What's involved in making an audiophile cheater plug? Better brass? Silver? Rhodium plating?
I just put some contact paste (choose your favorite) on the blades of the cheater plug and blades of the power cord and let it go.
Buy a high quality 3 prong plug but don't connect the ground lead!(for safety reasons I discourage this)
if you are going to all that trouble, why not unground the outlet and then the third prong doesn't do anything and you don't have to use a cheater....
PS Audio makes the ground plug removable on some of their power cords.
if you are going to all that trouble, why not unground the outlet and then the third prong doesn't do anything and you don't have to use a cheater....
Because for a proper audio grounding scheme, the preamp needs to be grounded while the rest of the components are ungrounded.
Disabling the ground on the outlet would defeat this scheme.
Tvad, I am ahead of you. I have three types of cheaters. Mine with the use of AudioTop on all sound best. The cheap grey ones sound worse. Also, I tried a cheater on a cord that did not have a ground wire. It was far superior with the cheater off.
Cytocycle, I tried to selectively remove the ground wire from one outlet in my IsoClean outlet box. It did not work as all the outlets are grounded together through the chassis. I could not figure out how to isolate all outlets from the solid copper chassis.
I have thought of just hacksawing off the ground pin but that shoots down reselling them.
Well if your using a cable that has the simple WBT type casing you just open the casing up with a screwdriver, and disconnect the ground in the power cable itself.. I have done this in the past, then put it back later if needed.. however if you need to cut off heatshrink or something to get in there, well it would need to be replaced, or left off till you go further with it. I would never use a cheater plug on a good cable, simply cause of effecting the already good connection and plug.. Not for saftey reasons though. I mean hacksawing off the ground, leave it, and just cut off any heat shrink keeping you from disconnecting the cable the proper way internally.
I remove the ground inside the power cord at the IEC connector (the end that plugs into the equipment). I leave the ground connected to the wall socket and that end of the power cord as well.
The ground wire inside the AC cord benefits from having a drain wire path for noise and RF. Best of all, the ground can be reattached when it comes time to sell.
I use a tiny piece of shrink wrap on the disconnected ground wire, keeping it insulated from other connectors and wires.
Cables that have molded IEC connectors or have large shrink covering the connector make this method difficult. Performance wise this is the ultimate method as the ground pin is retained, which helps secure the connection to the wall, even though it's passive at this point.
Al, yes another problem. The Stealth Dream power cords that I am using have terminations that cannot be opened. They are glued on. Twarted at every turn save cheater plugs.
Yep, that would indeed a problem.
Maybe Stealth would deliver them new with the ground floated? Then again, some lawyer somewhere would sue them for delivering an unsafe product.
Funny thing is, my home was built in the 1950's and until I redid my electrical, there were no ground pin type sockets to be found. We did fine with this design for decades and in my opinion the stereo sounds better with EVERYTHING floated.
I know this flies in the face of tradition, but that's exactly how my system is wired, even the preamp and phono are floated. I think the CD player may be grounded but I typically unplug it once we begin listening to music.
Manufactures know there's no money in it.
"Cheaters never prosper".
Undertow, as I told Porter, one cannot get inside the plugs on Stealth Dream cables. They are glued on.
I'm with you on this one. I recently installed a 10-2 dedicated line to my second room upstairs.
Rather than try to figure out which component IEC to dismantle, plug to tear apart or cheater,
I figured how simple it was to drop the ground wire inside the dedicated duplex box which my Hydra is plugged.
Everything in my rig is floated and it sounds better than it ever has.
I live in a "slightly AC polluted" condo complex and God only knows the miserable wiring installation (Federal Pacific boxes) they used during construction (late 70s) wasn't anywhere near top notch (cheap bastards)
Guys, I tried floating everything. That was the easiest thing to do and some have long recommended it. But I found the grounded preamp superior, and you do not have to worry about statistic charge buildup especially in the winter. I must say, however, that with all my outlets' grounds tied together even thought the outlet box was not grounded, means that the energy in their individual grounds commingles. I never really tried everything ungrounded with no ties between anything else.
I appreciate everyone seeking to resolve my problem, but I guess the answer seems to be that there are no high end cheater plugs. Even Purist doesn't make them.
Why not open each component and desolder the ground wire from the IEC connector?
I hope you guys realise that "if" (big IF) you ever had a fire your insurance company would ditch you in a heartbeat. Albert's way seems best.
Jafox, I did look into the Accustic Arts dac and Drive One to see about that. It would be easy on the transport and very hard to get to on the dac.
Meanwhile, I continue to use the cheaters I made. There is another way also. The Dream Powers do not have a circuit ground. I could sell the Digitals and buy the Powers.
It is a bit off topic, but could anyone tell me why an audio system that has floating ground sounds better than one that has a ground? Thank you.
Dazzdax, I cannot tell you relative to being totally floating, but a system having only one ground, removes multiple routes to ground. One way is through the interconnects and the other is through the ground pin on the ac cord. While I did not have any problems with hum as a result of these ground loops, especially with the H-Cat, it was reducing the clarity of the sound, most notably in the bass. I guess with no ground anywhere you have no current to ground. I don't know what happens to the leakage currents from your transformers.
