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Ethernet switches for audio - Part A: List of switches, related info & experiences


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17 minutes ago, dbastin said:

 

The same could be said for ...

 

 

 

No problem, then please disregard my comment.

 

cheers,

Terry

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$39.99 It works. 😑   

Had a bunch of guys over on Friday including @frednork @Assisi @betty boop @Quark@Anatoly Beaver-Hausen for a listening session.  John brought over his Bonn N8 switch plus his Paul Pang Quad swit

The new PhoenixNet switch/reclocker finally arrived in country last week, mine arrived today. I’ll put up first, second, third and by tomorrow arvo possibly even a bloody fourth impression. .

45 minutes ago, TerryO said:

No problem, then please disregard my comment

Um, maybe we have a misunderstanding.  I agree with your statement.  What I was suggesting is that if a $4k switch, reclocker or ethernet cable have similar improvements on sound quality, they all ought to be considered and assessed for value in your system.

 

For me, the parts in the backbone of my ethernet chain are about US$700 - 1k RRP and each has demonstrated to me similar performance.  For instance, I have a cables that reduce noise to a similar degree as EtherRegen (with its stock psu and power cord).

 

The peripherals like LPS, power cords do give improvements, however the benefit-cost ratio is different.  For instance, a $700 power cord does not seem to give the equivalent benefit as a $700 ethernet cable.  And LPSs cost could be even higher for similar benefit.

 

So we search for high value for money things to find the sweet spot of diminishing returns.

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It is rather an interesting hobby with great diversities. Each has its own merit, endlessly really. 
 

Having said that..., am currently using AIM Shieldio NA-7... It was to my ear best bang for the buck. 

 

 

CC8EF51A-A5CE-42C7-95D8-A9ECB5A21FF7.jpeg

Edited by Chanh
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9 hours ago, Chanh said:

currently using AIM Shieldio NA-7... It was to my ear best bang for the buck. 

It would be great if you could share your experiences with this and others you auditioned on the Ethernet Cables for Audio Part A.

 

In contrast to "keep the cables short" approach, it was interesting to read this about the AIM TOMY sheath

  1. The longer the cable, the higher the performance gain

The sheath is 

 

"To remove both the radiation noise generated from the cable and external noise from the outside"

 

I'm not sure if that means it simply does not let noise escape from the cable, or it also absorbs/filters noise already hitch hiking in the cable.

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8 hours ago, dbastin said:

It would be great if you could share your experiences with this and others you auditioned on the Ethernet Cables for Audio Part A.

 

In contrast to "keep the cables short" approach, it was interesting to read this about the AIM TOMY sheath

  1. The longer the cable, the higher the performance gain

The sheath is 

 

"To remove both the radiation noise generated from the cable and external noise from the outside"

 

I'm not sure if that means it simply does not let noise escape from the cable, or it also absorbs/filters noise already hitch hiking in the cable.

All that point 1 means is that if you replace a long length of unshielded cable with a long length of shielded cable, you'll get a bigger drop in noise than if you replace a short length of unshielded cable with a short length of shielded cable. It hardly contradicts the short cable hypothesis.

The second comment is also uncontroversial - it can be paraphrased as "the shielding works both ways".

Point 1 has implications. Maybe the people who like me have reported a negative when replacing a short length of ordinary ethernet cable with a special cable, simply aren't replacing enough cable to hear an effect in our specific environment? Or we are replacing cable in the wrong place?

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8 hours ago, dbastin said:

It would be great if you could share your experiences with this and others you auditioned on the Ethernet Cables for Audio Part A.

 

Ah, there are cables threads! I'll get reading when I have time, my point's probably already addressed.

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32 minutes ago, Eggcup the Dafter said:

Ah, there are cables threads!

Knock yourself out here. 

I'd personally love to hear how to save expense on cables while still achieving the same performance.

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I've been making up some ethernet cables with the shielding attached at one end and not the other. I assume this is a similar principle? Also, does the PULSHUT shielding act in a similar way to the semi-conductive nylon screen on the Supra Lorad cables?

