DIY Ground Box Thread
Apr 19, 2024 at 5:10 PM Post #1,591 of 1,702
Well perhaps yes and maybe not, we simply don't know. If you ever looked at many gemstones types, you would know that some can get pretty pricey.
But whatever is the cost of the raw materials, the time needed to R&D these complete mixtures in a compact package must have been pretty substantial. And I'm happy to trade a few hundred $ for a few years of my own experimentation. I have plenty of planned experiments in the pipeline even without this :beyersmile:
 
Apr 19, 2024 at 5:19 PM Post #1,592 of 1,702
I have plenty of planned experiments in the pipeline even without this
this is what holds me back on the whole crystal thing :D and thats also why i bought now the audiophile rock...
tho im honest before i spent hundreds of dollars into small clay rocks where noone knows whats in it i rather persuit my own research, or simply invest in some nice bigger crystals and place them on the speaker and see what it gets me, astethic wise natural crystals clearly win imo

but we will see, maybe the audiophile rock will surprise me :)
 
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Apr 20, 2024 at 12:22 AM Post #1,593 of 1,702
hmmm did you guys ever experimented with "orgonites" ? from what i heared they are pretty much build like grounding boxes just in a more "standalone" kind of thing and have community around them... actually there are quite a few sellers on the german used market selling these things selfmade ... basicly they use some crystals, apparently also preferably piezoelectric and mixing some copper/steel/iron leftovers with the crystals and epoxy into a pyramid shape

tho i guess the most benefit comes from having the metal parts picking up EMI/RFI and aggregating/activating the crystals in some way, the audiophile rocks sound pretty similar to that


Also i need to ask if you guys over here discovered any new minerals? i know this one salt was well regarded? do you have a link for me?
 
Apr 20, 2024 at 12:34 AM Post #1,594 of 1,702
Hey guys, seeing you're experimenting with the crystals, which is my area of interest for the last few years, I thought I would give you some of my knowledge/understanding/experience of how this thing work and how to achieve best benefits with them.

Actually, what brought my interest in this field is the guy under the brand name Audiophile Rocks, who is inventing crystal formulas for about a decade and is the nicest, most helpful and knowledgeable guy I've ever dealt with in audio industry (imagine cdacosta, but in the crystals field). I'm utilizing some of his creations with an extremely large benefit, especially the Terminos (RCA plugs filled with his unique formula) and we've been discussing the effects and principles for quite some time now (and no, we're not affiliated, I just like to give credit to whomever deserves it).

My current understanding of the working principle of crystals on our audio gear is in two domains:

1. Area/field effect - this is the most usual effect you're here experiencing, as it obviously seems/sounds that the proximity of crystals near the signal conductors alters the sound, based on frequency of the crystal. The most common type is clear crystal, which is tilting the tonality the higher-end of the frequency spectrum, cleaning/harmonizing it from any present pollution and thus perceivably enhancing it, but at the same time exaggerating it, so one has to be careful not to overdo it.
I think this is the same principle as some electronic field conditioners use, such as Nordost Q-Point Resonance Synchronizer and although this doesn't change the tonal balance as much, the mechanism of action seems similar, overwriting the surrounding EMI/RFI mix of frequencies to a single coherent one.

2. The other lesser known, but I would argue a potentially more important mechanism of action of a crystal is its physical/contact resonance characteristic. And here it gets more interesting, because in order to understand how is it actually working, I believe we ought to take a peek at quantum mechanics. In this realms, there's no such thing as solid matter, in other words, everything we perceive as solid, is just a sum of extremely fast oscillating particles (or waves, or both, right? :) . Now, we have to take into consideration that each material has its own resonance characteristics and that is perceivably manifested in "sound" of the material. Just a simple knock on the material reveals its sound.

The reason why I'm writing all of this is because after countless experiments over the years in resonance management department, I've come to conclusion that the resonance of each component gets translated into the resulting sound. What is the mechanism behind it is beyond my imagination, especially in the digital part of the chain, but the fact remains that each time I change the resonance of any component of the chain, the sound changes with it. This applies to amp, DAC, streamer, network switches, routers (and their PSU's), power distributor, etc..

To go even further, I would differentiate between inherent and acquired resonance. Inherent is the material's own resonance frequency/characteristic and acquired depends on all layers of materials/bases, on which the weight of the component stands (usually those are some rubbery feet, then desk/rack, floor, etc, until the first decoupling/damping material, if there is one).

