1 11 1 Jensen AN-004

Tho boslc problom ls thot tho shlold ls o common poth lor both lntor-chossls "qround" ond slqnol curronts.
Jensen AN-ûû4
b; Blll Whltlock
Olton sound s;stoms oxhlblt stronqo ond porploxlnq bohovlor such
os hum thot oppoors ond dlsoppoors whon powor to othor
oqulpmont, not ovon port ol tho oudlo s;stom, ls swltchod on or oll!
Trodltlonol mothods to ollmlnoto hum olton soom moro llko voo-doo
thon onqlnoorlnq ond, moro olton thon not, oro trlol ond orror
oxorclsos thot ond onl; whon somoono so;s "l con llvo wlth thot".
Thls outhor hos provlousl; wrltton obout bulunceJ llnos ln oudlo
s;stoms, so thls popor wlll bo strlctl; conllnod to unboloncod
ln controst to o boloncod s;stom, on unboloncod s;stom usos onl;
two wlros, ono lor slqnol ond ono lor qround. lts uso stlll provolls ln
consumor oudlo, probobl; bocouso lt ls choop to moko ond lt
porlorms occoptobl; woll ln vor; smoll s;stoms such os t;plcol homo
storoo sotups. Howovor, on; unboloncod schomo hos on lnhoront
problom collod common Impedunce coupIIng. From Ohm's low
wo know thot whon curront llows ln o roslstonco, o voltoqo drop
oppoors ocross thot roslstonco. Wlth tho oxcoptlon ol
suporconductors, on; conductor (wlro) hos roslstonco. ll two dllloront
clrcults shoro tho somo conductor or wlro, o curront llowlnq ln olthor
clrcult wlll produco o voltoqo drop ocross tho wlro. As shown ln
Flquro 1, o portlol schomotlc ol tho slmplost posslblo s;stom, rhe
ohIeId conducror o[ rhe InrerconnecrIng cubIe becomeo rhe
o[[endIng common Impedunce.
Slnco tho coblo shlold ls olloctlvol; connoctlnq tho qrounds ol tho
dovlcos toqothor, lt corrlos o curront dorlvod lrom tho powor llno os
woll os tho oudlo slqnol curront. Althouqh thls loct ls olton
ovorlookod or lqnorod, lt ls lundomontol to thls dlscusslon. Whotovor
voltoqo ls prosont botwoon lts lnputs, polnts A ond C ln Flquro 1, wlll
bo ompllllod b; Dovlco B. lt connot toll tho dllloronco botwoon slqnol
ond hum, ond wlll omplll; both ll tho; oro prosont. To dotormlno
whot tho lnput "soos", wo must troco tho clrcult loop lrom polnt A to
B to C. Slnco tho voltoqo A to B (shlold voltoqo drop) ls ln sorlos wlth
tho voltoqo B to C (tho slqnol), tho voltoqos wlll dlroctl; odd. Cloorl;,
lt would bo vor; doslroblo lor tho shlold voltoqo drop to bo zoro to
ovold contomlnotlnq tho slqnol. ln tho rool world, roqordloss ol shlold
constructlon, motorlol or qouqo, ue cunnot muke tle slìelJ
conJuctor resìstunce zero. Our onl; romolnlnq cholco ls to somohow
roduco tho lntorchossls curront, l ln Flquro 1, to on occoptoblo lovol.
Thls curront ls cousod b; tho chorqo ond dlschorqo ol copocltoncos
botwoon powor llno ond chossls. An undoslrod but unovoldoblo
prlmor; to socondor; copocltonco oxlsts ln tho powor tronslormor ol
ovor; ploco ol AC oporotod oqulpmont. Somotlmos lntontlonol
copocltors ond roslstors oro oddod lrom powor llno to chossls to
suppross RFl ond/or moot solot; roqulotlons. To prodlct tho sovorlt;
ol tho hum problom thoso copocltoncos crooto, wo con onol;zo tho
clrcult uslnq tho stops ol slmpllllcotlon shown ln Flquro 2.
2 22 2 Jensen AN-004
Cable Length 3 It  1 m 10 It  3 m 20 It  6 m 50 It  15 m 100 It  30 m
Ground Current L M H L M H L M H L M H L M H
#26 GA (41 m per It)
Shield Conductor
109 83 63 101 75 55 96 70 50 89 63 43 83 57 37
#24 GA (25 m per It)
Shield Conductor
111 85 65 105 79 59 100 74 54 93 67 47 87 61 41
#22 GA (16 m per It)
Shield Conductor
112 86 66 107 81 61 103 77 57 96 70 50 91 65 45
Noto tho V
· V
torm ln tho slnqlo copocltor oqulvolont clrcult. Tho
· occounts lor tho loct thot most consumor oqulpmont hos o two-
pronq AC pluq whlch con bo lnsortod lnto on outlot olthor ol two
wo;s. A spoclol oxomplo lllustrotos how oxtromo tho ollocts ol pluq
rovorsol con bo. Consldor tho coso whoro C
ls ¹ tho voluo ol C
ond C
ls ¹ tho voluo ol C
(rhIo condIrIon uouId be hIghIu
unIIkeIu In rhe reuI uorId}. ll tho two pluqs oro connoctod to tho
AC llno os shown ln tho dloqrom, ooch polr ol copocltors lorms o
voltoqo dlvldor wlth o 3:1 dlvlslon rotlo, moklnq chossls voltoqos Vx
ond V; ooch 40 volts AC wlth rospoct to qround. Slnco no curront
wlll llow ln o wlro connoctlnq two polnts ol oquol voltoqo, curront l
wlll bo zoro. Howovor, ll ono ol tho AC pluqs ls rovorsod, tho chossls
voltoqos wlll no lonqor bo oquol ond curront l wlll llow. Excopt lor
thls spoclol coso, pluq rovorsols slmpl; couso o chonqo ln tho
lntorchossls curront, rothor thon tho totol concollotlon soon ln thls
oxomplo. For thls rooson, rovorslnq AC pluqs wlll olmost olwo;s
chonqo tho hum lovol ln o s;stom..
lt ls olso vor; unllkol; thot tho two copocltoncos, C
ond C
ond C
, would bo oxoctl; motchod ln on; ploco ol oqulpmont.
Mlsmotch rotlos ol two to ono oro common. Slnco oll utlllt; 120 VAC
powor ln thls countr; ls dlstrlbutod ustmmetrìcullt wlth rospoct to
oorth qround, ono sldo collod "noutrol", ls qroundod. Tho othor,
collod "hot" or "llno", ls ot 120 volts wlth rospoct to qround.[4]
Rocontl;, propononts ol o schomo collod "Boloncod AC Powor" hovo
clolmod thot "[hum roductlon] rosults oro olton qulto dromotlc".[3]
Boloncod powor usos o contor-toppod tronslormor to moko ooch sldo
ol tho llno 60 volts wlth rospoct to qround. Althouqh lntultlvol;
ottroctlvo, thls opprooch con complotol; concol lntorchossls curronts
ln o s;stom ol throo or moro dovlcos onl; ln tho coso whoro ooch ol
tho dovlcos hod such motchod copocltoncos. Thls would bo on
oxtromol; roro occurronco. Althouqh 10 to 15 dB hum roductlons,
whlch would bo moro routlnol; ochlovod, mlqht bo consldorod
"dromotlc" ln o vldoo s;stom, thls outhor connot rocommond thls or
on; othor "llno condltlonlnq" mothod os o cost olloctlvo solutlon lor
oudlo s;stom hum probloms.
