of a well thought out power supply in your components. Not, separating your system from all the motors, and crap in your home. Poor home wiring to begin with, make for a bad start.
You can dedicate a circuit and not worry about any of that. Normally the folks that notice the biggest improvements in SQ, with a Power Cord swaps, are the ones that have no improvements in their VAC.
The "PLUG it, BURN it’ crew..
A dedicated circuit does not have to have a seperate ground rod to be dedicated. The ground rod addresses a different issue, but there is no code issue, where I'm at. Only requirement making it dedicated was, that no other consumers are on that circuit. It’s not a bad idea, I did it for 3, 20s and just went to arc fault (AFCI).
They're to sensitive. I can’t plug in hot or it will pop the breaker.
The hospital plug is so you don’t blow the joint up when O2 is in use. Unplug then, disconnect the ground strap. Reconnect the ground strap then plug in. Pure copper, tight, heavy conductors, and larger screws in the receiptical.
Given that the electrician was aware of the fact that dedicated circuits are common among audiophiles, he shouldn't have "laughed" at your question. That suggests someone who is opinionated and dismissive of the opinions of others. So I would take what he says with a grain of salt. I suspect that the value of dedicated circuits as an add on to existing wiring is highly dependent upon the details of a particular application. In some situations, it may not be a cost effective exercise. In others, it will be. I'd consider the age of the existing wiring, what else may be on the circuit, the quality of the local power supply, etc., and how much running new wiring would cost. In my case, the cost of running dedicated circuits to a dedicated listening room was well under 1K, so I went for it. I expect to stay in this house for a long time, so why not?
There’s so much real expertise here, I’ll only add one thing about my own situation — If I find a way to test my outlet and see that it is noisy, I plan to make it dedicated (if price is reasonable). Why? Couple reasons.
One, as MillerC. said (at some point, maybe not here), one can learn to listen with more attention and acuity; a better line creates good conditions in which one can hear more. If one doesn’t do that — because they can’t hear a difference *now* -- then one has blocked that path of growth.
Second, I’ve gone to some trouble already to deal with power — a conditioner, good speaker wire, power cables for my gear, etc. I’ve not gone crazy but I’ve not stuck with stock cords. That approach — not to accept any lowest-common-denominator elements in my system — seems logical to extend to the breaker box IF (and this is a real, genuine "if") there is evidence that there is noise or other reasons to doubt the line. If there’s not, I’m happy to let that go.
Here you go @dtximages try this.
What does your system consist of? For example mine in the living room consists of an integrated amp and a raspberry pi4 roon endpoint. My server is in a different part of the house on a different circuit. I imagine an electrician would laugh at me as well for wanting a 20 amp dedicated circuit. If I was running 1.5kw monoblocks, streamer, CDP, TT, preamp, DAC yeah maybe it would be a good idea.
Would a power regenerator like those from PS Audio not negate this need?
If I get a power regenerator, it’s totally regenerating clean power so is there still a benefit to having a dedicated circuit?
Now listen close, because this stuff does not work the way you’re being told. Its hard to understand mostly because almost everyone is getting it wrong- and almost everyone is getting it wrong mostly because instead of doing and finding out they accept the same old same old as everyone else. So please read my system description and consider every word very carefully. https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367 Unfortunately you cannot hear it, not without coming to Seattle, but you can look and see pretty much every single little thing in that system from the panel to the speaker cones has been tweaked or modified in one way or another. What you can’t see are all the countless things that were tried and discarded.
Everyone wants to think one and done. "I got a conditioner." One and done. Does not work like that.
When it says in my system description that everything matters, and no one thing is any more or less important than any other, I mean every single thing. Otherwise I would have said amplifier, speaker, etc. Everything means everything. Every single inch of every single wire, all of it.
You can get your conditioner, great. If its a good one it will by definition be an improvement. But no matter how good it is, and I do mean no matter how good it is, you will still be able to improve the sound by improving the first foot of wire coming out of the panel. And the last foot of wire going into the panel. And every foot in between. And the last foot of internal speaker wire. Every stinking inch of it matters.
