High Current Outlet for Amps?


I am told to plug the power amp straight to the outlet rather than the power conditioner. Since I am remodeling my home so  I am going to have electrician to install the outlet, one outlet per amp and each outlet has individual circuit breaker. Then he asks me if I want 20amp or 30amp since I told him high current.

what do I need? 20amp or 30amp circuit breaker? Thanks. 
gr8av4life
Multiple 20 amp circuits will do the job, yet I chose to install multiple 30 amp as it was not significantly more expensive. Higher gauge Romex and 30 amp circuit breakers are not significantly more expensive than the 20 amp stuff. Labor cost should be the same.

As for plugging your amp(s) directly into the wall, it depends on your particular conditioner. Let your ears be your guide.

Dave
This is going to depend on the efficiency of the speakers, SPL, and what operation class the amp uses.

One thing is clear tho -- a dedicated line is close to the last thing you want to do to improve SQ.  if you are doing a remodel anyway, then just go ahead - get bids for the different options first.


I had a 30 amp line put in for my system and use a PS Audio Premier Power Port for the receptacle.

As Dave said above, the cost difference between the 20 and 30 amp circuit is minimal.

Well, my concern is not cost because the current remodel requires new circuit and cable anyway so it's just something quick for the electrician and cost me next to nothing. Now, the 30amp outlet plug is different shape than the ordinary 20amp? 

As for not going through power conditioner, let's put aside sound quality but safety? Some amps draw so much power that condition may actually do more harm than good to the amp? Is this accurate?
The AudiogoN archives has many, many threads about plugging the amp directly into the wall vs a power conditioner. Having a dedicated circuit is one of the best solutions for improved SQ. It would be even better to have 2 or 3 dedicated circuits with the outlets clustered relatively near the equipment rack. This would save costs on the lengths of power cables. One circuit would be for digital only (DAC, Streamer, Laptop, TV, etc). The other(s) would be for analog - perhaps, future tube monoblocks. A conditioner or conditioners could easily be added later to each circuit if desired.

Re: safety If everything is up to code, circuit breakers will do their job. If the electrician is licensed and has a good reputation, then all should be copacetic. Most consumer electric space heaters draw more power than a stereo amp or power conditioner. The amount of power drawn by an amp or conditioner is determined by its design. A relevant formula is: watts (w) = volts (v) x amps (a). Two thousand watts draws 16.6 amps @120v. So, a common household circuit of 20 amps should be plenty. If the circuit is a very long run from your rig to the utility box then there will be some voltage loss along the way. But, very few amps or conditioners draw 2000 watts.
@gr8av4life  

The 20 amp receptacle is the same as the 30 amp one!  No difference at all.  You are just running 10 gauge wire connected to a 30 amp breaker in the service versus a 12 gauge wire connected to a 20 amp breaker.

All of my system components are connected to a PS Audio Premier Power Plant regenerator except my power amp which is conditioned by a PS Audio Duet and Humbuster III.  Works great for me. YMMV.

Agree with steakster about putting in more than one line, especially if everything is going to be plugged directly into the wall receptacle.

"Now, the 30amp outlet plug is different shape than the ordinary 20amp?

I used 20 amp receptacles. 10 years with no issues. The extra amperage is paramount to adding headroom in my mind. Instantaneous peak current draw is what we are looking to address, so very little risk of overloading a good 20 amp receptacle due to millisecond current peaks.

"As for not going through power conditioner, let’s put aside sound quality but safety?"

Safety? If you mean surge protection, IME conditioners with surge protection that don’t limit current are expensive. Since you are starting from scratch so to speak, investigate addressing surge protection at the breaker box per another recent thread here. No conditioner will protect against direct lighting strikes and the whole surge protection concept is best addressed at the breaker box IMO. 

"Some amps draw so much power that condition may actually do more harm than good to the amp? Is this accurate?"

I would modify that statement to say that "Some amps draw so much power that some conditioners may actually do more harm than good to the SOUND."

I have used many high-current amps plugged into my SR Powercells and find that the sound is better than way, with no constriction of dynamics . Other conditioners, but not all, limit current so are best bypassed with amplifiers. Another recent thread on this here as well.

Best to you gr,
Dave

It depends on the class of amplifier, as randy-11 stated.  With typical class AB amp music power is very low, being only a few percent of peak power (unless you listen to sine waves).   It is because average 50% of loudness is only 10% of peak power, not to mention any gaps.  In spite of low average current demand it is drawn is short spikes of very high amplitude.  For that reason any impedance in series (many conditioners) cause voltage drops and reduction in dynamics.
^^Exactly.
thanks for all the info. I am just gonna have him install the 30amp and few extra outlet since I only have to pay for the parts only, which is less than $200 for additional 8 outlets and 8 dedicated circuit breakers - 30amps.

