Home runs

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Home runs

When we throw about terminologies describing engineering and setup practices it's often a disservice to the members of our HiFi Family. That's because it is assumed those hearing or reading such terms understand what the term means.

That's often a incorrect.

When we talk about Home Run or Star wiring practices, there's likely not an easy way to find out what those mean and why they might matter.

Let me see if I can help.

Whether we're discussing how your home's AC power is wired or how a circuit's power supply is distributed, there are two basic ways of implementing them: Daisy Chain or Single Run.

The most common means of delivering power within your home (or inside your HiFi gear) is Daisy Chaining. A daisy chain is where one cable feeds multiple outlets. In your home, picture a circuit breaker feeding, say, the kitchen. Turn that breaker off and multiple receptacles go dead: the toaster, the lights, maybe your dishwasher stop working.

In a typical component like a preamplifier, remove the + power supply or disconnect its internal ground, and the multiple internal components tied to it stop working.

Daisy chaining is the most cost effective means of wiring a house. Imagine if every single appliance and light had its own circuit breaker and separate conductor feeding power. 

In a Home Run or Star wiring configuration, we go to the extra trouble of doing exactly what I just described is inefficient. Every AC receptacle gets its own circuit breaker and conductor. Nothing is shared. In PS Audio's listening rooms, for example, that's exactly what we did. Every single Power Port AC receptacle has its own 10 gauge 3-conductor wire going back to its own circuit breaker inside a dedicated breaker box.

Why would we do that? Because in a high-end audio system less interaction between components means lower noise and crosstalk. Same with a well designed component where lower noise levels are beneficial to sound quality. Instead of a common ground we often run sensitive sub systems or components on their own grounds creating a Star Ground system (called a star because the many points of separate wires or PCB traces all meet at one common place and it looks like a multi-faceted star).

Hope that helps.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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