Dedicated Lines - Sub panel or no?

Hi folks,

In a few months time I will be moving to a new home, where a spare bedroom and an understanding wife will enable me to enjoy the luxury of a dedicated listening room.

The first thing that comes to mind is installing 4 dedicated 20A lines. The breaker panel is on the ground floor, the room is on the 3rd.

I'm wondering which is better:

-to run all four lines from the breaker box all the way to the wall outlets,

-or install a sub-panel (is that the right term?) in the room, and use a single, very heavy guage line from the breaker box to the subpanel, then run 4 short lengths of 10 or 12 gauge from the subpanel to the outlets.

Thanks in advance for your advice

Kind Regards
I don't know which way would be better,but I run a dedicated sub panel off the main breaker box also.
i believe the cable from the main panel is 7 or 6 gauge.
She's run into the sub panel where all the wiring is 10 gauge,
and to the receptacles also.I had 8X15a breakers on there and the I put 2X240V recptacles in for my TorusX2 and that left me with 4 receptacles with their own separate breakers.The main breakers on the main panel are 2X40a dedicated breakers that feed the sub panel.I don't get any noise what so ever,but I might give the 2X240 and 4Xreceptacles their own line each instead of all of them feeding off the 6-7 gauge.
It's nice to know that they each have unlimited access,even if we don't use it all.Nothing like a busy freeway.
FWIW, I went the sub panel route. That allowed for a very large gauge wire for the long run. Then I used robotic control cable(exceptionally high quality shielded wire from Germany used for the most sensitive robotic applications) for the shorter runs. Then used isolation & conditioning for each run. It worked very well.
As a cost-no-object solution, Psacanli, you got it.
For the rest of us, a good dedicated line or 2 will have to do. I suspect that a good dedicated line is well over half the battle. For a room add-on, I'd LIKE to use a sub-panel.
I used to be able the flicker the house lights with my Carver Cube....years ago. But now, with 2x the power and a dedicated line, I can do no such thing.
If I lived where there were lightning storms, I'd also have a whole-house lightning arrest system.
Go with the sub panel, as it will allow room for potential add on later.
Never know how many lines the future may need :-)
I use a subpanel but my requirements are unique.

I have 3 amplifiers (2400W combined) for stereo. Much of that in class A.

I supply a large step-down transformer with 240V for balanced AC output for 2 of the amps.

A TVC line stage provides galvanic isolation between the CDP and amps. There can be different voltage between legs which can cause noise but that has not been an issue in my case.

I have the subpanel/transformer located in a closet directly behind the equipment.

The origional main panel is obsolete and breakers are no longer available.

I was able to run 6/3 wire through the crawlspace.

I rent.
I think the comment by Liquid Hi Fi is very valid and should be a major factor in your decision. You provide a foundation for future upgrades in vital power supply area.
Mick, I have tried both of your options and found locating a subpanel just outside the room vs next to the main panel by far the easiest and least expensive. Once your subpanel is close at hand, it is quite simple to run separate dedicated and star grounded circuits to each component which minimizes any interaction between them (see diagrams in my system).

Plus, by putting the subpanel on an 4kva iso transformer, I found it eliminated the need for separate or multiple power conditioners, eliminated any possibility for ground loops, and minimized the need for exotic and expensive PCs.

I assume you have a fairly simple way to route the power line to the subpanel and a way to hide the subpanel in the room? If you do explore the iso transformer, be aware that they to make an audible humming noise that would need to be taken into account.
Hi all,

Thanks everyone for your responses.

Zargon, I am intrigued by your mention of using a transformer. Does it have any downside? I have found in the past that, in my system, power conditioners flatten the soundstage, or somehow rob the music of life.

Also, over here in Singapore, we are 220-240volts AC. If I was to follow your setup, would that in any way affect the topology?

Kind Regards
There are a number of benefits to be derived from a good properly selected and sized power iso transformer. This approach is equivalent to moving the transformer on the pole down the street next to your room, thus eliminating the hash and trash that gets introduced by all electrical appliances inbetween. An ISO has no direct connection between the input and output sides, and with proper internal shielding can provide over 120db reduction of common mode voltage disturbances. An iso will also filter harmonics on line noise and reduce ground loop currents. Some iso transformers also have output taps allowing you to compensate for consistently high or low line input.

The most immediately noticable result is a blackness or lack of background noise in the music that allows for more detail and dynamic range. I have not experienced any negative effects on soundstage or the life of the music and do not know of a reason why that should be a concern.

The iso must be an iron core internally shielded design - the heavier the core the better. The iso must also have a capacity of at least 2.5 times the peak power demand of your system. Both these are critical. These transformers can be found used in electrical power supply houses for a fraction of the new price. My TOPAZ 4kva iso line noise suppression ultra isolation transformer with 4 output taps weighs 90lbs and cost only $300. Some of these transformers are also setup for use with either 120 or 220v. The basic connection topology is the same.

The negatives are managable. These beasts do make an audible hum, but only noticable within a couple of feet. They also generate some heat (the core is warm to the touch), and use some amount of power in idle due to the internal resistance. They should have a sturdy mount and are best bolted down especially if you have a possibility of earthquakes.

As an added feature: The iso is connected to the subpanel on only one of the two phases. This means that any individual breaker can be moved from the filtered side to the unfiltered side for comparison. This means you can have either the dedicated line only or the dedicated line with isolation on any circuit.

I hope this helps.
Hi Zargon,

That helps a great deal,thank you. With your kind permission, I would like to follow your schematics once I get started on renovating my new home.

