Over the past few years I’ve spoken frequently about the benefits of Entreq and what it can bring to your audio system.
The modern home is full of noise, primarily caused by the large number of devices that we have plugged in, routers, phone and tablet chargers, smart lights, wi-fi plugs and suchlike, take a walk around your home and make a list, in most cases it will be longer than you think. Even the hi-fi system itself can produce plenty of noise (the unwanted kind as well as the noise we want!) which can be rather conveniently passed from one component to another via your cables.
You obviously can’t see or hear it, but when you attack and remove this noise it can have quite a profound effect on your music.
Take a ground box and a ground cable and connect it to a device in your system, using an unused socket on your amplifier, source, router etc and over the next few days it will slowly remove noise and dump it into the box. It’s rarely an instant sonic shift, but in most cases people experience a sense of something changing within just a few tracks of playback after being connected and from there it steadily improves over the next day or so.
There is plenty of choice with connection options for ground cables available with RCA, XLR (male and female), BNC, RJ45, USB (type A and type B), Spade and 3.5mm ends – so most people will have a termination option to suit just about anything.
Entreq grounding is completely passive and has nothing to do with electrical ground, mains power etc.
What does an Entreq Ground Box do to the sound of my system?
Quieter, calmer, more detailed with increased engagement are just a small selection of the descriptive terms that get thrown my way from customers who have tried some Entreq in their system. One recent customer who tried (and subsequently purchased) some Entreq for the first time was quite dismissive and sceptical before he tried it, but once he experienced it on his Vitus RI-101 he said the effect was gorgeous and it made the music more intimate and relaxed.
Once in a while someone will try a box in their system and when connected to a specific device they’ll get subtle results, but moving that same ground box and cable to another component in the system can quite often be much more obvious and beneficial. I frequently get asked ‘where is the best place in my system to connect ground box‘ and it’s an impossible question to answer as the result can vary so much from one system to another.
There is almost an infinite number of system combinations out there – when you add up all of the hardware, plus of the different cables (with vastly different construction methods), unfortunately there is no recipe card to follow with Entreq, a ground box connected to an integrated amp in one system may get incredible results, but in another system that same ground box could be more beneficial connected to another device, a good dealer with plenty of experience can offer insight and advice!
Micro, Macro and beyond!
The Entreq range of ground boxes starts with the Micro Kit which is £220 for a small ground box and ground cable, which is a great starting point. I’ve customers using Micro Kits on all manner of components, a few items that spring to mind include the Rega Brio-R, Naim Nait 5si, Melco N100, numerous routers, switches plus computers (when used as a source connected to a USB DAC). They are great value, ideal for smaller systems or for those with a more modest budget.
The Macro Kit is the next step up in the range and is £400, it comes with a same ground cable as the Micro kit, but the Macro box with is larger with greater capacity to remove more noise so it is more effective. Since these 2 kits have been released the Macro kit has been the more popular of the 2, I would estimate I sell 7 or 8 Macro kits for every Micro kit. There is certainly nothing wrong with the Micro kit in any way, it’s just that the Macro kit is much better!
Next up in the range is the Silver Minimus Infinity, in the 7 years I have been selling Entreq the Silver Minimus has been overwhelmingly the most popular box in terms of numbers sold, I must have sold approaching 200 of them over this time. They work really well and a telling sign is that most people end up coming back to purchase another one at some point (and more in many cases!).
In its current form the Silver Minimus Infinity is £600 without a ground cable, the first standalone ground cable in the current line up is the Argo which is £340, for those who are familiar with the previous range of ground cables the Argo replaces – Copper, Discover, Konstantin and Challenger, it’s an improved version of the now discontinued Challenger Infinity.
The Silver Argo Grounding Kit is a bundle with a Silver Minimus Infinity and an Argo Ground Cable for £800, giving you a decent saving over buying them separately.
I’ve a quantity of nearly new pre-owned Silver Argo Kits available for £599 so very good value, choose your connector and you are set!
The Silver Minimus Infinity uses a different internal mixture to the Micro and Micro kit and is a larger box. The most consistent feedback I get on the Silver Minimus Infinity is that it makes the music calmer, more natural with greater coherency and focus (whilst at the same time uncovering more detail and delivering more insight into the music and the performance. This new detail can often can be quite subtle and nuanced and isn’t always front and centre in the presentation but there is no denying its benefit once experienced!
The next ground box above the Silver Minimus Infinity is the Olympus Ten Tungsten – this is Entreq’s best compact single cell ground box. It is the same physical size as the Silver Minimus Infinity, but it is completely different in terms of what is inside it. The Tungsten version replaces the original Olympus Ten and is priced at £1400. Given its price point an Olympus Ten Tungsten is typically only reserved for bigger, more expensive systems and as with the other boxes I’ve customers using them on all manner of equipment.
When you compare a Silver Minimus Infinity to an Olympus Ten Tungsten on a dac, preamp or router it is not subtle change – you get a darker, even quieter background and as a result of that you get more subtle detail being uncovered, with improved textures, better imaging and a just a sense of something sounding correct.
The Olympus Ten Tungsten isn’t available in kit form with a Ground Cable, you can use an Argo (£340) and above that there is Apollo (£680), Triton (£999) and the flagship Olympus (£1550). Each cable has their merits and which is right for you depends upon your system, tastes and requirement. I’ve had customers buy a Olympus Ten Tungsten and an Olympus Cable and the impact has been so dramatic in their system it stopped them from doing a major component upgrade!
I’ve a customer whose system comprises of a Melco N1ZH EX, Exogal Comet Plus DAC and a Vitus RI-100 and when he tried an Olympus Ten Tungsten on his amplifier he rang me and said in 25 years of buying hi-fi (and he has bought plenty!) that this was one of the very best upgrades he had ever made.
Grounding the Speaker Outputs of your Amplifier
One alternative to connecting a single ground box to a component in your system is to take a pair of matching ground boxes and 2 identical ground cables and connect them to the negative outputs of your amplifier.
Over the past few years this has undoubtedly been one of the most popular Entreq upgrades, it rarely fails to impress! It is important to note that the ground boxes used for this application must be independent single cell boxes, so 2 x Micro Kit, 2 x Macro Kit, 2 x Silver Minimus for example. One box connected to left channel, the other connected to the right channel.
Older boxes such as the original Tellus, Silver Tellus and Olympus Tellus are not suitable for this type of grounding, although you can use multi cell boxes such as the Tellus II Infinity, Poseidon, TenTen and Pluton as their ground posts are independent from one another.
To perform this application obviously costs twice as much as purchasing a single box/cable to connect to a single component, but invariably the benefits it brings comfortably outweighs the costs. Over the years I’ve had more than a handful of customers be rather dismissive of Entreq, but this particular application has convinced a good number of people of Entreq’s merits.
Based on my experience of dealing with Entreq in all manner of systems and components, if budget permits I would argue that negative speaker grounding and the connection to your router (only relevant for those who stream music) are the best elements for most people to consider as a starting point.
At which level someone jumps in at really depends on the system and the customers budget, although many customers have dramatically expanded their budget after experiencing what is possible.
A Macro Twin Kit for £800 and a Micro Box for £220 (let’s call it £1000!) represents a lot of upgrade and for someone with a system that could be worth £5000 to £10,000. I’d struggle to think of another upgrade that could be as significant as this without spending quite a bit more money.
There are plenty of larger ground boxes which I’ve not covered here, but I’ll be saving those for another post!
Any questions please get in touch.