Home Wiring?

The only weakness in my currently killer system is in the power section. Right now I'm still running it off my main house box with all the components on the same line out of the same outlet. I know - not a good idea. So I'm here to ask about how I should go about putting in a dedicated line. What do I need? What audiophile level parts should I get? Do I need an electrician? Can I put in another box? Does anything I get have to run off the incoming power from the power company?

I really have no clue about this stuff. I was looking over at Audioexcellence for outlets (the Oyaides look nice) and Acrolink in-wall wires. Any other suggestions?

I spent $400 adding two 20A outlets with upgraded wire (75' from my sub panel to my listening room) with audiophile grade outlets. My electrician found extra blanks in the sub panel and added the power easily. I also had the ground outside double checked and for whatever the reason my house has two grounds.

Shynuata SR-Z1 are in my system.
Unless you are experiencing some definite problem at the present time - such as an identifiable noise or tripping your breaker, going to dedicated lines is not going to make any difference whatsoever. It is important to have have a clean ground, a circuit that can supply the required current, and follow common sense procedures to avoid such things as ground loops. You are not going to gain anything from changing your outlets, wiring etc. It certainly isn't going to sound any different. As to outlets, the 2 dollar outlet from home depot is going to 'sound' the same as anything else you buy and going with different outlets wireing etc isn't going to matter. I spent decades working as a biomedical engineer, including advising, specifying, and selecting power distribution equipment for safety concerns, reliability, low noise applications, critical care environments and everthing that came up. My formal educational background in that field is a BSEE. From that background and experience I can tell you that 'improving' your power system just to make your audio system sound better is nothing more than a waste of money.
I suggest you do a search in the archives for this topic, as there has been a lot of great information posted there. I’m not sure where Musicnoise is coming from but everyone is welcome to their own opinion.
No1willfan, in each of three different homes where I ran dedicated electrical circuits to my audio system, the improvements were very noticeable and worthwhile. I recommend you move forward with your plans if costs permit. This need not be a hugely expensive venture, but you DO need an electrician.

What I have done each time is relatively simple assuming one has open tabs for additional breakers on the circuit panel:

1. Pull a separate 20 amp line for each electrical box. Don't put multiple boxes on the same line, don't have splices in the line, have the line pulled as a single continuous strand of cable from breaker box to outlet.

2. I used 10 gauge copper for my lines. Your electrician will tell you this is overkill. Do it anyway. I used standard "Romex" type cabling for two of the installations and I can't tell that I got any improvement running metal clad cabling in a third installation. (Assuming you are in a typical American house with solid masonry walls or wood studs (not a commercial building with metal studs), there is no advantage to running an isolated ground installation as I did with the metal clad cabling in one home. Just keep to single lines from breaker box to outlet and you'll get the same benefit.)

3. Use good quality 20 amp all-copper alloy outlets without any plating on the contacts. There definitely are differences in sound quality among the various outlets, but a primary factor is that the receptacle be built well enough to maintain good grip on the blades of the plug over time. I use the Jena Labs 20 amp outlets also sold by Walker Audio. These are 20 amp Hubbell all-copper alloy outlets that are deep immersion cyro treated. PorterPorts are also Hubbell outlets based on the Hubbell 20 amp outlet and deep immersion cryo treated. Both are reasonably priced, strong and long lasting, and with very neutral sound.

4. Buy some Walker Audio Extreme SST silver contact enhancer and have your electrician apply this at each electrical connection made in the circuit. (It will make a further improvement.)

There are additional things you can do to further improve results, but the steps I've listed will give you a very nice improvement and not cost too much money to accomplish.
@Musicnoise: Everyone's entitled to their opinions, but the idea that there is no difference is not what I've heard from both people who've done this, and in my own experience listening to systems on and off dedicated lines.

@Lak: I'm rather new using these forums, what should I search for?

@Rushton: Thanks a lot, this is precisely the kind of information I was looking for. A few questions:

1) Can you have a separate electrical box installed and a new power line run to it? I ask because if I could do this and have it installed near my system, opposed to running a line from the current box that powers my house to my system, it would probably save me a lot of money because the box I have now is 50+ feet away from my system.

