What is signal ground?

March 2, 2018
 by Paul McGowan

4 comments on “What is signal ground?”

  1. Hi Paul. Perhaps you can clarify something with respect to ground design. Is it ever a good idea to have a dedicated earth ground for an audio system? In the past I have had enormous troubles with hum and noise due to a large number of interconnected components and one big solution was to "lift" the power ground at a common wall receptacle. But my question is related to my past experience with Ham radio where the ground is everything and absolutely necessary for transmission of RF waves. Sure the frequency is much higher than audio, but now with our picking every little detail for power and purity and extended frequency response or insanely fast clock speeds in our digital circuits would there be any help in using a good quality earth ground like that which we use in radio transmission systems? And just so you know, these damn vids and pod casts and text forums you're putting out have me buried in my system again. Even my wife called to me from the other room yesterday, "Is that Paul you're listening to again? Do you even understand what he's talking about?" Of course I do to a large extent and what I don't I research immediately. So you're truly stimulating interest in our beloved hobby/lifestyle as audiophiles. Thanks.

    1. Hah! That's a hoot, but I am delighted you're getting back into the swing of it. Life's too short not to have a passion one can dig into.

      Yes. Earth grounds are awesome. My friend Bob Harley from TAS has gone to extreme lengths to make his with the highest level of conductivity. They are valuable and if I wasn't in a commercial building I'd have one too.

      The only thing of caution. Make sure the earth ground is somehow tied into the main ground. You don't want two separate grounds for safety. All the stuff in your listening room can tie exclusively into the earth ground and that's proper, but you then need a single wire tying back the earth ground to the main ground of the house (which is likely also an earth ground).

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