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


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19 hours ago, Miyajima Smith said:

What's about Ansuz Switch 12,000€ and some one call ( Special Class) ?

I called it special class in my openning post list because it is not only a switch.

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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

@dbastin it was a good idea to start this thread and even a better one to start a parallel thread on why Ethernet switches do not make a difference. As expected, the other thread is more lively with m

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Similarly to previous post there is a video where we can judge ourselves 5 switches. I thought the differences were tiny myself.

I did pick out one that seemed to stand out above the others but then looked it up to find it was $thousands, so thought it's too much investment for the benefit. I'd be happy with the standard cisco switch!

My take is you have to spend big to get micro improvements

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About reviews, and for that matter non-reviewers observations and opinions,  I think its important to consider the context of what under review and methodology.

 

I came across the alpha-audio review some time ago and observed they were connecting to an elaborate network with potentially lots of noise generating things connected to that network.  And as I recall they were changing gear and cables over quite quickly, not really allowing things to 'settle it'.  I felt it was a quick and dirty review that didn't really do justice to the gear or ther better parts of their own methodology.

 

By comparison, I think it was review of Melco S100 where three different reviewers reached much the same conclusion when listening to that switch in the same system which had settled in and zi assumed not changed in between reviews..  See page 1 of this thread.

 

In my experience, network context and power supply context, make a lot of difference - consider these when reading the findings of a review.

Edited by dbastin
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Power supplies are critical in how the switch will affect the sound.  I suspect daisy chaining a couple of Sotm or EtherRegen’s can improve things since each one is designed to clean up the inputs.

 

So far my best outcome is an EtherRegen, powered by an UpTone Audio LPS1.2 which itself is powered by a Hashimoto modified UpTone JS-2.

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7 hours ago, TP1 said:

Power supplies are critical

And dare I say, AC & DC power cords.  The big names in power cords don't seem to have dabbled in DC cords (yet).

 

I am presently using Shunyata ztron Alpha Digital to supply a Antipodes ODAPS and EtherRegen.

 

I am inclined to get some LessLoss C-Marc and make up DC cables, and perhaps even convert to RCA rather than barrell plugs to achieve superior connection and conductivity.

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On 28/11/2020 at 4:34 AM, TP1 said:

Power supplies are critical in how the switch will affect the sound.  I suspect daisy chaining a couple of Sotm or EtherRegen’s can improve things since each one is designed to clean up the inputs.

 

So far my best outcome is an EtherRegen, powered by an UpTone Audio LPS1.2 which itself is powered by a Hashimoto modified UpTone JS-2.

I have a JS-2. What is the Hashimoto mod you refer to?

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1 hour ago, Raffinator said:

I have a JS-2. What is the Hashimoto mod you refer to?

 

1714293392_IMG_69002.thumb.jpg.0a3e95b03bbb7005ec4e598f86580354.jpg

 

 

JS-2 transformer and choke have been replaced by custom designed and built units from Hashimoto Japan.  In addition, standard capacitors have been replaced  with Epcos Sikorel.  

 

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I gather some Japanese call a switch a hub.  However this specifies hubs are actually different to and largely superseded by switches ...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethernet_hub

 

This seems a good explanation ...

 

https://community.fs.com/blog/do-you-know-the-differences-between-hubs-switches-and-routers.html

 

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17 hours ago, ericmiles said:

Can you explain for me the difference between ethernet hub and switch?

A switch is a smarter hub. It routes data to the intended device rather than just broadcasting to all devices. Hubs are/were only half duplex too, from memory, which means they can only send data in one direction at a time, making them much slower than switches which are full duplex.

 

965934551_hubVswitch.jpg.33a7fdb7c083d90b0dd8729fc08c9ba7.jpg

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On 22/12/2020 at 9:10 PM, dbastin said:

New switch from Entreq added to the List in opening post.

 

Thanks for doing this thread.  I think its useful to have all the audiophile  ethernet switch options in the one place. 

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just adding a bit of info from the taiko site re audiophile switches.

 

Connecting the server through a dedicated switch, not shared with other devices is a very clear step up in sound quality, a FMC (Fibre Media Converter) accomplishes the same thing. This is nothing new, a lot of audiophiles are already using stacked switches. With our current Extreme firmware we actually prefer the direct fiber connection into the Extreme by a small margin.

