Grounding cable gauge size


For those of you using external grounding source devices, units such as Entreq, Nordost, Synergistic, etc. What size wire gauge seems to work the best?

ozzy

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I ask this question because the Entreq Atlantia cable sells for about $1600. This seems rather expensive for a short grounding wire.

I have tried 10-gauge copper and 18-gauge silver. Each gives a slightly different sound.

ozzy

General rule of thumb is ground wire is at least the same gauge as the supply wire. 1600.00 for a ground wire is stupid. And I’m a cable believer…

Thanks for the comments. It is a signal ground not an AC ground.

It is sort of remarkable in the way the soundstage stage solidifies with this type of grounding.

I've just got to zero in on the proper gage. I agree that the cost for a Entreq Atlantis cable is ridiculous that's why I would like to know what it consists of.

ozzy

There's no current in the wire unless something is terribly wrong. So a light gauge is no worries.

That's what I think. Do you think 16-gauge silver to be ok?

ozzy

Ah, no current then pretty much anything would work. I would use OCC copper personally. But silver would be fine.

Then why is the Entreq Atlantis cable $1600?

I have found an old description of one of their cables:

"Our top cables Apollo & Olympus are made of Silver, Cotton and Wood.
The silver conductors are twisted by our own developed system and then threated with high presure. This insure you will get best possible performance together with Entreq groundboxes. Simply, since they are developed by the same constructor for best performance. 1* 15 AWG conductor made by 4 different AWG´s twisted pure silver threads and threated with our high pressure process."

ozzy

Try both. A 1600.00 ground cable is just too much. Not money, just stupid. Try both silver and copper, or any other. Make a good connection, which is ALWAYS a must with any ground and see which you prefer.

Because someone will pay it and they'll make a big profit.

Then why is the Entreq Atlantis cable $1600?

That’s what I think. Do you think 16-gauge silver to be ok?

Of course! Like I said, if the wire really has to take any current you have much bigger fish to fry due to some sort of Bad Thing going on with a component or AC outlet miswired. When things are set up properly the wire will see no current at all.

Now I feel compelled to mention that if all the equipment has a proper grounding scheme and your home wiring meets electrical code there will be no benefit whatsoever from any external grounding systems. But its a sad fact that many ’high end audio’ components have poor grounding (or none at all).

I agree with the cost being outrageous. I wish some "rich guy" would take one apart and reveal the insides.

Surprising though, the grounding boxes do work well. I use it with my Lumin X1 and with my JL Audio CR-1 crossover. I have a separate DIY box on my Amps and other smaller DIY versions on my speakers. This seems to be the best configuration.

Funny though, grounding the amps and/or subwoofers together with the other equipment degrades the sound quality giving it sort of a congested sound.

I am only talking about signal ground. That is; from the grounding of a rca or spade input/output. Not AC or chassis grounding.

ozzy

I compared the AWG effect in my system with the silver wires of VH Audio and Duelund (SR SX ground). The more subtle worked better.

I'm expecting today some 16 ga .999 silver wire that I ordered thru Amazon to try.

BTW, drpie,which wire is the more subtle?

ozzy

Just connected up the new .999 16 ga silver wire. I used no connectors. Made a loop at one end to go over the outside of an unused RCA and then used an RCA cap to keep it in place. At the other end into the Entreq I made the wire end into an arrow shape that then went inside the banana terminal.

Thus far, I think I hit the right gauge/wire.

What this type of grounding does is it creates a more solid stable image. Delicate nuances that once were buried in the music become more apparent.

ozzy

 

Ozzi,

By my own ear, I chose:

VH Audio UniCrystal™ 5N OCC SILVER 24AWG, Duelund 1.0 5N Silver, Neotech STDST-24 Silver 24AWG and SR HD.

The copper wires didn't work for me

Thanks for commenting. I was beginning to think that I was the only one using this type of grounding.

BTW, the silver 3 foot 16 ga .999 wire cost me $21 including shipping. Compared to the $1600 for the Entreq Atlantis.

ozzy

I use a Nordost QB4 with both QV2 and QK1 plugged into the two outside receptacles. I use the QB4 only for whichever power amp I’m using, only one plugged in at a time. When I first picked up the QB4 I did not use the ground post at first but later made up my own cable using what an Electrician would use, No. 10 insulated ground cable I picked up at the HomeDepot. On the QB4 side I picked up an AudioQuest gold plated speaker spade and on the other end of the ground wire connects outside to an 8’ buried ground rod. I’m not saying the difference is drastic but it is there being with using the ground the noise floor is lower and especially on my Pass amp it really opens up and with a sense of you’re more there and not listening to a HiFi. I needed a 20’ of cable which one from Nordost would be probably more than I’d want to spend. Very happy with the cable I built for less than $50, plus the grounding rod and clamp.

 

All my other components go through a PS Audio P10 on its own dedicated circuit. The Nordost is on its own circuit which I only use for my power amp, either a Pass or a Cary.

afg101, Thank you for that information.

