Synergistic Grounding Block and Tweaking it.



Synergistic Grounding Block and Tweaking it.

I always liked the Synergistic Products and I have to give them credit for bringing out some of the most unique tweaks available today. There interconnects, speaker cables, and power cables were always top notch, perhaps a little pricey, but I always hated all of those extra mini couplers wires! So, I moved away from their wires. I think there new series does away with the extra mini couplers, but they are still IMHO still quite pricey.

I wanted to try the Synergistic Grounding Block. The price was not too expensive, so I ordered one from my dealer. Did I mention I always hated all those darn extra SR wires? This grounding block better impress.

Once I received it, I couldn’t believe the size of it. It is about 6 “long and maybe 1 ½” thick and about 2” inches high. At one end it has a hole for accepting a regular size banana plug and on the top there are 18 pin hole openings. The grounding block comes included with six (6) of the skinniest wires with the smallest banana plugs I have ever seen for grounding! There is also included another skinny wire that is connected to an AC plug (ground only) that plugs into the wall outlet with the other end having a standard size banana that connects to the side of the grounding block.

Well, since I only own one other SR product, I changed five (5) of the rest of the banana plug ends to RCA so I was able to try it with my own non SR equipment.

To my surprise, it did indeed make the soundstage purer and deeper. I don’t understand it? All of my equipment is plugged into dedicated grounded outlets, so why would this little diminutive grounding block with all those skinny wires do more?

Now, the tweaker in me took over. It seems SR also sells higher grade connection ground cables, but boy, are they pricey! Two of them cost more than the block itself! And the Synergistic grounding block can accept 18 of these ground connections!

I had some pure .9999 22 gauge silver wire left over from another project so I installed an RCA connector, sleeved it through some Teflon tubing and pushed one end into one of those 18 pin holes in the grounding block. To keep the wire from falling out of the pin holes, I pushed cut 2” lengths of some .999 18 gauge silver wire also into the pin hole which tightened up the connection. On the end, the RCA was connected to an unused RCA on my equipment. I also had some pure .999 16 gauge silver wire, so I installed this on one end with a regular banana, and then installed an AC plug (ground only) to the other end. This replaced the skinny wire that SR supplied to connect from the wall to the grounding block.

Sounding better… interesting!

On line I found some 12 gauge .9999 silver wire about 6 foot long, that cost about $50. But with this cable, to keep it pure throughout I used no connector on either end. I did this by shaping the wall outlet wire end into a V and pushed it into the wall outlet for a tight fit. The other end was crimped tight and shoved into the regular banana hole into the grounding block.

Each “upgrade” in wire went through a minor break in period. (hours not days) and doggone it, it did increase the purity of the sound.

So, now with the 18 available pin holes in the grounding block, I have all of my system connected. That includes my video and subwoofers!

Someday, I would like to try one of the higher grade SR cables to compare to my DIY version.

Folks, this little grounding block does work wonders and far exceeds the price to performance, but it is still a mystery to me. Plus all those darn wires!

Enter your text ...
ozzy
Post removed 
Ozzy,

Even though it is not related to SR ground box, hope that would help.
Regarding Grounding box, there are a couple of other companies doing as such like Entreq. There are also some links explaining inside of Entreq GB:
http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?11995-Entreq-Tellus-grounding/page169

It shows there is not too much inside a box retailing for more than $1500.
There is also this link explaining how to make a Grounding box.
http://www.monoandstereo.com/2015/11/interesting-ground-box-project.html

Reading your comments shows you like to make some DIY projects. That's why I mentioned these two links. My own experience on DIY projects especially on Power cords (with measured RFI filtering/rejection) resulted on more fruitful and much better performance compared to very expensive power cords. This Grounding box is kind of the one I am working on.

Michel.
Interesting concept, thanks (guys) for the post and comment.
I'd like to hear what almarg and/or jea48 has to say about a grounding block. I always learn so much then those gentmen engage in conversation.
Granite Audio makes a similar product as well. You might want to look at it.

Wow! Pretty cool. Thank you so much for the info.

But still, why should this improve the sound? After all my components are all plugged into grounded outlets.

Ozzy,

There are two issues: 1-Grounding box types like SR, Entreq and Tripoint dedicated to Grounding on interconnect level circuitry. 2- grounding on AC outlet which affects also circuit level grounding on other way.

