Really? This is said tongue in cheek, right?
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Hi, No this is a serious(real) post. I wrote a long detailed post yesterday with no humor and it was blocked. I have made the DIY Ground cables that are in my post, and my finding are real about the two different kinds of metals used. This is the TRUTH being told in a light hearted way, so it won't be blocked by the Sith Lords.
Hi, I'm talking about a DIY version of the Audio Prism Ground Control. I own 4 of these with the spade ends. I have two on my speaker negative post, and the other two are on my Classe S-700 power amp's negative post. I just made my own Diy version of the 4 Audio Prism Ground Control spades. I made 4 with solid core silver wire. Each one terminated on a pure copper spade. The DIY solid silver ground spades are faster than the Audio Prism. Have more impact slam, PRAT, details are better fleshed out than the Audio Prism, but the ease and flow is still there, just bolder, brighter, deeper, blacker. Now the silver & palladium mix spades have everything the solid silver have, but have slightly darker tone. Voices come out of blackness that's rich ,full, detailed and smooth. The Palladium & silver spades are very impressive. But the best combo has been the Palladium & Silver on my amp negative post, and the solid silver on my speaker negative post.
People..... my understanding of this thing is that the other end of the wire is not connected to earth ground.(AKA, the safety equipment grounding conductor.) It is not connected to anything.
Example of, I believe.
Hi, I see some members have sighted there concerns about the potential for this DIY ground control to ruin, destroy, or even blow up your amp. This simply is not my experience at all. I put this out to the Audiogon family to share with those who like to tweak and do cheap DIY projects like myself. And I for one like to hear the good bad and indifferent of opinions. Now as far as the ground cables I made or the ones that Audio Prism sells. Both are very simple in design. I just made mine out of different wire and a different spade. And without the unbleached cotton outer jacket. This is far from mystical and the stuff of legends, but I must admit it is strange how well it works (in my system). So all I did was satisfy my curiosity about "better ingredients" with a very cheap tweak that seems very safe to me, and keeps my wallet out of danger.
Hifihvn, you bring up one of the most if not the most crucial points concerning the DIY ground wire I made. The length. My non laboratory study found that the total length of each cable should be less than 6 inches long. I use two 6 inch long Silver solid core wires in one 8 awg copper spade. So that makes a 3 inch loop in the spade with all 4 ends in the 8 awg copper spade. Total terminated length including the copper spade is 4 inches to 4.5 total length. And I have tried longer loop lengths of 6 inch to 7 inches and the magic (voodoo to some) is gone. Remember a 6 inch loop is 12 inches of cable, and 7 inches loop is 14 inches of cable. I have some that are 2.5 inches loop lenth 5 inch long total cable and they sound better than the 12 or 14 inch cables.
Let me take this time to take myself to task about how easy this design is. I did not do any of the R&D of this product, I have not spent any money bringing it to market. Heck, I don't even know who Audio Prism is or who is behind them, or a name or face. So I shouldn't be stating what is easy, simple, or trickery. So my apologies to those who put in the time, effort, and money to make this happen. I'm just a nobody enjoying the fruits of there labor. Tweak on!!!
Hi, I know I broke Audiophile commandment number 3, "Thou shall never use the word magic in any audio discussions".( insert thunder clap). In spite of that laps on my part, what you gain is a since of realness to over all sound. With just the ground controls on your speakers there is a ease to the music that just comes across as less strained, the bass has more foundation. Dynamics seam sharper but not brighter. Everything just flows better. The Audio Prism Ground Control gave me all the above to a degree. The DIY ones I made (both versions) gave me all the above to a much higher degree ( in my system). I suggest reading some of the reviews and other opinions as well.
I have some that are 2.5 inches loop length 5 inch long total cable and they sound better than the 12 or 14 inch cables.Five inches just happens to be the wavelength in free space of a 2.4GHz WiFi signal. It also corresponds roughly to the wavelength of a signal induced and propagating in a wire at some cellphone frequencies.
The close spacing of the parallel conductors, and/or the fact that they are shorted together at the speaker terminal, probably results in dissipation of some of the energy that may be in the vicinity due to wifi or cellphone signals (notwithstanding the fact that the 6Moons review quotes one of the Audio Prism partners as denying that its effects are due to rf filtering).
Why any of that would be audibly significant, however, is beyond me, as is the mumbo jumbo in the review about ground plane effects.