2) The cable I was looking at were those made by Oyaide and Acrolink. Acrolink makes a cable especially designed for AC wiring. I know another company has a dedicated cable as well, I think it's JPS Labs. I've wondered if there's any difference between them and 10-gauge Romex. I know of only one person who had both Romex and JPS Labs cable installed and he said the JPS Labs was a bit better.

3) Thanks for the links. I've heard of that silver contact enhancer before and was planning on buying some when I did this dedicated line.

If there's any other advice you can offer, please do. Thanks.
Your questions are such that you do need an electrician.

If you can find a couple of blanks in your switchbreaker panel, then run a couple of 20 amp dedicated circuits with #2 wire. Rather than Jena Labs outlets I prefer Porterports havaiable here at audiogon. Just add 'porterports' to home search engine.
No1willfan, if the cable run itself will be under 70 feet, I'd be inclined to just pull separate runs directly from the existing breaker box. The power company may or or may be willing to run a separate power line from the pole to a separate meter at your house.

The alternative approach some people have taken is to run a sub-panel off the main breaker panel using a run of 6 gauge to the sub-panel placed near your listening room. This may or may not be a better solution. It's certainly more complex with more connections. The trade-off is whether any benefit from a possible reduction in voltage drop is sufficient to offset the impact of more connections.

I've not experimented with speciality AC cable. I don't doubt there can be sonic differences, and I'm a believer in the benefits of cryo treatment in power cords and audio cables. But, given any funds limitations, this is were I've chosen to get some cost savings and just go for good quality copper.

Good luck with your project,
Thanks for your reply. I will definitely check around to see what my options are. If I can get another line/box installed I think that would be the best route. If I can't then I'll have to assess and go from there.
I am finishing up my listening room and just had the electrical aspects run. Depending on your system quality level should determine the approach. If it is an all out assault then I recommend the Isoclean separate panel and the grounding rod from.....shoot, not sure off the top of my head. If you want to know I can easily find it. I just moved my system into that room last night for the first time even though the room is not finished. Without breakin it is one of the biggest improvements to the system with the aspects that I was trying to achieve.

I also am comparing romex cable to the Analysis Plus electrical wire to see if wiring makes that much of a difference.

Further update on the Analysis Plus (AP) power cable vs Romex 10/2 wire....the AP Power Oval 10 Cable is hands downs far superior, from my perspective and for what I am trying to achive, to Romex. Of course, the AP cable is $1500.00 for 50 ft (retail based on their web site) which puts it in that categories of:

1) it certainly better be a significant improvement or chaulk it up me just being pegged as another sucker born every minute or me having wishful thoughts that it must be better because it is more expensive
2) you do not even tell your closest audiophile friends until you have tested it because there will again be another smirk from the guys. :)

Everything electrical is brand new and nothing is broken in yet. I have 1 dedicated line with AP cable and another dedicated line with Romex 10/2 coming from the Isoclean panel. Both outlets are the Porterports at this point. I ran three type of test several times over and over. The tests were:

1) Both the amp (Audio Note UK Ongaku) and the source (Meitner DCC2 and CDSD (original version)) hooked up to the outlet with AP wire.
2) Amp hooked up to outlet with AP wire and source hooked up to outlet with Romex
3) Amp hooked up to outlet with Romex and source hooked up to outlet with AP wire

I played one track over and over again using the various scenarios above. The music had a bunch of things going on including (1) a person talking on a portion of the song (2) multiple people singing (3) various types of percussion and string instuments.

In summary, the basic fundamental differences between the two electrical cables are:

1) There is way more air coming from the individual instruments and voices on the AP wired outlet. This provides a more natural presentation and makes the voice sound more like someone is in the room instead of listening to a recording.

a) After a few test I could not stand listening to the amp on Romex once I heard it on AP. I tried switching back and forth 3 times and did not like the dry sound (relatively speaking).

b) The more electronics hooked up to AP the more air. With the amp on AP and the source on Romex it gave the appearance of more detail but it was only from the lack of air and not really more detail. Again, it made it sound artifical comparatively speaking.

