Other factors affecting sound

I'm building a dedicated room in my basement and was wondering if I should care about in wall electrical wiring and Receptacles. Do these generally make a big difference. I assume anything should be better than builders quality material. Are there any specific recommendations? What about whole house surge protection? Also, I have an option to install a second electrical box, is this helpful? I have a 5000sq ft house in suburban area with very few houses near me. I have clean and stable power. Recommendations appreciated. 


I do recommend you go with at least commercial grade, tamper resistant outlets. Super expensive at around $5 each. :-) After a long period of time CG outlets will still grip tight. Tamper proof is required in residences and keeps kids from starting a fire with paper clips. Above all, avoid rhodium plated outlets if you go all in on even more expensive outlets.

The sub panel is really pretty useful in making it cheap to have multiple circuits in one room. You can run an oversized 220V wiring to your listening room and then take individual circuits from there. Also, you can put an in-panel surge protector at both your main and the sub panel. This is often preferable, both cost and math wise to running large individual circuits all the way from your main panel to your listening room.

When I built my new house I told the electrician to put higher grade wires, separate paths & such into my proposed listening room. I got PS Audio receptacles from one of the audiophile mail order sites. The electrician looked at them with amusement but gamely installed them. Did it all actually improve things? Because I have no verifiable "before" for my "after," I have no idea. All I can say is that the components I moved from my previous house did sound significantly better in the new digs.

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My only recommendation is to put in more receptacles than you need across the whole wall. 

At least commercial ("spec grade") receptacles. I used Hubbell hospital-grade receptacles. They will outlast me.

I almost never go for any of the power woo… but all the previous posts make sense as one never has enough outlets, and if one needs new outlets you might as well get the hospital grade ones. And a bigger 20A circuit makes sense too, as does them surge protection.

I swear plaster walls sound better than drywall.

One could also do the decoupled wall scheme, and any door seals and windows options at the same time.

My room has been wired a number of different ways beginning with the normal outlet to outlet wiring and then being progressively upgraded to a dedicated 20A line, which was then upgraded to 4ga, then 240V with a 120V audiophile step-down transformer. Then the wire was ripped out and cryo’d and put back in. Then a long list of tweaks to that.

Each step up was an improvement, but none of them came even close to the huge improvement from the first step of simply running one direct line. It seems the worst thing you can do is run AC in a chain from one outlet to the next, which is the normal way electricians do it. Simply eliminating all these connections is huge and extremely cost-effective.

I’ve also installed whole panels and know what I’m doing. An extra panel is one of the last things you want to do because guess what? More connections! There are exceptions like if your system is in another building or something, but in any normal home even a large one just run a dedicated line off your existing panel.

Unless of course your panel is crap. There are always exceptions. Michael Fremer has a whole video where his whole panel was redone. Seems a waste to me. Until you see what a mess his panel was.

Run your ONE dedicated line to where your system will be and plug everything into that. Then run another circuit to the room for lights and accessory outlets. Put some extra outlets near the system for lights, demagnetizers, and other accessories. DO NOT ever plug anything connected to your system into one of these, as that is a recipe for ground loop hum.

Exceptions are things like wall wart power supplies, those are a gray area as some it won’t matter at all what they are plugged into while others will benefit from clean AC, it is a case by case basis.

Plan your total outlets accordingly.

More than you think is better.

Normal AC wire is fine just make the system a 20A circuit. Use audiophile outlets. Whichever ones you want just don’t use "hospital grade" thinking that is better, it is the same crap as everything else, thicker but just as crappy. There is much more to audiophile outlets than a tight grip on the power cord.

Plan on using a conditioner and Decware has a very good yet very affordable one, but there are a lot of them out there, pretty much all of which are better than nothing.

Last thing, I have to blow my own horn. A lot of guys have opinions, but read the above again, I have actually done this stuff and compared so know from experience what does what. Even my power conditioner is so modified it has Synergistic, Oyaide, and two other outlets I forget what they are. Differences between them are minor compared to how much better they ALL are to the crap your electrician will install. Yes this stuff is worth the money, and the weird looks you will get.

Last thing, I have to blow my own horn. 



Whichever ones you want just don’t use "hospital grade" thinking that is better, it is the same crap as everything else, thicker but just as crappy. There is much more to audiophile outlets than a tight grip on the power cord

How so? (Please explain)



Inconsequential differences between my hospital grade and my Oyaide direct from Japan. Except for $$ that can be utilized better elsewhere.

I have a few household outlets either side of my equipment rack, accessible without moving anything, for table lamps, plug in tube tester, test a piece before I re-arrange ....

system: single 15 amp circuit at rack, plug furman into it, plug all devices into furman. the load is only the source, preamp, amp, not everything at once. also, the furman's capacitors fill up, they handle the instant peaks not the line per se.