Not like you’ve been told? Sorry. Truth. Only way I roll.
I use a PS Audio P20 for powering my whole system, and my system definitely sounds better with a massive Elrod Statement feeding the P20 from the wall instead of their supplied basic power cord or even a VH Audio Airsine. Now, I have only run it off my dedicated 20 amp circuit (wired with 10 gage for overkill!), so I cannot specifically speak to the dedicated vs. non-dedicated circuit question. But the fact that the power cord can improve things certainly tells me that even the upstream configuration makes a difference with a regenerator.
I have switched from standard house circuits to dedicated lines twice in my life, and both times I was well pleased by the sound improvements rendered (more powerful dynamic performance, better micro-dynamic contrasts, fleshier palpability in the imaging, among other improvements).
I am with Millercarbon on this - - everything matters.
I use a PS Audio P10 (on a dedicated circuit) for my front end. I'd rather not use it to supply power to my amps. I've done so, and the amps sound better direct from the wall on a dedicated circuit. Unless you have a flee watt amp that draws little current, I suspect you will want to run the amps direct from the wall. So you are going to want clean power coming into the room in most cases, even if you regenerate the AC.
put your hifi on a battery. it don’t get any better than that
Not if there’s a nasty inverter involved, solar or battery, it can be worse as I found out, because the inverters are even worse than SMP’s for injecting nasty HF noise into your household wiring.
Now I switch off my solar inverter when I listen seriously and any smp powered things like computers tv, pvr chargers etc, now I have consistently good sound, where before at times it was good other times not.
Actually, amazingly, he's right. While the DC from a battery is as clean as clean can be, all our equipment uses power supplies designed to run on AC. So the DC must first be converted to AC, and it is very hard to have this be better quality than regular old utility AC.
The exception is components designed to run on DC. Usually these are limited to components that need really clean power but not a lot of it. Phono stages, turntable motors. That's about it.
What you said tvad sounds perfectly reasonable but its not like that at all. You’re thinking the electrician works for the customer. In reality the electrician works for the government, in the form of the functionaries who came up with all the codes, and in particular the inspector who is the one who has to sign off on his work- or he never gets paid. Its just the average person never learns enough about how any of it works or sees it in action to understand that’s really the way it is.
If I had a dedicated listening room, I would put in a 20 amp circuit first thing. Period. If for no other reason than to isolate the system. Not just from noise, but other unneeded current draw. Big monos pull some real current. It DOES make a difference. Audible? Possibly somewhat subjective, but definitely worth it for a dedicated room.
I was just talking to an electrician the other day about a full house surge unit. He suggested just doing that myself, they are pretty easy. When I asked about a circuit he said in a room, great idea, but the way my system is setup (whole house system) not the best. Certainly agreed that a power conditioner and outlet upgrades were a definite improvement. I use a Furman Elite Linear 15. It draws little power from the "wall" and basically has an "amp" to fuel the electronics. Very worthwhile and noticeable addition.
Go get on a licensed electrician’s forum and let them know what the stereo guys said was proper regarding wiring, grounding, circuits, etc. I’m joking, don’t do that.
My point is, I’ve read religious, political, and business comments and advice on here that was goofy to say the least.
I have no idea about the benefit of a separate circuit, but regarding code, safety, and integrity of your home’s electrical system, I’d trust a licensed master electrician. Just don’t ask them what streamer to buy.
Not true I have over 45 years in this and my good friend is a master electrician and Audiophile. I have.20 amp circuit Awg 10 with a silver contact circuit breakers , and dual grounds one is totally isolated - insulated ground which seperates ground from
other things in the chain. It for sure it is noticably betterSounding.
outlets are also solid copper,gold plated as well as all furutech,WBT connectors copper gold throughout the whole system a very noticable upgrade vs brass contacts,and zinc outlets by a lot.
