Material Specifications/Layout for AC line

Calling Sean, Lak and other informed Audiogoners!! I know that there are all kinds of discussions both current and in the archives regarding dedicated audio ac circuits, but I'd really appreciate some definitive suggestions regarding layout and materials. I know a retired union electrician so I know that I'm in good hands installation-wise. I'd really like some direction regarding layout and material specifications for my system, modest as it may be. Blue Circle 21.1 linestage preamp/Cary 308T cd player/Marantz SA 8260 sacd player/Odyssey Audio Stratos Extreme amp and Magnepan 1.6 QR speakers. I've got some good power cords already (VH Audio Flavor 4, Hot Box and Blue Circle BC 61's).

Thanks in advance.

BTW, I've posted the same question over at AA.

Are you running AC dedicated lines from your main circuit breaker panel or a sub-panel?

How long is the run from whichever panel you use to your AC outlets?

I'm undecided on whether to run circuits from the main panel or run a seperate main to a sub panel and then go to my 3 or 4 circuits. The main panel is in a closet about 20' away from my system in a finished basement. My plan is to run an exposed conduit along the baseboard wood trim from the closet to the system.

Thanks so much for the assistance!
Deano recommends using THHN spec'ed for underground burial, since the insulation is bound more tightly. I would follow with receptacles boxes fitted w/ the Auricap capacitors Chris VenHaus sells for parallel filtration and cryo'ed PS Audio Power Ports and/or Albert's infamous Porter Ports.
Hey thanks to all that responded thus far. Anyone with thoughts on circuit layout and preferred materials (i.e. receptacles, cable, conduit flexible or ridgid, etc.)?

Please keep the info coming.

Lak, I looked up the thread you referred me to. Thanks, but didn't quite offer the direction I'm looking for.

Thanks again
I used 12AWG Belden (acquired from Ernie "Subaruguru" Munier) for my pre/source line, and 10AWG Romex for my amps line. For outlets, I used all PorterPorts. Ernie also helped me make up two custom 4-way breakout boxes with in-line switches. The one for the pre/source components used 12AWG Belden (w/ exterior ground wire) and the one for the amps used 9AWG Belden. I am very happy with the results.


I have experimented over the last past three years with various wires to use for dedicated 20-amp circuits. I have the following wire in use in no special order:
1) 10 gage Romex
2) 10 gage UV
3) Belden 83802 (12 gage) (Some people say they hear a great difference using this)
4) Virtual Dynamics 10 gage BX Cryogenically treated with Cryo'd circuit breaker. *

I have not tried the following but I’m sure it works very well, 10 gage solid THHN (white/black/green) manually (electric drill) spiral twist and snake through conduit, grounded to the panel.

To my ears on my revealing system I hear NO difference between (1-4)! I think simply using a dedicated circuit with 10 gage copper makes the biggest difference.

I hope all that read this find it helpful, it’s cost me about $500 (out of my own pocket) to complete the testing.

* There might be other positive factors to using cryogenically treated wiring besides Sonics. It might lower the operating temperature of equipment.

I do not think there any breakers that work better than others for audio applications however it's possible that a cryo'd breaker and wire might have some advantages as mentioned above.

It is commonly recommended to run at least two or three dedicated lines from the breaker box.

As for your last question I recommend you read the post below on Audiogon in it's entirety:

I also like the cryo'd Porter Ports. They have become my favorite cryo'd outlet. For certain applications I also like the Wattgate outlet. Check out my review on the Porter Port outlet, there is other valuable information listed there.

I'm sure others will have some good suggestions also.
Best regards,
First of all,
Thanks to all for the replies received so far. After reviewing these and others in the archives, here's my plan:

Run (3) 20 amp dedicated lines. One for amplifier(s) with 2 additional oultets for possible future mono-blocks (nudge nudge!), one for digital gear and one for preamp/analog gear. I plan on using 10 gauge THHN from Home Depot or 12 gauge Belden cable from Ernie, for each line with Cry'od Porter Ports. I'll run all of these in a 3 channel pvc raceway (Panduit or Pan-way). I was thinking this would look nicer after painting to match walls.

Any further comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

You are on the right track for sure! Let us know how it works out.


Thanks and will do!
Update (if anyone cares!),

I've run my 3 dedicated lines as follows:
(1) 30 amp circuit breaker/10 gauge stranded THHN/Hubbell 5362IG 20 amp hopsital grade white noise eliminating outlets.

(2) 20 amp circuits with 20 amp circuit breakers/12 gauge stranded THHN/same outlets as above.

All lines housed in an attractive (IMHO) wiremold raceway.

First impressions are noticeably blacker background resulting in greater clarity of the little things in the music (i.e. triangles, bongo drums).

I may still try some of the cry'od Porter Ports.

BTW, I also fabricated some diffusers/absorbers that sit behind my Magnepan 1.6Qr's. These have a light gauge steel tube frame 19" X 65" with 3" convoluted (egg crate) foam on one side only. These have made a tremendous difference in clarifying the sound in my listening area. Less confusion in the top end, deeper soundstage and much more defined bass.

