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  1. #1
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    Ethernet switch test

    OK guys,

    Anyone ever compare off-the-shelf ethernet switches for sound differences in streaming?

    I've bought or already own 6 different switches from TP link, Netgear and Cisco and will be doing a comparison shootout.

    Has anyone else tried this themselves?
    "We are all billionaires because of the huge piles sweet dough rolling in from our participation in the ongoing campaign to suck your collective brains through a stirrer-straw." - PTA Editorial Staff

  2. #2
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    No real streaming for me but past discussions have happened

    Do I really need an " Audio Grade Network Switch "?
    -----------------
    Brian

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    Secondary - OPPO 93 > VAC CLA 1 MKII Pre > Odyssey Stratos > Dynaudio Audience 82s > Tara Labs Cables


  3. #3
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    I had a TP link at one time. My EE friend suggested I purchase a Netgear switch and he piggybacked glass resistors and capacitors along with addressing some grounding issues. He build a separate power supply / DC blocker for it also.

    It was what I would describe as quieter and cleaner sound.

    I have no idea how any of this works but he has built or rebuilt so many pieces of audio equipment I trust him to try something when he suggests it.

    He is currently working on major upgrades to my ARC 610T amps.
    Synology 1019D+ - SGC Sonictransporter I9 w Roon/HQ Player- UltraRendu- PBD Stream IF to Playback Designs MPS5 via fiber optic - ARC 40th Anniversary Pre - ARC 610 T's - Martin Logan CLX's - 4 Martin Logan Depth i Subs - Shunyata Hydra, DIY PCOCC interconnects, speaker cables and power cords with Furutech terminations. Blue Jeans CAT 6's. Acoustically treated room with one permanent chair.

  4. #4
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by brad225 View Post
    I had a TP link at one time. My EE friend suggested I purchase a Netgear switch and he piggybacked glass resistors and capacitors along with addressing some grounding issues. He build a separate power supply / DC blocker for it also.

    It was what I would describe as quieter and cleaner sound.

    I have no idea how any of this works but he has built or rebuilt so many pieces of audio equipment I trust him to try something when he suggests it.

    He is currently working on major upgrades to my ARC 610T amps.
    Interesting. Upgrading the switches is definitely the way to go.

    I will say I am trying them all in stock form first, then choosing the top two will upgrade from there.

    I hear a lot of good things in the past about the NetGear's for audio, and in my testing I was surprised to see the stock Netgear finish a distant last place.
    "We are all billionaires because of the huge piles sweet dough rolling in from our participation in the ongoing campaign to suck your collective brains through a stirrer-straw." - PTA Editorial Staff

  5. #5
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelsMinute View Post
    OK guys,

    Anyone ever compare off-the-shelf ethernet switches for sound differences in streaming?

    I've bought or already own 6 different switches from TP link, Netgear and Cisco and will be doing a comparison shootout.

    Has anyone else tried this themselves?
    There are a couple specific problems associated with using "consumer grade" Ethernet switches (e.g. TP link, Netgear and Cisco) for hi-res audio applications: a) low- and high-source leakage impedance current, b) threshold jitter, and c) phase noise. These cause problems that result in an audible degradation in audio quality when these are use in high-resolving audio applications (these products were not designed for this application). This is why there are now a number of products that've been developed for "high-end" audio applications, e.g. EtherRegen, SOtM sNH-10G, English Electric, Aqvox, Melco, etc., and the considerably more expensive switches from Nordost, etc.

    My hypothesis is all the "consumer-grade" switches referenced above will like sound like cr*p compared to the ones designed for high-end audio, they may just sound like cr*p in different ways. Also, using these "consumer grade" switches with the SMPS they usually come with is a sure way to produce even poorer audio qualty, they all require a quality, quiet linear power supply. However, using them with a quiet LPS will do nothing for the amount of phase noise produced from their crap clocks that cost a coupla cents in a BOM.

    Then, there's the whole subject of...Ethernet cables. Even the quality of the connectors matters here.

    i've mentioned this before, but to understand this better, one really needs to read this white paper by John Swenson.
    https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/06...f?v=1583429386

  6. #6
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    There are a couple specific problems associated with using "consumer grade" Ethernet switches (e.g. TP link, Netgear and Cisco) for hi-res audio applications: a) low- and high-source leakage impedance current, b) threshold jitter, and c) phase noise. These cause problems that result in an audible degradation audio quality when these are use in high-resolving audio applications (these products were not designed for this application). This is why there are now a number of products that've been developed for "high-end" audio applications, e.g. EtherRegen, SOtM sNH-10G, English Electric, Aqvox, Melco, etc., and the considerably more expensive switches from Nordost, etc.

