Upgraded Switch and/or Fiber Optic Implementation

Upraded Switch, Fiber Optic Modules, or Both...

  • Upgraded Switch

    Votes: 6 18.2%
  • Fiber Optic Modules

    Votes: 5 15.2%
  • Both

    Votes: 22 66.7%

  • Total voters
    33

harsheel_dbs

Well-Known Member
Mar 12, 2020
60
36
85
40
In your streaming/server based audio journey, did you upgrade to an audiophile switch, implement fiber optic modules or did both?

In addition: in what order; and how noticeable was the improvement after each or both?
 

audiobomber

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2020
246
237
115
Sudbury ON, Canada
I upgraded the network switch first, then later implemented a 15 meter fiber optic cable system. The first switch (EtherRegen) had the greatest impact on sound quality.

IME, all ethernet cables are coloured in some way. You can find one that colours the sound to your preference, but I was looking for the neutrality and clarity and that's what I heard when I implemented fiber.

Of course both upgrades were a journey, and benefitted from power supply and cable upgrades.

Currently:
NAS > copper > Silent Angel N8 > copper > opticalModule Deluxe v2.3 > fiber > EtherRegen > copper > exaSound Playpoint
SFP's are Finisar FTLF1318P3BTL
Ethernet cables are Furutech LAN8 NCF and Audio Sensibility Signature
Upgraded power supplies on all gear (not the NAS)
Power cables are my favourite generics, for their neutrality
 

MarkusBarkus

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2021
1,006
1,657
258
66
Initially, my network was an old Apple Air router servicing the house. On a lark, I changed to a Netgear Nighthawk router/switch attached via Cat5 cable from the Spectrum ISP modem. That was a big uptick in SQ here.

At the time, I was streaming with an Aurender ACS10 (which I still use as back-up and streamer for a second system).

I added an eReGen switch and soon thereafter changed to Cat6 cable. The eRG was an improvement, for sure. Cable? Who knows.
At some point, I added a used Cisco 2960 switch after the router. I also moved the eRG downstairs (35' run) close to the Aurender. This was an uptick in SQ, so why not add another Cisco switch (at 25 bucks, easy and cheap)? I daisy-chained four of them at one point, but did not notice a difference between three and four. I settled on two and passed the surplus switches along to friends.
Eventually, I tried an optical proof-of-concept with a cheap "bundle" from Amazon. Two 10GTek FMCs with SFPs and a meter of MM fiber. About 100 bucks, as I recall. This was about five years ago. It was a net-positive in the system. I also tinkered around with various copper patch cables, including a few "audiophile" items.

I tested many different configurations of daisy-chained switches and fiber optic solutions, including SFPs in the Ciscos and fiber between switches, and to the eRG. Mostly, it was fun, and educational, researching SFPs, cables, etc. An excellent way to learn about networks. Actually, it was a great time to explore, with the added virtue of not being very expensive to try.


Skipping over a description of many permutations of cable and device configurations, I eventually added a Sonore OM with upgraded ps and switched to SM fiber cable and Finisar SFPs. The OM is excellent (a new version exists now) and a good value.

About the same time, I purchased a Buffalo switch modded with a primo Pink Faun OCXO, footers, and access for external power (5v and 12v). Whoah! That was good! Very good. So good, I ended up removing the Ciscos.
So, everything in the network was (and is) on external LPS power, which makes a difference, IMO.
I was essentially on that configuration for a good while. And it was very good. I would recommend the modded switch and OM any day.
Fast forward a couple of years, and a lot is different...except for the Netgear router, which somehow seems fine, frankly.
I have a second ISP delivering fiber service for audio-only. Their Nokia modem and the Nighthawk router are on LPS power (on opposite AC phase from dedicated audio lines), with Cat6 copper 35' to the Taiko switch. A one-meter DAC (copper coax) connection from the switch to the NIC in the Extreme server. This is a primo set-up. SQ is excellent.
Will I spring for the new Taiko router? I don't know. I have an uber-network with only the Extreme and an iPad control connected. I use a laptop for access, and disconnect afterward. All traffic has one target. How much will I benefit from the new router? TBD.
 

Republicoftexas69

Well-Known Member
I implemented both and minimized my Ethernet cable runs to under 12 inches combined.
 

Superdad

Well-Known Member
Apr 22, 2015
93
147
263
The first switch (EtherRegen) had the greatest impact on sound quality.
I added an eReGen switch and soon thereafter changed to Cat6 cable. The eRG was an improvement, for sure.

Thanks gents! [I know you two are fans from over at AudiophileStyle.]

