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

cat6man

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
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#41
Marc, Yes, I connect a $100 Edge router into the Verizon ISP supplied router.

I can't recommend anything. Romaz, Blacmorec, SBO6 or MANY guys that are not speaking up yet are very knowledgeable with the network technicalities might be able to advise more adequately.

Over the last month I have observed, those mentioned members as well as Emile and read up a bit and then got a procured a few devices and started plugging them in to see what would happen. Each time I added a device including LPSs to the two routers, BETTER sonics were definitely observed.

Not the same with the fiber or copper. They sounded different to me, not better or worse. But the added router, switch and LPSs all made a positive sonic difference. I just went from doing one, then the next.

So with my naive network network understanding, but with a little experience now if it were me, I WOULD get another router and connect it with one of the lan ports on your main router. Get it from somewhere you can return it. Try it and see. If you don't like it or can't tell a difference send it back.

I don't care really what anyone says, I know that I will only know if I like something if I connect it and listen. If I'm not sure if there is a jump in performance when I listen, then the answer is no. I pretty much have to say wow, not WOW, but wow......then it's a keeper.

WHAT I HAVE LEARD AND TAKE FROM ALL OF THIS IS THAT THE NETWORK SIDE OF THE EQUATION IN MY SYSTEM(S) HAS MADE A HUGE POSITIVE SONIC DIFFERENCE.

The network side of the equation might not make any difference or a small difference for someone else and their systems/network that's fine, I feel fortunate that I discovered it and it worked for me. Also if/when possible I enjoy helping others find what I found. It's a good thing.
if i get this right, your fios quantum router feeds 1) your edge router and 2) all the rest of your stuff on two separate lan cables.

did you have to disable DHCP on your edge router (so that the two routers don't fight over who assigns IP addresses), or are you setting up a subnet or something like that with the edge router?
 
Jan 16, 2013
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#42
if i get this right, your fios quantum router feeds 1) your edge router and 2) all the rest of your stuff on two separate lan cables.

did you have to disable DHCP on your edge router (so that the two routers don't fight over who assigns IP addresses), or are you setting up a subnet or something like that with the edge router?
Yes, out of one of the lan port on the Verizon router I go to the Edge router. Out of the other three ports, one lan cable goes to an AirPort Extreme router, where I have my fax/scanner, a SGC I7 server and then a few other connections.

The other port from the Verizon router goes to an Aurender server, the other output to a Rockna server.

I had to go into the Edge router settings and change the tcpip address so it did not conflict with the Verizon router address. I had issues figuring this out, where I almost gave up. Once I understood what I was doing it was easy. I found this tutorial that guides you through the process.

https://itstillworks.com/set-second-router-verizon-fios-6127815.html
 

cat6man

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
177
38
260
west of NYC, east of SF
#43
Here’s an easy and rewarding diy project. Inspired by the Kanai Maru link below (open in Chrome for translation from Japanese), I used Takman metal film resistors in a Telegaertner rj45 plug. You just plug into one of the spare ports of your router and enjoy a nice drop in noisefloor. I found that using two deadened the sound quality.

http://kanaimaru.com/NWA840/005.htm

http://www.acoustic-revive.com/english/pcaudio/lan_terminator.html

View attachment 64004
interesting and cheap diy project.

it seems there are 3 options:
1. using resistors (as you did)
2. shorting out each pair
3. leaving open each pair (cutting the end off)

have you compared option 1 with the really simple option 3?

(from translation of part of Kanai Maru)
/start translation
I took some time today and compared them in detail. As a result, the short pin and the open pin seem to be different.

The open pin is circuit free, so it feels like there is no loss, and it feels like it uses all the energy it has. You can get a good habit. The short pin is rather a lossy feeling and improves the S / N feeling. However, they are sensitive to the type of mold and the type of insulating tape in the short section, and they often overdo it. Since the circuit is electrically shorted, it may be more sensitive to vibrations.