    My hypothesis is all the "consumer-grade" switches referenced above will like sound like cr*p compared to the ones designed for high-end audio, they may just sound like cr*p in different ways. Also, using these "consumer grade" with the SMPS they usually come with is a sure way to produce even poorer audio qualty, they all require a quiet linear power supply. However, using them with a quiet LPS will do nothing for the amount of phase noise produced from their crap clocks that cost a coupla cents in a BOM.
    I totally agree.

    Fiber optic is in the next round, then higher quality switches will be in the following round after that.

    I'm trying to get a baseline first for what most people start with / will have as a reference piece in which to compare the next steps from.

    I felt going right to the higher quality stuff doesn't really give me a baseline to compare to and understand what the improvements are.
    "We are all billionaires because of the huge piles sweet dough rolling in from our participation in the ongoing campaign to suck your collective brains through a stirrer-straw." - PTA Editorial Staff

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    I tried a pair of Startech fiber converters and a pair of Trendnet switches that had fiber ports in my system.

    To my surprise, the less expensive Trendnet switches sounded much better. I had gone out of my way to not buy the cheapest fiber converter and the Startech I bought were about $75 each. The Trendnet switch was under $55.

    With the Fiber converters connected to my streamer the sound lacked clarity and sounded congested for lack of a better description. It was a step backward compared to wired ethernet.

    Then I tried the Trendnet switches and the sound issue was resolved and improved. Then I added iFi power supplies on the switches and thought I heard an additional improvement.

    I should add that I used the same Startech SFP modules with fiber converters and switches.
    Christian

    south: Mark Levinson No. 52 pre, Bricasti M28 amps, Lumin A1, Oppo BDP-205, Pioneer CT-43, Sony SS-AR1 Speakers, Audioquest PCs, Audioquest speaker cables, Audioquest & Iconoclast interconnects, HB Power Design Powerslave Star Galaxy power distributor

    north: Vitus SIA-030, Luxman D-10X, Sony TC-KA3ES, Harbeth 40.2, Siltech cables

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Rnrmf View Post
    I tried a pair of Startech fiber converters and a pair of Trendnet switches that had fiber ports in my system.

    To my surprise, the less expensive Trendnet switches sounded much better. I had gone out of my way to not buy the cheapest fiber converter and the Startech I bought were about $75 each. The Trendnet switch was under $55.

    With the Fiber converters connected to my streamer the sound lacked clarity and sounded congested for lack of a better description. It was a step backward compared to wired ethernet.

    Then I tried the Trendnet switches and the sound issue was resolved and improved. Then I added iFi power supplies on the switches and thought I heard an additional improvement.

    I should add that I used the same Startech SFP modules with fiber converters and switches.
    Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    I have both Finisar (recommended by Puma Cat) converter and transceiver and TP link converter and star tech transceiver I will be trying in comparison with each other.
    "We are all billionaires because of the huge piles sweet dough rolling in from our participation in the ongoing campaign to suck your collective brains through a stirrer-straw." - PTA Editorial Staff

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    I've considered one of the recommended Finisar SFP modules but I'm skeptical if I'd really hear improvements - I think streaming sounds fantastic right now in my system. There is another recommended Finisar module that is "industrial grade" or something like that and sells for around $350 I think. It doesn't seem to be available anywhere at the moment, however.

    It's worth noting I also use a Shunyata Omega ethernet cable from the switch to the streamer module built into my Vitus amp and that's the best ethernet cable I've tried. It was the icing on the cake. It does not and will not take the place of the ethernet set up I described above with the switches and fiber. The Omega isn't a short-cut that can take the place of other improvements is what I'm saying.

    I'm interested in how the gear you got sounds in comparison to each other.
    Christian

    south: Mark Levinson No. 52 pre, Bricasti M28 amps, Lumin A1, Oppo BDP-205, Pioneer CT-43, Sony SS-AR1 Speakers, Audioquest PCs, Audioquest speaker cables, Audioquest & Iconoclast interconnects, HB Power Design Powerslave Star Galaxy power distributor

    north: Vitus SIA-030, Luxman D-10X, Sony TC-KA3ES, Harbeth 40.2, Siltech cables

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Rnrmf View Post
    I've considered one of the recommended Finisar SFP modules but I'm skeptical if I'd really hear improvements - I think streaming sounds fantastic right now in my system. There is another recommended Finisar module that is "industrial grade" or something like that and sells for around $350 I think. It doesn't seem to be available anywhere at the moment, however.

