Dedicated Electrical

Hey Guys,


When building a dedicated electrical circuits is it better to add to my current box or add a sub panel?  Pro's and con's?


Current plan is 10/2 w/ Shunyata outlets.


Thank you



Adding another panel adds additional connections, another expensive panel, and an additional circuit breaker. The only advantage would be if the wire run is very long, 100 ft or more, in which case it would allow use of much larger gauge wire for the majority of the run with the panel located near the system. Any other situation and it is worse not better. 

Muliple lines runs the risk of ground loops. Even if this is avoided every wire is an antenna bringing RFI into the system. So one single dedicated line is the way to go. 
See Michael Fremer talking about his system when he says the same thing. Years ago. People are slow to adopt new information. 

I use one direct run of Romex 8/2. I found it easier to handle as it’s stranded compared to the 10 gauge solid conductors. The wire wasn’t too thick and fitted into 20amp hospital grade receptacles.

Same box is fine.

Question is which bar. There are two to chose from.

Use the one with the least major appliances-a/c, etc.

Then look at the ground and try to improve it. 

Buy some Furatech, Pangea or better receptacles.

I ran two 20 amp dedicated lines on 12/2. Seems fine.

Spent $300 on the whole deal.



Well, depends on the distance and circuits. If it's a long run and you are planning multiple circuits a sub panel is the way to go.  The voltage drop / foot will be smaller.

A subpanel won't add anyting.  It is often used if you are putting in service to many circuits a long distance from the box. run one big wire and split it up.  or if you are running out of breaker positions in your box.  Neither applies to you.  Jerry

run one big wire and split it up.

That would be a standard configuration for a sub-panel.

Muliple lines runs the risk of ground loops. Even if this is avoided every wire is an antenna bringing RFI into the system. So one single dedicated line is the way to go.

@millercarbon is that the reason that a couple of my components were manufactured with only two wire power cords (meaning no ground)? My Maranzt SA10 does not have the ground, nor does an old M&K subwoofer I am still using. Long ago a manufacturer (that I won’t name) suggest "floating the ground" with a 3-to-2-blade adapter to try to get rid of hum; I am not at all planning on doing that, but would that theoretically be a solution to RFI?

(And I should note that I presently do NOT have hum. And I am NOT "floating the grounds.")

Another question: is that what power conditioners theoretically do? Remove RFI?

Last question: in the room my system is now in, I put three dedicated lines in (my mindset was that I would not only be isolating them from everything else in the house, but from each other--at the time not understanding how the neutral bar in the electrical panel functions), so from what I am getting from this is that I should turn two of the three circuit breakers ’OFF’ and just use one of the three outlets?

Single "home run" Romex from breaker box to dedicated listening room.

No hum, no buzz, no drama.

I agree @millercarbon. Perhaps consider using MCC (metal case cable) if you have the opportunity to run a new (dedicated) circuit for your front end.

I always do but I’m an anal audiophile lol.

Though a bit more expensive…the metal casing (if properly grounded) will help reject/shield the wire from the RFI/EMI that looms around any space with electronic components and/or walls loaded with romex.

Think of it as the metal box most of your stereo gear is built in…once grounded it’s called a “shielded ground”

Perhaps called a “faraday shield” or  “faraday cage” lol 

Most audiophiles like to see the tubes on top of the case (exposed) and so do I,

but they can also pick up RFI/EMI. It’s why most vintage gear didn’t expose the tubes… not just because there were no transistors at the time (and the tubes where fragile).

Ill never forget after my first 300b SET build, only the tubes where exposed on top.

I was sitting there on the second night, proudly listening (pretty loud) when my cell phone rang through the loudspeakers! Lololololol

Admittedly it never happened since then though. All my other tube gear is shielded (no exposed tubes) except for the Supratek pre…



That's right. All wires pick up RFI. Just what they do. Look- what's an antenna? Nothing more than a piece of wire. The wire is cut to length and laid in shapes or patterns to maximize particular frequencies of interest, but basically it is just a wire.

Radio frequencies are everywhere. We get our power from wires. Therefore, all of us have RFI. All we can do is take steps to minimize its impact.

A simple test, turn off as many breakers as you can, and you will hear the impact of reduced RFI. It will sound like you just put your system on battery power. Which I know what that sounds like from modifying things from wall AC to battery DC.

Experience gained with hands-on testing such as this is how I know a sub panel is sure to add unnecessary expense and noise, and the same goes for multiple lines.

immathewj- Your old vintage components are made that way because that’s the way pretty much everything was made back then. That’s the way the US electrical grid was designed to be run. Over the years though people get less and less educated, more and more heavily regulated, until today we are afraid of our own shadow. Redundant earth ground is now code in most places, and some are starting to add an even more redundant third ground to plumbing. When we see people attaching copper ground wires to plastic pipes we will know we are at Spinal Tap 11.

