Grounding of K50?

Has anyone tried to use an external
Grounding system such as Shunyatas CGS, Entreq, etc?

If so, where did you connect your grounding wire to the K50?

To be clear, I am looking to use CHASSIS grounding not Signal grounding.


How would you distinguish between chassis and signal ground?

I suspect for safety reasons, chassis ground needs to go Earth in some cases (depending on the design of the component). I have used Shunyata Chassis Ground System on Triton V2 successfully for signal ground (eg. from unused RCA jack to ground).

I ground my EX via unused RCA jack to Synergistic Research Active Ground Block SE via HD ground cable. The cables matter, the standard/quality of ground ‘treatment’ matters, where it is plugged into matters.

Fair question and honestly, I have no clue. I am not an EE. Only a practitioner of what the manufacturers suggest. I have been led to believe they are different but maybe it’s situational??!

I am not going to experiment.

Here is a quote from a different thread on this forum concerning grounding the K41. I am not sure if this also applies to other models.

“Thank you for your response. I have had extensive contact with Mark (Antipodes) and Scott (CAD) about connecting the K41 to a CAD ground control. The conclusion is that within the K41 signal ground and mains earth are not separated. Connecting the K41 to a ground control that is connected to the signal ground of other components is therefore not recommended. My K41 is now connected via USB to a ground control that is only connected to the mains earth of other components. Just to be clear, I have three GC3 ground controls. One for mains earth, one for signal ground analog components and one for signal ground digital components. Everything works as it should. I get the most effect on the signal ground of the Esoteric DAC and mains earth of the PS Audio regenerator.”

Sometimes they are the same and sometimes they are not. I believe the standard for pro gear is to float the signal relative to the chassis as a safety measure to protect humans from shock. Some audiophile manufacturers do this as well. Pass Labs is a good example of one who does.

If a chassis is floating then there can be a benefit in giving it a ground so any collected noise has a place to go. But you wouldn’t want to dump this noise onto the same ground plane that the signal plane is using. Noise should

Shunyata’s upcoming signal ground device doesn’t connect to the AC circuit at all. This keeps the signal ground plane floating. One has to be careful to not pollute a signal ground that’s floating relative to the chassis.

Excellent description. That is what I imagined. But I am just speculating.

My experience has been using the Shunyata CGS and Synergistic Research Ground Blocks (both passive and Active) connected to ground of the PCBs (via RCA, speaker terminals, ground screws on ethernet switches).

It seems to me that when there is a ‘filter’ in line (such as the Shunyata CGS NIC or Synergistic EM Cell) the noise on the ground plane is reduced a lot more. This suggests that somehow noise can either cross pollute and possibly also travel into audio gear from somewhere else via the ground wires.

I suppose it is also possible that chassis ground noise could pollute the signal ground plane, say if the earth potential of the signal ground earth point was not immensely greater than that of the signal ground plane.

It seems to me there are three sources of noise to deal with in an audio system:

  1. power network - hence filtering of or isolation from the noise using power conditioners, etc
  2. ethernet network - hence isolating from and minimising transmission of noise by using fibre, careful shielding designs on CAT cables, using separate power supplies, etc
  3. ground network - hence AC outlets with lifted ground, and various ground ‘conditioners’ and cables.

Oh, I guess there is also noise in the atmosphere, EMI, RFI, and ‘comsic’ things.

Anyhow, getting back to the Antipodes topic, perhaps @MarkCole can inform what approach Antipodes gear takes towards chassis and signal ground?

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This suggests to me the K41 ground could pollute other components if they are all connected to one another such as star ground approach. In other words, noise from the K41 mains earth could find its way to other components. Not to say the K41 is generating the noise, it is coming from the mains Earth and anything connected to that network.

Perhaps the ideal would be:

  • the audio gear would have a dedicated earth wire to the earth rod rather than just another part of the earth network in the building (some people even have a separate earth rod, but this may not be legal)

  • a separate star ground (and ground conditioner) for components where mains earth and signal ground are not separated (ie relying on the mains Earth rod)

  • a separate star ground (and conditioner) for components where signal ground is floating that goes to its own Earth rod.

