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

Mar 17, 2017
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Looking for some help here. Going through this thread I read about SFP and wanted to try fiber optic connectivity in my setup. I went ahead and bought a switch with SFP ports, bought some SFP modules and a TP Link MC100CM media converter. But for some reason, though everything is connected properly, not able to access internet. Any pointer where I may be doing something wrong?
 

joaovieira

Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2013
230
89
110
Brazil
No ideia.
But I would like to tell you that it is very important to have a linear PS feeding the converter. Or the sound will not be good. In my case, it was too lean. No bass. The LPS solve it.
 

Tatomek7

Well-Known Member
Nov 17, 2013
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0
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Looking for some help here. Going through this thread I read about SFP and wanted to try fiber optic connectivity in my setup. I went ahead and bought a switch with SFP ports, bought some SFP modules and a TP Link MC100CM media converter. But for some reason, though everything is connected properly, not able to access internet. Any pointer where I may be doing something wrong?
Check an order of fiber cable connection. If on one side is 1 and 2 order, on the other side should be reverted.
 
Mar 2, 2020
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Any pointer where I may be doing something wrong?
As I see the FMC is with fiber directly in not with a SFP port right? Are you shure the SFP module you bought to your switch is the same type as the FMC, multimode 1310nm?

If you list the exact components you bought it will be easy to see if they can work together.

It might just be that you have to swap place on the connectors going in to the FMC.
 
Dec 8, 2019
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Looking for some help here. Going through this thread I read about SFP and wanted to try fiber optic connectivity in my setup. I went ahead and bought a switch with SFP ports, bought some SFP modules and a TP Link MC100CM media converter. But for some reason, though everything is connected properly, not able to access internet. Any pointer where I may be doing something wrong?
Check the dip switches on the MC100CM to be sure the settings are correct for your system.
 
Mar 17, 2017
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As I see the FMC is with fiber directly in not with a SFP port right? Are you shure the SFP module you bought to your switch is the same type as the FMC, multimode 1310nm?

If you list the exact components you bought it will be easy to see if they can work together.

It might just be that you have to swap place on the connectors going in to the FMC.
Yes, FMC does not have SFP port while my switch has. Here are the items.

Switch: https://www.tp-link.com/us/business-networking/smart-switch/t1500g-8t/
FMC: TP Link MC100CM

1590074499127.png
1590074538184.png
 
Mar 2, 2020
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Could that be an issue?
Yes, you need to have a SFP module that have the same wavelength as the FMC and also there are singlemode and multimode.
 
Mar 2, 2020
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Marcin_gps

Well-Known Member
Jun 24, 2015
90
39
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jcat.eu
I have read that the switch M12 is a stellar performer. No question about it.
My point is how could my system benefit of this switch? I have 2 systems, going back and forth. Now I am playing with Euphony in dual pc set up, at home I have a new dual pc setup under development, where I will be using Windows/Jplay. In both cases I am using a serial connection. Without a switch. The primary usage of a switch is to distribute packets, but here we have only one source and one end point each time. Where should a switch be installed? At the beginning of the signal? If my NAS and the control pc was on the switch, of course things would be different, but now where should I try a switch?
Thank you in advance.
Peter, the switch should connect to router, NAS and both of your PCs.
Please see the diagram below:
 

joaovieira

Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2013
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89
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Brazil
I ask for advice
What type of SFP PCI card do you recommend in HTPC. Have experience?
Thanks
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.“
 

adamaley

Well-Known Member
Apr 15, 2016
347
277
93
Minnetonka, MN
From what I've read in CA and here, the opposite is true. Most folks likely don't even know that direct connect is even possible since no-one direct connects (other than the occasional older IT pro which years back required a patch cable, I date myself, I know). Everyone expects to use a switch so that becomes the defacto setup. I will say the ether regen is intriguing as is the Aqua Audio LINQ which has a switch built into the streaming device.
You're mistaken. I'm pretty sure everyone here at one time had a direct connection. We all used to have either a PC/Laptop go directly to a DAC via USB. This was back when 'bits were bits'. Then, the numerous USB cleaners showed up and were tried - giving daisy chaining a brand new era.

Then, I believe the Sonore folks (correct me if I'm wrong) introduced the idea of internet isolation using a small footprint endpoint. This was found to be a more optimal route vs. USB in most implementations. To the point where DAC manufacturers have started to include Ethernet inputs. What started the new Ethernet daisy chain era? Folks realized going straight from their router/Access Point to their endpoint didn't sound as good as having a switch somewhere in the middle. After reading these impressions, I was encouraged to give a switch a shot. Personally, a lowly Netgear switch of no repute made this clear to me to the point where I looked to add an actual audiophile switch.

The assumption of this thread is that the network matters to a large extent and that switches play a defacto role in their enhancement. You won't find many folks enthused enough to break down why, simply because it's become an audio truism (at least to those participating here). I know, objectivists do get galvanized over it with 'a switch is a switch' being the new 'bits are bits'. A good place to see this entire evolution play out is the "Novel thread" on AudiophileStyle. It's a behemoth, and you'll need a couple of days to get through it all. Or you can just take our word for it and try a switch in your system.
 
