W ROUTER: Ultra-Low Noise Audio Grade Router

ketcham

Industry Expert
Feb 29, 2016
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Wrouter_1_50.jpg



As we know, digital audio is a rapidly evolving technology; what was not considered a significant influence on music presentation is discovered to play an essential role after all. For example, in the area of network optimization, we see more and more audiophile switches on the market, each with its approach, technical breakthroughs, and benefits.


Although a relative unknown in the Western Hemisphere, the Waversa Systems W Router has been on the market for some time, and it remains the only audiophile-grade router. This unit is a “from the ground up” build, taking advantage of Waversa’s in-house chip design and proprietary signal processing and protocols.

W Router Board.jpg


The W Router achieves what it is designed to accomplish: to present streaming data without a tradeoff, with a black acoustic background, more focus, less tension, improved clarity, dynamics, and detail, all with a noticeable reveal of the intricacies of decay.


The W Router is designed to handle the most demanding audio files and is capable of streaming different content to different locations simultaneously without compromise. This unit is not a high-speed router or switch. Any step in that direction proved detrimental to the overall sonic presentation.


The Waversa WRouter achieves network security by “packet filtering” and, for ease of use, is not configurable by the end-user. However, WiFi access can be custom labeled and password protected by the end-user.

The end-user can set up the W Router as a WiFi router, a switch, or a hotspot. Best overall results occur when we separate the W Router from non-audio bandwidth by connecting the W Router to your modem with an isolated ethernet line.

Key Features:

  • Audio Grade Router with Audio Transport: Roon Ready/DLNA/AirPlay/WNDR*
* WNDR - Waversa Network Direct Rendering, a proprietary non-buffering Ethernet protocol.
  • Fanless Operation
  • Optimized Linux for noiseless operation
  • ROON endpoint streamer with USB and Coaxial Outputs
  • SSD Storage for DLNA Media Server and Roon Network Share
  • DLNA/AirPlay Renderer forward to external WDAC/WStreamer, both compatible with WNDR protocol
  • WAP/X signal processing*
* WAP / X, proprietary processing providing optional vacuum tube sonics without tubes
  • 4x battery-operated ethernet ports
  • 3x standard LAN ethernet ports
  • 1x WAN ethernet port
  • Additional 1x M2-SATA, 1x M-SATA Slot for SSD storage extension
  • AC Input: 90V ~ 260V adjustable

WRouter_image.png


The W Router has four stages of isolation:

  • Lithium-ion battery and linear transformer power supplies
  • LAN ports with Isolation and Noise Filters
  • Separately Designed Processors (2 x Switching Hub Processors)
  • Whole Duralamine Chassis (Bulkhead, Floating Structure)

Clean power



In the left image, we can see electrical noise associated with a switch-mode power supply (SMPS). Waversa products use either an internal linear power supply (middle image) or battery power (right image). However, switch mode power supply noise generated by other network sources can still pollute the audio signal. This issue has been considered and addressed by the WRouter’s incorporation of two isolated ethernet hubs. The standard LAN ports use linear power, and the audio LAN ports are battery-powered, providing complete power separation. Switching hub processors in each LAN area provide effective data distribution by separating distribution of music streaming data from distribution of data having nothing to do with music, such as behind the scenes network processing, firmware, LCD commands, etc.


Large power transformers supply main power

The W Router’s essential operation, LCD front panel, battery charging, and standard LAN ports are supplied with electricity by the linear power supply. Linear power supplies are more stable than SMPS power supplies, so they reduce distortion by minimizing jitter and noise.


Battery-powered LAN audio ports

The four audio ports operate on a lithium-ion battery. By ensuring consistent, clean electrical current, Lithium-ion batteries allow for a more precise data stream. This level of performance is difficult to achieve, even with a linear power supply. Besides, the ultra-low impedance characteristics of lithium-ion batteries absorb and remove even the smallest noise signals transmitted through connected signal lines to achieve noise-free performance.


The W Router uses two batteries, one powering the audiophile LAN ports and the other held in reserve. It monitors the battery voltage automatically and seamlessly switches between batteries when the one that has been in use requires a recharge.

LAN ports with Isolation and Noise Filtering

The W Router has a bank of three standard LAN ports equipped with a noise filter to effectively remove noise-filled signals from external sources such as NAS, routers, and modems. Also, two transformers are strategically placed to eliminate high-frequency noise. One transformer sits between the two hardware network switch chips that communicate between the three ‘dirty’ standard LAN ports near the power supply and the four ‘clean’ battery-powered audio LAN ports connected to the audiophile components. The second is located after the switch chip for audio data. The four audio LAN ethernet ports have an additional filter, so the signal to the audiophile devices is filtered twice.