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1 hour ago, Snoopy8 said:

Are you  looking at replacing your 2xN8s or adding the N16 as well?  😜😂

I did not keep the second n8.  I need to change my signature.  Changing to dual is a very very idle thought at the moment.  There are other things I am more interested in at this time.  I would need to try the dual first.  I do not think that there is any in Australia at the moment.  I am also quite satisfied for the time being with what I have.

John

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There seems to be many users here reporting improvements using “audio optimised” network switches, yet DAC/streamer measurements from ASR would suggest switches do in fact not make a difference.

 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/silent-angel-bonn-n8-audio-grade-ethernet-switch.12360/

 

Is ASR measuring the wrong parameters? If differences do indeed exist, what measurement would capture this difference? Thoughts? 

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58 minutes ago, Grizaudio said:

There seems to be many users here reporting improvements using “audio optimised” network switches, yet DAC/streamer measurements from ASR would suggest switches do in fact not make a difference.

 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/silent-angel-bonn-n8-audio-grade-ethernet-switch.12360/

 

Is ASR measuring the wrong parameters? If differences do indeed exist, what measurement would capture this difference? Thoughts? 

 

Well,

 

At one end of things, Amir would need to learn how to measure and test for jitter with significantly more granularity, nuance and understanding than he does, and would need to understand that his often bombastic statements around jitter audibility bear no basis in fact or science. However as he knows everything and his followers consider themselves fortunate to be in a presence of someone so qualified, the above's much a moot point. De AP analyzer sez, dood, & 'iz neu AP analyzer is moar accuratar dan da last won, doooood'. 

 

This being said many of these things are so ridiculously expensive that subjectivity bias is particularly extreme. I challenge anyone that's spent over whatever your personal 'that's a chunk of change' threshold to demonstrate how they can be truly objective about these matters. And I don't mean comments around 'yes (scratch chin wistfully), the combination of x audiouberswitch and y ostrich-scrot-coated-silver-core-telefukin-terminated CAT 11a cable (yairs, that's not yet a standard, but WireWorld is on it, scratch more wistful chin, adopt Bob Stuart voice and stance*), gives a less closed-in tone with a shimmering top end however I did note the bass felt more closed-in (sip on red wine, more chin, etc)'. 

 

The most sensitive instrument you'll ever get is they grey stuff in your head working with the sticky bits out the sides and what connects 'em. It's also the only one that matters. 

 

The only way to really build understanding IMHO is to start with things that are known different and so cheap you won't care anyway. Try test blind as you can, and build personal knowledge at a rate enough to keep your objectivity bias at bay or at least tempered as long as you can. 

 

Or trust the mob, pick a religion (whether ASR, Swenson or whatever) and spend accordingly. Beyond any effort to train sensitivity to what you're hearing, we're all extremely likely to hear what we want :D 

 

(*Disclaimer: Once upon a time not long ago an audio-versed friend heard me talking out my a** and well out of reason or objectivity. When I paused, he said 'dude, you sound like Bob Stuart talking about MQA.' That went down about as gently as taking an ice bucket challenge inadvertently. A salient lesson.)

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38 minutes ago, Grizaudio said:

Is ASR measuring the wrong parameters? If differences do indeed exist, what measurement would capture this difference? Thoughts? 

 

I recall that Nelson Pass ( designer of pass Amplifiers)  once stating that measurements and tests  don't exist to cover all parameters that affect sound in hifi equipment. You can audition two  DAC's for example of different makes with pretty much identical specs but they will sound different.    ASR are basically sceptics and while I think that many of their tests are worthwhile ( particularly illuminating is the signal/noise ratios of AV amplifiers) , I don't think they  have enough  insight to fully understand every parameter affecting sound when it comes to ethernet switches.  Certainly not enough to say that countless  users are deluding themselves . After all ASR is just one bloke.