I agree with the OP in that I have experimented with different types of wire that attach to my two grounding rods outside of my house. I have a dedicated isolated ground for my system. Grounding is a very tricky subject and changes in the gauge of wire, what the wire is made of, which components in your system are grounded and which are not, all make a profound difference. There are no sure answers as to what wire is best to use for your system or which components to lift the ground are in your system because no two are the same, and neither is the electricity coming into the house. That being said, I wouldn't recommend attaching a ground wire to a speaker binding post.
Jejaudio, I am using a 24 gauge pure silver wire that started out 24" long. Folded it 3 times to make a 6" length. Then made a loop out of that making it about a 3" loop. Then I used a bannana plug on the end.
Not sure if this is equivalent to yours but it sounds pretty good.
Great tweak and is easy to experiment with.
Hi, Almarg. Your hypothises (educated guess) is as good as I have heard. Dissipation of outside noise, Radio waves, EMI-RFI,or even absorption or filtering which is denied in the review as you pointed out is on the table. I just don't know enough about this kind of thing. But I'm with you on the length being a major part. But I do know what I hear. So there is no law of physic conflict between my right and left brain. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
Jejaudio, I also have made some others with 21 ga pure silver. This time I used 2 sets of 24" long cable each folded 3 times each. This should be the equivalent of 15 gauge for each set 6" long. Then I made a 3' loop out of that and put the 4 wires into a banana plug. This should be more similiar to what you are using.
Hi, Elescher. Reading your post made me think maybe we all are putting to much into the first part of the name (Ground Control), and not realizing that the function is not to Ground but to Control. I think the secret in the Audio Prism Ground Control is that it controls the preexisting ground you already have in your system. Not creating a new one. Kind of like a reinforcement to your ground, with a fake detour that enough of the audio gremlins take and intern make the music that much cleaner. That my attempt at explaining it, fire away.
Hi, Ozzy. Your post says your loop is 3 feet long. Is this correct? If you meant 3 inches for your loop than we are similar. I use a 8 awg copper spade so I could use my thicker 14 awg silver and Palladium & silver mix cable. But I do have a pair that I made up using canare copper cables which sound pretty good terminated in my Audioquest spades.
The first DIY spades I made use Audioquest CF- spades. These are direct silver plated no nickel between the silver and copper. They accept up to 9 awg wire. I was only able to use one silver or one Palladium cables with these spades. So I had both end of 14 awg cable in a spade. It sounded good, a little thin when used on my speakers and amp. But just on the speakers it was a noticeable step up from the Audio Prism spades, nothing earth shattering, but a nice step up. But when I doubled up on the wire and put all 4 ends in the pure copper 8 awg spades it just wasn't even close. As soon as I put them in the difference in flow, and realism was dramatic. I don't know if it was the doubling of the cable or the pure copper spades, or a combination of both. I would like to try the Xhadow spades. They look promising.
How could it possibly make a difference?Hi Magfan,
Along the lines of my earlier comment, it seems clear to me that it is designed to act as a form of loop antenna, tuned by means of its length to either wifi or certain cellphone frequencies or both.
However, in contrast to a normal loop antenna the fact that the antenna's two "output terminals" are shorted together, and/or the fact that the two halves of the loop are placed together (causing the electromagnetic fields associated with the rf flowing through the two halves to interact with each other), and/or the fact that there are two paralleled loops, will presumably cause rf energy that is picked up to be dissipated.
It would surprise me if any of that were significant to an audible degree, but who knows? In any event, having read the 6Moons review and the laughable non-explanations that are quoted in its sidebar, that kind of antenna effect is the only explanation that seems remotely plausible to me, and that seems consistent with the claimed length criticality.
Does 'Ground Plane' enter into any of this?Audio Prism seems to say so, while admitting that they don't fully understand it, but that strikes me as nonsense. From the review, quoting one of their partners:
We believe it provides a ground reference. We dont really know how but we hear the improvement on a wide variety of speakers. Some of these effects cant be measured. Or at least we dont know what to measure.
Magfan: I wonder just how much RF it would take to cause audible problems.... I currently live near a transmitter tower(s) but for the last 20+ years have heard NO audible effect.Don't know, but as I said I'd be surprised (very surprised) if the effect I described were audibly significant. Although the rf situation is different these days than in earlier times, because of wifi and cellphones.