    It's worth noting I also use a Shunyata Omega ethernet cable from the switch to the streamer module built into my Vitus amp and that's the best ethernet cable I've tried. It was the icing on the cake. It does not and will not take the place of the ethernet set up I described above with the switches and fiber. The Omega isn't a short-cut that can take the place of other improvements is what I'm saying.

    I'm interested in how the gear you got sounds in comparison to each other.
    I'll keep you updated. Also debating on whether to add a base SOtM switch or AQVOX switch to the test. The loaded AQVOX is the same price as the base level SOtM.
    "We are all billionaires because of the huge piles sweet dough rolling in from our participation in the ongoing campaign to suck your collective brains through a stirrer-straw." - PTA Editorial Staff

  11. #11
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelsMinute View Post
    I'll keep you updated. Also debating on whether to add a base SOtM switch or AQVOX switch to the test. The loaded AQVOX is the same price as the base level SOtM.
    You must have a contact somewhere Michael. You are always going to wonder if you don't try one of those for a comparison.

    I assure you we all want to know what you think about the differences in them.
    Synology 1019D+ - SGC Sonictransporter I9 w Roon/HQ Player- UltraRendu- PBD Stream IF to Playback Designs MPS5 via fiber optic - ARC 40th Anniversary Pre - ARC 610 T's - Martin Logan CLX's - 4 Martin Logan Depth i Subs - Shunyata Hydra, DIY PCOCC interconnects, speaker cables and power cords with Furutech terminations. Blue Jeans CAT 6's. Acoustically treated room with one permanent chair.

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by brad225 View Post
    You must have a contact somewhere Michael. You are always going to wonder if you don't try one of those for a comparison.

    I assure you we all want to know what you think about the differences in them.
    Thanks Brad. I know you are right - I will definitely always wonder "what if".

    Even with trying out cheaper switches - I know they won't be great but I love to just try things for myself and discover what works and what doesn't. That is the real fun part of this hobby that some people on forums seem to forget about.

    I'll be sure to keep you updated.
    "We are all billionaires because of the huge piles sweet dough rolling in from our participation in the ongoing campaign to suck your collective brains through a stirrer-straw." - PTA Editorial Staff

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    I'm also going to be testing which PORT sounds better (if any) on the switches for the output - the one closest to the input or the one furthest away.
    "We are all billionaires because of the huge piles sweet dough rolling in from our participation in the ongoing campaign to suck your collective brains through a stirrer-straw." - PTA Editorial Staff

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelsMinute View Post
    I'm also going to be testing which PORT sounds better (if any) on the switches for the output - the one closest to the input or the one furthest away.
    the port in the middle, is just right
    2chl : Pass Xa-30.5, W4S STP, Kef 201/2, KEF 140, Vapor Breeze, Lumin, VPI Classic, Manley Chinook, Bryston CD, BHA-1, HD650, HD800s, HD820's, Dan Clark 1.1, Focal Stellia, OPPO 203, 105.

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by CPP View Post
    the port in the middle, is just right
    OK Goldilocks.
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Rnrmf View Post
    I've considered one of the recommended Finisar SFP modules but I'm skeptical if I'd really hear improvements - I think streaming sounds fantastic right now in my system. There is another recommended Finisar module that is "industrial grade" or something like that and sells for around $350 I think. It doesn't seem to be available anywhere at the moment, however.
    Just some terminology clarification for the gang in the interests of accuracy: "SFP" is an industry specification of a standard for a port that a specific type of optical transceiver can be used with: Small Form-factor, Pluggable (aka "SFP). The device actually doing the sending and receiving of the optical signals is an optical transceiver.

    There is an audible difference in various optical transceivers, and you don't need to spend $350 on a good one. While they're made by a number of manufacturers, the gang at Audiophile Style found that for ER, the Finisar FTLF1324P2BTV sounded the best for most guys in most applications, and this is consistent with my experience. There's also a $10 one from G-Tek that sounds good, as well, but not quite as good as the Finisar. This does not mean you may find another optical transceiver that works best in yourspecific system. Systems, components, and parts can...interact (just like Time*Temperature interact in many chemical or "physics"-based systems).

    Quote Originally Posted by Rnrmf View Post
    It's worth noting I also use a Shunyata Omega ethernet cable from the switch to the streamer module built into my Vitus amp and that's the best ethernet cable I've tried. It was the icing on the cake. It does not and will not take the place of the ethernet set up I described above with the switches and fiber. The Omega isn't a short-cut that can take the place of other improvements is what I'm saying.

    I'm interested in how the gear you got sounds in comparison to each other.
    Agreed, 100% The Omega Ethernet cable is frickin' amazing, and you're correct that it does not take the place of the Ethernet set-up you've described regarding switchces and fiber.