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I put in a order for the new Phoenix Ethernet reclocker today, should be here in roughly a months time. I had been considering going down the path of purchasing a Paul Pang or similar but now will wait for the Innuos. Then will compare to a mates system who has gone down the Paul Pang double switch path, could be interesting.
 

cheers,

Terry

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12 minutes ago, TerryO said:

I put in a order for the new Phoenix Ethernet reclocker today, should be here in roughly a months time. I had been considering going down the path of purchasing a Paul Pang but now will wait for the Innuos. Then will compare to a mates system who has gone down the Paul Pang double switch path, could be interesting.
 

cheers,

Terry

Id be interested in listening to the innuos as well.  ER -> Innuos -> Antipodes -> Mola Mola = ?impervious to noise?

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I'm starting to think that perhaps the clock with the lowest phase noise is best as the last clock, between isolation and the renderer (and/or in the renderer)..

 

If only all these audio grade  switches published measurements of noise reduction due to isolation and phase noise at low offsets.

 

This review of the Melco S100 includes measurements of jitter, at the DAC.  Incidentally it shows a Mytek DAC with already very low jitter, so I wonder what Mytek will achieve with its forthcoming streamer and bridge with RJ45s..

 

https://www.hifinews.com/content/melco-s100-network-switch-lab-report

 

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@dbastinI completely agree with your statement regarding the best clock placed last in the network chain. 
 

I have tried this before in my system and indeed it sounds better this way. We just have to try and listen and play with the order of componenets in the network chain. Definitely don’t put / eliminate a TP-Link fiber converter in your network chain, even with an LPSU it makes the sound really bad. 

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5 hours ago, notchasingrainbow said:

Btw has anyone here did a direct comparison between a Melco S100, Renolabs, JS PC Audio, and a M12 Gold with LPSU? 

Then there are Waversa and SoTM plus others as well to put in the comparison mix.

 

John

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1 hour ago, dbastin said:

Um, what is JS PC Audio?

Its a Japanese audio company who apparently has a pretty decent audio switch in their line and has been put head to head with the m12 gold switch and it kept up well. So im curious to hear the switch. Ive tried emailing them regarding a 220-240v unit but havent received a reply from them yet. 

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16 hours ago, dbastin said:

If only all these audio grade  switches published measurements of noise reduction due to isolation and phase noise at low offsets.

According to Superdad (aka Uptone Audio) 

 

-125dBc/Hz @10Hz is about what it takes for a 10Mhz clock to audibly surpass the EtherREGEN's 25.0MHz Crystek CCHD-575.

 

According to its manufacturers, Gigafoilv4 ...

 

Shielding Effectiveness = 100dB from 10kHz to 10GHz
Insertion Loss = 100dB from 10kHz to 10GHz

 

What else can we discover?

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Posted (edited)

Another report on M12, concluded on this set up slightly better than

 

SB8200 modem > Sablon Ethernet (copper) > EdgeRouter X SFP > Telegartner Ethernet (copper) > M12 Gold > Telegartner Ethernet (copper) > etherREGEN A side with MGB-TLX SFP > fiber > Extreme

 

Being slightly better than ...

 

SB8200 modem > Sablon Ethernet (copper) > EdgeRouter X SFP > fibre > ER > Telegartner Ethernet (copper) > M12 Gold > Telegartner Ethernet (copper) > Extreme

 

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/taiko-audio-sgm-extreme-the-crème-de-la-crème.27433/post-641816

 

These people on WBF seem to concur

 

1. Fibre is good somewhere in the chain, in combination with wire ethernet

 

2. Daisy chaining audio grade switches is a lot better value than external master clock (maybe except for the bargain clocks using OCXO reclaimed from 4g towers ... search master clock etherregen to find those)

 

3. Ethernet Cables, LPS, power cords, footers ... all matter too.

Edited by dbastin
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Posted (edited)

JCats Marcin reviews Bonn 8 noting ...

 

In the power circuit, we have double filtering that reduces noise by 18 dB (17.78 dB to be exact), additionally a proprietary TCXO clock with an accuracy of 0.1 ppm and another double circuit isolating sensitive components by 20.79 dB. In order to isolate from EMI interference, the inside of the housing is covered with a special Silent Angel Noise Absorber (SANA) foil. Just behind the Ethernet ports there are inductors acting as filters (four per socket), behind which there is a battery of 32 micro transformers ensuring galvanic separation of each port

 

https://soundrebels.com/silent-angel-bonn-n8-2/

 

He also reviews M12 here ...

