How I “Clean” AC Power & Ethernet Here in North Carolina

My protection begins with a whole-house surge protector installed between the incoming power line and my 200 amp breaker panel (True Direct Lightning Strike Below). I have two 30-amp circuits wired to my den and a separate 20-amp circuit wired for bedroom system. Large Panamax surge protector for a 10’ dish and DISH Network system. I have several industrial grade Sylvania surge protectors (not commercially available) used throughout the house that acquired when I worked for GTE and they owned Sylvania.

I am now focused ) on improving both the “top” (incoming data streams from the Internet as well as the “bottom” (incoming power) of my Audio/HT system. I’ve done a deep dive into improving the “top” of my system by “cleaning/scrubbing” my Internet music feeds with the addition of an English Electric 8Switch Ethernet Switch and a Stack Audio SmoothLAN Ethernet Network Filter for more pure musical streaming. My router is an ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi Router GT-AXE16000 renowned for its speed and long transmission distance.

The SmoothLAN sits between the English Electric 8Switch and my Innuos Pulsar streamer. It is designed with one purpose: It eliminates crosstalk and interference and removes potential sources of parasitic noise affecting my system.

The SmoothLAN is designed specifically for use with music streamers and it is capable of handling data speeds up to 100Mbps. I believe the SmoothLAN takes network filtering a step further by integrating six isolation circuits which are individually enclosed within an aluminum case, establishing distinct boundaries. This shielding not only prevents interference between components but also safeguards against performance degradation caused by external vibrations.

In addition to the SmoothLAN Ethernet filter I’m using an English Electric 8S Ethernet Switch. The English Electric 8switch is an audio grade 8-port gigabit streaming network switch made by the Chord Company.

It is powered powered by a customized TCXO (Temperature Compensation Crystal Oscillator), accuracy is 0.1 ppm - far higher than normal crystals and higher than a normal TCXO, allowing the 8Switch to generate higher accuracy network signals. Jitter is reduced by as much as 90% over a conventional network switch according to Chord/English Electric.

The 8Switch’s power supply and clock generation circuits each have two electrical noise isolation circuits which ensure stable network signals. An EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) absorber helps to further reduce the noise from the digital circuit.

The build, fit and finish of this network switch is superb. It is small because it uses a wall wart for a power supply. But do not be fooled. English Electric says this power supply is fast and quiet- optimized for this switch and they recommend not substituting it with a LPS (Linear Power Supply).

This. 8Switch sounds slightly better to me than the LHY SW-8 network switch (A more expensive switch) I previously used. It also runs cooler than the previous LHY SW-8 switch I used. The 8Switch contains an internal, oven controlled clock. I can easily recommend this switch as a great accessory for a music server.

As for reducing noise and improving my incoming 120V/60Hz power, and protecting my equipment from surges, I use a PS Audio Direct Stream P20 PowerPlant. This is PS Audio’s best power regenerator, and PS Audio claims to have invented the category of Home A/V Power Regenerators. However, I guess they overlooked that large commercial power regenerators were available long before their own power regenerators were introduced.:smirk:

The P20 has peak power levels of 3600 watts, and none of my equipment can tax the P20. It regulates both long-term fluctuations and peak dynamics without deviation. Its low output impedance and unhindered AC delivery are equivalent to less than 50 feet of 12 gauge wire connected directly to your city power source without the connecting miles of wire, the many transformers, and the multiple neighbours weakening and contaminating the power lines that come to my house.

Now for the Lightning Strike Story:

Back in the 1990’s I lived in Arlington, TX. One day in August we had a bad thunderstorm roll through and lightning struck the transformer that fed our home and several others, and blew the transformer off the pole into my backyard! Inincurred ZERO damage, and my power feed was the closest to and directly connected to the power transformer.

My neighbor on our left lost EVERYTHING that was plugged into an outlet, including their stove, refrigerator, D/W, water heater, and their HVAC. Even worse, all of their home’s interior electrical wiring was fried and their entire house had to be re-wired. Their insurance company was only willing to replace their inside wiring in code-approved conduit and conduit mounted outlets that would be placed on the bottom outside of their walls in all the interior rooms (would have been ugly as hell).

The neighbor paid extra to have electricians fish new wiring from the attic so the wiring would be like it was before. This was an expensive extra cost NOT COVERED by their H/O policy. It was August in central Texas and an electrician could only last 15 minutes in the attic as the attic temperature ranged from 130F to 140F. And they had to buy all new appliances, install a new HVAC, and live in a hotel room for two months while all this work was being done.

My neighbor on the other side had a few of the $20 - $30 plug-in surge protectors and they were all fried, and everything he had plugged into a 120V outlet was fried. The stuff that was plugged into a 240V outlet mostly survived, but his stove lost its clock and timer settings, and his dryer somewhat worked but you could not set the drying time or temperature. All of this pain could likely been avoided if a $150 -$250 whole house surge protector been installed and properly grounded.

If I were building a new home or purchasing a house today, I would have my electrician run at least two (three is better) 120V 20amp (I think 30amp is better) feeds directly my listening room for my system. And I would require the electrician to run each new power feed to a SEPARATE breaker in my electrical panel with nothing else on the circuit. If you do this I really believe your system will sound better and thank you! :smiley:

After this storm I immediately replaced my fried whole-house surge protector. As always, YMMV


Well, hopefully, Texas and the mid-West are higher electrical storm risks that North Carolina.

sktn77a, In the most recent lightning strike report compiled by an organization named “Earth Networks,” North Carolina was a surprising number 15. Texas, where we previously lived was #1. The state’s lightning density averaged 60.9 strikes per square kilometer – the ninth-highest of any state.Mar 22, 2024

As for which cities experience the most hits, Houston, Texas, saw 73,114 strokes, followed by Atlanta, Georgia, with 55,490 strokes. The Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington area (Where we moved from), Texas, racked up 41,038 strokes. On the East Coast, the New York–Jersey City–Newark metropolitan area in New York and New Jersey had 28,132 lightning strokes.Jan 4, 2024

It’s a dangerous world out there :sunglasses:. The whole-house suppressor in my home in North Carolina is now ten years old, so I’m replacing it with Bob Vila’s highest rated whole house surge protector, a Siemens Boltshield FSPD 140-kA Indoor and Outdoor Surge Protector. It’s currently $186 at the Lowe’s stores here, WAY CHEAPER than some of the snake oil “Audiophile” whole house surge protectors marketed by some disreputable companies.

The cost of a suppressor + your electrician’s one hour of labour is significantly less than any homeowner’s insurance deductible, so why incur the risk?

As always, YMMV.