Acoustic Sounds
Electricity Upgrade For Audio
By: Michael Fremer

August 14th, 2023


Editor's Choice

An Electricity Upgrade From the Roof to My Room Produced Major Sonic Benefits

do this before adding a power conditioner

I used to have major ground noise issues and other problems with my electrical service that I tried to solve as most audio enthusiasts do, with power conditioners and dedicated lines. Those produced some improvements, but there still were issues.

The proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" was the installation of an auxiliary whole house generator and its transfer switch, that when power goes out, removes the house from the grid and connects it to the generator. Following the installation, I was shocked to hear the unexpected sonic deterioration to my system—it was like a milky, gauzy film had been overlayed upon the music. I wrote about it and two guys came to the rescue, volunteering their time and expertise: Rex Hungerford of and Ed DeVito of

They were working together at the time this video was shot, but since then they've gone their separate ways. My local electrician Craig Bradley did much of the work since Rex is licensed in the state of Washington and I'm in New Jersey. I also got a great deal of support and help from Garth Powell at AudioQuest. I thank them all.

As you'll see in the video, much of the improvement was the result of a big upgrade to the house ground, which previously was kind of a mess. The sonic improvement made by this "from the roof" upgrade caused more than a few industry veterans who visited to exclaim "This is the quietest system I've ever heard." That's not how it used to be! If you live in a private home, I urge you to consider this kind of upgrade, which admittedly will cost thousands of dollars, before you invest heavily in in-room power conditioners. Those may also help depending upon the situation but first start with a firm electrical foundation!


  • 2023-08-14 05:06:50 PM

    Eric Lubow wrote:

    Seems like it would have been easier to move! What a hassle!

  • 2023-08-15 12:25:11 AM

    Come on wrote:

    So far I assumed power regenerators regenerate the power independent of the mess before. But it seems they can not only be little effective when preconditions are too good, but also if they are too bad.

  • 2023-08-15 07:37:38 AM

    Gary Saluti wrote:

    Why was the ground rod placed so far away from your house? Mine is just outside the walls of my home, mere feet from the breaker box.

  • 2023-08-15 12:31:29 PM

    Michael wrote:

    Living in the era of solar power I wonder why not using a big block of batteries supplying clean DC instead of noisy AC from the mains power supply added by a lot of noise created by each component‘s power supply with its rectifier circuits. Is there a secret conspiration of high-end audio cable manufacturers? :-) As far as I am aware audio all components run on DC with the exception of few AC motors for some exotic turntables.

    • 2023-08-16 09:29:40 AM

      bwb wrote:

      there are several issues with batteries. (I wish this was a 21st century forum where you could format your text and make a list. but here goes.) They do not deliver perfectly clean power, 1. They are expensive to buy. 2. they are a hassle to maintain, you want them to be disconnected from charging while being used but charging in between uses so you have to deal with that 3. the voltage drops and the current they can deliver decreases as you use them so a limited amount of time between charges, and if the voltage drops too far you can damage them 4. They have an internal impedance which will limit the instantaneous power you can get, a bigger issue with power amps 5. Despite the common misconception that they deliver perfectly clean, noiseless voltage, they operate via a chemical reaction which generates electrical noise.... . and a huge issue 6. all of your equipment would have to be modified to bypass the current AC power supply to run off of the batteries, and batteries would have to be selected that are capable of supplying the current they demand as well as be the correct voltage for that component i.e. you would most probably need different battery banks for your power amp than your preamp and different again for your sources... you could use whole house batteries and inverter to create AC (like a Tesla whole house system) but you are right back where you started dealing with the noise from the inverter.

      • 2023-08-17 12:39:54 PM

        bwb wrote:

        one more problem with batteries... rechargeable batteries have a limited number of discharge/charge cycles before they begin to deteriorate so would need to be replaced periodically assuming you keep your equipment long enough to get to that point. ... OH, and of course you would void any warranty on the equipment if you modify to run on batteries. ... all of this pretty much explains why you see so few devices that run on batteries.

  • 2023-08-15 06:32:59 PM

    Todd wrote:

    As a contractor, I am skeptical. But will watch the video with an open mind.

    • 2023-08-15 08:19:53 PM

      Todd wrote:

      One quick comment. Michael is it going to bother you to know that I can say with almost 100% certainty that your overhead wire from the transformer to your weather head is aluminum?

      • 2023-08-15 08:45:31 PM

        Todd wrote:

        I’m all for upgrading your electrical service. But there were so many pseudo-science/covid-skeptical/vaccine-hesitant “facts” about how electricity works bandied around that I’m not surprised Simon & Garfunkel split up after that job.

  • 2023-08-16 09:30:19 PM

    AnalogJ wrote:

    You did this two or three years ago, did you not? I remember watching this video with great interest.

  • 2023-08-19 04:11:15 PM

    topround wrote:

    After I was vaccinated my system sounded better. I think it was the placebo effect