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Thread: For those using Ethernet to your DAC

  1. #1
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    For those using Ethernet to your DAC

    Interesting findings with the help of other forums. BTW, I tried this both wired Ethernet and WIFI.

    1) I tried several types of Ethernet isolators and found them to improve things, some better than others. The 1GHz versions were not always better than the lower B/W versions. I use CAT7 cables with them.

    2) Then I improved the power to my router by powering with a fast reacting LPS. Big improvement.

    3) Finally, I tied the earth ground from the power cord of the LPS to the DC common of the LPS. This made yet another improvement.

    These three things elevated the Ethernet playback with my Overdrive SX DAC well above the performance with my XMOS USB interface with galvanic isolation. Both of these interfaces (USB and Ethernet) have identical clocking circuitry and clocks. I don't believe there is anything more I can do to USB to make it better. It just eventually hit the wall.

    The Ethernet was able to go further. I was always a USB proponent, having designed 6 generations, but now I'm going Ethernet 100%.

    Just thought I might share this.

    Steve N.
    Empirical Audio

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    Addicted to Best! Pb Blimp's Avatar
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    Did you try glass from the router to the dac with an LPS for the Media Converter closest to DAC? (I have this system for my incoming DAC.) I am curious if you compared this approach to the options you tried.
    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pb Blimp View Post
    Did you try glass from the router to the dac with an LPS for the Media Converter closest to DAC? (I have this system for my incoming DAC.) I am curious if you compared this approach to the options you tried.
    I have not tried glass Ethernet extender, but I have a customer using this. It's a good solution if your WIFI does not reach your DAC. He will be trying my WIFI soon, so we will see if this is better than the optical.

    One customer sent me an AC power-line Ethernet extender, so I will be trying that soon. Problem with that is the AC converter that drives Ethernet to the DAC is powered from the wall outlet, so it cannot be easily changed to LPS.

    The Ethernet media converter is inside the DAC, so its all linear regulators, Hynes-technology that I have licensed.

    I can use WIFI or wired Ethernet and they both have the same quality as long as I use the fast reacting LPS with the WIFI converter or the router (when wired).

    Steve N.
    Empirical Audio

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    Quote Originally Posted by Empirical Audio View Post
    I have not tried glass Ethernet extender, but I have a customer using this. It's a good solution if your WIFI does not reach your DAC. He will be trying my WIFI soon, so we will see if this is better than the optical.

    One customer sent me an AC power-line Ethernet extender, so I will be trying that soon. Problem with that is the AC converter that drives Ethernet to the DAC is powered from the wall outlet, so it cannot be easily changed to LPS.

    The Ethernet media converter is inside the DAC, so its all linear regulators, Hynes-technology that I have licensed.

    I can use WIFI or wired Ethernet and they both have the same quality as long as I use the fast reacting LPS with the WIFI converter or the router (when wired).

    Steve N.
    Empirical Audio
    Thanks Steve. A couple of thoughts/questions:

    First Bold - Keep us posted on the results. I was not aware wifi can approach glass.

    Second Bold - Aren't regular AC line really dirty? I use this approach for my internet access on PC's and such but never considered it for audio.

    Third Bold - I have heard wifi picks up a lot of noise at the conversion point but I have never tried it personally. Again, it will be interesting to get the results of a direct comparison to fiber.
    Paul

    Power - Torus 75 amp WMT. Furutech NCF Lines, Flux-50s, Outlets, PC's. Star ground.
    Cables - Nordost Valhalla 2 and Odin (phono).
    Analog Source- ARC Ref 10 Phono. Acoustic Sig Ascona MKII, TA-9000 arm, Lyra Atlas.
    Digital Source- MSB Reference DAC, Femto 33.
    Amplification - Soulution 721 Pre and 501 Monos.
    Speakers - Raidho D3.1
    Room Acoustics - Acoustic Frontiers Design, RPG Plates, Absorption and Diffraction, and Custom Helmholtz Traps.
    Stands - Solid Walnut by Timber Nation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Empirical Audio View Post
    Interesting findings with the help of other forums. BTW, I tried this both wired Ethernet and WIFI.

    1) I tried several types of Ethernet isolators and found them to improve things, some better than others. The 1GHz versions were not always better than the lower B/W versions. I use CAT7 cables with them.

