Direct Stream and lifting the ground


Thanks much Ted, I understood much more now!

  1. I understood you say it could help to just connect all chassis grounds together and it doesn’t help to connect this to house ground and it’s dangerous to connect it to separate ground.

  2. Why did you tie the safety ground wires of your outlets together outside the listening room and not inside and go outside with the big wire? Or doesn’t this matter and it’s just easier this way?

Without the addition of the two pairs of stakes: would it also help sound to just connect all outlet grounds with a bigger wire to house ground? The only difference to the usual installation then would be the thicker wire as any usual collection of equipment power cables ending in one outlet is a kind of star grounding of safety grounds, just with thin single wires also from outlet to house ground, correct?

Outside the wall I n my case it’s a spider-like power distribution from equipment to the also molecular treated outlet instead of separate power cables with plugs and sockets up to outlet socket.

Thanks again!

  1. Yes

  2. Where to tie the outlet grounds together depends on electrical code and other things. In my case we needed to use solid conduit from each outlet to a box just outside and then all of the wires shared a single solid conduit to the breaker panel. I don’t know if you could daisy chain outlets with single conduit or not. But if you could then you could certainly tie the grounds to the big wire as it passed thru the outlet box…

A bigger wire is good, it allows smaller ground loops between the grounds, and in particular you don’t have (in my case) 8 naked ground wires toughing each other on and off along the conduit… But if you already have dedicated circuits I wouldn’t change them just to do a single ground wire. But if they were all available in one place before the breaker box tying them together wouldn’t hurt.


Not sure if I understood your last 2 sentences correctly:

If with „dedicated cirquits“ you mean, that I have a dedicated power line incl. ground (normal ground wire inside the 3-wire cabling) just for audio, with ground going to house ground …yes…and I only have one wall outlet, all power cables from my equipment lead to (spider)

This dedicated power line then goes from the wall outlet to the breaker box and ground goes from there to house ground.

So as far as I understand, your sentence „But if they were all available in one place before the breaker box tying them together wouldn’t hurt.“ doesn’t apply to me, as I only have one dedicated line going from wall outlet to breaker box.

Finally the only thing I could improve (unless I’d use separate stakes like you) is to use a separate, thicker ground wire from wall outlet to breaker box. The only difference to now would be it’s thickness.

So I understood, a thicker cable could help, but you don’t think it’s worth the effort if I already have a dedicated 3-wire power line incl. ground, correct?

jazznut said So I understood, a thicker cable could help, but you don’t think it’s worth the effort if I already have a dedicated 3-wire power line incl. ground, correct?

Ted and others,

after hearing the DS for the past two days (I didn’t want to make any early conclusion) with the ground lifted, I am certain that its bringing +ive improvements to the table - less glare, less hash, a bit deeper bass. Looks like there is a ground contamination in the DS. Could it flow through the leakage current on either the input (source) or the output (preamp) side ? Is it possible that the leakage current inside the DS itself is a problem ? Any easier way to measure it ?


I have no doubt that you can hear a difference - some systems will show a difference and others won’t - some systems will sound worse with the ground lifted (the safety ground could be keeping a ground loop from polluting the analog interconnects for example.)

Lifting a ground on a particular device may or may not indicate that that device is what’s sensitive to that ground loop. It depends on the rest of the system. It could also indicate that the device is polluting the ground for other devices (tho I doubt that the DS is worse than other DACs in this regard.)

With a scope that can show the difference between it’s two inputs (or a scope with an outright differential probe) you can look at the difference between the ground potential and the outlet in question or perhaps even get a spectrum display of it. It’s harder to see reliably with a VOM - a VOM can show a DC average difference or possibly the RMS for 60 cycle hum, but most don’t do true RMS readings, nor do they show the spectrum of the noise in question.


Wow, this thread has really taken off! I only made this suggestion half heartedly on CA a few days ago, but there seemed to be very little interest over there. So I was debating about whether it was worth my efforts to post anything at all on this forum.

I actually attempted to tell Ted all about this discovery several months ago. But when he could not repro this effect in a quick 5 minute test on his system, he didn’t seem even remotely interested in trying any of the variations which I had recommended to make this tweak actually work for him on his system. And unfortunately he declined my invitation to hear this effect for himself on my system several months ago (he’s been over to my house a couple of times previously, so I didn’t think that this was an unreasonable request), so I decided not to post my discoveries over here for a while since I got the distinct impression that I had accidentally ticked him off in some of our emails over this matter. But I guess that since the cat is out of the bag now, so I might as well spill.

FWIW: On my system the difference is truly night and day. The DS’s single worst flaw (an overly narrow soundstage IMO) was completely cured by doing this. We’re talking about a subjective ~4 foot increase in the sound-stage width inside of my system. But I live at the end of my distribution line, and I have poor regulation, and noisy grounds. So I may not be exactly representative here. I’m also not using a regenerator, although I am using what I believe to be a decent power line filter. But in my case isolating the ground took me from being a slightly unhappy DS owner to absolutely LOVING the sound of this DAC for the first time.

I have developed an inexpensive mod which doesn’t involve lifting the ground which has the exact same effect. Actually I have two slight variations on it inside of my head, the second of which I haven’t tried as of yet (but which has the potential to be slightly better). However I’m hesitant to post this info on the web. I’d much rather share this privately rather than to be causing lots of customers to potentially go voiding their warranties, and/or static-zapping their DACs, or possibly (in a worst case scenario) even electrocuting themselves. This forum isn’t exactly DIY Audio, so I have no idea how adept the average user over here is at using a soldering iron, as well as in techniques to keep from accidentally having a damaging static discharges inside of their DACs.

FYI - The problem is NOT one of ground loops, but it is instead one of common-mode noise from the utility ground interfering with the optimal operation of the DS. I will try to elaborate more about my experiences later. But I’d really prefer not to potentially tick-off anyone at PS Audio in the process. So if any of TPTB types on this forum would like to understand more about my theories about what exactly is happening here, and/or vet my mods first, then please contact me and let me know this before I spill the beans entirely. FWIW: I’m an EE, and I am not offering snake oil here. Nor am I trying to sell anyone anything. But I do believe very strongly that taking some minimal efforts at HF ground isolating this unit from your utility ground can really make a difference to its performance on some, of not many, systems.


Hi Ted,

I am going to purchase a ground box (like Entreq’s) for my DS and PWT. Would you suggest where I should connect the ground box’s cable to which part of DS and PWT? Chassis? Connector?


This might be a better question for PS Audio support: I’m not near either unit now and don’t know which screw would make the best connection to the chassis, especially on the PWT. The biggest thing is to make sure that you aren’t trying to get a good ground thru paint, etc.

Panda said Hi Ted,

I am going to purchase a ground box (like Entreq’s) for my DS and PWT. Would you suggest where I should connect the ground box’s cable to which part of DS and PWT? Chassis? Connector?

If you are getting Entreq, they sell ground cables with RCA and XLR connectors. Would that work better instead of using a chassis screw ? I would be interested to know your opinion if you decide to get one.

Grounding does much more good and bad then just hum . Look at a ground wire as an extra return like the neutral . It’s purpose is to give a path for all the leaks in your stuff. Each device leaks but not the same . So if you don’t have a ground path that is the same for all devices they leak to each other . This causes nose , not just hum. This noise does many things to your sound besides the digital noise sound it adds . A very noisy digital is not just jitter it is also makes a lack of black background. A black background is absolute and if it’s not it adds a Brightness as well as muddy in the low end . A gteat black ness gives you just the music Alone . The ground loops must be removed to keep it black or more black. Hi end devices have internal ground lifting and or isolation circuits as well. Adding more ground rods is not against code in any states but will not improve things as it gives more paths if not done correctly . All outlets should be isolated hospital grade or spec grade . The iso part is the green screw that shroud have its own wire and should be terminated to a large single ground wire like Ted has .

This one wire needs to go to a common spot where all tour grounds meet . Meaning all of your rods and water mains . This junctioner is best . Now lifting any items or using iso transformers as sold by a few audio makers helps plenty. Trying a Cheater or a few of them is fine to try , but with caution . The potential between your devices is the full line voltage meaning 120 or 230 . One of my devices has an option to lift it by a cammand . It improves the sound plenty but if I touch the device and the next one its a wow moment. I spent a few hundred on a transformer type isolation for interconnects. It did the same as lifting it and improved the sound as well. We in hi end audio need to try ideas but with caution and well understood as well as others who have tried it first. .

Good luck.


IMHO - if you have a great improvement when lifting the ground on the DS, then you should probably be addressing the issues in your power system. It’s not “the DS’s single worst flaw”, it’s a flaw in your homes wiring, or your wires, or something not grounded correctly in your system (for example, cable company not properly grounding their lines and putting voltage into your ground as soon as it’s connect to anything in your system! the buggers).

To add to what Ted said above, about dedicated circuits and grounds; you can also lower your impedance to ground by having an electrician add another ground rod to your homes existing ground rod (like the copper rod that’s in your yard), a proper distance away from your existing ground (According to code) preferably deeper and/or in damp soil for better connectivity. Electricity takes the path of least resistance; so if we add another ground rod daisy chained to our current ground rod you’re making it easier to sink those nasties away from your system down a low impedance ground line.

Also, I believe it’s against code to have multiple grounds (rods) at multiple locations at the same main power network - and it could add a great big ground loop if your house was grounded off the main panel with a ground rod, and you added a ground rod just for your dedicated audio circuits. So don’t do that! Just daisy chain to your current ground rod…improve all the grounds in that chain as well, and if you can find an audiophile friendly electrician as Ted did, there is a tool (an expensive Fluke meter) that can measure your panels resistance to ground before and after your ground rod upgrade to prove you’ve made an improvement. Unfortunately all three electricians I asked to help me with this looked at me like I crapped in their Cheerios and apparently didn’t want to make money off me. (shrug)


I suspect it is worth experimenting if you buy such a device and discovering the best/most effective place to connect the ground sink.

Please let us learn what you determine.