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  1. #1
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    Nordost announces QNET switch






    What they told us dealers:

    “Our “from-the-ground-up” design is, quite frankly, the best switch to hit the marketplace, period. We didn’t buy an OEM standard switch and simply make improvements to either the power supply or oscillators as several competitors have. We are building this unit totally from scratch ourselves with six dedicated power supplies, a superior, low noise, stable oscillator, a high speed multilayered impedance-controlled layout, etc., all encased in an extremely durable round aluminum housing. As the attached brochure states, the housing acts as a heatsink and, due to its round shape, provides physical separation for the five independent ports so you can use very high quality ethernet cables like our Valhalla 2, Heimdall and Blue Heaven. This unit is guaranteed to outperform any competitive switch, dramatically improving sound quality. We will begin shipping after the first of February. We are building these units completely in-house; populating the circuit boards ourselves (we invested in component-picker machines and associated manufacturing gear). It is a completely Nordost-designed component! No bog standard switch with minor modifications here!”

    $3199.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Can't wait to follow follow the Roon Community thread on Switches and Ethernet Cables as this gets noticed. I go there whenever my blood pressure gets low.
    Jim

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  3. #3
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by still-one View Post
    Can't wait to follow follow the Roon Community thread on Switches and Ethernet Cables as this gets noticed. I go there whenever my blood pressure gets low.
    The Roon community doesn’t have the best record for noticing anything to do with sound quality.


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  4. #4
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    The Roon community doesn’t have the best record for noticing anything to do with sound quality.


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    They are just typical of the entire Internet.

    On a more serious note. I surprised if they started from scratch why didn't they add a Optical Port(s).
    Jim

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  5. #5
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    Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by still-one View Post
    They are just typical of the entire Internet.

    On a more serious note. I surprised if they started from scratch why didn't they add a Optical Port(s).
    They did start from scratch. Optical is Not used. Hardly used. I’ll ask.


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  6. #6

    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    LMAO

    What a money grab
    "We all know real when we hear it"

  7. #7
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsrule View Post
    LMAO

    What a money grab
    No switch is the best switch. But if you must use one, the after market ones are gaining in popularity. I’m interested to try this one.


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  8. #8

    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    As more and more migrate or enter the hobby with file and streaming based playback as their main and perhaps primary source. I think these products should be welcomed and not scorned.

    Remember, years ago, when using a laptop was ideal? And now we have dedicated streamers.

    Maybe in a few years we will look back and say, wow I can't believe I used a Netgear, Linksys, etc... on my high end hi-fi system.

    Looking to see how Shunyata , AudioQuest and others will compete with this offering from Nordost.

  9. #9
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    $3200 for an Ethernet switch?

    Jesus Christ.

  10. #10
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    They did start from scratch. Optical is Not used. Hardly used. I’ll ask.


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    Ironic timing that you say that, cause I was just about to post on another thread that I don't understand why more streamer manufacturers havent moved to a SFP port rather than old-school copper ethernet. I kind of wonder the same thing for a modern, ground-up design switch.

    Give us the port, we'll add the SFP (copper or fiber) that meets our needs. Just seems a more flexible and more audiophile-centric approach. Among a variety of reasons it's one I chose Lumin's X1.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    In my opinion not having an SFP port is a big miss. I have been working on my digital distribution system and adding an optical break has made the most noticeable difference in sound quality.
    Tom

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  12. #12
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by W9TR View Post
    In my opinion not having an SFP port is a big miss. I have been working on my digital distribution system and adding an optical break has made the most noticeable difference in sound quality.
    I don’t agree. I think the fiber thing is different, but not better. We tried it here with the X1, and my reaction was “meh”. Different, not better. We went back to Ethernet as we thought it was more organic.


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  13. #13
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    I guess it’s one of those ‘it depends’ things where every system can be optimized in a different way. Fun stuff for sure.
    Tom

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  14. #14
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by W9TR View Post
    I guess it’s one of those ‘it depends’ things where every system can be optimized in a different way. Fun stuff for sure.
    Agree. I had a positive difference after going to fiber. Why I said flexibility would be best imo, to fit user/system circumstances and preferences.