I have been experimenting now quite a bit with this grounding method. It is better to separate digital from analog into 2 different grounding boxes. Luckily, I built several DIY boxes that IMHO are better than the Entreq,

What I am hearing is a deeper soundstage. Music that I am way too familiar with such as example: CCR "Green River" perhaps not the best recording but one of my favorite tunes, I can clearly hear brother Tom strumming along in the top left of center quadrant. Previously it was buried in the mix. Also listening to Linda sing "Blue Bayou" is really captivating.

ozzy

There doesn’t seem to be much interest in this thread. Too bad though because it really is the great unknown as to the level of improvement in sound quality it can provide. I mean what I am hearing is a deeper, wider, clearer- soundstage. All positives, no downside.

It’s sort of like star grounding the signal cabling but with a base sink that dissipates any noise (present or unheard buried deep) that may be present in the sound quality.

ozzy

Too bad though because it really is the great unknown as to the level of improvement in sound quality it can provide.

Grounding is really important so naturally it can affect sound quality quite a lot. But I was not kidding that if your equipment employs a proper grounding scheme, an external 'grounding box' will not offer any benefit whatsoever.

Atmasphere,

Thank you and I respect your opinion, but I consider it just your opinion and not actual experience.

ozzy

Hi Ozzie,

I’ve been following both this thread and your post on WBF and from what I’ve understood from Peter is he stated multiple gauge silver to achieve a 15 g and that’s what I have been playing with along with different gauges to come to 15 g along with silver binding post and silver spades, next will be silver rca,s,

 

I think the key is to use multiple small g wire to achieve the 15 g due to its small signal .

 

I agree with you on separating digital and analog , each component has its own box I even have a separate box for chassis ground.

tecknik,

Thank you for that information. I have also found that different lengths can change the equation as to gauge size.

Right now, I have noticed that if I connect my mono blocks to the same grounding box, and if I press my ear up close to one speaker, I can hear a faint noise. But if I separate the amps to 2 different grounding boxes there is zero noise.

I have also noticed some other very interesting changes that sometimes defy "my" logic.

ozzy

Ozzy,

Interesting observation on cable length , I have a lot of different lengths and notice no change and with my amp, I have both the binding post grounded to separate boxes as will has rca to its own box and I hear zero noise from my speakers.

 

 

I am using tube mono blocks, which with tubes, generally have some sort of low-level noise. But as I stated I could tell even that noise to dissipate. I am pretty much now using 16 gauge solid .999 silver and have been happy with the results. But I do have some heavier gauge (12ga) running from my amps. I also have one length of Entreq Atlantis cable, that was the reason I started this thread. I still can’t understand why it is so expensive.

And, in addition to my Entreq Silver Tellus and my large DIY box I also have a couple of smaller DIY boxes that I use at my negative speaker terminals.

ozzy

 

 

Thank you and I respect your opinion, but I consider it just your opinion and not actual experience.

Its engineering. FWIW I did a survey about this topic a few years ago. What I found was that there were grounding problems in every system where the box was shown to be an improvement. To back this up in at least one of the manuals of one of the ground box product, the manual states exactly what I said- that if all the equipment has a proper grounding scheme internally, there will be no benefit.

Usually an Ohmmeter is all that's needed to sort this question out.

Ok, but my ears can hear the improvement and my brain can appreciate it. If it can't be measured it must not be?  It reminds me of the age-old topic of power cords not making a difference.

ozzy

Ralph is giving you a hint to fix the grounding issues at the source vs a series of relatively expensive band aids. Just my opinion, but i have ears, experience and a DMM. On the digital side, immaculate grounds and a Faraday cage will also be a big help.

Jim

Again, I did not perceive any problem BEFORE I tried these signal grounding units. What a difference in the depth, bass, treble, soundstage and musically quality I gained!

ozzy

Ok, but my ears can hear the improvement and my brain can appreciate it. If it can't be measured it must not be?  It reminds me of the age-old topic of power cords not making a difference.

I'm not contesting that. And I can easily measure why a power cord is audible in a system- they respond to Ohm's Law like anything else, but that's off topic. This:

Ralph is giving you a hint to fix the grounding issues at the source vs a series of relatively expensive band aids.

- is correct. It might not be as inexpensive as all that, since the manufacturer of the equipment that is causing you to need the grounding box might push back on the idea that they have a problem. Put another way, if the grounding box helps, its a useful tool to indicate that there is a grounding problem somewhere.

If that is the case, I use a DVM to check and see if the audio connection grounds are the same as the chassis and see how that relates to the ground pin of the IEC connection. You should be able to measure something between chassis and audio ground, but if its a short, that can be a problem. OTOH if you find that the chassis isn't grounded through the AC power cord that too is a problem! Grounding is a tricky thing and its not surprising if a designer gets it wrong- I've been there.

Now you might think 'hey, the box fixed it all' which is fine. No worries. But audiophiles often ask 'can it get better?' and the answer is often 'yes'. People have said to me many times that they can't imagine how it might get better, and then it does. There are almost always opportunities for improvement.

