Another easy to answer question that is above me. XLR vs Ground loop

Hi,

This is a simple problem but driving me nuts trying to fix.

I have a ground loop,

I have a PC directly connected to a Rotel RB-993 power amp for surround channels and to an RC-995 pre and RB-991 power amp for the front two.
An Avondale Arcam Alpha 5+ is also connected to the RC-995.

If I disconnect either the PC or the CDP the hum goes.

All the earths are connected, all one circuit, all low resistance (I'm a sparky, do not know electronics, but can fix a dedicated spur well. )

I currently use a ground loop isolator between the PC and RC-995, but it really messes up the quality (but fixes the loop).

I want to fix my ground loop, but do not like the isolator.

I just read that using an XLR can fix the issue!
I didn't know this, and not really sure how it would.

I currently have XLR between my pre and power, but could fit modules onto the CDP quite easily.

This leads to the questions.

1: Do XLR fix a ground loop issue?
2: Are there different qualities of XLR and can they affect sound quality?
3: Something like this work?
Vision Techconnect V2 XLR Male Module
or
VISION TECHCONNECT MODULE FEMALE XLR - TC-XLRF

4: Any suggestions or ideas?

I should add that my PC does leak to ground, it is a PC, they all do.
My CDP also leaks to ground, no friking idea why, but cannot afford to get it fixed, it is a small trickle like the PC, but disconencted the case charges up (that may fix the loop, but there are problems eg electrocuted cats. )
 
If I disconnect either the PC or the CDP the hum goes.
...

I should add that my PC does leak to ground, it is a PC, they all do.
My CDP also leaks to ground, no friking idea why, but cannot afford to get it fixed, it is a small trickle like the PC, but disconencted the case charges up

Most things with switched mode power supplies will float up to mains voltage above true earth. The current drive is very low so it's not really dangerous.

If you cut the earth to the CDP, and have it earthed only by means of the screens of the co-axial audio cable, that might fix things.
Ideally, an audio system should be tied to true earth at only a single point.

You can buy good quality audio coupling transformers that will eliminate any ground loops, but the ones that sound good (or rather, don't have any sound) are quite costly.
Probably cheaper would be to get a 1:1 50/60Hz mains isolating transformer for the CDP alone. It's likely to have to be only about 30VA.
 
1: Do XLR fix a ground loop issue?

The connectors aren't something magic. What fixes the ground loop (i.e. the hum on the output) is that the ground connection is no longer part of the signal path. The loop still remains though, via pin1 of the XLRs.

2: Are there different qualities of XLR and can they affect sound quality?

Not so you (or I) are likely to notice. Many, many years ago I got some cheapo plastic XLRs from Maplin, they worked just as well as metal cased ones. Just the locking mechanism was weak.

3: Something like this work?

The connectors themselves will do nothing in the absence of including a balanced input in your preamp. Does it have one already? If not, you'll need to add one - either an active (opamp) or passive (via transformer). Balanced outputs are not mandatory though.
 
I haven't examined them very clearly, but it would be very unusual in my experience for balanced-unbalanced converters to be included in the connectors themselves. That's because they'd either be transformers (which tend to be bulky) or opamps (which tend to be the equipment designer's perogative). I'm not aware of balanced modules which have the full circuitry.
 
The connectors aren't something magic. What fixes the ground loop (i.e. the hum on the output) is that the ground connection is no longer part of the signal path. The loop still remains though, via pin1 of the XLRs.

yes, but who says you have to use pin 1 in an analogue XLR cable, for AES it would be an issue, but for line level analogue you can either not use a shield at all provided your gear has good CMRR, or you can use the connector shield for the cable shield rather than pin 1, so the only connection should be between chassis grounds (directly anyway) rather than signal or power supply ground

now of course that doesnt solve our friends problem
 
yes, but who says you have to use pin 1 in an analogue XLR cable, for AES it would be an issue, but for line level analogue you can either not use a shield at all provided your gear has good CMRR, or you can use the connector shield for the cable shield rather than pin 1, so the only connection should be between chassis grounds (directly anyway) rather than signal or power supply ground

now of course that doesnt solve our friends problem

Firstly, true balanced connections dont cure ground loops but they sure simplify the grounding scheme by making it possible to get rid of the ground on each interconect. Connect the shield only on one end to pin 1. Pin 1 is almost always tied to the chasis in the device, which is usually tied to both power and audio ground.
 
Last edited:
Do not cut the PE of the CDP.
This could be potentially very dangerous !

Check your CDP. Is it double insulated? In which case it does not have a PE connection.

Does the hum only occur when CDP and PC are connected to your system. Do any other combinations of source components cause a milder version of your hum problem?

Could you draw a diagram of the interconnections between your various bits of equipment?

Have you read:
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/diya...udio-component-grounding-interconnection.html
 
Last edited:

Bonsai

Member
Paid Member
2003-07-25 10:44 pm
Europe
www.hifisonix.com
Hello Intefeicio (hell of a name! hope I got it right - LOL)

I'm wondering if you have the mains supply to your gear aligned - by this I mean - are all the neutrals neutral and all the Live's actually lives and you dont' have a situation where one or more have L and N swapped.

Reason: If you have two pieces of gear connected to mains and the L & N's are swapped, its still 'safe' because the transformers provide isolatation from the mains, but, because the mains wiring is out of phase, you get very high common mode voltages appearing across the transformers. It only takes a very small amount of capacitive coupling to introduce all sorts of hum and garbage into a system.

Check it out and let us know if you find anything.

Good luck.