    With my setup it's difficult to arrange cables so they're not basically piled up on each other, so not having the data stream affected by whatever contamination could affect a copper cable in close proximity to power, speaker, ICs etc, probably is why I saw a difference. With Mike's system I'm guessing that his cables are laid out properly, so there's less impact on his data stream due to cable interferences. It's also a bit easier for me to run fiber from my switch to where my system is.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    $3200 for an Ethernet switch?

    Jesus Christ.
    And how much more for the Nordost power supply??
    Rob
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  16. #16
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    I agree, and Lumin has been proactive about this.

  17. #17
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Again, how many DAC’s or network transports have a fiber input? Very few and it doesn’t seem to be growing.


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  18. #18
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by W9TR View Post
    I guess it’s one of those ‘it depends’ things where every system can be optimized in a different way. Fun stuff for sure.
    it's definitely one of those situations. In my set-up, running fiber from the location the music server is located to my audio rack 35 feet away in another room, it made a significant improvement. One of the advantages of fiber is that it will not pass high-source leakage impedance current, which puts noise on the ground plane, and which results in threshold jitter, the impact of which is audible.

    If one is coming in with a short run of fiber from a server just nearby the audio rack, there may be no practically significant difference compared to a quality copper Ethernet cable, e.g. Shunyata Sigma or Omega, etc.

  19. #19
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Again, how many DAC’s or network transports have a fiber input? Very few and it doesn’t seem to be growing.
    I still use TOSLink to get my video feed through the system.

    I would agree though, less units with TOSLink, more HDMI now a days on DACs and streamers.

    HDMI standards keep changing (with continued changes in both TV screen resolution, and surround standards) so fast, that a long term audio unit goes out of date in the HDMI section.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    $3200 for an Ethernet switch?

    Jesus Christ.
    Yeah. I could say the same about after market LAN cables.
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  21. #21
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Again, how many DAC’s or network transports have a fiber input? Very few and it doesn’t seem to be growing.
    It would make marketing sense to include an SFP port on this for the upstream link.
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  22. #22
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by brodricj View Post
    It would make marketing sense to include an SFP port on this for the upstream link.
    Other than the X1, I can’t think of many others. Seems like an unnecessary expense and perhaps, even a compromise in sonics from their standpoint. Perhaps adding SFP adds complexity, cost and noise.


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  23. #23
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by jmusica View Post
    ...so not having the data stream affected by whatever contamination could affect a copper cable in close proximity to power, speaker, ICs etc, probably is why I saw a difference..
    Might you be trying to solve a non-existent problem? Twisted pairs inside LAN cables are now shielded, and the four twisted pairs are themselves double shielded. Very unlikely "contamination" of any sort, whatever that might be, would have any impact on the data packets traveling down such a cable.
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  24. #24
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Other than the X1, I can’t think of many others..
    EtherRegen, Renolabs, plenty of others with SFP. It's about marketing. Many customers would buy it just for the SFP.
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  25. #25
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by brodricj View Post
    EtherRegen, Renolabs, plenty of others with SFP. It's about marketing. Many customers would buy it just for the SFP.
    I don’t agree. It’s a tiny tiny % that will use SFP.


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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Computer audio forums are full of content from people wanting network switches for audio with SFP. Not having SFP is a deal breaker.
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  27. #27
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by brodricj View Post
    Computer audio forums are full of content from people wanting network switches for audio with SFP. Not having SFP is a deal breaker.
    I talked to Nordost this morning. They said that SFP only benefits super long runs and they see this switch being near the components.


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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Exactly. Which is why the switch needs SFP. The switch goes near the end point and other devices (to keep your expensive LAN cables short), and the SFP link (which is cheap) makes the long distance back to the router/backbone switch.
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  29. #29
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by brodricj View Post
    Exactly. Which is why the switch needs SFP. The switch goes near the end point and other devices (to keep your expensive LAN cables short), and the SFP link (which is cheap) makes the long distance back to the router/backbone switch.
    People can just add a SFP to Ethernet box.


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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    They can, but that is not what they want. They want an audio switch with SFP.
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  31. #31
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by brodricj View Post
    They can, but that is not what they want. They want an audio switch with SFP.
    Won’t happen. We went hot and heavy with fiber when the X1 came out. Meh. It was different, but not better IMO. I guess if I had a 200 foot run, things would change.