2) It provides a dimensional aspect providing a more holographic image when using the AP wired outlet. When the person spoke on the track you could tell that this guy is about 300-400 pounds, which he is, and the instruments just seemed like you were hearing the whole instrument.

a) Again, the more electronics hooked up to the outlet with AP cable to more you got.

3) It music was bigger in scale with the AP wire. not sure if it was from more air being around the instruments or what. But this was nice, at least in my system, since I am running a low powered amp on a relatively non efficient speaker. Although I am running the Speltz Autoformer in my system, the impact of scale was impacted more by the AP wired outlet.

4) There was a more ease of presentation. This is somthing that I really like in a presentation. It still is probably not to the degree of the next model up in the speaker line. But certain music was presented with a natural delivery that I thought made it more life-like. I think all of the aspects above contributed to this. Obviously, CDs are CDs and most of it is too compressed to ever give you that sense. But the ones that are good sounded really great being combined with the AP wired outlet.

After conducting this with one track I tried several other types of music with limited scenarios. Mainly the scenarios that I thought would be the selected preference going forward. Based on hearing those tracks I think there are additional tweaks that I am going to try to see what happens.

Anyway, since this thread is on home wiring I just wanted to present some information about what I heard in my system, my environment, and of course my listening acuity. I am in no way affiliated with these products and just enjoy trying different things out. Since there has not been too many test of this nature, I think, and my room is at that stage where wiring and rewiring is not a problem I thought it would be good to test this and be able to share the information. It certainly was an ear opening (couldn't resist) experience and would certainly like to hear from others that maybe have tested other wires.

Stenersr, thanks for the detailed summary of your listening experience with the AP wiring. This is very interesting and intriguing.
I listened to more music today and want to share another aspect. BTW, I have not made any additional tweaks yet so it is the same setup as yesterday.

I played some solo piano pieces only and I almost did not like having all components plugged into just the AP wired outlet. I thought it was a little too exaggerated regarding decay and air. With too much of these aspects it sounded like a little too much reverb was added or you were in a room that echoes. When I switched the CDSD only over to the Romex wired outlet but left the DCC2 on AP wired outlet it improved. The higher octaves had more detail and less residual artifacts which seemed more natural.

I still have not moved any of my sources onto vibration control pieces so I am not sure if this would provide a similar benefit. Also, I do not know how long break-in is on this wire so not sure what the final sound will be like. But for right now I am leaning towards having at least two different types of wired outlets. I guess it is no different than having other different cables (PC, interconnect, or speaker). That way you can control the amount of certain characteristics.


A sincere thanks for the report. This actually helps out a lot. I have my entire system on vibration control, and it definitely makes a discernible difference, especially in terms of reproducing transients accurately, increasing speed and PRAT, tightening up images and producing them with more weight and 3-dimensionality and delivering better dynamics - and this is on my headphone system, so I imagine it'd be even more dramatic on a speaker system.

I wonder what the difference between the AP, Acrolink, and JPS Labs cables are? It appears the AP is just a bit cheaper than the Acrolink at $30 compared to $33 a foot.

I looked up Isoclean as well and it appears that might be a really helpful site in terms of figuring out what I need to set up a high-quality dedicated line. What, specifically, do you recommend from them?

BTW, my system is:

-Harmonix Reimyo CDP-777 w/Upgrade Company mod
-Single Power SDS-XLR Custom headphone amplifer
-Sony MDR-R10 headphones
-Ultrasone Edition 9 headphones
-Virtual Dynamics Genesis IC
-Virtual Dynamics Master PCs
-Grand Prix Monaco Modular Isolation Rack
No1willfan, Thanks for the info on other electrical wires I will defintely look into it. It will have to wait until after next Tuesday as I am leaving for London this evening.

I, or another local audiophile, have tried most of the Isoclean products. I also have installed the Isoclean panel and a special grounding rod outside the house. The panel is very special but the whole solution is very expensive. I also have their top of the line power cable which I like. The other Isoclean solutions can also get expensive but soemtimes with mixed results. So it depends on what is trying to be achieved. If you want more specifics you can email me. I am bringing my laptop but may or may not get to it until I return. Regards,