Questions and Answers: Grounding

Recently, the idea and means of artificial grounding has been a hot topic in the audio industry. Effective electrical grounding in a hifi audio system can mean the difference between enjoying your music and falling in love with it. System noise is a complicated and incessant problem, so why not answer some commonly asked questions about grounding? 

Q: What elements in the environment around my system have an effect on its performance. 

A: Interference that impacts the power domain is all around you, constantly bombarding your system. Your AC power lines are contaminated with electrical surges, pulses, and switch-mode hash from home appliances, plug-in chargers, light dimmers, and fluorescent and LED lights. Even the air is polluted by radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI), levels of which are increasing due to the prevalence of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular signals.

Q: What is signal ground and how can it negatively impact my system? 

A: A signal ground is an analog or digital ground that is attached to every signal being transmitted between devices in a system. Since these devices are usually powered separately, it is inevitable that there will be small differences between their potentials, causing small currents to circulate in order to compensate. These currents add to the background noise, obscuring low-level detail in music reproduction. 

Q: What does an “Artificial Ground” do?

A: An artificial ground sinks the impedance of a component lower than the house earth ground, so that high-frequency noise on the signal ground will drain away, leaving a clean reference behind. 

Q: What audible improvements can I expect to hear after addressing grounding issues in my system? 

A:  There are several improvements you can count on by addressing the grounding issues in your system. The image separation will be greatly improved, exposing nuances in dynamics and accent markings that would otherwise have been missed. You’ll also experience a tighter, deeper, and more authoritative bass. However, the most noticeable change will be a dramatic drop in your noise floor which will provide a quieter, ‘darker’ background, resulting in a wider, more lifelike soundstage. 

Q: What is Nordost’s solution to grounding problems? 

A: Nordost’s grounding solutions are QKORE Ground Units. QKORE units are parallel grounding devices which provide an artificial, “clean” earth for hifi audio systems using both an electrical and mechanical approach. The QKORE1, QKORE3, and QKORE6 products combine Nordost’s patented Mono-Filament technology with purpose-built, Low-Voltage Attractor Plates (LVAPs), constructed with a proprietary metal alloy and a passive electronic circuit, in order to draw stray high frequency noise and voltage-generated magnetic fields to a manufactured earth point, leaving a clean reference behind

For more information on grounding and to help you better understand why it is needed, what improvements can be heard in a properly grounded system, and what artificial grounding solutions can offer, download this article: The Importance of Electrical Grounding in Audio Systems

QKORE Reviews

We’ve received some fantastic reviews and awards over the years for our products. When we get new reviews, we do our best to make sure that everyone knows. We spread the word through social media, blogs, emails, and tell anyone willing to listen! However, once the press starts piling up, and new products start to get their time in the spotlight, these amazing reviews can tend to be forgotten.

While you always have access to these great reviews, thanks to the Reviews Page on the Nordost website, we want to make sure that if you are considering an upgrade, or just want to learn more about a specific product, you can do so easily. This is especially true with a product like the QKORE. Nordost QKORE Units are parallel grounding devices, which provide an artificial, “clean” earth for hifi audio systems by drawing stray high-frequency noise and voltage-generated magnetic fields to a manufactured earth point through using both an electrical and mechanical approach. There is A LOT to learn about our QKORE units, and the in-depth reviews that these products have received are a great starting point to understanding how they work, and what their benefits are! 

This blog puts together some of our favorite QKORE and QKORE Wire reviews, so that you can access all of these informative articles at once! 

The Absolute Sound: Nordost QKORE Grounding System – Silence is Golden 

“…the elegance, the poignancy, the fragility of a musical line is what conveys the emotion at the heart of music. This is what the Nordost QKORE does so well. I can’t help thinking that to achieve the most from any high-end stereo Nordost QKORE is an essential product to consider” – The Absolute Sound 

The Absolute Sound Editors' Choice Awards 2021
The Absolute Sound Golden Ear Award 2018

Stereophile: Nordost QKORE and QKORE Wire – System Grounding Accessories 

“I can’t imagine that anyone who’s invested considerable time and energy and money in a high-end system would want to be without the markedly ‘blacker’ backgrounds, increased transparency and detail, more vivid colors, and greater overall veracity delivered by Nordost’s QKore Ground Units…The law of diminishing returns does not apply; the differences were cumulative, and anything but subtle.”  – Stereophile

Hi-Fi+: Nordost QKORE Ground Units 

“The QKORE was like a quick lesson in ‘time coherence’, giving any sound (even speech) a more accurate sense of rhythmic beat and metre (we often just lump this together into saying it ‘times’ well). There are other benefits, too; the almost clichéd ‘darker backgrounds’ and wider soundstage with better separation of images applied here, too. The treble seemed to integrate slightly better with the midrange and bass as well, but it’s that bass and temporal correctness that wins you over. It’s like your system no longer has to apologise for itself, even if it had little to apologise for before you QKORED it!” – Hi-Fi+

