About The Pico Grounding Blocks

Silver Pico with cables
After many years of Vertex R&D, we have become acutely aware of the large amounts of damaging vibration and RFI/EMI that exists in your typical electronic component. And we also know how badly these problems damage performance. Our challenge has always been to reduce these effects as much as possible. And one of our basic maxims at Vertex AQ is simple, but very important. It applies equally to unwanted acoustic vibration and unwanted electrical noise, it’s this: “Take the unwanted disturbance away from where you don’t want it, and deal with it somewhere else”.

Okay, but that doesn’t always make sense initially, so here are a couple of examples:

– Take electrical RFI noise – if you try and stop it, with a ‘choking’ mains lead say, you still leave the noise one side or other of your ‘choke’. And because your component electronics generate their own noise, the choke effectively leaves the component swimming in its own dirty bath water. No, we believe it’s much better to syphon off the noise, as per one of our Jaya mains shunt filters, and deal with it away from the direct current path.

– Take the vibration in a component chassis. You can try and damp the vibration or isolate the chassis from its supporting shelf. But damping only reduces some resonant frequencies and does nothing for broadband conducted frequencies. And isolating again leaves your component suffering from its self-generated vibration. It’s much better to provide a matched acoustic path to take that vibration away from the chassis, then break the vibration down in another location. This is the basic principle of the LeadingEdge support platforms.

Now, all the Vertex and Aletheia products do these things in some form or another. In the Aletheia DACs for example, internally the sub-assemblies have acoustic routes leading away from the sensitive circuits, and there are ‘noise syphons’ throughout the design to take away and break down unwanted signals.

The Picos apply this logic in the following ways:

1. The pico Component Grounding Block is connected by special leads to a pair of unused line-level sockets on a pre-amp or power amp. It provides two effective grounds to the components it is connected to, for both RFI and vibration.

2. The Pico ‘Six-Way’ Component Grounding Block is a larger component grounding block which provides six grounding lines as a practical solution for large systems that benefit from more grounding.

3. The Pico Binding Posts Grounding Blocks (BPGBs!). These come as a pair with special leads and are connected to either the binding posts of your speakers, or the binding posts of your amplifiers. They are connected in addition to your speaker cables of course, and again provide an additional drain for vibration and RFI.

4. The Pico speaker grounding blocks are simply placed on top of you speaker cabinets and their impedance matched feet drain some of the vibration out from the cabinets, bringing improved clarity and transparency to the sound.

Now, you may have thought, as you read through this description “hang on, these boxes aren’t a ground – they are not connected to an Earth for electrical grounding, or indeed the Earth for acoustic grounding”. True, they are not. But because they create a path away for vibration and RFI, and break them down by destructive interference and passive absorption, they behave like a very effective Earth.