Noise is the Enemy!
Entreq manufacture an extensive range of ground boxes and one of the most frequently asked questions I get asked by people is what do the boxes actually do and what are the differences between them all.
Put simply, Entreq ground boxes are designed to improve the performance of whatever component you connect them to by removing noise and pollutants that are present in the signal path. By removing this unwanted noise we are lowering the noise floor and this simply lets you hear more of what is going on with the actual music.
By giving this noise somewhere to go system dynamics increase and the music becomes calmer and more engaging. Finer detail, texture and subtle nuances that were previously either hidden by the noise or were only vaguely hinted at are now easily audible and many people hearing Entreq in their system for the first are quite surprised by the results after an extended home demonstration.
Which ground box and ground cable is best for you and your system all comes down to the system itself, how the system is balanced tonally and what type of sound you like. Please don’t automatically assume that the most costly option is the best one, far from it in a lot of cases!
Over the past 12 months more and more customers are getting into Entreq and they seem to like what it does. Typically, someone will start with 1 small ground box and cable connected to something in their system, but more often than not it isn’t long before they add more!
This blog post is focused on the range of small single post ground boxes as these are most popular and they offer great value for money and flexibility. They are easy to accommodate and offer a great way to get the best out of your existing system.
The range of termination options on the ground cables is pretty extensive and Entreq have just about every connection option covered, you can get RCA, XLR (male and female), USB, Ethernet, 5 Pin Din and spade to spade.
As such, the ground boxes can connect to literally any device in your system – amplifier, CD player, DAC, streamer, phono-stage, router, NAS drive, computer, network switch.
There is a range of ground cables as well, starting at £90 for a Copper Infinity, going up to £1500 for an Olympus Infinity. As with the ground boxes the right cable for a particular application can vary depending on the equipment, the ground box and how you like your system. Overall, the most popular cables are Apollo Infinity (£600), Challenger Infinity (£400) and Copper Infinity (£90) in that order.
When you connect the ground box to something in your system the benefit is rarely instant, it can take a good 24 hours for the connection to establish itself and for the noise to be drained away to the ground box, but more often than not you hear the sound changing after 15 or 20 minutes of listening, sometimes the way it can open up the sound can be quite eye-opening.
This does make quick a/b demonstrations with Entreq tricky, it’s simply best to leave them alone for a few days, get used to what the system is doing and them remove it. Patience is a virtue and all that!
Any of the single post ground boxes can have in theory up to 2 items connected at any one time, although I must stress the less work you give a ground box to do the more efficient it is. Also mixing connections is not necessarily a good thing either, it does depend entirely on what the devices are as well. Nothing wrong with connecting both a router and network switch on the same box, but I would not recommend connecting a router and a DAC on the same box for example. In some instances 2 Silver Minimus ground boxes doing different jobs in a system can work better than 1 Olympus Ten and it’s less money as well.
It all hinges on what your system is at the end of the day. If you are unsure in any way please get in touch, happy to offer advice on the best way forward for you system.
The Minimus is the entry level ground box and is priced at £290.
The most popular cables to go with a Minimus is the Copper Infinity (£90), Konstantin Infinity (£220) and the Challenger Infinity (£400), as mentioned above you could connect the Minimus to a couple of items, but one connection will always result in the best performance.No matter what type of system you have there will be always scope to improve it by adding a ground box, whether you are streaming music from Spotify or Tidal, playing vinyl or CD or playing music stored on a NAS or computer.
The Minimus works brilliantly on a single box system, like a Naim Uniti, Unitiqute or one of the new Linn Selekt DSM systems for example. With a Challenger Infinity Ground Cable the upgrade in performance is far from subtle in most instances. The presentation becomes calmer, more dynamic and is effortlessly musical. Common feedback is simply being able to sit in front of a system for longer periods of time without needing to take a break due to fatigue.
Of course as well as single box systems the Minimus can be used to great effect on separate components, be it a DAC or an integrated amplifier. If you stream music over the Internet using a Minimus to connect to your router is a brilliant upgrade. Network/router grounding is fast becoming the go to upgrade for many people as their first foray in the world of Entreq. Ethernet ground cables are the most popular we sell.
The Silver Minimus is priced at £480 and is the same physical size as the Minimus. The difference between the Minimus and Silver Minimus is that 30% of the mineral content is Silver hence the name. The Silver Minimus is easily the most popular single post ground box we sell here at Audio Therapy. There is a big jump in performance when compared to a Minimus in most, but not all systems.
Of course, this does depend entirely on the system!
The Challenger Infinity (£400) and Apollo Infinity (£600) are the most popular choices of ground cable to partner with a Silver Minimus and the resultant performance compared to the Minimus is generally more open and transparent with better dynamics. If your system is already lively and forward sounding a Minimus/Challenger would be a wiser move than a Silver Minimus/Apollo for example. If you find your system a bit safe sounding the Silver Minimus/Apollo would be a more appropriate choice as this will open things up and increase resolution/transparency.The applications for the Silver Minimus are not any different to the Minimus in reality, they can be used on networks, one box systems, DACs, amplifiers, streamers. The Silver Minimus can be a particularly effective upgrade for a phono-stage.