Note as I indicated earlier that the length of this thing (at least in the case of the diy versions that were described by the posters above) suggests that it is tuned to either the 2.4gHz wifi frequency and/or to some cellphone frequencies, not to radio or tv frequencies, which are much lower. The Audio Prism version appears to be somewhat different:
There is a lot of very fine wire (about 138 feet) looped inside the GC in a very special braid configuration. He added that increasing the length of the GC by a ¼ inch would mess up the sound. Its critically tuned.I suppose that could mean that the Audio Prism version is tuned to lower frequencies, but my knowledge of antenna theory isn't sufficiently up to snuff. In any event I don't think the ground plane explanation makes any sense, and even the Audio Prism person admits he is not sure. One of the many reasons I say that is that ground planes are not "critically tuned," while antennas are.
Electrons move at about 1 meter per second in an AC impressed signal cable. Mostly they just jitter back and forth, under the control of an information packet we usually call "signal". A signal is comprised of E Field and B Field, with E Field being the moment when the signal changes vector. At this moment the electrons holding the signal twist the axis of an electron, attached to a dielectric end atom, to the obverse of the spin and axis of the holding electron. This in turn causes the equivalent electron on the other end of the open chain of atoms, comprising the dielectric molecular structure, to twist to match the holding electron. Incidentally, this his is how AC signal is transferred across a dielectric barrier.
This momentary hold for vector change is controlled by the charge threshold of the dielectric material and the subsequent release threshold and the time between these two appears to be affected to a degree by how many electrons can be signaling within a given area. This later is referred to as "dielectric constant". Holding electrons, without sufficient charge to affect the electron on the end of the dielectric molecule's atom, are lost from the coherent signal. The release threshold also provides a time interval to the resumption of the AC signal as a B Field event. These three events all contribute to the loss of signal coherency on the return portion of the signal through the load.
The loop of wire, as a shorted turn comprised of many strands of insulated wire in my usage, coated with a two part dielectric material, polyurethane and nylon, has an extremely low RAC and RDC, but it's useful path length is very long, when considered as an unterminated wave guide. The entire loop is at a lower state of impedance than the ground it is attached to and over a period of time actually fills the open orbits of the empty orbits found in the copper wire. Due to the triboelectric effect of the additional pieces of dielectric, in the official Ground Control, maintains this "filled" capacity, so long as there is a source of electrons to replace those that trickle away.
After attachment, those low level wide band signal components will be maintained in this unterminated wave guide. Meanwhile, being lost to poor dielectrics and boundaries between different pieces of metal, throughout the ground system provided, out to the local pole in the ground itself. I suppose we could claim quantum choice effects here, for the signal, as it moves at the speed of light through the pieces of wire involved in this, but I don't really think it's necessary to argue at that level.
Your notice of greater dynamic range is most likely just a drop in the noise floor and more coherence to the originating signal of information, on the back half of the signal waveform. These two are linked, since signal dropped from the "information packet" of a coherent information data stream will become a random event and cause random charged electrons to pass the information back through the load as noise.
Here's something to comment about.
I have the Walker magic links(oh oh-magic).
They are silver wired and silver spades.
Do you think if I just plugged the neg spade into my speakers neg terminal I would do harm or would it be a quasi, albeit more expensive ground control?
Don't tell me to just try it,I want to read about all the pros and cons first before I do.
Lacee, after poking around Google I finally stumbled onto the web site for the Walker Links. From their description I would have to say no, they do not perform the same function that Ground Control does. You can test this by obtaining a 2 foot long length of inexpensive lamp cord,. Split it into the two halves that make up this sort of cord and strip both ends of both cords of plastic insulation for about 2 inches. Make a loop out of each cord, twist the wires together and insert this twisted grouping into the hole in the stem of your black lug speaker terminal. Play music and allow about two to three hours for the full effect to show up. This is not as refined as Ground Control, but will give you a pretty good idea of what is available from our product. I suspect these loops will work very well with the Walker units and the commercial Ground Control will perform quite a bit better.
Thanks Bud, here's my take on your suggestion and also the results.
I used simple solid core hook up wire from the Source(Radio shack)22 guage.
I cut 4 x 24 inch lengths.
I cut about an inch or more of the plastic covering off all ends.
I braided each pair of wires together,formed an arc and then twisted all the bare ends together,inserted the ends into a banana plug and put the one finished ground wire into the neg speaker terminal.
The same was done to the other two lengnths of wire for the other speaker.
I powered up my amp, took a deep breath,and nothing bad happened.
No electrical arcing, no electronic shock, no amp shutdown, no speaker blow ups, nothing but a "feeling" that something had changed for the better.
Massed violins on a Harminia Mundi cd seemd to be less harsh, more pleasant to the ears.
