Power delivery from panel to component

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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There was some interesting discussion on the recently shut down power cable/bass performance thread. It has me wondering if my particular approach can be improved. I currently have three dedicated 20 amp circuits with three runs of JPS Labs In-Wall AC cable running directly from the panel, through the floor, and terminated into three Furutech IEC connectors. Two of these connectors are plugged directly into my amplifiers and the third goes into my Transparent Audio AC distribution box and then Transparent PCs to my front end components. This approach avoids all wall outlets with their extra connections, and I found the noise to drop significantly ten years ago when I first did this.

I would like to further reduce the noise of my system and improve the power delivery. Here are some of the ideas I am considering:

1. Buying a new JPS Labs In-Wall cable so that all three lengths match and terminating them with the latest/best Furutech FI-50 NCF IEC connectors and plugging them into my two amps and Transparent distribution box. Currently, the run to my rack is shorter in length than the two going to my amps, creating a potential ground loop issue, though I have very little hum.

2. Installing four new Furutech NCF outlets connected to three separate dedicated 20 amp circuits and using power cables to connect to my equipment. One to each amp, and two (four outlets) to my front end rack components.

3. Installing a total of five new runs of JPS In-Wall cables of equal length from five separate circuits plus five Furutech NCF IEC connectors to plug directly into my five components bypassing the Transparent distribution box and all outlets, thus minimizing connections and creating the most direct AC path from panel circuit to component.

Basically, I'm wondering if bypassing outlets and plugging directly into the components is preferable to high quality outlets and power cords. I am open to any and all suggestions that anyone might make. At this point, I am leaning towards the notion that simpler is better because I have had success with that approach in the past. I am not quite ready to experiment with lots of competing power cords to see if they sound different, or audition the latest Shunyata Denali or various grounding boxes to see what they might do i my system.

Here is an old photo showing the red JPS cable coming up through the floor plugged directly into one of my amps.

Peter's Stereo May 2007 012.jpg
 

Folsom

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It's best to avoid extra connectors. The weird shapes of the connectors may be their worst offending attributes, that NCF tries to combat, so I'd say what you're doing makes the best sense from an audio standpoint, but I can't actually recommend it since it's illegal.
 

DaveC

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Nov 16, 2014
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Personally, I'd stick to code and spend the cash on decent connectors, the main reason being the possibility your insurance wouldn't cover a fire if it was the result of a non-professional electrical installation that was not done to code. And even if it wasn't the cause of a fire, they may bring it up and make it an issue. And the possibility of personal liability if anyone was ever hurt. That said, what you're doing makes some sense from a performance perspective... at least until the NCF receptacles came out as they are doing some filtering/noise reduction so it's likely they may be an improvement over nothing at all. But obviously a lot of cash vs nothing at all too. ;)

As far as the actual wire runs, It's probably best to run a sub-panel for multiple lines but I would not change what you have now. The biggest issue with multiple runs is the grounding, and the issue gets worse the longer the length of wires are from the service panel to the receptacles. Then there is potentially a second issue with ground loops as the grounds are going to be combined at your system with the interconnect cables, and depending on the geometry of the wire runs this could form a ground loop. Basically, you are combining grounds from multiple circuits which wouldn't be to code if it was done within the walls, but you're doing it outside the walls anyways, and maybe the component designer used some sort of ground isolation to prevent ground loops... but maybe not, you have no idea unless you look and there aren't any standards to go by here.

IMO, the ideal way to go would be to keep the in-wall wire you have but add an NCF receptacle for each line. Then, a decent power conditioner/surge eliminator with a binding post for external ground connection and have all 3 conditioners' grounds connected with a heavy gauge ground cable that is as short as possible.

Another option would be to simply not use more than one line. You don't need it and right now it's causing more problems than it's solving because of your sub-optimal grounding/AC delivery system. If you use one line you have one ground wire, not three, and you can use one power distributor that combines the grounds from all of your components, minimizing the resistance between component grounds and hence minimizing noise, and also elimination ground loop possibilities. I mean, needing more than a single 20A line to power most systems doesn't make much sense except for instantaneous current delivery and a single 20A line run using 10g wire that isn't super-long is not going to cause problems or reduce dynamics. Also, not having amps on some sort of power conditioner is likely a problem, but that depends on how clean your AC power is. Personally, plugging $$ amps right into the wall without noise filtration and surge protection doesn't make any sense to me, except so many of these products perform so poorly it's now CW to skip them. Power quality often changes by the hour and the season, so your system will sound better in the middle of night and in the winter when ACs aren't running, a decent conditioner will reduce this effect to insignificance.

Overall the big issue is grounding and how it is sub-optimal in most multi-line installations. If you're not going to deal with grounding outside the walls then run a sub-panel to the room as close to your system as possible and run your multiple lines from the dedicated sub-panel. Then at least your grounds will be combined at the sub panel and not the service entrance.
 

Speedskater

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Oct 1, 2010
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Skipping past large isolation transformers wired as Separately Derived Systems.
As Dave just wrote:
Best is to run a large feeder to near your audio equipment then split it in a small sub-panel.
The idea is to shorten the length of the Safety Ground/Protective Earth wires from component to component. Then they will all return to the main panel Neutral on one large SG/PE wire. The ground reference is the power company Neutral, not the stake in the garden as too many people think.

