Computer Audio Design (CAD)’s system grounding unit – the Ground Control – clearly shows how fundamental your grounding arrangements can be to hearing what your system is truly capable of. Stereophile’s Michael Fremer and Jim Austin discover this for themselves, as the magazine releases its 2020 Product of the Year Awards.
“I first experienced the Ground Control boxes at 2019’s AXPONA,” writes Stereophile editor Jim Austin, who found himself wondering “What made that system sound so good?” Was it the loudspeakers, the amplification, the custom cabling…? “The sound in the room was among the best – perhaps the best – I heard at that large show.”
Some months later, Austin’s colleague Michael Fremer reviewed the Ground Controls for his ‘Analog Corner’ column in the magazine. As well as being a senior contributing editor at Stereophile, Fremer is also the editor of analogplanet.com and a contributing editor at Sound & Vision magazine, so it’s fair to say he knows his audio stuff.
It was a rave review, which you can read in full online: Stereophile Analog Corner July 2020.
“This passive system is designed to greatly reduce a broad range of high-frequency noise picked up by and created by electronics, and also noise that gets into connecting cables via radiation and into components from the AC mains,” writes Fremer. “In these Wi-Fi/Bluetooth days, there can be a lot of noise.”
Once Fremer (or ‘Mikey’, as Austin refers to his colleague) had hooked up the Ground Control units, supplied by CAD’s designer Scott Berry, to his system, the whole thing “sounded fundamentally different.”
Listening to Lori Lieberman’s The Girl and the Cat, the title track was “more delicate (but the attack was well-articulated) and against a blacker background. The strings had more luster. Lieberman’s voice was smoother; the sibilants were more cleanly expressed so that it sounded more ‘there’ and less recorded. When she sings, “In a dream she comes to me, puts her arms around me once again,” there’s a barely noticeable percussive “bell tree” tinkle; now it stood out in greater relief.”
The result? “Mikey decided he couldn’t live without them. He bought ‘em.”
But it wasn’t just ‘Mikey’. Turns out the vote for giving the award in the ‘Accessory’ category to CAD’s Ground Control was a “landslide”.
Read more online about Stereophile’s Products of 2020 Accessory of the Year.
Discover the complete listing of 2020’s Product of the Year Award winners in the December 2020 issue of Stereophile.
Find out more about CAD’s Ground Control units at www.computeraudiodesign.com