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 System Electrical Ground

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Sonic.beaver



Posts : 2044
Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: System Electrical Ground   Mon May 03, 2010 9:36 am

Hi Michael and fellow Zonees

Sonic remember reading that Michael floats the ground (electrical earth) of his systems. I hae tried my system with and without the earth connected and the floating set up sounds better. The images are more whole and the soundstage more convincing. Things shrink when earthed.

What's the experience of other Tunees?

Michael, can you explain this effect please -- I mean why in Tune thinking is the sound better when the earth is floating? doesn't this go against the trilogy where everything moves to ground -- electrical or mechanical or acoustic?

And to avoid all uncertainty here's a caveat to all readers -- BE CAREFUL! This is not advice that any audiophile should float the electrical ground of their gear. If there is an electrical leakage, the earth can save your life. Remember there are deadly voltages in your audio equipment. If in doubt of what this involves DON'T try this. Otherwise seek qualified advice before floating grounds....and Tuneland has gear you can apply to get far bigger changes to your sound without the risk.

Sonic
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Robert Harrison



Posts : 254
Join date : 2010-03-08
Location : Harwood Heights, Illinois

PostSubject: Re: System Electrical Ground   Mon May 03, 2010 11:53 am

Wow, Sonic,

You just entered a whole new world of tuning...tuning in to others' thoughts, that is! I was ready to begin asking specific questions about grounding and surge protection. There are older posts concerning same, but occasionally it's nice to see what new info has come to the fore in recent years.

I have read many opinions on grounding. One article will say ground only one item, say the pre-amp, and "cheat" the grounds on anything else with the third prong connected to your system. That theory says the other items will be grounded by the interconnect cables. Then, I'll read another article saying that you should never defeat any grounds.

So, good move on starting this thread!

I don't know about you, but I also am concerned with surge protection, i.e. is it beneficial or detrimental? I'm not talking about power conditioners, just simple (if there is such a thing) surge protection. As of now, I have most of my components plugged into a Monster Cable surge protector device (probably a bigger one than I need for tuning purposes), but the powered sub and the amps are plugged directly into the wall sockets. If it looks like a thunderstorm is heading my way, though, I unplug these items.

Sorry to offer only questions instead of advice on this, but, hey, I'm the newbie, right?
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Michael Green
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Posts : 3350
Join date : 2009-09-12
Location : Vegas/Ohio/The Beach

PostSubject: Re: System Electrical Ground   Tue May 04, 2010 5:29 am

Hi Guys

Safety is one side of grounding. The other side is how it sounds. Grounding can solve many problems, but it can also cause new ones. One of the most common problem is called "ground loop".

Why ground loop is a problem ?

Ground loops are a mystery to many people. Even college-trained electronic engineers may not know what ground loops actually are. Engineers have either concentrated on power distribution (for the electric company) or on equipment that happens to plug in to the power distribution system. Not much thought has been given to power distribution and equipment as a single entity where ground loops arise.

Ground loops are the most common cause of AC line frequency hum in sound systems. A ground loop in the power or video signal occurs when some components in the same system are receiving its power from a different ground than other components, or the ground potential between two pieces of equipment is not identical.

Ground loop is a common problem when connecting multiple audio-visual system components together, there is a good chance of making a nasty ground loops. Ground loops commonly cause humming noise to audio signals and interference bars to picture. Ground loop makes the system sensitive to pick up interference from mains wiring which can lead to erratic operation of the equipments or even damages to the equipments. Audio-frequency ground loop problems are typically in the low millivolt range, so it does not have to be much interference in grounding system to cause problems in audio systems.

Remember that there is no absolute ground. There is a certain amount of resistance to electrical current between all grounding points. This resistance can change with humidity, temperature, connected equipment and many other variables. No matter how small, the resistance can always allow an electrical voltage to exist across it. The ground wires between wall sockets and power company transformers are not perfect conductors and neither is the shield of your coaxial video cable. If they were, ground loops would not be a problem.

Grounds (any thing in the Audio Trilogy) need to be in balance with nature to work properly.

_________________
michael green
PH 702 762 3245
Email mgtune@yahoo.com
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Robert Harrison



Posts : 254
Join date : 2010-03-08
Location : Harwood Heights, Illinois

PostSubject: Re: System Electrical Ground   Tue May 04, 2010 12:03 pm

Hey, Mr. Green,

You are in full teaching mode today. You are giving us information but not telling us what to do, and I reckon that is as it should be. For now, with so many other things to consider, I will just say that I have no ground loop problems at this time, so I will leave things as they are for now.

In the past, I have had some problems with the cable TV wire, but I stopped subscribing to them a year ago (tired of paying for commercials). I also had an outboard D/A converter which picked up the local country music station unless I used a grounding cheater on its 3 pronged plug. That unit developed a case of blowing internal fuses, so I have taken it out of service.
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Sonic.beaver



Posts : 2044
Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Re: System Electrical Ground   Tue May 04, 2010 10:35 pm

Hi Robert

For those who earth their systems, the most effective way is to have everything grounded to one piece of equipment (usually) through the interconnects and from this one piece of equipment to the earth pin in the wall outlet.

The preamp or receiver is usually the grounding hub of choice. Use cheater plugs to "un-earth/float" all your other pieces of equipment. Michael is right that engineers often wrestle with ground loops which are not fully understood. They usually stem from minute potential differences between two earth points somewhere in a system...the issue is, in large complex setups, where does the system end? However at its simplest, two earths in a system - say your preamp and turntable are both grounded separately -- is asking for hum.

The Tune actually introduces a complexity. Remember, we crack our screws, remove things from casings etc? Some PC boards have earth tags unsually at one of the mounting screws. Loosen these and a single PC board may float while the rest of the chassis may be grounded. These tags are usually to combat RFI and static in the circuit boards. On the whole I have never had problems with cracking screws or lifting PCBs but Sonic did encourage a friend to do the cracking thing and by loosening one earth in this way, the CD player went intermittent and would occasionally hang in the middle of a track and require a re-boot. It drove us crazy (with great anger directed at Sonic for a while) till we found the problem. Tighten up that ONE screw and the player ran perfectly.

Sonic
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