Power, Your System and Experience

Ultrafast69

VIP/Donor
Aug 28, 2018
111
34
125
Seattle, WA
www.audio-ultra.com
Hello WBF

Is it the opinion power in front of the wall is more important than behind the wall? We have read interpretations that the last six feet are the most critical, you can power cable and condition your way into great sound, but what about further back the pipe line?

Some guys run single dedicated circuits, others run multiple circuits. Some run into the inevitable ground loop issues with multiple circuits, others don’t, some filter claiming better performance.

Lots of variables, I know. So with that understanding, what’s your cup of tea? How are you supporting what you hear in terms of power, and whats important to you?

Thanks in advance for any response!
 

Mikem53

Well-Known Member
Oct 1, 2020
483
314
65
I have trouble with that concept as well.. The last 6 feet, when all that romex, aluminum feeds, et all is out in front..
Yet what ultimately counts is what we plug in the wall that matters.. I don’t have the caliber of equipment and extreme measures many on here use, but I can control the basics that are important in clean power.. I have a 20 amp dedicated line for my system, I balanced the power phases in the breaker box, and put the line I’m using for audio away from the more harmful noisy lines, such as the kitchen, utility room, etc.. using the quieter phase, that is used in the bedrooms, etc..
The real fix for me is a Balanced Power Isolation Transformer just before my equipment.. CMR cleans up much of the “Noise”. So using a proper sized dedicated Line, BPIT and a descent Power cable can make a nice difference, IME
 

plasmod3

Active Member
Aug 28, 2020
183
91
28
41
I will say the whole circuit is important from board to the system. a good in wall cable is truly indispensable. Even with a noise filtrating unit the source cable is very important. Re power cables - Mark's cables at sablon audio are bang for the buck. optimise your power delivery system as the first step as it often gives you most bang for the buck;-)
 

Gregm

Active Member
Mar 14, 2019
86
52
25
France
Here is my experience dabbling with power & power cables:

I have a dedicated line for my system which means it more quiet and has separate breakers than the rest of the house. There is a 4mm (6awg) wire running from the grid to our house, but I cannot say whether it imporves the sound vs the standard power corp model...

*Power cables do benefit the sound, I have found that a minimum of 2.5mm (10awg) wires and, better still, 4mm (6awg) sound best; The higher the demands in current -- i.e. amps, preamp -- the thicker the wire. (industrial sized overkill, I know)
*Solid core wire is better than multi-strand BUT is very stiff, so less convenient; solid-core invariably imparts a sharper sound which I like;
*For sound & safety reasons, good quality connectors are a must; not necessarily audiophile approved but certainly electrician-approved!
*Isolation transformers do a good job filtering out noise and offer a "balanced" output (i.e. it doesn't matter which way you plug in the component)
*In certain cases AC filters do a good job on source components
*Commercially available "filters" have consistently disappointed me: they improved clarity somewhat, but reduced dynamics which is a no-no in my book

It is uncanny how much improvement I got by simply purchasing good quality industrial wire and connectors, and getting a friendly electrician hobbyist to create power cables for me. Of course, I have also invested in the audiophile industry purchasing a selection of regulation power cables (Nordost, HMS, you get the idea); nothing beats the 1.5m 6awg wire that was given to me by an industrial client :)

Regards
 

oldvinyl

Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2017
75
52
85
Specific Northwest - Seattle area
Hello WBF

Is it the opinion power in front of the wall is more important than behind the wall? We have read interpretations that the last six feet are the most critical, you can power cable and condition your way into great sound, but what about further back the pipe line?

Some guys run single dedicated circuits, others run multiple circuits. Some run into the inevitable ground loop issues with multiple circuits, others don’t, some filter claiming better performance.

Lots of variables, I know. So with that understanding, what’s your cup of tea? How are you supporting what you hear in terms of power, and whats important to you?

Thanks in advance for any response!
My current home has the home theater and audio gear all in one room. Given the multiple pieces of equipment, I opted for four 20 amp dedicated circuits. The electricians used dedicated solid core 10 gauge wire to put in a sub-panel in a utility closet for these dedicated circuits. They also added 2 ground rods outside just for the sub-panel. The main panel in the garage has surge protection for the whole house (in case of lightning). The sub-panel is fed from the quieter side of the 110 volt phases on the panel it comes from (there is a 110+ and 110- phase, wired the sub-panel to the phase without major appliances).

The dedicated circuits power 2 Cardas outlets. The Cardas outlets can be configured with a dedicated line to each receptacle in the outlet by removing the jumpers.