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My situation is separate to the OP, but hopefully relevant and solveable.
I had issues straight away with my K50, with it seemingly the source of a high pitched static sound coming from my speakers.
Antipodes were good with their support, and they suspected it was an earthing or ground loop issue.
I disconnected virtually everything and reconnected one by one, however the problem was never properly solved.
I could lessen the level of the static noise,by swapping leads, power cables etc. but my Conrad Johnson CT5 tube preamp always seemed to be connected with the problem.
However running direct from the K50 to my Ayon tube DAC preamp only improved things a little.
In desperation l asked a CJ technician, and he said definitely a ground issue and to run a wire connected to the outer shield of RCA plugs and connect from the digital output of the K50 and the preamp.
It made zero improvement!
I touched the plug onto the negative speaker post, and immediately the static noise almost disappeared.
Using another higher gain Conrad Johnson power amp though, the noise is still noticeable- so not cured after all but merely a bandaid.
I am using dedicated power points that go direct to the meter box BTW.
Suggestions to solve would be greatly appreciated!

Maybe this is a clue. It could be the speakers, or the speaker cables, or something touching the speaker cables, or the amp outputs …

Try it on both speakers (is it one or both channels?). Maybe disconnect the speaker cables from the speakers and try touching the cable terminations.

Then disconnect the speakers cables from the amp and try the same on the Amp speaker outputs. And so on as a process of elimination. It could be frustrating but try to be calm, patient and clear thinking…

Good luck!

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It was my understanding that ground loops cause a hum/buzz - and not static. One quick way to rule this out would be to use a cheater plug on one component’s AC cable.

A high pitched static noise sounds to me like emitted noise - possibly from the K50. A tube could be picking this up. Did the CJ tech ask you about the condition of your tubes?

If you move your K50, does the noise level vary? If it does this could be a clue that it’s emittted noise.

Noise could also be entering via an interconnects or digital cables. Are they properly shielded would be something I’d try to sort out through a process of elimination. Have you tried substituting spare or generic cables for your digital cables or interconnects?

Kennyb123 l have tried swapping every single interconnect and power cable and moving components apart.
I have always thought it sounded like it was noise from the K50 being picked up or transmitted to my setup.
I have expressed this but been told definitely earthing issue.
I run TP - Link router → Renolabs network switch → Antipodes K50 (all Acoustic Revive Ethernet cables with Telegartner) → Ayon tube CD player DAC-> CJ CT5 triode Preamp → CJ ET 250S triode power amp-> Foilflex speaker cables to speakers.
So 3 links are with tubes but bypassing the CJ preamp and swapping the power amp to a CJ Premier 350 Power amp still static noise with one only tube link.
Fed into a Melody SP1 tube integrated amp was a lot better.
Tried different speaker cables and tubes too.
I’ve almost given up and just playing the CJ 250S with the wire running to the speaker negative post.

Are you using a USB cable? Is it possible to try a toslink cable between the K50 and your Ayon CD player?

I did try a high quality USB cable and it was quieter.
I currently have a coaxial cable between them.
Even if l switch off the Ayon CD DAC, the noise is still there as still a circuit connection.
Unplug the coaxial cable from the K50, zero noise BTW.

Any change when you unplug the Ethernet cable from the K50?

No difference when Ethernet cable is disconnected, I’m afraid.

That’s good as it rules out the network.

Try to get everything plugged into the same outlet using a power strip. There can be issues if the cable runs aren’t the same length when using dedicated circuits. We need to eliminate this as a cause.

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I did in fact consider mains outlets, and had read to connect all on one board.
So l connected, Antipodes K50, Ayon CD player DAC, CJ preamp and power into a Nordost Qbase power board .
It did give me a better result, I’d love to try out a Power reconditioner like a PS Audio P10 just to see if it helps.(?)

I used to own a P10. I found it hardened the top end towards being a fatiguing sound and my system sounded more relaxed without it. I now use a Plixir Elite BAC 3000V balanced mains transformer which is the best I have tried so fair.

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I recently added a Shunyata Everest 8000 to my system and it has been a revelation. Everything about my SQ is better.

It also provides multiple chassis ground lugs that might help sort out your ground loop/ hum issue.


Hey Clive, I think you are an Aussie SNAer?

Providing excellent power source including power conditioning and power cables is huge leverage for SQ in my experience. I really doubt you will be hearing what K50 can do without it.

If you use cords with US plugs, consider Synergistic Research Powercell 12 SE or SX (they come with an excellent Atmosphere power cord). They are rated up to 250v, so fine for AU. SE beat the pants off PS Audio P10. I use SE with Galileo SX power cord which is better again by a quite a margin. On US AudioMart and Agon, I have seen used SEs for about US$3000-3500 and SX for US $4000.