I'm of belief that to get the cleanest and purest sound, we should seek the "best possible" resonance management of our devices in the chain. For me that means to get rid of the negative/disturbing resonances - both inherent passive (metal cases of devices), active (actively vibrating parts, mainly in PSUs) and acquired (from materials on which the components stands).

Now I'm realizing that in order to continue this explanation of resonance management and how to choose the best approach for various devices, this post would have been several pages long, so I'll keep it short from here.

There is one elegant short-cut to get the resonance management to the right direction-> and this is to induce the "good" resonances. Crystals like quartz are strong natural resonators, which can transfer their natural/healing resonances and essentially override the inherent resonances of the material they're attached to. They act like a patch that can heal what's wrong with the material/component and bring more naturalness and calmness to the sound.

But in order to work really effectively, they should have the connected side absolutely flat and be firmly attached to the device using a very thin and neutral material. I saw some of you are using BluTack and although one can still clearly hear the crystal's contribution, you're leaving around 60-70% of its performance on the table. I strongly recommend against using the BluTack for this purpose (or maybe only for discovery reasons) and substitute it with some other, thinner and more neutral adhesive like some ultra/hyper thin tapes from 3M. The difference is night & day as you'll hear yourself.

Last thing - my preferred crystal type is smoky quartz, since this one doesn't tilt the tonality to the higher-frequencies to the same degree as clear ones (but still does) and perhaps cleans the surrounding EMI to a larger extent. Look for shapes like the Acoustic Revive QR-8 and beware of larger diameters, as they tend to color the sound just little too much.
Thanks for chiming in. Any insight you can offer will be appreciated. Using Blutack does in fact reduce effect of the crystal by probably 60 - 70% vs direct contact to surface. Can you provide a link to any of Audiophile Rocks's work or discussions?
 
Apr 20, 2024 at 12:42 AM Post #1,595 of 1,702
just found these: https://de.aliexpress.com/item/1005005896875924.html i test 2x citrine

i also found about more piezoelectric crystals you guys probably also dont know...

Topas (second best piezoelectric crystal after tourmaline)
Axinit
Jeremejevit (the rarest piezoelectric crystal)
Prehnit

prehnit and topas are cheap on aliexpress and will buy both

also interesting to experiment is Flourite.... its a non-conductor which seems its basicly not conducting but you can still measure a high resistance, so its still able to transfer small amounts of electricity without shorting anything...


also a project i have a long time in mind buy never came around to it so far is building a own power distribution with EMI filter and possibly DC filter filled with some sort of crystal mix, i just know so far i dont wanna do it purely with quartz and tourmaline, basicly a grounding box for all power lines :)
 
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Apr 20, 2024 at 12:42 AM Post #1,596 of 1,702
@Wladimir
I just ordered some 7-9mm diameter natural smokey quartz to experiment with. Where have you found to be best placement practices with crystals?
 
Apr 20, 2024 at 1:38 PM Post #1,597 of 1,702
Thanks for chiming in. Any insight you can offer will be appreciated. Using Blutack does in fact reduce effect of the crystal by probably 60 - 70% vs direct contact to surface. Can you provide a link to any of Audiophile Rocks's work or discussions?
Hmm I'm not aware of any external link to his work on this, but we've exchanged around 130 emails to this day, so perhaps I can pick a quote from him from the most recent one without disclosing too much detail what he shared with me on topic of choosing the right materials and grain sizes for the building of DIY box for my network switch:

I used rochelle salt in the old Superspeed Crystal Formula. It increased detail but gave a fatiguing, harsh and messy sound. I had to compensate for this by adding blurriness by painting the surface of the rock, which covered up the harshness, but reduced detail. A better material is to use silver particles which gives silky smooth details, this is what the Lightspeed Crystal Formula uses. It's more expensive but gives both smoother and more detailed sound than salt.

You also must combine different sizes together, otherwise the music sounds flat.
The shape of the grains is important too, you don't want any crushed crystals because this makes the sound more aggressive. The grains need to have a smooth surface which comes from various liquid treatments, both natural and ultrasonic.
Making crystal formulas is not easy, it's a work of art. It took me a total of 20,000 hours to create the Megaras Crystal Formula, a journey of two decades with daily tweaking.


@Wladimir
I just ordered some 7-9mm diameter natural smokey quartz to experiment with. Where have you found to be best placement practices with crystals?

