Direct Stream and lifting the ground


#1

Direct Stream and lifting the ground. Has anyone tried lifting the ground on the Direct Stream? That is, with one of those cheater plugs.

I just have, and,…well,…I need someone else to try it, but this will surprise.


#2

At the private insistence of another DS user I tried it and it didn’t make any difference at all here (I also disconnected it inside the box in my experiments.) On the other hand I’ve taken some pains to have good grounding in my system. That user was amazed at the difference. I can’t in good conscience recommend using a cheater plug (or otherwise disabling a safety ground) - but being careful with proper grounding in a system can make a big difference.


#3

Hey Ken,

I thought it was worth a try. I tried it tonight the night your posted.

My thought is that it is system dependent, based on my experience.

Yes it did make an audible difference, but with one exception not in a positive way.

The image was slightly wider.

However, macro and micro dynamics were compressed and midrange richness was reduced.

One might say that there was no prat or at least reduced to the point of loss of enjoyment. It wasn’t bad it just wasn’t involving.

Toetapping and smiling were gone. All it took was removing the cheater to have all that enjoyment return.

So it’s an easy experiment to do and some may find an audible improvement. For Ted no improvement and for me an obvious loss of enjoyment and musicality.

Bruce


#4

the night of your post but just got around to reporting


#5

Thanks for the replies.

Ted, as you have seen there are improvements to be made with the grounding connections with the Direct Stream, however, most of us do not possess your skills in making those changes.

The cheap cheater adapter cannot be good for the sound and I’m sure that contributed to what DR.W heard.

But, DR.W assume you defeated the ground without using the cheapo cheater plug. All the good things you mention remain and the bad disappear.


#6

I tried it last night and my experience is somewhat similar to Dr. W, though I haven’t extensively A/B’ed it.

Somethings were definitely improved, like the bass definition, a bit more fuller, but some other things, like the midrange richness, a bit of dynamics was lost. Often times we relate noise and hash as being more dynamic and if they are somehow cut down or prevented from entering the system, it might feel that it lost the dynamics. Again the differences are not night and day but I am not sure what to make out of it.

Having kids around, I am very paranoid on using a cheater plug. Could grounding products, like the Synergistic Research grounding block or a Entreq be used to solve these type of problem instead of defeating the safety ground ? Ted, how did you handle the ground in your home ?


#7

Yes something like the grounding block does work, tho I’m not convinced that the design of the block itself maters as much as just having low impedance star grounding to each component in the audio system.

We put in 8 dedicated circuits with #10 wire, 20 amp breakers and all of their grounds tied together right outside the listening room. They have two 10’ (or so) copper rods driven into the soil (to reach the level where the ground is always wet.) Also we added another two rods at the main electrical entrance to the house with a large guage ground wire between them. You’d have to check your local electrical codes for what’s acceptable in your area.

Anyway the goal was to get rid of any hum from having my satellite boxes in my system - they tie the satellite ground to the phone ground to the power ground so they usually inject a lot of noise in a system. After the addition of the dedicated lines in my previous house this hash was removed from the system so we did the dedicated circuits in the new house before we moved in. In my old house we didn’t have any choice but to have a splice where the inside wiring went thru the wall (some code thing). In the new house by having the inside wiring in solid conduit we also avoided any splices in the wires all the way from the outlets to the breakers.

I also used some better than average outlets. I didn’t spring for Oyaide, but we got some cryo treated heavy duty outlets.


#8

Ted, you didn’t use the PS Audio outlets? Why not?

If/when I can have 3 20amp circuits put in, I was just going to order a 5 pack of the PSAs.

I don’t have a basement so they will have to be run through the attic, which has about 18inches of blown insulation. I so wish I would have done it before the insulation. I probably could have done them myself, with a friend doing the attic work. Now I could never get anyone up there, without paying them. I have a thing about heights, anymore than 2 wrungs on a ladder and I start to get lightheaded. So in the 9 years I have lived here, I have never been in the attic.


#9

PS Audio Outlets? :slight_smile: I did this about 11-12 years ago (and about 5 years before that at the previous place) and truth be I wasn’t too familiar with PS Audio outside of a few friends with a P300 or P600.


#10
Ted Smith said

We put in 8 dedicated circuits with #10 wire, 20 amp breakers and all of their grounds tied together right outside the listening room. They have two 10’ (or so) copper rods driven into the soil (to reach the level where the ground is always wet.) Also we added another two rods at the main electrical entrance to the house with a large guage ground wire between them. You’d have to check your local electrical codes for what’s acceptable in your area.

Was the 'large gauge ground wire between them' between the two pairs of rods, as well as each pair ? What is a large wire, bigger than #10 ?

#11

Yep, a big wire to the ground stakes and between the two sets of ground stakes. Maybe #0 or #00 gage. It would have to be about #1 to carry all of the current that 8 #10 wires could carry.


