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Original Message

REVIEW: EVS - Electronic Visionary Systems Ground Enhancer Accessory

Posted by Quint on November 4, 2010 at 14:08:47:

Model: Ground Enhancer
Category: Accessory
Suggested Retail Price: $30.00
Description: Ground-enhancement tweak
Manufacturer URL: EVS - Electronic Visionary Systems

Review by Quint on November 04, 2010 at 14:08:47
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for the Ground Enhancer

Even though I’m a self-confessed audio tweaker—sometimes to my detriment—I am capable of drawing a line in the sand . . . occasionally. One of the few times I was able to draw said line was when Audioprism released its controversial Ground Control grounding tweak. Even though it looked like a little piece of wire under a cotton jacket that attached to the negative terminals of one’s speakers, I was curious enough to audition a pair on my Definitive Technology Mythos STS’s.

That audition didn’t go particularly well. At times I thought I could maybe hear a slight improvement in overall dimensionality, but I couldn’t consistently hear that difference, so I discounted it. Other than that, the Ground Control did nothing my ears could discern, so I wound up returning it and dismissing it and similar tweaks as snake oil.

Big mistake.

Enter tweaker supreme Ric Schultz and his company, Electronic Visionary Systsems (EVS). Ric’s work speaks for itself, so I won’t go into detail about his accomplishments, other than to say he is a respected member of a bunch of different audio forums, including this one. Ric now offers a device called the Ground Enhancer (GE), which bears a similarity to Audioprism’s Ground Control. I’ll let other, more tech-savvy minded folks get into the technical nitty gritty about how they differ, but the one major visual difference that I notice is that the Ground Control uses spade terminations, whereas the GR uses simple bare wire that wraps around the negative binding posts of one’s speakers. This, in theory at least, should give the GE an advantage over the Ground Control.

Don’t ask me how devices like this work, or exactly why I gave Ric’s GEs a shot after my experience with the Ground Controls, but I’m glad I have an open mind about these things. At $30/pair, the GEs are a minor expense for many audiophiles, so I decided to take the plunge and check them out, fully expecting to take advantage of Ric’s 30-day money-back guarantee.

I wound up not exercising that option. After a settling-down period of a few hours, I started to realize that these things were pretty special. I used just two of my most familiar discs—Badfinger’s No Dice and Dire Straits’ eponymous debut—for evaluation. With the GEs attached to the negative posts of my Definitives, the music adopted a weight and vividness that startled me. From the opening bars of Badfinger’s “I Can’t Take It,” guitars popped and snarled and bass throbbed like I hadn’t heard before in my second system. It wasn’t on the scale of a component change, certainly, but the improvements in dimensionality, rhythmic force, and soundstage focus were eye-opening. On the Dire Straits disc—especially on the bass-heavy opening of “Water of Love”—the low end was audibly tighter and more powerful, and Mark Knopfler’s usually hazy vocals adopted a focus and dimensionality that left me smiling.

Simply put, the Ground Enhancers have elevated my enjoyment of music at least a full notch or two. Considering their price of $30/pair, what they do borders on the near miraculous. I’m one of the few people who didn’t hear much if any difference with the Audioprism Ground Controls, so why I heard such a profound difference with a similar product baffles me. But I know what I hear, and EVS’s Ground Enhancers are not being returned. They are very highly and unreservedly recommended. I can’t think of a way to better spend $30 on this hobby.

Product Weakness: None for the price
Product Strengths: Improvements in dimensionality, soundstage focus, resolution, and bass tightness/dynamics

Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: Coda CSi-B
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): None
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Modified Oppo BDP-83SE
Speakers: Definitive Technology STS
Cables/Interconnects: Jena Labs
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Rock
Room Size (LxWxH): 24 x 20 x 7
Room Comments/Treatments: Nice blend of absorption and diffusion; all reflective surfaces covered
Time Period/Length of Audition: 3 days
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Jena Labs Platinum
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner