Hi-Fi Plus Power Product of the Year: Computer Audio Design’s Ground Control Reference

“Passive earth or grounding systems are fast gaining traction in audio, but few can muster quite the same gavitas – or, for that matter, gravitational pull – as the top ground Control Refrence (GC-R) model from Computer Audio Design,” says Hi-Fi Plus in its special annual awards issue.

Computer Audio Design (CAD)’s founder and designer Scott Berry first discovered the importance and impact of high frequency noise on the signal ground plane when developing his award-winning 1543 DAC.

“Over the past decade, the amount of high frequency noise on our mains power has increased dramatically due to the use of computers, routers, modems, wifi, switch mode power supplies and the like,” he explains. “At the same time, the high frequency noise that’s generated within our audio systems has also increased: DACs, servers, computers, NAS drives, routers, WiFi, etc are all connected directly to our audio systems”.

Scott Berry with some of his CAD components

Berry theorised that one of the key reasons so many digital audio products ‘sound digital’ is due to this high frequency noise, and so he set to work exploring how to reduce the noise with a view to seeing (or rather, hearing) what impact that could have on sound quality. As it turned out, the impact was significant.

Hi-Fi Plus agrees. “Connecting both digital and analogue components to the GC-R resulted in a really significant step up in performance with gains not just in terms of detail, separation and focus, but more natural colours, greater presence and more immediate presentation,” wrote reviewer Roy Gregory.

There was also “a vast improvement in the sense of rhythmic and musical coherence, producing an immediately more engaging and communicative performance.”

Discover more about Computer Audio Design’s Ground Control units at www.computeraudiodesign.com

Read Roy Gregory’s review of the Computer Audio Design GC-R from the July 2020 issue of Hi-Fi Plus.

Discover the full list of 2020 award winners in the December 2020 issue of Hi-Fi Plus.