WRouter_isolation.png




Separately Designed Processors (2 x Processor)

The W Router’s audio LAN ports and standard LAN ports are entirely separated, using parallel internal switches. This separation of processors reduces latency relative to the use of a single processor, reducing the chance of jitter due to overloading. This design also prevents internally processed packets from being delivered to the audio ports, thus improving the throughput of audio data.

  • Normal Port Processor: WAN signal processing, LCD screen signal processing, input

  • Audio Port Processor: Processes only audio signal

  • Only when router mode is selected is CPU routering initiated

Whole-cut duralumin chassis

The W Router’s solid, CNC cut duralumin chassis minimizes the effects of vibration. Also, the inside and outside are partitioned to a thickness of about 5 ~ 8mm, so that noise, whether generated externally or internally, does not interfere with the audio signal.

Floating structure design resistant to vibration

While the basic exterior armature is built to resist vibration, the structure itself is also designed to “float”, providing even more effective vibration suppression. This airborne structure makes it almost impossible to transfer vibrations, so there is no sound distortion due to vibration.
 

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ketcham

Industry Expert
Feb 29, 2016
126
57
115
Part 2:

WNDR (Waversa Network Direct Rendering) dedicated Ethernet protocol

WNDR is a:
  • Transmission scheme optimized for continuous signal processing without buffering

  • Protocol with strong immunity to noise

  • Protocol without conversion process by dedicated route

  • Cumulative process – there is an increased level of Waversa Audio Processing when multiple WNDR capable units are connected, improving sound quality


WNDR is a protocol dedicated to the transfer of pure music with little and, if selected, no buffering, creating a particular advantage whereby there is almost no noise during signal transmission and eliminating any notable sound quality distortion.


Waversa Audio Processor (WAP): Digital Signal Restoration Algorithm

WAP is an audio processor developed by Waversa, which estimates digital signals as closely as possible to the original sound. Unlike interpolation, which uses intermediate values, it is a technique for estimating and restoring data signals using preceding and following data signals. Higher levels of WAP produce more accurate analog signals.





WAP / X (Waversa Audio Processor Extension) reproduces the sound of vacuum tubes.


Some say that analog sounds are bright and warm, while digital sounds are cool and crisp. Waversa’s WAP / X processing reproduces the sound of vacuum tube amplifiers, deeply loved for their warm tone, using digital technology. Waversa analyzed the overtone characteristics of the 1940's Western Electric 300B and developed the means to reproduce them digitally. WAP / X technology adds the characteristics of the 300B’s transparency and warm overtones to WAP processing digitally.


High-end audio processing is a fairly complicated process involving a massive amount of data in real-time. Waversa’s most recent breakthrough was discovering that the new generation field-programmable gate array (FPGA*) could easily take on Waversa’s WAP / X overtone processing algorithm. With the new generation FPGAs, this complex processing can be applied accurately to many harmonics in real-time.


Jitter and electrical noise inherent in digital equipment mask the harmonics of music. All DAC manufacturers have, understandably, focused on minimizing these issues. With Waversa’s WAP / X processing, you can feel the warm natural overtones of the classic 1942 Western Electric 300B without the actual vacuum tube. If you want to hear the higher harmonics present in music but lost in the process of music digitization, the only way to do so is by using algorithms because there is a limit to the capability of a vacuum tube, no matter how good it is.

The end-user can turn WAP / X on or off, and also adjust the degree of harmonics by selecting among three levels of intensity. WAP / X is upgradeable in future firmware updates.

* FPGAs are exceedingly complex, fast logic circuits fully capable of handling resource-intensive algorithms.

Dynamic Range Enhancement is another Waversa-unique processing algorithm. It's not a volume control or output gain setting, but it is also adjustable by the end-user. This novel setting brings life and resurrects detail to compressed recordings. Both the Harmonic (WAP-X) and Dynamic Range Enhancement algorithms provide significant flexibility.


W Router Discussion Thread


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Kris

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2019
310
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Was someone able to compare this router/switch with other switches we have available now ?
I would like to know where this is located in regards to the SQ .
Please be so kind to share your experience
 

ketcham

Industry Expert
Feb 29, 2016
126
57
115
If there is enough interest I am happy to have a USA and a Canadian unit to be auditioned. PM me if this interests you. Depending on how the W Router is implemented will have varying results depending on the network. Trying different configurations is beneficial. I try to place hours on a unit to assist in the break-in process which like a DAC, the W Router does exhibit universally.
 

Kris

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2019
310
157
48
If this devices are in US and Canada I think Romaz, Nenon, Bob from Rhaspdody NYC and Steve Z are local heroes that have experience with many switches so far and can give us an idea where this W Router is .
Not sure if they are following this thread but will try to contact them. Will ask Nenon to PM you.

Also what are the switches you compared it to ?
What are your conclusions of this comparisons ?
 

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