Wow, 15Amps to 20amps circuit made a big difference!

B

baronvonellis

Audioholic
Just thought I'd share this about the wiring and electricity in my house, and how it makes a big difference in sound at least in my case.

I live in a 130 year old 3 floor apartment building, with each floor a different apartment. I have a window AC unit that was blowing my circuit everyday, if I had the TV and lights on. I got an electrician to come out yesterday. It turns out my window AC, home theatre, TV, living room lights, kitchen lights, microwave, and 2 other conduits that he thought were going to my apartment but were actually going to the 2nd or 3rd floor apartments were all on one 15Amp circuit! Whoever wired up my building originally made a crazy mess and put way too much on 1 circuit. So the electrician ran some new wiring and conduit, and split up that one circuit into 4 different breakers now. He also saw that my home theatre and AC unit had 20 amp wiring already, so he put a new 20 amp breaker for that room.

Now when I listen to music, I was shocked everything sounded so much better and clearer. The bass used to be boomy and indistinct, now it's a lot more focused, not boomy and I can hear every bass note distinctly like they are playing next to me. Also the midrange and treble is so much more focused and detailed. I can hear all kinds of tiny details I never could hear before. I was listening to Bill Evans Live at the Village Vanguard. It's recorded in a smoky Manhattan jazz club, and now I can hear the conversations in the club in the background and the glasses being put down at the tables and bar. I felt like I was right there in the smoky jazz club, and could hear the people talking at the table next to me!

I didn't change anything with my sound system, I couldn't believe just the building power would make such a difference. By the way, I always turn off my AC unit when listening to music, so it was never even running before. I feel bad but I'm even using lamp cord for my 4ohm Phase Tech tower speakers, I really need to get some better 10 gauge cable now, and I bet that will make a good improvement as well!
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Just thought I'd share this about the wiring and electricity in my house, and how it makes a big difference in sound at least in my case.

I live in a 130 year old 3 floor apartment building, with each floor a different apartment. I have a window AC unit that was blowing my circuit everyday, if I had the TV and lights on. I got an electrician to come out yesterday. It turns out my window AC, home theatre, TV, living room lights, kitchen lights, microwave, and 2 other conduits that he thought were going to my apartment but were actually going to the 2nd or 3rd floor apartments were all on one 15Amp circuit! Whoever wired up my building originally made a crazy mess and put way too much on 1 circuit. So the electrician ran some new wiring and conduit, and split up that one circuit into 4 different breakers now. He also saw that my home theatre and AC unit had 20 amp wiring already, so he put a new 20 amp breaker for that room.

Now when I listen to music, I was shocked everything sounded so much better and clearer. The bass used to be boomy and indistinct, now it's a lot more focused, not boomy and I can hear every bass note distinctly like they are playing next to me. Also the midrange and treble is so much more focused and detailed. I can hear all kinds of tiny details I never could hear before. I was listening to Bill Evans Live at the Village Vanguard. It's recorded in a smoky Manhattan jazz club, and now I can hear the conversations in the club in the background and the glasses being put down at the tables and bar. I felt like I was right there in the smoky jazz club, and could hear the people talking at the table next to me!

I didn't change anything with my sound system, I couldn't believe just the building power would make such a difference. By the way, I always turn off my AC unit when listening to music, so it was never even running before. I feel bad but I'm even using lamp cord for my 4ohm Phase Tech tower speakers, I really need to get some better 10 gauge cable now, and I bet that will make a good improvement as well!
I can't comment on your "improved sound" just because you upgraded your branch current, but I can say its a good idea to do so if you're pushing it. I'll save you the long backstory, but, I had occasion last year to look at installing a bunch of computing power at the house and very quickly ran in to the limits of a 15amp circuit. It is surprising and perhaps illuminating to study out how much current is being drawn on a breaker in the average house. Most people are running closer to the limits than they think.

If you are indeed running up at the limits of your circuit, it may affect an amps ability to draw the peak current it wants at critical times. Also, getting a separate leg run is a good idea in general for a dedicated home theater or music room. Its one of those little things I may do for my little music room someday. The folks who design and build high end systems recommend separate branch circuits so I guess you may be the beneficiary as well.

I love these little nuggets of ideas. I don't know how much they actually affect audible sound, but, the engineering behind it holds up for lots of other reasons.
 
