Network Improvements and their Impact on Sound Quality

The goal of this thread is to share experiences with the Network environment associated with streamed digital music. The hypothesis is that just like other areas of audio, improvements to and optimization of the quality of the network used to stream digital music can have a very positive impact on sound quality. While the underlying principals are relatively straightforward, networking, by virtue of the huge number of variables, is a very complex field. There are many ways to set up a perfectly functioning network and a huge variety of devices that can be employed....i would hope that through this thread and the experience and experimentation of key contributors, we may be able to narrow down the number of devices that are proven to work well for audio applications and develop a few networking concepts that function particularly well for the reproduction of music.
My own personal experience in optimizing my network has led to a number of very positive surprises....
  • large improvements in sound quality do not necessarily require large financial investments...in fact, many times the opposite holds true
  • standard 16/44.1 Redbook format files can sound incredibly good and highly satisfying, musically.....jaw droppingly so
  • internet radio at 128kbps can be hugely entertaining and a brilliant source of new music
  • some of the biggest improvements lie in the most unexpected of places
  • the law of diminishing returns doesn’t seem to operate the same way as classic audio...from a network standpoint, the better and more revealing your system becomes, the greater the impact of future network improvements
  • you may really need to rethink/revise your value scales....for example buying a $500 silver/gold DC cable for a $200 router may be an entirely sound decision (s’cuse the pun)
  • the efficacy of a device is highly dependent on the environment in which it‘s used. Because a device works well in one installation doesn’t necessarily mean it will work well in all installations...there are simply too many variables
  • careful implementation of a network will often achieve superior results compared to chasing the most highly reviewed hi-fi components and installing them in an less than optimum network environment
For the above reasons, I am keen to share networking experiences...I’m looking forward to benefitting from the wealth of knowledge and expertise of this forum’s participants.
 
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Comments

sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
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Round Rock, TX
No worries, lots of cables, lots of boxes!! :)
 

Krysz

New Member
May 13, 2020
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Here is what was sugested on another Topic. I just bought it From Amazon. It was cheaper.

“Hi, you need to buy the following as recommended by Emile
https://www.startech.com/Networking...abit-ethernet-fiber-card-open-sfp~PEX1000SFP2
Two of these:
https://planetechusa.com/product/mgb-tlx-mini-gbic-lx-module-20km/

and a LC-LC connector OS2 grade single mode fiber cable at the desired length.

Its pretty much plug and play and you need to load the cards driver on the EVO.

It’s simple to do and I received great support from Emile and his support team. Hope this helps all EVO owners.“


Thanks
 

hifimckinney

Well-Known Member
Mar 17, 2017
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Here is one more confirmation that fiber isolation works and elevates the experience substantially. More definition and more presence of music now (because of calmer background).

What I did was just that I isolated the Ethernet on wall and connected first switch on my system with a fiber cable. I Ethernet switch already had SFP ports and I bought one media converter with SFP port and used exactly same SFP modules at both the ends (this is very important to have exactly same modules at both the ends).

I owe this finding to this forum so, thank you to the person whoever brought up the topic of fiber isolation.
 

analogsa

Well-Known Member
Apr 15, 2017
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May I suggest a simple experiment which can illustrate how much a particular type of connection or interface is contributing.

My server is a windows box running jriver but other setups with memory playback can also be used.

It is actually very simple. Load a track or album in ram and disconnect the network. It should be disconnected both from the server and switch sides, so the ethernet cable can no longer radiate rf and the switch should also be powered down.

And voila, you are now listening under the conditions of the best ethernet cable and switch :).

Even if you object to normally using jriver this will give you a clear idea of what improvement the perfect network can make.
 
Oct 29, 2018
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May I suggest a simple experiment which can illustrate how much a particular type of connection or interface is contributing.

My server is a windows box running jriver but other setups with memory playback can also be used.

It is actually very simple. Load a track or album in ram and disconnect the network. It should be disconnected both from the server and switch sides, so the ethernet cable can no longer radiate rf and the switch should also be powered down.

And voila, you are now listening under the conditions of the best ethernet cable and switch :).

Even if you object to normally using jriver this will give you a clear idea of what improvement the perfect network can make.

That is exactly what I did to evaluate different switches/isolation gadget.
To my ears, adding an ER change the sound dramatically while the M12 still retain the sense of a neutral sound.
 
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sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
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FWIW my setup directly connected an ethernet cable from my Music PC to a SOTM SMS2200 ultra Neo. I then inserted a Netgear GS305 gigabit switch where each aforementioned device now connects to the switch. Result - no discernable difference. I then replaced the stock switching wall wart to an Acopian LPSU attached to the Netgear and again - no discernable difference. I went a step further and connected the Acopian LPSU to my PSAudio PPP - again no discernable difference.

It's possible that the Netgear is simply on par with my directly connected ethernet since I am using a high quality JCAT femto nic. It's also possible that many of these tweaks can be chalked up to the placebo effect. I try to be as objective as possible and have found as many tweaks that are "guaranteed" to make a difference don't and many I think won't make a difference do. What I do to help alleviate the placebo effect is have my wife or son perform an AB test (if at all possible). If I pass 75% I have statistically high enough confidence to believe the change is real. Quick fairly recent example - years back I created a RAM disk and compared a song sourced from RAM versus HDD - I heard no discernable difference. Fast forward to my current and more resolving system and I instantly heard a slight expansion of the sound stage along with increased detail in the highs. To 2x verify I had my wife play 2 tracks either from disk or RAM 4x in a row; I was able to identify RAM versus disk every time. By the 3rd time within a few seconds I could pick out the delta in highs. I encourage you all to try similar tests since our expectations and emotions can heavily influence our perceived hearing. And as always in our hobby, YMMV.
 
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Jesus R

Active Member
May 6, 2016
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I'm happy to answer any questions about the Rendu and Module series. For the record though we don't recommend any fixer upper gadgets before or after the Rendu. I know people do this and that fine, but the only thing that is necessary for great sound is a connection to your network and a connection to your USB DAC or digital converter.
 
Jan 16, 2013
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I'm happy to answer any questions about the Rendu and Module series. For the record though we don't recommend any fixer upper gadgets before or after the Rendu. I know people do this and that fine, but the only thing that is necessary for great sound is a connection to your network and a connection to your USB DAC or digital converter.
Hi Jesus,

I would not argue that you can get great sound without fixer upper gadgets and maybe with a Rendu set up that is the case, BUT here in these digital threads on WBF we are looking not for just great sound, we want MAX sound.

So in the case of wanting MAX sound then I personally would have to try fixer up gadgets and decide for myself if the sound was preferable with the gadgets installed or without.

I can verify along with MANY others that switches and LPSs with the Extreme, which a LOT of people here are using "can" make a SIGNIFICANT difference in sonics. We have tried with and without switches/LPSs and there is no question about it.

I have not tried the switches/LPSs with a Rendu set up, but personally I would expect the same result, but I don't theorize on the network additives. I try them and then I know for sure.

I, working with many other here have found varying degrees up upticks in performance using different switches/LPSs in different systems but almost all that have inserted these gadgets have left them in vs. taking them out. Only because they deliver a better sonics performance. YMMV.
 
May 12, 2018
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Hi Bob,

If I am up to date with your various switch setup changes/upgrades over the last month, you are now running x2 M12 Gold.
Is the humble EdgeRouter in bypass mode still in your setup after the Verizon Router?

Geoff
 
Jan 16, 2013
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Hi Bob,

If I am up to date with your various switch setup changes/upgrades over the last month, you are now running x2 M12 Gold.
Is the humble EdgeRouter in bypass mode still in your setup after the Verizon Router?

Geoff
Hi Geoff,

Yes, for now the EdgeRouter, acting like another switch is still in the network. I am waiting for the second Optimo PS at the moment and then will power the second M12 and the Edge with the second PS.

I know I could take it out and experiment without it, but I am so pleased with my sound at this point, I've lost a bit of interest in further experiments. Just enjoying the music, but do want the second PS. Then I'm done.....until the disease re-surfaces:)
 
May 12, 2018
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It's hard to understand how the EdgeRouter improves on x2 M12 Gold's!
EdgeRouter as replacement for Verizon I can accept but....in series as a switch??

I am gob-smacked but I accept what you say as I don't have the resources to try.

Thanks for sharing.

G
 
Jan 16, 2013
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It's hard to understand how the EdgeRouter improves on x2 M12 Gold's!
EdgeRouter as replacement for Verizon I can accept but....in series as a switch??

I am gob-smacked but I accept what you say as I don't have the resources to try.

Thanks for sharing.

G
I would NOT say that it improves the sound, BUT I talked about it with Marcin and he said to leave it in as my Verizon router is VERY busy. It seems that when I originally inserted the Edge, which was before I inserted the M12's, it definitely provided a positive uptick in sonics.

It seems that even configured as a switch it kept the busy wifi and other lan connections separated from the the audio to the Extreme stream.

I agree, that maybe if I took out the Edge now, and someday I might do that, just to see, I would not notice any difference, but as I said I am so pleased with the sound that I don't want to touch it.
 