I heard nothing else, no humm,hiss or any type of sonic degradation, but no boost of any treble or bass frequencies either.
So ,as much as I can't be 100% positive that my system has improved,what I am certain of is that this will not harm anything either as some have implied here.
That is , if you do as Bud has directed,and if your experiments with different wires conforms to his recipe, I can't see anyone having any problems that would result in harm to your gear or most importantly to yourself.
If you are a tinkerer, tweaker type, here is something to try.
If you are from the camp that think this is folly or that it can harm you/your gear,all I can say is that you should try it before you jump to conclusions.
Thank you for doing that Lacee.
As for our implementation of this novel idea, we use 140 strands of wire and control the amount and types of dielectric materials used. Anyone could do the same research, ad hoc as it was, and duplicate our results. Or you can buy our results for quite a bit less cost than the amount of time it will take you to learn the relatively subtle things you need to know.
I am a transformer engineer and I am aware of wire and dielectric investigations, as it is part of my professional career. None of the thoughts behind Ground Control are collected as a single concept in the scientific literature I am aware of, but each of the component understandings is well supported.
What we have developed in Ground Control will not leave you with a "feeling" that the reproduction has changed for the better. The changes will be quite obvious, as information retention improvements, and they won't be on the leading edge of the signal. It is still surprising to me how much information is lost to corruption of the back half of all wave forms, after they have passed through the "load". This portion of all signal information is then pulled back through the load, after a vector change in the field event has expossed the signal holding electrons to local dielectrics, somewhre between your speaker cables, the safety ground outside your building and the power sub station down the road.
I couldn't agree more!!!!!!!
Everyone, please note that bare copper wire not only will not provide any benefit to your listening experience but is a safety issue, just as it would be if you were using bare copper wire as your speaker cables.
You should be protected from the power grid by your amplifier, with particular protection provided by current limiting devices in solid state amps and output transformers in tube devices. The voltages in your speaker cables are not considered to be lethal by the worlds safety agencies but using bare copper wire will still cause destruction of your equipment.
However, as an added safety note, you should not at any moment interrupt the connection to safety ground in your equipment, unless you know for a FACT that it is "Double Insulated". All two prong plugged electrical equipment must be double insulated to pass UL, CSA or CE and thereby are safe to use without a third prong connected to safety ground. You should never use a safety ground defeating plug, period. Use isolation signal transformers from Jensen, Sowter, O-Netics, Lundahl and others to break the ground loops in your equipment, if you are suffering hum problems. You will not suffer a degradation in sonic qualities by doing so.
Our Ground Control has as much protection from accidental exposure to safety ground as does the typical speaker cable, with only the prongs of the mounting fork or body of the RCA plug being uncovered by a suitable dielectric material. Even the 140 strands of four nines copper wire are insulated, individually. You can use these devices without fear of death or destruction, RF noise or self levitation.
As for experimenting, if you don't use an insulated wire, you will get no benefit, so don't bother.
I took my Classe amp S-700 out of my system. And put my modded dual-mono Adcom 555-MK11 in it's place with my DIY Ground controls on the amp negative speaker post just like I did with the Classe S-700. There is an even greater improvement with the Adcom than with the Classe. I have bragged about this Adcom in other posts, but it never sounded better than the Classe, until now! With the DIY Ground Controls the Adcom is visceral, open, wider sound stage, bass now has not just very deep bass, but low bass, mid bass, upper bass. The mid range has more presence to the voices, they just sound live and real. This is laughable how much this already overachieving amp has been improved by this simple tweak.
Probably not such a simple tweak really. Just does a number of things with the least amount of stuff. You really should buy one of the $150 sets and test it out against your DIY item, just to make sure you have all of the benefit. Not dissing your efforts at all, you have just left out aa couple of descriptions of the changes wrought by the full package. You can always return them, claiming lack of change....
I do find it very interesting to discover just how good the equipment we have really is, once the back half of the wave form is properly supported. Neat to know that even Red Book audio, out of a cheap Sony CD / SACD player, can sound wonderful and that a Nikko Beta I SS preamp from the 80's is an incredibly delicate and nuanced preamp, not the hissy, hashy high end, thing that most people find with them. You really do need to explore the RCA Ground Control devices.
Hi, Bud. I used the $150.00 dollar set of Audio Prism Ground Control as my reference before I started this post. So I have directly compared them to my DIY version. And in direct head to head match ups with the DIY versions I made, the Audio Prism Ground Controls were a behind the two versions I made(solid Silver - Silver Palladium mix) I would love to compare my DIY to the Audio Prism Reference Ground Control. But they are priced much higher. I do have my eye on the RCA ground control for equipment(preamp). Thanks for the suggestion.