Usually the largest metal plates on your gear might respond the most, so top/bottom cover or the back panel with the connectors, as there is concentrated a lot the inherent metal resonance, usually in the middle, but also in the corners. According to the manual of Acoustic Revive QR-8, one might also try around the IEC or DC connector as well. I would be careful though, as near power there is a possibility of coloring the sound, but as long as you like the change, then why not, it's trial & error / matter of personal preference like everything else...

I had a biggest success with attaching a crystal on the pads of my streamer/endpoint, which literally harmonized the sound, cleaned any leftover harshness/edginess and brought even larger immersion & depth. Also on LAN cable plugs and on the RJ45 socket itself yielded a net positive effect, if you have access to. Also bases under the equipment might be worth trying, essentially anywhere, where the resonances might hit your equipment (in a good way).

And again, the attachment method plays a crucial role in this. Essentially you definitely want an adhesive layer smaller than 100 microns, from 60-70 microns it's very good and 3-5 microns is best, but that would hold only on horizontal surfaces. When battling with gravity, go rather for 50-70 microns to be sure.
 

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Apr 20, 2024 at 2:44 PM Post #1,598 of 1,702
Apr 20, 2024 at 2:59 PM Post #1,599 of 1,702
Hmm I'm not aware of any external link to his work on this, but we've exchanged around 130 emails to this day, so perhaps I can pick a quote from him from the most recent one without disclosing too much detail what he shared with me on topic of choosing the right materials and grain sizes for the building of DIY box for my network switch:

I used rochelle salt in the old Superspeed Crystal Formula. It increased detail but gave a fatiguing, harsh and messy sound. I had to compensate for this by adding blurriness by painting the surface of the rock, which covered up the harshness, but reduced detail. A better material is to use silver particles which gives silky smooth details, this is what the Lightspeed Crystal Formula uses. It's more expensive but gives both smoother and more detailed sound than salt.

You also must combine different sizes together, otherwise the music sounds flat.
The shape of the grains is important too, you don't want any crushed crystals because this makes the sound more aggressive. The grains need to have a smooth surface which comes from various liquid treatments, both natural and ultrasonic.
Making crystal formulas is not easy, it's a work of art. It took me a total of 20,000 hours to create the Megaras Crystal Formula, a journey of two decades with daily tweaking.




Usually the largest metal plates on your gear might respond the most, so top/bottom cover or the back panel with the connectors, as there is concentrated a lot the inherent metal resonance, usually in the middle, but also in the corners. According to the manual of Acoustic Revive QR-8, one might also try around the IEC or DC connector as well. I would be careful though, as near power there is a possibility of coloring the sound, but as long as you like the change, then why not, it's trial & error / matter of personal preference like everything else...

I had a biggest success with attaching a crystal on the pads of my streamer/endpoint, which literally harmonized the sound, cleaned any leftover harshness/edginess and brought even larger immersion & depth. Also on LAN cable plugs and on the RJ45 socket itself yielded a net positive effect, if you have access to. Also bases under the equipment might be worth trying, essentially anywhere, where the resonances might hit your equipment (in a good way).

And again, the attachment method plays a crucial role in this. Essentially you definitely want an adhesive layer smaller than 100 microns, from 60-70 microns it's very good and 3-5 microns is best, but that would hold only on horizontal surfaces. When battling with gravity, go rather for 50-70 microns to be sure.
Cool. I have some very thin 3M double sided clear tape I can test against blutack and direct contact. Your first post about crystals is what I was thinking was happening with the limited experimenting I did.

Hearing what crystals do in general give me the feeling that crystals can be used to tune harmonic resonances within the system. Some of the tuning allowed the presentation to be more precise, airier and open. What it does is very different than say a ground box. Actually what the crystals offer is very different than any other tweak I am aware of. Do you agree with my assessment or am I missing something?
 
Apr 24, 2024 at 4:46 AM Post #1,600 of 1,702
What I am finding is the different color crystals must resonate at different frequencies. Clear effects mids and up. The darker the crystal the lower the frequency bands are effected. The frequency bands that are effected by the crystals do over lap. So far for any usage I have tried in my system, the green aventurine crystals looking like jade shrinks the sound stage. Smokey quartz crystals are suppose to be arriving tomorrow.