Whon doslqnlnq or troubloshootlnq o s;stom, o hlqhl; rocommondod
llrst stop ls to moosuro octuol qround curronts ol tho s;stom dovlcos.
Thls con bo dono qulto slmpl; uslnq on AC voltmotor odoptod, os
shown ln Flquro 3, to moosuro AC curront. Thls somo sotup con olso
moosuro chossls curront botwoon dovlcos.
Tho 1 k roslstor convorts curront to voltoqo ot 1 mllllvolt por
mlcroomp whllo tho copocltor llmlts tho moosuromont to lroquonclos
undor obout 1 kHz. Ono lood ol thls curront motor ls connoctod to
tho shlold ol on lnput or output [ock on tho dovlco undor tost. An
lHF/RCA pluq ls hond; lor thls ond lt qonoroll; won't mottor whlch
[ock ;ou chooso, slnco oll shlold qrounds oro usuoll; tlod toqothor
lnsldo tho dovlco. Tho othor lood ol tho curront motor ls connoctod
to o qround oqulvolont to powor llno noutrol. Tho solot; qround ol
on; modorn outlot ls convonlont lor thls. lt ls roqulrod b; solot;
codos to bo tlod to oorth qround, os ls tho noutrol. Tho curront
moosuromont should bo tokon undor lour condltlons: dovlco "oll",
dovlco "on", thon ropootod wlth tho dovlco's AC pluq rovorsod.
Toklnq tho hlqhost roodlnq wlll qlvo us o "worst coso" numbor whlch
con thon bo usod, olonq wlth Toblo 1, to ostlmoto tho s;stom hum
lovols producod whon thls dovlco ls connoctod to othors vlo coblos.
Tho outhor hos tostod o vorlot; ol consumor dovlcos, lncludlnq CD
plo;ors, cossotto docks, tunors, rocolvors, ond powor ompllllors, lor
chossls curront to qround. Tho brood cotoqorlos ol t;plcol qround
curronts dovolopod lrom tho tostlnq woro usod ln Toblo 1. Ground
curront ls qonoroll; rolotod to AC powor consumptlon ol tho dovlco,
slnco thls dlctotos tho slzo ol lts powor tronslormor ond, to somo
oxtont, lts lntorwlndlnq copocltoncos. Ground curront L, 5 uA RMS,
ls t;plcol ol "low powor" consumor qoor drowlnq undor 20 wotts.
Thls lncludos most CD plo;ors, cossotto docks, ond turntoblos.
Curront M, 100 uA RMS, ls t;plcol ol "modlum powor" consumor
qoor drowlnq 20 to 100 wotts. Thls lncludos most tunors, low to
modlum powor rocolvors or powor ompllllors, ond somo smoll TV
rocolvors. Curront H, 1 mA RMS, ls t;plcol ol "hlqh powor"
consumor qoor drowlnq, or copoblo ol drowlnq, woll ovor 100 wotts.
Thls lncludos most hlqh poworod ompllllors or poworod subwoolors
ond lorqo scroon or pro[octlon TV rocolvors. Toblo 1 shows tho
colculotod olloct ol thoso curronts whon tho; llow ln lntorconnoct
coblo shlolds ln on unboloncod oudlo s;stom. A contoct roslstonco ol
50 m por connoctlon wos usod ond tho 0 dB roloronco lovol ls 300
mV RMS or obout 10 dBV. All rosults hovo boon roundod to tho
noorost dB.
Pleuse note tlut tlìs cluructerìzutìon oj clussìs currenr upplìes onlt
to Jeoìces uìtl tuo-pronq AC pluqs. Throo-pronq pluqs olloctlvol;
connoct tho dovlco chossls to solot; qround, moklnq tho chossls o
ooltuqe sourco. S;stom ollocts ol thls wlll bo dlscussod lotor.
3 33 3 Jensen AN-004
Just whot lovol ol hum or buzz ls oudlblo doponds on mon; loctors.
A rocont AES popor lndlcotos thot nolso ortllocts should bo undor
120 dB to bo lnoudlblo lor sorlous llstonlnq ln rosldontlol
onvlronmonts.[5] Tho oxporlonco ol thls outhor lndlcotos thot lovols
hlqhor thon obout 80 dB oro onno;lnq to most llstonors. Tho nolsos
orlqlnotlnq wlth tho powor llno oro qonoroll; doscrlbod os olthor
"hum", whlch ls prodomlnontl; 60 Hz, or "buzz", whlch conslsts ol o
mlxturo ol hlqh-ordor hormonlcs ol 60 Hz. Thoso hormonlcs oro tho
rosult ol powor llno wovolorm dlstortlon, whlch commonl; roochos
5% THD ond ls cousod b; mon; t;pos ol non-llnoor powor llno
loods. Bocouso tho humon oor ls much moro sonsltlvo to lroquonclos
ln tho 2 kHz to 5 kHz ronqo ot thoso vor; low lovols, buzz ls usuoll;
moro oudlblo thon hum, ovon thouqh tho hum lovol mo; bo
oloctrlcoll; lorqor.
To ollmlnoto hum, wo must olloctlvol; ollmlnoto lntorchossls qround
curront. Wo could ollmlnoto lt b; slmpl; brooklnq tho chossls to
chossls shlold connoctlon. Ol courso, thls olono would not solvo our
problom. Wo must brook tho slqnol llno os woll ond lnsort o dovlco
whlch wlll sonso tho voltoqo ot tho output ol dovlco A ond roqonoroto
lt lnto tho lnput ol dovlco B, whllo lqnorlnq tho voltoqo thot oxlsts
botwoon tho now dlsconnoctod dovlco qrounds. Thoso proportlos
qonoroll; doscrlbo o dlllorontlol rospondlnq dovlco wlth hlqh
common-modo ro[octlon, usuoll; collod o ground IooIuror. 5ee
rejerence [2] jor more ìnjormutìon on tlìs subject.
Two boslc t;pos ol dlllorontlol rospondlnq dovlcos, octlvo dlllorontlol
ompllllors ond oudlo tronslormors oro ovolloblo ot roosonoblo cost.
Wo won't consldor octlvo optlcol or corrlor modulotod lsolotlon
ompllllors horo bocouso such dovlcos whlch olso hovo occoptoblo
oudlo porlormonco oro stlll qulto oxponslvo.
AcrIoe dI[[erenrIuI umpII[Ier clrcults oro usod ln o numbor ol
commorcloll; ovolloblo dovlcos. To o qrootor or lossor oxtont, tho; oll
shoro sovorol dlsodvontoqos: tho; con lurthor compllcoto tho qround
s;stom b; contrlbutlnq lntorchossls curronts ol tholr own, slnco tho;
roqulro AC powor: tho; connot hondlo qround voltoqo dllloroncos
ovor obout 10 volts RMS: tho; uso somlconductors or lntoqrotod
clrcults whlch oro prono to doqrodotlon or lolluro cousod b; powor
llno or llqhtnlnq lnductlon voltoqo tronslonts: ond, worst ol oll, tho;
oro oxqulsltol; sonsltlvo to sourco lmpodonco. Thls sonsltlvlt; llmlts
hum ro[octlon, ovon ln o bulunceJ s;stom (lor whlch tho; oro
lntondod), but lt mokos thom noorl; usoloss ln on unboloncod
s;stom.[2] A t;plcol oxomplo ol such dovlcos ls tho populor Sononco
AGl-1 (whlch usos tho Anoloq Dovlcos SSM2141). Lob
moosuromonts on thls unlt, shown ln Flquro 4, rovool thot ovor tho
200  to 1 k ronqo ol sourco (output) lmpodoncos t;plcol ln
consumor oqulpmont, lts hum ro[octlon ls onl; 15 to 30 dB.