    2) Then I improved the power to my router by powering with a fast reacting LPS. Big improvement.

    3) Finally, I tied the earth ground from the power cord of the LPS to the DC common of the LPS. This made yet another improvement.

    These three things elevated the Ethernet playback with my Overdrive SX DAC well above the performance with my XMOS USB interface with galvanic isolation. Both of these interfaces (USB and Ethernet) have identical clocking circuitry and clocks. I don't believe there is anything more I can do to USB to make it better. It just eventually hit the wall.

    The Ethernet was able to go further. I was always a USB proponent, having designed 6 generations, but now I'm going Ethernet 100%.

    Just thought I might share this.

    Steve N.
    Empirical Audio
    Great to hear, thanks. I found using a LPSU (HDPLex) to power my switch (not router) yielded sonic benefits. Haven't tried the router yet. Which ethernet isolator did you like best?
    3x20A circuits | PS Audio PPP | Music PC (DEQ, HQPlayer, Roon) | HDPLex LPSU -> UltraCap LPS-1 -> Sonore Ultrarendu D->D | Aqua Acoustic Quality Formula DAC | Purity Audio Silver Statement preamp | Wells Audio Innamorata amp (mid/tweet) | Musical Fidelity A3CR amp (woofers)| Usher BE20D speakers with GR Research upgrade | 2: JL Audio F113 subs | JPS Labs SC3 ICs + Aluminata/SC2 SCs | Stillpoints, BD cones | Custom birch rack | Fully treated + dedicated 2 channel room)

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    Steve,
    If your cable box or router or Wifi converter has LEDs on it then create a switch on the device so you can turn them off when listening (usually they are just indicating it works.....once it is working they are no longer needed). LEDs have tons of noise that is easily heard. Another thing is to damp all connections with constrained layer damping material and also try the Graphene contact enhancer from Mad Scientist on the Ethernet connections, etc. If you have a cable box and router then both should be on LPS power supplies and all LEDs removed and all contacts damped and enhanced.

    Ric Schultz
    tweakaudio.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pb Blimp View Post
    Thanks Steve. A couple of thoughts/questions:

    First Bold - Keep us posted on the results. I was not aware wifi can approach glass.
    It's not a matter of the WIFI being as good as the glass, it's a matter of the glass being as good as the WIFI. The WIFI is already identical to a short wired CAT7 cable. This is why I plan to include the WIFI with the Overdrive SX DAC. It is more reliable than an unknown router and power supply that a customer will have.

    Second Bold - Aren't regular AC line really dirty? I use this approach for my internet access on PC's and such but never considered it for audio.
    Yes, but my LPS uses a Hynes regulator that rejects line noise. Besides, I also use a Plasmatron AC regulator.

    Third Bold - I have heard wifi picks up a lot of noise at the conversion point but I have never tried it personally. Again, it will be interesting to get the results of a direct comparison to fiber.
    No evidence of that. WIFI = Wired.

    Steve N.
    Empirical Audio

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbo6 View Post
    Great to hear, thanks. I found using a LPSU (HDPLex) to power my switch (not router) yielded sonic benefits. Haven't tried the router yet. Which ethernet isolator did you like best?
    I like the EMO EN-70e. Use one to my smart TV also.

    Steve N.
    Empirical Audio

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric Schultz View Post
    Steve,
    If your cable box or router or Wifi converter has LEDs on it then create a switch on the device so you can turn them off when listening (usually they are just indicating it works.....once it is working they are no longer needed). LEDs have tons of noise that is easily heard. Another thing is to damp all connections with constrained layer damping material and also try the Graphene contact enhancer from Mad Scientist on the Ethernet connections, etc. If you have a cable box and router then both should be on LPS power supplies and all LEDs removed and all contacts damped and enhanced.

    Ric Schultz
    tweakaudio.com
    I can turn off the WIFI when using wired. I'll give that a try to see if there is any difference. Thanks for the tips.

    Steve N.
    Empirical Audio

  10. #10
    Steve,
    I found numbers 2 and 3 on your list of discoveries quite important in my experiments as well. Vincent of Totaldac told me about number 2, and better grounded is how it sounded (pun intended).

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