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  • Nordost's Qkore Grounding System

    Is grounding the new frontier? In all honesty I haven't paid it much attention - should I? For now my dedicated circuits tie into a grid sunk in the side yard. I know there are folks whose ears I trust that affirm these 'systems' can make a real difference.

    Marc Mickelson reviews Nordost's Qkore offering at TAB.

  • #2
    Ground and grounding has always been important and we managed it the traditional/correct way with proper wiring and the electrical plant but nowadays its magic in a box. I confirm that they make a real difference only in my experience the negative kind !

    david
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    Comment


    • #3
      I spent 40 + years working as an Electrical/Design/Build Contractor and General Contractor specializing on EMS and Multiplex Life Safety Systems for high rise bldgs and Hospitals. I have also designed/wired several recording studios both professional and private,Life Safety Computer Rooms, among other projects. The Grounding Plane was my specialty, It is also the most misunderstood part of the electrical system, and the most important.

      The only method for a perfect ground is to have an isolated ground installed to the electrical point of service connected at the star where the Grounding Electrode and grounded conductor are connected. this is the point of least resistance, 3 ohms or less to ground is the requirement, I always used a cad weld for this connection ( not manual) However if done properly lugs are fine.

      The importance of a clean ground can not be overstated for a variety of reasons, the main one being life safety. It is against the NEC in the USA and in many countries to have grounding electrodes in multiple locations and it will actually make the system worse. ( electricity takes the path of least resistance) by adding a separate ground rod as I have read that some do, you increase the resistance of that path. The neutral is a grounded conductor, so now you have the return on the neutral passing in one direction and the ground in another, They are in effect on the same path. The loop has now been created.

      For audio applications the grounding is even more misunderstood and that confusion gives way to many products, maybe some work but none will work as good as a proper ground. The caveat is that unless all of your equipment is built with a proper star ground none of these boxes are going to offer a benefit.

      I understand that on existing apts and homes that sometimes installing a dedicated isolated circuit is not easily accomplished, however bandaid' always fall off.

      Most do not understand the noise factor of a grounding conductor and its effect on the audio playback. The conductor performs two tasks, the first is life safety protection, it grounds the enclosure so that it can not become electrified,and it also creates a shield around the components, and second it provides a path for the dirty electrical noise coming from the transformers and such, you do not want the noise looking for another path to escape, you want it out of there as fast as possible, otherwise it will find its way into the signal and muddy the sound stage ( the path of least resistance ) is where it goes, whether that be signal wire or a loop through other equipment.

      I have not looked inside one of these boxes but common sense tells me that they are a switching/resistor bridge which floats the ground appx. 100 ohms above the neutral and when a fault occurs the bridge closes to short the system.
      It will create a pseudo isolated ground, by floating it at the source and possibly afford some benefit, if the ground is really dirty. It will not solve any loops.

      Is it worth it? That is a relative question, do I have ground noise, do I know what ground noise is, it is easy to find out. One method is to measure the M/V difference between the neutral and ground at your equipment enclosure and if it is more than M/V You have a problem, as an example mine measures at 6 M/V. Some systems may be 200 or 300 M/V.

      It is always better to fix the problem if it exists, band aids are never a long term solution.

      Don

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by don View Post
        I spent 40 + years working as an Electrical/Design/Build Contractor and General Contractor specializing on EMS and Multiplex Life Safety Systems for high rise bldgs and Hospitals. I have also designed/wired several recording studios both professional and private,Life Safety Computer Rooms, among other projects. The Grounding Plane was my specialty, It is also the most misunderstood part of the electrical system, and the most important.

        The only method for a perfect ground is to have an isolated ground installed to the electrical point of service connected at the star where the Grounding Electrode and grounded conductor are connected. this is the point of least resistance, 3 ohms or less to ground is the requirement, I always used a cad weld for this connection ( not manual) However if done properly lugs are fine.

        The importance of a clean ground can not be overstated for a variety of reasons, the main one being life safety. It is against the NEC in the USA and in many countries to have grounding electrodes in multiple locations and it will actually make the system worse. ( electricity takes the path of least resistance) by adding a separate ground rod as I have read that some do, you increase the resistance of that path. The neutral is a grounded conductor, so now you have the return on the neutral passing in one direction and the ground in another, They are in effect on the same path. The loop has now been created.

        For audio applications the grounding is even more misunderstood and that confusion gives way to many products, maybe some work but none will work as good as a proper ground. The caveat is that unless all of your equipment is built with a proper star ground none of these boxes are going to offer a benefit.

        I understand that on existing apts and homes that sometimes installing a dedicated isolated circuit is not easily accomplished, however bandaid' always fall off.

        Most do not understand the noise factor of a grounding conductor and its effect on the audio playback. The conductor performs two tasks, the first is life safety protection, it grounds the enclosure so that it can not become electrified,and it also creates a shield around the components, and second it provides a path for the dirty electrical noise coming from the transformers and such, you do not want the noise looking for another path to escape, you want it out of there as fast as possible, otherwise it will find its way into the signal and muddy the sound stage ( the path of least resistance ) is where it goes, whether that be signal wire or a loop through other equipment.