WaynePflughaupt

WaynePflughaupt

Audioholic Field Marshall
If you are indeed running up at the limits of your circuit, it may affect an amps ability to draw the peak current it wants at critical times.
Seems to me that in itself could account for the improvement in SQ baronvonellis is hearing...

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
S

Speedskater

Senior Audioholic
It's the new circuit that made the difference, not switching from 15 Amp to 20.
 
B

baronvonellis

Audioholic
If you are indeed running up at the limits of your circuit, it may affect an amps ability to draw the peak current it wants at critical times. Also, getting a separate leg run is a good idea in general for a dedicated home theater or music room. Its one of those little things I may do for my little music room someday. The folks who design and build high end systems recommend separate branch circuits so I guess you may be the beneficiary as well.

I love these little nuggets of ideas. I don't know how much they actually affect audible sound, but, the engineering behind it holds up for lots of other reasons.
Well that's the thing I was constantly tripping my breaker before, so I think my amp was starved for current. Now that it has a good supply of current, the sound quality overall has improved. It sounds like I upgraded the speakers.
 
W

WookieGR

Audioholic Intern
I just installed several dedicated 20amp lines in my theater and media room builds that only audio equipment and amps will use, including one line just for my guitar amp. This was decided after the hundreds of topics I've read over the last couple years on improving performance. In additional, industrial and hospital grade outlets are used too. I'm still insulating and haven't drywall'd yet but I look forward to the clean and powerful spenders that await me.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
Well that's the thing I was constantly tripping my breaker before, so I think my amp was starved for current. Now that it has a good supply of current, the sound quality overall has improved. It sounds like I upgraded the speakers.
Yeah, if your amp was starved for power you are lucky you didn't hurt it or your speakers. Glad you got it sorted out.
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic General
yep, agreed, I have 2 dedicated 20 amp circuits powering my 2 channel set up
 
S

Sparkus

Junior Audioholic
Just thought I'd share this about the wiring and electricity in my house, and how it makes a big difference in sound at least in my case.



If it were original, as when they installed wiring, then it actually is the norm for the time. When houses were wired between the 1910's and 1930's, things like AC, microwaves, hair dryers and most other high current use devices didn't exist. They were wired for lights and the few small electric devices that existed. The 40's and 50's saw more devices and homes wired at those times were wired appropriately. So, unless it was new wiring that someone hacked together, it's actually a common wiring scheme.
Also, as you increase the load, current, on a circuit you will see voltage drop. If the wiring were old, and possibly ungrounded or poorly grounded as older romex and knob and tube were, you may have had some serious noise on the circuit, either of which would affect your electronic equipment.

Good post really, heads up to anyone who may have a problem that their audio expertise can't find...look to the power.
 
B

baronvonellis

Audioholic
Thanks Sparkus, that is very informative! Yes, the building is from 1890, it still has pipes and outlets for gaslight in my apartment! I'm guessing it was wired in the early 20th century when electricity first came out. Then over the last 100 years, it was probably hacked together with various electricians and wiring. The wiring looks very old. Some of the outlets in my living room were only 2 prongs and didn't have a ground at all. I had the electrician replace those with new outlets. Yea, I think there were a bunch of issues with the quality of the electricity in my case, if you live in a more modern building you probably wouldn't have such poor AC.
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Thanks Sparkus, that is very informative! Yes, the building is from 1890, it still has pipes and outlets for gaslight in my apartment! I'm guessing it was wired in the early 20th century when electricity first came out. Then over the last 100 years, it was probably hacked together with various electricians and wiring. The wiring looks very old. Some of the outlets in my living room were only 2 prongs and didn't have a ground at all. I had the electrician replace those with new outlets. Yea, I think there were a bunch of issues with the quality of the electricity in my case, if you live in a more modern building you probably wouldn't have such poor AC.
looks like a good move. If your electrical supply was indeed based on that old and outdated wiring, you did yourself and your equipment a huge favor. As cool looking and quaint as old buildings can be, for modern electronics they are neither cool or quaint. Glad to see you got this done.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
Thanks Sparkus, that is very informative! Yes, the building is from 1890, it still has pipes and outlets for gaslight in my apartment! I'm guessing it was wired in the early 20th century when electricity first came out. Then over the last 100 years, it was probably hacked together with various electricians and wiring. The wiring looks very old. Some of the outlets in my living room were only 2 prongs and didn't have a ground at all. I had the electrician replace those with new outlets. Yea, I think there were a bunch of issues with the quality of the electricity in my case, if you live in a more modern building you probably wouldn't have such poor AC.
I'll bet that you have some aluminum wiring in your walls. That stuff is dangerous.
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
I'll bet that you have some aluminum wiring in your walls. That stuff is dangerous.
Arizona is one of the places that a lot of aluminum got used and abused as house wiring.
Really old buildings and homes will most likely have copper wire in them, not aluminum.
Aluminum is an artifact of high copper prices of the mid 1960s. It conducts and it can be substituted for copper.
Aluminum house wiring is not dangerous per se. Its a good conductor and it behaves.
But, depending on how it was installed, it has some nasty side effects which are dangerous. First off, for a given leg of wiring, what could be done with 14 gauge copper should perhaps be 12 gauge aluminum. Many contractors did not do that. They just stuck with 14 gauge aluminum. It saved a few bucks.

