Dedicated AC Lines??


I'm new to all of this AC stuff, but grateful to all who post here. I've noticed modest improvements after upgrading the AC cord to my amp (jolida 302B). I added a Shunyata Cobra and a Guardian 4 conditioner. I have what I call one-step-upgrade cables on my Jolida CD player and Jolida Phono Stage (I like to keep it all in the family!). I'm just listening in here and trying to figure out if maybe improving my AC lines would be a better approach. My system is on a circuit with 3 computers and other computer stuff like drive bays and printers. I guess I'm wondering if adding a dedicated line would really do anything. All of this 'noise' surely travels back through the breaker and onto the main bus bar in the panel right? Then right back out to all other circuits in the house, including any dedicated line I would add right? I'm no electrical engineer (just civil/structural).

So if one were to install dedicated lines where do you start? Main panel, service entrance?

What about multiple lines? I've heard one line is better for grounding and hum.
arch7
that's a classic bad setup you described....lots of line noise from those computers.
If you have very bad power quality then an AC conditioner may help (an unusual situation). As you correctly point out, dedicated lines do not isolate things - neither do power cords isolate noise, no matter what exotic shapes or colors that they come in.
Another thought. Is there actually a way to measure the quality of AC before getting into dedicated lines? Measure it before and after the AC conditioner perhaps.
You definitely need at least two; maybe three dedicated AC lines on their own circuit breakers. Digital equipment should be on it's own circuit.
You should hear a quieter back ground which should provide you with all around better performance.
Example: more dynamic bass, mids, and highs. Wider and deeper sound stage, providing ones equipment is up to the task. Your equipment should be fine.
If you have room in your main panel run the lines from there. If there isn't room for two or three more circuit breakers you will need to run a subpanal box off of your main panel.
Use good AC outlets, my favorite is the Porter Port. See my reviews under user name Lak, and check out my power filtration system under my systems.
Finally MUCH has been written upon this topic, so do a search on the Audiogon forums.
Best regards,
Most large stores have a 30-day no hassle return policy. Try a Monster unit or like, they are in most of the big HT stores. If it does not solve the problem, take it back and nothing is lost except for the gas and time spent.
Hello Lak:
Thanks for your input. I noticed in your photos that you are using isolation transfomers. I imagine this is a crutial part of the system to keep the AC clean. What else can you add about these units? Would replacing my outlets on my current setup make sense as a short term upgrade?
thanks!
Still, no one answered this question:

"I guess I'm wondering if adding a dedicated line would really do anything. All of this 'noise' surely travels back through the breaker and onto the main bus bar in the panel right? Then right back out to all other circuits in the house, including any dedicated line I would add right?"

I've wondered the same thing.
"I guess I'm wondering if adding a dedicated line would really do anything. All of this 'noise' surely travels back through the breaker and onto the main bus bar in the panel right? Then right back out to all other circuits in the house, including any dedicated line I would add right?"

I've wondered the same thing.
Sailfishben (System | Threads | Answers)
As in all things concerning this hobby, everyone's perspective is different. Some may hear a difference and others may not. Since dedicated lines aren't something that can be auditioned, perhaps those with lingering questions would be advised to pass on this technique.