HIgh quuIIru uudIo rruno[ormero oro, b; tholr noturo, rolotlvol;
lnsonsltlvo to sourco lmpodonco ond oxhlblt oxcollont hum ro[octlon
porlormonco ln eìtler boloncod or unboloncod s;stoms. Undor tho
somo condltlons ond somo ronqo ol sourco lmpodoncos, tho posslvo
tronslormor bosod lSO-MAX
modol Cl-2RR moosuros º0 to
110 dB. As shown ln tho Flquro 4 qroph, lts moosurod hum ro[octlon
ls ooer 70 dß berrer thon tho octlvo dovlco. lt roqulros no powor
ol on; klnd ond con hondlo qround voltoqo dllloroncos up to 250
volts RMS wlthout mollunctlon, doqrodotlon, or domoqo.
Thoro ls o wldosprood bollol thot ull oudlo tronslormors hovo
lnhoront llmltotlons such os hlqh dlstortlon, modlocro tronslont
rosponso, ond lorqo phoso orrors. Unlortunotol;, mon; such
tronslormors do oxlst ond not oll ol thom oro choop. Tho vost
mo[orlt; ol ovolloblo oudlo tronslormors, ovon whon usod os
dlroctod, do not ochlovo prolosslonol porlormonco lovols. As Col
Porklns wroto "Wlth tronslormors, ;ou qot whot ;ou po; lor. Choop
tronslormors crooto o host ol lntorloco probloms, most ol whlch oro
cloorl; oudlblo."[6] ll woll doslqnod ond proporl; usod, howovor,
oudlo tronslormors quolll; os truo hlqh lldollt; dovlcos. Tho; oro
posslvo, stoblo, rolloblo, ond roqulro nolthor trlmmlnq, twooklnq, nor
Most s;stoms conslst ol moro thon two dovlcos ond olton conslst ol
o mlxturo ol llootlnq (2-pronq AC pluq) ond solot; qroundod (3-
pronq AC pluq). ln oddltlon, dovlcos mo; bo connoctod to oxtornol
sourcos ol qround curronts, such os coblo TV. Our provlous onol;sls
ol o qonorollzod two dovlco s;stom ollows us to oppl; tho somo
prlnclplos to onol;zo ond troot hum probloms ln lorqor s;stoms. Our
oxomplo s;stom, shown ln Flquro 5, conslsts ol o lorqo scroon TV
rocolvor wlth oudlo outputs, o storoo proomp control contor, o sub-
woolor wlth lntornol powor ompllllors, ond o storoo powor ompllllor
lor tho sotolllto spookors. All dovlcos hovo 2-pronq AC pluqs, oxcopt
tho sub-woolor, whlch hos o 3-pronq pluq. lnltloll;, wo wlll not moko
tho coblo TV connoctlon shown b; tho dottod llno. Tho lntorconnoct
coblo ls o loll shloldod t;po wlth o =24 qouqo droln wlro hovlnq o
roslstonco ol 25 m por loot. Now, lot's qo throuqh tho procoss stop-
SIep 1 ls to moosuro or ostlmoto tho worst coso qround curront ol
ooch dovlco hovlnq o 2-pronq AC pluq (os doscrlbod undor hoodlnq
3). To keep our unultsìs process us eust us possìble, ue uìll be usìnq
some sìmplìjtìnq ussumptìons unJ upproxìmutìons tlrouqlout.
Tlerejore meusurements neeJ not be muJe uìtl luborutort
precìsìon. Our culculuteJ lum leoels uìll qenerullt be pessìmìstìc bt
seoerul J8.
SIep 2 ls to moosuro or colculoto tho lntorchossls roslstonco lor ooch
coblo run. Vondor doto usuoll; provldos olthor roslstonco por unlt
lonqth or oqulvolont wlro qouqo lnlormotlon lor tho coblo's shlold.
Romombor to lncludo somo shlold contoct roslstonco ot ooch
connoctor (normoll; ono ot ooch ond) os port ol tho totol. ll tho
4 44 4 Jensen AN-004
coblo run ls o storoo polr, romombor to dlvldo b; two bocouso tho
two shlolds oro ln porollol. Tho 50 loot run lrom TV to proomp ln
Flquro 5 wos colculotod os lollows:
50 lt coblo shlold · 25 m/lt ~ 1.25 
2 connoctor contocts · 50 m ooch ~ 0.1 
Totol roslstonco por coblo ~ 1.25  + 0.1  ~ 1.35 
Roslstonco ol 2 porollolod coblos ~ 1.35  ÷ 2 ~ 0.68 
SIep 3 ls to ostlmoto curront llow ln ooch coblo (or coblo polr, ln thls
coso). At thls polnt wo wlll moko somo slmplll;lnq ossumptlons, but
occordlnq to tho lollowlnq rulos:
A - ll two dovlcos wlth dllloront qround curronts oro
connoctod, tho curront llow botwoon thom ls llmltod to tho
lowor ol tho two curronts. ll tho qround curronts hovo
oquol voluos, llow botwoon thom ls thot voluo.
B - Curront llow botwoon two hlqh qround curront dovlcos con
llow throuqh o lowor qround curront dovlco chossls lrom
connoctor to connoctor.
C - A dovlco connoctod to solot; qround or on; oxtornol poth
to oorth qround or AC noutrol con support unllmltod
curront llow.
D - ll curront lnto o dovlco mo; llow out ln multlplo poths,
ossumo thot voluo wlll llow ln oll poths thot con support lt
(occordlnq to rulo A).
Moko o slmplo dloqrom ol tho s;stom, slmllor to Flquro 5, ond ontor
tho moosurod or ostlmotod worst coso qround curront lor ooch
llootlnq (2-pronq pluq) dovlco noor lts AC pluq s;mbol. Appl;lnq tho
rulos, dotormlno tho curront llow ln ooch coblo (or coblo polr) ond
ontor tho voluo on tho dloqrom. ln our oxomplo, olthouqh tho
proomp con support onl; 30 uA throuqh lts powor connoctlon, noto
thot tho 1 mA qround curront lrom tho TV wlll llow throuqh lt to
olthor tho powor ompllllor /ulìcl cun support 1 mA tlrouql ìts
pouer connectìon} or tho sub-woolor /ulìcl cun support unlìmìteJ
current tlrouql ìts sujett qrounJ}.
SIep 4 ls to colculoto tho hum voltoqo drop lor ooch coblo. Knowlnq
tho voluos ol lntorchossls roslstonco (lrom stop 2) ond curront llow
(lrom stop 3) lor ooch coblo, ollows us to llnd tho hum voltoqo.
Accordlnq to Ohm's low, E ~ l x R whoro E ls tho hum voltoqo, l ls
tho lntorchossls curront, ond R ls tho lntorchossls roslstonco.
Thoroloro, ln Flquro 5, tho hum voltoqos oro:
1 mA x 0.68  ~ 0.68 mV lor TV to proomp coblo,
1 mA x 0.55  ~ 0.55 mV lor proomp to sub-woolor, ond
1 mA x 0.11  ~ 0.11 mV lor proomp to powor ompllllor.