Hi-Fi+ Award 2017

Part-Time Audiophile: Nordost QKORE Ground Units and QKORE Wire

“When the time came for me to remove the Nordost QKORE grounding units from the system, I noticed the difference immediately… I felt my system lost just a bit of its edge and clarity.” – Part-Time Audiophile

Positive Feedback: Nordost QKORE Ground Products

“In advance of installing the QKORE Ground Units, I had imagined what such a product might accomplish. Those daydreams were prophetic—the only surprise was how significant it turned out to be…  it did more to improve my sound than any alternative I can think of at that price.” – Positive Feedback

PF Writers' Choice Award 2020

Positive Feedback: Nordost Premium QKORE Wire

“The major impact of the Premium QKORE wires is purity of the high frequencies. Secondary effects include increased image mass, a boost in dynamics, and dialing in focus. On the subjective side, there’s more drama and impact… If you’ve already invested in the Nordost QKORE solution, this one’s a no-brainer.” – Positive Feedback

High Fidelity: Nordost QRT QKORE6

“…connecting all elements in our system to the artificial ground is equivalent to replacing any of its elements with a superior one. But – and here it starts to be interesting – we get more of everything that we already have in the system, not something completely new. In other words, the sound we worked for, polished and refined, will be improved, not changed.” – High Fidelity 

High Fidelity

The Audio Beat: Nordost QKORE Grounding System

“[The] purist recordings of small ensembles…made plain QKORE’s contributions, as the recording venue sounded bigger and the musicians more in-the-room present, no ‘maybe’ about it. This occurred across recordings and components, QKORE expanding musical horizons and making everything in them sound more vivid—more grounded, you could say.” – The Audio Beat 

Audio Beat Award

Soundstage! Australia: Nordost QKORE 1 Ground Unit

“What the QKORE1 then does by giving a musical blood transfusion to each and every audio component, and to so clearly and audibly ‘AC lift’ the performance of my entire system, is genuinely astounding.” – Soundstage! Australia 

NOVO: Nordost QRT Power Products Review. Part 2 of 3: QKORE Ground Unit and QKORE Wire

“…the Nordost QRT QKORE6 and QKORE Wires provided enhanced benefits on a scale I would be hard-pressed to live without; benefits that could not be described as anything-less-than significant.” – NOVO 

Le Magazine Son & Image: Nordost QKORE: Benefits of Parallel Grounding

“With either the QKORE1 or QKORE3 unit in place, listening becomes engaging. There is better precision and fluidity along with a less veiled sound. A significant improvement of the sound and musical rendering emerges, an unexpected but very real effect. The results are immediate…Clarity improves across the board, very noticeable in instrumental harmonics. Vocal presence is improved, along with overall musicality from the audio system. Dynamic contrast is heightened, and a more natural and coherent rendering of sound and musical content permeates the listening room.” – Le Magazine Son & Image

2022 Blog Round-Up

What better way to start off the new year than by giving the people what they “liked” most throughout the past year, all in one spot! This 2022 blog round-up includes our posts from last year that received the most engagement, whether that be likes, shares, comments, retweets, Instagram reactions, or however you feel like measuring nowadays. Here are our favorite blogs, back by popular demand!  

Why Lift Your Cables?

Cable lifters do a lot more than just make your system more aesthetically pleasing and help cable manufacturers highlight their cables at tradeshows. This blog explains the purpose of cable lifters and tells you how they can improve your sound!

Why Are Audio Cables Important?

Audio cables can be a controversial subject in the audio community, and people tend to end up in one of two camps: cable believers and cable deniers. So, instead of blindly joining one side or the other, get your questions answered and get informed!

Q & A Cable Auditions

Our product specialists receive questions on a daily basis about Nordost products, their application, and hifi in general. We thought that we would take a minute to share some of those questions here so that everyone can get the answers they are looking for!

How to Position Your Sort Kones to Get the Best Sound From Your Components

Sort Kones eliminate the harmful vibrations generated within your components that degrade the sound of your system. However, the placement of those Kones make a huge impact on the sonic results. This blog will help you to most effectively place your Sort Kones to achieve the best performance from your devices.

Are Nordost Cables Worth the Upgrade? Hifi Manufacturers Think So!

Some people make the argument that cables don’t matter. They ask the question, “If the component I buy comes with all the cables it needs to run, why wouldn’t I just use those cables that come in the box for free?”. In this blog, we’ll tell you why have the wrong idea.

