Jump to content
IGNORED

Mains Power and grounding


mkrzych

Recommended Posts

Hello,

I have a question for your about the power source for the audio equipment. Currently I have all the gear connected over the single power line surge protector: Ever - Power Systems According to this I have some questions:

1. Is it a good idea to use such kind of surge protectors with EMI filtering for audio - varistors?

2. I have Marantz amp and CD which do not have the ground pin - should I add one and connect it to each of the chassis'?

3. How to easy check if I have clean or bad power in my wall sockets - any method to check that out and is it really audible somehow?

 

I don't want to spend a lot of money for expensive power conditioner etc., but thinking how I can improve the sound on current equipment.

 

Thanks for any suggestions.

--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

Link to comment

As I often write:

 

Everything anyone needs to know about AC power wiring and Audio/Video Systems:

 

**************************************

"Power White Paper" from Middle Atlantic.com

 

http://www.middleatlantic.com/resources/white-papers.aspx

http://www.middleatlantic.com/~/media/MiddleAtlantic/Documents/WhitePapers/PowerPaper.ashx

 

**************************************

The Jim Brown of Audio Systems Group white paper

 

"Power and Grounding for Audio and Audio/Video Systems"

http://www.audiosystemsgroup.com/SurgeXPowerGround.pdf

 

****************************************

The new 2012 Bill Whitlock paper (PowerPoint plus text)

"An Overview of Audio System Grounding and Interfacing"

by

Bill Whitlock, President

Jensen Transformers, Inc.

Life Fellow, Audio Engineering Society

Life Senior Member, Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers

http://centralindianaaes.files.wordp...notes-v1-0.pdf

 

*************************************************

The older 2005 Bill Whitlock of Jensen Transformers Seminar paper (more text less PowerPoints)

 

http://www.jensen-transformers.com/an/generic%20seminar.pdf

 

*********************************************************

I don't know why some of the links are not linking?

Link to comment
As I often write:

 

Everything anyone needs to know about AC power wiring and Audio/Video Systems:

 

**************************************

"Power White Paper" from Middle Atlantic.com

 

http://www.middleatlantic.com/resources/white-papers.aspx

http://www.middleatlantic.com/~/media/MiddleAtlantic/Documents/WhitePapers/PowerPaper.ashx

 

**************************************

The Jim Brown of Audio Systems Group white paper

 

"Power and Grounding for Audio and Audio/Video Systems"

http://www.audiosystemsgroup.com/SurgeXPowerGround.pdf

 

****************************************

The new 2012 Bill Whitlock paper (PowerPoint plus text)

"An Overview of Audio System Grounding and Interfacing"

by

Bill Whitlock, President

Jensen Transformers, Inc.

Life Fellow, Audio Engineering Society

Life Senior Member, Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers

http://centralindianaaes.files.wordp...notes-v1-0.pdf

 

*************************************************

The older 2005 Bill Whitlock of Jensen Transformers Seminar paper (more text less PowerPoints)

 

http://www.jensen-transformers.com/an/generic%20seminar.pdf

 

*********************************************************

I don't know why some of the links are not linking?

 

Thank you for such along lecture for late night reading, but just answering my questions...

--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

Link to comment

According to this I have some questions:

1. Is it a good idea to use such kind of surge protectors with EMI filtering for audio - varistors?

The best place for a surge protector is at the power service entrance of the home near the main circuit breaker box.

The varistors (MOV) are the actual surge protector elements, they do little EMI filtering.

 

2. I have Marantz amp and CD which do not have the ground pin - should I add one and connect it to each of the chassis'?

If the Marantz units are modern (as they probably are) they have a Class II insulated chassis and should not be grounded.

 

3. How to easy check if I have clean or bad power in my wall sockets - any method to check that out and is it really audible somehow?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Now this is a much more difficult question!

I don't have an easy answer for it.

Link to comment
The best place for a surge protector is at the power service entrance of the home near the main circuit breaker box.