        I have not looked inside one of these boxes but common sense tells me that they are a switching/resistor bridge which floats the ground appx. 100 ohms above the neutral and when a fault occurs the bridge closes to short the system.
        It will create a pseudo isolated ground, by floating it at the source and possibly afford some benefit, if the ground is really dirty. It will not solve any loops.

        Is it worth it? That is a relative question, do I have ground noise, do I know what ground noise is, it is easy to find out. One method is to measure the M/V difference between the neutral and ground at your equipment enclosure and if it is more than M/V You have a problem, as an example mine measures at 6 M/V. Some systems may be 200 or 300 M/V.

        It is always better to fix the problem if it exists, band aids are never a long term solution.

        Don
        Love your fuc.... post so true.
        analog stuff.
        otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
        otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
        sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
        new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
        thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
        thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
        kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
        phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
        speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
        mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
        digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
        Dacs lampi various

        Comment


        • #5
          What I did but is not code compliant is to isolate my whole system with an ISO transformer and one ground path to all outlets from it. I know it's above ground potential of the rest of my room. But the improvment was real just touching the ISO ground to my house ground effected the sound. I have no hum but hum is not the only place noise can be heard.
          analog stuff.
          otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
          otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
          sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
          new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
          thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
          thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
          kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
          phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
          speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
          mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
          digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
          Dacs lampi various

          Comment


          • #6
            That is one way, and another is to use a balanced TX like the Hospitals use with the Iso Ground, regulated 60 volts on Hot, 60 volts on the neutral no volts on the ground,( the neutral is no longer a grounded conductor) no noise from cross talk. Hum can come from many other issues besides Ground Loops. The problem with other TX is that the ground can not be lifted to be in compliance, the TX is in effect a separate power source and the Neutral and ground conductor must bond to the chassis of the TX therefore the Neutral and ground are once again married,
            With the balanced TX the ground and Neutral never touch on the load side it is similar to having everything on a double pole 240 V circuit but as a 120 V double pole circuit, It is approved for sound recording studios, hospitals etc. There can be no other appliances on it per code, but that would defeat it's purpose any way.

            Comment


            • #7
              Some one maybe you posted this before. It's a type of ISO that has a center tap on the secondary side. Very cool idea lol. Mine has two sec windings I put in parallel for 120 volt. back in the days I did ISO in hospital
              it was 480 Input and 120/208 output common ground from line side carried over. And ISO outlets after panels
              mc with the ground wire keeping the isolation up to the outlets. All that is not done in nyc that I know of.
              When I step up or down the neutral must bonded on the change side. So delta in y out. Your ISO is one I never heard of. So how is it grounded ? It cannot just be floating can it ?
              for me what i created is a new isolated path for all conductors and no ground path to anything but devices connected to the secondary isolated panel. It's a true star ground with over sized grounds. Cond are 10 gauge and 6 gauge grounds per ISO outlet
              all the grounds go to one point inside the panel.
              Asside from ISO grounding a larger ground conductor makes it more like those expensive grounding boxes.
              The distance for all outlets is the same but of course power cords screw things up in ground size
              analog stuff.
              otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
              otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
              sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
              new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
              thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
              thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
              kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
              phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
              speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
              mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
              digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
              Dacs lampi various

              Comment


              • #8
                The ground does not float it runs from the point of service unbroken to the enclosure of the TX and is bonded at the line side then to the appliance, the neutral is separated from the ground through the TX. Therefore the ground is unbroken, and the neutral becomes a balanced un grounded conductor. The ground is the same as if it were a swimming pool bonding grid. The single pole 120 now becomes a two pole 60/60, essentially no more neutral.

                These TX are used for the life support machines where any noise is intolerable, The outlets in our hospitals are all Isolated Grounds so these TX are wired up using cord and plugging directly into the outlet therefore making them portable with the equipment.

                When you use a boost or buck TX then you have to bond everything at the load of the TX as it is now a separate service , I am not sure but these may fall under the auspices of a regulated power supply. No I never posted on this before.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Oh now I get it. So it's not mounted or large per say.
                  I have seen these but did not know what they were since it was portable. As for life support do you a ventalter ?
                  Back then we had batteries in them so no delay at generator startup for testing. They acahtally had a REGEN inside so the ac did not directly impact the vent as such noise I don't remember being an issue
                  my comment of grounding was the neutral bonding alone
                  sorry I have wrtinijg issues to say the least.