 

I am not saying all audiophile ethernet switches are better than the ordinary, but  when it comes to whether audible differences exist, listening for oneself is the best way to determine that.  In my case it wasn't without trepidation that I bought an EtherRegen. ASR were particularly brutal about it. However it has proven to be so good I bought a second unit for my theatre.  I  tried it while streaming 4K content being played via a projector onto a 140" screen and  the picture improvement was not subtle. My wife even commented without knowing that I had done anything . As for audio, I  like so many others, am very happy with the improvements I am hearing. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Grizaudio said:

If differences do indeed exist, what measurement would capture this difference? Thoughts? 

There comes a time when you have to get your hands on one and experience for yourself.  Keep an open mind, try not to have any expectation, allow yourself to experience it without justifying or reasoning. Trust yourself and how music feels to you with and without.

 

After some time experiencing, only then analyse what and why there is/is not a difference ... justify, reason, rationalise, etc.

 

To me, differences certainly do exist.  Sometimes differences catch my attention when I'm focussing on something else.

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13 hours ago, Grizaudio said:

There seems to be many users here reporting improvements using “audio optimised” network switches, yet DAC/streamer measurements from ASR would suggest switches do in fact not make a difference.

 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/silent-angel-bonn-n8-audio-grade-ethernet-switch.12360/

 

Is ASR measuring the wrong parameters? If differences do indeed exist, what measurement would capture this difference? Thoughts? 

Audiophile switches caused trauma on various forums, including here.  The biggest resulted in a number of long standing members leaving AudiophileStyle and the setting up of separate zones.

 

12 hours ago, rmpfyf said:

At one end of things, Amir would need to learn how to measure and test for jitter with significantly more granularity, nuance and understanding than he does, and would need to understand that his often bombastic statements around jitter audibility bear no basis in fact or science. However as he knows everything and his followers consider themselves fortunate to be in a presence of someone so qualified, the above's much a moot point. De AP analyzer sez, dood, & 'iz neu AP analyzer is moar accuratar dan da last won, doooood'. 

And they went forth and multiplied on various forums... :hmm:  

 

8 hours ago, dbastin said:

There comes a time when you have to get your hands on one and experience for yourself.  Keep an open mind, try not to have any expectation, allow yourself to experience it without justifying or reasoning. Trust yourself and how music feels to you with and without.

Fully agree, but the comments come back that we are imagining things... 😢 

 

@Grizaudio, Dale (dbastin) wisely created separate threads, one for the believers (this one!)  and Why a regular switch will suffice.  It is for you to decide which path to follow.

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1 hour ago, Snoopy8 said:

Fully agree, but the comments come back that we are imagining things... 😢 

 

Those comments usually come from people who have not done the same listening tests that others have done.  There will always be those who are sceptical  (I still am  when it comes to claims made by some cable makers)   but the need to denigrate others is curious.   I guess  it comes down to  generating click -bait to increase site traffic.  It is more effective in doing that than a balanced investigation.

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7 minutes ago, TP1 said:

Those comments usually come from people who have not done the same listening tests that others have done

 

What do you say to people who have done the required listening tests and still don't hear what they are supposed to hear?

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18 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

What do you say to people who have done the required listening tests and still don't hear what they are supposed to hear?

 

To rest easy. It's equally possible to tell them they're wrong, not sufficiently sensitive, that their equipment isn't resolving enough, whatever. Or that they're right. All of which have a shot at being true. 

 

Which is why I'd go with it's important to build sensitivity through as genuinely dispassionate objectivity as one can manage.

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25 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

 

What do you say to people who have done the required listening tests and still don't hear what they are supposed to hear?

good for them so they dont need to go through all the trouble and they can spend less 😀

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48 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

What do you say to people who have done the required listening tests and still don't hear what they are supposed to hear?

 

They are only supposed to hear what their ears and brains can perceive.  If they cant hear what I and many other can, that is completely fine and perfectly true for them.  It is not a pass or fail test.

 

Some people describe things they experience on their systems (which are less resolving than mine), and I am puzzled how I don't have that experience.  I can only conclude we are all very unique and I suspect our individual perception of experiences are not the same.    So I agree with these comments ...

 

28 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

To rest easy. It's equally possible to tell them they're wrong, not sufficiently sensitive, that their equipment isn't resolving enough, whatever. Or that they're right. All of which have a shot at being true. 