Briefly speaking, this is because most of Audio circuit designers use chassis grounding as main base of circuit level ground. Obviously noise generated from Chassis structure would affect audio sound quality. Otherwise, If circuit design is done properly, these GR boxes have no affect and are useless.

Some GR Boxes having an attached power cord would add some kind of EMI cancellation by using a filter/capacitor. Filter is attached between line to ground or neutral to ground connections. This could eliminate interference in an asynchronous way. 

These filters/capacitors cost less than a dollar! Some using those on their power conditioners like Shunyata Research. For more lecture you may look at this article:
http://www.10audio.com/diy_power_conditioner.htm

Synergistic Research GR box seems to be more modest on their pricing compared to Entreq and Tripoint (>$15000!!). Tripoint GR box is heavy as 90Ibs! One thing is sure, circuit part wouldn't be more heavier than 1Ib!!!! There are always online magazines with non-ethical cheap reviewers that would praise these as wonderful... But reality is certainly doesn't converge with those reviews.

Michel.
.

Michel, Thanks for the info.

I'm thinking that the SR box is nothing more than a thicker copper top that all connections are connected to. It seems like this design would be easy to duplicate. The other designs costing $$$ just seem to be more of the same with some loose minerals/materials in the box.

Looking at the pictures you have provided in this thread, I still wonder why they are SO expensive.

I am noticing though the better the wires the purer the sound quality.

Another comment about SR Grounding box. Power cord attached to it is just to provide a common ground wire from AC outlet to be linked to GRs on ICs or SCs from SR. I guess on that AC plug, Hot or Neutral are left floating. It seems other brands do as such.

EMI cancellation feature mentioned on my last comment (Filter between Hot/Ground or Neutral/Gr) is not part of these GR boxes. One could do that too but usually they wouldn't do so ...pretending as added design complexity, which is in reality a very simple circuit.

 

Now this really interesting, at least to me.

I have always been a tweaker even going back to the days of building Heath Kits.

A while back on AA there was a thread on DIY ground controls using a capacitor and a 6V battery. Basically, just the ground side of the battery is used but the cap crosses both +- on the battery. The ground from the battery is connected to a RCA and then plugged into a component.

I have used this contraption on my 85" UHD Samsung. And, it did make the picture a little sharper, deeper, and colorful. Now, this TV is connected to my home theatre equipment and also indirectly to my 2 channel equipment.

So, I was certainly surprised when I connected from my new Synergistic Grounding block to one of the unused RCA’s on the back of the Samsung the strange thing that occurred.
To my surprise, instead of the picture getting better or even just unchanged, the picture took on a sort of a bleached out look. The Audio in my 2 channel equipment lost its depth and became very 2 dimensional. I mean, what the h---?

Once I disconnected the DIY contraption and just kept the SR grounding block connection, VILOA!  Everything changed for the better.The picture went back to its original beautiful state (perhaps even better) and the 2 channel audio became even better! That is; with a deeper soundstage.

So, I am still amazed about these grounding devices and why the heck they can make a difference.

ozzy:

These devices attached to the ground are interesting and I sure do not know why they work. But I have the Synergistic Research Grounding Block in two systems- a headphone system and also a speaker system. I like the improvement to the sound very much.
Absolutely worth an audition in one's system.

David Pritchard

David,

Have you upgraded the cables?

ozzy:
Yes I use the Hi Definition cables but only after starting with the standard cables and upgrading one cable at a time . A slow and meticulous approach ,but satisfying to me to take that approach. If you have a destattic device such as the Furutech or Orb, blowing their stream of ions on the Grounding Block magnifies the Block's effect. Also one Mad Scientist Black Discus placed on the Grounding Block has a nice effect.

The Grounding Block is helping both my Terasonic speaker system and my dedicated headphone system.

David Pritchard

David,

Well I now have 18 things connected to the block. So, buying the SR High Def ones would be too much $$$. But, there is a difference with using better wire. Most of the wires I am now using are solid pure silver either .999 or .9999.

The main wire going to the block is 12 gauge .9999. I think you should try a heavier gauge there, you will be surprised. I have one of the Mad Scientists tubes on the grounding block I will try the Discus. I am also thinking of trying a SR HFT on the block.