Jitter: A Hifi Villain’s Origin Story

If jitter was an audio villain, its evil powers would be inducing noise to unsuspecting recordings, obliterating the depth of field, and smearing the details out of pure, musical integrity… really dastardly stuff.  But what IS jitter, where does it come from, and what can be done about it?

Cheap Cleaning Tips for Vinyl Lovers

As audio hobbyists, we are always looking for ways to improve the music we love, on the systems we love just as much. In this industry, hearing the word “improvement” often quickly leads to a much lighter wallet. However, not all improvements will break the bank… 

Nordost Playlist – January 2023

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this January.

You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  | SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ

  1. It Took A Long Time—LaBelle—Nightbirds
  2. End of the Road—Noga Erez—KIDS (Bonus Edition)
  3. This Bitter Earth / On The Nature Of Daylight—Clyde Otis, Max Richter, Dinah Washington, Louisa Fuller, Natalia Bonner, John Metcalfe, Philip Sheppard, Chris Worsey—The Blue Notebooks (15 Years)  
  4. One Of These Things First—Nick Drake—Bryter Layter 
  5. Disappointed—James Moody—At The Jazz Workshop 
  6. Stars Fell On Alabama—Lizz Wright—Grace
  7. Lover, You Should’ve Come Over—Jeff Buckley—Grace 
  8. Let’s Start (feat. Ginger Baker) – Live—Fela Kuti, Afrika 70, Ginger Baker—Fela With Ginger Baker Live! 
  9. The Boxer feat. Mumford & Sons & Paul Simon—Jerry Douglas, Paul Simon, Mumford & Sons—Traveler
  10. Tender—Blur—13

Nordost 2022 Awards

Even though 2023 is already in full-swing, we can’t help but take a moment to celebrate some of the success that we enjoyed throughout 2022. We are very happy to share that over the past year, Nordost has been presented with awards from publications spanning the hifi industry!   

As a company, Nordost strives to provide hifi enthusiasts with the means to bring life into an audio system in order to truly enjoy music as it was intended. We take a lot of pride in the audio cables, power products, and audio enhancers that we produce, so we are always honored to be recognized by reviewers, industry leaders, and prominent publications for our work. We thought that you might like to celebrate with us!

Hi-Fi Choice Recommended

Hi-Fi+ – Winner 2022 – Digital Component: Network Switch – QNET

“Thanks to Nordost QNET, network audio just took a leap forward in listenability.” – Alan Sircom, Hi-Fi+

StereoNet-Heimdall 2 Tonearm -2022

StereoNet – Applause Award / Product of the Year ’22 – Heimdall 2 Tonearm Cable +

“[The Heimdall 2 Tonearm Cable +] should be top of your audition list when next shopping for an upgrade for your high-end vinyl system.” – Jay Garrett, StereoNET 

Blue Heaven Analog Interconnect review - 2022

Hi-Fi Choice – Hi-Fi Choice Recommended – Blue Heaven Interconnect 

“This interconnect offers superb detail, a full soundstage and really refined performances … ★★★★★” – Neville Roberts, Hi-Fi Choice

Audiophilia Review - Nordost Frey 2 Speaker Cables, Interconnects, and Power Cables

Audiophilia – Star Component – Valhalla 2 Ethernet Cable

“My time with all the Valhalla 2 cables was musically intensive, instructive and, at times, mind blowing from their wonderful effect on my system.” – Anthony Kershaw, Audiophilia


The Absolute Sound – 2022 Editors’ Choice Awards – PURPLE FLARE / HEIMDALL 2 USB / FREY 2 / TYR 2 / VALHALLA 2 / ODIN 2 / QKORE

“…transformative. That is perhaps the ultimate thing I can say about any experience. It takes us to another place, another level of understanding—and, in this case, another level of longterm musical pleasure.” – Wayne Garcia, The Absolute Sound

Enjoy The Music Award

Enjoy the – Great Audiophile Gift 2022 – QVIBE (QV2)

“In the familiar surroundings of my own listening room it was easy to hear the difference it makes. …an affordable introduction to the benefits of improved power for your rig. ” – Rick Becker, Enjoy the

Mono & Stereo – Best Buy Award – Valhalla 2 Ethernet Cable

“Nordost Valhalla V2 Ethernet offered a different, clearer, and more focused imagery, sounding less like a mechanical pulsating narrative and more like a tenacious non embellished sonic momentum.” – Matej Isak, Mono & Stereo

Nordost Playlist – December 2022

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this December.