 

https://soundrebels.com/telegartner-m12-switch-gold-optimo-3-duo/?fbclid=IwAR2gF8vEqrY5-M-8zwa7t4_ISINnwy0LT3di26HDBromJXeoYKK27Iepm_I

 

And another M12 review ...

http://hifiknights.com/reviews/accessories/jcat-optimo-3-duo-jcat-signature-lan-cable-gold-m12-x-and-telegartner-m12-switch-gold/

 

Still no vital specs about jitter, phase noise and isolation.

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I enquired with the manufacturer of Gigafoilv4 about the phase noise of its clock.  Judging from the response Id say they're not placing any/much importance on phase noise, and the clock is low cost ... can anyone read Chinese? (Translator doesn't work on the images of chinese text on this page about the clock Gigafoilv4 uses)

 

https://m.intl.taobao.com/detail/detail.html?id=560001044085&spm=a21wu.10013511-tw.3.1

 

I'm a bit surprised, Uptone place so much emphasis on phase noise and the clock ER uses, yet Gigafoilv4 performance is similar to ER, without that emphasis.  🙄

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, notchasingrainbow said:

JS PC Audio Switching hub for audio HFS1155

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/sotm-snh-10g-network-switches-x2-the-new-king-of-usb-network-gadget-setup.27758/post-625621

 

Not much info about this and it may only be available in Japan.

 

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It is only available in Japan. I have sent them another email in Japanese asking if they could build one that works in 220-240V environment. They have some interesting audio networking accessories on their site.

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Just received a delivery yesterday  from Renolabs, after talking with the owner and @Assisi who also coincidentally was keen on buying one of their switches.

I ordered a full size Ultimate Switch in black.

 

However the last case  left in stock had a few scratches, so I was offered another better quality one used for other more expensive models.

 

I was shocked at the size of the carton it came in, and equally on opening it up to see the bulk and weight!

20210309_172601.thumb.jpg.e1673c473a655ce26af900df90d72460.jpg

Aesthetics and quality wise, I mark it pretty highly. 

I have it running to my NAS, a  Silent Angel Rhein Z1 Roon core server and Lumin U1 Mini streamer- all Ethernet cables of course..

20210309_173007.thumb.jpg.8ca01ac4c2c42b077ff6a59ff8cdb54e.jpg

it is a similar size to my hefty Panasonic 4k player, so just squeezed it on the top !

 

20210309_173145.thumb.jpg.03103e4c6f4a38d2560181761ad8cc5a.jpg

 

So how does it sound??

Well after listening to my system for a few hours beforehand,  and then connecting up the Renolabs- instantly an improvement!

Few more hours of listening last night and today, to some of my fave albums and noticably smoother,  wider soundstage and just a more natural open quality .

Ultra clean in a few words, and just running a few half decent quality Ethernet cables,  After dark, Elecom kindly  on loan from @frednork and a few cheapies.

Will be interesting to hear after a lot more hours and try out some better quality cables .

 

I believe very good value for the Renolabs,  compared to the other popular, more expensive brands.

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I have

On 04/03/2021 at 4:12 PM, dbastin said:

 

Ive put an order today for the JS PC Audio Switch HFS1155 with upgraded copper shield, OCXO clock, and AMR gold fuse. I also put an order of their Ethernet plug termination/grounding along with the grounding cable that connects to it. 

Will be installing the HFS1155 switch after my nuprime omnia switch sw8 (with lpsu), and will hook up all the network stuff to thr nuprime then just one sablon 2020 ethernet into the hfs1155 and then the RAL pure silver i2s cable to my Empirical Audio interchange network renderer. Will update once it arrives. 

 

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I am envious that @evil chas his switch.  Aesthetically Clive's looks great.  I have ordered one but mine will take longer as I wanted silver and the enclosure has to be CNCd.  As well I wanted an FMC and then I complicated matters by asking could there be two FMCs.  Measurements have to be done to determine whether two can fit and the FMC has to come from the US.  Maybe I will get mine by the end of the month.

John

 

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7 hours ago, evil c said:

Renolabs- instantly an improvement!

I'm glad to hear you are impressed with it.  For reference, it would be great to know:

 

What was your baseline? eg.  Comsumer or audiophile grade switch?

 

What is your network, before adding it Renolabs, and after?  

 

Where are the audio files coming from, NAS, server, TIDAL?

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1 hour ago, dbastin said:

Where are the audio files coming from, NAS, server, TIDAL?