Now as soon as Robert at Ridge Street Audio gets me my cables.......
Looking good!
Nice job. The THHN will take a while to "burn in", so exercise it for a few months....
Thanks to all of you for all your help and assistance!

Hey Sean or Ernie,

One more question if you don't mind. With my three dedicated circuits, I have the preamp (20 amp) circuit and the digital components circuit (20 amp) on one side of my panel and my amp circuit (30amp breaker) on the other side. Is this correct or should I have all three circuits on the same side?
Same side is preferred. The side with less noisy household items on it.
I'd try both, with an eye toward separating digital from analog (esp preamp), if possible, keeping in mind Lak's comment above.
Tim, don't know how i missed this thread for this long, but i just stumbled across it now. Didn't mean to leave you hanging and i wasn't avoiding you either. Just one of those things.

You've gotten good advice so far, so check into getting everything on one side of the box if possible. Larry's suggestion as to trying to connect to the side with the least amount of household appliances ( refrigerator, heater, washer & dryer, etc... ) is worth checking into also. The use of parallel line filters may also help you without having to install anything between the AC outlet and your components. Sean

Looks like I might be too late in this thread but I'll put in my 2 cents FWIW:
I used 10AWG romex in-wall wire. After reading a # of threads on A'gon w/ really good info from people like Lak to name just 1 person, by 2nd-hand living what Hbrandt went thru about the same time as I did getting dedicated lines, I decided that boutique in-wall wire was not going to be my pancea hence my choice in romex.
Junction boxes are bakelite & there is no metal conduit carrying the wire to my room => no antenna putting crud on my ground wire! When the electrician was doing the wiring in the main panel, I found that ground & neutral are connected to the same bus! He said that this is normally how it done for homes everywhere in the USA & that only for commercial ops do they separate ground & neutral. I believe that older houses have a water pipe ground connection (which I don't as my house is newer. I must be having a copper-rod-stuck-in-the-Earth ground(?) ).
From Bob Crump's suggestion on AA, I decided to try out romex wire orientation! I found it to make a difference even though it was more on the subtle side. I found that romex run one way had a bigger & deeper soundstage vs. romex run the other way. Of course, this is system dependent so the orientation that works for me might/might not work for you. Anyway, orientation made a diff. for me (contrary to my disbelief when I read Crump's post) & I had the electrician run the wires my preferred way.
The RGPC 400S provides internal parallel AC filtering that benefits my source components & my pre (which doesn't seem to need it as much as Ken S. has put in parallel filtering of his own in the power supply box).
I'm using Pass & Seymour 5362A cryo's outlets from Chris Venhaus with excellent results. The "A" designator in the model # is paramount as that signifies an all-brass Olin #688 construction.
I would have loved to use an isolation xformer like many here are using but the Internal Affairs Secretary @ home would have raised 2 eye-brows @ the cost! W/o the isolation xformer, the cost slipped under her radar! ;-)
If your circuit board is only 20' away from your system, you have the opportunity to run straight from the board into your monoblocks. I did this recently with a Krell, and it works great. I bought the parts for the CVH V4, including cryo'd cables, and bought a gold pin Wattgate IEC 20 amp. I then followed the CVH design, and ran the cable straight from the circuit breaker to the amp, without passing through an outlet. There is no circuit protection in a power outlet, so you are not doing anything 'unsafe'. It cuts out a potentially resistive connection, and provides the RFI protection all the way back to the circuit board, instead of just a short way from the outlet to the amp. Parts were quite expensive, since my run was 25', it came to around $300 with the $100 Wattgate. You would need two runs, since you have monoblocks. In this crazy world of audio hell, I can't think of anything that I've done in my system for $300 that sounded better.
As a tip, to get from the basement circuit board into the listening room, I removed the power outlet, and the back-box on the outlet and retained the outlet cover plate...then just passed the cable through the cover plate and into the basement.

Um, 20A receptacle(s) on a 30A branch circuit is a violation. (1999 NEC 210-21(b)(1) & (3)). The device is unprotected; no diversity factor as on 20A, multiple receptacle circuits. You should change that 30A C.B. to a 20A, like yesterday.

Re: "noisy household appliances". Unsure about this, except for a cell phone charger and the vacuum cleaner, I don't have any visible (TV) or audible (radio, stereo) indications of such.

The big stuff - clothes dryer, A/C, and range, is 2-phase, so you have no choice on those. Disposall, dishwasher, clothes washer, and furnace is all on the famous Dedicated Circuits. Basic NEC Article 210 stuff. The vast majority of the time, all that stuff is O-F-F.

Loading all audio stuff on one phase or the other is much ado 'bout nothing. The downside is that you'll load up one phase much more than the other - another NEC violation - and you possibly may end up with a voltage drop problem on that phase.

I might experiment w/ digital & analog circuits on different phases, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that.