  17. #17
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelsMinute View Post
    Thanks Brad. I know you are right - I will definitely always wonder "what if".

    Even with trying out cheaper switches - I know they won't be great but I love to just try things for myself and discover what works and what doesn't. That is the real fun part of this hobby that some people on forums seem to forget about.

    I'll be sure to keep you updated.
    As someone who worked as a scientist his entire career, if I may provide some advice: Just be systematic in your evaluations. Create a structured experimental test plan, and designate a "datum" for reference. That will the "standard" that you compare other switches (optical transceivers, power supplies, whatever) to. Everything else should stay the same in the system, including the range of musical content, when doing your evaluations. It would also be ideal to pick the same time of day when you're doing listening evaluations. Also, bear in mind that every time you "swap something out", you need to allow time for the new device to "settle". Particularly for "100% digital-domain only devices", e.g. switches, optical transceivers, FMCs, etc. For example, for digital devices, e.g. switches and FMCs, any motion or movement induces vibration in he clocks, and these devices don't like vibration at all. This is particularly true for the crap clocks in consumer-grade electronics. The clocks also don't like fluctations in room temperature, so be sure the rooom is the same temperature for all your evaluations. Also, if you switch out cables, e.g. Ethernet, USB, S/PDIF cables, etc., they need time to settle, also.

    Have fun!

  18. #18
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    As someone who worked as a scientist his entire career, if I may provide some advice: Just be systematic in your evaluations. Create a structured experimental test plan, and designate a "datum" for reference. That will the "standard" that you compare other switches (optical transceivers, power supplies, whatever) to. Everything else should stay the same in the system, including the range of musical content, when doing your evaluations. It would also be ideal to pick the same time of day when you're doing listening evaluations. Also, bear in mind that every time you "swap something out", you need to allow time for the new device to "settle". Particularly for "100% digital-domain only devices", e.g. switches, optical transceivers, FMCs, etc. For example, for digital devices, e.g. switches and FMCs, any motion or movement induces vibration in he clocks, and these devices don't like vibration at all. This is particularly true for the crap clocks in consumer-grade electronics. The clocks also don't like fluctations in room temperature, so be sure the rooom is the same temperature for all your evaluations. Also, if you switch out cables, e.g. Ethernet, USB, S/PDIF cables, etc., they need time to settle, also.

    Have fun!
    Great advice as always and I appreciate it.

    I'm just finishing up about 3 hours of testing and my ears need a rest!

    I'm going to "reset" myself overnight and start up again tomorrow listening to the current version as the new baseline to move forward from.

    Some pretty interesting findings so far!!
    "We are all billionaires because of the huge piles sweet dough rolling in from our participation in the ongoing campaign to suck your collective brains through a stirrer-straw." - PTA Editorial Staff

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelsMinute View Post
    Great advice as always and I appreciate it.

    I'm just finishing up about 3 hours of testing and my ears need a rest!

    I'm going to "reset" myself overnight and start up again tomorrow listening to the current version as the new baseline to move forward from.

    Some pretty interesting findings so far!!
    Cool beans.

  20. #20
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    fwiw: here are two threads documenting my research and implementation of an audio transport and the associated network ... ie: everything upstream from my DAC ...enjoy

    > a trip up the digital stream

    > the last mile ó sonore opticalRendu


    and if you really want to get into the weeds:

    > phase noise -- what is old is new again?

    __________________________________________________ _

    btw: at this point i have moved on to analog -- and pretty much only use digital for streaming titles that i am interested in purchasing in vinyl format. in terms of system and musical enjoyment, could no be happier!!
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by aKnyght View Post
    fwiw: here are two threads documenting my research and implementation of an audio transport and the associated network ... ie: everything upstream from my DAC ...enjoy

    > a trip up the digital stream

    > the last mile ó sonore opticalRendu


    and if you really want to get into the weeds:

    > phase noise -- what is old is new again?

    __________________________________________________ _

    btw: at this point i have moved on to analog -- and pretty much only use digital for streaming titles that i am interested in purchasing in vinyl format. in terms of system and musical enjoyment, could no be happier!!
    I'll definitely read. Thanks for sharing!
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    ...Finisar FTLF1324P2BTV...
    I had come across another recommended Finisar on Audiophile Style - the FTLF8519P3BNL