One more thing. I have the ground wire going to an outlet outside of my stereo system. I think it sounds better.

ozzy:
Absolutly agree that the wire matters in optimizing the Grounding Block's effect. I am glad your DIY efforts are paying off. I just noticed an error in my post. I am (like you) using a Mad Scientict Tube Topper on the Grounding Block. I got the Mad Scientist names wrong!

I still need to try two Tube Toppers ( one on each end of the Block), a HFT, and an ECT on the block.

That is an interesting observation on having the ground wire going to a wall outlet separate from the music system. Now we will need dedicated audio circuits and dedicated audio ground circuits!

Keep up the wonderful work and valuable and educational reports.

David Pritchard

Ozzy:

I tried two Mad Scientist Tube Toppers on the Grounding Block.

One Topper sitting on top of the unit at the end where the grounding wire goes to the wall outlet is (for me) the optimum location and number of Toppers to use (one).

I am already using approx. 7 ECT,s on the amp, SACD player and Transporter. Total ECT's for system.

We did a survey about a year and a half ago investigating these devices. The owners had to be able to do a measurement on the associated equipment in there system. What we found was an interesting correlation- in all cases, when the grounding box made an improvement (as reported by the owner), it was also found that the associated amps, preamps, etc. had a bug in their grounding scheme somewhere. In some cases the gear was not grounded at all, in other cases the chassis and circuit grounds were the same thing (susceptible to ground loops).

Quite often the use of a video device messed things up- it turns out that video units like TVs have poor grounding practice as relates to audio systems.

At least one manufacturer of grounding devices mentions right in their owner's manual that if proper grounding design is observed in the equipment that the grounding device might not have any effect.


atmosphere,

Interesting comments. Not sure if I concur with your conclusion. Have you actually tried the SR device?

I will say the improvement continued as I added more and more components to the grounding block. That does include my video sources.

atmasphere " ... At least one manufacturer of grounding devices mentions right in their owner's manual that if proper grounding design is observed in the equipment that the grounding device might not have any effect."

Why so coy? Please tell us what manufacturer made this statement.

It was Entrec or Tripoint; don't remember which.

Interesting comments. Not sure if I concur with your conclusion. Have you actually tried the SR device?
I'm just reporting the results of the survey. We do take care to ground our equipment properly and so far none of our customers have reported using a grounding device.

The Synergistic Research Grounding Block as had a significant impact on my three systems that reside in two houses.

1. Art Audio PX-25 amp, Marantz SA-11S2 SACD player, modified Klipsch speakers.

2. Eddie Current Zana Deau headphone amp, Marantz SA11S2 SACD player.

3. Computer, Antellope Zodiac DAC, Emotion Custom type 45 tube amp, Terasonic speakers.


All three systems improved as each component was attached to the grounding block. I did find the greatest improvement was grounding the amp first. No pre amps used in these systems. The Hi definition cables do have a greater effect than the standard cables. You do not have to have every component attached to  the grounding block to obtain a positive effect.

I found the Synergistic Research Grounding Block worth trying  as it is sold with a 30 day return policy and the cost of return shipping is small.

I would  love to someday hear the Atmosphere amps attached to those big Horn speakers Ralph often demo's with at RMAF attached to a Grounding Block.  

David Pritchard


We did a survey about a year and a half ago investigating these devices. The owners had to be able to do a measurement on the associated equipment in there system. What we found was an interesting correlation- in all cases, when the grounding box made an improvement (as reported by the owner), it was also found that the associated amps, preamps, etc. had a bug in their grounding scheme somewhere. In some cases the gear was not grounded at all, in other cases the chassis and circuit grounds were the same thing (susceptible to ground loops).

Quite often the use of a video device messed things up- it turns out that video units like TVs have poor grounding practice as relates to audio systems. 


atmosphere, thanks for sharing the results.   I always believe if components are grounded properly, grounding devices are not necessary.    

It was Entrec or Tripoint; don't remember which.

Can't be Tripoint.  :-)

There is no TV system in my house. I have been off the TV grid for 5 years now. So a poorly grounded Cable TV system does not account for the sonic improvement in my audio system.