#12
Ted Smith said Yep, a big wire to the ground stakes and between the two sets of ground stakes. Maybe #0 or #00 gage. It would have to be about #1 to carry all of the current that 8 #10 wires could carry.
Why would it have to carry all the current of the 8 ?

#13

I don’t know if there’s a code reason (as I mentioned it was quite a while ago we did this and the choice was made by my electrician so I’m guessing his reasoning), but I would expect that the grounding wires for a circuit should be able to carry some significant portion of the current that that circuit can provide, if not all of it. As a practical matter one #1 wire takes a lot less space in a conduit than 8 #10 wires, (especially if the 8 are insulated.)

But really it’s simple: the bigger the wire the lower it’s impedance and the better it will lower noise in the system. We are probably way beyond diminishing returns, but the ground wires aren’t the most expensive part of parts and labor installing dedicated circuits.


#14

When I built my music room I installed dedicated circuits but none of this special grounding stuff, mine is pretty quiet (I think) but wish I had done some of this.


#15

I was lucky that a fellow in the local audio club had used this electrician before: most electricians look at you like you’re crazy if you want to use #10 wire, multiple circuits for an audio system, 20 amp circuit breakers, “magic” outlets, etc. but this electrician recommended some things I hadn’t thought of and it really did pay off in getting rid of hum and grunge in the system.


#16

Ted, of the three options:

  1. Tie all plug socket grounds to a separate place into soil
  2. Leave plug socket ground on the common house electrics ground and additionally connect all equipment chassis grounds with a separate split wire to a separate ground place into soil
  3. Leave plug socket ground on the common house electrics ground and additionally connect all equipment chassis grounds with a separate split wire to common house electrics ground.
All this assumed one already has a separate power supply line for Hifi, but its ground so far is the common house ground.

I understood, you realized option 1.

This is probably the most effective (?), but most electricians would unfortunately deny to implement due to the fact (as I understood, but this is one of my dummy areas), that in case of a short circuit, fuses wouldn’t blow, ground cabling could carry bigger voltage for potential equalization and electricity in case of a problem would find other ways to common house ground (antenna/network cabling etc.) and burn them.

Instead they could easily do option 3. (as 2. also is not up to normal regulations and also seems to have part of the problems described above).

Do you know if this also helps considerably?


#17

Sorry I wasn’t clear enough. We did #3. All of the grounds for the outlets are tied together right outside the listening room. That tie is connected to the house ground with a big (single) ground wire (in the same conduit as the 8 pairs of #10 between the outlets and the circuit breakers.) We added a pair of ground stakes both at the main electrical panel for the house and right outside the listening room. Note that the having two sets of ground stakes separated by more than x feet might be a violation of code in some places, but not others. The problem is that there would be a large current in the ground wire if there were a near lightning strike. That’s a another reason to use a big ground wire. I’m not recommending violating code. I’m just recommending to do the best you can without violating code.


#18

Thanks Ted!

Asummed all I can do is to use the same tube all other power supply cables are in to carry the new ground wire from basement power supply, make a separate socket for the new ground wire, collect the spliced ground cables from equipment grounds at the add. socket to and tie the combined ground cable to the main house ground.

So no two stakes, no outled ground modified, just a separate line tied from equipment ground to common house ground.

Does this also help?


#19

sorry confused:

don’t you have 1.? You said you tied the outlet grounds (= plug socket ground) to the house ground, not the chassis grounds to the house ground…

but the you mentioned you have 2 separate stakes. So one for house ground and the other just for audio ground? Or two stakes for house ground?

So my question would remain if the concept of my previous post would also help, thanks!


#20

Just because I’m not sure I understand the questions being asked, I’ll take another stab at clarifying three mostly separate ideas:

  1. Except when experimenting, I don’t mess with the safety grounds of my equipment or lift grounds. I leave all of my chassis grounds as they are as well.

  2. Tying all chassis together in a star with low impedance wires is one way to help in many systems. I didn’t do that. But if you do you don’t need to tie the new star chassis ground back to the house ground since all of your equipment is already tied back to the house ground thru it’s normal safety ground wiring. In fact it would be a bad idea to tie that new star ground of the chassis to a set of stakes in the earth since then a path for lightning from the electrical entrance to that new ground would be thru your equipment, just the opposite of what you want.

  3. We tied all of the safety ground wires of my outlets together on the outside wall right outside the listening room. That point is connected to the house ground with one big wire (instead of normal 8 smaller wires) to the same place in the home breaker box that those smaller wires would be connected. In addition we added two sets of two stakes. One set of stakes right outside the listening room tied to the junction of the 8 grounding wires from the outlets and the big wire back to the breaker box. The other set of stakes is to augment the current grounding of the main electrical box right at that box.