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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    It won't sell in this market without SFP, and the price is the nail in the coffin.
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  33. #33
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    Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by brodricj View Post
    It won't sell in this market without SFP, and the price is the nail in the coffin.
    LOL. Their first run is almost sold out. We’ve sold three and one for demo.


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  34. #34

    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    LOL. Their first run is almost sold out. We’ve sold three and one for demo.


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    That's hilarious! If you are looking for audio gear marketing advice, listen to audiophiles who think they have their finger on the pulse of audiophiles or listen to a dealer who is actually selling into the marketplace?
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    That's hilarious! If you are looking for audio gear marketing advice, listen to audiophiles who think they have their finger on the pulse of audiophiles or listen to a dealer who is actually selling into the marketplace?
    It's a bit like looking at the asking prices (e.g., at Audiogon) instead of the selling prices
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Plenty of uber rich dudes out there with retirement money burning a hole in their pocket. If I was one of them I’d also have 50k speakers and a 4k ethernet switch. Along with 15k furniture to sit stuff on, a dedicated, acoustically treated room, and a trophy wife to keep me company while I listened, or better yet, a trophy mistress .

    These audio companies know they’re not selling $3500 network switches to Joe Average, and the people buying them don’t care too much to labor over scientific theory - if the marketing says the switch will make the music tickle their gonads, and they can show it off in their signatures, they’re buying it. And I’m pretty sure Nordost knows just how many to manufacture and distribute and Mike knows just how many to buy, to saturate that very specific market. I shoulda been a f’n doctor (like my brother, driving around in his Ferrari), wth was I thinking???
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  37. #37

    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Anybody that is complaining about the price of the Nordost switch obviously hasn't looked at the prices of their top ICs, PCs, and speaker cables. Comparatively speaking, the switch is a bargain.
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  38. #38
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Other than the X1, I can’t think of many others. Seems like an unnecessary expense and perhaps, even a compromise in sonics from their standpoint. Perhaps adding SFP adds complexity, cost and noise.


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    Sorry but SFP from point to point eliminates noise potential compared to Ethernet
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  39. #39
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by still-one View Post
    Sorry but SFP from point to point eliminates noise potential compared to Ethernet
    If you got back to Ethernet than it’s defeating the purpose. Staying SFP all the way through, one can make an argument for different (but not better in my findings) or SFP long run to Ethernet and then short run to Ethernet from a high quality switch can also work.

    Anyway, this is getting way off topic as the use of SFP is so so small, especially as an end point connection.


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  40. #40
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    These will sell like tires, especially for those fortunate enough to have a complete set of Nordost cabling and grounding solutions.
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    I don’t agree. I think the fiber thing is different, but not better. We tried it here with the X1, and my reaction was “meh”. Different, not better. We went back to Ethernet as we thought it was more organic.
    I think you're mostly right. Fiber can vary greatly depending on the SFPs and FMCs used. One of the biggest surprises to me in audio was that I could actually hear differences in SFPs and FMCs. I must have tried at least a half dozen SFPs until I finally landed on a discontinued model of Finisar SFPs recommended by Emile of Taiko. My downstream FMC had been the EtherRegen, but again to my surprise, even the FMC upstream of the fiber span mattered. A Sonore opticalModule turned out to be a noticeable improvement over a Startech FMC that I first started with.

    I like what I hear from my span of fiber because it seems to do no harm while noticeably lowering the noise floor. It's a big part of the reason I am feeling pretty settled as far as my network goes.

    Net net, I can certainly understand why companies like Nordost and Innuos wouldn't want to add fiber capabilities to their switches. It's not always better. But with a little work it can be, so if I ever do purchase another switch I think I'd want it to have fiber capability.
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by still-one View Post
    Sorry but SFP from point to point eliminates noise potential compared to Ethernet
    Some SFPs actually add their own noise. Same for the FMCs.
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Never considered that the SFPs could have characteristics that contribute to SQ. Interesting.

    Are you aware of anywhere that discusses this/has some recommendations?

    And yeah, I don't really think that fiber vs copper is really much different than many other tweak-ish alternatives - they change the sound and some may like one way more than the other - little of this, as has been stated elsewhere, is objective when it comes to preference.