The varistors (MOV) are the actual surge protector elements, they do little EMI filtering.

 

 

If the Marantz units are modern (as they probably are) they have a Class II insulated chassis and should not be grounded.

 

 

Now this is a much more difficult question!

I don't have an easy answer for it.

 

Thanks a lot. Yes, the equipment is pretty modern: PM6004/CD5004. So, it seems that from that perspective I cannot do lot more for the sound improvements.

--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

Link to comment

1. Is it a good idea to use such kind of surge protectors with EMI filtering for audio - varistors?

EMI filtering and varistors are two different devices, and handle two different issues. You may not need the EMI filter, but varistor surge protection isn't a bad idea. They need to be at the main breaker box to handle outside surges, but most surges occur inside homes, so local surge protectors are required too. The need for EMI filtering is actually pretty rare.

2. I have Marantz amp and CD which do not have the ground pin - should I add one and connect it to each of the chassis'?

There is no simple answer. Theoretically, they should not need to be grounded, but there are some cases when they have to be. The usual manifestation is hum.

3. How to easy check if I have clean or bad power in my wall sockets - any method to check that out and is it really audible somehow?

There's no easy test. Many people assume their power is horrid and filter. Most are doing that needlessly.

The audibility question is debatable, and usually is. The evidence that power conditioning improves things generically is very fuzzy. You should actually read the cited references.

I don't want to spend a lot of money for expensive power conditioner etc., but thinking how I can improve the sound on current equipment.

 

Thanks for any suggestions.

 

There are far better and more verifiable ways to improve sound. I hate to say more, because the forum is generally unfriendly to my line of reasoning.

Link to comment
The best place for a surge protector is at the power service entrance of the home near the main circuit breaker box.

The varistors (MOV) are the actual surge protector elements, they do little EMI filtering.

 

 

If the Marantz units are modern (as they probably are) they have a Class II insulated chassis and should not be grounded.

 

 

Now this is a much more difficult question!

I don't have an easy answer for it.

 

I agree. However it is normally not practical to have varistors at locations other than in the equipment itself, or in a power distribution board. You also need to be able to readily isolate them in the vent that they have sacrificed themselves.

As they also have several hundred picofarads capacitance, it also seems likely that they bypass some RF/EMI too.

As the poster comes from Poland where the Voltage is 220-240 Volts at 50Hz.(U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts 60Hz) his problems are likely to be much less severe than many U.S. members may encounter.

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

Link to comment
You may not need the EMI filter, but varistor surge protection isn't a bad idea. They need to be at the main breaker box to handle outside surges, but most surges occur inside homes, so local surge protectors are required too. The need for EMI filtering is actually pretty rare.

 

Surges, just to expand a little (for the forum), are brief spikes, or more sinister, longer term surges caused the by power network outside the home.

 

Brief spikes occur when a lamp, especially a flourescent is switch off, or a load with a transformer is switched off. A momentary (2-5ms) of voltage, typically 2-5pu of main voltage can be applied equally across the home, but these transients are weak to most appliances except for audio where the noise is amplified. A varistor can knock these on the head quite well.

 

The longer term surge is when vehicles collide or trees fall on power lines, and cause the HV lines to fall on the LV lines below. There are protection circuits that thankfully sense these surges, however they take some time to operate typically in the ms region. This still can allow some nasty voltages on your home. This is pretty close to a direct lightning hit, it can pretty much go where it likes. If that's any consolation, you can ask the power company for damages be repaired, in the case of lightning, many eager lawyers have tried to sue nature, without any success, just as well.

 

EMI filtering - There are many experiences here at CA of noise into audio circuits that are a nuisance and frustrating to solve at times. I would consider EMI filtering to mandatory in the front end of the distribution of AC power for audio equipment, even if it Class B compliant. The main reason is to get rid of wall wart noises and to a degree LF-HF caused by switching devices.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

Link to comment
You may not need the EMI filter, but varistor surge protection isn't a bad idea. They need to be at the main breaker box to handle outside surges,

 

Do any power utilities actually do this ?