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Jan 16, 2013
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OK, so I did it:) I took the Edge router out of the system. Of course as many had thought it is better without the Edge. it sounded REALLY good with the Edge installed. But taking it out was instantly noticeable. More presence, stronger bass, more openness. Bye-bye Edge and thank you for your service! It was a stepping stone and I was afraid to be without it until I was ready:)

My chain at the moment now is-

Verizon router (powered by JCAT Optimo PS)>>>JCAT M12 (powered by JCAT Optimo)>>>>LAN JCAT isolator (inserted due to cable reasons from one M12 to the next)>>>>Second M12 (powered with stock ps, waiting for second Optimo PS)>>>>Extreme. Currently using the JCAT LAN cables that come with the M12.

I am trying to get the JCAT gold Signature LAN cables to run from Extreme to the M12 and then from the second M12 to the Verizon router. I also am trying to get a Sig Gold cable with two M12 connectors to eliminate the LAN isolator, which I am using as a connector due to lack of a cable with M12 connectors on both sides.

I also had the Edge connected to the JCAT Optimo. I just connected the Verizon router to the Optimo. It made more of a difference than taking out the Edge from the chain. This time much more bloom/air to the soundstage. Delightful!

When I took out the Edge I also was able to take out the one weak link that I thought that I had, which was a WireWorld LAN cable. Not sure about it, but just taking this cable out of the chain could have been partly the reason taking the Edge out gave a jump.
 
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Jan 16, 2013
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It's hard to understand how the EdgeRouter improves on x2 M12 Gold's!
EdgeRouter as replacement for Verizon I can accept but....in series as a switch??

I am gob-smacked but I accept what you say as I don't have the resources to try.

Thanks for sharing.

G
Geoff, thx you were the one, in a very nice way I might add, to get me to "jump off the diving board" into the deep water:)....thank you
 
Likes: heebrog

onlychild

Active Member
Sep 18, 2019
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Geoff, thx you were the one, in a very nice way I might add, to get me to "jump off the diving board" into the deep water:)....thank you
Hi Bob,

Are you powering the Verizon router and fist M12 from the same Optimo LPS?

Maybe I missed it, but what are you powering the 2nd M12 that connects to the Extreme with?

Asking because I’m wondering if powering all 3 devices (Verizon router, 1st M12 and 2nd M12) with their own LPSs would produce a significant improvement since you wound isolate each device from noise bleeding into the other.

the M12 that connects directly to the Extreme should probably have its own LPS.
 

onlychild

Active Member
Sep 18, 2019
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Hi Bob,

Are you powering the Verizon router and fist M12 from the same Optimo LPS?

Maybe I missed it, but what are you powering the 2nd M12 that connects to the Extreme with?

Asking because I’m wondering if powering all 3 devices (Verizon router, 1st M12 and 2nd M12) with their own LPSs would produce a significant improvement since you wound isolate each device from noise bleeding into the other.

the M12 that connects directly to the Extreme should probably have its own LPS.
And if you are still in the experimental mood, could you test the difference between one M12 vs two M12s now that you have taken the Edge router out of the equation.....asking for a friend ; )
 
Likes: Rhapsody
Jan 16, 2013
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Hi Bob,

Are you powering the Verizon router and fist M12 from the same Optimo LPS?

>>>YES.

Maybe I missed it, but what are you powering the 2nd M12 that connects to the Extreme with?

>>>With the supplied small power supply. I can't power the second M12 until I get the second Optimo because I don't have the correct cable that goes from the second M12 switch to the Optimo.

Asking because I’m wondering if powering all 3 devices (Verizon router, 1st M12 and 2nd M12) with their own LPSs would produce a significant improvement since you wound isolate each device from noise bleeding into the other.

the M12 that connects directly to the Extreme should probably have its own LPS.
>>>Maybe:) Once I get the second Optimo I WILL connect the M12 that connects to the Extreme on it's dedicated Optimo. Then I will share the second Optimo with the Verizon router and the second M12.

Maybe if the second switch had it's own Optimo and then another LPS for the Verizon router would be better???? BUT I'm not getting a 3rd Optimo just for the Verizon router. Can't get myself to do that:) Maybe a less expensive LPS.
 
Likes: onlychild
Jan 16, 2013
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And if you are still in the experimental mood, could you test the difference between one M12 vs two M12s now that you have taken the Edge router out of the equation.....asking for a friend ; )
I'm off now setting up my VYGER TT. I will take one of the M12's out and try one M12 when I get to it and report.
 
Likes: onlychild
Jan 16, 2013
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And if you are still in the experimental mood, could you test the difference between one M12 vs two M12s now that you have taken the Edge router out of the equation.....asking for a friend ; )
Ok, so to get it over with I connected just the one M12 switch between the Verizon router and the Extreme. VERY good sounding. Added the second M12 via the usb JCAT isolator and about the same difference as when I originally inserted the second M12 switch. More gain, stronger presence, more solidity to each note.

I had the Optimo connected to the single M12 switch and the Verizon router. When I added the second switch it is connected with it's small supplied ps.
 

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