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  1. #1
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    USB vs. Ethernet

    I received the latest ‘Paul’s Post’ from Paul McGowan, founder of PS Audio. Today’s post talks about the differences in streaming via USB vs Eithernet.

    Link to Paul’s post - Please Wait... | Cloudflare

    Part of Paul’s post says:

    “The problem with USB is pretty simple. It is a hard-wired two-way communication link between a noisy computer and a quiet-demanding DAC.

    Ethernet, on the other hand, doesn’t care. You could have the noisest of ancient computers spitting out the data and you can send that signal through multiple switches and routers and miles of cable. It all comes out the same—often regenerated over and over again along the journey.”


    I have always believed that expensive Ethernet cables and regenerators were a waste of money, however, I’m sure Paul’s thoughts won’t change the minds of anyone that believes otherwise.

    Just thought it was an interesting statement from Paul.
    Last edited by Projectman; August 1, 2022 at 09:09 AM. Reason: Added link to quoted Paul’s post
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  2. #2
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    Re: USB vs. Ethernet

    He’s wrong. Noise is the enemy of digital. We have had customers in the store and compared a junker Netgear switch Vs Nordost QNET and a customer brought in a Synergistic Research one. The differences between the aftermarket ones and the netgear were not subtle.


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  3. #3
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    Re: USB vs. Ethernet

    There are too many variables to make this type of declaration.
    USB can have superior results dependent upon the server and DAC.
    Buddy

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  4. #4
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    Re: USB vs. Ethernet

    Link to Paul’s post mentioned above - Please Wait... | Cloudflare
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  5. #5
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    Re: USB vs. Ethernet

    Noise matters big time in digital audio reproduction. There are lots of ways to get rid of it, no one way is best. It all depends on your circumstances.

    Comparing USB to Ethernet is kind of silly really, as most DAC’s won’t accept Ethernet directly.
    Tom

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  6. #6
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    Re: USB vs. Ethernet

    Noise can definitely enter the destination component (i.e. streaming DAC) over (non-fiber) Ethernet, the same as it can over USB and also S/PDIF. They're all electrical connections. Ethernet is guaranteed correct delivery as it does retransmission (subject to cosmic rays), while USB Audio and S/PDIF are not (but realistically also not an issue), so there's that.

    I searched randomly and found an IEEE P802.3cg presentation on industrial noise and Ethernet: 10 Mb/s Single Twisted Pair Ethernet Noise Measurements. Obviously this isn't equivalent to a short run in a home or a regular personal computer. And whether or not it would audibly affect a streaming DAC's output is a separate question. But it shows that (non-fiber) Ethernet is not immune to noise, and actually it shouldn't be too hard to find a lot of professional networking articles on Ethernet noise.
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USB vs. Ethernet

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