 

23 minutes ago, notchasingrainbow said:

good for them so they dont need to go through all the trouble and they can spend less 😀

  

11 hours ago, dbastin said:

Keep an open mind, try not to have any expectation, allow yourself to experience it without justifying or reasoning. Trust yourself and how music feels to you with and without.

 

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Coincidentally, @Assisi brought over his collection of switches and Ethernet cables today.  We spent a few hours listening to separate Ethernet configurations back to back.  
 

We had my ER (using Gieseler Gold Tune LPS), a Bonn N8 (using a LPS @Assisi brought along) and a Paul Pang Quad switch.  My Antipodes CX server (Roon core) also acts as a switch.

 

We tried quite a few combinations, and also utilised some of @Assisi’s custom Ethernet cables (acoustic revive? with telegartner plugs).  To my ears these did offer a substantive improvement over all other Ethernet cables I have tried, noting that I have not previously heard differences in Ethernet cables, but have tried them out just to see.

 

Of the switches, my impression was that differences were very small.  Having the CX directly feed the streamer, rather than via a switch was one clear preference.  The ER sound was comparatively lighter, highlighting detail and air.  The Bonn N8 and the PP Quad were more dense in the midrange, the PP being more obvious than the N8.  Overall I came out of the comparison feeling that I would not consider the differences in the switches to be hugely significant, certainly not enough to encourage me to invest more money than I already have.

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1 hour ago, Stereophilus said:

Coincidentally, @Assisi brought over his collection of switches and Ethernet cables today.  

At one stage, I was expecting @Assisi to require a cart to transport all his switches! 😁 

 

1 hour ago, Stereophilus said:

 Overall I came out of the comparison feeling that I would not consider the differences in the switches to be hugely significant, certainly not enough to encourage me to invest more money than I already have.

Thank you for the interesting and informative review.  You have re-confirmed my view that it is not necessary to explore the rabbit warren further. 👍 

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5 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

At one stage, I was expecting @Assisi to require a cart to transport all his switches! 😁 

 

Thank you for the interesting and informative review.  You have re-confirmed my view that it is not necessary to explore the rabbit warren further. 👍 

😂😂


He did turn up with a large hard-plastic carry case full of tweaks today... But it is always fun to explore the differences and I appreciated his generosity in offering his time and equipment.

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It would be wonderful if all these tweaks were useless so we wouldn't have to spend any money on them .    However  what may seem like minor differences to some people may appear quite significant to others.    We don't all have identical perspectives and sensitivities so  I sincerely doubt we can be definitive with the available information.

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I'm glad to hear @Stereophilusand @Assisi had that GTG, they suggested doing so some time ago.

 

For the benefit of those who happen to just read this thread, or post in relative isolation, lets clarify as few things.

 

Stereophilus has previously shared (probably elsewhere on SNA) the following:

  • he had a streamer integrated into the Mola Mola Makua and considered that better than CX > EX > USB > ISORegen > Makua - so he removed the EX an USB from the chain.
  • with is arrangement, he experiences little if any differences between ethernet cables, and as I recall even when inserting Uptone Audio JS-2 powering the EtherRegen..

Note, I think its fair to say his system is very high grade.  And probably quite a unique test bed.

 

Assisi also has a cracking system, including Weiss digital front end.  Nevertheless, his experience is the the PP Quad switch provided considerable benefit, and Bonn 8 a further improvement.

 

So, that is 2 different very high end digital front ends that are affected by ethernet switches in different ways.  Or their owners experience them differently.

 

The fact that the Makua is so insensitive to ethernet may be why the differences in switches are 'very small'.

 

Also it shows that, according to Stereophilus experience, ethernet cables do make a difference, even in a system that is somewhat insensitive to ethernet cables.

 

My queries for those 2 gents are:

  1. did you try putting any of the switches between CX and Makua, with nothing else plugged into the switch (ie. use the switch solely for isolation).
  2. did you compare the Weiss PS with the JS 2

I have mentioned previously, in my system I consider the Gigafoilv4 to be better than EtherRegen when using ER only as isolation.  The difference is small but does not need study to identify.   In my experiences my system reveals changes in ethernet quite readily (unfortunately?).  Presently I have:

 

Antipodes EX > ER > Gigafoil > Gigafoil > Devialet Pro (Core Infinity)

 

Power supplies are Antipodes ODAPS (12v), to ER Wyred4Sound PS 1 (2 x 5v) to Gigafoils, with Shunyata ztron Alpha power cables.