And for those who have yet to hear the entirely unique (only switch in the world putting Ethernet signals over an active-differential isolation "moat" and reclocking with expensive ultra-low-jitter flip-flops) and best-selling EtherREGEN (over 3,200 units sold), I am pleased to report that after an 18-month halt in production due to global parts shortages, the original EtherREGEN is once again in production.
Pre-orders for units to ship by September 25th are begin accepted now at: https://uptoneaudio.com/products/etherregen
 

harsheel_dbs

Well-Known Member
Mar 12, 2020
60
36
85
40
thanks for all the wonderful information! I decided to dabble with optical modules and bought another switch before my server and I have noticed an improvement in clarity so far. The consensus here is to have both a high grade switch and the implementation of optical modules.
 

Blue58

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2013
896
682
1,155
London, UK
thanks for all the wonderful information! I decided to dabble with optical modules and bought another switch before my server and I have noticed an improvement in clarity so far. The consensus here is to have both a high grade switch and the implementation of optical modules.
I just scrapped FMCs and gone back to 100ft Ethernet cable direct to the Extreme.
I put the improvement down to the new Nokia router (FTTP using Broadcom chip) over the hideously poor Virgin Media Router (cable with Puma chip)
Next stop, Taiko Switch and Net card.
 

harsheel_dbs

Well-Known Member
Mar 12, 2020
60
36
85
40
so far with my basic switch to switch setup: I prefer the sound of the Cisco SFP-10G-AOC1M to the Finisar FTLF8519P3BNL-BT modules.
 
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orange55

Active Member
Sep 13, 2022
47
30
25
London
so far with my basic switch to switch setup: I prefer the sound of the Cisco SFP-10G-AOC1M to the Finisar FTLF8519P3BNL-BT modules.
I would agree with this 100%. Have tried a lot of spf’s and the Cisco is by far the best.
 
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rDin

Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2019
231
197
130
55
Started with one switch. Then, following threads here, went two switches. Better. Then added linear power supplies. Even better. Then added SFP. Better still. Then dropped the switches and went with Senore OpticalModule -> OpticalRendu and reused the linear power supplies. Best. The SFP modules make or break a fibre system, so it's important to try a few and find which work best for you.
 

harsheel_dbs

Well-Known Member
Mar 12, 2020
60
36
85
40
I have since replaced the receiving switch with the Teradak T-S212 and noticed and increased soundstage, relaxed and fuller presentation. I tried a few different Ethernet cables from the unit to my Zenith and keeping coming back to the Supra CAT8
 

mitch2+

Member
Feb 16, 2022
6
4
8
66
Both.
45 feet from router to my main system and I started with Ethernet cable, switched to fiber with LPSs on the converter boxes, and then switched back to Cat 8 Ethernet cable after hearing no improvement. I am currently running Cat 8 into a pair of Silent Angel Bonn N8 switches then to a Network Acoustics muon filter just prior to my server/streamer. I do not discern what I consider to be significant changes/improvements resulting from any of that stuff preceding the streamer/server but I leave it alone under the "can't hurt" axiom.
 
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harsheel_dbs

Well-Known Member
Mar 12, 2020
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I have decided to upgrade my network switch and FMC units and it has make a considerable difference. Now that the hardware is in place, I can dabble with ethernet cables again and see if any purpose built ones make a positive impact.
 
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harsheel_dbs

Well-Known Member
Mar 12, 2020
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With the hardware in place, I have decided to try the Finisar FTLF1318P3BTL modules. They are very detailed and sound even throughout the frequency range (have not measured). I have tried mixing and matching ethernet cables pre and post fiber and using two different brands/models never sounded right as using the same cable in both positions. The Sablon 2020 cables are in and I am going to let them settle before switching back to the Cisco SFP modules and comparing again. This has been quite and adventure!
 
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NigelB

Member
Jan 2, 2023
51
28
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www.reikiaudio.com
With the hardware in place, I have decided to try the Finisar FTLF1318P3BTL modules. They are very detailed and sound even throughout the frequency range (have not measured). I have tried mixing and matching ethernet cables pre and post fiber and using two different brands/models never sounded right as using the same cable in both positions. The Sablon 2020 cables are in and I am going to let them settle before switching back to the Cisco SFP modules and comparing again. This has been quite and adventure!
I use these too; very pleased.
 
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FDPDK

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2021
35
21
73
60
Denmark
Well my journey has been a little different. I use Lumin X1 which has a fiber direct possibility . So Starting point for me was from router to a cheap D-Link switch upgraded with an IfI power supply . Then went an upgraded ethernet cable form Audioquest vodka to Nordost Heimdall.
Then next step was to buy a fiber converter , so from router through Nordost Heimdall to fiber converter , and then fiber direct into Lumin X1 which was clearly better than the cheap switch option. Now a few days ago went to my dealer talking about an upgraded switch , and he looked around in the shop and returned with en Ediscreation swish and told me to try that.
So went home listened carefully to a couple of tracks , then from router to switch a standard ethernet cable and from switch to Lumin X1 used the Nordost Heimdal , power cord to Ediscreation is a Nordost Heimdall. And i can only say i almost dropped my entire head on the floor :) yes the difference was really big. Better bass definition , deeper soundstager , better heigh , more silent , no boundaries , just what has been recorded. I am amazed . So looks like i will have to invest in that switch. Ohh and a Happy New Year to all.
 