------
LAN terminal short pin made by Mr. Yoshida's information. Although the effect is great, I am confirming whether it is really possible to short-circuit (I will update the description of this part after confirmation).

The switching hub basically outputs only the signal addressed to the MAC address of the device connected to each terminal. There is no MAC address on the short pin: Normally no signal is output. So short-circuiting is OK ... but the problem is that there is a packet called broadcast, and I don't really know what happens when this comes.

Speaking of whether the line is short-circuited or broken, I think that there is a signal and shorting it will not break. It should have been made that way. However, please take 'Short Pins for Sound Quality Improvement' at your own risk (I think it is worth trying).

If it never breaks and it also has a noise suppression effect, you should seriously terminate it with a resistor. I would like to consider this as the next theme.

Also, since the LAN terminal input is differential amplification, the normal mode disappears due to a short circuit, but I think the common mode is still amplified. Therefore, it may be effective to drop it in a Y shape against the ground. You can experiment by using a terminal with a shield, but with a shield, the sound tends to be hard by itself, so it is a big theme.

Please look forward to future developments.

Oh, it's easy, so please try only the open pin.
/end translation
 

cat6man

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
177
38
260
west of NYC, east of SF
#44
I had to go into the Edge router settings and change the tcpip address so it did not conflict with the Verizon router address. I had issues figuring this out, where I almost gave up. Once I understood what I was doing it was easy. I found this tutorial that guides you through the process.

https://itstillworks.com/set-second-router-verizon-fios-6127815.html
thanks. i understand this part. i was wondering if you had both routers acting as DHCP servers or if it was turned off on the edge router (i.e. all IP addresses are still assigned by fios router)?
 

Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
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#45
@cat6man, I have only evaluated the shorting option with pins 1,2,3 & 6.
 

dminches

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Oct 22, 2011
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#46
Marc, Yes, I connect a $100 Edge router into the Verizon ISP supplied router.
Just to clarify, and correct me if I am wrong, you aren't using the EdgeRouter as a router. You are using it as a switch. Indicating that you are using 2 routers may confuse people if you aren't actually doing that.

On a side note, while the EdgeRouter is definitely better than the ISP-provided router (I have and use it with FIOS), I don't think it is better than a switch such as the Uptone EtherREGEN.
 
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cat6man

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
177
38
260
west of NYC, east of SF
#47
Just to clarify, and correct me if I am wrong, you aren't using the EdgeRouter as a router. You are using it as a switch. Indicating that you are using 2 routers may confuse people if you aren't actually doing that.

On a side note, while the EdgeRouter is definitely better than the ISP-provided router (I have and use it with FIOS), I don't think it is better than a switch such as the Uptone EtherREGEN.
it was my impression that he was using the edge router with a fixed IP address and presumably DHCP server turned off.
what i'm not sure is if the edge router segregates data in a different way that a switch........i believe it does based on a quick and simplistic reading of a few web pages :)
if that is the case, there would be less activity seen on the LAN cable feeding the audio network

is there anyone here who can supply us with a good summary of how an edge router (w/o dHCP server) differs from a switch?
 
Jan 16, 2013
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#48
thanks. i understand this part. i was wondering if you had both routers acting as DHCP servers or if it was turned off on the edge router (i.e. all IP addresses are still assigned by fios router)?
You tell me:) I followed the instructions here

https://itstillworks.com/set-second-router-verizon-fios-6127815.html

I had to go into the Edge router and change the IP address, which I did. Then I connected it to the Verizon router and it worked. So is that acting as a switch or another router?
 
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Jan 16, 2013
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#50
With this big SQ delta you reported the Edgerouter used as switch might be superior to a typical switch?

Matt
I'm not really sure, I hope someone here can explain. I was told by someone that it might help if I added a dedicated router to go to the Extreme. I googled and found the article above how to do it. I bought the Edge followed the directions and was AMAZED. But I do not know if the Edge the way I set it up with a separate IP address is acting as a switch or another router.