 

Ralph,

I also had a residual noise when I used your Atmashere amps. It is inherent in tube amplifier designs.

With all due respect, you really need to try this type of grounding before you comment. It would probably surprise you, as it did me.

ozzy

I’m surprised just reading about it. Because while I have tried different grounding and heard differences they were never anything to do with wire type or gauge and the differences I heard were never anything like this. However, I have also seen so many experienced listeners like you hear things that, however unlikely really are there, that I no longer doubt these kinds of things. Because of this I would be looking for ways to understand what is going on long before I would be looking for ways to explain it away.

So just to get this straight Ozzy you are now running 16g solid (not stranded?) silver wire, from amp chassis ground, to some kind of star grounding box and then direct to earth ground?

Actually, the chassis ground is not a good place for this type of grounding.

I am using a ground wire attached only to the rca, xlr, bnc, spade lug,etc. ground on the components only. Seems like it should be the same but in function it is not. Then with the ground leads they need to go to some type of grounding sink.

There are many of these available. My DIY tries to duplicate mother earth. That is with a magnetic pad at the bottom of a sectioned off earth section then with many minerals, crystals, metals etc. etc on top mixed with a few other liquid chemicals.

The more of your system that can be connected this way the deeper the sound image goes. It is quite pleasant and impressive.

ozzy

Grounding the speakers is best done at the amp speaker outputs than at the speaker inputs. Results in a quieter, purer sound.

ozzy

I also had a residual noise when I used your Atmashere amps. It is inherent in tube amplifier designs.

With all due respect, you really need to try this type of grounding before you comment. It would probably surprise you, as it did me.

Its true that tubes are noisier than solid state. But you should not get any buzz if things are going well- just hiss. I run my amps on horns and I'm not particularly keen on buzz, nor do I get any. There are a good number of things that can cause buzz in a tube amp- for example leakage in the filament/cathode elements of the tubes, where noise can be injected into the audio circuit, or swept resonance between the inductance of the secondary winding of a power transformer and the capacitance in the junctions of the power rectifiers (of course that can happen in solid state amps too). Neither has anything to do with ground!

You might want to look at this page; of particular interest is page 20:

https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=https://centralindianaaes.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/indy-aes-2012-seminar-w-notes-v1-0.pdf

Grounding is a far more complex topic than most people realize! I love the comment he makes about grounding in aircraft, not having to drag a ground wire around- its a good point.

At any rate I'm not contesting that you hear a difference or that it might be an improvement! Instead I'm simply pointing out that because that is so, it points to something amiss in the grounding scheme of the equipment you're using. Its a common problem in the audio world; I've seen amps that are currently in production that have grounding schemes from the 1950s before grounded outlets were a thing; others that have IEC connectors but the ground connection isn't hooked up. I've no idea how such products could be shipped overseas, since they are a bit more draconian about such things in Europe and even China; relatively speaking in the US its a bit of the Wild West in this regard.

 

 

Thanks, Ralph, for your continued comments. You do know your stuff.

It was not actually a buzz that I heard, but a low-level noise riding along with no music playing. But only if I pressed my ear up against the speaker drivers.

After signal grounding I no longer hear it, but the depth of the music quality improved greatly.

This seems to be unknown territory that needs more research.

ozzy

 

Here is a quote I found from What’s Best Forum, I thought it would help explain.

"Signal noise kills transients and detail. The more noise you have in your ground signal, the less of the finer areas of your music will be heard. Of course, some people have more noise than others so its difference in degree is, of course, obvious but it’s not until you remove the noise that you understand its negative and damaging effects.

The Entreq grounding boxes work with signal ground noise. Although noise from other bits of kit can be only very slight, that doesn’t mean it’s not having a negative effect on the performance of your entire system. The Entreq range of grounding boxes fixes this as they drain off the noise in the signal path, thus opening up the sound.

  1. Improved clarity and harmonics.
  2. Improved focus and texture.
  3. Improved air and transient details.
  4. Improved sound floor.
  5. Improved smoothness and fluidity."

ozzy

@ozzy 

As I look at your beautiful system that I can only dream of how beautiful it sounds.  I can't help but think you have/have developed ultra-sensitive hearing to be able to hear any issues that detract from your listening pleasure.

@ozzy I looked at the Entreq site and also read the manual for the boxes.

They only have one wire from the component to the box. When a cell is used in a box, it can only be used for one component so there are no other 'ground' wires connected to that cell.

Since only one wire is used there is no circuit- and therefore no current. I think you'll find that the wire is of little consequence. As best I can make out the boxes might act as a sort of opposite of an antenna and is something for which I have either too much education or too little to understand; I found the poorly written (language first English not) explanations offered on the website incomprehensible.

jetter2,

Thak you for the comment. Too me it is a never-ending quest for the best sound I can obtain/afford.

ozzy

Atmasphere,

The Entreq box I own has 4 terminals and my DIY has 2 separate connections in one box. Entreq also makes units that have several independent sections in one box.

ozzy