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

May 12, 2018
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Perth, WA
Thank you. From where I was at I feel very fortunate. I'm sure you can take anyone of my X number of devices and swap them out for something else. My gut says at this point, it would be different vs. much of a leap upward.

I could get by with just a few of the devices actually, maybe one. Maybe even with just a dedicated ISP line in and an Edge or a switch. Good cables, grounding, VIBRATION CONTROL all make such easily noticeable improvements that I think you can get very acceptable VERY high level sound from streaming, without breaking the bank.

Sure I went crazy, but the whole network costs about the same as a high end guitar and I have many of them just sitting in their cases:)
Hi Bob,

Can you comment on the impact of your "mega switch combo" on the recent Taiko Extreme ethernet/ROON tweak.

I'm just wondering if the impact is as great as before with local playback and streaming and if the difference is greater with streaming.

Thanks

G
 

wil

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2015
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There's an interesting post from Nenon on Computer Audio:
https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/...f-computer-audio-streaming/page/676/#comments

... where, to paraphrase, he starts to analyze his devotion to network improvements (switches, clockers, cables, and their power supplies) and is concluding that while all of the above have improved the sound to his liking, that they are probably best characterized as "tone controls."

This made me smile as this is exactly how our resident network-tweak-sceptic, Steve, has been characterizing the network changes so many of us have been obsessing over.

Nenon goes on to imply, if I'm reading correctly, that the type of operating system changes Taiko is implementing to improve Roon performance may be more substantive than concentrating on the network.
 
Likes: kswanson27
Jan 16, 2013
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Hi Bob,

Can you comment on the impact of your "mega switch combo" on the recent Taiko Extreme ethernet/ROON tweak.

I'm just wondering if the impact is as great as before with local playback and streaming and if the difference is greater with streaming.

Thanks

G
Hi G,

It's so hard for me to give a good opinion. In the last week I inserted the Waversa W router, grounded the two M12s, and grounded the Waversa. With those almost finishing touches (still have the JCAT Gold Sig cables on the way) the system sounded really great to me. I was totally happy with the perfomance.

Then Emile did his magic and the sound took a huge leap regarding vibrancy, incisiveness, resolution, bass performance, micro dynamics etc.

Then a day later the Magico A5s arrived, which sent me into a "tizzy":)

Now, I have no idea of what's doing what to who, other than it sounds REALLY, REALLY GOOD.
 

kswanson27

Active Member
Nov 22, 2018
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There's an interesting post from Nenon on Computer Audio:
https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/...f-computer-audio-streaming/page/676/#comments

... where, to paraphrase, he starts to analyze his devotion to network improvements (switches, clockers, cables, and their power supplies) and is concluding that while all of the above have improved the sound to his liking, that they are probably best characterized as "tone controls."

This made me smile as this is exactly how our resident network-tweak-sceptic, Steve, has been characterizing the network changes so many of us have been obsessing over.

Nenon goes on to imply, if I'm reading correctly, that the type of operating system changes Taiko is implementing to improve Roon performance may be more substantive than concentrating on the network.
I agree. Assuming i can get the damn Edge RouterX to play nice with my Arris 8200 modem I'm going with a simple, direct fiber network to the Extreme: Dedicated cable coax >Arris 8200 modem > Sablon ethernet > Edgerouter X SFP > 15m fiber > Extreme. Using Finisar SFPs.
 
Jan 16, 2013
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I agree. Assuming i can get the damn Edge RouterX to play nice with my Arris 8200 modem I'm going with a simple, direct fiber network to the Extreme: Dedicated cable coax >Arris 8200 modem > Sablon ethernet > Edgerouter X SFP > 15m fiber > Extreme. Using Finisar SFPs.
You can get GREAT sound with just plugging in the ethernet cable from your ISP, especially with the last Emile update. No need for anything else, unless one wants to experiment and see if it makes a difference to them.
 

sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
1,049
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Round Rock, TX
I can't recall but earlier in this thread a gentleman posted that if you want to know how much the best switch / ethernet isolator / ethernet reclocker can benefit (or not be a detriment) to the sound in your system - disconnect ethernet from your server and play a local file, then plug it back in and see how much of a difference there is. I did such a test and the difference was minimal, maybe even in my head to be frank. So either I have a really good ethernet switch (a stock Netgear with an Acopian gold LPSU) or there really isn't that much to gain IME unless you have significant incoming ethernet noise.
 

kswanson27

Active Member
Nov 22, 2018
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Thank you Blackmorec!!! Excellent. It will be interesting to see if the "network interest" from members can transfer over to this thread. Hope so.

