Very good AES presentation on inter connects and ground loops.

If everyone has not read the papers on Jensen Transformers on interconnects by Bull Whitlock I suggest doing so. An update that makes a lot of things clear was a paper he did for AES in the subject, a bit updated.  Search You-Tube for it. It is an easier presentation than app note 009.

Makes me wonder about the current fad of XLRs on home systems with 1M cables and why folks like Chord have RCA only.  Do you trust China Inc. to do it correctly? Even ASR has identified most of what they measure does not follow IEEE or AES standards let alone understand the details of the architecture. 


Are we blaming the wrong part of our systems?  Are we blaming the environment, not the manufactures who fail to properly design something to work in it? 

If you buy a $80 CH-FI wonder, the FOSI V3 for instance, we expect every corner to be cut. With a background in manufacturing, I am truly amazed.  OK, It will come with the cheapest power supply they can buy. If a cheap DAC, sure, an almost shielded fifty cent USB cable. Do my Elac 5.2's have cheap binding posts? Sure.  What excuse is there for boutique priced equipment? 

Domestic power is well understood. Cable/Internet is well understood. Ambient RF is well understood.  If you make a product to work in this well understood environment, why should you be asking your customers to go buy external band-aids?  You buy a $5000 DAC and then expect you have to add an external clock? External power supply? Magic cable? ( as the $2 one works perfectly).  BLAME the maker of that high priced garbage that did not design their box to work in the environment it was sold into!   OK, I build an amp on an old Hafler chassis. 2 wire cord and it is not double insulated.   Even I can put a ground isolation circuit to retrofit an old chassis with a 2 wire power cord to a proper safety ground.    Problem solved where is should be, not with some magic external box.  Sure, PC's are noisy dirt cheap with every corner cut.  USB is pretty rough.  Granted, an Apple Dongle for $12 won't have much in the way of filtering ( though not bad either), but there is then no excuse once you cross the $100 or so level to not have a decent USB receiver, galvanic isolation and good PPL. ( Schiit USB is very good) No excuse for the DAC to rely on the sloppy computer clock to feed the DAC. We did invent buffers you know.  My $99 Atom can and it is not even leveraging off-shore slave labor to make. 

So, why do we think because something is used in a studio we need it at home?  Because marketing has said we need a AES interphase, we need XLR to go 2 feet, we need 192/36 DAC to play Redbook?   We need monitors designed to highlight flaws? ( Think L100's) 

Caveat: If you play physical CDs and so are real time streaming, then I would expect a modern transport to do a better job than say, my old OPPO. I only play FLAC off my SSD, so any timing and buffering is taken care of.  Problem solved without high dollar boutique solutions. And I can drag several CDs to the que and walk away not getting up to change them. :)

Yes, headphones can have a much lower background level and if you keep the volume down, quite impressive details are discernable even from a CD. No crossovers to screw things up.  I hate headphones, so how much better the hi-def (compared to what?) streaming may be I don't know, but I have heard demo's on very high end speaker systems ( like Wilsons) in stores and heard zero difference.  So 24 bits for a source that was maybe 12 bits to start with.  Not impressed.  Differences in DAC design? Clear and dramatically different. 

I do know a little about sneaky problems.  Did you know a 9-track tape drive sees about 60pF to a raised floor in a computer room?  Deal with that RF loop!  How about IBM requires third party to be on a different entrance panel. Want to measure RF on ground? How about THOUSANDS of amps!   We fixed these problems by proper design of our equipment, not external hacks. 


@audioman58 you have certainly wasted a lot of money on things that cannot have an impact, to OPs point. 