My guess is with it's own IP address it is acting like a router, not a switch.

Someone enlighten me please.
 

Marcin_gps

VIP Donor/Industry Expert
Jun 24, 2015
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#51
It acts as a switch in your setup.
 
Jan 16, 2013
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#52
It acts as a switch in your setup.
Thx. Even though it has its own separate IP address?

The reason I called it a second router is that the tutorial I followed was titled "adding a second router to a Verizon Fios router". It gave directions for that, so I assumed it was adding the Edge as a router not a switch.
 
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Marcin_gps

VIP Donor/Industry Expert
Jun 24, 2015
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#53
Thx. Even though it has its own separate IP address?
Bob, every device in a network must have a separate unique IP address.

A router will be assigned a public IP address, but will then assign a private address using the DHCP protocol to each device on your network. ... When connecting to the internet, your private IP addresses will remain hidden, and only the routers public IP address is visible.

the ubiquiti in your network gets a private IP from the verizon router via DHCP. The ubiquiti also runs DHCP so that any network device connected to it (e.g. m12 switch) gets private IP address automatically.

This is how it works in my setup:
IP address of router: 192.168.1.0 (private)
iP address of wifi access point: 192.168.1.1
IP address of my music server connected to m12 switch: 192.168.1.2

First 3 numbers of the ip address are the same so it means that the devices are in the same network (subnet) which means all can communicate with each other.

hope this helps
 
Jan 16, 2013
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#54
Bob, every device in a network must have a separate unique IP address.

A router will be assigned a public IP address, but will then assign a private address using the DHCP protocol to each device on your network. ... When connecting to the internet, your private IP addresses will remain hidden, and only the routers public IP address is visible.

the ubiquiti in your network gets a private IP from the verizon router via DHCP. The ubiquiti also runs DHCP so that any network device connected to it (e.g. m12 switch) gets private IP address automatically.

This is how it works in my setup:
IP address of router: 192.168.1.0 (private)
iP address of wifi access point: 192.168.1.1
IP address of my music server connected to m12 switch: 192.168.1.2

First 3 numbers of the ip address are the same so it means that the devices are in the same network (subnet) which means all can communicate with each other.

hope this helps
Helps a lot. Thank you Marcin.
 

cat6man

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
177
38
260
west of NYC, east of SF
#55
Bob, every device in a network must have a separate unique IP address.

A router will be assigned a public IP address, but will then assign a private address using the DHCP protocol to each device on your network. ... When connecting to the internet, your private IP addresses will remain hidden, and only the routers public IP address is visible.

the ubiquiti in your network gets a private IP from the verizon router via DHCP. The ubiquiti also runs DHCP so that any network device connected to it (e.g. m12 switch) gets private IP address automatically.

This is how it works in my setup:
IP address of router: 192.168.1.0 (private)
iP address of wifi access point: 192.168.1.1
IP address of my music server connected to m12 switch: 192.168.1.2

First 3 numbers of the ip address are the same so it means that the devices are in the same network (subnet) which means all can communicate with each other.

hope this helps
marcin,

a couple of observations:

0. not all devices in a network have a separate unique IP address. an simple unmanaged switch will not have an IP address, nor does the etherRegen. a managed switch (requiring a login) will have an IP address, as will routers. the ubiquiti edge router is managed, and therefore has an IP address even when operating functionally as a switch

1. since the default IP address for the ubiquiti conflicts with the verizon router IP, he manually assigned it a non-conflicting IP address so i don't believe it is getting it via dhcp (he linked to this describing his installation)

2. running two DHCP servers sounds like a bad idea since they may duplicate assignments of IP addresses........not a good practice in general and could cause unexpected (and really hard to troubleshoot!) problems in the future if the ubiquiti assigns an ip address already assigned by the verizon router (e.g. a device was assigned an ip address by the verizon router, but was turned off at the time the ubiquiti was added..........the ubiquiti won't know not to assign the same address unless specific IP address partitioning is done----a complication better avoided since he wants to keep this simple)
 