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You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  | SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ

  1. Casanova—Nick Dorian—Casanova
  2. It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody—Weyes Blood—And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow
  3. San Andreas Fault—Natalie Merchant—Tigerlily
  4. Wave of Mutilation – UK Surf—Pixies—Complete B Sides
  5. Brass in Pocket (2006 Remaster)—Pretenders—Pretenders
  6. River—James Taylor—James Taylor at Christmas 
  7. Riding Into The Sunset in a Busted Car—Free Cake For Every Creature—The Bluest Star 
  8. Midnight Train to Georgia—Gladys Knight & The Pips—Imagination 
  9. Wildflowers & Wine—Marcus King—El Dorado 
  10. In Between Days (2006 Remaster)—The Cure—The Head on the Door (Deluxed Edition)

Nordost Customer Testimonial

Nordost is always thrilled to receive and share glowing reviews from journalists and experts in the industry. However, when we get testimonials from our devoted and satisfied customers, it means that much more!

Thank you to Giovanni from Calabria, Italy for introducing Nordost products into his top-of-the-line system.  We are happy to hear that, with our help, he has finally been able to say “goodbye” to listening fatigue and “hello” to goose-bump-inducing realism. 

“I have always been attracted to Nordost products. Whenever I have listened to them in my friend’s systems or in my hifi dealer’s listening room, I have always appreciated the refinement they bring.

I had set up my top-of-the-line Burmester system with great satisfaction, using Burmester’s own silver wiring. I knew that if I used Nordost cables, I would be able to achieve something much more…

The electronics sounded as if they had a turbo power supply, the black became much darker, and both the electrical and musical silences increased. The soundstage became both wider and deep, and the instrumentalists started to come to life, almost as though you could touch them and actually see them be played. The instruments are sculpted in their artistic position, the bass acquired a crazy elegance, full of body and control (never furious lines), and even the voices have an unbelievable realism that is truly thrilling and goosebump-inducing.

The Nordost products in my Burmester system have led me to such great satisfaction that I listen to music for entire days, and without getting fatigued. I can confirm with great satisfaction that Nordost and Burmester are a perfect match of the highest quality.”

Giovanni uses: Valhalla 1, Tyr 2Reference Bi-Wire Jumpers, and Sort Kones

Nordost Dealer: Angelucci HiFi

Visit our Customer Testimonials page to see what more users like Giovanni have to say!

What’s your Nordost story?

Positive Feedback Reviews the QNET Network Switch

We are pleased to share yet another great QNET review, published last month by Positive Feedback. Marshall Nack, who has been working his way through the Nordost QRT product line, couldn’t wait to get his hands on our new ethernet switch. In his review, Marshall almost couldn’t believe the impact that the QNET had on his system, “…it was clearly a move forward with small improvements across the board, and one major shift. The transformation of soundstage depth was extraordinary, as flat space became deep. The impression of 3D was so great it caused me to question, could this could be an artifact?”. However, after listening to track after track, he was assured that it was not an artifact at all, just clear improvement.

“When Nordost released their QNET Ethernet Switch, I was immediately interested. I suspected it would impact the sound in similar ways as their QSOURCE Linear Power Supply, and heard it do exactly that. Both components are particularly good at resolving atmosphere, low-level detail, and timbral finesse. The QNET is amazing at reproducing space and dimension…using them in tandem brings you better sound. ” – Marshall Nack, Positive Feedback

You can now see Marshall’s QNET Review on the Reviews Page of the Nordost website, or read it in its entirety here: Nordost QNET Ethernet Switch

Video: Sort Kones – Introduction and Placement Guide

Have you heard about Nordost Sort Kones, but want to get a better idea about how they will improve your home audio system? Or do you own a set of Kones already, but are unsure about where to place them for the best results? 

Our new video, “Nordost Sort Kones – Introduction and Placement Guide” serves as a perfect introduction to these anti-vibration, resonance control devices. In viewing this video, you will learn what Sort Kones are, what they do, and how they will impact your system’s performance. This video also serves as a helpful set-up guide so that current (and soon to be) owners of Sort Kones know that they are using our product properly and can ensure that they are maximizing the performance of their sound systems.

Introducing the QNET Stand

Nordost’s new QNET Stand is the perfect accessory for our QNET Network Switch. The QNET Stand allows you to maximize the performance of your QNET by supporting it with our award-winning Sort Kones. While the QNET has been designed to be the quietest Network Switch available on the market (a designation which is supported by the rave reviews it has received), it is still an electrical component. As such, improvements can be made!

Nordost’s Network Switch has a uniquely intricate and sensitive design, comprised of almost 200 components! Each of these components introduce their own micro vibrations which, when combined, have an impact on noise. As audiophiles, we strive for perfection. That’s where Nordost’s QNET Stand comes into play. In combining the QNET, QNET Stand, and Nordost Sort Kones, you will be able to achieve a virtually noiseless digital experience, separating the music from its background.