Help on wiring dedicated circuit for Audio

I have been reading these threads and I am convinced that I want to have an electrician wire my listening room with a dedicated circuit using high quality wiring and connectors. I need help understanding the ways this can be done specifically with audio in mind. Is there a reference book out there that details this out so I can explain it to an electrician to get the desired results? Please let me know where I can find this type of information. Thank you.
Bryanhod, if you want a reference book, you might check to see if this is covered in Robert Harley's book: "The Complete Guide to High-End Audio."

Here's a summary of what I've pulled together from the various threads over the years and eventually asked my electrician to do here.

Run two or more dedicated 20 amp circuits. Installation choices that will enhancing those dedicated circuits would include:

  • Use 10 gauge wire

  • Make the leap to using an isolated ground in your wiring (which means using the hospital grade connector that will not self-ground when installed in a metal box, and 4-wire cable with a ground wire -- I think the current color-coding standard is for that type cable to be manufactured in a green sheathing)

  • Get your dedicated lines run to the same phase of your electrical panel, if you can. And try to put them on the other phase from heavy-duty motors and compressors: often easier said than done.

  • Use non-plated all brass receptacles. Hubbell makes a non-plated all-brass hospital grade receptacle (model number 8300HI). Definitely try to stay away from nickel plated parts.

    Alternatively, use one of the receptacles from: Jena Labs or Walker Audio or Albert Porter (if he still has any, often referred to here as "Porterport", a cryo'd Hubbell). The Jena Labs and Walker Audio receptacles are special production runs by Hubbell using their 30-watt chassis for heavier gauge internal parts, no steel and no plating, configured as a 20-watt receptacle, then cryo'd like Albert's. Other people will have had experience with other "audiophile" receptacles, but these would be my recommendation.

  • Get some SST silver contact enhancer from Walker Audio for your electrician to use on all the connections in the circuit. Your electrician will be familiar with electrician's paste: explain that this is just a much higher grade, higher quality paste (which it is, by a huge margin). Then also use it on your power cords, interconnects and speaker cables. Try it on you main system and I think you'll be amazed at the improvement.
This is a straight forward job for any competent electrician. You simply want a new (or several) circuit(s) run from point A (main panel) to point B (location of the outlet in your room). Your electrician will need to assess the following:
- Is there additional space available for more circuit breakers at the main panel. If not, can he install a sub-panel.
- How is your house constructed. Is it framed w/ a crawl space or basement, or on top of a slab. Is there an attic over the listening room. Are the outlets to be located on an outside wall, and what type of insulation material was used. In other words, he has to determine if it is physically possible to get a new circuit from the panel to the room. I would think only the most unusually constructed house would prevent this from being doable. Of course, you could possibly gain a few new holes in the walls that will need repaired.

As previously mentioned, any good electrician deals with these considerations all the time. The fact that it would be for an audio application is where you need to do your homework (and legwork), as far as determining what materials you want installed, and having those on the job for your electrician. So, consider the following:
- What type of wiring do you want installed. Simple Romex 12-2 w/ground could suffice. Or, go a bit further and request 12-2 w/ ground MC (metal clad) or for a bit of overkill, go w/ 10 guage wiring, although most electricians will scoff at this request. This will all be available locally at the electrical supply house, and can be furnished by the electrician provided he knows what you want before the install commences. Or do you want the cadillac, such as cryo'd "audiophile" grade house wiring from a company such as Virtual Dynamics, which needs to be pre-ordered.
- Decide which brand of outlet you will be using, and have that on the job (such as from Porterhouse Audio, PS Audio, etc) I suppose you can also find "special" circuit breakers if you're so inclined.

It basically boils down to this - for you, time is money, so whatever ducks you have lined up beforehand, will be money saved. Remember, unless you can find an electrician who will provide a firm bid for the job, any discussions you have with him once the job has started will be charged at his hourly rate for time and material work. So if you have any knowledge of construction techniques, take the time and determine how the wiring will be routed and have any specialty materials available. I assume a search of the forum archives for "dedicated wiring" will provide more than you ever wanted to know about this topic. Have fun and good luck ... Tom
Thank you so much Rushton and Tburn for your suggestions and help. I am excited to start this project.
Good info here. I second the comment about having your ducks in a row. To the point of having a sheet written up with exactly what you want. Be very specific about the wire type to be used since offen when you say 'two lines' they will try and use quad cable that is 2 hots that share the same netural and ground...which is not really the same thing as two seperate lines. Also compared to the labor costs materials are nothing. I would go for at least two lines into a box with 4 outlets both wired on the same phase and if possible on the opposite phase of stuff like AC and kitchen circuits as mentioned above.
Good luck
If you put in multiple dedicated lines, it is imperative that they all be on the same phase of the power line. Otherwise, you can have 240 volts between two components on different phases. It is improbable but dangerous if it happens. Also you may have hum problems.
Hi Bryanhod, click on my "system" to see what I did with dedicated A/C power. I researched dedicated A/C lines for a few months before I took the plunge. I'd recommend a beefier ground rod. Plus, some people use a separate ground rod-especially if you are using a sub panel. Also, I've been researching JPS Labs Power A/C In-Wall Cable. It's 10 AWG w/ground and UL/CSA rated. It's the only A/C cable that I know of that's UL approved. It's also $18/ft list, however. I'd be interested to know if any Audiogon members have used the JPS Labs A/C cable. Stan
Just wanted to add that Robert Harley's book does not contain any information on how to wire a house using dedicated circuits. I just got the book and there is a buch of other great info.