I do think there is more going on with the third prong grounding system used for the last few decades in the USA. Conditioning a power cable with an Audiodharma Cable Cooker has always improved the sound of my power cords. Recently Allan Kafton developed an adaptor to the Cable Cooker that also conditions the cable's ground wire. I do not know why but it definitely improves the power cord performance.

So if you are looking to improve your system's sound try a Synergistic Research Grounding Block.

If you have an AudioDharma Cable Cooker get their Ground Breaker adaptor.

Then relax and hear some great music that has improved flow, definition of instruments, and more emotion.

David Pritchard

Hi Ozzy
Just saw your post yesterday. I purchased the grounding block last week
and share your enthusiasm for the product. There is a promotion now going in which a purchaser will receive a "free" high definition cable. I took advantage of this offer and received a high definition cable with an RCA
connection to my SACD player. The cost of a high definition cable is $375
so this was a great deal for me. So I paid $595 and received $970 in merchandise.
I also purchased another "basic cable for S100 also with an RCA connector
which goes to my Pre-amp. I will be building a high quality cable to replace the cable going to the wall. I can build this cable from spare parts I  already have.
I also hope to build a cable to connect my power amp and would love to solder this cable directly to the circuit board. I will have to open the amp to see if this can be done without having to tear things apart.
Thanks for sharing your experience on this forum.

nyame:
I look forward to your experiments utilizing the Grounding Block.

I am convinced that a wonderful system can be built around an audiophile A/C wall outlet (like the SR Teslaplex or Black outlets, Audio grade fuses like the SR 20 or Black fuses and a SR Grounding Block.

These three items used together remove so much bad signal that most systems  really take a big leap in listening satisfaction.

David Pritchard

nyame,

Your welcome.

I missed out on the free HD cable, but I got to tell you my DIY versions are no slouch. Hard to believe that it helps but it does.

Enjoy!

Hi Ozzy
I built a "high definition" cable using very high quality 18 gauge solid Uni-crystal OCC copper wire with "airlock" insulation to connect the grounding block (GB) to ground in the AC power receptacle.  

The improvement over the standard cable that came with the GB is HUGE !
Performers and instruments on stage stand in sharper relief, It is much easier to differentiate  individual back-up singers.  All the hash is gone. I can play -2db below my normal volume settings. The music has a gentler quality and the overall musicality of the system has reached new heights.

When you said on your post "I got to tell you my DIY versions are no slouch" I now know what you mean. 

My amplifier and sub-woofer  are the only components not connected to the GB. Did you notice any worthwhile improvements when you connected your
sub-woofer?

Congratulations for your efforts in this often neglected area. I notice you are using high quality silver wire without connectors for maximum fidelity.

nyame,

That sounds great! Pardon the pun. If you haven't done this yet, try eliminating the connectors. Just make a V out of the end of the cable and push it into the grounding block and the outlet ground hole. Make the V large enough to be able to pull the ground out of the outlet when needed. Heavier gauge seems to work better yet.

And yes, I believe the Amp being grounded to the block brings it all together as one link and is a nice improvement. I have my subs connected to but that may be optional.

Enjoy!

nyame:
Wonderful work. I  use the SR High Definition cables but wish I had your and ozzy's DIY skills. I found having the amp connected to the Grounding Block to be of major importance. Both sub woofers connected added additional clarity but it was a lesser improvement. 

It would certainly be interesting to compare your copper wires and ozzy's silver wires plugged into the same component. A tweaker's paradise for sure!

David Pritchard
Hi Ozzy
My thoughts on the grounding block:

Impedance is the resistance occurring in AC circuits. The lower the impedance the easier it is for electricity to flow. Impedance is found not only on the positive and neutral legs of the AC but also in the ground conductor portion of the circuit.

There are voltages even in ground circuits. These voltages will cause current to flow. The purpose of the grounding block is to cause maximum current flow through the connectors conducted to it. When this happens noise in the ground currents are shunted to earth ground and away from other components in the system. This has the effect of lowering the noise floor of the entire system, allowing information, previously buried by noise
to rise up and be heard. (only the head of a 6 foot tall man standing in in a swimming pool 5 feet deep can be seen. But, if you lower the water level to 4 feet deep, you will be able to all of him from from the waist up) Similarly.
the lower the noise floor in your system, the more musical information you will hear.