Imin2u, I think this is an urban myth and fortunately so. Many components, in particular cd players and dvd players have either have two pin connectors, no ground pin on their IEC, or no wire connected to it internally. No ground also affords no protection whatsoever. My home insurance agent did not know what I was talking about, saying that many of the homes he insures have no ground wiring as both Al and I experienced in home built in the 40s and 50s.
At the risk of sounding naiive, surely the potential improvement in sound by removing the earth is well and truly overshadowed by the risk of killing yourself or a family member from a live chassis or case, should a mains fault develop?
Just my 2CW.
Carl109, if I thought there was such a risk, I would not do it. This is an urban myth.
I thought there was such a risk, I would not do it. This is an urban myth.
This guy says you are wrong:http://www.prosoundweb.com/studyhall/sr/whitlock/grounding.php
I'll take his opinion over yours.
Rex, I am not asking you to ignore this. He basically tells you to live with the problems of ground loops. He ignores the fact that many component have no ground connection. And he ignore that many home presently lack three wire electrical supplies. He also ignores that most faults will result in tripping the breaker. All I can say is that my city's electrical department was unconcerned and my insurance company expressed no concern. Thanks for your concern, however.
Tbg - my concern is not for you. It's clear that your mind is made up, that you have crystallized your lack of knowledge, and that you will not be swayed by any facts that counter your opinion.
Bill Whitlock is not ignoring anything - you are. You are dismissing anything that does not agree with your flawed logic. I do hope you don't suffer any harm because of your ignorance, but I'm not concerned for you - if anything bad happens, it will be entirely your choice, and your fault. I respect your right to do stupid, potentially harmful things, as long as you don't hurt anyone else in the process.
I'm more concerned about others who might be lulled into thinking what you are advocating is without risk - that whole "urban myth" nonsense you posted. That's why I posted the link - so others can see that someone who actually knows what he's talking about doesn't agree with your viewpoint.
Best of luck to you.
Rex, please don't assume that I am doing this purely on a logic of my own. There is little question that having the grounds wires are a more safe condition than not having them. It also would be yet safer to have no electricity in your home. Please reread my initial post and remember that I asked only about the availability of quality cheater plugs. My posting to which you refer was in response to Carl109 trying to educate me.
I don't agree that Mr. Whitlock is not ignoring the points that I have made, but it is, of course, your life as it is mine. I think the odds of anything happening within a component that does not cause the breaker to trip and for anyone to touch the unit and provide a ground, is considerable lower than driving your car to work and having a fatal accident. I never said anything about "without risk", you did.
Thank you for the insincere wishes of good luck.
Albert, I did float the preamp also tonight just to see if there was further improvement. You are right. The dynamics, clarity, and ambient information are further improved. In the past, I had done all of this and also minimized ac volt leakage with the orientation of the ac plug. But this time the impact seems far greater.
I am thinking about trying one of these diode devices. Until the voltage on the ground get up to nearly one volt, there is no ground.
Glad floating the preamp helped you, my system will not work with grounds connected, all I get is hum. Oddly enough the one time the system did not hum with grounded cords, the preamp was floated inside by design and the amps were Atma-Sphere MA2's which are also floated by the manufacturer during assembly.
I can't swear that's the situation this minute, but it's laughable to have a grounded cord on these pieces when they're disconnected inside. This falls into the same category of a single ended amp that sports XLR connectors. Quite often you open them up and there's a wire soldered from the XLR over to the RCA.
Truly balanced and truly grounded? Not :^).
The link you provided is interesting. That's the first I've heard of that product. It looks flimsy, not audiophile grade but looks can be deceiving.
I hope it does not sound like those surge suppressors that are supposed to help audio gear. All of them I've auditioned were terrible, even on very low amperage devices.
Albert, it is basically two diodes that only provide a ground at nearly one volt, below that there is no ground. As I would be using it, it would just provide safety, which so concerns some. It amounts to a cheater plug.
There are adapters that will allow you to use a high end cable on a cheater plug or a cloverleaf plug. See dedicated audio website and click on adaptors.
Cyclonicman, can you please explain? I went to the website but could not find a "adaptor to allow the use of a high end cable on a cheater plug."
I know this is an old thread....But we all come to these questions, hurdles and possibilities at different times in our quest for audio "nirvana".....Most recently I came upon this "floating ground idea" Preconceived notions thrown aside..I tried Ground (lifting) from my digital chain using cheap crappy "Cheater's" ...Really weird with "big buck" "fat" aftermarket power-cords.... WELL....Moving as far away from my totally subjective emotional side...to my hopefully objectively logical and analytically skeptical side .....In my sound system ..the reproduced digital experience was hugely improved......
Overall clarity...deep micro detail.Overall definition and dynamics..scary!!! I really hear an amazing benefit...Having gone this far...(By the way after considerable back and forth..I left my pre-amp (grounded)the quality of sound lost nothing by this device remaining grounded..)
I am now in the process of fashioning better (CHEATERS)..