SIep 5 oxprossos tho rotlo ln dB ol ooch ol thoso hum voltoqos to
tho slqnol voltoqo, slnco tho hum voltoqo dlroctl; odds to tho slqnol
ot tho rocolvo ond ol ooch coblo. Bocouso ooch coblo corrlos o
nomlnol 300 mV (somotlmos oxprossod os 10 dBV) moxlmum
slqnol lovol, thls wlll bo our roloronco lovol. For ooch voltoqo
colculotod ln stop 4, tho hum lovol, ln dB rolotlvo to tho roloronco
slqnol, ls colculotod os dB ~ 20 x loq ( E ÷ 300 mV). Exprosslnq our
oxomplo voltoqos ln dB qlvos us:
53 dB ot proomp lnput lrom TV,
55 dB ot sub-woolor lnput lrom proomp, ond
6º dB ot powor ompllllor lnput lrom proomp.
Thoso numbors do nor lncludo tho oddltlonol hum cousod b; o
dovlco whlch mo; omplll; tho hum oppoorlnq ot lts lnput. ln thls
oxomplo, ovon ll tho proomp volumo control ls "oll", unoccoptobl;
hlqh hum lovols oxlst ot tho lnputs ol both tho sub-woolor ond powor
ompllllors. ll wo odvonco tho volumo to unlt; proomp qoln (proomp
lnput ond output lovols tho somo), tho hum lovol to both powor
ompllllors wlll lurthor lncrooso. CuIcuIurIono ohouId uooume rhur
uII hum ooIrugeo ure In-phuoe und uddIrIoe. Whllo lt ls posslblo
lor tho hum ot tho proomp lnput to bo ontl-phoso to tho hum ot tho
powor ompllllors /us oolume ìs uJounceJ, lum uoulJ Jecreuse to u
"null" unJ tlen ìncreuse betonJ tle null}, wo won't rol; on thls
As o qonorol rulo, problom oroos lnvolvo tho lonqor coblos ond
hlqhor lntorchossls curronts. ln our oxomplo s;stom ol Flquro 5, thoso
oro tho 40 ond 50 loot coblo runs. Flquro 6 shows tho somo s;stom
wlth tronslormor lsolotors oddod to tho lonq runs. Noto how tho
lsolotors roduco lntorchossls curronts /tle 1 uA jlou tlrouql eucl
ìsolutor ìs Jue to ìnterclussìs ooltuqe nou present - more on tlut
luter}. Slnco tho lsolotors block tho hlqh chossls curronts lrom tho TV
ond sub-woolor, tho proomp to powor ompllllor curront ls now onl;
30 uA ond llows ln tho shortost, lowost shlold roslstonco
5 55 5 Jensen AN-004
coblo. Followlnq stops 3, 4, ond 5 os boloro, tho now hum ostlmotos
colculoto os:
113 dB ot proomp lnput lrom TV,
115 dB ot sub-woolor lnput lrom proomp, ond
ºº dB ot powor ompllllor lnput lrom proomp.
ln roollt;, wo con't ochlovo tho 113 dB ond 115 dB lovols. Rocoll
thot Flquro 2 showod o Thovonln oqulvolont clrcult lor ooch dovlco,
conslstlnq ol voltoqo sourco V
ond copocltonco C
. ll on lsolotor
olloctlvol; dlsconnocts o dovlco lrom qround, lts chossls wlll "lloot"
obovo solot; qround ot lts Thovonln voltoqo. Thls voltoqo, whlch
oppoors os common-modo (on both lnput llnos) to tho lsolotor, could
ronqo lrom 0 to 120 V. A roosonoblo t;plcol ls 60 V whlch ls +46 dB
rolotlvo to o 300 mV roloronco slqnol. Evon tho bost reul lsolotor,
wlth o CMRR ol 120 dB, wlll hovo on output hum lovol ol +46 dB
 120 dB or 74 dB.
ll, os shown ln Flquro 6, wo qround ooch dovlco throuqh o soporoto
wlro (not throuqh tho oudlo coblo shlolds), wo con ossontloll; romovo
tho common-modo voltoqo lrom tho lsolotor. Moro ond moro
oqulpmont, TV rocolvors ospocloll;, hovo plostlc coblnots ond tho
onl; oxposod motol mo; bo scrowhoods ond connoctors, moklnq lt
uncloor how to qround tho "chossls". DO NOT moko tho qround wlro
connoctlon to on;thlnq lNSlDE tho coblnot - ;ou mo; sovorol;
domoqo tho oqulpmont ond/or crooto o lothol shock hozord. You con
conllrm thot o scrowhood, lor oxomplo, ls on olloctlvo "chossls"
qround b;: 1) dlsconnoctlnq tho oqulpmont lrom ovor;thlnq oxcopt
AC powor, 2) wlth on AC voltmotor, monltor tho voltoqo botwoon on
oudlo output [ock's outor (shlold) contoct ond tho AC outlot's solot;
qround pln, ond 3) vorll; thot tho voltmotor roodlnq drops to undor
o volt whon tho qroundlnq wlro connoctod to tho AC outlot's solot;
qround pln ls touchod to tho scrowhood. Whon qroundod thls wo;,
tho output hum lovol ol our oxomplo s;stom wlll drop lrom 74 dB
to obout 110 dB (tho thormol nolso lloor ol o Jonson lSO-MAX
Cl-2RR lsolotor). Wlth lsolotors ond oddod qrounds ln ploco, our
ostlmoto bocomos:
110 dB ot proomp lnput lrom TV,
110 dB ot sub-woolor lnput lrom proomp, ond
ºº dB ot powor ompllllor lnput lrom proomp.
Tho ºº dB llquro con bo lmprovod lurthor b; loworlnq tho shlold
roslstonco ol tho 5 loot coblo whlch usos o loll shloldod coblo wlth
=24 qouqo droln wlro (25 m por loot). Coblo uslnq o =18 qouqo
oqulvolont broldod coppor shlold (6.5 m por loot) wlll lowor hum
lovol b; 5 dB lrom ºº dB to 104 dB.
Tho cubIe TV connoctlon ls shown to lllustroto tho probloms lt con
couso. Most coblo s;stoms suppl; AC powor to tholr trunk mountod
ropootor ompllllors throuqh tho trunk coblo ltsoll. Thls 60 Hz AC
curront llows throuqh tho shlold ol tho cooxlol trunk coblo ond
(surprlso) cousos AC voltoqo drops. For solot; roosons (llqhtnlnq
strlkos to tho trunk llno, lor oxomplo) tho rosldontlol "drop" coblo ls
usuoll; "qroundod" noor lts polnt ol ontr; to tho bulldlnq. Thls
qround mo; bo to o wotor plpo, o soporoto oorth qround rod, tho
somo qround polnt usod b; tho moln AC powor ponol, or tho qround
connoctlon mo; not ovon oxlst. ln on; coso tho coblo TV shlold wlll
t;plcoll; corr; sovorol volts ol hum wlth rospoct to tho bulldlnq's
solot; qround wlrlnq. Whon tho dottod coblo connoctlon ls modo ln
Flquro 5, thls qround voltoqo dllloronco con couso vor; hlqh curronts
([ust undor 200 mA ln our oxomplo) to llow lrom coblo shlold to TV,
throuqh oudlo coblo to tho proomp throuqh moro oudlo coblo to tho
sub-woolor s;stom ond lts solot; qround. Tho rosultlnq voltoqo drops
ln tho oudlo coblos produco trul; horrlblo hum lovols ol obout 6
dB. Ono mlqht bo sorol; tomptod to "lllt" tho solot; qround ol tho
sub-woolor to roduco tho hum (whlch lt would).