    Do you know if whoever it was compared that with the FTLF1324P2BTV you mention?
    Christian

    south: Mark Levinson No. 52 pre, Bricasti M28 amps, Lumin A1, Oppo BDP-205, Pioneer CT-43, Sony SS-AR1 Speakers, Audioquest PCs, Audioquest speaker cables, Audioquest & Iconoclast interconnects, HB Power Design Powerslave Star Galaxy power distributor

    north: Vitus SIA-030, Luxman D-10X, Sony TC-KA3ES, Harbeth 40.2, Siltech cables

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Rnrmf View Post
    I had come across another recommended Finisar on Audiophile Style - the FTLF8519P3BNL

    Do you know if whoever it was compared that with the FTLF1324P2BTV you mention?
    Good question. I have the FTLF8519P3BNL. Would like to know the answer.
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelsMinute View Post
    Good question. I have the FTLF8519P3BNL. Would like to know the answer.
    When I've looked up some of the Finisar transceivers I have come across "discontinued" with some of the recommended ones I've searched for. That makes me wonder if sellers that claim to stock them have printed up labels and stuck them on a generic transceivers to take advantage.

    It's almost a bridge too far for me to believe that these transceivers can sound markedly different as it stands.

    Have you compared the Finisar you have with others?
    Christian

    south: Mark Levinson No. 52 pre, Bricasti M28 amps, Lumin A1, Oppo BDP-205, Pioneer CT-43, Sony SS-AR1 Speakers, Audioquest PCs, Audioquest speaker cables, Audioquest & Iconoclast interconnects, HB Power Design Powerslave Star Galaxy power distributor

    north: Vitus SIA-030, Luxman D-10X, Sony TC-KA3ES, Harbeth 40.2, Siltech cables

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Rnrmf View Post
    When I've looked up some of the Finisar transceivers I have come across "discontinued" with some of the recommended ones I've searched for. That makes me wonder if sellers that claim to stock them have printed up labels and stuck them on a generic transceivers to take advantage.

    It's almost a bridge too far for me to believe that these transceivers can sound markedly different as it stands.

    Have you compared the Finisar you have with others?
    I spent most of today testing switches with RJ45. Tomorrow will be optical day. I bought the Finsar and these to compare:

    StarTech.com MSA Uncoded Compatible SFP Module - 1000BASE-ZX - 1GbE Single Mode Fiber (SMF) Optic Transceiver - 1GE Gigabit Ethernet SFP - LC 70km - 1550nm - DDM (SFP1000ZXST)
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Rnrmf View Post

    It's almost a bridge too far for me to believe that these transceivers can sound markedly different as it stands.

    Have you compared the Finisar you have with others?
    Depends how "markedly different" is defined. They can sound different. Just as two 6922s can sound different. My suggestion is to find one you like and call it day.

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    OK guys - I may have to postpone step 2 in the testing. I was enjoying (no critical listening) the new improved sound with my ethernet audio tonight to become familiar with the new baseline for tomorrow and decided to download and try Qobuz to compare to my Tidal subscription.

    HOLY CRAP!!!!!

    Qobuz so kicked the butt of Tidal up and down the street I need a couple of days of listening to get used to how good it sounds before moving on to step 2 otherwise my findings will be all skewed.
    "We are all billionaires because of the huge piles sweet dough rolling in from our participation in the ongoing campaign to suck your collective brains through a stirrer-straw." - PTA Editorial Staff

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelsMinute View Post
    OK guys - I may have to postpone step 2 in the testing. I was enjoying (no critical listening) the new improved sound with my ethernet audio tonight to become familiar with the new baseline for tomorrow and decided to download and try Qobuz to compare to my Tidal subscription.

    HOLY CRAP!!!!!

    Qobuz so kicked the butt of Tidal up and down the street I need a couple of days of listening to get used to how good it sounds before moving on to step 2 otherwise my findings will be all skewed.
    Oh, yeah, I figured this out years ago. Dropped my Tidal sub immediately.

    Also, not to add "complexity" here, but discs that are ripped and resident on a "file server" drive sound better than the same exact recording streamed from Qobuz. Even if, for example, the recording is 24/96 on Qobuz and is 16/44 ripped from a CD. When I find content I like on Qobuz, I'll then order the CD, rip it, and put it on the file server.

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Just another note that I use the app, XLD, for ripping CDs, with the AccurateRIP function invoked.