Seems they work best used individually, not in a bag or in volume. But what I did at the DDC (which I posted previously) I like also. Seems most useful for tuning when they are small, with one side flat. The flat side is what touches the surface of whatever is being treated. In the pic is a clear and rose crystal on the amp and a singular amethyst crystal on top of a ground box. On top of gear or ground box, what is audibly heard is an adjustment to tonal presentation. A slight clarity improvement in the frequency band they effect is also obvious. Also where on top of the gear/component also sounds different. This is easy to test if you are listening to the system while placing on top of gear or ground box.

Different sizes sound different and if more than one of the same type or mixed like on the amp gives a different effect. Still experimenting inside the ground box with the mix. When one or two is placed on top of the mix it is easily heard but takes 24-48 hours to settle to know for sure what it did. Note, my system is very sensitive to any changes so no clue how it would sound on another system.
 

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Apr 24, 2024 at 9:02 AM Post #1,601 of 1,702
Cool. I have some very thin 3M double sided clear tape I can test against blutack and direct contact. Your first post about crystals is what I was thinking was happening with the limited experimenting I did.

Hearing what crystals do in general give me the feeling that crystals can be used to tune harmonic resonances within the system. Some of the tuning allowed the presentation to be more precise, airier and open. What it does is very different than say a ground box. Actually what the crystals offer is very different than any other tweak I am aware of. Do you agree with my assessment or am I missing something?
I agree cdcacosta and I could add one more mechanism of (possible) action. This is just my own speculation/deduction based on my observations, or an attempt to explain why/how crystals have effect on places where I wouldn't expect anything.

We know that this all-encompassing high-frequency pollution from cell towers, WiFis and still increasing Gs, (especially in the cities), is being picked up by any metal objects (so including our audio gear). I was told by a very reputable product designer of a high-end power filtering system that this high-frequency energy/charge is then travelling across our chain (even remotely up to about an inch of distance) and messing with the operation of the devices and thus affecting sound in a negative way.

Now my thesis is that this absorbed energy from HF pollution is manifested in form of disturbances on the miniscule scale, or in other words, affecting particle resonances of the metal objects. And if we can nullify these disturbances/resonances with another source of resonance like a crystal, then we can stop the spread of this pollution further down the chain, overwriting the bad/chaotic resonances with a natural/harmonic ones and in the end, cleaning the signal.

@Ghoostknight I would be cautious looking for crystals from China. They're known best for manufacturing synthetic materials, not digging raw/rare materials. India is a much better source of natural gems, I outsource mine from Etsy, where are many reputable sellers.
 
Apr 24, 2024 at 1:12 PM Post #1,602 of 1,702
Regarding using crystals to tune an audio system I forgot to mention in the post yesterday. I have read several theories (including what Wladimir has mentioned) on what or why crystals effect an audio system. I personally do not know. I can only go by what audibly the cause and effect is, and by using logic. What crystals do not do is lower the noise floor like the other tweaks in this thread. In other words…

* Ground boxes or the other tweaks in this thread filters HF (high frequency) noise being picked up or generated by the components, cables in our system, and that are being picked up by our homes AC wiring. By filtering the HF EMI/EMF noise the components in our system can reproduce more from the original recording. The HF noise “masks” data from our systems. This is why the more HF noise is filtered, we hear more from our systems. Removing HF noise can and usually does transform the performance of a system.

* Crystals are useful for tuning and articulation of the presentation of a system. An example would be if one wanted a bit more bite with piano notes or airiness in the top end, crystals do this easily. Crystals can also be used to enhance or clarify certain frequency bands. For other aspects of what is heard like increasing resolution (micro and macro), nuance or depth of a note, improving separation or sound stage, etc. requires the lowering of the noise floor.

This is demonstrated with a Youtube video by Audiophile Rocks. The effect that is heard in that video can be taken much further using single small crystals like I have been posting about.

