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Ethernet switches for audio - Part B: why a regular switch will suffice.


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This has been restored from the Great Debate sub forum and its close monitoring by moderators. It was put there due to an incident some time ago, but we've been well behaved since then.

 

Please be civil - so this doesn't go back to the Great Debate, or shut down.

 

And so we dont discourage helpful contributions.

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Firstly, a preamble.  My system is definitely serious.  It is now significantly reliant on Ethernet for connectivity for the 2 X NASs, Roon Core, DSP Box and a network player before anything reaches t

SO, what is the "audiophiliac" assumption here - that switch data transfer can be slower than the DAC processing speed? A better PSU - sure - OK - another 5V or 12 V linear PSU will not hurt anyone bu

I’m just baffled at how many people really don’t get that a switch is typically sending audio to a device with a significant buffer for playback. The traffic traversing the switch is not “real time” a

Some info of interest here - multiple Cisco switches in series.  Page 8 ...

 

 

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I stumbled across this youtube video this morning.  

 

While it's designed for Ravenna / AES67, the building blocks of functionality that it suggests are precisely what any suitably qualified networking engineer would tell you (and I did earlier in this thread). Network segmentation, traffic marking and prioritisation and then policing if you need to send traffic over a network boundary.

In short, a cheap Cisco switch like the SG350 (a 10 port managed gigabit desktop switch for $380 at Scorptech) has all the functionality you need.

 

The video here is for a distributed switch setup, which I'd wager most of you won't have in your home, so you can lose the need for multicast and PTP in your home streaming environment.  

 

It's got some decent explanations on the various concepts too so if you're new to networking, it's not a bad primer.  If anyone wants to understand any of this more clearly, please reach out. I'd be happy to explain and give guidance as to how far you may need to go in a home environment to optimise it.

 

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unless you are streaming in UDP OR your TCP stream can't keep up with your bitrate AND  your receiving software has zero buffering then the type of switch you have , or your ethernet path length (how many switches it passes through) makes no difference.

 

 

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Interesting comments from Paul McGowan, seems to support 'low noise' ethernet cables, but switches ???

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, BugPowderDust said:

some magical reason why you need one

Given he is in the network bowels of PS Audio, I suspect his network people have convinced him of the position he has taken and also discouraged him from experimenting on the basis it would be a waste of time.  If this is the case, his company and products might benefit from employing some more open minded engineers.

 

He mentions he couldn't tell the difference between wired and wifi ethernet on his best system.  If that is the extent of his experience on this subject, I am surprised he has not been more inquisitive and not surprised of the conclusion he has reached.  I'll add that in view of the above it is unlikely his DS DAC Bridge has given any special attention to mitigating ethernet noise.  I am now on a mission to find those endpoints that do.

 

 

I also note he essentially dissed the SOtM switch which has been a benchmark for some time.

 

Well, he did say he was being controversial .. perhaps intentionally.

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On 03/09/2020 at 11:26 PM, PCOWandre said:

What's on the inside to attempt to justify four hundred and fifty pounds?

This is enlightenting ...

 

 

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11 minutes ago, dbastin said:

he has taken and also discouraged him from experimenting on the basis it would be a waste of time.  If this is the case, his company and products might benefit from employing some more open minded engineers.

hey mate, wrong thread.

 

The thread this commentary goes in is in the Great Debate section of this forum.

 

This is the thread about how a normal switch is just fine for audio.

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7 hours ago, BugPowderDust said:

hey mate, wrong thread.

Nope, I was responding to your comment .. if you read between the lines, PS Audio is saying they wont be making an audiophile switch because regular switch will suffice, which supports the topic of this thread.

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On 23/12/2019 at 4:43 AM, BigJim said:

Perhaps if you have a highly resolving system and you can hear the supposed difference an audiophile switch makes, then go for it.

and can make some sort of decent argument about how this is possible, electronically.

 

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On 28/04/2021 at 10:04 PM, dbastin said:

Interesting comments from Paul McGowan

 

He says "computers are sensitive to noise".

 

"Interesting" is being polite, I think. ;) 

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On 05/05/2021 at 3:53 PM, davewantsmoore said:

 

 

He says "computers are sensitive to noise".

 

"Interesting" is being polite, I think. ;) 

Honestly there seems to be a market for this kind of nonsense, so there will always be people willing to fleece others ...

 

Speaking of which I am selling a new range of audiophile class hard drives for storing music. 

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2 hours ago, Dropbear67 said:

what does "isolate network noise" mean ?

 

Network Noise:

 

Is seems apparent to many people that there is something detrimental that is carried across ethernet and can therefore get into audio gear if connected to the network via wired ethernet.  This is usually referred to as 'noise' and when it is minimised the effect is lowering of the noise floor of a system, like when power conditioning is used, or grounding.

 

This noise is not something that is audible, but when it is gone sound quality typically improves.

 

Isolation:

 

Using ethernet fibre optic cabling prevents the noise being carried into the audio gear - because it uses light rather than electrical signal to transmit.  There is a range of things to consider with fibre optic which all can have an effect on sound quality (SFP modules, type of fibre, length, etc).

 

Galvanic type isolation or radio (wifi) can also be used.

 

However, even noise in ethernet switches upstream and downstream of isolation may impact sound quality, hence the use of low noise power supplies and regulators, higher quality clocks and shielding chassis in switches design for audio.

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14 minutes ago, dbastin said:

Is seems apparent to many people that there is something detrimental that is carried across ethernet and can therefore get into audio gear if connected to the network via wired ethernet.  This is usually referred to as 'noise' and when it is minimised the effect is lowering of the noise floor of a system, like when power conditioning is used, or grounding.

 

This noise is not something that is audible, but when it is gone sound quality typically improves.

 

Is there any evidence of this whatsoever or is it more "you don't have high enough resolving equipment or a good enough ear to hear it like I do" because it sounds like BS to me .. 

 

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26 minutes ago, Dropbear67 said:

it sounds like BS to me

 

It's possible that "noise" is injected into the system by connecting an ethernet cable.... so we cannot write the whole concept off as BS.

 

.... but the noise itself and the degredation in performance is causes, are also possible to measure.

 

The reason why this rarely happens, is something to ponder.

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35 minutes ago, Dropbear67 said:

Is there any evidence of this whatsoever or is it more "you don't have high enough resolving equipment or a good enough ear to hear it like I do" because it sounds like BS to me .. 

 

I don't believe in this subject there is a truth or BS, just what each individual hears and believes, which is unique to them.   I suggest the only evidence you need is what you hear and perceive, and being content with that. 

 

Beware that trying to reconcile the difference between the science, what you believe and what you hear may drive you bonkers!

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1 hour ago, dbastin said:

Beware that trying to reconcile the difference between the science, what you believe and what you hear may drive you bonkers!

 

maybe.. but our senses and our perceptions are the worst judge out there and are easily fooled.

 

1 hour ago, davewantsmoore said:

.... but the noise itself and the degredation in performance is causes, are also possible to measure.

 

well tha'ts my question.. I'd like to see the measurements.

 

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