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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Ground induced parasitic power supply leakage currents, clock phase noise, threshold ambiguity in DACís are all known and real phenomena. What hasnít yet been done is a rigorous scientific proof of how these mechanisms impact reproduced sound. So far all Iíve seen is hand waving, anecdotal listening experiences, or just crickets. While plausible hypotheses have been raised as to the sonic impact of these mechanisms, I have not as yet seen a set of experiments of sufficient quality to show that any suggested solutions make an impact outside of the listeners cerebral cortex.
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  31. #31

    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by W9TR View Post
    Ground induced parasitic power supply leakage currents, clock phase noise, threshold ambiguity in DACís are all known and real phenomena. What hasnít yet been done is a rigorous scientific proof of how these mechanisms impact reproduced sound. So far all Iíve seen is hand waving, anecdotal listening experiences, or just crickets. While plausible hypotheses have been raised as to the sonic impact of these mechanisms, I have not as yet seen a set of experiments of sufficient quality to show that any suggested solutions make an impact outside of the listeners cerebral cortex.
    The cure is worse than the disease. Mr. 6th degree BB in breaking wind is still recommending a complex streaming hookup that entails multiple conversions of ethernet to fiber and back to ethernet that he personally removed from his system because it's inherently unreliable. You don't even need industry titles that proves you are a quality guru to know this is still a bad idea.

    At the end of the day, all conclusions are based on what the experimenters ears tell him which may not mesh with what others hear in their system. It's all subjective.

    Common sense tells you to keep your digital chain as simple as possible for it to work optimally. Adding needless complexity adds unreliability to your network.
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  32. #32
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Update: So I spent a couple of hours last night on this getting a new baseline on sound before I try the next round of tests which include much more expensive ethernet cables.

    I've run all my baseline tests with BJC cat 6a cables. Why? Because they are one of the few cables I know of that come with a test spec sheet for each individual cable proving it is actually a true 6a or better rated cable. Many of the mass market cables being sold are from china and do not actually meet their rated speed claims.

    In the ethernet audio forums there is a lot of talk about the Supra Cat 8 cable being a 'budget killer' and outperforming more expensive cables yet only costs $50. So I bought one along with the other cables I will be trying as a super cheap option on cable.

    I was excited looking forward to a lift in SQ when using the Supra. Yet In my tests last night there was no difference in sound between the Supra and the $12 BJC. I think this speaks to the BJC being a very solid entry level ethernet cable to use until someone is ready to step up to higher end cables.

    We'll see how the other tests pan out.

  33. #33
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    I was quite skeptical about the value of "audiophile" Ethernet switches until I compared the EtherRegen to stock Cisco and TP-link switches and to no switch. I was also skeptical about the "need" for a LPS for the EtherRegen. Note that the EtherRegen and my HDPlex LPS are at the low end (pricewise) to what is out there. Nevertheless the difference in sound quality switching back and forth (using qobuz) was apparent even to my non-audiophile wife who was blinded to the source. One caveat; I use an ASUS non-audiophile grade router and a long run of fairly generic CAT6 (the BJC mentioned above) into the EtherRegen. It is possible that a better Ethernet cable from router to switch would equal or better the sound of the improved switch, but it would cost more than the switch.

    I do have the potential to move the switch and server close to the router and upgrade that Ethernet cable (although there are some physical home logistical problems with this approach for me). The Uptone Audio folks claim that shouldn't matter, but others' experiences suggest that may not be true.
    Rob
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  34. #34
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by rbbert View Post
    I was quite skeptical about the value of "audiophile" Ethernet switches until I compared the EtherRegen to stock Cisco and TP-link switches and to no switch. I was also skeptical about the "need" for a LPS for the EtherRegen. Note that the EtherRegen and my HDPlex LPS are at the low end (pricewise) to what is out there. Nevertheless the difference in sound quality switching back and forth (using qobuz) was apparent even to my non-audiophile wife who was blinded to the source. One caveat; I use an ASUS non-audiophile grade router and a long run of fairly generic CAT6 (the BJC mentioned above) into the EtherRegen. It is possible that a better Ethernet cable from router to switch would equal or better the sound of the improved switch, but it would cost more than the switch.

    I do have the potential to move the switch and server close to the router and upgrade that Ethernet cable (although there are some physical home logistical problems with this approach for me). The Uptone Audio folks claim that shouldn't matter, but others' experiences suggest that may not be true.
    In my testing which I will be posting a video on - moving the switch closer to my streamer with a very short cable then to the streamer after the switch did yield subtle improvements.

    I also think ethernet audio is VERY dependent on so many individual factors on a user basis regarding the quality of cable to the house, in the house, interference in the walls, etc. etc. that a switch that may make an improvement for one person may or may not for another person.

  35. #35
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelsMinute View Post
    Update: So I spent a couple of hours last night on this getting a new baseline on sound before I try the next round of tests which include much more expensive ethernet cables.

    I've run all my baseline tests with BJC cat 6a cables. Why? Because they are one of the few cables I know of that come with a test spec sheet for each individual cable proving it is actually a true 6a or better rated cable. Many of the mass market cables being sold are from china and do not actually meet their rated speed claims.