The audio/video gear is plugged into an Audience aR12. There is an aR12 for the video gear and an aR12 for the audio gear. I use a power conditioner to 1) remove any noise on the power line and 2) provide internal bus bars for the power and ground. The bus bars connect all equipment to common AC+, AC- and ground - which is the first step in preventing ground loops.

My view of power cables is that they are extending the power supply connection to the wall, providing the best connection for the equipment to the AC power. The shielding on the cables also help prevent radiating any noise into the system.

Overall, both systems are relatively noise free. No ground loop hum. Even the tube phono stage and tube amps are quiet (you can hear tube rush if you turn it way up).

My previous home had one 20 amp dedicated circuit with 2 separate outlets. I had the electrician wire the outlets in a star configuration (they call it no voltage drop). There were no ground loops in that arrangement either. That house was completely rewired when we moved in, including a new drop from the street.
 
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stehno

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2014
1,065
163
285
Salem, OR
Hello WBF

Is it the opinion power in front of the wall is more important than behind the wall? We have read interpretations that the last six feet are the most critical, you can power cable and condition your way into great sound, but what about further back the pipe line?

Some guys run single dedicated circuits, others run multiple circuits. Some run into the inevitable ground loop issues with multiple circuits, others don’t, some filter claiming better performance.

Lots of variables, I know. So with that understanding, what’s your cup of tea? How are you supporting what you hear in terms of power, and whats important to you?

Thanks in advance for any response!

It's kinda' like asking, is the water in the river or lake more important than the water at the tap? Some install water filters at the sink claiming improved water quality and taste. But for practical reasons we rarely see water filters at the river or lake.

AC of course is a requirement. To the best of my knowledge all AC coming in from the street is dirty as it's the very nature of AC. There are AC filters, conditioners, cleansers, and/or purifiers and of course those are installed at the end of the chain, not the beginning. Just like a water filter. Where else would you put it?

As for me, my greatest sonic benefits are the result of treated AC. For 20 years, I've used several models of line conditioners. In all cases, these have been small dedicated, passive, and bi-directional filtering and work extremely well. Implying huge jumps in levels of musicality. This is in contrast to some other line conditioners that either do nothing or induce their own sonic harm.

But it's not just superior line conditioners. It's superior line conditioners with extreme forms of vibration mgmt applied to them. It also includes the line conditioners being cryo-treated at the factory. AC/electrical treatment also includes cryo-treated audio-grade fuses, outlets, plugs, IEC connectors and inlets, cryo-treated ic's and sc's (speaker cables). It also includes applying a form of vibration mgmt to the speaker cables. Oh, and it includes 4 dediated circuits / lines where the romex has also been cryo-treated. The cryo-treatment method applied is the sonically superor full-immersion method rather than the inferior vapor method. I also float the ground on all my components.

My current line conditioners (Jena Labs THE Two models) and previous line conditioners all come with built-in power cables. However, in my limited experience with power cables (primarily for audio shows) was in and of themselves (power cables) of small benefit. I've owned a $2500 pc and a $100 custom DIY cryo-treated pc that was actually superior to the $2500 pc.

Note: At an audio show the typical exhibiting room comes with several outlets all tied to a single 20-amp circuit and often times the nearest outlet is 10 ft away from the equipment. So my configure would be a 6ft pc from the wall to a custom cryo-treated audio grade power center and then my line conditioners would plug into the power center.

Anyway, at one audio show, a distributor asked me to try his latest $6k pc for the show so I said I'd give a try. Had it in for 2 days prior to the show I could hear no sonic difference between the $6k pc and my $100 DIY cryo-ed custom pc so I left the $6k pc in for the duration of the show. When I returned the pc to the distributor after the show, I thanked him. But I didn't have the heart to tell him his $6k pc was sonically no better than my custom cryo-treated $100 pc.

Superior forms of treated AC (or anything electrical) e.g. line conditioners, vibration mgmt techniques, cryo-treating methods, dedicated circuits/lines, etc has been by far the greatest sonic benefits of any other form of upgrades I've experienced - which are many.

One note about dedicated circuits / lines. Their sonic benefits are actually quite limited. In fact, with superior line conditioners in place I find dedicated lines to provide only one benefit. And that's with high current-drawing amplifiers. High-current-drawing amplifiers starve rather easily with every dynamic / complex music passage and even the smallest current-drawing component say a 23 watt 2amp preamp will rob the high-current-amp of the juice it needs at these times and render a performance as rather lifeless. The bulk of AC's noise comes from the street and not within the house. Hence aside from a noisy appliance or 3, dedicated lines in and of themselves do little more than dedicate the AC noise to a given circuit / line. The job of purifying / cleansing noisy AC is reserved for superior line conditioners.