I'm using hospital grade males and females from Home Depot..
I think I can marry them and improve on the garbage level cheaters currently available....I'll keep you posted....
PS...This was only digital stuff at this point....Next..my beloved analogue....
Answer is liability. Someone gets shocked and you can guess what happens next.
Is it even possible to "cheat" and also be high end? :^)
If so, untouched money to be made here, someone.....
In Canada, they are illegal, but the reality is that it is very improbable that anyone would get shocked. It is mainly UL making money. The EU probably also makes them illegal. They are responsible for the crappy binding posts with plastic covers. Apparently they thought someone would plug and ac cord into the amp binding post banana holes. It probably would be best to get such people out of the gene pool.
If you have a Tripoint grounding unit or the Entreq grounding unit, I doubt if you would get any benefit from lifting all grounds except the preamp, but without those units, I have always found great benefit, if you have good cheaters. Siltech used to make very nice ones but no longer. Synergistic Research at least used to take the cheap, gray cheaters you can get at Lowes or Home Depot and zap them on the Tesla coil. I had both and the zapped ones were clearly superior.
I am not using them with the HFC cables because the wall plugs fall out with the cheaters between them and the wall outlet.
High end people don't cheat.
"High end people don't cheat."
You would think.....
I can't imagine lifting the ground on my tube amps, which use a 2500V power transformer and run at 2300V plate voltage...instant death from a ground fault. Instead, I made a parallel earthing conductor (PEC) from 9 gauge Cardas copper litz wire, which clips onto the ground sleeve of the RCA on each end of the interconnects to the amp. This reduces the ground potential difference between the amps and the preamp, and greatly reduces any ground loop hum. Look up PEC on the net, it's a commonly used technique in pro audio. It works for me.
Also, if you're handy, you can measure the potential on the chassis of your gear, then reverse the power transformer primary leads and measure again...one orientation will be lower in chassis potential, and that orientation will thus produce less current between components. Do this on all your gear and you will decrease ground loop hum.
I recommend you try these techniques before resorting to cheater plugs; they were enough to lower any hum to levels undetectable by ear in my system.
Finally, there are "ground loop breaker" circuits published in various places on the net which can also resolve ground loop issues. These consist of a resistor, cap and diode in parallel and allow the breaking of ground loops without resorting to the unsafe lifting of safety grounds.
If your preamp is grounded, doesn't that automatically ground your amp via the interconnects?
Is a ground wire to the water pipe a better ground than the house ground to which the power cord ground is connected?
Brf, do you trust your interconnect shields to carry high voltage fault currents safely to ground? Pretty sure mine would explode with 2300V on them.
Reinforcing Ait's comment just above is the following statement on page 6 of this document
by a noted expert on such matters, Bill Whitlock of Jensen Transformers:
Consider two devices connected by a signal cable, each device having a 3-prong ac plug. One device has a ground lifter on its ac plug and the other doesnt. If a fault occurs in the lifted device, the fault current flows through the signal cable to get to the grounded device. Its very likely that the cable will melt and burn! Defeating safety grounding is both dangerous and illegal - it also makes you legally liable!
I would add a couple of additional points. If the interconnect is single-ended, the shield or other return conductor of the cable will interconnect the circuit grounds of the two components. In many and I believe most designs circuit ground and chassis ground/AC safety ground are not connected directly together. Instead they are often connected together through a low value resistor (e.g., 10 ohms), or in some cases through a much higher impedance, or even not at all. Therefore if an insulation fault causes 120 volts or some other high voltage to be shorted to chassis, in any of those three cases not enough current may flow through the cable's shield or other return conductor to trip the breaker, even if a path to AC safety ground exists via the other connected component.
In the case of a balanced interconnection, depending on the design of the specific components the cable shield may be connected to chassis, but in many designs it will (incorrectly) be connected to circuit ground instead.
Geoff, re your question, see page 8 of the reference I linked to above. And note this statement: "If multiple ground rods are used, Code requires that they all MUST be bonded to the main utility power grounding electrode." Otherwise, as explained in the paper, safety hazards may arise from both equipment faults and lightning strikes. Also note the statement on page 3 that some engineers (incorrectly) "think that system noise can be improved experimentally by simply finding a better or quieter ground. Many indulge in wishful thinking that noise currents can somehow be skillfully directed to an earth ground, where they will disappear forever!" The quality of the earth ground of the AC distribution system is unrelated to grounding issues that may arise within the system, that may affect sonics.
Almarg, as I've said before my city's electrical department seemed indifferent to removing the grounds. Their only concern was easily allowing the firemen to cut the house grounding to the grounding rod. They did not like the idea of welding the house ground to the ground rod. My insurance company also only wanted to avoid copper to aluminum connections.
I talked also to local tv stations that use arrays of grounds to their antenia. They said doing so was a benefit.
I can see if ones equipment was put together so poorly that a main cable was touching the chassis and one were standing in water or providing another path to ground that one might get a major shock. But multiple paths to ground sound so awful that one to like to lift the grounds.
The Tripoint and Enreq grounding units work great on the system grounds.