I replaced my Ethernet switch feeding the DSjr from the remote NAS (Ethernet) and the BlueSound Node 2 feeding the DSjr (coax). Ethernet cables: AudioQuest Vodka to Node 2i and Shunyata Venom to the Node 2i.
The bookshelf speakers connected to the Node 2i’s sound great. I don’t know what my main system sounds like because my new P12 is not working. I’m looking forward to hearing what it sound like when it’s all working. No A - B blind testing. Just my memory of what it sounded like before.
Anybody else have an EE 8 Switch? I looked at an Uptone EtherREGEN, but it’s Ethernet connections looked too limited.
I have had my EE switch for nearly a year now. I don’t notice any sound improvement but I have had very stable connections to my BluRay player and streamer, which is a lot more than I can say for the Netgear switch I previously used.
I use the EE8 switch (with a Pual Hynes SR4-12 LPS) currently and prefer it over the EtherRegen/UltraCap LPS-1.2 combo I had before it. The ER did nothing SQ-wise for my system, so I gave the EE8 a try. The perceived improvement is subtle, but it is there. I wrote a pretty lengthy comparison of it vs the ER on the Naim forum (in their Streaming Audio sub-forum). Since that review/comparison, I have gone the John Swenson route for isolating my network components, and honestly it has done more than any audiophile switch/LPS could ever achieve in my system at around the same price or less, depending on where one gets their components and what deals can be had on the used market.
At the end of the day, it’s about ‘noise’ reduction. Neither the EE8 nor the ER really explains in any coherent or maybe better termed, established way that brings about consistent results in a typical environment, which is why it becomes such a ‘suck it and see’ proposition (and can be an expensive one at that).
Even with above-average (clean) power, 20a dedicated lines and listening room, John’s approach reaped very positive results in my system. The benefits are consistent insofar as I’ve read on several fora, but it takes a bit more effort and outlay than purchasing a simple switch, which is why, I suspect, it just isn’t going to be as popular in the revolving world of audiophile components.
Apologies for getting off-topic a bit here; I just wanted to illustrate how these things compare, since audiophile switches tend to be a boom-or-bust scenario, whereas other approaches can be less a mystery, and certainly less frustrating or time-consuming in the overall picture of music-listening enjoyment.
Of the three or four different switches I auditioned over time, the EE8 was the winner for me, but it was less impactful than I ever would have thought, just going by all of the praise and typical hyperbole. I’ll likely keep it, as I only have a one in, one out (router/LPS) from the EE8 to the wall keystone in the listening room two floors away. From there, I, too, use an AQ Vodka to my streamer as transport into a separate DAC/LPS.
Do I recommend the EE8? Absolutely. I would just preface that by stating not to expect the old night-and-day or transformative difference. That goes for the ER, too.
So what is the approach you recommend to isolate network components in addition to (or instead of) an audiophile switch like the EE8?
It’s relatively straightforward, but it consists of removing common-mode and normal-mode noise. I use a -31 series 1kVa Topaz Ultra-Isolation Transformer (0.0005 pF) that all my networking components and their linear power supplies are plugged into via a common power strip. It looks something like this:
Wall Receptacle > APC LE1200 Voltage Regulator > Topaz 1kVa > Tripp-Lite (PS-602-HG) Strip—>Hynes SR4/EE8 Switch; Teddy 15/2/Google Nest
My networking scenario is somewhat different than others, so one may or may not require the voltage regulator (even I likely don’t need one). Also, if you’re placing any digital components like a DAC into the strip, there’s the option that many use to plug a balanced iso-tranny (like a B&K 1604A) in series with the Topaz. The DAC, for instance, would plug into the balanced; the balanced into the Topaz to mitigate any backwash noise from the DAC or an SMPS. There are lots of different options to fit a given scenario. Mine is quite simple but effective.
My current system is nice, but I’ve owned better performing (at least if expense is any indicator), yet none of those so-called better ones is/was even close noise-wise to what this achieves in mitigating or eliminating any of the above CM and NM noise, which in turn really elevates a mid-to-hifi system like mine to something quite special, IMO. It is so quiet it can be staggering. I’m convinced it is because so much of the noise issues have been addressed, versus throwing money blindly at the problem. So much of it is cumulative as well, meaning each addition such as star-quad DC cables where applicable and using purposefully implemented ferrite cores within the proper range can really benefit as well. It might be overkill, but noise and the prospect of gound-loops isn’t really a concern for me anymore.
Thanks. More tech to research.
Thanks for the additional info. I can’t say I understand everything you mentioned, but it’s clear that reducing noise in the ethernet feed is critical to optimizing sound quality in a streaming system. I’ve achieved very positive results using an ENO filter after a basic Netgear switch and just before my Innuos Zen server/streamer. The ENO unit filters out high-frequency noise without rolling off the high-end in musical output via Ethernet. It sounds like your use of a transformer may be even more comprehensive.
I noticed that you are using a very nice Hynes power supply with the EE8 switch. Have you found this to be a worthwhile upgrade over the power supply that comes with the EE8?
Don’t be confused into thinking your music is traversing Ethernet. It’s not, it’s packets of either TCP or UDP data that is moving across the Ethernet switches and cabling.
It’s not music at this point and can not effect on high or low frequencies.
The only part that matters concerning ‘noise’ is when the digital data is converted to analog. Focus energy and money there for orders of magnitude improvements over Ethernet.
It looks like you’re doing what you can with regard to the subject, but like @brett66 points out, it’s not music traversing Ethernet and it’s a good point. I’ve only gone as far as what I have for the networking side (on the analog/digital side in my listening room I use a Stellar P3, incidentally) as being more precautionary, at least initially, as we share a lot of traffic for wifi in the house and have to use it for the satellites even though I use a wired connection from the wall (it’s a necessary evil for me, as the app that controls my streamer also doubles as a remote control or control center for Tidal and Qobuz).
As for the LPS, the Hynes is outstanding in every way. I use another to power my Chord Qutest DAC. I have made it a point of getting rid of every SMPS in the audio or networking chain and replaced them with LPSs utilizing star-quad DC cables and decent power cords. I own mostly Naim gear, so am a bit biased up-front as to my opinion of what having a well-designed power supply can do for one’s system (even if a bit apples-to-oranges here). I’ve gone all linear in an effort to be consistent as well. It just makes for what I was trying to achieve simpler and easier to manage aside from a focus on SQ or performance.