Another side effect is that aluminum needs to be pigtailed or connected to copper end points. Those connections can come loose and can cause fires. Aluminum heats up and therefore expands more than copper so it will creep back n forth (potentially) in size. Connections get loose. Bad things can happen.

Properly installed, meaning the proper gauge for the run and proper connections, aluminum is just another choice for wiring. The real evil was contractors who substituted it for copper without upping the gauge required or using cheap connection points bound to loosen up.

Knowing all that is nice. If I ever found a property to buy and it had aluminum wiring in it, I'd still have it replaced. :)
 
E

Erod

Junior Audioholic
Arizona is one of the places that a lot of aluminum got used and abused as house wiring.
Really old buildings and homes will most likely have copper wire in them, not aluminum.
Aluminum is an artifact of high copper prices of the mid 1960s. It conducts and it can be substituted for copper.
Aluminum house wiring is not dangerous per se. Its a good conductor and it behaves.
But, depending on how it was installed, it has some nasty side effects which are dangerous. First off, for a given leg of wiring, what could be done with 14 gauge copper should perhaps be 12 gauge aluminum. Many contractors did not do that. They just stuck with 14 gauge aluminum. It saved a few bucks.

Another side effect is that aluminum needs to be pigtailed or connected to copper end points. Those connections can come loose and can cause fires. Aluminum heats up and therefore expands more than copper so it will creep back n forth (potentially) in size. Connections get loose. Bad things can happen.

Properly installed, meaning the proper gauge for the run and proper connections, aluminum is just another choice for wiring. The real evil was contractors who substituted it for copper without upping the gauge required or using cheap connection points bound to loosen up.

Knowing all that is nice. If I ever found a property to buy and it had aluminum wiring in it, I'd still have it replaced. :)
There were some serious fires caused by aluminum wiring in the 1980s. I know an entire apartment complex burned down in Dallas because of it. It was then banned from use there.
 
Phase 2

Phase 2

Audioholic Chief
Just thought I'd share this about the wiring and electricity in my house, and how it makes a big difference in sound at least in my case.

I live in a 130 year old 3 floor apartment building, with each floor a different apartment. I have a window AC unit that was blowing my circuit everyday, if I had the TV and lights on. I got an electrician to come out yesterday. It turns out my window AC, home theatre, TV, living room lights, kitchen lights, microwave, and 2 other conduits that he thought were going to my apartment but were actually going to the 2nd or 3rd floor apartments were all on one 15Amp circuit! Whoever wired up my building originally made a crazy mess and put way too much on 1 circuit. So the electrician ran some new wiring and conduit, and split up that one circuit into 4 different breakers now. He also saw that my home theatre and AC unit had 20 amp wiring already, so he put a new 20 amp breaker for that room.

Now when I listen to music, I was shocked everything sounded so much better and clearer. The bass used to be boomy and indistinct, now it's a lot more focused, not boomy and I can hear every bass note distinctly like they are playing next to me. Also the midrange and treble is so much more focused and detailed. I can hear all kinds of tiny details I never could hear before. I was listening to Bill Evans Live at the Village Vanguard. It's recorded in a smoky Manhattan jazz club, and now I can hear the conversations in the club in the background and the glasses being put down at the tables and bar. I felt like I was right there in the smoky jazz club, and could hear the people talking at the table next to me!