 

This is the thing,  you don't have to access your files over the network to hear an improvement.  I noticed it when accessing  files from a local drive  and also  to  a similar degree when using files from the network.     I guess  this  supports the theory that ethernet is a source of electrical noise  and it  just requires an ethernet connection to be affected.

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6 hours ago, dbastin said:

I'm glad to hear you are impressed with it.  For reference, it would be great to know:

 

What was your baseline? eg.  Comsumer or audiophile grade switch?

 

What is your network, before adding it Renolabs, and after?  

 

Where are the audio files coming from, NAS, server, TIDAL?

I have a standard Netcomm router with a dreaded SMPS, which I fed everything into.

That is my baseline.

Then ran into the Renolabs from it, with LAN cables to my Z1, NAS and Lumin U1 Mini streamer. 

The network is unchanged from Minimserver (NAS, LUMIN) .

For testing, files mainly from the NAS plus a few Tidal tracks.

 

My son, (who is a musician with a very good ear),sat down with me yesterday,  and we compared with and without the switch - various tracks from Symphonie Fantastique (Goosens), Fontane di Roma - Respighi, The planet's etc.

We could clearly hear how congested and shallow it sounded on removing the Renolabs from the chain.

 

Very early days, will need to look at a better PSU for the Netcomm router,  plus higher quality LAN cables.

Plus I'll be holding a comparison with other switches, from some well known SNA members.  

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14 hours ago, AndreaB said:

Hi all, little bit of help required. Has anyone tried the silent switch from N&E Audio from Hong Kong 

 

https://nandeaudio.com/product/silent-switch-ocxo/

 

Thanks

 

Andrea

Sadly havent tried it, I have an LPS from this manufacturer and can say it appears to made well and performs excellently for the money.  Havent seen many of his products  in Australia but the one you mentioned and this one also https://nandeaudio.com/product/fiber-box/ caught my eye. Both seem to have some level of innovation.

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10 minutes ago, frednork said:

Sadly havent tried it, I have an LPS from this manufacturer and can say it appears to made well and performs excellently for the money.  Havent seen many of his products  in Australia but the one you mentioned and this one also https://nandeaudio.com/product/fiber-box/ caught my eye. Both seem to have some level of innovation.

Will it suit my Netcomm router? 😬

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8 hours ago, TP1 said:

you don't have to access your files over the network to hear an improvement.

This is true.  An interesting test is to get some music playing from NAS or server, and the disconnect the switch from the cable to the router.  This will help identify how much noise is from the router, nbn box and further beyond.

 

2 hours ago, evil c said:

I have a standard Netcomm router with a dreaded SMPS, which I fed everything into.

That is my baseline.

Thanks.  Welcome to the rabbit warren. Its an adventure.

 

I suggest replace the router with something like Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X ($130ish) that does not have built in wifi.  If you can, put it in you hifi and give it power via power conditioner, LPS and quality power cords, there is most likely a good benefit..

 

Use an access point for wifi, such as TP Link for $50ish.

 

And, yes upgrade ethernet cables.

 

Enjoy the adventure.

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1 hour ago, evil c said:

Will it suit my Netcomm router? 😬

Am sure it would as long as voltage is equivalent but big question we all need to figure out is where is money best spent. If money no object you would have excellent lps for all stages of chain with probably best downstream, other options are filtering of some kind , could do multiple switches as tried by many or fibre, or gigafoil or isolator (also tried by many) . Maybe replace router if compatible with your nbn (dont know which one) might bring better results  .  cables can have a considerable impact also.....

 

Other option is to set up a playlist of your local drive and unplug the netcomm from the renolabs and see what benefit it brings.  On my setup the playlist will keep going with Roon  as long as drive is located after renolabs (in this instance) Can that benefit (assuming it exists) be exceeded by any of the options above?. Be interested in peoples thoughts on this.

 

If not, maybe just a remote control kill switch on the ethernet connecting the router and the reno is all you need and switch in and out for control. 

 

 

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55 minutes ago, dbastin said:

This is true.  An interesting test is to get some music playing from NAS or server, and the disconnect the switch from the cable to the router.  This will help identify how much noise is from the router, nbn box and further beyond.

 

Thanks.  Welcome to the rabbit warren. Its an adventure.

 

I suggest replace the router with something like Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X ($130ish) that does not have built in wifi.  If you can, put it in you hifi and give it power via power conditioner, LPS and quality power cords, there is most likely a good benefit..