I will plug all my 6 amps directly into the outlet. For other components like Preamp, Processor, Turntable, Blu-ray and Music Server will be plugged into the PS Audio P10 Regerator.

Hope all work out well. Thanks
Way to go for it!!

What’s the old saying, "measure twice, cut once". With 6 amps and the P10, it would be a good idea to add up all of the watts that will be drawing on that one circuit - especially @peak. Much will depend on the amps’ design: A, A/B, D, etc. The P10 alone delivers 1500 watts @peak. It’s unlikely that there is a 1:1 relationship of delivering 1500 peak watts / to drawing 1500 watts from the circuit. Capacitors change the correlation. But, there could be considerable benefit to installing two dedicated circuits while the work is being done. Earlier in this thread, dlcockrum nailed it with headroom and SQ. With my rig, I need to put my 1800w balanced power conditioner on a different circuit than my 200w Class A amp ( 350@idle - 1000 watts @peak). I can easily hear the loss of dynamics when everything is on the same circuit.
Audio Research specifically cautions that a power conditioner may or may not be the best solution - they don't say what to do tho (except to see your dealer).  I find that dealers rarely have EE degrees so don't rely on them.

Anyway you can decide that later... since there is no real cost increment, just get everything you can under your code (usually nearly the same all over the US if you are in the US).

You could wind up using a pure DC setup with ultra-capacitors or batteries fed by solar cells anyway...

Since you are doing a remodel, now is the time to think about the optimum dimensions, and construction, of a perfect listening room...

 Your homes physical location on the utilities grid can result unique noise issues that may require specific filtering or regeneration. The same goes for RF issues.

I found in my remodel that increasing the service amperage from 200 amp to 400 amp came with a new run of cable off the utilities grid. 

I used 20 amp breaker's in the new service panel but I loaded 10 gauge wire within metal BX conduit uninterrupted to metal  receptacle boxes (which may not be code in your area) to deal with RF issues in my area.

I doubled up the solid core ground wire from the new panel to a new larger and much longer ground spike. Not only were my RF issues gone but I noticed improvements in most all of our electrical devises. 

I had dedicated circuits put in (2 x 20A for my amps, and another 15A for my source components) and would recommend it.  My amps draw a lot of amperage but more importantly is that the circuits are isolated from other sources of noise that share the same circuit.

It's a no brainer if you are already in a remodel IMO.
hifiman5
The 20 amp receptacle is the same as the 30 amp one!  No difference at all.  You are just running 10 gauge wire connected to a 30 amp breaker in the service versus a 12 gauge wire connected to a 20 amp breaker.
A 20A device on a 30A breaker doesn't meet my local codes and probably isn't consistent with NEC, either. 

I respect the comments/consideration on high current draw;however,I had a local licensed electrician come to my home and measure current draw to my amp & preamp with my system powered up while i listened to rock and classical orchestral, with my approx 88 db efficiency speakers and 200 watt amp, at levels higher than I care to listen. His measuring device didn't exceed approx 3 amp draw. I used 10 gauge wire and a 20 amp fuse. I did not sense any problem. Is this unusual?
My power amp is plugged into high current outputs of Furman Elite 20PFi conditioner that is able to deliver 55 amperes peak current.  They call it Power Factor Correction.  It is achieved by huge inductor followed by big capacitor that stores energy.  From the mains it appears as resistive load (current spikes are filtered out - averaged).  I don't detect any loss of dynamics.
cleeds
A 20A device on a 30A breaker doesn't meet my local codes and probably isn't consistent with NEC, either.


Sorry,  but I don't understand.  What is a 20A device?  All I'm trying to convey is that the outlet for a 20A or 30A device is the same.  The difference is in the gauge of the wire running off your electric service and amperage rating of the circuit breaker in your house's electrical service box.

Some audiophiles believe that the higher amperage rated circuit ensures adequate power to your system under even the most demanding of circumstances.  It is somewhat analogous to the thinking involved in having a 7 gauge power cord to a powerful amp rather than a 12 gauge one.
ptss.
.. I had a local licensed electrician come to my home and measure current draw to my amp & preamp with my system powered up while i listened to rock and classical orchestral, with my approx 88 db efficiency speakers and 200 watt amp, at levels higher than I care to listen. His measuring device didn't exceed approx 3 amp draw. I used 10 gauge wire and a 20 amp fuse. I did not sense any problem. Is this unusual?
Frankly, no, this is not especially unusual. A 3A draw does seem a little low, but perhaps your amplifier is especially efficient, such as a Class D design.

hifiman5
All I’m trying to convey is that the outlet for a 20A or 30A device is the same. The difference is in the gauge of the wire running off your electric service and amperage rating of the circuit breaker in your house’s electrical service box
No, a 20A receptacle (device) does not have the same configuration as a 30A receptacle, just as the 20A receptacle differs from the 15A version. This is intended to prevent a 30 appliance from being plugged into a 20A line, which could result in overheating and fire.