    So much energy and money is spent on tweaks to "reduce jitter" "lower noise" "resist emi/rmf etc", from magic discs sitting on top of things to wooden doo-dads sitting in a corner to (expensive) things that pick cables up off the floor or carbon fiber outlet covers. Why so resistant to something that actually is grounded in principle in doing those things?

    In three systems so far I've preferred fiber to copper - my perception is a lower noise floor/blacker background/more clarity, and better soundstage width/depth/height. Which brings me back to a point I made earlier and others echoed - why would a manufacturer not include this very standard tech as an option on a new product? Give us the choice, to pick the network topo with the characteristics we prefer whether that's SQ or physical installation. Imo they were just saving some $ on engineering and manufacture. For such an expensive product that strikes me as a customer-unfriendly decision.
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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by jmusica View Post
    Never considered that the SFPs could have characteristics that contribute to SQ. Interesting.

    Are you aware of anywhere that discusses this/has some recommendations?
    Lot of discussion regarding audio qualities of SFPs to be found at formerly named computer-audiophile based site.
    Quote Originally Posted by jmusica View Post
    And yeah, I don't really think that fiber vs copper is really much different than many other tweak-ish alternatives - they change the sound and some may like one way more than the other - little of this, as has been stated elsewhere, is objective when it comes to preference.
    That's not accurate. The variability between different copper Ethernet cables is WAY more than with the various fiber-based solutions. This is because by nature, optical fiber is less susceptible to the influence of noise factors than impact audio quality than copper Ethernet.

    And, optical fiber, when utilized for longer runs, is not susceptible to the passage of high-source impedance leakage current. Nor is it susceptible to RFI/EMI.

    Oh, and copper Ethernet is also way susceptible to common-mode noise, as well. This is why I recommend using Shunyata Alpha or better Ethernet cables when/where using a copper Ethernet cable.

    The only "error mode" that it passes the same as copper Ethernet, is phase noise from el-cheapo consumer-grade clocks in cheap-*ss consumer-grade networking devices.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmusica View Post
    So much energy and money is spent on tweaks to "reduce jitter" "lower noise" "resist emi/rmf etc", from magic discs sitting on top of things to wooden doo-dads sitting in a corner to (expensive) things that pick cables up off the floor or carbon fiber outlet covers. Why so resistant to something that actually is grounded in principle in doing those things?
    Cable elevators actually work because they mitigate the impact of floor-borne vibration imparting triboelectic noise into the dieletric of speaker cables, which causes audible "blur and slur" in the presentation. The key thing is you need to use a cable elevator that also dissipates the static E-field that arises when you lift a cable off the floor. This static field can be measured. The static field also imparts a noise component to the EM wave that propogates down the speaker cable that carries the signal. Remember: the signal is NOT carried by electrons "flowing" in the cable conductor, like water in hose, it is carried by the EM wave that propogates along the cable. And, the VP (velocity of propagation) of that EM wave is frequency-dependent.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmusica View Post
    In three systems so far I've preferred fiber to copper - my perception is a lower noise floor/blacker background/more clarity, and better soundstage width/depth/height. Which brings me back to a point I made earlier and others echoed - why would a manufacturer not include this very standard tech as an option on a new product? Give us the choice, to pick the network topo with the characteristics we prefer whether that's SQ or physical installation. Imo they were just saving some $ on engineering and manufacture. For such an expensive product that strikes me as a customer-unfriendly decision.
    Because most manufacturers are behind the eight-ball with respect to this, that's why. Look at how long it took them to understand that power cords make a BIG difference.

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    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by jmusica View Post
    Never considered that the SFPs could have characteristics that contribute to SQ. Interesting.

    Are you aware of anywhere that discusses this/has some recommendations?
    Search for the word Finisar at Audiophile Style. You should see posts from me where I share my thoughts. You’ll also find the key threads where this stuff is discussed.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmusica View Post
    And yeah, I don't really think that fiber vs copper is really much different than many other tweak-ish alternatives - they change the sound and some may like one way more than the other - little of this, as has been stated elsewhere, is objective when it comes to preference.