I didn't change anything with my sound system, I couldn't believe just the building power would make such a difference. By the way, I always turn off my AC unit when listening to music, so it was never even running before. I feel bad but I'm even using lamp cord for my 4ohm Phase Tech tower speakers, I really need to get some better 10 gauge cable now, and I bet that will make a good improvement as well!
Lmao!! Try out some nice high end cables next. They'll surly get you some more amperage pull at the receptacle. Lolo:p
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
There were some serious fires caused by aluminum wiring in the 1980s. I know an entire apartment complex burned down in Dallas because of it. It was then banned from use there.
I would agree there were serious fires and issues back in the day with aluminum wired homes/buildings. In keeping with the AH's focus on "just the facts maam" and not too much hyperbole, that's why I wrote about aluminum wiring itself is not the culprit. Aluminum wiring hasn't been used in construction here since the late 1960's, but its not "illegal". Its just not what anybody wants and nobody will build with it.

Here in Arizona there are 1,000's of homes from the 1960's that are still wired with aluminum wire and are doing quite nicely. They get bought and sold on a regular basis. They pass home inspections, get insured, and the fed loans money on them. They are deemed as good as anything else because they don't have the flash points and limitations of those places that got shoddy installs and caused all the problems.

I'll stick with my original opinion on aluminum wiring however. Since I only have one family and one set of loved ones, if I was looking at a potential property and found it had aluminum wiring, I would pass on it ore require the seller to have it rewired in copper.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
I would agree there were serious fires and issues back in the day with aluminum wired homes/buildings. In keeping with the AH's focus on "just the facts maam" and not too much hyperbole, that's why I wrote about aluminum wiring itself is not the culprit. Aluminum wiring hasn't been used in construction here since the late 1960's, but its not "illegal". Its just not what anybody wants and nobody will build with it.

Here in Arizona there are 1,000's of homes from the 1960's that are still wired with aluminum wire and are doing quite nicely. They get bought and sold on a regular basis. They pass home inspections, get insured, and the fed loans money on them. They are deemed as good as anything else because they don't have the flash points and limitations of those places that got shoddy installs and caused all the problems.

I'll stick with my original opinion on aluminum wiring however. Since I only have one family and one set of loved ones, if I was looking at a potential property and found it had aluminum wiring, I would pass on it ore require the seller to have it rewired in copper.
I used to know what the issue is, but it has been over 2 decades and I'm not certain; however, it seems like the real problem was at the interface where the Al wires tied into the Cu feeds? Maybe dielectric induced corrosion? Of course, the compatible interfaces are out there, but many electricians are either unaware or simply don't want to have to make the extra effort to get the "non-standard" interface pads!
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Arizona is one of the places that a lot of aluminum got used and abused as house wiring.
Really old buildings and homes will most likely have copper wire in them, not aluminum.
Aluminum is an artifact of high copper prices of the mid 1960s. It conducts and it can be substituted for copper.
Aluminum house wiring is not dangerous per se. Its a good conductor and it behaves.
But, depending on how it was installed, it has some nasty side effects which are dangerous. First off, for a given leg of wiring, what could be done with 14 gauge copper should perhaps be 12 gauge aluminum. Many contractors did not do that. They just stuck with 14 gauge aluminum. It saved a few bucks.

Another side effect is that aluminum needs to be pigtailed or connected to copper end points. Those connections can come loose and can cause fires. Aluminum heats up and therefore expands more than copper so it will creep back n forth (potentially) in size. Connections get loose. Bad things can happen.

Properly installed, meaning the proper gauge for the run and proper connections, aluminum is just another choice for wiring. The real evil was contractors who substituted it for copper without upping the gauge required or using cheap connection points bound to loosen up.

Knowing all that is nice. If I ever found a property to buy and it had aluminum wiring in it, I'd still have it replaced. :)
My place was built in 1946 and has Aluminum- I'll be glad to sell it.
 
Phase 2

Phase 2

Audioholic Chief
My place was built in 1946 and has Aluminum- I'll be glad to sell it.
Hey, I know a couple of guys that are scrappers. They'll be More than glad to come rip out all that aluminum wire for free! Just let them keep all that nasty aluminum wire that's how they make money. They go around from State to State won't charge you a dime. Than you get an electrician to rewire your house with copper grade. Cut your cost about half! Than when you finally sell off your house you'll get a lot more for it. :D
 

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