The reason for the massive increase in fidelity you heard when you connected your home-made silver cables, is that your cables have lower impedance than those that came with the grounding block. The circuit did not change. Only the cables changed.

I have experienced everything you mentioned in your initial post. Moreover I had ordered one High Definition cable ($375) and one standard definition cable ($100) with my grounding block. This allowed me to build my own cables and compare them to the Synergistic cables. I feel comfortable saying that your home built cables should equal the performance of the Synergistic HD  cable and far exceed the performance of the standard
definition cable. (The standard definition cable should not be confused with the thin black wires that came with the block. It is made of silver wire and a decent quality RCA connector.) I now have three high definition cables in my system. One to the wall, one to my SACD source and one to the pre-amp.

The grounding block has elevated the performance of both our systems beyond beliefs. Thanks for starting this thread.

nyame:

Wonderful post. I certainly agree with your results that the Grounding Block makes a big improvement in the sound  of a system. Then by using different connecting wires to components , one can fine tune exactly the changes that sound best.  Putting a SR HFT on the Grounding Block further affects the sound. Great product.

David Pritchard

davidpritchard

Are you referring to the new HFT 2.0 ? Does it add warmth to the system?
I noticed after inserting the 3rd high definition cable the overall sound became a little less warm, but with more detail.  I did not have a decent quality RCA connector to complete the final HD cable, so I purchased a $3.00 connector from a nearby Radio Shack just so I could finish the job. It is my intention to replace this temporary RCA connector with one of higher quality.  This should restore the warmth without sacrificing detail.

I have never seen a Synergistic Research HFT. Is it placed on top of the GB above vacant holes?

nyame,

Thank you so much for your explanation. It makes sense. For sure using the purest and thickest cable from the wall to the block is the best.

Also, if I haven't already stated this I am grounding it to an outlet outside of the 3 dedicated stereo AC lines. Seems to sound better.

Ozzy

I had forgotten that my sub-woofer is on a different circuit from my audio system.  It is on a circuit with a Comcast high definition cable box, a Panasonic TV, audio from the cable box, and a PS audio power conditioner. Because of this I have decided not to connect it to the grounding block. It is a toxic mixture with the potential for complicating my audio system with grounding and other noise problems.  

Both yourself and David Pritchard had suggested that grounding the sub was optional so I decided not to proceed.

nyame:
I agree that mixing the two systems might really cause problems. The SR HFT I alluded to is the HFT-2.0. It does add a little warmth. I have it placed over the screw on the top of the grounding block at the end that the cable to the wall outlet attaches. I have also tried a Mad Scientist Tube topper (New Zealand product) at the same location. It also works but not as well.

David Pritchard
yjame, You should at least try it, sometimes you just never know. My bet would be that it would improve your picture quality.
Thanks David and Ozzy for your kind suggestions. First I need to update you on the connections to the Grounding block. In my post of 5.16.2016   I stated that the synergistic HD cable I purchased with the grounding block went to my SACD  player and the basic cable with RCA connectors went to my pre-amp. I have reversed these connections so that the HD cable now goes to my pre-amp. and the standard definition cable goes to my SACD player.

The reason for this change is that the CENTER OF MY SYSTEM IS THE PRE-AMP.  ( In other systems the center may be a DAC, integrated amp or
something else.) The two most important cables are the home build HD from the wall to the GB and the SR high definition cable  to the control center (the pre-amp). All my audio equipment are connected to the preamp.
So all equipment benefits from being connected to the preamp and this includes, the sub-woofer and COMCAST cable box. I run an analog cable from the cable box to my pre-amp for sound. The sub is connected to the speaker outputs of the preamp. ( I have a REL B2 sub and this is the preferred connection method.)

I run an HDMI cable from the cable box to the Panasonic Plasma TV which
gets power from the PS Audio power conditioner on another circuit. The reason I mention this goes to OZZY point that I should seek better  TV picture reception using the GB. WhEN I REVISED MY CONNECTIONS  TV RECEPTION IMPROVED.  This was an unexpected benefit.