Here is a pic of a 20A receptacle
Here is a 30A receptacle.

Another difference is that a device rated for 30A should be capable of safely conducting 30A of current. There is no assurance that a 20A device can safely conduct 30A of current.

If you use a 20A receptacle, it should be connected to no more than a 20A breaker.
" It depends on the class of amplifier, as randy-11 stated.  With typical class AB amp music power is very low, being only a few percent of peak power (unless you listen to sine waves). "

What about for an amp like my Krell FPB 400-cx, which I believe is class A?  Supposedly, you are supposed to have a 20 amp line, but I just plugged it into a regular outlet and it seems to work fine.  I do have pretty efficient speakers, however.   Considering that I don't play music or movies all that loud, will a 20 amp line make any discernible difference?
Krell recommends minimum 20A circuit. They specify 75W at standby, 350W at idle (whatever it means) and 3000W at max.  Pure class A amp would draw max power all the time, equivalent to 25A on 120VAC supply.
Outlets in my home are 15A style but all circuit breakers are 20A.  All outlets are wired with 12ga wires.  All light fixtures are wired with 14ga wire protected by 15A breaker.
Ground loops? 
@cleeds  

Commercial and Industrial 30 Amp Flush Mount Dryer Power Receptacle with 3-Wire Non-Grounding,

Dude...read what the quote above says...its a DRYER power receptacle.  All you do is hook up 10 gauge wire to a 30 amp breaker to a regular power outlet and you are good to go.

hifiman5
Dude...read what the quote above says...its a DRYER power receptacle.  All you do is hook up 10 gauge wire to a 30 amp breaker to a regular power outlet and you are good to go
What I showed you is a 30A outlet, which is commonly used for dryers, "dude." Putting a 30A breaker on a 30A line - but connected to a 20A receptacle, is a code violation, for the reasons I previously stated. It's a fire hazard.

@cleeds I guess the electrician who willingly installed that line in that outlet was violating code?  The building inspector too?  Hmmm.

hifiman5
@cleeds I guess the electrician who willingly installed that line in that outlet was violating code?  The building inspector too?  Hmmm
Codes vary by location; the NEC establishes only the minimum guidelines. If your inspector approved the install and you're comfortable with that, that's fine. If you don't see the possible hazard of putting a device rated at only 20A on a line capable of delivering 30A through it, then there's nothing further I can add. It's surely a risk I wouldn't and didn't take. Instead, I built several 30A lines, but used a 20A breaker on each. That's a common and perfectly acceptable practice.

 
I do not think the electrician will risk his license to install something violated the code just because I look handsome :DDDDD
gr8av4life
I do not think the electrician will risk his license to install something violated the code
Don't be silly. Electricians don't risk their license for failing to meet code. They simply fail the inspection.

I have two Krell 600 class "A" bias monoblocks, each plugged into a higher quality medical 20 amp outlets.  The cost for the high current outlet is about $20 at any Lowes.  I have seen $200 audiophile outlets advertised, but...that's another can of worms. Each independent line is connected to the same "side" of the breaker box.  This is important, as to assure no added phase problems.  I have all my other equipment going in to the same "side" of the buss, but use conventional outlets, as they are low amp draw components.  If you want to use #10 wire, it's your money and the cost vs #12 is negligible, but #12 should be sufficient, unless the wire run is extremely long.  As wire length gets longer, wire size may need to increase.  A 20 amp breaker will more than suffice and I believe is the largest breaker available, for a conventional single circuit "wall" outlet.  Be sure to always use the screw terminals on the outlet and make sure they're tight.  High amp draw, on a semi loose connection, can cause the outlet, wire and plug to degrade, as well as diminish your sound.  As far as protection of your equipment, whenever a bad storm comes, I physically unplug all my equipment, if I'm home and keep most of it turned off the rest of the time, to protect against possible high current surges.  Having said that, "almost" nothing can protect you from a close lightening strike, if your equipment is "plugged in."  I learned this the hard way.
I have 5 Hubbell HBL5362W in my listening room each on their own breaker with 12 gauge romex.
These on Amazon are the real deal.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LE6N56/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Careful, there are cheapo versions of these floating around eBay for half the price and the quality is poor. They use this picture but send you something else. If they don't come in their own individual box, send them back. I found out the hard way.
I have Three dedicated 20 amp circuits with dedicated copper ground stakes. I have Shunyata power cables and a Hydra Power Conditioner. Shunyata told me to plug my Parasound Halo JC1a directly into the Shunyata wall receptacle.
Make sure that you electrician uses 10 gauge cable. Code is for 12 gauge.  Many electricians will try to talk you into using 12 gauge. You Need the 10 gauge for that instant power that a power amp needs at times.