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I swear plaster walls sound better than drywall.

Most definitely, though they are rare today. I was raised in a New England house with lath, horsehair, and plaster walls, and you can tell the difference just walking into the room. The random thicknesses of the plaster (and maybe the horsehair) reduce resonances, I guess. Wallboard is just a huge drumhead.

When having my own room built, I used QuietRock and kept an eagle eye on the sheetrock workers, who wouldn’t have followed all the specialized installation techniques (as specified by the manufacturer) without being pushed a little. They weren’t lazy; they just didn’t know.

220/240 sub panel, and # 12 copper romex for the 120vac receptacles. I use 125vac copper hubbarts. 

The thing I don't like about # 12 is roughing in all the pigtails. The best of days twisting wire nuts leave me crippled for a week. Not the good old days after 49 years of pulling wrenches. 15 minutes 3 sometimes 4 times a day, from 10-16 hour days for 49 years.

I don't use the basement or attic for sound but both have subs/220/240 and # 12/3/g copper romex. There are 125/25 amp outlets every 4 feet. I can add 220/240 to any outlet the wire is in there or split the two each having both L1 and L2 from the main in the box. L1 is always the left side of the room L2 is the right side. I don't mix the two. It can cause noise.


Hubbel receptacles look decent, not sure what Industrial vs. Hospital grade is. On amazon you can get them quite cheap, $20-40. 

I would suggest a whole house surge suppressor in your main panel.  (uses 2 spaces). Secondly, one or two dedicated 20Amp circuits to the site of your equipment stack. Third, I have used rockwool insulation in several recent remodeling projects. It comes in flat panels and batts. It has thermal insulation, fire resistance, water resistance, and sound dampening all-in-one. Usually available at HD and Lowes, but sometimes can be special ordered in larger quantities for a better price. Consider using rockwool above (between the joists) to lessen the sound bleed through to the rest of the house.

A basement can have heating issues, water leakage, flooding, musty smells, etc. Make sure that deal with all that as best you during your remodel.  best of luck.


@mike_in_nc thanks for the sound rock tip.

Most definitely, though they are rare today. I was raised in a New England house with lath, horsehair, and plaster walls, and you can tell the difference just walking into the room. The random thicknesses of the plaster (and maybe the horsehair) reduce resonances, I guess. Wallboard is just a huge drumhead.

I think it is related to wall stiffness(?).The plaster is so much stiffer than drywall.
The good part about drywall is that the skirting boards (baseboards) pull the drywall to the board as much as the board to the drywall, when one is using screws..

On plaster they both need to be straight.

I did not take measurements when I did a counselling room with thick 5/8” drywall and green glue. But it sounded also most like a plaster wall at that point in terms of sound coming through the wall. It was really the solid core door that was dominant at that point.

It is great that the @ei001h is doing this electrical stuff now…

I would probably add in some conduits for ethernet, fibre, etc… One can always suck through a string with a vacuum to pull a different cable later if there is a conduit in place in the guts of the wall.

great recommendations on insulation and conduits. 

I was planning to get a barn door for aesthetics, is this a bad idea? 

any specific recommendations on whole house surge protectors? 

@ditusa (Relentless)… I am a bit too stiff in the back.
And I could probably throw my shoulder out patting myself on the back.


I was planning to get a barn door for aesthetics, is this a bad idea?

Like a Mr. Ed door?

It is like windows are not great for listening, but I like having a view… so if you like the Dutch door, or other barn door styles, then some aesthetics make sense to make it a nice space..

+1 MC. Dedicated outlets is often a very cost effective improvement. Obviously depending on your routing situation. It could get into the thousands if it’s a really hard run. Could be as low as a couple hundred bucks or do it yourself if you know what your doing. I had to do a little drywall ceiling work to get 2 dedicated lines into my basement but no big deal. I think I spent $500 total to pay my buddy labor and materials. Well worth it. 

I would go with the whole house surge suppression breaker when you install in the panel it will go into the first Double pole slot to right of the panel. Order the one that also has 2 dedicated 20 amp breakers built in that way your sending better protection to the circuits feeding your audio equipment they cost about 100.00. I think you can buy on Amazon

hi there ei001h - the biggest leap in sound quality I ever got in my system was by running a dedicated 10gauge furutech CB10 line from my distribution board connected with a 50amp german made circuit breaker. But I didn't run the line to a wall outlet - I hardwired it to a e-tp609 furutech unfiltered distributor with internals replaced with the same CB10 wire, each wired connection buttered with NP1260 contact enhancer from high fidelity. The increase in sound quality was so good, I don't run my amp or preamp through my SR powercell SX any longer - the leap in dynamics, air and timbre was that good. Cost for the change added up to USD2500 - or about the cost of a powerplant 3 from PSaudio.