Finally, to David's point that a mixture of HD cables and standard definition cables may yield better overall results from a musical standpoint, I am now
believe this is true in my system.
 I intend to connect my amp to the GB with a standard definition cable to preserve the warmth of the system. I prefer the tonality of the warmer sound to increased detail.

nyame:

Congratulations are taking your system to levels that can only be accomplished through careful trial and evaluation. The Grounding Block I now consider to be part of the essential foundation on which to build a superior sound system. The other legs of the foundation are audio grade fuses and A/C Wall outlets.

Best wishes for an upcoming week of satisfying music listening.

David Pritchard

CORRECTION: Out puts from the Power amp are simultaneously connected at the same terminal to the loudspeakers and the the SUB,s inputs. The SUB is connected indirectly to the pre-amp. This, of course, is not as effective as a direct low impedance connection to the GB.

David, I wish to thank you again, for recommending the grounding block. It has turned out to be a very cost effective improvement to my system. The improvement wrought by the Synergistic black fuses and the grounding block has taken my system to new heights.
OZZY

I wish to take this opportunity for leading the way by building your own cables in a creative and economical manner. Without the inspiration provided by your leadership I may not have built my own HD cable and would have been reluctant to pay $475 for the Factory cable. I am not saying the factory cable is overpriced, only  that I did not budget for it.

After my first posting on your thread you made me feel welcome. This is not always the case on these forums. You are a true gentleman.

nyame,

Thank you for the kind words, most of the posters on Audiogon try to help each other.

When you are ready to update your cable loom, check out my thread in the Cable Forum titled "Cerious Technologies Graphene cables". These cables really impressed me and there cost is very reasonable.

Enjoy!

nyame:

That is exactly how I have the subs connected on the Teresonic speaker system. I like very much how the subs integrate with the main speakers.

I do hope that people looking for a different approach to cables consider the Cerious products. 

I think that ozzy's opinion's are excellent and only arrived after a lot of critical listening.
I have the new Synergistic Research fuses, wall outlets, and power cords and their adding Graphene to these products has made a significant improvement in my systems sound. Properly utilized, I think Graphene is a major sonic enhancer.

David Pritchard
Hi  ozzy
Have you plugged the grounding block into a socket that has the High Fidelity MC O.5 on the same line, or into any other type of power conditioner? I looked at the grounding block at the Newport Audio Show and was told by the vendor that all pieces of audio equipment had to be plugged into it. They all had to be on the same power line  plugged into the same socket to get it to work right.  My amp is on its own 20 amp line. My pre amp and disc player share a different line. So the grounding block would be plugged into ( grounded) on a different line unless i plug it into the High Fidelity  Hemisphere which feeds my front end. What say you.  Always enjoy your Post
Thanks Pete


68pete:
The wonderful fact about the Grounding Block is that they are sold with a 30 day return policy and since they are not heavy shipping costs are minimal.

So I suggest order one and try different combinations of connections. For "best results" Synergistic Research suggests the Grounding Block be connected directly to a wall outlet and not to a power conditioner. There can be "whatever" also on that circuit.

You do not have to have every component attached to the Grounding Block to get great results. I would suggest first trying the preamp or integrated amp attached first. Give you system about 24 hours to adjust. Then add your source and see if additional grounding is helpful. Also the yype connecting wire will make a difference in sound. The two SR type connector wire have a different effect.

This is a definite try "different combinations" and pick the combination that sounds best to you. I found the process to be quite interesting to undertake, and the final sonic improvement to be quite impressive.

I think the Synergistic Research Grounding Block, audio grade fuses such as the SR Black fuse, and an Audio Grade A/C wall outlet are the basic foundation points onto which one builds an outstanding sounding system.

David Pritchard

68pete,

No I do not have the grounding block ground connected to a outlet that the MC-.05' are plugged into. (I might plug one into that outlet at a later time, so thanks for that suggestion.)

I do think the more of your Audio / Video system connected to the SR ground block is a plus, so just about everything I have is connected to the SR Block. That's why my DIY ground cables is cheaper.

But, the Vendor is wrong about having to plug the grounding block into a  Audio system outlet. A simple mind would think that to be true. However, I find I am getting better sound quality with using the ground from an outlet outside of my audio dedicated outlets. Don't know why but it just is.

So, I guess don't hesitate to experiment and don't limit yourself to Vendors opinions.

Ozzie and David thank you for the info. I will be looking into it soon
Thanks Pete