    So much energy and money is spent on tweaks to "reduce jitter" "lower noise" "resist emi/rmf etc", from magic discs sitting on top of things to wooden doo-dads sitting in a corner to (expensive) things that pick cables up off the floor or carbon fiber outlet covers. Why so resistant to something that actually is grounded in principle in doing those things?
    Fiber gets way too much credit by some because they refuse to acknowledge that perfection is simply not possible. Everything comes with a series of tradeoffs. Running a span of fiber doesn’t perfect isolate.

    (The worst is what I see on some of the Chord DAC forums where there are some who believe use of a toslink cable will eliminate the need for a better server.)

    Quote Originally Posted by jmusica View Post
    In three systems so far I've preferred fiber to copper - my perception is a lower noise floor/blacker background/more clarity, and better soundstage width/depth/height. Which brings me back to a point I made earlier and others echoed - why would a manufacturer not include this very standard tech as an option on a new product? Give us the choice, to pick the network topo with the characteristics we prefer whether that's SQ or physical installation. Imo they were just saving some $ on engineering and manufacture. For such an expensive product that strikes me as a customer-unfriendly decision.
    A friend who owns a PhoenixNET says that what he hears from it is indistinguishable from not having the network plugged in at all. Maybe Innuos didn’t see further benefit from adding fiber capability.

    Another reason not to add fiber is that it will increase the burden on customer support (or on their dealers as I believe both Innuos and Nordost look for dealers to be the first support tier). Have a look at Sonore’s or Uptone’s forums to see how many questions they get about fiber networking. They also get questions about the best choice in copper ethernet but that’s far simpler to get going.

    Nordost actually sells their own Ethernet cables so it would seem kind if ridiculous for them to add fiber capabilities to their switch. They would of course want their customers to use their own cables with their switch.
    Digital: Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC
    Amp & Speakers: Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T
    Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps

  46. #46
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    May 2020
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    Kirkland, WA
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    57

    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    Cable elevators actually work because they mitigate the impact of floor-borne vibration imparting triboelectic noise into the dieletric of speaker cables, which causes audible "blur and slur" in the presentation. The key thing is you need to use a cable elevator that also dissipates the static E-field that arises when you lift a cable off the floor. This static field can be measured. The static field also imparts a noise component to the EM wave that propogates down the speaker cable that carries the signal. Remember: the signal is NOT carried by electrons "flowing" in the cable conductor, like water in hose, it is carried by the EM wave that propogates along the cable. And, the VP (velocity of propagation) of that EM wave is frequency-dependent.
    I use the original Shunyata Dark Field Elevators. They aren't as effective as their current elevators, which I believe you are using. They aren't as adept at mitigating floor-borne vibration but they do help to dissipate the static field. I didn't hear an improvement immediately upon placing my cables on them but after pulling them out to loan to a friend, there definitely was an added "blur and slur".

    My previous MIT speaker cable were from their Oracle series, so the networks were encased in metal boxes. Placing those boxes on Stillpoints helped to remove a bit more of the "blur and slur".

    I wasn't sure I fully understood why both these measures helped, but Stephen your excellent post sure makes a lot of sense.
    Digital: Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC
    Amp & Speakers: Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T
    Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps

  47. #47
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    East Bay, CA
    Posts
    1,526

    Re: Nordost announces QNET switch

    Quote Originally Posted by kennyb123 View Post
    I use the original Shunyata Dark Field Elevators. They aren't as effective as their current elevators, which I believe you are using. They aren't as adept at mitigating floor-borne vibration but they do help to dissipate the static field. I didn't hear an improvement immediately upon placing my cables on them but after pulling them out to loan to a friend, there definitely was an added "blur and slur".

    My previous MIT speaker cable were from their Oracle series, so the networks were encased in metal boxes. Placing those boxes on Stillpoints helped to remove a bit more of the "blur and slur".

    I wasn't sure I fully understood why both these measures helped, but Stephen your excellent post sure makes a lot of sense.
    Yep, the newer ones are more effective, I think Kenny, because the polymer strap the cable is rested on provides more isolation from mechanically-transferred vibration; the white piece of plank foam in the middle of the original design of elevators may impart a bit more vibration-sourced energy into the cable. And, the crystalline materials in the base are more effective at dissipating static fields than the foam used in the original design. I've found that when Shunyata makes a new design change, it's for the better with respect to functionality/features.

    Cheers, mate.

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Nordost announces QNET switch

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