Any connection of such a device at the main breaker device by the consumer would likely incur the wrath of the power utility if noticed. It is dangerous, and I can't imagine any licensed electrical contractor being party to this either.

I do however agree with the bulk of what dc2bluelight is saying. Most commercial equipment needs further attention to the PSU area, including correctly chosen "snubbers" across the secondary windings of the power transformer as John Swenson has already described, and as he has suggested, that if done correctly this would help to rule out the need for expensive boutique power leads. Perhaps we are lucky in Sydney with our 240V AC 50Hz (typical voltage) but I don't know of any fellow DIYers who have felt the need for such drastic measures as taken by many U.S.A. C.A. members to overcome perceived mains power supply problems, other than perhaps trying to use SMPS devices on different circuits,(or avoid them if possible) and ensure the integrity of the mains earth in older houses. Most do however pay further attention to the PSU area of their own builds.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

Link to comment

So to summarize there's nothing wrong using the power filtering/protection strips in a front of the audio equipment?

I've read some article that this kind of devices may decrease the dynamics of the music, because MOVs limit the current peaks.

 

For the two prong power connection audio gear, which is rather common now I am not sure if grounding does not actually make things worst since this kind of devices use so called virtual ground. I can see at the back of my power amp that there is a separate screw for grounding but according to manual it's related to the phono amp and turntable somehow.

 

So far, as you can see in my blog post, I DIY power cables which are shielded and the shield is connected to the ground only on one side because my amp and CD player does not have three prong plugs.

--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

Link to comment
I've read some article that this kind of devices may decrease the dynamics of the music, because MOVs limit the current peaks.

No, the MOVs are in parallel with the mains. Filter chokes are in series though, and may do this if they are not adequately rated for the maximum current drawn.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

Link to comment
No, the MOVs are in parallel with the mains. Filter chokes are in series though, and may do this if they are not adequately rated for the maximum current drawn.

 

Thanks a lot. Do you have any idea about grounding two prong power connection chassis of the gear? Here, I've seen on some forums also suggestion that only one chassis (usually amp) should be grounded and the rest will be connected over the RCA's shielding anyway…

--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

Link to comment
Thanks a lot. Do you have any idea about grounding two prong power connection chassis of the gear? Here, I've seen on some forums also suggestion that only one chassis (usually amp) should be grounded and the rest will be connected over the RCA's shielding anyway…

 

That is exactly as my system is connected. My Oppo 103 is connected via coax SPDIF to my DAC , which is in turn connected via interconnects to my preamp, then via it's output leads to the power amplifier which is connected to IEC mains earth via 10 ohm "earth lift" resistors at the input in each channel.

In my preamp I also switch the earth sides of all inputs to reduce noise from SMPS powered sources which otherwise sre additive and further decreases Signal to Noise ratio.The "earth" side of many SMPS source devices can be as high as half the mains voltage above mains earth due to the SMPS in consumer source devices typically having a high voltage low value capacitor between Primary and Secondary sides. With some SMPS powered devices, if you gently rub your finger along the top of it's metal case you can often feel a vibration.

 

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

Link to comment
That is exactly as my system is connected. My Oppo 103 is connected via coax SPDIF to my DAC , which is in turn connected via interconnects to my preamp, then via it's output leads to the power amplifier which is connected to IEC mains earth via 10 ohm "earth lift" resistors at the input in each channel.

In my preamp I also switch the earth sides of all inputs to reduce noise from SMPS powered sources which otherwise sre additive and further decreases Signal to Noise ratio.The "earth" side of many SMPS source devices can be as high as half the mains voltage above mains earth due to the SMPS in consumer source devices typically having a high voltage low value capacitor between Primary and Secondary sides. With some SMPS powered devices, if you gently rub your finger along the top of it's metal case you can often feel a vibration.