A "ground uduprer" Io Inrended ro prooIde u ou[eru ground
[or 3-conducror pouer cordo uhen uoed uIrh 2-prong
ourIero, NOT de[eur rhe ou[eru ground prooIded bu u 3-prong
ourIer. De[eurIng u ou[eru ground couId uIIou IerhuI ooIrugeo
ro uppeur on uII equIpmenr In un Inrerconnecred ouorem.
ln most s;stoms, tho bost wo; to dool wlth tho coblo TV problom ls
to stop tho curront llow wlth o 75  RF lsolotor. Most commorclol RF
lsolotors oro slmpl; hlqh-poss llltors whlch uso copocltlvo coupllnq,
rosultlnq ln lnput to output copocltoncos up to 4 nF. Althouqh thoso
lsolotors cortolnl; reJuce tho curront ln[octod lnto tho qround s;stom,
RF tronslormor t;po lsolotors, wlth copocltoncos undor 50 pF, work
obout 40 dB bottor, to olloctlvol; elìmìnute tho curront. Tho Jonson
VR-1FF ls such o tronslormor t;po lsolotor. Bocouso our
modlllod s;stom ol Flquro 6 provonts tho TV chossls curronts lrom
posslnq throuqh on; oudlo coblos, lt doos not nood on RF lsolotor.
Gonoroll;, nolthor RF lsolotor t;po con bo usod wlth DSS rocolvors
bocouso tho; do not poss DC curront.
An unboloncod oudlo s;stom wlth two or moro solot; qroundod
dovlcos (3-pronq AC pluqs) wlll vlrtuoll; olwo;s roqulro oudlo
lsolotors to provont hum. Wlthout lsolotlon, tho voltoqo drops
occurrlnq ln tho solot; qround wlrlnq ol tho bulldlnq oro lorcod onto
tho oudlo coblo shlold s;stom throuqh tho two or moro solot; qround
connoctlons. Thls problom wlll qonoroll; bo modo moro sovoro os tho
6 66 6 Jensen AN-004
1ensen Transformers. Inc.
7135 Hayvenhurst Avenue
Van Nuys. CaliIornia 91406
Tel (818) 374-5857 Fax (818) 374-5856
dlstonco (ond lonqth ol lntorvonlnq bulldlnq solot; qround wlrlnq)
lncroosos. Tho worst coso ls two solot; qroundod dovlcos oporotlnq
lrom two dllloront bronch clrcults ol tho bulldlnq's AC powor. Tho
bost coso ls two solot; qroundod dovlcos locotod vor; noor ooch
othor ond oporotod lrom tho somo AC rocoptoclo.
Moqnotlc plckup loops con oosll; bo crootod b; lmpropor routlnq ol
coblos. An; closod loop ol wlro ln tho proxlmlt; ol on AC moqnotlc
llold wlll hovo o curront lnducod ln tho loop. Whon thls curront llows
ln tho shlolds, lt producos voltoqo drops whlch contomlnoto tho
oudlo [ust os lntorchossls curronts do. Common sourcos ol stronq AC
moqnotlc llolds oro powor tronslormors, motors, lluoroscont llqhts,
AC powor wlrlnq (ovon lnsldo wolls ond condult), TV sots, ond
computor CRT dlsplo;s. A slmplo storoo polr ol lntorconnoct coblos
botwoon two dovlcos lorms o loop bocouso tho shlolds oro tlod
toqothor ot both onds. Slnco loop plckup ls dlroctl; proportlonol to
tho oroo lnsldo tho loop, tho coblos should bo drossod os ph;slcoll;
closo toqothor os posslblo. ln loct, oll coblos thot connoct botwoon tho
somo two dovlcos should bo bundlod toqothor ln ordor to mlnlmlzo
loop oroo. Tho bundlos should, ol courso, bo kopt os lor os posslblo
lrom moqnotlc llold sourcos.
Hum ond buzz ln unboloncod oudlo s;stoms ls cousod b; common
lmpodonco coupllnq ln tho shlold roslstonco ol tho lntorconnoctlnq
coblos. Thls coupllnq con bo mlnlmlzod b; roduclnq shlold
roslstonco, roduclnq or ollmlnotlnq lntorchossls curronts, or both.
 Chooso shloldod coblo lor low shlold roslstonco. A coblo
wlth 6.5 m/lt (6.5  por 1000 lt) shlold roslstonco ond
º0% shlold covoroqo ls much prolorrod ovor ono wlth
25 m/lt shlold roslstonco ond 100% shlold covoroqo.
 Uso hlqh quollt;, tronslormor bosod oudlo qround lsolotors
to ollmlnoto hlqh lntorchossls curronts.
 Bundlo toqothor oll oudlo coblos connoctlnq tho somo two
dovlcos ond koop tho bundlo owo; lrom powor cobllnq or
othor AC moqnotlc llolds.
ol on; dovlco hovlnq o 3-pronq powor cord. Tho rosults ol
dolnq so con bo deadlu to ;ou ond/or ;our customor.
 ll tho s;stom contolns moro thon ono solot; qroundod
dovlco, uso oudlo qround lsolotors to ollmlnoto curront llow
throuqh oudlo coblos connoctlnq thom.
 Add oxtornol qroundlnq, ll posslblo, to dovlcos wlthout on;
othor s;stom qround poth ln ordor to roduco common-
modo voltoqo ot tho lsolotors.
 Uso o tronslormor t;po RF lsolotlon dovlco, ll nocossor;, to
provont qround curronts thot mo; rosult lrom tho coblo TV
[1] B. Holor, "Tronslormors ln Audlo Doslqn", Sound & Vldoo
Controctor, Morch 15, 1º86, p. 24.
[2] B. Whltlock, "Boloncod Llnos ln Audlo S;stoms: Foct,
Flctlon, ond Tronslormors", J. Audlo Enq. Soc., vol. 43,
pp. 454-464 (1ºº5 Juno).
[3] M. Glosbond, "Llltlnq tho Groundlnq Enlqmo", Mlx,
Novombor 1ºº4, pp. 136-146.
[4] D. Enqstrom, "Tho AC Connoctlon: A Tutorlol, Port 1",
Sound & Communlcotlons, Fobruor; 25, 1ºº5, pp. 28-38.
[5] L. Floldor, "D;nomlc Ronqo lssuos ln tho Modorn Dlqltol
Audlo Envlronmont", J. Audlo Enq. Soc., vol. 43, pp. 322-
33º (1ºº5 Mo;).
[6] C. Porklns, "To Hum or Not to Hum", Sound & Vldoo
Controctor, Morch 15, 1º86, p. 41.
ls o roqlstorod trodomork ol Jonson Tronslormors, lnc.
Cop;rlqht 1ºº6, Jonson Tronslormors, lnc.

