Really good home electrical wiring.


I am building a new HT room with 9 dedicated 20-Amp circuits and am planning on using WATTGATE's flagship 20-Amp receptacles. The one thing I am still unclear about is what type of electrical wire should be run to the HT room. I am most familiar with Romex because it is the standard for basic electrical wiring. I've been told that THHN Strand is much better than Romex. Finally I just have found out about the 8-gauge AC wire the JPS Labs sells. I am investing a ton of money into this room and want to use the best electrical wire. What do ya'll recommend?
sbearden
I like 10 gauge solid core, use 8 only if it's solid core. It is available, but difficult. A good description is in the new s'pile of a guy with 2x 200 amp service, and wired all audio out of phase with house. Definitely use dedicated ground, better yet-3 tied together. For what all these folks pay for power conditioning (usually worse), serious ac is much better.
I would use an isolation transformer or better yet isolated balanced ac for your power. I did the balanced power system and wish that I did this years ago. Live and learn. http://www.aaaim.com/cgi-local/shop991/shop.pl/SID=168212712449/page=ULIS.htm#STR9850 http://www.equitech.com/articles/articles.htm
I agree with the above posts, but recommend avoiding the Wattgate outlet in favor of the Hubbell. The Wattgate is a stock (hardware store variety) outlet, made by Leviton, and plated gold to look good. The Hubbell is actually manufactured from the start to be a superior electrical product, and sounds better, in addition to being manufactured with heavier and superior quality materials.
Good advice Albert.
Wattgate is a scam, plain and simple. My advice on the outlets is to get a few different samples from various manufacturers, test them for yourself. They should grab the blades of the plug tightly;they should accept #10 wire easily and use isolated ground type so all grounds are tied directly back to the main panel. Want to get tweaky?(I did) Use underground #10 romex installed inside SealTight or metal conduit all the way back to the main panel. The underground romex jacket is molded very tight onto the conductors to limit micro vibrations and by having it inside the metal conduit, it is shielded. Remember-don't use the conduit or SealTight for the ground return,use an isolated ground outlet with a ground wire run back to the main panel.I use Pass-Seymour outlets. A word of caution as far as ground rods. Some think that a separate ground rod is best, you know-have one just for the hi-fi and one for the rest of the house. If you do this and one ground is better than the other ground then what you have just done is to set up a voltage potential between the two...not a safe thing to do. You are much better off with a long rod driven into an area where you are certain the soil is moist.(away from the roof line overhang) There are also chemicals made specifically to be poured around the ground rod as it is being driven down in the ground to improve it's performance. Lastly-buy an Equi=Tech line balancer which is the best thing that could ever happen to your AC. They make models that would handle what you are planning but the model 2Q will handle 2000 watts and is made specifically for high resolution systems. If you want more capacity I suggest you buy a second. They are truely unbelievable-the best I have owned and I've had more line conditioning products over the years than any body I know. Good luck on your room.
I suggest you do not use house ground. Run a piece of 3/4" flat braid from each outlet to a 15' salted ground rod sunk into non sandy soil. If you can afford to do this, this is about as good as ground gets.
I have to jump in and remind you (as Deano did) that while a seperate ground rod may seem like a good idea, it is not safe due to ground potential between the two grounding points. In fact, it is against the National Electric Code to use a ground in this fashion. Driving an additional ground rod is ok as long as you ground the new rod to the existing main grounding point. Using a dedicated ground wire from the main grounding point (ground rod) to your dedicated hospital grade receptacles is the most effective and safe way to go. Be careful, a little hum won't kill you, but an unsafe electrical system will... Good luck & Happy Holidays
Wow! Thanks for all the good info but I must admit that I am unsure of what isolation transformers and line balancers are or why I would need one? Also if I have dedicated circuits on the same phase, why do I need a dedicated ground? Lastly I've been told by a pretty well respected individual that I should use THHN Strand because it is better than Romex; Any comments? Here is a list of my current system (in case it may help with understanding my situation and what I should do with the electrical: HERE IS MY CURRENT* SYSTEM CONFIGURATION- (1) 65" Rear Projection TV: (the new 2001 Toshiba 65H80) (1) HDTV/DSS Receiver: (Toshiba DST3000)* (1) DVD player: (Toshiba SD9200) (1) VCR: (Mitsubishi HSU-82) (1) PVR: (Philips HDR612)* (1) Digital Cable TV box: (GI DCT-2000) (1) AV Pre-amp/processor: (Linn AV5103) (7) AV Amplifiers: (Linn AV5105) -(3) Stereo Power Amps: Front L/R (Aktiv Tri-amped) -(1) Stereo Power Amp : Center (Aktiv Bi-amped) -(3) Stereo Power Amps: Rear L/R (Aktiv Tri-amped) (2) Front Channel Speakers: (Linn AV5140) (1) Center Channel Speaker: (Linn AV5120) (2) Rear Channel Speakers: (Linn AV5140) (1) Front Channel SUB: (REL Studio II) (1) Center Channel SUB: (REL Stadium III) (1) Rear Channel SUB: (REL Stadium III) (1) Dedicated LFE SUB: (Velodyne ULD-18 II) (9) Dedicated 20 Amp Circuits (9) Wattgate AC Outlets* (10) Richard Gray's Power Company (model 400s) * Will be ordering soon.