 

Alex

 

Exactly! That's why I've started this thread. When I touch CD or AMP I can feel that strange vibrations like current flowing over my finger. Does it have any impact of the sound and how to remove them?

--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

Link to comment
When I touch CD or AMP I can feel that strange vibrations like current flowing over my finger. Does it have any impact of the sound and how to remove them?

 

Yes, it does have some impact on the sound. Many SMPS powered source devices have poorer S/N compared with Linear PSU types.

I will upload some information for personal use on the subject ,and send you a PM with the DL link on completion.

 

Regards

Alex

 

P.S.

Please check your PMs for the Download link

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

Link to comment
Yes, it does have some impact on the sound. Many SMPS powered source devices have poorer S/N compared with Linear PSU types.

I will upload some information for personal use on the subject ,and send you a PM with the DL link on completion.

 

Regards

Alex

 

P.S.

Please check your PMs for the Download link

 

Thanks a lot. I've sent the PM too ;-)

 

Here is how the actual set up looks like:

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 12.19.02.png

 

Should I ground at least one of these devices - potentially AMP or I can do anything better?

--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

Link to comment

How about we invite some input from the far more qualified members of the forum on this less well understood issue, which can often mean the difference between good sound and great sound ? I can only speak from experiences with power amplifiers that are connected to IEC mains earth.

 

Regards

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

Link to comment
How about we invite some input from the far more qualified members of the forum on this less well understood issue, which can often mean the difference between good sound and great sound ? I can only speak from experiences with power amplifiers that are connected to IEC mains earth.

 

Regards

Alex

 

Yes, why not. Who's going to chime about the subject from the more PRO perspective?

--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

Link to comment
I agree. However it is normally not practical to have varistors at locations other than in the equipment itself, or in a power distribution board. You also need to be able to readily isolate them in the vent that they have sacrificed themselves.

As they also have several hundred picofarads capacitance, it also seems likely that they bypass some RF/EMI too.

As the poster comes from Poland where the Voltage is 220-240 Volts at 50Hz.(U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts 60Hz) his problems are likely to be much less severe than many U.S. members may encounter.

Alex

 

In the U.S. Power Companies provide surge protection at the power meter for a fee ( Florida Power & Light has installed a surge protection device called SurgeShield at my service main) . But since the OP is in Poland that really doesn't help him.

The Truth Is Out There

Link to comment

Well, I am not pro, but I am struggling to keep my mouth shut. Firstly, one need to be very careful fooling with 240VAC. It will kill you. Here in the states the 120v most often just gives you a good poke to wake you up and remind you.

 

The ground on your amp may or may not be chassis ground. As I understand it it is used in the phono stage, and may only be a part of that circuit. There is little way for me to know from here. I would use things as intended as you are lucky in that only one of the items is connected to ground. Not always the safest, but the alternatives create loops, and do really want your signal to partially go through your mains ground? Or worse, do you want your mains to go through your RCA cables?

 

If there is a present issue, looking at the diagram there is a potential loop between the transport. The RCA and SPDIF very well could be on the same ground if there are not SPDIF isolation transformers.

 

My best advice is to really think each connection through. Buy a cheap meter if you do not have one in so that you can test continuity voltage differentials. Oh, and maybe try flipping AC polarity- I am not sure how it effect things on Poland's grid.

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

Link to comment

 

I don't want to spend a lot of money for expensive power conditioner etc., but thinking how I can improve the sound on current equipment.

 

Thanks for any suggestions.

 

Don't ground anything, the system works as is. If you feel tingles, then use a meter to check between the case of the amp and the ground in the power strip.

The power strip is OK, has overvolts protection that won't interfere unless there's an overvolts, unless it's been hit and needs to be tossed. Easy to tell, it smells. Do Euro plugs only insert the one way? Try reversing the connection, or at least make them all the same orientation. Connect the amplifier to the first connector after the cable connection of the power strip.