 
Apr 24, 2024 at 6:23 PM Post #1,603 of 1,702
What I am finding is the different color crystals must resonate at different frequencies. Clear effects mids and up. The darker the crystal the lower the frequency bands are effected. The frequency bands that are effected by the crystals do over lap.
Different sizes sound different and if more than one of the same type or mixed like on the amp gives a different effect.

i just compared rosequartz to amethyst but they sounded pretty similar tho maybe the rosequartz sounded a bit more warm-ish

tho regarding size, a bigger stone always will have a lower resonant frequency, a higher stone a higher frequency... im wondering about this since powders seem to be most effective since more particle can vibrate and if they produce a theoretical tone than much grains of the same size will amplify the overall "tone"

another theory is that more particles mean there is more chance that the crystal grain is actually aligned right to absorb (transfer to heat) electromagnetic fields (it has to be aligned right or it doesnt work)

@Ghoostknight I would be cautious looking for crystals from China. They're known best for manufacturing synthetic materials, not digging raw/rare materials. India is a much better source of natural gems, I outsource mine from Etsy, where are many reputable sellers.
yea im aware of that, there is a chance that the topaz i bought is actually citrin, tho the seller confirmed multiple times its topaz
about the phenit im not worried that much

i bought a "diamond/mohs checker" that can apparently show mohs from 0-10 tho im unsure how accurate this is but since i have some known good amethyst and quarz it might work to reveal a possible citrin fake, which in the end would be fine too for me, then i have some citrine to test :D

This is demonstrated with a Youtube video by Audiophile Rocks. The effect that is heard in that video can be taken much further using single small crystals like I have been posting about.
i havent analyzed this video but it sounds kinda fake to me (even tho my tourmaline plugs have a "similar" effect) but not like that, usually recorded difference are way more subtle on youtube
 
Apr 24, 2024 at 7:50 PM Post #1,604 of 1,702
i just compared rosequartz to amethyst but they sounded pretty similar tho maybe the rosequartz sounded a bit more warm-ish

tho regarding size, a bigger stone always will have a lower resonant frequency, a higher stone a higher frequency... im wondering about this since powders seem to be most effective since more particle can vibrate and if they produce a theoretical tone than much grains of the same size will amplify the overall "tone"

another theory is that more particles mean there is more chance that the crystal grain is actually aligned right to absorb (transfer to heat) electromagnetic fields (it has to be aligned right or it doesnt work)


yea im aware of that, there is a chance that the topaz i bought is actually citrin, tho the seller confirmed multiple times its topaz
about the phenit im not worried that much

i bought a "diamond/mohs checker" that can apparently show mohs from 0-10 tho im unsure how accurate this is but since i have some known good amethyst and quarz it might work to reveal a possible citrin fake, which in the end would be fine too for me, then i have some citrine to test :D


i havent analyzed this video but it sounds kinda fake to me (even tho my tourmaline plugs have a "similar" effect) but not like that, usually recorded difference are way more subtle on youtube
I find Amethyst to effect a lower frequency band that overlaps the rose frequency band. So far in my testing, in crystal form the effect is greater than powder or tiny crushed form. Possibly in a RCA or other plug, powder or crushed quartz crystals can be used to good effect. I have not tried that yet.

I agree that a low definition audio recording say on YouTube, less will be heard than heard directly at home. But the video does represent or audibly illustrate the effect crystals have on an audio system, when a crystal(s) are placed on gear. Or at least that is what I hear. That effect is magnified when more are placed within my system.
 
Apr 24, 2024 at 8:57 PM Post #1,605 of 1,702
Received the smoky quartz in the mail. Day off so did a bit of testing. For the ones of you out there that want to experiment with crystals, all you need to buy is 100g of natural 9mm or smaller sized quartz crystals. Pic is of 103 grams of the smoky quartz I received. You get a whole bag of them for about $6 USD + tax. Here is where I purchased the Smoky quartz from:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CBBH87Z3?ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details&th=1

For this testing I used Tidal, Patricia Barber, Autumn Leaves and Bye Bye Blackbird tracks. I listened to a variety but those two tracks I focused on because I know it well. Nothing changed regarding what I think the crystals offer in regards to tuning. But here is what else I learned...

* If using a darker crystal like the amethyst on top of the ground box (or smoky quartz on DAC as pictured) and it takes some air away from the upper frequencies, just add a small clear crystal. The clear crystal will give you the air back and not take away from what the darker variant contributed.

* The smoky quartz effects frequencies from about lower mid bass to upper mid range. So a much tighter frequency range than the rose quartz or clear quartz.

* On the DAC is a small crushed or cracked quartz piece of smoky quartz. I used a pair of pliers to carefully break the crystal so I get a smaller piece. The full sized 8mm or so sized piece offered an effect that was too strong. And by itself still robbed air from the presentation vocals on up. With the added quartz as depicted hit the spot. Oddly sounds slightly better as depicted than a few inches away. Possibly because the quartz is closer to the LED electronics?
 

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