cassette decks. low to medium power receivers or power amplifiers. this author cannot recommend this or any other "line conditioning" method as a cost effective solution for audio system hum problems. For this reason. Three-prong plugs effectively INTERCHASSIS CURRENT: MEASUREMENT When designing or troubleshooting a system. Consider the case where CPSl is Vz the value of CPS2 and CpS3 is Vz the value of CpS4 (this condition would be highly unlikely in the real world). A contact resistance of 50 mQ per connection was used and the 0 dB reference level is 300 mV RMS or about -10 dBV. is typical of "low power" consumer gear drawing under 20 watts. It is required by safety codes to be tied to earth ground. The other lead of the current meter is connected connect the device chassis to safety ground. Current H. and some small TV receivers. Table 1 shows the calculated effect of these currents when they flow in interconnect cable shields in an unbalanced audio system. then repeated with the device's AC plug reversed. The current measurement should be taken under four conditions: device "off". as shown in Figure 3. this approach can completely cancel interchassis currents in a system of three or more devices only in the case where each of the devices had such matched capacitances. II . It is also very unlikely that the two capacitances. The broad categories of typical ground currents developed from the testing were used in Table 1.15 wF _tAFETY (EARTH) GROUND Figure 3 . which would be more routinely achieved. cassette decks. dB re 300 mV. including CD players. Taking the highest reading will give us a "worst case" number which can then be used. for chassis current to ground. vs GROUND CURRENT. Although intuitively attractive. to measure AC current. receivers. current I willbe zero. if one of the AC plugs is reversed. is at 120 volts with respect to ground. This same setup can also measure chassis current between devices. tuners. since all shield grounds are usually tied together inside the device. would be exactly matched in any piece of equipment. called "hot" or "line".CALCULATED HUM LEVEL. However. well over 100 watts. a highly recommended firststep is to measure actual ground currents of the system devices. 1 rnA RMS. Mismatch ratios of two to one are common. Except for this special case. Although 10 to 15 dB hum reductions. might be considered "dramatic" in a video system. System effects of this will be discussed later.. and power amplifiers. DElJICE lJNDER TEST I = 1000 lJ ¢=:) CHASSIS CURRENT .A RMS. A special example illustrates how extreme the effects of plug reversal can be. since this dictates the size of its power transformer and. Since all utility 120 VAC power in this country is distributed asymmetrically with respect to earth ground. This can be done quite simply using an AC voltmeter adapted.A RMS. and SHIELD GAUGE Jensen AN-004 2 . making chassis voltages Vx and Vy each 40 volts AC with respect to ground. its interwinding capacitances. 100 p. 5 p. proponents of a scheme called "Balanced AC Power" have claimed that "[hum reduction] results are often quite dramatic".T -i orh 3ft~lm L -109 -III -112 M -83 -85 -86 H -63 -65 -66 L -101 -lOS -107 10 ft ~ 3 m M -75 -79 -81 H -55 -59 -61 L -96 -100 -103 20 ft ~ 6 m M -70 -74 -77 H -50 -54 -57 L -89 -93 -96 50 ft ~ IS m M -63 -67 -70 H -43 -47 -50 L -83 -87 -91 100 ft ~ 30 m M -57 -61 -65 H -37 -41 -45 ent #26 GA (41 mn per ft) Shield Conductor #24 GA (25 mn per ft) Shield Conductor #22 GA (16 mn per ft) Shield Conductor Table I . An IHF/RCA plug is handy for this and it generally won't matter which jack you choose.Note the Vx ± Vyterm in the single capacitor equivalent circuit. CPSl and CPS2 or CpS3 and CpS4. is grounded. one side called "neutral". Ground current is generally related to AC power consumption of the device. The ± accounts for the fact that most consumer equipment has a twoprong AC plug which can be inserted into an outlet either of two ways.[4] Recently. rather than the total cancellation seen in this example. Since no current will flow in a wire connecting two points of equal voltage. to some extent. and turntables. Please note that this characterization of chassis current applies only to devices with two-prong AC plugs. This includes most high powered amplifiers or powered subwoofers and large screen or projection TV receivers. the chassis voltages will no longer be equal and current I will flow. The other. This includes most tuners. reversing AC plugs will almost always change the hum level in a system . 11. each pair of capacitors forms a voltage divider with a 3: 1 division ratio. If the two plugs are connected to the AC line as shown in the diagram. as is the neutral.MEASURING THE CHASSIS CURRENT to a ground equivalent to power line neutral. to estimate the system hum levels produced when this device is connected to others via cables. making the chassis a voltage source. CABLE LENGTH. is typical of "medium power" consumer gear drawing 20 to 100 watts. One lead of this current meter is connected to the shield of an input or output jack on the device under test. is typical of "high power" consumer gear drawing. or capable of drawing. The 1 kQ resistor converts current to voltage at 1 millivolt per microamp while the capacitor limitsthe measurement to frequencies under about 1 kHz. Current M. The safety ground of any modern outlet is convenient for this. Ground current L.-. device "on". The author has tested a variety of consumer devices. along with Table 1. All results have been rounded to the nearest dB. plug reversals simply cause a change in the interchassis current. This includes most CD players. This would be an extremely rare occurrence.[3] Balanced power uses a center-tapped transformer to make each side of the line 60 volts with respect to ground.

even though the hum level may be electrically larger.. you get what you pay for. __.. they are exquisitely sensitive to source impedance. shown in Figure 4. They are passive. they cannot handle ground voltage differences over about 10 volts RMS. Active differential amplifier circuits are used in a number of commercially available devices. such as cable TV. The noises originating with the power line are generally described as either "hum". degradation. This sensitivity limits hum rejection. reveal that over the 200 Q to 1 kQ range of source (output) impedances typical in consumer equipment. [5] The experience of this author indicates that levels higher than about . See reference [2] for more information on this subject.. If the Jensen AN-004 3 . or damage. even when used as directed. Step 1 is to measure or estimate the worst case ground current of each device having a 2-prong AC plug (as described under heading 3). These harmonics are the result of power line waveform distortion.. but it makes them nearly useless in an unbalanced system.. they all share several disadvantages: they can further complicate the ground system by contributing interchassis currents of their own.. . which is predominantly 60 Hz. they use semiconductors or integrated circuits which are prone to degradation or failure caused by power line or lightning induction voltage transients. Remember to include some shield contact resistance at each connector (normally one at each end) as part of the total.-. As shown in the Figure 4 graph.. To keep our analysis process as easy as possible. which commonly reaches 5% THD and is caused by many types of non-linear power line loads. a subwoofer with internal power amplifiers. its hum rejection is only 15 to 30 dB.. DIAGNOSIS OF A LARGER SYSTEM Most systems consist of more than two devices and often consist of a mixture of floating (2-prong AC plug) and safety grounded (3prong AC plug). relatively insensitive to source impedance and exhibit excellent hum rejection performance in either balanced or unbalanced systems. a stereo preamp control center. Cheap transformers create a host of interface problems. High quality audio transformers are. Under the same conditions and same ran~e of source impedances.. - . [2] A typical example of such devices is the popular Sonance AGI-l (which uses the Analog Devices SSM2141).which consists of a mixture of high-order harmonics of 60 Hz. All devices have 2-prong AC plugs. which has a 3-prong plug. and large phase errors. we will be using some simplifying assumptions and approximations throughout. except the sub-woofer. however. Our calculated hum levels will generally be pessimistic by several dB. Of course. mediocre transient response. These properties generally describe a differential responding device with high common-mode rejection. audio transformers qualify as true high fidelity devices. we must effectively eliminate interchassis ground current. The vast majority of available audio transformers. o CMRR 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 Rejection (dB) vs Source Impedance (0) Ap -. Now.. Lab measurements on this unit. many such transformers do exist and not all of them are cheap. most of which are clearly audible. consists of a large screen TV receiver with audio outputs.