 

You need to decide if the CD player's analog out is better than the DAC. If it is, then only use the DAC from the Macbook and remove the coax from the CD player. Less is more :) If the coax is a better sound through the DAC, remove the stereo lead to the amplifier from the CD Player.

 

Toss the Toslink in favour of a USB with a switchable input to coax DAC to the amplifier if you want to spend money wisely would be a suggestion. Until there's a solution for the Mtech OSX driver issue try another DAC, perhaps a Chord, Musical Fidelity or a Vega both receive favourable mentions at CA.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

Link to comment
Well, I am not pro, but I am struggling to keep my mouth shut. Firstly, one need to be very careful fooling with 240VAC. It will kill you. Here in the states the 120v most often just gives you a good poke to wake you up and remind you.

 

The ground on your amp may or may not be chassis ground. As I understand it it is used in the phono stage, and may only be a part of that circuit. There is little way for me to know from here. I would use things as intended as you are lucky in that only one of the items is connected to ground. Not always the safest, but the alternatives create loops, and do really want your signal to partially go through your mains ground? Or worse, do you want your mains to go through your RCA cables?

 

If there is a present issue, looking at the diagram there is a potential loop between the transport. The RCA and SPDIF very well could be on the same ground if there are not SPDIF isolation transformers.

 

My best advice is to really think each connection through. Buy a cheap meter if you do not have one in so that you can test continuity voltage differentials.

 

There is no current issues, except the weird zapping when touching the metal chassis of the CD or AMP. That's why I thought that this can be somehow curable and may have impact on sound quality as well. So in your opinion I shouldn't touch anything…

--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

Link to comment
Don't ground anything, the system works as is. If you feel tingles, then use a meter to check between the case of the amp and the ground in the power strip.

The power strip is OK, has overvolts protection that won't interfere unless there's an overvolts, unless it's been hit and needs to be tossed. Easy to tell, it smells. Do Euro plugs only insert the one way? Try reversing the connection, or at least make them all the same orientation. Connect the amplifier to the first connector after the cable connection of the power strip.

 

You need to decide if the CD player's analog out is better than the DAC. If it is, then only use the DAC from the Macbook and remove the coax from the CD player. Less is more :) If the coax is a better sound through the DAC, remove the stereo lead to the amplifier from the CD Player.

 

Toss the Toslink in favour of a USB with a switchable input to coax DAC to the amplifier if you want to spend money wisely would be a suggestion. Until there's a solution for the Mtech OSX driver issue try another DAC, perhaps a Chord, Musical Fidelity or a Vega both receive favourable mentions at CA.

 

Thanks for a good suggestions. Do you think that this additional coax connection from DAC to AMP may cause some issue here? Another thing, which I was considering is to use USB/SPDIF converter like BelCanto mLink to use USB - my DAC has USB with only redbook spec.

--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

Link to comment

I do not know what the weird zapping is. Can you be very specific as to what is going on. Better yet, phase it several ways.

 

It is winter, is it static electricity or something specific to your stereo? The dry air lets static build up more. Are you touching both at the same time? Where are other parts of your body when you feel it? Shoes? Leather or rubber soles, with or without socks? Gosh, the devil is in the details and I do not feel comfortable giving specific advice that might lead to your harm.

 

It may be curable, for all we know, you could have a ground issue. It does not take much to give you a tingle, and it can be so without tripping a fuse or breaker.

There is no current issues, except the weird zapping when touching the metal chassis of the CD or AMP. That's why I thought that this can be somehow curable and may have impact on sound quality as well. So in your opinion I shouldn't touch anything…

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

Link to comment
There is no current issues, except the weird zapping when touching the metal chassis of the CD or AMP. That's why I thought that this can be somehow curable and may have impact on sound quality as well. So in your opinion I shouldn't touch anything…

 

This weird zapping, by chance you have carpet ? it could be "Static" electricity, just wondering

The Truth Is Out There

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...