If I read your post correctly, looks like you still intend to order the Wattgate AC outlets. Is this correct? In response to your question about THHN, I think the insulation (and tightness of same) is perhaps superior to Romex. However, THHN is generally stranded, and when used for AC power distribution, sounds inferior than solid core Romex. I do use the THHN stranded in my system, but it is exclusively for the dedicated ground from each Hubbell AC outlet, to a ground rod. In that case, the stranded offers some advantage in bleeding off microscopic RF, EMI and small current leakages. On the power side of the situation, I avoid the stranded THHN for the same reason, I prefer 120 V, 60 HZ, without encouraging these same artifacts to enter through my systems power supply. I have no comments on the isolation transformers and line balancers, as I have no experience with them. I can say that I have tried dozens of line conditioners, filters and name brand transformers, and in my system, they all degrade the sound. This could reverse if you lived in a building where multiple families share the same electrical service. In that situation, the quality loss from inserting these devices could be less damaging than the gain of removing all your neighbors noise and ground problems. By the way, the name Romex is a registered trade mark, just like Kleenex and Band Aid. This is a brand name for a particular sheathed multi conductor solid core electrical cable. My last word of advice is to use this actual brand name, or another of equal quality. The no name cheap rolls of cable at the discount supply are a poor investment when you consider the cost of labor to install and the price of your components.
THHN is available in solid core, and is used in most commercial buildings for 120 VAC in either 10, 12 or 14 gauge, depending on the expected amp draw for the circuit. The solid core does sound better to me than the stranded, and heavier gauge generally helps the sound. My listening room has a separate sub-panel, with 3/4 inch minimum conduit ran to the dedicated outlets. The nice thing about running conduit is that if you hear about an up-grade, you can change the wiring in your walls without getting into the sheetrock repair. I can't tell you how many times I've tried different wire brands and gauge size on the different outlets, but it has been a few. It all makes a difference.
Albert-I have not made a decision yet on the outlets. I was planning to put in Hubble, and then found Wattgate's web page and was intrigued so I called them. I was surprised when I learned whom I was speaking to on the phone; it was Ray Kimber (Kimber cable). Ray told me that they take the Leviton (which he felt was slightly better than Hubble, but said both were very good) and improve upon it. He said no matter what I did (Hubble, Leviton or Wattgate) I would be happy but said the Wattgate was the best choice if I could afford them. In addition, Ray is the one that recommended THHN in lieu of Romex, he said that it was what he was using. OTHER: I am living in a relatively new home (six years old) and I believe that we are the only ones “on” the transformer. Have you tried the Richard Gray Power Company? I have ordered (6) of them so far, but was planning to buy a total of (10).
Recres-The "stranded" THHN was recommended to me by Ray Kimber (Kimber Cable), he said it was what he was using. Have you ever tried (or heard about) the 8-gauge wiring that JPS Labs sells for wiring your home?
What ever you use, make use it listed for use in Dwellings and complys with all the requirments of your local Building Department. Signed "Your Local Building Inspector"
THHN is available in solid core, and is used in most commercial buildings for 120 VAC in either 10, 12 or 14 gauge, depending on the expected amp draw for the circuit. The solid core does sound better to me than the stranded, and heavier gauge generally helps the sound. My listening room has a separate sub-panel, with 3/4 inch minimum conduit ran to the dedicated outlets. The nice thing about running conduit is that if you hear about an up-grade, you can change the wiring in your walls without getting into the sheetrock repair. I can't tell you how many times I've tried different wire brands and gauge size on the different outlets, but it has been a few. It all makes a difference.
Thanks for reminding me! I forgot to mention to tie it to the ground the power company gives you. Thanks for the correction.
Sorry for the double post. No Sbearden, I haven't tried the JPS 8 gauge myself, however a friend of mine with a similar system has. He has replaced it with 3 runs of 10 gauge THHN solid for each leg, taped firmly and tied together on the end. This is my current set up for 120 VAC, and I use multiple 4 gauge for my 240 VAC for the amps. It seems as though the more wire I throw at it per leg, the better the sound. I may try removing the existing this spring and adding more. I'll let you know how that turns out. I know that Ray Kimber likes the stranded, and I had tried it about 3 years ago, (I can't remember, maybe he had suggested it), but I like the solid better with my system. Maybe the house wiring is system dependant, just as cabling is. This is why running conduit seems so elementary, you can try different configurations with little trouble. Merry Christmas!
E&lsrr@chartermi.net, I read the Equitech tech sheets and looked at the ULIS.htm#STR9850. Thanks for the great advice! I've done alot of wiring myself (including a total gut/remodel), is this transformer easy to install? Did you simply run a feed from the box to the transformer? Did you start with 220v and step it down or what? Thanks for your help. J.D.
Well after speaking directly with some of the industry's most respected professionals, here is what I believe to be the best answer to my own original question: 1). DEDICATED CIRCUITS: 20-Amp Circuits, 2). WIRING: Silver Plated Copper (Stranded) Teflon Insulated 10 Gauge, 3). RECEPTACLES: 20-Amp Leviton Hospital Grade w/ Isolated Ground (model no. 5362-IG-I ), 4). CONDUIT: Non-metallic blue flex conduit for each dedicated 20-Amp circuit. I hope other find this helpfull.