OpticalModule/OpticalRendu VS Audiophile grade switch

Dasign

Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2018
26
20
83
I need some advice from OpticalModule/OpticalRendu combo owners. I’ve been reading a few postings from WBF users who have purchased audiophile grade switches (English Electric, Ediscreation, Etherregen, SoTM, etc.). The majority of these users basically replaced a generic network switch by an audiophile-grade switch. Practically all of them reported a positive impact on the quality of their audio system. My issue is the majority of these owners are not using an optical link between their router and DAC.

My system consist of the following: TRENDnet TEG-S82G switch/OpticalModule/Ethernet Fiber/Sonore OpticalRendu/USB/Denafrips Hermes DDC/Denafrips Terminator Plus DAC/ Benchmark LA4 Preamp/Classé Audio CAM600 Monoblocks/Rebuilt Apogee Duetta Signature w external Xover.

I started moving up the ladder using a Sonore MicroRendu/UltraRendu and ended up with the Sonore Optical system. With each upgrade steps, there was a positive impact on the quality of the sound. However, the greatest improvement was when I installed the OpticalModule/OpticalRendu combo.

I am pretty happy with the quality of my audio gear, but always looking to improve it at reasonable cost. I am contemplating the purchase of the Ediscreation network switch after seeing nice reviews from owners. I am hesitant to purchase, since not really sure if I am going to benefit from any increase of audio quality. In theory, I am benefiting from EMI, RFI and upstream noise immunity with my Sonore optical link. Can an audiophile-grade switch provide any improvement? It looks like the quality of the audiophile-grade switch clock has better jitter specification than a regular network switch.

My questions for the Sonore Optical system owners are the following:

1) Do you own an audiophile-grade switch?
2) Was it installed before or after the installation of the Sonore or FMC optical link?
3) What are the audio benefits (if any) of your audiophile-grade switch?

Thank you in advance for your advices.
 

Blackmorec

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2019
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1,031
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I need some advice from OpticalModule/OpticalRendu combo owners. I’ve been reading a few postings from WBF users who have purchased audiophile grade switches (English Electric, Ediscreation, Etherregen, SoTM, etc.). The majority of these users basically replaced a generic network switch by an audiophile-grade switch. Practically all of them reported a positive impact on the quality of their audio system. My issue is the majority of these owners are not using an optical link between their router and DAC.

My system consist of the following: TRENDnet TEG-S82G switch/OpticalModule/Ethernet Fiber/Sonore OpticalRendu/USB/Denafrips Hermes DDC/Denafrips Terminator Plus DAC/ Benchmark LA4 Preamp/Classé Audio CAM600 Monoblocks/Rebuilt Apogee Duetta Signature w external Xover.

I started moving up the ladder using a Sonore MicroRendu/UltraRendu and ended up with the Sonore Optical system. With each upgrade steps, there was a positive impact on the quality of the sound. However, the greatest improvement was when I installed the OpticalModule/OpticalRendu combo.

I am pretty happy with the quality of my audio gear, but always looking to improve it at reasonable cost. I am contemplating the purchase of the Ediscreation network switch after seeing nice reviews from owners. I am hesitant to purchase, since not really sure if I am going to benefit from any increase of audio quality. In theory, I am benefiting from EMI, RFI and upstream noise immunity with my Sonore optical link. Can an audiophile-grade switch provide any improvement? It looks like the quality of the audiophile-grade switch clock has better jitter specification than a regular network switch.

My questions for the Sonore Optical system owners are the following:

1) Do you own an audiophile-grade switch?
2) Was it installed before or after the installation of the Sonore or FMC optical link?
3) What are the audio benefits (if any) of your audiophile-grade switch?

Thank you in advance for your advices.
Hi there Dasign,
Im not an optical user although I may become one. I just wanted to answer your question from a generic networking standpoint. A network is mainly intended to take a data stream from one place to another in a fast, efficient, understandable, reliable, cost effective way. But we audiophiles add a another, completely un-designed for quality. It must sound good. The great thing about the network is that it can be designed and built around both moving data AND sounding good. In addition to moving data a network can have the ability to clean up and make the bit stream more accurate and for reasons we still don’t fully understand, a very well cleaned and accurate bitstream sounds better. If, IF you want to build the best network for audio, you should make sure that each stage of that network contributes to improving the stream…..less noise, less vibration, better cables, more accurate clocks, more power supply stability and lower impedance etc. So if you are going to buy and use a switch after the optical link, you have to make sure that the switch has higher specification clock, really good emi screening, well protected against vibration, very good quality low loss cables etc. The switch’s specs for things like power supply, oscillator, output circuits, vibration control etc, should be superior to the optical gear…..if they are , the output of the switch will be closer to the ideal spec and will sound better when the final stream is converted to conscious sound in your brain
 