Sounds like what we found the first time we used the XShadow 100% silver spades on speakers and amp posts, quite a bit better inner detail and nuance, even though it was still just from the back side of the signals. I was quite skeptical that solid silver would be better than copper / gold plated spades, but my doubts disappeared rather quickly. Careful listening showed that leading edges of all sounds were just as they had been without any Ground Control, and that the silver made more"sense" out of the rest of the signal than did the gold platted GC's. And yet, the gold platted units only sounded murky in comparison with the the solid silver spaded units. In comparison to none, it was again back to the "not ever leaving my system" mind set.
The RCA's reveal a greater difference between silver and gold plate units. The silver RCA's, on the preamp, caused me to remove the internal GC's from the Sony player and plug in two gold plated RCA's in place of them. Silver RCA's on the Sony was just a bit much, very resolving, without actually curing the OPAMP ground side starvation. The gold units seemed best there.
Still learning about these little jewels.
Replacing the direct silver-plated Audioquest CF spade with a pure copper spade made all the difference in the world on both the all silver DIY Ground wire I made, and the Silver & Palladium DIY Ground wire. There was no location where the Audioquest Direct-Silver plated CF spade sounded better than the pure copper spade.I agree that if you never heard the two side by side you would not find fault with the gold plated or silver plated spades. But there is a significant step up in performance in pure silver and pure copper spades over plated spades.
To Jejaudio and Budp, have you tried the ground control units attached directly to the negative post of each speaker driver within the speaker cabinet? Have you tried the ground control units attached to the speaker cabinet's terminals as bare wire and not with spades or banana connectors? Thank you both for sharing your experience with this approach to improving one's sound.
When I provide EnABL'd drivers to folks wanting 40 to 60 db down in coherent information, below the typically available 40 db down, I do provide partial GC's attached directly to the drivers. These are not intended to provide all of the benefit of a full on Ground Control, as is available commercially. Primary function is to make certain that the driver has access to the back half of the wave form for information that provides spatial clues and removes the starved, sick sound, of densely recorded material, when the ground side is starved of carrier electrons. These GC's typically do not have cotton sleeves or attachment lugs and as Jejaudio has pointed out, both of these are important portions of the GC approach to information retention.
Just attaching a piece of wire, in a loop will likely have some effect. Not necessarily a positive effect, but for proof of principle it should show that while somewhat silly, the concept does work. I would suggest a 2 foot long piece of lamp cord, split into two pieces. Strip about an inch of insulation off of both ends of one piece, make a loop and twist the wires together. Insert this section of bare wire into your speaker box lug connection, on the return side, black, connector. Do the same for the other side. Then sit back and listen carefully as the wire begins to alter what you hear. I doubt you will like it initially. A few hours into listening, not necessarily all at one sitting by any means, remove the wires and listen for a short period, then reattach them and listen again. I am pretty sure you will "get it".
The GC is a carefully controlled "generalist" tuning of what you will find in the lamp cord loop. It is aimed at the sweet spot for the vast majority of speakers and electronics and while they can be further refined for a specific system, it is an agonizingly tedious business and most often well into the "placebo" realm of wished for improvements. The commercial versions will provide you with more than you hoped for. And, until you delve into EnABL'd drivers, a very clear improvement in tonal richness, transient correctness, tonal vividness and coherent information, that allows your brain to reconstruct the space that the sonic event occurred within.
EnABL'd drivers will respond just as stock ones will, but a specific set directly on the drivers, will add even more to what the commercial units bring.
Hi, David. I have not tried any other way of hooking the DIY Ground Controls up except using spades on the outside negative post on my speakers and power amp. Now is a good time for me to restate that I am no way connected to Audio Prism in any way shape or form. I want to thank all those at Audio Prism for doing the research & development, putting the time in and spending the capital to bring there Ground Control to the market. I have just rode there coattails to make my own version of there discovery. So in other words I don't know nothing about nothing. But I am very glad your out there adding to conversation. This is what it is all about improving one's sound.
I think you may know quite a bit more than nuthin Jejaudio. Thank you for your appreciation of our efforts and, by the by, the Reference models do use solid silver speaker lugs and solid silver internals for the RCA connectors and both use Wonder solder for the connections. The "standard" units have gold plated over pure copper for the lugs or copper alloy for the RCA units