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Does a separate mains spur for hifi make a difference?

Discussion in 'audio' started by junk01, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. junk01

    junk01 pfm Member

    Okay, seems like a conclusion is appropriate:

    1. A dedicated mains radial for hifi can make a noticeable difference, but there seems to be a wide variation in experience so...

    2. Do a test first to determine whether it's worthwhile. Either turn off/unplug all other equipment on the same ring main as your kit, or if your cooker circuit has a socket try plugging an extension lead in there to run the hifi from. Listen. Then listen again. Then listen with mother. Then listen again.

    3. Use (and reviews) of mains regenerators suggest that sources and preamps have the most to gain from a "clean" electricity supply, power amps less so.

    4. If going ahead with an installation get a qualified electrician to do it (and certify it if you live in the UK). Electrocution plays havoc with sound quality perception.

    5. A popular approach seems to be a 10mm2 t+e from the consumer unit (MCB) to the unswitched socket(s) although 6mm2 has been suggested as being a lot easier to work with. A good quality mains block (home-made or bought) may optionally be plugged into the socket.

    6. If a new radial is desired, but not possible there are other actions which can be done to help - see this post

    7. Otherwise power regenerators such as PS Audio and Torus offer a power solution in a box and seem to test well, but deep pockets are required

    8. Finally, if these options are unsatisfactory, then take the millennarian approach, flee to the hills and generate your own power. Don't forget the ammunition, hunting knife and bandanna.

    Thanks to all who contributed.

    Junk
     
  2. blossomchris

    blossomchris I feel better than James Brown

    And your mother knows best


    Bloss
     
  3. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    On your point number one, Junk, if you've got Naim gear, dedicated mains is a no-brainer. For other s/s it's probably an improvement. For valved kit, the jury is out...............(but it can't do any harm...):)
     
  4. Rob400

    Rob400 pfm Member

    10mm2 is complete over kill IMO. 6mm2 gets my vote and that of my sparky who is 1st fixing my new supply next week.
     
  5. junk01

    junk01 pfm Member

    I wouldn't disagree, Rob. Maybe I should have stated 6mm2 as being favoured over 10mm2... I suppose the main thing is that these are the two most popular choices.

    Junk
     
  6. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Quite probably, Rob, and even 6mm2 may be, but what the Hell ! I've got both anyway. However, if you're just having one, different story altogether.
     
  7. JimDog

    JimDog pfm Member

    Please let me know if you know a good electrician near Lancaster who has installed one or more dedicated hifi radial circuits?
     
  8. Charlie_1

    Charlie_1 pfm Member

    I had two fused spurs installed (2.5mm2 and 4mm2). They both sound better (blacker blacks, etc.) but connecting the system to the standard socket is always more enjoyable to my ears. I still go back from time to time to see if anything has changed.

    I subsequently had the spurs terminated in a dedicated distribution box with separate feed but I still prefer the standard socket :(

    The only thing I can think causes this was running the cable off the drum from the socket end to the distribution board, rather than the other way around.

    A friend has had great success with a German Lapp cable as a dedicated spur. He went with them cos they could guarantee some form of consistency between various diameter cables for his various tests. I think he settled on 10mm2 in the end. probably a bit chunky for most folks.
     
  9. JimDog

    JimDog pfm Member

    See above for why fuses may undermine the benefit.
    Also, many who have done this swear by 10mm2.
    Also, how can your radials sound better, when your main ring is always more enjoyable to your ears?
    Do your ears have a different mode of enjoyment than sound?
    Ok, someone may be tickling them, but I'm not interested in that.
     
  10. Charlie_1

    Charlie_1 pfm Member

    :)
    Have you never experienced better sound (i.e. tighter bass, more refined treble, etc.) but a loss of musical enjoyment along with it? I hear this a lot across all sorts of equipment. Ryhthm, timing and tunefulness don't always sit in the same camp as better HiFi sound quality - not in my experience anyway.
     
  11. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Come on, how can this cause it? Copper is copper and the mains is AC.
     
  12. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Which existing circuit did they come off (but I think you mean radial circuits) ?

    D'you mean a consumer unit ? No idea what a distribution box is where dedicated mains supplies are concerned unless you mean * below, which wouldn't be a terminus for radials.

    A contradiction in terms; a spur cannot be 'dedicated' in the electrical sense as it comes off an existing circuit (as I've mentioned).

    NB. A RADIAL circuit 'radiates' from a given source point (e.g. radiator, spokes in a wheel, radius)
    A SPUR is an off-shoot from another circuit

    The ideal hifi dedicated mains is to have tails from the meter to a * junction box, with one set of tails going to the domestic consumer unit and another pair to the hifi c.u. The number of radials you want/will want determines the size of the c.u., but always worth having a spare space in it. Ideally an RCBO (combo of MCB & RCD) should be used for each way. If one cable, it has to be 10mm2 (min.) but if aiming for individual circuits to suit your pieces of kit, 6mm for each amplification and maybe 4mm for each source. The RCBOs (or MCBs) are fuses, and putting other fuses in the mains path negates the objective, though convenience may be paramount here.
     
  13. whatsnext

    whatsnext Naimless

    Wishful thinking is the source of results
     
  14. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    I think if I were getting a fresh supply wired I'd opt for two separate 4mm. One for current hungry stuff like power amps and one for sources and preamps.

    Then I believe its prudent to prioritise electrical proximity to the source first.
     
  15. JimDog

    JimDog pfm Member

    Ah - you just mean precise reproduction isn't always more enjoyable.
    The phrase 'sound better' in your original comment was confusing.
     
  16. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    This thread seems to have become deja vu all over again.
     
    Mike Reed likes this.
  17. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

  18. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    If you have dirty electricity and your kit has poor rejection then using a mains filter will be more effective and a lot cheaper. Quite often the DE comes in from outside sources so no additional in door wiring will cure that.

    Cheers,

    DV
     
  19. JimDog

    JimDog pfm Member

    No, I don't think I have have dirty electricity. It sounds nice and clean to me. No clicks or pops.
    But I still want to do this.
    The fact that lots of people whose views I respect have got good or excellent results from doing it - so much so that they are happy to openly recommend giving it a try - makes it seem a lot less likely to be pointles.
    The sound of my current system does get even cleaner and as the evenings get later and later (I am occasionally sober after 8pm) - which is a very rough measure of how much external EM noise is dragging my SQ down.
    I do have a lava lamp, PV panels data relay box, and various nasty STBs, extension leads, a router and other e-junk plugged in in my listening/sitting/telly room - plus of course a house full of normal electronics on the same main ring.
     
  20. MVV

    MVV pfm Member

    No doubt above is a huge row. I haven't bothered to read it. My experience is this. I put in a dedicated spur with cooker grade wire from the first entry point into the fuse box (upgraded cooker pcb) Also dedicated star earth in the garden. This was in my Linn/ Naim years.
    Anyhow one Christmas bored and with a similar thread boiling nonsense, I decided to do a test. I took an extension from the hall into a B&Q 4 socket mini extension and plugged the kit into that. Absolutely no difference!
    Do try this at home.
     
    booja30 and Arkless Electronics like this.

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