Replace panel or add subpanel?

Gentlefolks,I am in discussions with a builder for finishing the basement, including a dedicated listening room. For the most part, he seems to get audiophile requirements (e.g, running a dedicated line). He proposes installing a subpanel and running everything for the room off that. But if there are problems with the old panel, won’t I create a problem of garbage-in-garbage-out? Wouldn’t I be better off replacing the old panel with a new panel? Much thanks, 


The sub panel is a great idea for convenience’s sake. You can run a 60 Amp circuit with 1 cable, and then have short runs to the room, giving you a number of dedicated outlets. If your listening room is far from the main panel, this is going to be a great, flexible solution, and may be cheaper than attempting to run multiple lines. Also, all your grounds will end at the same single reference point int he subpanel.

It may also be a good idea to update your panel. :)

And, if you want to go totally nuts, you can even put balanced, isolated power before the subpanel. :)


Erik, thank you. I should have added: the existing panel is at the bottom of the stairs to the basement, which will open first to the listening room. I think the best place for the outlet to feed the system in the listening room would be only 20 feet from the existing panel. In that case, would there still be any benefits to a subpanel, leaving the existing panel unchanged? 
As for my mental status, I went off Into crazy land with my choices of gear some time ago... 🙄
I think your electrician is giving you the more economic solution with a sub panel vs. a complete replacement.

If you already want to replace the main panel anyway, say to clean up code violations and/or breakers being used for more than 1 run, then sure.

OTOH, if your listening room was 60' away, and you wanted to run 4 or more independent circuits then a sub panel would be a really good idea.

Also, never underestimate what you may discover and have to pay for with a complete replacement. :-)
Run one line to the system. Everything system goes on that line. Run whatever else for lights, room outlets, etc. Whether you do a sub panel or not is irrelevant. Spend more money if you want. The one line for the system however needs to come as direct to the system as possible. 

Be careful pingvin, that you're not taking advice from someone who has never wired even one panel, let alone a listening room. I've done panels, sub panels, and have hands-on experience comparing several different wiring methods in the same room. Experience that includes wiring for both 120V and 240V with a step down transformer. I'm unaware of anyone here who can match this level of experience. They do love to talk the talk though. As for me...

What you want is the one power cable to your system to be as short and direct to the utility line as possible. The rest of the room you can do however you like. Its that simple.