For example. When preparing for a show, I'd get my favorite power cable and power center and configure my system using a single dedicated 20-amp outlet weeks in advance of a show to check for sonic differences. I would also add up the watts / amps of any show lighting and plug those into the same power center and run for weeks as if the system was under show conditions.

If I did not do the above things with the electrical, high-end audio would be quite boring.

But the important thing about electrical treatment is just like every other part of the audio playback vineyard. There exists many inferior products and methods and very few superior products and methods and it pays to hunt for the superior versions. Failing to take this distinction into account, you'll be very disappointed and will be out significant time and money and pleasure too. I also never trust the name brand of a product. Just because a mfg'er makes a world-class pre-amp or amp should never automatically imply the mfg'er knows the first thing about superior AC filterning / conditioning methods. They and others may claim they do, but such claims don't mean squat until you verify for yourself. To assume otherwise is a potentially huge mistake and we can all fall victim to that line of thinking.
 
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Chuck Lee

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2015
84
4
213
Here's what I have done so far that works for me.
A double 20amp breaker to run 240 from the panel into 10 feet of DH Labs Red Wave AC #10 wire for my balanced Torus RM 20 conditioner.The Red wave has a 20 amp Furutech receptacle into the Torus.
The Torus has 2 QV2 and 2 QK1 devices.
There is no noise.
My goal is to replace the old panel with an upper tier Square D electrical panel.
I have a Devialet pro 250, Bryston BCD3,SME 10/V,Kiseki Blue NS,Shunyata Depth sub all plugged into this single dedicated line.My speakers are Dynaudio Saphire.
Power cables are Shunyata,speaker cables are Furutech,digital xlr is Audio Sensibility and phono wire is Audio Sensibility.Cartridge wire is Furutech silver.
The room has GIK traps floor to ceiling, and wall panels plus side wall first reflection are diffusors.The equipment rack is Grand Prix Audio and two Symposium Ultra platforms under the TT and Torus.The speakers are on Gaia 11.
It's nice to have my own space,14x24x8.6, but I wish it were larger.
But moving out of this space would increase the distance from the panel which I don't want to do.
My advice is to run a dedicated line with 20 or 30 amp breaker for all electronics,use the best wire you can,and keep it short .Then try a power conditioner or power distribution and try some tweaks.
You never know how good your gear is if you do not try to improve the power going into it.So much stuff is bought and sold yet never really heard or given a chance to show what it can do when it's stifled by poor power.
I used to be a "wall plugger", I would never go back.
 

Cellcbern

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2015
184
74
245
68
Washington, DC
I had my electrician run a 30A line from the main panel to a separate breaker box and JPS Labs "In Wall Wiring" (2 x 10 awg plus 12awg ground) from there to a 20A Oyaide R-1 wall outlet. The dedicated line and outlet are grounded back to the main panel, and I put ERS cloth and Bybee IQSE's in the 20A breaker box. I also had him install an Environmental Potentials EP-2050 Waveform Corrector and an EP-2750 Ground filter on the main panel. Avoid inferior sounding Romex for dedicated lines and stick with the top of the line audio grade outlets like Oyaide and Furutech. Hubbell and other hospital grade outlets are not as well made and don't sound as good. I prefer passive power cleaning/conditioning devices. All of the transformer based ones I've heard impact dynamics. I use a Bybee Stealth Power Purifier with Bybee IQSE's inside and a Quantum Physics noise disruptor on top, augmented by Nordost QRT QV2 and QK1, and High Fidelity MC-0.5 plug-ins. No matter what you've done behind the wall and with power conditioning you will still realize a lowering of the noise floor with additional power filtering devices like the Lessloss Firewall 64x that is between my sacd player and its power cable, and CMARC power cable that is on my Modwright PS 9.0 power supply. The trick is recognizing when you've reached the point of diminishing returns. I haven't been willing to spend what Entreq and others are asking for boxes of earth, but I did realize a small but audible reduction in noise/increase in clarity from running a Gutwire grounding cable from an unused input on my integrated amp to an unused wall outlet at a fraction of the cost of the grounding boxes. Even with everything I've done to ensure clean power to my audio components, each power cable upgrade I've made has resulted in an audible improvement in sound quality so form time to time, when I have disposable cash, I will upgrade power cables. I would love to have at least one "super power cord" like top of the line Ansuz or Echole.
 
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