ENO Ethernet Filter for Streaming Audio

I first learned about the ENO Ethernet filter a couple of months ago, and I was able to try one out this week. This device was developed by Network Acoustics in the UK to filter out Ethernet-borne noise while leaving the Ethernet signal intact. The ENO filter is available using either silver (Ag) or copper (Cu) wire in its construction as well as in the Ethernet streaming cables available for connecting the filter to a network switch on one end and to a streamer or DAC with Ethernet input on the other end.

I first read positive comments about the ENO filter on several threads on Audiogon and a few other audio forums, which led me to also read reviews from the-ear and Positive Feedback. In fact, the ENO was recognized as a “Best of 2020” selection by the-ear. Given that Network Acoustics offers a 30-day trial on the ENO, I decided to give it a try and yesterday received the Ag version of both the Ag filter and the 1m Ag streaming cable.

Network Acoustics says that the Ag filter needs about 100 hours of use to settle in, but it’s already had a positive effect on my streaming system right out of the box. Specifically, I have a 50 ft run of BJC Cat 6a going from my router to a basic Netgear switch with an inexpensive iFi iPower power supply. The Ag Ethernet streaming cable is connected from the switch to the Ag ENO filter and then from the filter (using the short Ag cable built into the output of the ENO) to an Innuos Zen Mk3 server/streamer. The Zen is connected by a DH Labs Mirage USB cable to the USB input on the DS DAC.

The ENO’s sound may change with additional break-in, but my streaming system is already sounding smoother, quieter, and sweeter with the ENO filter and cable connected. I am especially pleased that removing some of the noise from the system has still preserved the high-frequency sparkle that helps music come alive. Bass is solid and 3-D, and the filter seems great at removing harshness from digital sound. The removal of noise seems to allow instruments and voices to be presented clearly and separately in space without the blurring and mushing together that can reduce the naturalness and expansiveness of a soundstage.

I don’t know if the ENO filter can have a similar effect on all streaming systems, but I’m glad I’ve tried it in mine and that it has improved how real and natural sounding my music streaming has become. If anyone is seeking ways to improve their streaming system by reducing Ethernet-borne noise, the ENO filter and cables are definitely worth a careful look.

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Yesterday, I had a chance to compare the Network Acoustics Ag streaming cable to a 1m Supra Cat 8 ethernet cable, with either cable being used between my network switch and the input on the ENO filter. Actually, both cables sounded pretty good, but the Ag cable did sound better. In my system, the Supra produced a bit of a flattening of soundstage depth, with central voices appearing a little more forward in space. The overall sound was a little less airy and refined with the Supra, but it was still pleasant and listenable.

I had the Supra cable in the system for less than an hour, so I might notice more sound differences after more extended usage. My takeaway, though, is that there are differences between different ethernet cables feeding the ENO filter, but that the ENO can exert positive effects on the sound even with a basic, inexpensive ethernet cable. This means that users who already own high-quality ethernet cables can take advantage of the noise reduction provided by the ENO filter even if they don’t want to use the Ag streaming cable available from Network Acoustics. It’s hard to predict, of course, how the ENO will sound with different cables in a specific streaming system. It would be fun to compare the Ag streaming cable to other high-end Ethernet cables, but I would expect the ENO to perform its noise-reducing magic with a fairly wide range of associated cabling.

I moved from using Ethernet cable to fiber optic - for me it was a significant upgrade in sound (galvanic isolation is intrinsic to the process). Check out the following article - conversion to fiber optic is fairly inexpensive.

Enjoy!

Gorm

@Gorm, what gear did you use for your fiber optic connections? I have read complaints from some fiber optic users of a bit of softening of high-frequency detail as well as the introduction of a new source of noise from the FMC converter that is closest to the DAC or the streamer that feeds the DAC. I would expect that using the higher end gear (including better power supplies) mentioned in the TAS article would minimize noise from the fiber converters, and switches such as the EtherRegen actually include internal conversion from fiber to wire for the final section of the ethernet chain.

I haven’t tried fiber-optic conversion in my system, but I would probably have looked into it further if the ENO filter hadn’t done such a good job of reducing noise in the system without requiring any additional ethernet tweaks or expensive power supplies.

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I have an English Electric switch to an Inakustik Cat7 to the A side of my EtherREGEN which is powered by a Keces P8. The English Electric switch is powered by a Small Green Computer linear supply.
The B side of the EtherREGEN connects to my Euphony server via an Inakustik Cat 7 cable. The Euphony server is also powered by the Keces P8 supply.

Also connected to the A side of the EtherREGEN is an Inakustik Cat 7 cable to the Small Green computer Optical Module powered by an Uptone Audio LPS 1.2. Then fiber optic cable to my Signature Rendu Optical Streamer.

No other networking cables or devices are anywhere near my system. It seems pretty nice and not stupidly expensive. I could upgrade from the Uptone and Small Green Computer power supplies but I’m good for now.

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An alternative to fiber optic cables that provide galvanic isolation would be the use of LAN isolators. Pink Faun and Acoustic Revive come to mind. I’ve used the latter for years to good effect.

Yesterday I checked Melco S100. An unusual switch with cable and optical ports, but costs $2k+

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I understand the English Electric and other ethernet switches are all branded versions of a switch designed by a Taiwanese company called Thunder Data. Their own brand is Silent Angel.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/chorus-chuang-2006344a/?originalSubdomain=tw
They are serious telecoms engineers with decades of experience who seem to have set about making an effective consumer product, which was good enough for me to try it.