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sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
983
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Round Rock, TX
You're mistaken. I'm pretty sure everyone here at one time had a direct connection. We all used to have either a PC/Laptop go directly to a DAC via USB. This was back when 'bits were bits'. Then, the numerous USB cleaners showed up and were tried - giving daisy chaining a brand new era.

Then, I believe the Sonore folks (correct me if I'm wrong) introduced the idea of internet isolation using a small footprint endpoint. This was found to be a more optimal route vs. USB in most implementations. To the point where DAC manufacturers have started to include Ethernet inputs. What started the new Ethernet daisy chain era? Folks realized going straight from their router/Access Point to their endpoint didn't sound as good as having a switch somewhere in the middle. After reading these impressions, I was encouraged to give a switch a shot. Personally, a lowly Netgear switch of no repute made this clear to me to the point where I looked to add an actual audiophile switch.

The assumption of this thread is that the network matters to a large extent and that switches play a defacto role in their enhancement. You won't find many folks enthused enough to break down why, simply because it's become an audio truism (at least to those participating here). I know, objectivists do get galvanized over it with 'a switch is a switch' being the new 'bits are bits'. A good place to see this entire evolution play out is the "Novel thread" on AudiophileStyle. It's a behemoth, and you'll need a couple of days to get through it all. Or you can just take our word for it and try a switch in your system.
Sorry you're mistaken. We're talking direct connection of ethernet not USB. USB which is source to souce by design does not include a switch. You're confusing the two. And your history is a very myopic view of what transpired globally.

Long before Sonore came up with internet isolation gadgets Sony along with other industry leading tech companies developed DLNA (based on UPnNP) for media capable device interconnectivity and the sharing of media. Years later Sonore may have capitalized on that ethernet media standard but it's an after effect of an already prevalent industry standard.

Also, I've read many of the CA novel way to massively.. threads and others. There is some good info in there; there's also a lot of, "I've tried this and it's the BEST!!!" ad naseum so a grain or three of salt is recommended IMO. And for the record I'm not against switches, re-clockers etc., I simply initially asked who tried direct - connect in this ethernet - specific connectivity thread and received few if any testimonies.
 
Jan 16, 2013
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Sorry you're mistaken. We're talking direct connection of ethernet not USB. USB which is source to souce by design does not include a switch. You're confusing the two. And your history is a very myopic view of what transpired globally.

Long before Sonore came up with internet isolation gadgets Sony along with other industry leading tech companies developed DLNA (based on UPnNP) for media capable device interconnectivity and the sharing of media. Years later Sonore may have capitalized on that ethernet media standard but it's an after effect of an already prevalent industry standard.

Also, I've read many of the CA novel way to massively.. threads and others. There is some good info in there; there's also a lot of, "I've tried this and it's the BEST!!!" ad naseum so a grain or three of salt is recommended IMO. And for the record I'm not against switches, re-clockers etc., I simply initially asked who tried direct - connect in this ethernet - specific connectivity thread and received few if any testimonies.
Now I'm confused too:) Are you talking about the usb connection from the server to the dac? usb doesn't run on the input to the server side near switches. OR are you talking about an ethernet connection between the server and the dac?

I think we all thought that you were talking about a direct connection from the router to the input of the server, which would be connected directly with a LAN cable.

Specifically what connection are you referring to? If it's between the router and the server, it's not usb, right?

Just curious as to what connection you are talking about......thx

BTW, I thought you were referring to a direct connection from the router to the server via a lan cable. I think that we have all been there before we discovered the sonic uplifts that are gained by adding switches, LPSs and enhanced routers vs. ISP routers.
 
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sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
983
103
105
Round Rock, TX
Now I'm confused too:) Are you talking about the usb connection from the server to the dac? usb doesn't run on the input to the server side near switches. OR are you talking about an ethernet connection between the server and the dac?

I think we all thought that you were talking about a direct connection from the router to the input of the server, which would be connected directly with a LAN cable.

Specifically what connection are you referring to? If it's between the router and the server, it's not usb, right?

Just curious as to what connection you are talking about......thx

BTW, I thought you were referring to a direct connection from the router to the server via a lan cable. I think that we have all been there before we discovered the sonic uplifts that are gained by adding switches, LPSs and enhanced routers vs. ISP routers.
Who's on first!?! :)

I never brought up USB, just responded to adamaley's USB comment. I/we are talking about ethernet from server direct to renderer / Ethernet DAC versus Ethernet from server and Ethernet from renderer / Ethnernet DAC both connected to a switch.
 
Jan 16, 2013
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1,094
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Who's on first!?! :)

I never brought up USB, just responded to adamaley's USB comment. I/we are talking about ethernet from server direct to renderer / Ethernet DAC versus Ethernet from server and Ethernet from renderer / Ethnernet DAC both connected to a switch.
Thank you. I see why I was confused. You are referring to the connections between the server/renderer/dac. I have thought that all of the networking discussions here were regarding the connections from the ISP box(es) to the server.

I have never even thought of connecting a switch between a renderer, server and dac as at this point with the Renderer/server in one box and the connections from the server to the dac is either usb, spdif or AES/EBU and it's direct connection.

I will bow out and sorry for any confusion, I'm not quite sure about this one or what the real topic is. I thought you were referring to the connections from the ISP box(es) to the server and not beyond that.
 
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