§I:1 .. while ignoring the voltage that exists between the now disconnected device grounds.. As Cal Perkins wrote "Withtransformers.HUM REJECTION vs SOURCE IMPEDANCE Two basic types of differential responding devices. Vendor data usually provides either resistance per unit length or equivalent wire gauge information for the cable's shield. Initially.. reliable. It requires no power of any kind and can handle ground voltage differences up to 250 volts RMS without malfunction. A recent AES paper indicates that noise artifacts should be under -120 dB to be inaudible for serious listening in residential environments.AUDIBILITY OF HUM & BUZZ Just what level of hum or buzz is audible depends on many factors. Step 2 is to measure or calculate the interchassis resistance for each cable run. There is a widespread belief that all audio transformers have inherent limitations such as high distortion. the passive transformer based ISO-MAX model CI-2RR measures 90 to 110 dB. . worst of all. BREAKING THE INTERCHASSIS CURRENT PATH To eliminate hum. its measured hum rejection is over 70 dB better than the active device..80 dB are annoying to most listeners. do not achieve professional performance levels. Our example system.. and.. We won't consider active optical or carrier modulated isolation amplifiers here because such devices which also have acceptable audio performance are still quite expensive. by their nature. stable. since they require AC power. Our previous analysis of a generalized two device system allows us to apply the same principles to analyze and treat hum problems in larger systems."[6] If well designed and properly used. active differential amplifiers and audio transformers are available at reasonable cost. Unfortunately. The interconnect cable is a foil shielded type with a #24 gauge drain wire having a resistance of 25 mQ per foot. We could eliminate it by simply breaking the chassis to chassis shield connection.we willnot make the cable TV connection shown by the dotted line. A. tweaking. buzz is usually more audible than hum.. usually called a ground isolator. even in a balanced system (for which they are intended). let's go through the process stepby-step.-. nor excuses. shown in Figure 5. Because the human ear is much more sensitive to frequencies in the 2 kHz to 5 kHz range at these very low levels. this alone would not solve our problem. 1 10 100 1k Figure 4 . Therefore measurements need not be made with laboratory precision. devices may be connected to external sources of ground currents. and a stereo power amplifier for the satellite speakers. and require neither trimming. To a greater or lesser extent. or "buzz"... We must break the signal line as well and insert a device which willsense the voltage at the output of device A and regenerate it into the input of device B. In addition.

more on that later). The 50 foot run from TV to preamp in Figure 5 was calculated as follows: 50 ft cable shield @ 25 mQ/ft = 1.~<~-ss~"X' CABLE TlJ CATV 50· POWERED PREAMP 1 mA VRe :E±Y TlJ 7 ! GND 0. this will be our reference level. Current flowbetween two high ground current devices can flow through a lower ground current device chassis from connector to connector. is calculated as dB = 20 x log (E -i. In our example. In our example system of Figure 5. While it is possible for the hum at the preamp input to be anti-phase to the hum at the power amplifiers (as volume is advanced. and 1 rnA x 0. although the preamp can support only 30 pA through its power connection. Expressing our example voltages in dB gives us: -53 dB at preamp input from TV. the hum level to both power amplifiers willfurther increase.THE EXAMPLE SYSTEM "BEFORE" cable run is a stereo pair.11 mV for preamp to power amplifier. If current into a device may flow out in multiple paths. determine the current flow in each cable (or cable pair) and enter the value on the diagram. we won't rely on this possibility. If we advance the volume to unity preamp gain (preamp input and output levels the same). lowest shield resistance devices with different ground currents are connected. similar to Figure 5. According to Ohm's law.25 Q + 0. remember to divide by two because the two shields are in parallel. Step 5 expresses the ratio in dB of each of these hum voltages to the signal voltage.1 Q = 1. 4 Jensen AN-004 . TREATMENTS TO REDUCE HUM As a general rule. These numbers do not include the additional hum caused by a device which may amplify the hum appearing at its input. Applying the rules. Since the isolators block the high chassis currents from the TV and sub-woofer. -55 dB at sub-woofer input from preamp. Step 4 is to calculate the hum voltage drop for each cable. the hum voltages are: 1 rnA x 0. At this point we will make some simplifying assumptions.68 mV for TV to preamp cable.1 Q Total resistance per cable = 1. B- C- D- assume that value will flow in all paths that can support it (according to rule A). hum would decrease to a "nul/" and then increase beyond the null). and R is the interchassis resistance. the current flow between them is limited to the lower of the two currents. E = I x R where E is the hum voltage. Figure 6 shows the same system with transformer isolators added to the long runs.11 Dl mA MAX D ¢=:) 1 30 uA MAX mA " Dl mA MAX .55 mV for preamp to sub-woofer. 1 rnA x 0.300 mV). in dB relative to the reference signal..68 " ~) 1 WOOFER POWER AMPL 5UB- ¢=:) me EQUIV CABLE CIRCUIT SHIELD 0. problem areas involve the longer cables and higher interchassis currents.. the preamp to power amplifier current is now only 30 /LA and flows in the shortest.35 Q Resistance of 2 paralleled cables = 1.L Figure 5 . note that the 1 rnA ground current from the TV will flow through it to either the power amplifier (which can support 1 rnA through its power connection) or the sub-woofer (which can support unlimited current through its safety ground). since the hum voltage directly adds to the signal at the receive end of each cable. Calculations should assume that all hum voltages are in-phase and additive. Make a simple diagram of the system. these are the 40 and 50 foot cable runs.25 Q 2 connector contacts @ 50 mQ each = 0. even if the preamp volume control is "off". but according to the following rules: AIf two Therefore. For each voltage calculated in step 4. and enter the measured or estimated worst case ground current for each floating (2-prong plug) device near itsAC plug symbol.2 = 0. in Figure 5.68 Q = 0. flow between them is that value.unacceptably high hum levels exist at the inputs of both the sub-woofer and power amplifiers.55 Q = 0. allows us to find the hum voltage. Knowing the values of interchassis resistance (from step 2) and current flow (from step 3) for each cable. I is the interchassis current. Note how the isolators reduce interchassis currents (the 1 /LAflow through each isolator is due to interchassis voltage now present .35 Q -i. In this example. A device connected to safety ground or any external path to earth ground or AC neutral can support unlimited current flow.68 Q Step 3 is to estimate current flow in each cable (or cable pair. If the ground currents have equal values. in this case).11 Q = 0. the hum level. Because each cable carries a nominal 300 mV (sometimes expressed as -10 dBV) maximum signal level. and -69 dB at power amplifier input from preamp.