The Olympus Ten is the newest single post box in the range. Entreq have really pulled out all of the stops with this box and if you have a good system already the addition of an Olympus Ten can be quite a revelation. Priced at £1100 it is the same physical size as the Minimus/Silver Minimus but is a little heavier. It is the entry level ground box in Entreq’s flagship Olympus line and it shows when you use one. Since this box was launched in the Autumn of 2017 I don’t recall doing a demonstration of an Olympus Ten that hasn’t resulted in a delighted customer (and quite shocked customers in many cases!). Everyone who has heard an Olympus Ten has ended up purchasing one.
The Olympus Ten has an ability to lower the noise floor (by pulling out more noise and rubbish in the signal path) to such a low level that new detail, texture and nuances in recordings you know well can leave you quite open-mouthed!
The Apollo Infinity (£600) is the most popular choice of ground cable to use with an Olympus Ten, although we do have customers using them with Challenger Infinity (£400) and Atlantis Infinity (£1300) cables with brilliant results. As with anything Entreq, results will vary from system to system.
If you are an existing Entreq owner and you use Entreq Interconnects and/or speaker cables the addition of an Olympus Ten to ground your Entreq signal cables is a great upgrade as well. I have a customer with a Konstantin XLR interconnect cable who was grounding both cables onto a Silver Minimus with great results. We swapped the Silver Minimus for an Olympus Ten and the jump in performance was so good you’d think you had upgraded the actual interconnect for the next cable up in the range.
Your existing box can always be part exchanged, unless of course you can use it on a another device in your system!
The Olympus Minimus is priced at £1850 and is the largest single post ground box in the Entreq range. At this price point it’s a serious proposition and thankfully the performance more than lives up to expectations!
For me the Olympus Minimus is best suited grounding actual components in a system, such as DAC or integrated amplifier. If you want to ground your router/network one of the smaller boxes is better suited to that application in reality.
When connected to an amplifier for example, it does what has already been outlined above, but it simply does it to a much higher standard. The increased capacity of the Olympus Minimus allows it to remove more noise, pollutants to really open a system.
In terms of ground cables to go with an Olympus Minimus the most popular choice is the Apollo Infinity (£600), followed closely by the Atlantis Infinity (£1300), but as ever whether that combination is right for you depends on your system!
I recently did a home demonstration of an Olympus Minimus with an Apollo Infinity ground cable on a dCS Puccini CD/SACD player. The addition of the Olympus Minimus takes an already great product to a whole new level. It brought a sense of calmness to the presentation but with an increased level of clarity, openness and overall greater authority in the sound, especially with bass which extended lower than it did previously.
The customer came out with a great comment when he was talking about the improvements this brought to his system – “it’s almost like watching BBC1 in standard definition then switching over to the HD version of the same thing!”
Olympus Minimus or Poseidon?
In terms of the full sized Entreq ground boxes the Poseidon is the most popular box we sell. Priced at £3700 it’s not for the faint of heart! The Poseidon is made of 3 independent Olympus Minimus in one rather large box. Take the performance of 1 Olympus Minimus and multiply it by 3 across a whole system the Poseidon is a truly superb piece of equipment.
Considering that an Olympus Minimus is £1850 on its own it makes a Poseidon for £3700 good value for money, buy 2 get one free and upgrade the whole system!
Everest & K2
The Everest & K2 simply replace the standard wooden binding post that holds the ground cable in place at the back of the ground boxes. Entreq released these posts as a brilliant system upgrade about 18 months ago.
The Everest contains a mixture of 4 metals inside the wooden plug, the same mixture as you get in the Olympus range of products (just on a much smaller scale obviously) – connect one to the back of your box and listen! It delivers more transparency and texture and works incredibly well and is pretty instant upgrade in most cases.
The K2 contains 2 metals and works differently to the Everest. Add a K2 to a box and delivers a level of calmness to the sound but without sacrificing detail or information. If your system can sound lively or aggressive the K2 is a great addition.
The Everests are £240 each and the K2 are £170 each. The Everest is the most popular post by a significant margin. Both posts offer great value for money and are quite different from one another if you compare them side by side in a system.
Minimus, Silver Minimus, Olympus Ten, Olympus Minimus (or Poseidon)
As you’ve probably figured if you have read the whole article the options with Entreq are almost limitless, there is no magic recipe card outlining what items are required to improve a system.
It depends entirely on the system in question and how it is currently performing. You could take ten similar systems and end up with ten different solutions all of which work brilliantly well. It all comes down to experience and budget in reality. As I mentioned, please do not assume the most expensive options are the best ones!
If you are interested in finding out how just how good your existing system can be please get in touch. Either send me a message outlining your current system, what you like about it (and equally what if anything you don’t like about it!) and I’ll come back to you or simply pick up the phone for a chat. Thanks for reading.