Jan 16, 2013
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#56
marcin,

a couple of observations:

0. not all devices in a network have a separate unique IP address. an simple unmanaged switch will not have an IP address, nor does the etherRegen. a managed switch (requiring a login) will have an IP address, as will routers. the ubiquiti edge router is managed, and therefore has an IP address even when operating functionally as a switch

1. since the default IP address for the ubiquiti conflicts with the verizon router IP, he manually assigned it a non-conflicting IP address so i don't believe it is getting it via dhcp (he linked to this describing his installation)

2. running two DHCP servers sounds like a bad idea since they may duplicate assignments of IP addresses........not a good practice in general and could cause unexpected (and really hard to troubleshoot!) problems in the future if the ubiquiti assigns an ip address already assigned by the verizon router (e.g. a device was assigned an ip address by the verizon router, but was turned off at the time the ubiquiti was added..........the ubiquiti won't know not to assign the same address unless specific IP address partitioning is done----a complication better avoided since he wants to keep this simple)
Cat6man, THANK YOU!!!

I thought switches did not have IP addresses in general. Routers do. That is why I thought the Edge was acting as a router as it was assigned a non-conflicting IP address, but as you and Marcin say was actually performing as a switch.

I can say it's been 2 weeks now and not one tiny glitch. Very stable.

Very interesting to me. Looking forward to Marcin's reply.
 

cat6man

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
177
38
260
west of NYC, east of SF
#57
Cat6man, THANK YOU!!!

I thought switches did not have IP addresses in general. Routers do. That is why I thought the Edge was acting as a router as it was assigned a non-conflicting IP address, but as you and Marcin say was actually performing as a switch.

I can say it's been 2 weeks now and not one tiny glitch. Very stable.

Very interesting to me. Looking forward to Marcin's reply.
plan to hook up a ubiquiti edge router here, soon i hope.......its waiting for me in the basement
 
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#58
plan to hook up a ubiquiti edge router here, soon i hope.......its waiting for me in the basement
That's funny because there is another member here that is receiving his Edge today and going to install it as well that I have been talking to via pm.

Question- So with the way that I have my Edge connected to my Verizon router, I guess acting like a switch, but it still has a fixed non-conflicting IP address, did I off-load traffic that the signal going to the server was possibly bogged down with prior to adding the Edge?

There definitely was a noticeable positive difference in sound, I have been thinking that that was the Edge gave a clear audio only path to the server without conflicting traffic on the Verizon router.

What you say?....and thank you!!!
 

dminches

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2011
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#59
That's funny because there is another member here that is receiving his Edge today and going to install it as well that I have been talking to via pm.

Question- So with the way that I have my Edge connected to my Verizon router, I guess acting like a switch, but it still has a fixed non-conflicting IP address, did I off-load traffic that the signal going to the server was possibly bogged down with prior to adding the Edge?

There definitely was a noticeable positive difference in sound, I have been thinking that that was the Edge gave a clear audio only path to the server without conflicting traffic on the Verizon router.

What you say?....and thank you!!!
It think what you are saying is very possible (that you are avoiding traffic with your audio stream).

You should try swapping out the edge and putting in the Melco (?) switch that you have. That would be an interesting comparison given the huge price difference.
 
Likes: Kris
Jan 16, 2013
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#60
It think what you are saying is very possible (that you are avoiding traffic with your audio stream).

You should try swapping out the edge and putting in the Melco (?) switch that you have. That would be an interesting comparison given the huge price difference.
I have the JCAT right now attached to the output of the Edge then into the Extreme. I know I should try that, BUT right now I don't want to touch it, it's stable and sound incredible:) I know it would not be a big deal. Maybe in a week or two when I'm over the amazement.
 

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