Network Acoustics is two blokes called “Rich and Bob” from the English Riviera, the only available provenance being that in 2019 one of them set up a hifi dealership from his home, which seems to have closed down rather quickly. They may have created the greatest audio product ever, but my bet is they haven’t and I’d rather put the money on a horse.

For better or worse, I do what seems pretty standard these days:

The Sky box is my modem that has two sockets.
One goes to the English Electric 8 switch (with the Chord CAT6a cable and low noise power supply in the EE8 box).
The other goes to a Netgear switch that serves the rest of the house.
Blue Jeans CAT6a from the EE8 to the Innuos server above.
Blue Jeans CAT6a from the server to the TPLink switch.
The TPLink switch is powered by the iFi 9v low noise SMPS.
Everything at this end plugged into an iFi Power Station mains conditioner which has cross-component isolation.

Fibre optic downstairs to another TPLink by my streamer.
At that end, I power the converter with a SotM 9v battery power supply (thankfully bought used).

There are variations in this using Sonore optical devices if you want to spend the money, or put the server next to the hifi and use the usb output, which is what you have to do with a Roon Nucleus as it does not have an ethernet output. I do that here as well, as the Innuos is feeding the CA CXA81 above it by usb.

The only expensive thing is the audiophile ethernet switch, cost me £450, the rest is pretty painless. I don’t believe in audiophile ethernet cables.

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I took a step-wise approach starting with the TPLink converters with a linear power supply, then upgraded to the Sonore optical links - both were upgrades in term of sound - basically I followed to article. I would give it a try!
Gorm

My optical line line goes directly from my NAS to the PS Audio DSD

@gorm, how do you connect a NAS directly to the DSD via an optical line? Is this via Toslink rather than the same fiber optic line you use in your Ethernet set-up?

I should clarify – a short ethernet cable from the NAS to the TPLink (or Sonore) converter box => optical cable from TPLink (or Sonore) converter box to a second converter box => ethernet cable from second converter box to DSD ethernet connection. I have Roon core running from my NAS. Setup was surprising easy/trouble free.

Regards,

Gorm

Steven, You can make fun of the two guys who started Network Acoustics, but your comments would carry more weight if you had actually listened to the ENO filter first. I’ve received excellent customer service and very helpful ethernet advice from Rich over email. It’s not at all like betting on the horses, by the way, since you can return the ENO within 30 days if you don’t like it in your system.

You’ve stated often that you don’t “believe” in audiophile ethernet cables. Is that because you’ve tried several cables without noticing differences or it’s just something you’d prefer not to believe in?

Joe, I tried a LAN isolator in the Ethernet line before I tried the ENO filter. The device I tried was the EN-70HD, but it colored the sound too much in my system. Specifically, it softened the high end to the point where much of the “sparkle” in the music was lost. The EN-70HD was designed for use with medical equipment, so maybe the Pink Faun or Acoustic Revive work better with audio.

https://www.the-ear.net/review-hardware/network-acoustics-eno-ethernet-filter-ag-eno-streaming-cable-ag-ethernet-filter
The Ear gave it two red seals: best of 2020 and innovation!

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Richard Trussell, the director I can trace, has a CV here:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-trussell-18344635/?originalSubdomain=uk
Part-retired, part-time art dealer. A year ago he was “Looking for interesting part-time work”.
Prior to that he appears to have been long-term involved in a CRM package.
Then of course there was a very brief dalliance in audio dealing.
So I don’t know how that takes you to a patent pending audio product, and I can find no trace of the pending patent.

On his LinkedIn page he says:
Network Acoustics Limited are manufacturers of specialist filters and cables for high quality music reproduction. My role is designer of the ENO Ethernet Filter products and their manufacture. These are marketed around the world and are exclusive to us. Our range of cables offer the best sound quality for the price currently in the market.

His AG ethernet cable costs £600, that about $800. It’s one hell of a claim to be “the best sound quality for the price currently in the market”.

I am not making fun of him, I tend to research a bit before parting with cash, especially to someone looking for some interesting part-time work and then making claims like this. Of course you can win on the horses.

I don’t believe in audiophile ethernet cables. I have tried an AQ Cinnamon. It is sitting here in a box and for sale for £60. A big saving on £600. I was happy to pay $10 to Blue Jeans to have confidence it was properly put together and tested.

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Chris Kelly of The Ear did. I think The Ear is an excellent resource, but not Chris Kelly because he seems to me to be far too enthusiastic about just about anything he reviews and keen to recommend you to buy it. No doubt there are exceptions. That’s not the usual house style, especially from the top (Jason Kennedy). Maybe that’s because Chris Kelly used to be in hifi retail.

If their credibility is on the line, may be you should email Jason?

As I said, I think it’s an excellent resource because the reviews are brief and generally informative without being too opinionated. I don’t go and buy everything reviewers say I should and I think they can look after themselves.

The fact that companies use the enthusiastic reviews to hawk their products and ignore the not so good reviews is something we just have to deal with.

But the editor approved of the review and it has been there since November. So, what should the readers do? Ditch the publication or believe it?
Likewise, I read rave reviews about Melco S100 switch in Hi-Fi News (Andrew Everard & Paul Miller) the Ear (Json Kennedy) Forget about Audiophile Style and Darko. Who should an ordinary reader like myself go to to check the credibility of a reviewer like Jason Kennedy or Ken Kessler, or a measuring engineer like Paul Miller or John Atkinson or BHK (BHK labs)?