Fredrik222 you speak out of ignorance.

myself and many others in our audio club have tested many combinations 

Ethernet cables ,and usb cables ,linear power supplies all have audible improvements all well tested not knowing which were being tested.

myself owned a Audio store for a decade . I have  no idea what your audio system consists of but ,unless your system is of a higher quality you may not hear the improvements ,there are too many variables. I rebuilt Loudspeaker Xovers for a guy over $ 1600 and made a Very large improvement ,he was using $100 Belen interconnects and thought it was good from what he was told , you have to spend 

bare Minimum of $2k just for speaker cables and a pr of interconnects to hear  the nuances in the recordings and at much more $ monies there are cables much better still it all depends on your budget, this applies to everything from Electronics, to Loudspeakers . Synergy is very important ,your dac at minimum $2k to get anything respectable by Audiophile standards ,reference $6k and up. I have heard several hundred Audio systems a $25k system is a good starting audiophile system 

most have $50 k + system if realism and refinement is your goal. These are my opinions and viewpoints and having owned a Audio store can speak through experience and what others expect , the more experienced you are as a Audiophile 

the more you expect if your budget will allow for it.

Hello tvrgeek.  I wanted to get a look at your system to see where you are coming from.  No luck there.  There are some holes in your arguments.  But first, I read the paper and my interpretation is the author is for balanced connections.  He made the comment that SE, RCA connections should have gone away decades ago.  

I agree that older audio gear electrical and grounding methods needs to be looked at closely for both safety and S/N issues.  I can recall as a kid in the 1960s getting zapped when touching the metal frame of my grandfather's b&w TV.  Yes, I was  barefoot on a concrete floor.  It was a pretty strong shock.  Newer Tube gear made on the US and EU seem to be good and I think most top brand SS gear going back decades is good.  I stick to the well known brands after having bad experiences decades ago with newcomers or flash in the pan brands that were not so well made on the inside.  Caveat Emptor is always the case.

The author expounds a lot on house wiring.  I can agree with him.  I found in the late 1980's my ARC SP-6b could tolerate no dimmers in the house at all.  They all had to go.  My newer ARC gear years later I found, did a much better job at rejecting noise.  I wired in my own dedicated power lines for my stereo.  (I'm a licensed professional engineer but also am experienced at wiring houses.)  One thing that annoyed me is whoever wired my house mixed the White wires and ground wires on the ground busses.  I know it doesn't matter but I like things looking nice and neat.  I cleaned them up as best I could.  

The author also made a very good point that everyone should take note:  Don't operate your audio gear on a separate ground rod.  You can have multiple ground rods but they must all be tied together as one, back to the main breaker panel.  

Redbook CDs have limitations as compared to the master tape.  That doesn't mean that converting to hi res is pointless.  It's more about the filters and the skill of the engineer than the technical matters.  CDs have less limitations than LP's.  And yet Vinyl sounded better for many years.  I was convinced CDs were inferior until I got my new DAC and CD Transport a couple of years ago.  That opened my eyes to digital music.  Today I can enjoy both sources equally.  They each have their own characteristics but it is more of a flavor rather than a deficit or advantage.  Vinyl was considered an inferior source well into the 1980s.  Ironically, CDs seemed to elevate the status of vinyl back in the 80s and 90s.  What was better than vinyl, you ask?  R2R master tapes.  The hardcore audiophiles back in the day would listen to nothing else.  I think vinyl sounds great.  Shows what I know.

Comparing how things sound at a hifi shop is a no go.  Even the most high end boutique stores have one goal:  Move product.  They don't have the time or interest to dial a system in to within a 1/4" when everything is likely to me moved the next day or next week.  Even at my favorite audio store in Michigan decades ago, Harry would pull the Magenpans away from the wall and roughly position them if you wanted to hear that system.  It always sounded great but imagine if the room didn't have all the other gear stacked up in there and the panels were dialed in precise.  Secondly, audio stores have dirty power and lots of EMI from lights, other businesses and all the other gear operating in the room/rooms.  I begged the owner of a store to just buy a couple of FMCs to isolate his ethernet optically.  He is demonstrating DCS and Chord DACs.  They sound so lackluster when he is streaming with them and I know it is due to noisy ethernet.  Sure, high end gear should not be affected by noise coming in.  And apples shouldn't start rotting when they fall off the tree.  In the real world we have to isolate and protect our precious, tiny little signals from our tonearms, our streamers and our preamps from the harsh and cruel disruptors of RFI, EMI and even mechanical vibration.  

Post removed