Eliminating, cutting, or "floating" the redundant third earth ground is one way of solving ground loop hum problems. In your case, with older gear with just two prong AC you already are "floating" the ground.

Power conditioners, almost all of them, primarily use a large transformer. These transformers are designed to be very efficient at 6oHz. AC is 60Hz. Ever notice makers of tube amps and other things like to brag about their custom wound transformers with great top end frequency response? Because it is hard to make a transformer do high frequency. Radio frequency is in mHz- mega. Not kilo, mega. So AC coming into the primary is chock full of RFI, but the AC coming out the secondary has a lot less. This is pretty much a power conditioner in a nutshell.

There is no "isolated" with running lines. Everything plugged into the outlet is connected to everything everywhere else plugged into the grid. All you have to do is follow the wires back to the panel, remove the cover and have a look inside to see that this is the case. Everyone else’s home is wired just the same. All those wires connect to neutral, and they all go back to the incoming utility. Everything is connected to everything else.

The only true isolation is a battery disconnected from AC and housed along with the component in a shielded chassis. I have this with my Rens Heijnis modified Strain Gauge phono stage. It works pretty good.

See my simple test above. Turning off two of your circuits will disconnect those two hot leads, reducing by that much the length of wire collecting and funneling RFI into your system. To that degree it will help. You might even be able to hear it. I have done a similar test, turning off some breakers and then others, and there is a difference. The more the better. Just remember to turn them back on. People get so cranky when the hot water runs out.




I would run 10/3 MC (metal clad) cable with solid copper core conductors from the breaker panel to a metal receptacle box. The metal sheathing on the MC cable absorbs the electric fields emitted by the wires and shunts it to ground. Now from panel to plug is shielded. The advantage of MC cable is low line noise and reduced antenna effect on AC power lines/branch circuits. I would run at least two dedicated 20 amp lines for audio. 😎

IMHO,MC type cable (3-wire plus insulated ground) is currently the best choice for non-isolated ground circuits for audio.



immathewj- Your old vintage components are made that way because that’s the way pretty much everything was made back then.

Thanks for getting back to me on this, @millercarbon  , the M&K sub is old (25 years or so) but not vintage, and the Maranzt is almost a new SACD player.  With the Maranzt, in particular, I was thinking maybe they made it that way because of RFI?

But then is your take/advice on power conditioners that they do overall good?  Or are they like most medicines which, as examples, might lower your blood pressure or alleviate depression but may screw something else up?

I do intend to rum my system on the one ddicated circuit as soon as I get my listening room back together.  I was actually changing some things around on my dedicated lines when I caught this thread, and today was a totally nonproductive day up in the attic, and I have a few more to go, but I am just hoping they will be more productive.  This is not the kind of attic that is fun to be up in. 

But thank you for the input/insight.

@offbrandracing ,

I would either wait or just PM agon member @jea48,

He has provided what I consider the soundest advice on anything electrical on this forum for years.


Immathewj, power conditioners used to be all over the map but today are like most things more consistently good. Even so they are like all components very individual and to be judged on that basis. The way I see it there are so many areas of improvement it is just as good to do fuses, springs and so on first and leave conditioner for later as the other way around. As long as you are putting one foot in front of the other and not sitting still you are making progress and that’s what counts not any one particular thing. 
The conditioner test is on my (very) long list of ideas to try when I can find the time. In my system a step down transformer goes from 240 to 120 and then another one is in the conditioner. All of this can be changed to compare, but being hard wired is a bit of a project, not like most things people would just plug and unplug. 
Many years ago I had some Electraglide power cords and learned that they were not earth ground. They looked like they were, they had three prong connections at both ends, but they weren’t. The dealer told me they did this because it sounds better. This was at least 30 years ago. Then at Chuxpona21 (do a system page search) Silversmith owner Jeff Smith was here. He thinks so much of floating ground he carries a cheater plug around in his pocket, eager to prove how much better it sounds. This is a guy who designs cables for a living. So I am not surprised if some of what you have was made that way as part of intentional design. 

Thank you, @millercarbon ; to have enough outlets for all the gear (amp, pre, digital source, sub) on the one dedicated circuit, are there any acceptable alternatives to connecting an outlet to the existing outlet that I am going to use as the dedicated circuit? That probably sounds like a stupid question, but is there such a thing as an acceptable grade of strip (other than a power conditioner)?

