Grounding the system

Dear fellow A-goners, do you have experience with independent grounding of your system?

I have a (water) radiator for warming the house close by my system in our living / listening room, and it is not a big effort to connect to it with a thin lead / cable.

I have experimented a bit, and generally found the sound to improve. I have ended up connecting all my equipment to the ground, with a "star" scheme centred on the preamp chassis. The elements of my speakers are connected also. From the star centre i have a lead to the radiator.

Results are subtle, but towards more consistency and holography. Yet i wonder since at times the sound seems a bit tame also. I may be doing this the wrong way, or not optimal.

Advice? I read about improvements from independent grounding of the whole system in the Danish High fidelity magazine some years ago, but I've not read much on this topic in US websites.

If you are not getting any hum you should be OK.
I have no ground wires hooked up to my pre-amp or amp.
I have the ground wire from my cartridge going to my step-up then a ground wire from my step-up to my phono drive. The phone drive I do not have gounded to anything.
I do have a ground wire from my turntable chassis ground to a cold water pipe.
Ground and bonding is an art. It might work one way at one location and will not work at others.
Good luck,
Joe Nies
Would you be open to the idea of removing the circuit breaker and place a copper bar in its place? It may improve things sonically. You may ask if this will render the circuit unprotected and create a hazard. Well, by grounding to the radiator it would have the same effect - even if you still have the third plug connected to the outlet. Any fault current (an abnormal condition) may flow to the radiator instead of back to the panel and the circuit breaker may not sense anything wrong and will happily keep supplying the juice. There's a method of madness to all those electrical codes.

It cannot be over-emphasized: if you're not fluent in electrical safety, keep a respectable distance and always ask a professional for assistance.
Hi, I have a dedicated isolated ground for my system. Basically the ground lugs from my audio receptacles go to their own set of copper rods independent of the rest of the house ground rods. IMO this is the way to go, although many don't recommend it for safety reasons.
We have 2 different grounding systems we are talking about. One is the power (AC) ground and then the chassis ground. Your AC grounds should go back to your AC panel or approved equal. Most AC grounds come from the transformer to your service panel and then maybe tied to your cold water pipe, depends on the codes in your area. My house is on a well system with the pipe casing going down over 200ft. A great grounding system.Your chassis ground or bonding can go to a properly installed ground rod (earthing rod) or water pipe.
Ground rods need to have the soil tested and be in the ground X amount of feet to be effective.
A good book to get on the subject is " the art of grounding and shielding". Grounding can be accomplished in many different ways.
Hope this helps.
Joe Nies
I have grounded all 7 of my components' chassis together. This has been sufficient to reduce the differential chassis voltages from a maximum of 35mV to about 2mV. Both of my preamps have a particularly low resistance between their chassis and AC ground so an additional external ground to the outlet is not necessary. I also have dedicated wiring back to my breaker box which eliminates the temptation of running a risky separate ground, as Gs5556 points out above.

Joe - keep in mind that for many components, AC ground and chassis ground are tied together. Floating components have become rather rare these days.

As far as sound quality resulting from the grounding, it clearly improved, pun intended. I was very impressed with the improvement I got from grounding my Koras in particular and it virtually eliminated the tiny amount of ground hum I had in my MC240. I highly recommend doing this in any system so long as it doesn't create a hum problem of its own.

Thanks for your attention and response.

Gs5556 - I will keep your warning in mind, but can't stop tweaking. I won't be in the middle, will i, between the radiator and my independent chassis and elements grounding - so the chance of hazard is not big, is it? Copper bar - I already have audiograde fuses, but will consider it.

I had an electrician install a dedicated thick copper cable to my amp and other equipment. The circuit breaker sits on the wall next to my amp (not in the main breaker box). It is split into two 230 volts / 16 ampere lines and one 10A, and one of the 16A lines is direct-coupled to the amp. This is probably good for any amp and system, and with my big s-state amp, you really notice the difference - more authority, bigger and deeper musical picture. The installation was costly (ca 4k usd), but well worth it - i have never looked back.

Joenies - i have never had a hum problem. The idea with the independent grounding is simply to improve the sound. A "little bit" of independent grounding, from record player to phono amp, is just what i have been using for years, also - now i wanted to experiment some more. I will try to get the book - thanks for advice.

Underdog - yes, i am going in the same direction. Sonics improve don't they.

Aball - agree, we seem to have the same experience about this subject . If you can make the system "feel" like a system electrically, the sound improves. I have a Caltek Cm2701 multimeter, and will try to check out the chassis and element voltages, like you suggest. I am an amateur (social researcher) and no expert in this area, using my ears only, but i've found good advice on the web.