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.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Comments

Blue58

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2013
607
268
310
London, UK
Likes: onsionsi
May 12, 2018
60
20
15
Perth, WA
The Startech FMC were from https://www.uk.insight.com/en-gb/apps/nbs/results.php?K=startech fibre
The Finisar transceivers from eBay.
The LPS https://www.paulhynesdesign.com/sr4

Just to clarify, I only changed the transceivers not the FMC itself.
Thanks Blue58.

I might be wrong but I don't think the StarTech FMC is an "audiophile" device in the sense that the clock is of ordinary quality.
I don't know the rest of your network configuration but further benefit may be achieved with something like the Sonore opticalModule especially if you stream.

https://www.sonore.us/opticalModule.html
 
Likes: nonesup

Brucemck2

Member Sponsor
May 10, 2010
296
21
423
Houston area
Thanks Blue58.

I might be wrong but I don't think the StarTech FMC is an "audiophile" device in the sense that the clock is of ordinary quality.
I don't know the rest of your network configuration but further benefit may be achieved with something like the Sonore opticalModule especially if you stream.

https://www.sonore.us/opticalModule.html
I don’t think these devices have a clock; I think these devices use the clocks and power supplies of the devices they’re inserted into.

https://www.finisar.com/sites/defau..._datacom_sfp_transceiver_productspecrevb1.pdf
 

nonesup

Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2017
510
143
120
Spain
The transceivers do not have a clock, but the FMCs do.
 

nonesup

Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2017
510
143
120
Spain
ABC0420E-E23F-4486-8295-CFA05A20772B.jpeg
 

wil

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2015
327
141
128
Thanks Blue58.

I might be wrong but I don't think the StarTech FMC is an "audiophile" device in the sense that the clock is of ordinary quality.
I don't know the rest of your network configuration but further benefit may be achieved with something like the Sonore opticalModule especially if you stream.

https://www.sonore.us/opticalModule.html
I would recommend the Sonore OM also. I use the OM at the modem end and the etherRegen at the other.
 

Kris

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2019
290
142
48
I am enterning below my post from AudiophileStyle .
Buffalo BSGS 2016 (2x stacked) is a fantastic addition to my system that has 2 Sonore OMs, Uniquiti Edgerouter and Ether Regen already. Most of connections are with famous Finisar SFPs and Planet SFPs.

„ I followed Nenon recommendation with the use of Buffalo BSGS 2016.
With his kind help I was able to get 2 of them. I dont think they are still available. All sold out.
I powered them with Vinnie Rossi great „mini” supercapacitor supplys rated 5v / 3A only !
Many powered them with 12v , but I recommend 5 v with 3A or more.
I think I can already say It is by far the bigest SQ gain I have ever experienced .
I wanted to thank Nenon for discovering soch a great improvements for us, testing many options and sharing results with all of us.
I see that Hols confirmed it already few posts above , so do I.
My next step will be to improve both clocks with the use of OXCO as Nenon and Hols already did with great result.
Will report my experience .”

After that I decided to send TWO Buffalo switches to Jord to install his famous already Pink Faun ultra clocks.
Nenon reported excellent result with one of them he installed in his Buffalo.
Hope to confirm his result with one switch and let you know how the combo of 2 Buffalows both fully upgrated and with Pink Faun Ultra clocks perform.
If that works I have additional 2 Buffalows I can get upgrated for total of 4 with PinkFaun clocks
That can be stacked .

Will that end ? Time will tell.
 

sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
1,058
144
285
Round Rock, TX
I was really amazed at the uptick in SQ at Blue58 today with his Extreme/Aqua Formula XHD, going from one brand of FMCs to another, and moving the LPSs for these and his router to away from his audio grid.

With the original FMCs and LPSs in line, the Extreme shone just a bit too brightly for me, with a strong metallic tinge to proceedings. Moving to the new brand of FMCs, and LPSs off line, this hint of aggressiveness is as good as gone, and the Extreme presents much more natural warmth, and elastic bass.
I would be interesting to see if the LinQ was employed which has its own switch built in whether it would be an improvement or not and if FMC selection would have any impact at all.
 
Likes: AquaUSA

tony22

Active Member
Nov 4, 2019
124
36
28
59
Sorry if this may be considered OT, but I have an Arris SB8200 that is my cable modem for incoming service. It’s currently hooked up via copper to a Ubiquiti Edgerouter 4. Is like to make a fiber break here, using the SFP pier on the router, in SM, but I’m not sure what the right Ethernet media converter would be to use on the Arris end. Help appreciated.
 

Kris

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2019
290
142
48
Here is something I wanted to share as promised.
Again many thaks to Nenon and Hols for their first impressions that lead me to perform more experiments !

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/...-music-server/?do=findComment&comment=1079597

It is just few days since my TWO Nenon+ PinkFaun Ultra meded Buffalows 2016 are powered and playing
but there is already clear to me that nothing compares to a good clock in the normal switch.
Also I am sure that addition of the Taiko Switch that is in creation process by Emile will be much better for Extreme,
But for now it is fantastic addition, especially for those who have different servers.
 

Kris

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2019
290
142
48
With this 2 Nenon + Pink Faun ULTRA moded Buffalows 2016 I was able to get BACK to Startech 1550 nm 80 km SFPs
It is the first time I was able to see why Emile liked them so much and he recommended it.
Bravo Emile !
They offer simply so much controll and authority that nothing can do that .
Again I have Finistar , Planet and Startech SFPs and without a good switch I was abslutelly sure the Startech is worst than Planet and Finisar was still better that both .

Now with a very good switches in chain I can say that I will never ever get back to Planet or Finisar
Startech is by far more precise and offers amazing controll without and side effects to other SQ components.
 
Nov 4, 2019
124
36
28
59
I have been working out the network infrastructure plan for my home. The main routing and switching (Arris SB8200 to Edgerouter 4 over fiber, feeding a Netgear GS310TP for non audio stuff, and an as yet unselected device for the audio side) is all located in one part of the house. The listening room will have three network devices in it, at this time, so I have two choices here. I can - from whatever audio switch I decide to use - run the Ethernet cables from the switch in the same room as the other equipment, or I can run MM fiber (through media transfer of course) to the sound room, and locate the audio switch there. I think this is the better option. It will make the attic run from one room to the other simpler, it will eliminate having long runs of Ethernet cable bundled together, and it will place the switch in the listening room. This would make it a lot easier for growth / replacement if more ports are needed.
Comments welcome.
 
Nov 4, 2019
124
36
28
59
I read through a number of posts here about the use of MM vs. SM, and had a discussion with @djsina2 about it. I’ve worked with a number of fiber installations at work, as well. While that experience tells me nothing about sound quality :), I do know that something like 50/125 MM is much more well suited to short haul implementations than a SM solution. So I went with MM on my Edgerouter and intend to do the same on the optical link to the audio room switch.
 

adamaley

Well-Known Member
Apr 15, 2016
411
325
148
Minnetonka, MN
I would recommend the Sonore OM also. I use the OM at the modem end and the etherRegen at the other.
Have you had the opportunity to compare the OM to the Startech FMC?
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high-end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing