Can I ground my preamp?


I have monoblocs each w/their own grounded cord and a preamp w/o a grounded cord. The problem is that I'm getting a slight ground hum from each amp. The amp manual says if this happens to use a cheater plug on the amps and to ground "at least one other component." Is it possible to ground my preamp, and if so how? Many thanks for any advice.
bojack
You can run a wire from your preamp. either the ground post or one of the screws holding the case, to the center screw in your AC receptacle. Sometimes this helps, sometimes not.
Hey Stanwal,

Thanks for this advice, and I will definitely try this.
If the preamp was designed with double insulated power wiring connecting an equipment ground to the chassis could degrade the sonics of the preamp.

I would first check each amp for the proper AC polarity orientation.

http://www.boundforsound.com/tweak.htm

>http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/acpolarity.html

>http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/general/messages/449743.html


If each amp is fed from its own dedicated circuit I would also make sure the AC polarity is correct at the receptacle
.
Does your CD player have a ground?
I used to have this problem with big Parasound amps, and the cheater plugs actually did cure the problem. Didn't have to ground any other components, either
The preamp, being the heart of the system, should be grounded. The amps, for safety reasons, should be too, but for audio reasons (ground loop prevention) they should not. If the amps hum when grounded through the AC cords, it indicates that the manufacturer has not done their grounding homework (it is possible to have the amps grounded and **not** hum at the same time)- so the best method probably is to float the grounds of the AC cords with cheaters.

At any rate the preamp *should* be grounded, although I suspect it already is since you are getting the hum.
Curious to know if anyone has experience with the Granite Audio Ground Zero system, and if so can comment on it's efficacy.

It's purpose is to solve the ground loop issue.
I had a hum problem with a pair of monoblox and got rid of it by running a wire from the preamp chassis to one of the amp's chassis.
Wow, this is more complicated than I thought. I think I will try your suggestion first, Stingreen, to see. BTW, the amps are the only grounded components (CD, DVD, and preamp are all non-grounded). Am on work travel, but I'll report back when I get a chance.
If you are having a ground loop problem you can drop the ground on your amps and leave the rest alone. You don't have to ground any components.
10-08-10: Rrog
If you are having a ground loop problem you can drop the ground on your amps and leave the rest alone.
Did that in my system. Didn't solve the problem.
Tvad,
I do have have Ground Zero and used it in various system configurations. It definitely works, but requires quite a bit of fiddling, and in some cases is not 100% effective.
I have to admit though, I probably didn't have enough patience to follow the protocol to the last letter.
I have a Granite Audio grounding system. You can hear some reduction of noise with some settings, but it does not resolve a ground loop problem.

I have yet to find a system that was not improved making the preamp the only grounded unit. Some are very concerned about the possibility that and amp can have the hot wire somehow come in contact with the chassis and a person who is grounded come in contact with that chassis. There is certainly some probability of that happening but it is very remote. Canada doe not allow cheater plugs to be sold, which is over the top in my opinion. Synergistic Research sells the best cheaters that I have ever heard.
Rather than use cheaters I disconnect the ground wire at the IEC end of my PC. Of course, you can only do this if the PC has a removable plug, like Oyaide, Watt Gate, etc. Only my preamp is grounded and I do hear a reduction in noise, but depending on the amp I'm using, it may not solve all the problems.

I've been told that if one uses interconnects that are shielded, it's best that the shield is connected to the ground at one end of the cable. I've also been told you can disconnect the entire ground at one end of an interconnect. Never tried it, but maybe someone here can comment on that.
I've been told that if one uses interconnects that are shielded, it's best that the shield is connected to the ground at one end of the cable.
Clio09 (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Correct. The end that connects to the preamp should have the shield connected. The end of the IC that installs at the amp(s) or sources has the shield unconnected. This also goes to the issue of directional indicators on some interconnects, which will point to the end that has the shield connected (rather than indicating signal flow).

"Did that in my system. Didn't solve the problem."

Was it a ground loop problem?
Was it a ground loop problem?
Rrog (Answers | This Thread)
Yes.
Rrog, disconnect the interconnects from your amp and turn it on. If there is still hum, you have a problem in the amp. This is unlikely. If not put the ic between the preamp into the amp, but with nothing plugged into the preamp. If you have hum, it is the preamp. If it is in one channel, that is the problem. This is improbable. Switch the ics at the preamp. If it switches, it is the preamp.

If no hum, connect one source. The one that adds hum is the problem. Put a cheater on its pc. If that doesn't help it, it is in that source.
Clio09: I've been told that if one uses interconnects that are shielded, it's best that the shield is connected to the ground at one end of the cable. I've also been told you can disconnect the entire ground at one end of an interconnect. Never tried it, but maybe someone here can comment on that.

Tvad: Correct. The end that connects to the preamp should have the shield connected. The end of the IC that installs at the amp(s) or sources has the shield unconnected. This also goes to the issue of directional indicators on some interconnects, which will point to the end that has the shield connected (rather than indicating signal flow).
That is correct, but only in the case of interconnects that do not use the shield as the signal return conductor. Or interconnects that have an inner shield used as the return conductor, and a separate outer shield, which may be grounded at only one end. It is common, especially among lower priced interconnects, for there to be one shield, and for it to be used as the signal return conductor, in which case disconnecting it at either end would result in very loud hum.

Also, based on what I've read different manufacturers do not always define the arrow consistently, in some cases having it point to the end at which the shield is grounded, and in other cases having it point in the direction of the destination component.

Best regards,
-- Al
Also, based on what I've read different manufacturers do not always define the arrow consistently, in some cases having it point to the end at which the shield is grounded, and in other cases having it point in the direction of the destination component.

Best regards,
-- Al
Almarg (System | Answers | This Thread)
Didn't I state this in my post? I certainly intended to.

I need to start writing more clearly and completely...leaving no comment less than fully developed.
Bojack,

Does each amp have its own dedicated circuit?
If so are both dedicated circuits fed from the same Line, leg, in the electrical panel?

Did you try using ground cheater plugs on the amps? Did the hum stop? For a test I would try that first.

Did you check each amp for the proper AC polarity orintation?

Just curious what happens if you disconnect all input sources from the preamp. Unplug the preamp from the power outlet. So all you have is dead preamp with the two amps connected to the preamp by the ics. Is there a hum?
(If the preamp has auto mute on power shut down this test may not be valid.)

Just a point of info:
I doubt that the small wire in an IC will carry the high fault current, in the event of a ground fault condition, long enough to safely trip the branch circuit breaker open.... Good chance it Ain't gonna happen.... In the case of a single pole 20 amp breaker as much as 150 amps, or more, of fault current could pass through the breaker before it would trip open. The instantaneous short circuit current flow could be in the thousands of amps. It all depends on how much current the source can deliver.... Good chance the small IC wire will blow free at one end or the other.

As for connecting a separate ground wire from the preamp to each amp I doubt that will help with the ground loop hum. It appears to me you would just be putting another conductor in parallel with the IC signal ground return. A current path is still provided for the ground loop.

I think the place to start might be at any dedicated branch circuit receptacles. Create a star ground for the PCs of any 3 wire cord and plug equipment. With a ground jumper wire connect the equipment ground of each recept together. Simple test would be to run a wire from each recept to the next using the metallic 6/32 trim screw that holds the recept cover plate on.
(Note, this will not work on isolated grounding type recept.)
Quick update here: I lifted the ground on each amp via cheater plugs and voila...hum gone. Thanks for all the advice, and I've learned quite a bit.