And as it happens, I do have a power conditioner; I bought it around 25 years ago from a dealer in Philthadelphia who was very good at selling me things. At the time, I considered the $600 to be outrageously expensive. It is the "Prometheus Power Flo" and there is no point on doing a search on it as I just did and . . . nothing. I have used it and not used it (was in the NOT mode the last time I was running my system on three ’dedicated’ circuits, and if it made a difference, my ears were not picking it up. That typed, I am the first to admit that I probably don’t have the ears for this "hobby" . . . however I do enjoy immersing myself in in music and my ears are good enough to tell when it sounds good or not so good.

First rule of audio, if you don’t hear any difference, don’t worry. My rule anyway, if I don’t hear it, why bother? So it seems to me you already have a power strip, in this case one called "Prometheus Power Flo" and so you might as well use it.

That said, there is a way to determine for yourself whether it "works" or not. Start by plugging everything into it and listening to your system that way. Do this long enough to get used to the way this sounds. Then unplug one component and plug it directly into the same outlet as the conditioner. This avoids potential differences between outlets, possibility of ground loop noise, etc. This is a true test because the only variable is the conditioner.

Hopefully you prefer the conditioner. But if not then use the same process to find a power strip.

Don’t worry if you don’t hear any difference. In this case there are two ways to go. One, you remain happy as a clam, content in being satisfied with whatever you have. Two, this bugs you and you want to find out whether your lack of hearing any difference is based in reality, or a lack of listening skill.

I know which one it is, but remain agnostic on which choice you make. For the simple reason this is all about building a system you enjoy. Not me. Not anyone else. Just you. If I can help you be happy with what you have, that is just as gratifying to me as if I can help you learn to master all the many ways you can make it better, and appreciate it for being better.

To that end I will soon be writing a series of articles on how to listen, critically and effectively. How to evaluate what you are hearing, with the words to describe and talk about this with others. And best of all, how to develop the ability to do this with aspects of sound you are not currently aware of or able to identify.

Thank you, @millercarbon ,

last question (for a while) it was either here or on AA, that I read something to the effect of ’most powered subwoofers have such crappy power that they feed crap back into whatever circuit they are on, and therefore. . . .’ now I apologize for not being able to pull the entire quote from my memory word for word and possibly not in context, but for that reason I had my sub all by itself on one of my three dedicated circuits. But I am now assuming that that statement about a powered sub degrading everything else on the circuit was untrue?

Oh, and on edit

Two, this bugs you and you want to find out whether your lack of hearing any difference is based in reality, or a lack of listening skill.

I am pretty sure I know the answer as well, I am pretty sure it is hearing/listening skill.

But the thing is, for me, I think hearing is kind of like the subconcious. I may not immediately hear something, but it can sound better without me immediately knowing it, except, over a period of time, I begin to realize that I am more gratified than I was in the past . . . which makes critical listning A?Bs difficult for me.

Oh, and on another edit, to one of my earlier questions:  ideally I should probably put another outlet inline with whatever I choose for my one dedicated circuit outlet?


Everything feeds crap back into the line. DACs and other digital gear with high frequency chips are probably much worse than subs. In general though it is fruitless to point fingers power is dirty, and more things being plugged in only makes things worse. 

There is a clear distinction between hearing and listening. What you just described 

I may not immediately hear something, but it can sound better without me immediately knowing it, except, over a period of time, I begin to realize that I am more gratified than I was in the past

is the result of a process that can be learned, practiced, and improved, just the same as any other skill. You will want to search my name and read about it. Coming soon!

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Use a 20 amp breaker fuse and put nothing else on that line,  Hopefully you have an unused slot in the breaker box.....


The Late Charles Hansen (M) formal owner/manufacturer of Ayre Acoustics, Inc. posted on AA than none of his home audio system equipment was connected to the EGC/earth.

I think it’s important to be clear here. AFAIK, one of the advantages of the diamond circuit was that it was pretty suitable to be used with a floating-ground. A good thing.

However, also AFAIK, most of the Ayre gear does use a safety ground for the chassis.

Much of the gear out there is somewhere in between. They use a chassis ground AND a resistor to reference the signal ground to earth ground, while attempting to minimize current transfer. See if you can find a schematic for a CJ PV-10 which shows this quite nicely.

Appliances used to be allowed to use neutral as the ground. This is no longer allowed AFAIK due to the possibility of neutral being imperfect and having lethal voltages across it.

Lastly, this is one place where XLR connections can be absolutely superior.  You don't need ground to transmit the signal, meaning equipment from point A to point B which can be 30' long and may have different ground potentials can still communicate and not risk a ground loop.

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Not sure if I'm making anything clear or not.  :-)

You can design audio circuits with floating ground which fit into a case that is connected to the outlet safety ground.

I used to work in theater audio and we did just that and our chief engineer felt strongly that it was why we had such industry leading noise specs. There was no conductive path from the chassis to the audio ground, or any other audio or power path.