 

This is better than either ER or Gigafoil upstream of EX.

Edited by dbastin
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20 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

At one stage, I was expecting @Assisi to require a cart to transport all his switches! 😁 

 

Thank you for the interesting and informative review.  You have re-confirmed my view that it is not necessary to explore the rabbit warren further. 👍 

I will be forming my own opinion when @Assisi brings over his "bag of tricks" very soon! 

Just need to rustle up an EtherRegen to compare. 😀

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4 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

What do you say to people who have done the required listening tests and still don't hear what they are supposed to hear?

 

I don't prescribe what people are supposed to hear. If they had done the same  listening tests and found  that a particular  ethernet switch made no difference ( and I found otherwise) , I would conclude that their system has less ethernet  related problems than mine.   The EtherRegen for example seems to reduce  noise on the lines which is consistent with my observations for both audio and video.  If someone else didn't notice anything using this device  I don't think that says the product is rubbish, its just that they are lucky enough  not to need it.

 

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4 minutes ago, dbastin said:

I'm glad to hear @Stereophilusand @Assisi had that GTG, they suggested ding so some time ago.

 

For the benefit of those who happen to just read this thread, or post in relative isolation, lets clarify as few things.

 

Stereophilus has previously shared (probably elsewhere on SNA) the following:

  • he had a streamer integrated into the Mola Mola Makua and considered that better than CX > EX > USB > ISORegen > Makua - so he removed the EX an USB from the chain.
  • with is arrangement, he experiences little if any differences between ethernet cables, and as I recall even when inserting Uptone Audio JS-2 powering the EtherRegen..

Note, I think its fair to say his system is very high grade.  And probably quite a unique test bed.

 

Assisi also has a cracking system, including Weiss digital front end.  Nevertheless, his experience is the the PP Quad switch provided considerable benefit, and Bonn 8 a further improvement.

 

So, that is 2 different very high end digital front ends that are affected by ethernet switches in different ways.  Or their owners experience them differently.

 

The fact that the Makua is so insensitive to ethernet may be why the differences in switches are 'very small'.

 

Also it shows that, according to Stereophilus experience, ethernet cables do make a difference, even in a system that is somewhat insensitive to ethernet cables.

 

My queries for those 2 gents are:

  1. did you try putting any of the switches between CX and Makua, with nothing else plugged into the switch (ie. use the switch solely for isolation).
  2. did you compare the Weiss PS with the JS 2

 

13 minutes ago, TP1 said:

It would be wonderful if all these tweaks were useless so we wouldn't have to spend any money on them .    However  what may seem like minor differences to some people may appear quite significant to others.    We don't all have identical perspectives and sensitivities so  I sincerely doubt we can be definitive with the available information.


I did intentionally keep my comparison short on detail, partly because it was an informal process, and partly because (as @TP1 and @dbastin suggest) what changes we did hear are most likely system dependent.  I definitely agree that these observations are something to be taken within their given context.  Extrapolate at your own peril!

 

We did try ER -> PP - > Makua, with the CX feeding the “A” input on the PP.  Probably not exactly what you are alluding to @dbastin, but remembering the PP is 4 switches in one case, with the ER and CX feeding the “A” switch, and the Makua being fed from the “D” switch, still a fair degree of separation.  My preference in this scenario was the CX feeding Makua directly, rather than upstream of the PP switches.  @Assisiwas in agreement with this.

 

We did also try the Weiss LPS compared to Gieseler Gold Tune LPS.  I had the JS-2 available, but we did not try it.  I do very slightly prefer the Gieseler over the JS-2 myself, but I could not confidently say I noticed a difference in sound between the Gieseler and the Weiss LPS.  @Assisi may have a different take on this than I did.

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1 hour ago, evil c said:

I will be forming my own opinion when @Assisi brings over his "bag of tricks" very soon! 

Just need to rustle up an EtherRegen to compare. 😀

I may be able to help out there....

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