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Dasign

Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2018
26
20
83
Hi there Dasign,
Im not an optical user although I may become one. I just wanted to answer your question from a generic networking standpoint. A network is mainly intended to take a data stream from one place to another in a fast, efficient, understandable, reliable, cost effective way. But we audiophiles add a another, completely un-designed for quality. It must sound good. The great thing about the network is that it can be designed and built around both moving data AND sounding good. In addition to moving data a network can have the ability to clean up and make the bit stream more accurate and for reasons we still don’t fully understand, a very well cleaned and accurate bitstream sounds better. If, IF you want to build the best network for audio, you should make sure that each stage of that network contributes to improving the stream…..less noise, less vibration, better cables, more accurate clocks, more power supply stability and lower impedance etc. So if you are going to buy and use a switch after the optical link, you have to make sure that the switch has higher specification clock, really good emi screening, well protected against vibration, very good quality low loss cables etc. The switch’s specs for things like power supply, oscillator, output circuits, vibration control etc, should be superior to the optical gear…..if they are , the output of the switch will be closer to the ideal spec and will sound better when the final stream is converted to conscious sound in your brain
Thank you Blackmorec for your reply. I have done additional research on jitter causes. It is quite a complex subject, since there are different types of jitter (recording and playback). There is basically nothing we can do to diminish recording jitter since it is an intrinsic part of the recording. However, we can diminish the playback jitter (as you just explained in your reply) by carefully selecting our audio/network gear.

I have searched for articles on digital audio stream jitter and have not arrived to any conclusions yet, since writers of these articles seem not to agree on the individual jitter contribution of network components (router/switches/FMC, etc.). Some writers say jitter is only an issue at the DAC, when performing the digital to analog conversion (Ethernet network is not prone to jitter). Others indicate that each of these components can contribute to increase jitter at the input of the DAC.

On my side, I throughly understand and experienced that using a good quality power supply on network components, provides better audio quality. Using an OpticalModule as a media converter also provided galvanic isolation which reduces network noise at the OpticalRendu/DAC input. I am also using a Denafrips Hermes, as a DDC upstream of my Denafrips T+ DAC, which reclocks the data stream.

Also not clear to me is the global effect of re-clocking the data stream before the DAC. Does it totally clear all upstream jitter or only a portion? So for instance, does the Hermes clean up any/all potential jitter coming from my Trendnet switch? Still worth paying for an audiophile grade switch?
 
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rDin

Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2019
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I just moved over to an opticalModule->opticalRendu setup. Previously (a couple of years) I was using SoTM (SFP) -> Melco N100 (SFP) -> Optical Rendu. All powered by Farad3 supplies. I bought the opticalModule some time ago, with a view to testing, but never really got around to it until recently. I found the opticalModule->opticalRendu to be easily the most musical solution. The SoTM/Melco, in comparison, both together or separately, added flatness and an etched nature to the sound. With just the Sonore devices the sound is much more natural with a more cohesive and 3D soundstage.

One note, the opticalModule, at least here, seems to benefit from using a LAN isolation device on its input. I'm using a Pink Faun LAN isolator.
 
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Dasign

Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2018
26
20
83
Finally answered my own question with my recent purchase of the LHY Audio SW-8 audiophile-grade switch. The unit is built like a tank, using a CNC built chassis, linear PS and OCXO clock. The price is very reasonable at $600 USD when compared to other renowned switch manufacturers. Most of other switch I have looked at were in the +$1K range.

After one minute of music playing, I knew I had a winner here. Even if the unit is still not broken in, the music has increased focus, very like a digital camera where you adjust the lens into a clearer picture. Bass is thunderous and image delineation as well as soundstage depth are increased.

My SW-8 switch is hooked-up on a dedicated circuit via a Duelund DIY power cord which I have built. I piggy-backed the LHY SW-8 on my Trendnet switch, which is powered via an HDPlex 300 linear PS. So right now, I only have my downstream streaming gear hooked-up to my SW-8 switch.

If you a have a reasonably resolving system, the purchase of a LHY SW-8 switch is a no-brainer, at a very affordable cost.
 
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Dasign

Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2018
26
20
83
Look here:

Thank you TRHH. I already viewed this video. Alvin rarely comments on the subjective qualities of the gear he sells, leaving it to the potential client to comment, since he does not want to be in conflict of interest. I have purchased a few pieces of audio gear from Vinshine Audio/Beatechnik. The build quality and support is always excellent and I took a purchasing gamble on the LHY switch and not regretting a bit.
 

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