Computer Audio Design Ground Control-Reference grounding box

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Computer Audio Design Ground Control-Reference

But the biggest surprise still lay in wait, only emerging when I started to play with the QB8s and the parallel AC ground connection. Tying the distribution blocks, GC-R and AC ground together proved a big no-no, with a splashy and disjointed musical result. The AC ground alone was impressively dynamic, planted and weighty, but connecting the QB8s to the GC-R delivered almost all of the weight from the AC ground but with much better low-frequency definition, texture and articulation. More importantly, there was a vast improvement in the sense of rhythmic and musical coherence, producing an immediately more engaging and communicative performance. Where I’d hoped the GC-R might offer an alternative to a parallel AC ground for those who can’t access one, it actually trumped the AC-based alternative (at least in my situation) offering cleaner, more natural and more enjoyable system performance – and by no small margin and across all musical genres. This is no sonically subtle shift, no “bit more air” or “slightly crisper drum beats” change. This is fundamental to the structure, sense, intelligibility and enjoyment of the musical event. Since it arrived, the GC-R has been an ever present in the ever-changing system in my main listening room – and given my druthers ever present is what it would remain. If you still think that passive grounding solutions are so much hokum, then you should hear the GC-R in action. It’s musical benefits are kind of hard to ignore!

Yet there’s one huge caveat that applies to all of this. These results involve one system and more importantly, one situation. The AC ground on my incoming supply is not the quietest, given that it arrives by the aerial route (hence the parallel grounds) – unlike my previous room, which was first on the line, 50 yards from the sub-station and near perfect in performance. There, none of the separate ground solutions superseded the parallel connection, but always delivered their best results in conjunction with it, along with a separate solution for the signal grounds. The increased potential for improvement with my current AC supply, along with the increased capacity of the GC-R has totally altered that equation – and that’s really the point. What you hear, how big the differences are and what value you place on them is going to depend on your specific system and circumstances. £20K is a lot of anybody’s money, but in the context of the review system (around £400K plus cables) the GC-R’s contribution was so far beyond cost efficiency as to make it a no-brainer. Different system, different equation but, with products to suit most systems and most pockets, it should be possible to start with a Ground Control option that doesn’t demand a five-figure leap of faith. Whether you need or can justify a GC-R, a far more affordable GC3 or the smaller and even more affordable GC1 will be a decision for individual listener and specific circumstances, but if you are serious about the performance of your system, it’s worth making sure that it IS a decision and not just a theoretical assumption. No – I’m not saying that you need to start saving the coin to drop the wrong side of £20K on a large, heavy and essentially inert box. I am saying that optimising your grounding arrangements is fundamental to hearing what your system is capable of – and getting the benefit you’ve already paid for. Just be aware that investigating grounding boxes is a little like cracking open Pandora’s box; you are never quite sure where or how far it might lead… 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Passive grounding box

Ground Points: 8 as standard, but can be user specified

Connections: 4mm banana plugs

Grounding Cables:User specified terminations 

Dimensions (W×H×D): 469 × 400 × 231mm

Weight: 50kg

Finish: Dark gray (other finishes to order)

Price: £20,500

Manufacturer: Computer Audio Design

URL: computeraudiodesign.com

Tel: +44 (0) 203 397 0334

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