No cost Power Cord Upgrade/Tweak

A couple of years ago when I purchased an aftermarket cord, the dealer I bought it from suggested it would sound even better if the "ground was floated". In any event, I removed the ground pin (probably not great for resale) and didn't really make any real sound comparisons with or without ground. Since then, that cord has moved to my CD/DVD player (which is internally grounded anyway) and I haven't really thought much about the aftermarket cord on my integrated. A friend of mine and I were discussing a ground loop problem he is having as a result of cable tv recently and were discussing floating the ground on his amp cord (a DIY Belden cord) but he was reluctant to rip the ground pin out. This got me to thinking about the cord on my amp, which is terminated with a hospital grade Hubbell male end. Thought I might be able to remove the ground pin by dismantling the plug, but this was not the case. What I did do however, was dismantle the male end (easy to do with the Hubbells, and others I assume) and simply remove the ground wire (which was simply inserted into a hole in the internal of the plug and screwed down, not soldered), tape it off with electrical tape and reassemble the plug. The results were pretty shocking to me. Sounded as if I made a pretty decent amp upgrade. Every area of the sound reproduction was improved in clarity, transparency and smoothness, and it sounded as though I'd just obtained a lot more power; the amp took on a much more "effortless" quality and passages which were previously kind of congested and "congealed" really opened up. The improvements were much more along the line of what I would expect from a front end upgrade than simply floating the ground on the amp's power cord. Blacker background, etc. etc. Yes, I know that this is not code and if my house burns down I may have no insurance coverage etc. etc. but I won't be switching back. But I can, quite easily if I want to; simply take the plug apart again, insert the ground into the appropriate space, screw it back down and my cord is original again. I'm not suggesting people perform major surgery on their cords or plugs, but if you have a simple plug to work with, this is very interesting. Just a thought for some of you with similar plugs (that can be easily dismantled and reassembled) and cords that you might want to experiment with.
Now you know why so many people are having "good luck" with a dedicated ground for just the audio system. It minimizes the amount of trash that comes INTO the system courtesy of what is the "common" ground while still offering TRUE ground potential dedicated to just the stereo.

I would be curious to see if there was any gain to be had by floating the components in a system that had a well set-up dedicated electrical system complete with its' own ground. Could be interesting to see just how important / unimportant ground really is. Sean
I think you can do this also by using a balanced isolation transformer to block the inter-chassis DC leakage between components that is contaminating the ground line. I actually have two custom power cords that floated ground. However, I have since learned that floating the ground is a dangerous thing to do since if something in your component fails, when you touch a linked component, you will get a big, perhaps fatal shock. Remote maybe, severe yes. I have since gone to all balanced connections and an isolation transformer (very effective and noticeable sound enhancement) between my RCA output-only CD player. Check out the message archives at Audio Asylum for more background.
I achieved similar results in the past by not connecting the grounds at the outlets. This did bring down the noise floor and reduced ground loop problems. It also set up a dangerous condition if a fault should occur within the connected equipment. I also had a dedicated grounding rod for the 'neutral' leg, although this was ultimately tied back to the main panel ground. There are many threads, both here and at Audio Asylum, that discuss dedicated grounds. While there are advantages, there are also many safety, liability, and electrical code issues that must be considered.

I recently installed a sub panel near my listening room with 8 equal length dedicated lines. All grounds are connected, although they are kept isolated at the sub panel (neutral and ground), and have a common ground at the main service panel. My goal was to add more lines and also stay within code (for safety and insurance reasons). To my surprise this installation has a much lower noise floor, and virtually no ground loop problems. Much better then floating the grounds.

I'm not an electrician or electrical engineer, so I can't explain the exact reasons why this may be. Certainly the ground potential between components has been equalized, and there is a low resistance, common grounding point. Also, many power cords drain their shields to ground. Floating the ground would disable this function.
Thanks, To. I'm about to hook up 4 dedicated lines, and was wondering whether to connect all the grounds. As my system ic currently DEAD quiet, I might as well use the grounds....
You will defeat the shielding function of the power cord if it is not grounded at the wall outlet. Also it is safety hazard. I do agree that there is lots of garbage on the ground plane. I have also lifted grounds on a variety of high-end cords. Some sound better and some worse so it looks like the cords make the difference.
The cord that I just lifted the ground on is not shielded, so that is not really a concern to me, and I had previously run another cord on my amplifier over the past year or so with the ground lifted with no problems. Also, my system prior to lifting the ground was very quiet, with no ground loop or hum problems. The improvement in sound quality is pretty dramatic. I realize that there is no guarantee that there won't be future problems, but my amplifier is definitely not prone to failure and everything connected to it is run through an excellent line conditioner (which is grounded), so I'm going to continue on. I'll have a friend post here to inform if I'm electrocuted.