On the other hand, professionally installed dedicated lines are generally one of the more reasonably priced audiophile tweaks, and they can certainly do no harm.
Arch7,
In my opinion good AC outlets do make an improvement in all types of situations, yours included. If I’m incorrect you’re out only about $35 dollars plus shipping per outlet.
Systems I’ve worked on always have improved significantly with dedicated AC lines and circuit breakers, although I’m sure you can find people that will tell you differently in their personal scenario. In your situation, the way you described your set up, I’m sure dedicated lines will make a huge improvement, and should be a first step along with the AC outlet (such as a Porter Port or equivalent).
I can’t explain why there will be an improvement, but I’m confident you will like what you hear. There are others on this site that are qualified to explain the why part, I can’t.
After I added my dedicated AC lines and circuit breakers, the other way I heard another huge improve was with the addition of the Xentech Extreme (5 KVA) isolation transformer. I could live with just the dedicated lines and circuit breakers however I chose not to.
Are there other ways to handle the problem? Sure, some type of power conditioning in conjunction to what you are currently doing, however it’s more of a temporary Band-Aid (in my opinion) then a fix. I’ve tried several products before I installed the dedicated lines and circuit breakers. They did improve the sound however I’m offering for others to learn from my mistakes and take a short cut, including saving some money on their journey to better sound.
New isolation transformers such as a 5 KVA Xentech Extreme are expensive however at times can be found used from an electric contractor or on EBay. The correct isolation transformer can reduce some noise frequencies by (-146 dB). Another good option is a Topaz isolation transformer.
My bottom line is “enjoy the music”.
Lak:
Thanks again for your insight. I recently discovered i could use a separate circuit by cutting through to another room. This curcuit has only a few lights on it and receptacles not being used. I'll add a few of these Porter Port outlets and see what that does. I also saw that some of these Topaz Isolation Transformers seem to be just plug and play so to speak. They have a standard cord on them and either an outlet or cord coming out. Seems like they can be pluged into an exisitng outlet rather than being hard wired at the panel. Sound familiar?
Thanks!
My lessons learned are similar to Laks, as I have evolved to 6 dedicated circuits with Hubbel outlets, 1 for each for the 2 subs, and 1 for each component (amp, pre, cd and phono). The latter 4 are on a Topaz 4kva iso transformer. An important addition was to add a separate 125va iso in front of the cd to keep it from back contaminating the other 3 circuits. My current AC system is a huge improvement over even a previous single circuit with no other devices being used, such as you are considering.

I highly recommend the bigger Topaz, as it takes both common and transverse mode noise down by 120dB. I found it in a local surplus electrical supply house. This iso has a 90lb iron core so these can be expensive to ship. The size would depend on the rest of your components power needs (should be very conservative - at least 1/3 more capacity than your peak demand).

The smaller Topaz isos do have power cords, such as my 125va, but I would not recommend in room use for anything much larger than this. The larger isos get quite warm (110 deg core) and all hum to some extent.

I would suggest you go forward with a phased approach. First, get onto the next room's separate circuit and upgrade the outlet. Second, run one or more dedicated circuts (separate to the cd if possible) with Hubbel outlets. Third, add an iso in front of the dedicated lines (sources and pre as a minimum). I also suggest you not spend too much time or $ on PCs until you are satisfied with the basic AC system. You may discover, as I have, that there is much less sensitivity to them after the other upgrades.

Have fun!
Arch7,
Good idea trying the Porter Ports and the outlet in another room that has little or no resistance on.
Good point about the “Topaz Isolation Transformers seem to be just plug and play so to speak. They have a standard cord on them and either an outlet or cord coming out. Seems like they can be plugged into an existing outlet rather than being hard wired at the panel.”
Just be cautious regarding the audible hum of 60 dB which might be annoying if they are located in the same room as the music. Also make sure that what ever equipment you plug into it won’t bottom out the transformer, in other words the KVA number is important.
Zargon:
Thanks for your input. Can you tell me more about these Topaz Iso's? Which models, are they hard wired, approx cost? I'm trying to evaluate the cost for all of these potential AC upgrades. Dedicated lines may be tough in my house since the audio gear is located in a room without a basement underneath. It would involve running lines outside the house which would be a mess.
Thanks!
Also Zargon, are you using power conditioners too or does the transformer fix that issue? In other words can i skip for the ISO if i have a decent conditioner? When i move to another house I'll take the AC into account.
Topaz is no longer in business, however, their products are excellent and can be found used in electronic surplus houses of larger cities. I located 2 4kva isos for $300 and have seen them on the internet at $500 plus shipping (both far far less than retail in the 80s). You will need to connect the iso to 1 phase of the main panel and then connect it to a new panel for the dedicated circuits. Unless you are experienced with this type of thing and understand the electrical codes, I suggest an electrician.

I my opinion, the iso precludes the need for further power conditioners and any that I have tried I have since removed with no degredation.

If you get serious about this, I would be willing to share a picture and diagram via email.
Zargon,
Good advice given.
Guy's if you haven't read this, please do so, it's interesting:
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?fcabl&1111377651&openfrom&1&4#1
Thanks to all who reponded to this thread! Very helpful info!