    In the ethernet audio forums there is a lot of talk about the Supra Cat 8 cable being a 'budget killer' and outperforming more expensive cables yet only costs $50. So I bought one along with the other cables I will be trying as a super cheap option on cable.

    I was excited looking forward to a lift in SQ when using the Supra. Yet In my tests last night there was no difference in sound between the Supra and the $12 BJC. I think this speaks to the BJC being a very solid entry level ethernet cable to use until someone is ready to step up to higher end cables.

    We'll see how the other tests pan out.
    Is the BJC cable shielded or unshielded? I don't think the BJC site specifies. I've been experimenting with 2 types of unshielded CAT6 with one claiming much "higher bandwidth" than the other. I've been comparing those to a CAT8 cable I like a lot but that's obviously strongly shielded. There is an inexpensive unshielded 6a that I considered trying but it has POE and I'm not sure if that's something I want in my streaming chain. I don't need the POE feature but I don't know if it could be a source of noise transmission in an otherwise unshielded 6a cable.
    Christian

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  36. #36
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    I second the OpticalRendu solution. You need a switch with Optical Ethernet outputs tho (or a simple TPLink Wired Ethernet to Optical Etherned converter).
    Adam

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  37. #37
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Rnrmf View Post
    Is the BJC cable shielded or unshielded? I don't think the BJC site specifies. I've been experimenting with 2 types of unshielded CAT6 with one claiming much "higher bandwidth" than the other. I've been comparing those to a CAT8 cable I like a lot but that's obviously strongly shielded. There is an inexpensive unshielded 6a that I considered trying but it has POE and I'm not sure if that's something I want in my streaming chain. I don't need the POE feature but I don't know if it could be a source of noise transmission in an otherwise unshielded 6a cable.
    Hi - I believe it is unshielded. the BJC is so inexpensive on Amazon you should give it a try. I burn in my ethernet cables before trying any listening on them and my OCD makes me keep them all directional.

  38. #38
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelsMinute View Post
    Hi - I believe it is unshielded. the BJC is so inexpensive on Amazon you should give it a try. I burn in my ethernet cables before trying any listening on them and my OCD makes me keep them all directional.
    I forgot that Amazon sold them - pictures on Amazon and questions answered by BJC confirm it's unshielded at the connector ends though it has foil to prevent what they call "alien crosstalk (AXT) from neighboring cables." Thanks for the suggestion. I might give them a try as the build is a little different than the unshielded CAT6 I'm currently trying.
    Christian

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  39. #39
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Rnrmf View Post
    I forgot that Amazon sold them - pictures on Amazon and questions answered by BJC confirm it's unshielded at the connector ends though it has foil to prevent what they call "alien crosstalk (AXT) from neighboring cables." Thanks for the suggestion. I might give them a try as the build is a little different than the unshielded CAT6 I'm currently trying.
    Let me know if you try them what you think of them.

    For sure there are better ethernet cables at much more expensive prices. But So far I consider them a solid entry level ethernet cable that are better than the basic mass market crap before getting into more expensive premium cables.

  40. #40
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelsMinute View Post
    In my testing which I will be posting a video on - moving the switch closer to my streamer with a very short cable then to the streamer after the switch did yield subtle improvements.

    I also think ethernet audio is VERY dependent on so many individual factors on a user basis regarding the quality of cable to the house, in the house, interference in the walls, etc. etc. that a switch that may make an improvement for one person may or may not for another person.
    What it's dependent primarily for audio on is the amount of leakage current from el-cheapo upstream devices. This causes threshold jitter, which impacts timing. Which we can easily hear. They're also sensitive to common-mode noise. And the terminations used.

  41. #41
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Elberoth View Post
    I second the OpticalRendu solution. You need a switch with Optical Ethernet outputs tho (or a simple TPLink Wired Ethernet to Optical Etherned converter).
    You can't buy an OpticalRendu anymore, they've been discontinued, unfortunately.

  42. #42
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    You can't buy an OpticalRendu anymore, they've been discontinued, unfortunately.
    ? The Sonore site says OR is sold out not discontinued. The MR says discontinued though.

    Canít imagine they would discontinue the OR, maybe a new version but discontinued?
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  43. #43
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelsMinute View Post
    Let me know if you try them what you think of them.

    For sure there are better ethernet cables at much more expensive prices. But So far I consider them a solid entry level ethernet cable that are better than the basic mass market crap before getting into more expensive premium cables.

    My internet goes from Modem > Netgear Orbi Router > Trendnet switch with fiber port > FIBER > Trendnet switch with fiber port > Shunyatat Omega ethernet cable > Vitus streaming board

    I'm testing out ethernet patch cables between the Modem and router & router and Trendnet switch.