                  You should market these devices for audio
                  How many KV are they 2k ?
                  analog stuff.
                  otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                  otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                  sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                  new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                  thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                  thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                  kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                  phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                  speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                  mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                  digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                  Dacs lampi various

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Actually there are professional ones on the market for home audio systems and small recording studios, Furman makes some pretty nice ones and I believe that there is a mgf. in the UK also.For commercial studios we used larger ones from SG D and Seimans they could be any KVA that you needed The physics behind it is interesting, when electricity is balanced such as 60 Volts on each side it cancels out any unbalanced noise to zero. However if your Grounding conductor is not correct you will still get noise by induction, so that is still the first path toward a clean first watt.
                    Norman Pass said " If the first watt sucks what is the point of the rest"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You know you got me wondering the one I have can accept 480 or 208 in and has two windings on secondary as well. If I input 208 I could do a balanced 120 on the secondary. I might try it. Nothing to loose really.
                      analog stuff.
                      otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                      otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                      sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                      new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                      thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                      thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                      kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                      phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                      speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                      mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                      digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                      Dacs lampi various

                      Comment


                      • #12

                        Don- I assume TX= transformer? The one you describe in post #6 sounds like 'balanced' power- 60-0-60. OK if in a black box that plugs into a wall, like a power conditioner, but not sure it is code compliant if hard wired in a residence as part of household wiring. Getting an isolated ground- something different than the balanced power- is as far as I know, not code compliant in any state i've looked into; in fact, doesn't the National Code say as much, since most local electrical Codes are NEC + additional local restrictions? (I thought by doing a separate building with separate service path and meter would give me the opportunity to isolate that building from the house, ground wise, but I've also been told that those typically run from the same feeder and same ground as the house. Still investigating that.
                        We are dealing with a system developed what, 100 years ago? Tesla/Westinghouse/Hubbell (who invented the electrical plug?) I remember the days of 2 prong outlets and non-polarized plugs but aren't these simply refinements of an old system (forget the infrastructure, it may be brand new, but the system design hasn't changed much into the home in a long time, except for safety precautions. Arc fault breakers, child proof receptacles, etc. which don't really help us in audio land). And leave aside all the digital nasties, the wi-fi, the density, the sheer amount of electrical devices in use, from microwave ovens, to smart refrigerators to wireless alarm systems to whatever is the latest gadget.

                        I have a lot of grounding gear- various big and small iso transformers, but very few band-aids. My experience has been that there are some differences in how ground is treated within components, assuming the entire electrical sub-system into which the hi-fi gear is plugged is on the same ground; these band-aid boxes, such as the cheap Granite Audio one, and some of the others that address ground noise, are altering the impedance of the ground among components to bring them closer to quiet as a system, but they don't fix the problem if there is a anomaly in how a particular component is grounded internally, relative to another. Most of these seem to be variations on an external star ground that supplements the safety ground. And all that stuff is different, I think, than the more exotic and expensive add-on passive boxes that purport to improve the sound of the system, e.g. Entreq, Tri-Point or others. (There is a similar thread on the 'Gon right now about the Synergistic Research Active device).

                        I understand the notion of multiple ground rods creating more problems, and potentially creating a greater hazard- how do you reconcile this with a Ufer? They are all bonded or wired together in any case, so why is a Ufer different than multiple rods? (Not asking to challenge you, but more for curiosity sake). I haven't messed with the fancy grounding systems and have worked within Code and permitting, but am still sorting out a long time ground loop that I believe is caused by the interaction between my SET amps and the plate amps in my Avantgardes. There are jumpers inside the Avantgarde plate amp to change the ground settings. I'm a little reluctant to open those things up but may do so to switch the jumpers and see if my hum goes away. The alternative- cheating the ground on the amps- has never been a real solution for obvious reasons, though it works.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The grounding adjustments are for your use. My Msb has a few ground settings one is lifting the ground on signal outputs no jumpers but internal replays. It does wonders
                          there is also tx singnal types that can also isolate signals
                          from ground
                          have you tried any of them. ?
                          analog stuff.
                          otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                          otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                          sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                          new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                          thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                          thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                          kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                          phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                          speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                          mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                          digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                          Dacs lampi various

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Alrainbow View Post
                            The grounding adjustments are for your use. My Msb has a few ground settings one is lifting the ground on signal outputs no jumpers but internal replays. It does wonders
                            there is also tx singnal types that can also isolate signals
                            from ground
                            have you tried any of them. ?
                            Al, if you are responding to my comments, the adjust on the Avantgarde plate amp for the self-contained woofers is not something I've played with before. You have to unbolt the amp from the cabinet, and mess around with some microswitches near the transformer. I suspect this is where the issue lies and will probably do it. The speakers are now old, which makes me reluctant to tear it apart, but on the other hand, I probably wouldn't have wanted to do that when they were new, either. We'll see. I forget what the manual calls the alternatives but it seemed to me that the default setting was probably where the problem is. I will let you know....
                            Good stuff, for my learning curve, all of this.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We all learn always. I may be a qualified at what do but by no means for audio a guy who does installs knows practical experience that is worth more than knowledge
                              of well electric. I have helped a few friends with him that is easy to remove and isolate. It's beyond that that it gets hard. I Amy seem odd or even crazy but I have put many hours into what I have now. My speakers sit crazy and my system is isolated but I know how good it sounds to me.
                              The ISO part he posted I can do and will it's pretty simple and fast. Ill post what I hear.
                              analog stuff.
                              otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                              otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                              sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                              new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                              thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                              thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                              kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                              phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                              speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                              mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                              digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                              Dacs lampi various

                              Comment

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