Electrical Considerations for New Audio Room

Audiogon Member, MichaelKingdom is building a new listening room and trying to prepare for the electrical construction that will take place later.  He thinks two 20 amp circuits in the 12×22 room are the way to go.  What do you think?

If you think you need 2ea 20 amp circuits – do 4 – MUCH cheaper and easier to do now than later 🙂

Place them where you want the equipment to be placed ie if you think you will go for mono blocks down the road, place the outlets where they will be placed. Also remember that you can have more than one outlet on each dedicated circuit. In above example you could place an outlet behind each speaker, both fed from the same breaker.

On wire gauge 12 gauge is required on a 20 amp circuit, but go 10 gauge if you can swing it.

Best of luck on your project and Good listening


Good response from Peter. I ran 4 dedicated 20amp circuits a few years ago and find that I need more now.

+1 for # of outlets. Will your room have any Heat/AC power requirements? If so keep on separate circuit, Same true for lighting and other non audio outlets. Keep the latter two need on opposite phase from the audio circuits.

Thanks for the responses. I am leaning towards 3 dedicated circuits right now – one per mono block and one for the pre. The fourth circuit will be for the lighting, computer etc.

I am wondering about adding 240v to run european equipment. Is this a good idea?

The advice above is good. They are talking about (4) duplex receptacles, with each duplex on its own dedicated circuit. Amps on 20A with #10 is good advice and only a modest upcharge from USA code minimum of #12. Lighting is a separate (5th) ckt. Yes, your electrician will think you are wacky. Good luck.

I did run 2 ea 220 Volt lines into my room (1 on the amp wall and one on the front end                 all) in addition to the 6 ea 120V lines so that I can run 220V equipment when needed. I was however made aware of, here on this forum, that it is not up to code to do so in a residential setting so your electrician may not want to do it for you.

Best of luck


It’s not code to run 220 power in a residential setting? I’m curious where you got your information. Electric dryers, water heaters, and ranges all run on 220 power. There is no code that says you can’t have 220 power in your house. Or even three phase for that matter.

I don’t know any stereo gear that runs on 220v, however.

Running 220/240 single phase into a dwelling is not an issue, but there are probably restrictions on the type of room, e.g. a bedroom, you can run it to. This should be checked with the local building inspector. I concur with S7horton about the availability of 220 VAC 60 Hz equipment, very few if any. My only recollection of a 220 VAC unit was a Very high current amp a few years back in a show report. An important comment on European equipment, it is designed for 50 Hz and won’t work on our 220 (60 Hz). You would need a transformer or power regenerator to use it.


it is actually easier for a transformer to run on 60 Hz than on 50hz and most of the equipment will happily run on 60Hz. In most equipment the AC signal is rectified as soon as it enters the machine at which point the AC line frequency is irrelevant. If the transformer have multi winding primaries its only a matter of running these in parallel for 117V operation and series for 234V operation.

Some of the larger companies that wish to control where their equipment ends up do build some frequency monitoring devices into their stuff to prevent its use in other markets than originally sold. However without these the equipment would happily work on either 50 or 60 hz.

Good Listening


You’ll probably need Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter breakers for each circuit.

I just did my 10×20 room. I had one outlet for AC and lights, one just for audio that has 8 outlets. Besides all the suggestions, one thing I wish I should have also added was running 2 sets of opposite phases into the audio outlet for noise cancellation.

Pay particular attention to the construction phase for quality work. If you can stagger the studs with any common walls that would help with sound isolation. Also seal any air gaps with acoustic calk such as baseboards, outlets etc. Sound will travel!

] Johnnyb53
Might I suggest you consider building your listening room to the golden ratio, which is 1.618:1? This would require minimal physical, but acoustically significant changes to the proportions of the room to avoid standing waves and enhance the sound at all frequencies and locations in the room.

To modify your present plans to the golden ratio, you could modify as follows:

If your longest dimension must be 22 ft, your short dimension would be lengthened to 13.6 feet and the ceiling would be 8.4 (~ 8′ 5″) high.

If 12′ must be your maximum width, shorten the long dimension to 19.4′ (19′ 5″) with a ceiling height of 7.4′.

This should make the speaker/room interface easier to tune, minimize standing waves and sickouts, and require less room treatment for a full, natural sound that is consistent throughout the room.

After all, George Cardas built his cable company on this principle.

 Add your advice to the comments below!

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