 

Use an access point for wifi, such as TP Link for $50ish.

 

And, yes upgrade ethernet cables.

 

Enjoy the adventure.

Appreciate your advice, pity l can't just plug the NBN box to my switch directly - then connect wifi router for the rest of the family. 

I was smart enough in my very limited capacity of knowledge on networks etc. (Hint, head of a pin), to run an Ethernet cable under the house to run our home office/ PC's . 

54 minutes ago, frednork said:

Am sure it would as long as voltage is equivalent but big question we all need to figure out is where is money best spent. If money no object you would have excellent lps for all stages of chain with probably best downstream, other options are filtering of some kind , could do multiple switches as tried by many or fibre, or gigafoil or isolator (also tried by many) . Maybe replace router if compatible with your nbn (dont know which one) might bring better results  .  cables can have a considerable impact also.....

 

Other option is to set up a playlist of your local drive and unplug the netcomm from the renolabs and see what benefit it brings.  On my setup the playlist will keep going with Roon  as long as drive is located after renolabs (in this instance) Can that benefit (assuming it exists) be exceeded by any of the options above?. Be interested in peoples thoughts on this.

 

If not, maybe just a remote control kill switch on the ethernet connecting the router and the reno is all you need and switch in and out for control. 

 

 

I've already thrown stupid amounts of money that normal people would find insane, so why stop now!! 😂

Although l am where possible attempting  to a  "try before buy" .

It is now getting to the point where I question the amount of improvement achievable,  although I've said that several times, and iterations ago. 😉

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4 hours ago, frednork said:

Maybe replace router if compatible with your nbn (dont know which one) might bring better results

I use Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X SFP.  Many suggest it including JCAT.  It is pretty much plug and play unless you want to tinker.  Somehow the ISP can still identify your account without having to input credentials into the router.  And yes, it sounded much better than the iinet router, especially with LPS, excellent power cord and power conditioner each of which gave incremental improvements.

 

4 hours ago, frednork said:

Other option is to set up a playlist of your local drive and unplug the netcomm from the renolabs and see what benefit it brings.  On my setup the playlist will keep going with Roon  as long as drive is located after renolabs (in this instance) Can that benefit (assuming it exists) be exceeded by any of the options above?. Be interested in peoples thoughts on this.

 

If not, maybe just a remote control kill switch on the ethernet connecting the router and the reno is all you need and switch in and out for control. 

That is what I suggested above.  I have 4 audio grade switches/isolators between my server and endpoint, with high end cables, and disconnecting router from nbn still brings an audible change. 

 

Kill switch?  Any physical connection, even if disabled, will probably still matter.  My next ventures are:

  • improve DC cables from LPS to , router, switch, Gigafoils
  • put fibre between nbn and router, which is electrically isolated but may still pass on clock phase noise from nbn, and fibre media convertor. 

 

roon control via ethernet is a luxury that also exposes your hifi to the network and its noise.  We are spoilt really -

  • with vinyl (or cassette) you put the media on and sit back and enjoy
  • with CDs we put the media in and control with a remote to enjoy that CD
  • with digital files, we have the luxury of a quite infinite juke box in our hand which comes at the cost of network noise or elaborate network switches, isolators cables etc.

Someday we maybe able to control roon and our local media data without network connection.

 

3 hours ago, evil c said:

It is now getting to the point where I question the amount of improvement achievable,

I

am deep down in this warren and it keeps improving.  And I have not started down the 'master clock' hole - having a good hard look down there, some clocks dont cost much really (eg. AfterDark), but more LPS, cables...

 

The more wise question could be ... am I satisfied and no longer curious?

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3 hours ago, evil c said:

It is now getting to the point where I question the amount of improvement achievable,  although I've said that several times, and iterations ago. 😉

Yep, probably just scratched the surface. I would look at everything digital prior to dac as small parts of a bigger whole and base best money sunk into decisions looking across that whole part of the chain. I will pm you about trying some things.

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1 minute ago, frednork said:

Yep, probably just scratched the surface. I would look at everything digital prior to dac as small parts of a bigger whole and base best money sunk into decisions looking across that whole part of the chain. I will pm you about trying some things.

Knowing people like you Is a blessing,  although my wife mightn't agree! 😀

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1 minute ago, evil c said:

Knowing people like you Is a blessing,  although my wife mightn't agree! 😀

Thats not what you said when you locked me in the "wine cellar"

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