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NigelB

Member
Jan 2, 2023
51
28
18
www.reikiaudio.com
Well my journey has been a little different. I use Lumin X1 which has a fiber direct possibility . So Starting point for me was from router to a cheap D-Link switch upgraded with an IfI power supply . Then went an upgraded ethernet cable form Audioquest vodka to Nordost Heimdall.
Then next step was to buy a fiber converter , so from router through Nordost Heimdall to fiber converter , and then fiber direct into Lumin X1 which was clearly better than the cheap switch option. Now a few days ago went to my dealer talking about an upgraded switch , and he looked around in the shop and returned with en Ediscreation swish and told me to try that.
So went home listened carefully to a couple of tracks , then from router to switch a standard ethernet cable and from switch to Lumin X1 used the Nordost Heimdal , power cord to Ediscreation is a Nordost Heimdall. And i can only say i almost dropped my entire head on the floor :) yes the difference was really big. Better bass definition , deeper soundstager , better heigh , more silent , no boundaries , just what has been recorded. I am amazed . So looks like i will have to invest in that switch. Ohh and a Happy New Year to all.
I got a bit lost understanding your original audio chain and your new one now. Unless you happen to have a diagram lying around, could you possibly set it out something like this?
FROM Router - 1m Nordost Heimdall - generic FMC - 4m fiber - Lumin X1
TO Router - ?m Cat6 - Ediscreation switch - 1m Nordost Heimdall - Lumin X1

(Obviously guessing at the cable lengths and some cable types).

Thanks
 

FDPDK

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2021
35
21
73
60
Denmark
I got a bit lost understanding your original audio chain and your new one now. Unless you happen to have a diagram lying around, could you possibly set it out something like this?
FROM Router - 1m Nordost Heimdall - generic FMC - 4m fiber - Lumin X1
TO Router - ?m Cat6 - Ediscreation switch - 1m Nordost Heimdall - Lumin X1

(Obviously guessing at the cable lengths and some cable types).

Thanks
I can understand you got lost as there was a typo :)

The length of the fiber cable is 7 meter

Well the new trial is as follow
From Router to Ediscreation switch using a simple cat. 6 ethernet cable , then from Ediscreation i use the Nordost Heimdall in 2 Meter version going into Lumin X1. Powering the Ediscreation i use Nordost Heimdall in 2 Meter length and going into Nordost QB8 MK III.

Hope this makes it more understandable.
 
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NigelB

Member
Jan 2, 2023
51
28
18
www.reikiaudio.com
I can understand you got lost as there was a typo :)

The length of the fiber cable is 7 meter

Well the new trial is as follow
From Router to Ediscreation switch using a simple cat. 6 ethernet cable , then from Ediscreation i use the Nordost Heimdall in 2 Meter version going into Lumin X1. Powering the Ediscreation i use Nordost Heimdall in 2 Meter length and going into Nordost QB8 MK III.

Hope this makes it more understandable.
Thanks, so ignoring power cables you are moving to: Router - 5m(?) Cat6 - Ediscreation switch - 2m Nordost Heimdall - Lumin X1 with no fiber/fibre in the playback chain.

That will be an interesting comparison.
 
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mitch2+

Member
Feb 16, 2022
6
4
8
66
We all travel our own journey in the still fast-moving world of digital audio. In the area of switches and fiber, since my previous post here, I modified my digital set-up by moving my server and all peripherals into a separate network area/room and provided a fiber break to all audio components (i.e., both server and streamer). My streamer (used as a Roon endpoint) and DAC are located in another room along with the rest of my system.

A short Ethernet cable connects my base router (mesh system) to a pair of Bonn N8 switches, which then connect both the server and streamer to my network. I provided a fiber break before the server using two FMCs, and also a fiber connection to my Sonore Signature Rendu SE Optical streamer through Sonore's opticalModule and then 45 feet of fiber to my system room, with Finisar SFPs at both ends. Everything at the network end is powered by LPSs from a single dedicated 20A line.

In summary, I do not hear a noticeable change resulting from the switches and also no reliably noticeable differences/improvement resulting from the fiber, but it does sound good so the fiber may be positively contributing.

What did make a reliably noticeable improvement to the sound I am hearing was the addition of the Sonore Signature Rendu SE Optical streamer, which replaced Metrum's Ambre. That streamer (serving as a Roon endpoint) has improved the sound of each of the four DACs I have recently had here. The sound of my SMc DAC-2, which only accepts a coax input, achieved similar improvements (to those I heard from the three USB DACs) by using Sonore's ultraDigital to convert the USB signal from the streamer to S/PDIF coax.
 

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