You're so on track with your question, incoming clean and stable, or not : )


in friendship - kevin

Oh, I forgot to add, the wall outlet is one of the most overlooked parts of the power chain, as a great amount of interference gets through and into the circuit even with the already good hospital grade and SR orange type higher performance outlets. 

 The furutech e-tp609 is shielded like a tank, second only to their crazy expensive pure power six; a little wasted as a distributor with a compromised power cord connection, but so very optimised if hardwired to the dedicated line.

I hope this comes in handy : ) - kevin

Thank you @millercarbon for your many valuable (and entertaining!) contributions on the subject of AC wiring. I have zero doubt your recommendations, based on practical listening experience, are sound – particularly the suggestion for using a single direct line.

My question has to do with the principal of eliminating connections. I understand your abhorrence of the way electricians normally run AC, i.e., from outlet to outlet. But I wonder if it is because of the antenna effect of longer, daisy-chained wiring and/or the added potential for noisy lights and other accessories to share an undedicated line? Or has it also something to do with the connections themselves?

My reason for asking is I plan to move my two-channel source/amplifier components into a separate room from my speakers. ONE dedicated line will be run from a 20A circuit on either the sub panel (~40’ away) or main panel (~65 feet away) to a power conditioner. All source/amplifier components (i.e., amp, DAC, turntable, and streamer) will then be plugged into that conditioner. Lights and other non-system accessories will be plugged into a different circuit.

My dilemma is how to supply AC to the speakers – each with its own powered subwoofer – which will be in a separate room. I could run an additional direct line to each speaker – but this would seem to violate the objective of keeping everything on one circuit and may exacerbate any antenna effect. Alternatively, I could run AC from the first outlet (where the conditioner and other components are plugged in) to a next outlet (for the left speaker) and finally, to a last outlet (for the right speaker), in a chain. But this would possibly result in more connections!

What would you advise given that my system is a fairly modest one, including power conditioner (Audioquest Niagara 1000), integrated tube amp (PrimaLuna Prologue Premium), DAC (Schiit Yggdrasil), streamer (ALLO DigiOne Signature with Shanti Dual Linear PSU), turntable (Yamaha YP-701 with Shure V-15 type III), and speakers (GoldenEar Triton Two+)? Additionally, but of secondary priority, I’m interested in specific product endorsements for AC wire, receptacles (including a single plug option for speakers) and panel upgrades (audiophile breakers?).

Again, thanks ever so much!

@samah Millercarbon is either on hiatus or banned.

(IMO) Outlets that get a monkey grip on the power plugs is a nice start.

Millercarbon’ s ID says he has been banned. Very knowledgeable… lots to offer… but also added a lot of attitude that made the forum less friendly. From a technical point we were virtually always of the same opinion. 

Remindes me of a lot of brilliant people that have worked for me. With brilliant frequently comes a lot of conflict with others.

While I am not familiar with every one of millercarbon ’s posts, it would seem a shame if he was banned as I’d trade a modicum of civility at the expense of harmony if, in exchange, we may all benefit from more frequent brilliance as a check on conventional wisdom.

Perhaps millercarbon didn’t suffer fools gladly - but what does it say about us if we can’t put up with that? We’d rather be unenlightened than have our egos bruised? The everlasting joke is we’re all fools for pursuing audio perfection. The degree of unattainability and gorgeousness of this folly is the thing that exposes just how big a fool we really are - and which (gladly) binds us together, intellectually and aesthetically. I sensed millercarbon got that.

@gwng8 - I still have my streamer, transport and DAC plugged into it, and in the process of taking each off one at a time for direct connection to the modified Furutech shielded distributors to listen for audible differences or betterments. I’ll update when I have a better idea - but clearly better with the amp and preamp direct. 


in friendship - kevin

I miss Miller Carbon's comments and wish he were back.  I sometimes totally disagreed with him, but that is part of the fun.  He also had a good dry wit.

I miss Miller Carbon’s comments and wish he were back. I sometimes totally disagreed with him, but that is part of the fun. He also had a good dry wit.

He has his own website now. You can get all the mc you want.  I don't recall the name of the site.

Here you go, @kingharold:   Millercarbon’s The Audio Files

It looks a little lonely over there. mc would probably appreciate your company.


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I see what you mean about lonely.  As best I can determine his forum has zero threads with zero replies.  I have been more entertained reading the text on a Lysol bottle while sitting on the throne.

Millercarbon was very knowledgeable but condensending and egotistical. The forum is much more enjoyable without the vitriol.