    The newest ones I'm testing are the best of the 3 I've tried.

    They are Monoprice unshielded CAT6 spec with 550Mhz bandwidth; I'm surprised to be hearing much better separation and clarity. I've gone back and forth a few times making comparisons and surprised that this cheap cable seems to improve the clarity I'm hearing while I'm streaming Qobuz. A home run for a $9 change in cables. I identify characteristics of the sound of each set of the 3 types of patch cables I have.

    If I try the BJC ethernet patch cable, it won't be for 2-3 weeks but I think I'm hearing the lowest amount of distortion I've heard and it's hard to imagine the BJC being better. But it is supposed to be a higher spec as a CAT6A so maybe worth a try.

    The Lumin suggestion of using unshielded cables upstream seems to have merit even though I'm converting to fiber before my streamer.
    Christian

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  44. #44
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Swisstrips View Post
    ? The Sonore site says OR is sold out not discontinued. The MR says discontinued though.

    Canít imagine they would discontinue the OR, maybe a new version but discontinued?
    As far as I know, they are not building or selling any more OpticalRendus and haven't been for at least a year to year and a half now. I think the reason is they cannot get key parts for it due to the "chip shortage" in China induced by the pandemic. I have a hypothesis the reason the OpticalRendu was discontinued may be for the same basic resaons EtherREGEN was discontinued: parts unavailability, shortage or untenable increase in price. In the case of ER, the cost of a 6 or 7 dollar FPGA went from a few dollars to something like $64/each. Which made the cost of the product no longer tenable. But, I don't know this for fact, so please don't assume it is exactly the same scenario. It's merely a hypothesis.

  45. #45
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    You can still order the Sonore Optical Module from Small Green Computer. I have been using one for several years.

    My set-up modem > Netgear Orbi Router > Trendnet switch with optical port > long run fiber optic > optical module > Shunyata ethernet > dCS Upsampler

    I can't quantify SQ improvements but it is very quiet and rock solid.
    Jim

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  46. #46
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    What it's dependent primarily for audio on is the amount of leakage current from el-cheapo upstream devices. This causes threshold jitter, which impacts timing. Which we can easily hear. They're also sensitive to common-mode noise. And the terminations used.
    Which brings up a question about the relative importance of Ethernet cables compared to the upstream devices (i.e., cable modem, router, their power supplies, etc.). Every now and then I read some opinions and observations at Audiophile Style about different modems and routers and their possible effects on sound quality, without any carefully conducted listening tests that I have read.

    Like Steve I don't use streaming for critical listening, so much of that may not be important for me (but "may not" means the same thing as "may"). Critical (digital) listening is from files on a NAS that are cached in RAM on the server prior to play.
    Rob
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  47. #47

    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by rbbert View Post
    Which brings up a question about the relative importance of Ethernet cables compared to the upstream devices (i.e., cable modem, router, their power supplies, etc.). Every now and then I read some opinions and observations at Audiophile Style about different modems and routers and their possible effects on sound quality, without any carefully conducted listening tests that I have read.

    Like Steve I don't use streaming for critical listening, so much of that may not be important for me (but "may not" means the same thing as "may"). Critical (digital) listening is from files on a NAS that are cached in RAM on the server prior to play.
    Why bother to pay to stream music if it's not good enough for "critical" listening?
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  48. #48
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by rbbert View Post
    Which brings up a question about the relative importance of Ethernet cables compared to the upstream devices (i.e., cable modem, router, their power supplies, etc.). Every now and then I read some opinions and observations at Audiophile Style about different modems and routers and their possible effects on sound quality, without any carefully conducted listening tests that I have read.

    Like Steve I don't use streaming for critical listening, so much of that may not be important for me (but "may not" means the same thing as "may"). Critical (digital) listening is from files on a NAS that are cached in RAM on the server prior to play.
    I know you can't judge SQ though YouTube, but you can certainly still here a difference between the switches on this video. It's up to you whether or not you feel its worth spending money on the switches. But even between mass-market crap brands I have heard audible differences in my testing the last few weeks.

    Live Stream Switch Test - Paul Pang - NuPrime - English Electric - Cisco - SOtM - YouTube

  49. #49
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    Why bother to pay to stream music if it's not good enough for "critical" listening?
    I listen to music for pleasure. Iím not even sure what critical listening is for.
    Jim

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  50. #50
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    Re: Ethernet switch test

    Quote Originally Posted by still-one View Post
    I listen to music for pleasure. Iím not even sure what critical listening is for.
    Bingo.

    Well said, Jim.

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