Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (i5, 256GB SSD, 40GB RAM, Sonoma 14), 4TB external SSD with Thunderbolt 3, Audirvana Studio, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 & SW-6 switch, Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Active filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos & EX-M7 on subwoofer; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox; Phones: HifiMan Susvara, Meze 109 Pro; Loudspeakers: Qualio IQ [on loan] Cables: Kinki Studio Earth, Furutech; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: FiiO R7 into Soundaware D300Ref SD transport to Sonnet Pasithea; Preamp/filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Amplifiers: Gold Note PA-10 Evo monos; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini or Acelec Model One + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF, Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Clock: LHY Audio OCK-2; Head/speaker amp: Enleum AMP-23R; Speakers: EnigmAcoustics Mythology M1; Headphones: Final D-8000 & Sonorous X, Audeze LCD-XC, Raal-Requisite SR1a
Upstairs headfi system: FiiO R7; Headphones: Meze 109 Pro
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: Macro G $1'199 in either USB, HDMI or RJ45 with two matching included earthing cables, $2'568 for GNR Mini
Dominos. In the wake of a pending Silent Angel assignment, Telos Audio also from Taiwan checked in. Both companies had shared a booth at the Munich show. Now they wanted a review of their Macro G range of ground solutions for open HDMI, USB or RJ45 ports; and on their active Mini ground-noise reducer v5.1 which connects to chassis. Nobody offered any pizza. I'd been aware of Telos primarily for their 68kg £34'000 Earth Grounding Monster. Not having delved into this product category safe for a solitary and marginal brush against CAD, I had no direct experience yet. That sternly held domino—one less audiophile worry to entertain—was about to fall. Hurray? The firm's Jeff Lin has been domestically active since 2006 and internationally at least since 2017 when he participated in shows in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and a year later in Munich. His focus goes beyond ground solutions to include Schumann and quantum resonance. The latter concept I first came across with Bill Stierhout's QRT which later licensed to Nordost then informed certain Ansuz tech.
I told Jeff that I was available and willing. I explained the lay of my LAN. I could accommodate either or both of his USB/RJ45 noise traps; and one or two active versions. Whatever he wished to dispatch including the necessary cabling, I'd take for a ride; or be taken for one. I simply prayed that pricing for this compact kit was XS compared to his hulking ground-box flagship. My proxy wallet is rather stingier than that of Audio Exotics and their banker clients who are fans of Jeff's finest. With noise traps not specifically marketed as ground solutions, I have experience with parallel AC devices and sundry i/o plugs from Akiko, Ansuz and Furutech. Those contain granular EMI-absorptive materials; micro caps and piezo-electric material; or Tesla coils and zirconium resonators. Jeff would have to explain how his approach differs. The next email now from Ethan asked me to bundle the lot plus their Macro N power resonators into the same review "because we want to position these units as our total solution for streaming systems". I was about to explain that my kit has no HDMI then realized that the incoming Silent Angel Rhein Z1 Plus server does. I clearly was predestined for the full-bore Telos Treatment. Just how many carefully reinforced dominos of scrupulous avoidance would fall now? If on deaf ears, no problem. If not, Pandora's box instead? I rather thought my system quite dialled already. But what if I'd overlooked important stuff? We never know what we don't know until a new discovery changes things up and opens our eyes, ears and reluctant wallets to more possibilities.
Given how sparse their home page is on it, canvassing the web for explanations on the Macro G's MO—it seems identical regardless of our choice of connector—nets little extra beyond confirming that it's an active circuit, then adds that it employs "the same logic chip as the ground noise reducers". Finally there's this photo.
Standalone Schumann resonators were familiar to hospitals, wellness and yoga centers plus New Age boutiques well before they popped up in audio with firms like Acoustic Revive of Japan. Google the term to fill in any gaps.
Otherwise let's invoke crime fiction's default statement to the press: "We're still pursuing multiple lines of inquiry and haven't made any arrests yet. We have no further comments at the present time but welcome any leads the public may have." And yes, I repeatedly asked Telos for their own explanations only to be met by silence. But I could take a hint. It's their IP. They're not handing out free instructions on how to roll our own.
About their GNR Mini v5.1, Telos call out super-strict parts selection which has them reject 15 out of 16 parts to drive up build costs. They claim that by connecting our hifi gear's chassis to their WBT binding posts, we create a single shared ground-reference point for better sound. Those binding posts are preceded by hand-wound low-pass inductors then active "carefully tuned" circuitry.
Eventually I did receive the following info: "Regarding the MO of our grounding product, we just made a video¹. The example is a Macro G RJ45 used to ground an audiophile switch. The video shows how when there's no grounding, the voltage difference against the neutral wire is 14V. Then it drops to 0.3V when our device plugs in. Diminishing ground differential is how we reduce noise. Here we'd like to reiterate the real importance of proper grounding. It's a fundamental part of any high-end audio system. As to our active ground solutions, their added value is stability and consistency which unlike absorptive compounds won't decay. So what do you think of how we present our products?"
I admitted to Ethan that their site's presentation still struck me as majoring far more on mystery than disclosure and explanation. Above we see a resonance coil with a 'Schumann resonator' inscription, a black box emblazoned 'Graphene' but no explanation on what either is or does. "Carefully tuned active" circuitry is very vague. However, if this approach is successful, Ethan should disregard my grouchy feedback. I'm just a hard-boiled stranger on the other end of an Ethernet line causing static noise. But embedding the video on their site certainly seemed a good idea. "You're right, we've been far too focused on R&D and sales and don't yet explain our products well. We continually invest into high-end systems for our ongoing R&D as our distribution grows to demand ever better solutions. But we must take more time with our presentation and will want to start with the Macro range." Sometimes being a good hard-boiled egg is perfect. Just add a pinch of salt.
¹ According to Jürgen Reis of MBL whom John Darko queried on my behalf, the signal voltage on the ground plane is the noise but the voltage level itself doesn't tell us anything about the noise signal's impedance or frequency. Those two factors can vary in their impact on a system and that impact depends on where they land and travel. However, if we remove or reduce this ground-plane voltage, we effectively remove/reduce the noise to diminish the importance of those other factors.
Would you like to download the current image?
Would you like to download the current image?