I wouldn’t listen to somebody that didn’t know what he was talking about. For 1, did he check to see how many amps you were drawing with everything running on that circuit? Of course not!
Was he concerned about eliminating any noise on the line from appliances? No!
Decades ago, I had an electrician friend put a device on my circuit that had my stereo (Smaller system than what I have now), computer and lights And I was pulling over 10 amps on a 15 amp circuit. Ever since, I have had multiple dedicated 20 amp circuits in my audio room. It’s pretty cheap to do when you are building a new house
Sparky is wrong. Just get an Rf detector and listen to all the stuff coming through your a/c line. I have a dedicated 20 amp line with an audioquest Edison 20 amp outlet and a furman power conditioner. Anyone who comes over and listens to my system can’t believe the amount of detail they can hear. I tell them there’s no noise in the system. I’m a firm believer in eliminating as much noise from your system as possible. Let the music come through. Get another sparky.
Who has tried the Environmental Potentials EP-2050
COVID CALENDARWed. May 6th 7pm Zoom Interview Darren Meyers, Engineer at PS Audio
Darren Myers is a Development Engineer at PS Audio. He started his career designing products for Bowers & Wilkins and Classé Audio. His favorite activities include listening to music, attending concerts, DIY audio, and hiking. He lives in the Boulder area with his wife Amanda and his dog Bode.
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John Curl is one of the most respected circuit designers of all time and the creative genius behind Parasound’s high end audio and home theater amplifiers. Since the mid 1970s he has left a trail of landmark hardware across the industry ... the classic Mark Levinson JC-2, the SOTA head amplifier, and his own Vendetta preamplifier. Each of the 200 or so Vendettas is a hand-built work of art that is treasured by its owners.
Curl's first job as an audio engineer was at Ampex where he worked on the design of tape recorders. Later he was involved in that company's pioneering research on video tape recorders. From there Curl moved into the rock and roll business, designing and building the sound systems for The Grateful Dead's road shows. As an independent consultant, Curl has worked dozens of projects both in pro audio and home audio; making master recorders, studio boards, microphone preamps, power amplifiers and many other products.
In 1989 John Curl was introduced to Parasound's founder, Richard Schram and since then, Curl has designed all of Parasound's high-power amplifiers and consulted on the design of the low-level circuits of many of its other components.
Curl earned the respect of everyone at Parasound by being somewhat conservative and uncompromising in his approach to circuit topology and component selection. He insists on using only the finest parts and balanced circuits. He avoids the use of capacitors and inductors in the circuit path. On the other hand, he has learned to avoid the excesses of design that can turn a great design into an overly-expensive design exercise. Curl and Parasound are dedicated to delivering products that offer very high value at a reasonable prices.
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Jason Stoddard; Co-founder of Schiit Audio (Thurs. 4/23 @ 7:00pm)
Schiit got started in 2010 when two audio industry veterans decided it was time to shake things up a bit. The two audiophiles are Jason Stoddard, formerly of Sumo, and Mike Moffat, formerly of Theta. Together, they have designed dozens of audio and A/V products, from the Andromeda III to the Cobalt 307 to the DS Pre and Angstrom 200.COMPLETED-WEDNESDAY APRIL 2ND 7PM ZOOM INTERVIEW NELSON PASSPass Labs
Parents enjoyed music. Experimented in his youth by building his own diy gear.
1st pair of speakers were of cardboard enclosures.
RJ-At UC Davis, had a circle of friends with far higher quality equipment than his. This got the ball rolling. Roomed with 3 other guys and they were able to combine all sets to play as one.
Overall he felt it had to be the introduction of the CD.
Not able to answer. He did state that he is pleased with the trend by speaker manufacturers toward building more efficient speakers.
Could not answer. (Sworn to secrecy by the Royal Family)?