Most home hi-fi's can be wired on on 15 or 20 Amp circuit. (bur there are exceptions)
 

PeterA

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Thank you for all of your replies. I am definitely thinking about upgrading my Furutech IECs. My main panel is directly below my audio room, so the JPS Labs cable runs are only 15' long. I would only gain about 6' if I installed a dedicated sub panel and located it optimally for shortest possible distances. Because I don't have digital, perhaps one 20 amp circuit would be enough to power the entire system, though I am concerned about my two Pass amps getting enough current. I would like to try to get one heavy duty extension cord with enough outlets to hook everything into one cable and plug that into the wall to see if my noise goes down, but I don't think I can find one long enough with the five necessary plugs to service the entire system and I would still have five power cords and a wall outlet for lots of connections.
 

DaveC

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15 ft is very short, there may not be much difference vs doing anything else but you could try using 1 circuit for everything.

I would probably use receptacles and make sure it's all done to code though, it'll cost more $ but it's pretty likely if you use the NCF parts it'll actually make an improvement.
 

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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15 ft is very short, there may not be much difference vs doing anything else but you could try using 1 circuit for everything.

I would probably use receptacles and make sure it's all done to code though, it'll cost more $ but it's pretty likely if you use the NCF parts it'll actually make an improvement.

Funny, that is the advice that JPS Labs gave me years ago. I figured they just wanted to sell me more cables. I don't really know how to put it all on one circuit because my amps and rack are all spread out around the room and there is a fireplace between my amps, so the system components are not bunched up enough to have one outlet service the five components. A power strip with a very long cable will not work either because of the fireplace. I've given this some thought and I think I have to separate it into three circuits, but I will consider adding proper outlets and all of the NCF parts. I may contact you for pricing in a PM. Thanks for the advice.
 

Speedskater

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I think that Boston is a jurisdiction that vigorously enforces any and all building rules and regulations. Sometime inventing even more rules. The rules in going from in-wall cable to flexible cords are tricky. The on-location pro audio guys are always struggling with inspectors.
 

GaryProtein

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Personally, I'd stick to code and spend the cash on decent connectors, the main reason being the possibility your insurance wouldn't cover a fire if it was the result of a non-professional electrical installation that was not done to code. . . . . .

Is Peter's installation any different from an electric wall oven or stove drawing 40 amps that is directly wired to the circuit breaker?
 

Speedskater

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The NEC is a very strange book, tons of fine print. It may come down to :: is every little bit and piece listed for that application?

And it's Boston.
 

Chuck Lee

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Feb 6, 2015
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I've gone the three dedicated line route.
I feel I have better sound now using one dedicated line to run everything but with an added dedicated ground.
I go directly from my panel running 240(two 20 amp breaker at panel- per Torus for balanced power)into a Torus RM20 balanced power conditioner.I use the panel ground for the 240 set up.
The wire from the panel is Romex solid core #10 into a Furutech 20 amp connector directly into the Torus 20 amp inlet.
The Torus has a robust ground post which I use to run another 3 wire #10 Romex as a dedicated ground.One of the three wires ground my CD player directly back to the second direct ground.
All gear is plugged into this and of course you must use all 3 prong power cords,no floating grounds.
There is no noise, no hum, just complete silence.No ground loops.
It's about as simple as it gets.You don't need multiple dedicated lines to get high performance.Multiple lines are no guarantee that you will have noise free sound.You may end up worse if you don't pay attention to how those dedicated lines are connected on the same phase at the panel.If not, then noise issues are worse than what they were before dedicated lines. Pay more attention to a pure ground path,which is easier to do with one dedicated line.
 

microstrip

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Note that the Safety Ground needs to be in the same conduit or Romex® cable as the Hot & Neutral.

Unfortunately - technically it is a mistake! But it seems it is mandatory for safety.
 

Folsom

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Unfortunately - technically it is a mistake! But it seems it is mandatory for safety.

Really? Because when H and L flank it, it suppresses the ground field. It isn't perfect because the inductance is mediocre, but not everyone can afford $50/ft on top of tearing up all their walls.
 

Empirical Audio

Industry Expert
Oct 12, 2017
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I believe your next step should be eliminating all ground-loops. This will have a larger impact on noise floor than further mucking with AC power.

Start with your digital sources and work to your amps.

for USB there are isolators available now, like ISO-hub:

https://www.ciunas.biz/product-dets

https://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/micro-iusb3-0/

https://hifimediy.com/high-speed-usb-isolator-480Mbps

For your analog connections:

http://www.empiricalaudio.com/products/final-drive

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
 

Speedskater

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Oct 1, 2010
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Really? Because when H and L flank it, it suppresses the ground field. It isn't perfect because the inductance is mediocre, but not everyone can afford $50/ft on top of tearing up all their walls.
Yes, Ralph Morrison writes about it, in his new book:

ground wire.jpg
 
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Folsom

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I wasn't asking about whether or something needs to be grounded. Stop being a rude jackass, Kevin, and read what I wrote. I was questioning his assertion about the negative consequence to running the ground wire inbetween the L and N.
 

Speedskater

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Oct 1, 2010
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I wasn't asking about whether or something needs to be grounded. Stop being a rude jackass, Kevin, and read what I wrote. I was questioning his assertion about the negative consequence to running the ground wire inbetween the L and N.
Sorry, my post was directed at post #14 about the rule being a mistake.

I agree that running the SG between the H & N is a good thing. It's something that Bill Whitlock had been suggesting for a long time, but he had to write an AES paper before I could figure it out.
 

Folsom

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Sorry, my post was directed at post #14 about the rule being a mistake.

I agree that running the SG between the H & N is a good thing. It's something that Bill Whitlock had been suggesting for a long time, but he had to write an AES paper before I could figure it out.

ALRIGHT. You get really caught up in providing information and start to "speak-over" people without providing context to reference of whom or what you're speaking to. They appear like general statements that way as well, which makes it harder to understand. I appreciate your contributions but don't be a robot plz.
 

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