I will share where I am with my network discoveries a little later today. I'm very interested in ANY ideas or pointers from those, like yourself, that are further down the road than myself with extracting further sonic performance from my Verizon GPON/modem all the way through to the server. I use the Extreme as my server, BUT also have a Rockna, SGC and Aurender servers as well.

The cool thing is that is if network optimization is found it pretty much (there are probably exceptions) should benefit any server.

Again, thx for starting this thread!
Hope this is posted in the right place. I'm trying to install an Arris 8200SB modem. How do I determine which version it is? I've heard it must be version 4 or higher to work with Spectrum and it is dropping the internet connection every 90 seconds or so.
 
Jan 16, 2013
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Hope this is posted in the right place. I'm trying to install an Arris 8200SB modem. How do I determine which version it is? I've heard it must be version 4 or higher to work with Spectrum and it is dropping the internet connection every 90 seconds or so.
Hi Ken,

Did you get into the menu of the Arris modem? It's in the user manual on Chapter 5.
https://arris.my.salesforce.com/sfc...h/9Nh17rOX59OqJRfv4_PGHkAjUvwIaGiOxdcQQOp_Tyk

I'm not familiar with the Arris, someone else here might be, but there might be a setting that has to be set in the user interface menu that you access via putting the default LAN IP address, which is 192.168.100.1
 
Jan 16, 2013
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Hi Ken,

Ken,

On table 4 of Chapter 5 in the menu there is the version numbers. That should tell you the version you are running.
 
Dec 8, 2019
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Dec 8, 2019
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I'm using a Netgear AC1200 wireless router that is connected to my custom switch. Does anyone know of a better wireless router than the Netgear or does it not matter?
Ideally, you want wifi turned off on your router (any router) for best sound quality. Nenon explains the reason and details in a couple of posts earlier in this thread.
 

Jeffy

Well-Known Member
Apr 27, 2014
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Orchard Lake, MI
This is attached to my computer with Jriver for all my music. I need the wireless router so I can access Jriver with my Ipad. With wifi off I would not be able to use the Ipad.
 

dminches

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2011
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This is attached to my computer with Jriver for all my music. I need the wireless router so I can access Jriver with my Ipad. With wifi off I would not be able to use the Ipad.
My suggestion would be to turn off the wireless on your router and get a wireless access point like ubiquiti. The wireless will be better and you are moving the WiFi radio away from your main router.
 

dminches

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2011
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The access point provides a wireless gateway to your router. If you ipad can see the access point then it can see everything on your network.
 

Jeffy

Well-Known Member
Apr 27, 2014
265
33
233
Orchard Lake, MI
My computer is in another room away from my main router. In other wards I can’t connect it directly to my computer. So that is why I access another router in the computer room.
 

Thuan

New Member
Apr 20, 2020
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I’m not following you. How will my iPad which needs WiFi going to work this way? A router allows you to use WiFi not a switch
You're absolutely right, we all need Wifi to use a control point such as iPad or android tablet for remote or headless playback. What others tried to convey here, to my understanding, is to separate the Wifi functionality from your audio handling router. Let some other device such as another Wifi capable router or an Access Point do that exact task: Access Point. That's what they mean by suggesting you turn off Wifi on your router.

Here's what I'd do, to put it in a simplistic way: connect a non Wifi router to custom switch. If cable lenghth is an issue, consider FMCs. Also to the switch I'd connect a Wifi access point. The custom switch will "buffer" your router from Wifi, I'd get better SQ that way.

Similarly, I've got better SQ when replacing ISP supplied all in one cable modem/wifi router with a pure modem such as SB8200, connecting its output to a pure router, connecting the router to a custom switch, etc. You get the picture.
 
May 12, 2018
54
17
15
Perth, WA
Hi G,

It's so hard for me to give a good opinion. In the last week I inserted the Waversa W router, grounded the two M12s, and grounded the Waversa. With those almost finishing touches (still have the JCAT Gold Sig cables on the way) the system sounded really great to me. I was totally happy with the perfomance.

Then Emile did his magic and the sound took a huge leap regarding vibrancy, incisiveness, resolution, bass performance, micro dynamics etc.

Then a day later the Magico A5s arrived, which sent me into a "tizzy":)

Now, I have no idea of what's doing what to who, other than it sounds REALLY, REALLY GOOD.
Hi Rob,

I appreciate the problem with the changing baseline.:p

Would it be convenient enough to just connect Extreme to the Waversa W Router directly; bypassing the two M12's to see if there's a profound drop-off in SQ?

I think the two M12's made a huge improvement in your previous setup especially with the Optimo 3 Duo PS.

Geoff

ps. is the Verizon router still in play?
 

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