By the way, your home, system and the view look fabulous.

Kind regards

Thanks, I spent a year and a half getting my system to this point and have a long list of things I still want to accomplish.

Please do get your installation specifics reviewed by a local licensed electrician, as codes do vary.

Also, AGON member "jea48" is an expert in this area, and was very helpful in advising me on my iso configuration. I hope he doesn't mind me mentioning that to you.
We installed an Equi=tech wall panel next to our rooms. We then run 10 dedicated lines of JPS In-wall cable to each room and used Oyaide R-1 receptacles. From the Equi=tech, there are copper lines running to (2) 3/4" copper rods in the ground. We spent about $30k on our electrical system and it shows.
No electrical system is worth $30K.

I put in a 4KVA iso, a 125va iso, a subpanel, and 6 dedicated lines, and 6 Porter Ports for under $1K.

Here is one link of very very many to supply houses with steep discounts on iso tranformers. It is best to find one local to avoid shipping these heavy beasts.

Surplus ISO Transformers

No clue about electrical requirements in Singapore but check this out. Surge protection, regulation, isolation and breakers included.
I tried what you are doing and the cost of electricity was so high it was cost prohibitive. My bill went from 350 to over 600. The transformer ran at 5 amps static with no load,
I tried relays for on off but the breaker tripped on startup at times so I did not go that way. My Av P300 alone draws 300 watts. Just wondering.
Hevac1: Did the xformer make a lot of noise and heat?

When I moved, I had mine hooked up to 120V just as I had before but it made noise and heat. It was getting saturated. Rewired for 240V and it's dead quiet and only slightly warm, like before the move. Efficiency is over 95%. Transformers can be picky.
The only group 4 (50Hz) Sola HD on EBay.

Way over your needs, even if you went to balanced AC output. 480 lbs!

A transformer with no load on the secondary consumes very little current. Five amps at 120 volts is 600 watts and that is way too much for any normal and proper installation. There must have been something else going on.
I was using a 208 to 120 center tap stepdown transformer. 60Vac to ground both legs for balanced power.
I call the manufacturer and they said just to charge the coils is 4-5 amps on a 5 KVA trans.

Similar to mine, except I have a 5KVA 480/240-240/120. Wired 240V to 480V input and X1, X4 is +/- 60V with X2/X3 connected ("optionally" to neutral).

Just tested with analog clamp-on and I got 3.5A (average)per 240V leg and 7.5A on the outlets (93%). Unloaded, it was 1.5A on the 240V side, which was higher than I expected. Analog meter is not precise.

Wiring 120V to the 240V inputs proved inconsistent. We are going beyond the design and rating but it seems to help to stay as close as possible. I'm also using a GFCI on the balanced outlet, for safety.
For more fun, I got lower amp draw, compared to unloaded, on the primary side when I had just a little secondary draw.
I am trying to find A transformer I can switch on and off. I am in the trade but it is taking a while to locate. A UPS could work but the last one I tried did not sound good.
I too had GFI outlets. Mine will be in the basement about 20' away.
Transformers are like motors in that they can take 3 times the current at start-up. Maybe oversize the breaker and use a 3 phase starter with overloads. I've been installing Telemanique's recently because of the price and simplicity.

BTW, found the term for draw under no load is called "exciting current".
Wow, what a great thread. I can't do any of things suggested here due to being a renter, and not sure even how long I'LL be in my current location. But I'm looking to buy an apartment within the next 18 months, and at that point can really investigate an serious power delivery system.

For now I'm lucky I have found in our new place 1 dedicated 20 amp line with only 1 outlet wired to it. (I switched it to Oyaide R1)

When I am an owner, I would also like to try opening the wiring connections to the breaker box, and the breaker connections to the bus themselves, clean them with Progold and coat them very lightly with Quicksilver Gold.

I use Quicksilver on the in wall 10 gauge wire before inserting the wire into the Wall outlet, and when making extension cords, gang boxes, etc.

I can't compare the benefits of using Quicksilver on the power connections, but on the internal connections of an output section of an amplifier, I heard significant improvements after using Quicksilver.
I tryed the a started also at the time. The starter held just the breaker still tripped, it was a 50 amp breaker. I think I will have to try fuses. I can get fuses that will hold at 8 times the inrush. Costly they will be. I am also thinking of putting on a Line Reactor, it will slow down and or eliminate other issue with electrical power. I use then i my trade to stop unwanted noise from going into or out of a VFD.
Just an idea, but how about a motor start capacitor (over 70 mfd) or two and a relay on the secondary side to shut it/them off (for lack of a centrifical switch).

I've also heard of somebody using motor caps in series to block DC offset, which can cause saturation, but I have no idea of the sizing.

Haven't used a Line Reactor but I'm considering options for one site that's been mysteriously chewing up gas valves and ignition modules.

Frankly, I'm having trouble understanding how you've had so much trouble and the numbers you've got. I do remember when I first started experimenting with power transformers and building a TVC (transformer volume control) line stage at the same time. It's a wonder I didn't pull out all my hair. It was like living in a houseful of women, with sychronized cramps.
Dug up some old links.

Sorry for obsessing.

Here's the question: You have 208V, which is used in condos and multi-tenant buildings and typically just two legs of 3 phase, which is 60 degrees out of phase as opposed to 90 degrees for 240. Could that be the source of the problem?

I'm assuming you're using something like:

The only other options I know being something like APC/Tripplite

As I've said, you can try 120V but ...