Here's your source for the good ole' fuseboxes & Buss W20 ceramic edison base fuses:http://www.renewalresources.com
You can still find ceramic W30's at the hardware store, but the W20's are now plastic. The new plastic based W20 fuses seem to sound alright, & although I've been using ceramic myself & never have done a shoot out between them, they both work much better than glass fuses which do sound harsher. Actually those fused disconnect boxes would probably work well also, but I would probably wire around (bypass) the internal switch contacts.
If your going to run a dedicated line for your audio system,don't sell yourself short-run 2 dedicated(at least)Its only more wire and it will fit in the conduit. I ran 2 dedicated lines to my system,and its one of the best tweaks you can possibly do. If you do it yourself,or get a reasonable electrician its not that expensive. Don't skimp on the outlets either. Do some research in the archives on A-gon. There is a ton of threads,and some very good information. PS-Change your electical panel to breakers. It makes life alot simpler(and probably safer)
Breakers vs. fuses are very bad advice; not at all recommended. Fuses are the superior protection device above & beyond any lousy circuit breaker.
Use of more than a single dedicated circuit is setting yourself up for possible ground hum issues, due to ground potential imbalances, & is also not recommended.
Bob, as usual, you are a great source of info. As an aside, if someone is having trouble locating ceramics (I haven't really been able to track any down up here in Canada), I'd suggest using the plastic, re-settable "mini-breaker" type fuses. I am using these (15 amp versions) and found them to be very slightly smoother than the standard plastics. I was actually expecting the opposite when I compared them, suspecting that the ability to re-set the fuse would compromise its ability compared to a standard version, but that was not the case. A 15 amp re-settable will, however, sustain short bursts of up to 17-18 amps, and, I am only guessing, but think that this may contribute to the slightly better sound quality.
The reason you're having a problem finding a load center type fuse box is because (I'm pretty sure) they're not made anymore - they're sort of like NOS, surplus only.
Where are you going to grab the power for your fuse box? If it's from the main house panel, then the feeder wire from the main panel to the fuse box has to be protected; the only way to do that is to install a new breaker for this feeder. You can't run an unprotected wire outside the panel, if you do, your fuse box becomes meaningless. If you have to use this breaker, then why not just make it a circuit instead - less devices along the power path. Either way, I would check with the local building department to cover yourself.
I would suggest you consider only one dedicated outlet, as having several gets the gear on the separate outlets seeing different phase angles of the 6o cycle waveform. The best method is to get a power conditioner of sufficient wattage to handle all your gear, for both clean power and phase angle issues.
Actually there IS another way. My old farmhouse has two fuse panels, because the original wasn't large enough to accomodate the additional circuits which were added later. The licensed electrical contractor who performed the add-on installation simply added the 2nd panel in parallel to the original. This was done by (first de-enegrizing the mains at the meter pole) loosening the large screwdown lugs where the mains connect to the original house panel, then adding additional large conductors to those lug connections & running them a very short distance over to the 2nd fuse panel immediately next to it. The two panels are simply adjoined with a short conduit-type pipe connector within which the interconnecting "feeder conductors" are contained. Those #4 awg feeders are protected by the same device which protects the incoming mains, which is the service pole disconnect.
The confusing part for me to understand is that at the meter pole there is a huge *circuit breaker* which protects those incoming feeders, so yes, the power must first flow through that device. Why a smaller ckt. breaker downline (vs. a fuse which reportedly sounds better) makes any difference I do not know. But fuses are arguably better protectors than circuit breakers are, according to what I was taught in a motor-protection course that I once attended. Just to be clear, I never made the (breaker vs. fuse) sonic comparison myself; Redkiwi did perform that test & reported his findings here long ago so I am not arguing that point. My own testing involved comparing a glass fuse with a ceramic fuse, which Redkiwi & some others before me reported ceramic to be the best sounding & I do agree based upon my own results. I have never tried a breaker for comparison sake because of course my panel doesn't accomodate breakers. We suspected that the difference may be due to the fuse comprising one continuous internal path, vs. a breaker's internal switch contact which is of course not continuous, but I do not actually know the reason why. Thus Hdm's above report seems contradictory to that assumption, & so there may obviously be some other contributing factors of which we are unaware.
Within the realm of circuit breakers themselves, there are the standard models & also the GFI models. The ground fault breakers are reported to sound the worse of the two but again I don't know the reason why, I only know of the reported test results.
Fuses vs Breakers. Well I don't know about sonic differences, but as to protection here's something to think about. A tree next to my house was hit by a very strong lightning bolt, which came underground into my house doing damage to all the TV's, VCR's, Microwave, Refrigerator control panel, Computer modem. My audio stuff (dedicated line with old fashoned fuse)was unscathed!
In my old house I had at that time a mix of fuses and circuit breakers. Almost every fuse, of every kind was blown. Not a single breaker opened.
The insurance adjuster told me that the insurance companies have forced fuses to be replaced by breakers, not because breakers work any better, but because people quite commonly put pennies under blown fuses! They really did that. I thought it was just a joke.
I'd like to rescind my post above. This thread put me back into experimentation mode this morning and I removed the "mini-breaker" type fuse and replaced it with a standard plastic. They do sound quite different. But I've come to the conclusion this morning that the "mini-breaker" was rolling off the highs as well as being inaccurate in that area, leading to a perception of being smoother. But the standard fuse is definitely more accurate and extended (possibly not a great thing with bad digital recordings). My tv is on a separate circuit and I was running a mini-breaker on that as well, which I replaced with a standard plastic, which in turn confirmed my findings on the audio side by offering up a slightly better picture.
... I was assuming a remote panel. Installing a parallel, or subfeed panel, is a legitimate installation provided that the subfeed panel is properly bonded, grounded and supplied with neutral lugs for each circuit. In other words, it has to be a UL listed load center type panel - not a switched fuse, gem box or a metal vanilla box with fuse holders. Further, the wiring to the panel has to be taken off the main lugs downstream of the main panel breaker and run through a bonded conduit fitting only.
Another snag is that if you do find a load center type fuse box, you must use the edison s-type base fuse (tough to find in ceramic). Bussmann still makes the standard W edison bases in ceramic; but these are not allowed in new load center installations - the "penny argument" - just in switched fuse boxes for furnaces, etc.
Some installations do have a circuit breaker provided by the utility in the meter pan but most of the time the meter is protected by what are called limiter lugs. These are, basically, inline coupling devices with a fusible link, meant to protect the utility wires only.
As far as breakers v fuses - breakers have more copper in the power path than plug fuse; albeit a twisted, convoluted pathway. Maybe it's breaker contact pressure that's responsible for degrading the sound, I don't know. But, fuses definitely protect better than breakers by limiting current inrush much faster.