its chassis will "float" above safety ground at its Thevenin voltage. The Jensen ISO-MAX®VR-1FF is such a transformer type isolator. An unbalanced audio system with two or more safety grounded devices (3-prong AC plugs) will virtually always require audio isolators to prevent hum. resulting in input to output capacitances up to 4 nF.cable. and 3) verify that the voltmeter reading drops to under a volt when the grounding wire connected to the AC outlet's safety ground pin is touched to the screwhead. This voltage. For safety reasons (lightning strikes to the trunk line. we can't achieve the -113 dB and -115 dB levels.68 PREAMP n WOOFER ¢=> EQUW CABLE CIRCUIT SHIELD *(1 1 uR uA ~) ¢=> S' POWER AMPL Dl "ADDED (SEE .99 dB figure can be improved further by lowering the shield resistance of the 5 foot cable which uses a foil shielded cable with #24 gauge drain wire (25 mQ per foot).74 dB to about -110 dB (the thermal noise floor of a Jensen ISO-MAX® CI-2RR isolator). Defeating a safety ground could allow lethal voltages to appear on all equipment in an interconnected system. NOT defeat the safety ground provided by a 3-prong outlet.you may severely damage the equipment and/or create a lethal shock hazard. monitor the voltage between an audio output jack's outer (shield) contact and the AC outlet's safety ground pin. for example. This ground may be to a water pipe. we ground each device through a separate wire (not through the audio cable shields). DO NOT make the ground wire connection to anything INSIDE the cabinet . the same ground point used by the main AC power panel. Most commercial RF isolators are simply high-pass filters which use capacitive coupling. the new hum estimates calculate as: -113 dB at preamp input from TV.120 dB or . Following steps 3. RF transformer type isolators. You can confirm that a screwhead.A MAX D30 30 uA uA MAX "ADDED (SEE Dl TEXT) . 2) with an AC voltmeter. Recall that Figure 2 showed a Thevenin equivalent circuit for each device. The .THE EXAMPLE SYSTEM "AFTER" Jensen AN-004 5 . have plastic cabinets and the only exposed metal may be screwheads and connectors. the best way to deal with the cable TV problem is to stop the current flow with a 75 Q RF isolator. consisting of voltage source Vx and capacitance Cx. The cable TV connection is shown to illustrate the problems it can cause. With isolators and added grounds in place. In any case the cable TV shield will typically carry several volts of hum with respect to the building's safety ground wiring. Most cable systems supply AC power to their trunk mounted repeater amplifiers through the trunk cable itself. In reality. it does not need an RF isolator. with capacitances under 50 pF. neither RF isolator type can be used with DSS receivers because they do not pass DC current. If an isolator effectively disconnects a device from ground. through audio cable to the preamp through more audio cable to the sub-woofer system and itssafety ground. This 60 Hz AC current flows through the shield of the coaxial trunk cable and (surprise) causes AC voltage drops. could range from 0 to 120 V. In most systems. Generally. Without isolation. for example) the residential "drop" cable is usually "grounded" near its point of entry to the building. this ground voltage difference can cause very high currents Oustunder 200 rnA in our example) to flow from cable shield to TV.74 dB. A reasonable typical is 60 V which is +46 dB relative to a 300 mV reference signal. When the dotted cable connection is made in Figure 5. and -99 dB at power amplifier input from preamp. as shown in Figure 6. our estimate becomes: -110 dB at preamp input from TV.6 dB. -110 dB at sub-woofer input from preamp. The resulting voltage drops in the audio cables produce truly horrible hum levels of about . TV receivers especially. More and more equipment. to effectively eliminate the current. When grounded this way. If. which appears as common-mode (on both input lines) to the isolator. work about 40 dB better. 4. or the ground connection may not even exist. a separate earth ground rod. -115 dB at sub-woofer input from preamp.5 mQ per foot) will lower hum level by 5 dB from -99 dB to -104 dB. Cable using a #18 gauge equivalent braided copper shield (6. will have an output hum level of +46 dB . This problem willgenerally be made more severe as the ~~-' CATV ------M POWERED Sl)BTl) ~~' 0. Because our modified system of Figure 6 prevents the TV chassis currents from passing through any audio cables. is an effective "chassis" ground by: 1) disconnecting the equipment from everything except AC power.A MAX GROUND TEXT) j -Jo- GROUND j -Jo- Figure 6 . and 5 as before. the output hum level of our example system will drop from . with a CMRR of 120 dB. the voltage drops occurring in the safety ground wiring of the building are forced onto the audio cable shield system through the two or more safety ground connections. One might be sorely tempted to "lift"the safety ground of the sub-woofer to reduce the hum (which it would). Even the best real isolator. and -99 dB at power amplifier input from preamp. we can essentially remove the common-mode voltage from the isolator. making it unclear how to ground the "chassis". DO NOT DEFEAT SAFETY GROUNDS! A "ground adapter" is intended to provide a safety ground for 3-conductor power cords when used with 2-prong outlets. Although these isolators certainly reduce the current injected into the ground system.

Copyright 1996. pp. "Balanced Lines in Audio Systems: Fact. B. Glasband. pp. Add external grounding. 454-464 (1995 June). Audio Eng. and Transformers". 43. Jensen AN-004 Tel (818) 374-5857 Fax (818) 374-5856 http://www. Inc. Sound & Video Contractor. device. the cables should be dressed as physically close together as possible. California 91406 Inc. 24. Use a transformer type RF isolation device. of course. vol. Common sources of strong AC magnetic fields are power transformers. Inc. [3] M.. 1986. J. pp. NEVER. The bundles should. February 25. if necessary. vol. TV sets. Fielder. 28-38. it produces voltage drops which contaminate the audio just as interchassis currents do. NEVER DEFEAT THE SAFETY GROUNDING of any device having a 3-prong power cord. be kept as far as possible from magnetic field sources. AC power wiring (even inside walls and conduit). Audio Eng. Perkins. or both. Use high quality. use audio ground isolators to eliminate current flow through audio cables connecting them. Since loop pickup is directly proportional to the area inside the loop. Soc. Part 1". Choose shielded cable for low shield resistance. CONCLUSIONS AND TIPS Hum and buzz in unbalanced audio systems is caused by common impedance coupling in the shield resistance of the interconnecting cables. Sound & Video [4] [5] [6] Contractor. A simple stereo pair of interconnect cables between two devices forms a loop because the shields are tied together at both ends. transformer based audio ground isolators to eliminate high interchassis currents. Any closed loop of wire in the proximity of an AC magnetic field willhave a current induced in the loop.com 6 . to prevent ground currents that may result from the cable TV connection. reducing or eliminating interchassis currents. 136-146. 43. D. 1995. ISO-MAX®is a registered trademark of Jensen Transformers.5 Q per 1000 ft) shield resistance and 90% shield coverage is much preferred over one with 25 mQ/ft shield resistance and 100% shield coverage. March 15.5 mQ/ft (6. Magnetic pickup loops can easily be created by improper routing of cables. November 1994. This coupling can be minimized by reducing shield resistance. The best case is two safety grounded devices located very near each other and operated from the same AC receptacle. 41. fluorescent lights. Fiction. Jensen Transformers. p. Engstrom. p. Soc. The worst case is two safety grounded devices operating from two different branch circuits of the building's AC power. When this current flows in the shields. motors.distance (and length of intervening building safety ground wiring) increases. References Jensen Transformers. Whitlock. Hofer. L. all cables that connect between the same two devices should be bundled together in order to minimize loop area. and computer CRT displays.. 1986. A cable with 6. "Dynamic Range Issues in the Modern Digital Audio Environment". 7135 Hayvenhurst Avenue Van Nuys. "Lifting the Grounding Enigma". [1] [2] B. In fact. Mix. 322339 (1995 May). ifpossible. March 15. C. "To Hum or Not to Hum".jensen-transforrners. to devices without any other system ground path in order to reduce commonmode voltage at the isolators. Bundle together all audio cables connecting the same two devices and keep the bundle away from power cabling or other AC magnetic fields. J. The results of doing so can be deadly to you and/or your customer. Sound & Communications. "The AC Connection: A Tutorial. If the system contains more than one safety grounded pp. "Transformers in Audio Design".

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