He relied on others mostly. Former partner now deceased, Joe Sammut had a great ear
and taught listening skills to other employees. They employ about 7 matched speakers
in different locations so comparisons on any new products are accurate.
Not asked although he did relate other funny tidbits
Not inclined to answer this one as well. Practical fellow he is.
Matching components to their best use.
Yes he has. Read Dr. Diana Deutch - primarily known for the illusions of music and speech that she discovered. Knows Dr. Steven Dear. Studied relationship between hearing and perception.
Not asked but touched on in other responses
Asked. Response was a smiling nod toward the opposite end of his desk where a pile of gear lie. Not sharing at this time. He did explain that some recent successes from First Watt are being incorporated into the Pass line.
From Keith McDonald
1. What are the advantages/disadvantages of the McIntosh “autofomer”? (This circuit supposedly maintains uniform power output into different loads, rather than changing with the load.) Do Pass designs incorporate such a feature, and why or why not?
A challenge to recall with any precision but I recall Nelson saying that when McIntosh changed from tubes to transistors the autoformers were required to make transistor sound more acceptable. They are a circuit that provides consistent power into 4-, 8- and 16 ohm loads,
but it had its own sonic signature.
From Peter Eichen
Per his philosophy, circuit improvements have the biggest effects so that's primarily what he experiments with to improve the amps sound.
We also asked about the XA25 and the INT25 successes and why he felt it was so. He said simplified topography was part of it. I was surprised to learn that these are not his largest
selling items. That honor goes the First Watt SIT3. Soon to be out of production as Nelson's unobtainiam supply of special parts is about used up for this product. Also one of his parts suppliers had the nerve to close its doors. So the SIT3 may be one to add to your collection
if you are so inclined.
Mr. Pass shared a funny joke too. I was too busy reading ahead to recall it though.
A drunk lost his keys...
RJ-The joke was also an anecdote. It goes something like this... “a cop found a drunk stumbling under around under a streetlight and looking at the ground. The cop asked the drunk what he was doing. “Looking for my keys” the drunk replied. “Where do you think they are?” the cop asked. “Oh, they’re up the street, but the light is better here”. The analogy for Nelson is the streetlight is our know tests and measurements and the keys are the reasons we hear what we do. At least, that’s how I interpreted it.
Nelson Pass was very kind and generous to share his evening with us.
Thank you so much on behalf of the Arizona Audio/Video Club.
You are a National Treasure!
Millercarbon basically hit all the highlights so I’ll say little:
All this is, in true high end terms, pretty cheap.
It all actually makes engineering sense, although it may be a small difference to most. he has lots of experience, but is likely not an EE. I am. Hell my electrician didn’t **really** know how dimmers worked. He just knew how to install them and the glitches. I explained.
I’d do it. Oh wait, I did.
The ground is a great idea.
Well. It certainly is a great.... idea.
Remember above where I said
Grounds are funny. I could write double this amount on grounds alone. Its nowhere near as simple as its made out to be.
Well, there’s a reason I said that: grounds really are funny. I really could write twice as much just about grounds. But don’t worry, I’m getting even sicker of writing than you are of reading.
Cliff Notes version: Tried it every way you can think of. Only thing made any real difference was using the (easily triggered? Stop reading now!) Synergistic Research ground. No not the SR grounding block, just the ground connection they provide on the Euphoria Level III IC. Instead of the expensive SR grounding block I connect it to my own (possibly safe to start reading again) DIY grounding block, also known as a bolt with nuts and washers.
So unless you are fond of using the world’s best wire made by the only man known to trigger more people than me I would move the ground rod a little further on down the list.
Mother earth’s ground connection (example ground rod/s) main purpose is for lightning protection.
You can drive as many ground rods as you want as long as they are all tied together and one wire is extended and connected to the main electrical service neutral conductor. The NEC considers all the connected together ground rods as one grounding electrode.
Again, The earth does not possess some magical mystical power that sucks nasties from an audio system.
From Henry W. Ott’s book "Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineering"
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