Grounding Tweak - I'm a Believer

Recently, as an experiment, I purchased an ESD grounding wire from Amazon and connected the alligator clip to the RCA output ground on my Atom and the grounded plug into my power strip. After leaving it for a few hours I listened and felt that my system sounded somehow just “better.” Dynamics seemed increased, instruments seemed more defined, it was more fun to listen to. Doubtless, some sort of placebo at work, but I kept it in place for a week or so to see what happened.

Yesterday I sat down to listen, intending to undo the grounding clip after a few songs to see if I could tell a difference. Disappointingly, the system sounded flatter and less exciting, at which point I assumed that what I heard must have just been coincidence and self-deception. I went to disconnect the ground wire anyhow, only to discover that the cleaning ladies had somehow knocked it off the back of the unit! I had accidentally constructed a blind listening test and had clearly identified the difference without even knowing that there was one!

Needless to say, I’m fully a believer. I have now ordered a dedicated RCA grounding cable that I plan to connect in such a manner that my cleaners won’t knock it loose, and may later invest in further experiments along this path, but consider me a convert.

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Strange. You have a ground switch on the Atom which can select chassis or floating. This connects signal ground to mains earth (chassis) or lifted from mains earth (floating).

By adding the additional ground cable, you’ve done the same thing (connecting signal ground to mains earth). If the Atom ground switch is set to chassis you’ve also created a ground loop with the additional cable.

What position did you have the Atom ground switch in before you added the additional cable ?

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It was and is set to default. I can discern no difference whatsoever in the two settings.

Yes, the effect of the switch setting can be fairly subtle depending on the rest of the setup. I’m surprised you find a difference by adding an additional cable though.

Is that with the additional ground cable connected or without?

That was before attaching the wire. I’ll repeat the experiment with the more permanent ground wire attached, monkeying around with the clip attached is unwieldy.

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You may inquire after a Naim “Groundinator” cable with your dealer. Some systems in certain locales can benefit greatly from installing this device. It’s a genuine Naim product so you will have peace of mind installing it. Cheers!

Interesting, I’ve never heard of that nor seen it mentioned here or anywhere else. Would love to hear more.


Unless faulty, the grounding switch does exactly the same as adding a ground wire manually… the switch just makes it easier. Naim preamps/ integrated require one and only one source earth grounded to function at their best.

By having two earth grounds you will have created an earth loop, and depending on your setup will be adding extremely low to noticeable noise induced into your system.

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It’s real, I promise. At least here in NAMER. Call your dealer. It’s green lead with a single RCA on one end, and a modified mains plug on the other (two plastic blanking prongs, and a single earth prong) that you just plug into your strip/receptacle. Talk to your dealer and they’ll be able to help you.

It sounds like a special if you are using a Naim NAC or integrated with all floating sources.
Most modern Naim sources have a float/ground earthing switch so is not needed if you have one of these. Historically the CDP was always the Earth ground reference, but I guess few have CDPs now so the float/ground earthing switch was introduced.

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I know some Audiovector speakers have a socket at the rear to attach a grounding cable into a mains socket at the other end, if that’s the same principle being discussed here?

I suspect not… it’s part of the Naim design with their star earth principles in their preamps, whether standalone or integrated.

Indeed, at least within the context of “people who sell grounding equipment say it helps,” and not “I have tried it and it sounded better.”

That’s basically what I’ve purchased from Cardas, though a number of manufacturers also make a similar cable.

I’m not sure it is the same.

If it’s set on chassis it will be connected to ground through the power socket, but will it go all round the houses to get there. Through the transformer???/ Via the casework??? Connected to a digital ground plain???.

Running a cable from an analogue RCA to a wall socket seems a better option. A lot simpler.

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Direct to the earth main lead earth (possibly via a chassis earth strap - possibly a star connection of some sort)

I don’t think that happens with the ndac.
Mains earth lead is only connected to the casework and the transformer. I would guess it goes through the casework as one switch setting is Chassis.

Interestingly, when the Ndac is upgraded with an external power supply, there is a direct connection through a dedicated cable for that purpose in the power supply.

You’re right in that the signal ground to mains earth connection is via the chassis. Main earth comes in and is connected to the chassis and to the transformer’s electrostatic screen.

Hard to see on the nDAC, but on the streamers you can see the connection to chassis for the ground switch via a bolt through the PCB near to the ground switch itself. The XPS you show, can provide a mains earth connection to the accompanying head unit via the burndy as upgrading a streamer with the XPS would remove the mains lead (and mains earth connection) from the head unit itself.

The nDAC doesn’t need this earth connection from the XPS as when it’s connected to an external PS, the nDAC still has its own mains lead connected and mains earth is provided through this, as it would be if no external PS was connected.