Questions about Ethernet Cabling


PLEASE READ: This is not a thread about the merits or demerits of audiophile-grade ethernet cables, or any cable for that matter. If you don’t believe in spending extra on expensive cables, I respect your opinion but please don’t turn this into a point of contention.

So before I ask my questions, let me describe how internet connectivity is setup in my house:

- [Home office/study] The modem (AT&T), router (Google Nest/Mesh), and switch ($25 TP-link basic switch) are located in the home office/study. I also have a second system in this room as well as other stuff connected through the switch. In other words, I can’t move the switch to another room.

- [Media room] The main audio system is located in the media room which is in the diagonally opposite side of the house (single story). This room has the ENO ethernet filter connected to the Innuous Zenith MK3 streamer, and so on.

[Long ethernet cable] A very long run of ethernet cable (CAT 6/over 100 foot) runs from the [Home office/study] router and terminates into the [Media room] ethernet jack/wall plate. This was done by the builder and it runs through the attic.

- [Media room] From the [Media room] ethernet wall plate, I then use another 6 foot ethernet cable (also CAT 6) that goes into an ENO filter and then on to the Innuos Zenith MK3 streamer.

 

So here are my questions:

1. Is it worth upgrading only the so-called last-mile ethernet cable, i.e. the one between the [Media room] ethernet wall plate and Eno filter while I continue using the long CAT 6 cable [Study >> Media room]? It is going to be difficult, if not impossible, to replace the long-run CAT 6 cable as it goes through the attic where several spots are not reachable without tearing down some sheetrock.

2. Is it worth adding a second audiophile-grade switch (e.g. uptone) in the media room while leaving the one in the study as is? Or is it better to upgrade the switch in the study first and place the cheaper switch in the media room? Or do I need to replace both switches (not prefered as it adds to the cost)?

 

arafiq
Post removed 

@arafiq

1. I wouldn’t worry about replacing the long CAT6 cable inside the wall. I would focus on isolating the noise and using a good quality LAN cable like Supra CAT 8 between the wall plate and ENO switch. This cable is excellent for the money and does a great job in rejecting EMI / RFI interferences without robbing the SQ.

2. A ’audiophile’ graded Ethernet switch greatly impact the sound, just like your ENO filter. A cheap switch like TP Link or Netgear may yield minor improvements but it’s not going to meet your expectations. I say this based on my experience and our previous conversations. This is one of those areas where you need to try 2-3 switches and see which switch gives you the best sonic improvements and bang for your buck.

A Ethernet switch with a LPS along with a noise filtering device before your streaming player are ’must’ have accessories for a scintillating streaming experience. The good news is, you are half way there with ENO :-)

1. No 

If you have a mesh why not use it?

Put a node in the media room and plug the Eno into it via quality cable. Then feed a quality switch.

Try this and compare to contractor grade "in wall " wires.

2. See 1.

From your description I would recommend the following: get an Uptone Etherregen after the ENO filter, ideally driven by a quality LPS. Connect via the shortest possible Cat6 quality cable to the Zenith. The moat of the Etherregen will deal with any RMI/EFI you might have picked up on the long run. The reason I recommend Cat6 rather than Cat8 has to do with connection to ground; the metal Cat8 connectors might defeat the benefit of the Etherregen's moat. Unless you live in a rural area, Wifi is unlikely to offer improvements

If you want to further improve the connection add a 10m quality clock to the Etherregen (e.g. After Dark, Antelope, Cybershaft et al)

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Post removed 

"First, check the instruction sheet that came with the ENO filter. It has specific guidance about network switches...where to install and how many."


Really...I chuckled when people have nothing useful to contribute or have no real experience 🤣

Post removed 
Post removed 

Thanks for the feedback, folks. 

@lalitk So the ENO pack that I bought comes with their nice ethernet cables for both ends. The problem is that even the longer cable is too short to reach the in-wall socket. I have ordered a cheap switch from Amazon for the time being. I tried English Electric Switch8 in the past, and at least in my system, and I wasn't impressed at all, so I returned it. The plan is as follows: Media Room In-wall socket >> CAT6 cable >> Cheap router >> ENO's ethernet cable >> ENO filter >> ENO's ethernet cable >> Innuos Zenith.

I would love to buy the same switch that you have, but right now it's out of my budge given that I've just bought an expensive streamer and ENO. But that switch is still on my wish list. Hopefully, I will be able to buy one a few months down the line.

@tvad - thank you for the suggestions. As I mentioned earlier, I've ordered a cheap switch from Amazon. Once I put it in, the configuration is actually going to look the same as second picture in your post, i.e. with two switches. Let's see how it goes. I will keep you posted.

Post removed 

@antigrunge2 I appreciate your suggestion. It's just that my experience with another switch in the same price range as the etherregen (I bought EE Switch8) was nothing to write home about. I tried it for almost three week but I wasn't impressed at all. In fact, I felt that it reduced the dynamics and the soudstage collapsed a little. So I ended up returning it. This is not to say that the etherregen will face the same fate, but I'm definitely a bit leary at this point.

But let me ask you this, can any of the clocks you mention work in conjunction with a different switch (e.g. D-Link) and/or Eno? Or is etherregen a requirement?

 

@Arafic

From personal experience I can assure you that the Etherregen doesn’t suffer from any of the ailments you mention. I run mine after DXE and EMO filters using a highly buffered LPS and (Zerozone 2020) and Antelope 10m clock. The improvement of adding the Etherregen to the filters was nothing short of revelatory.

As far as I know neither the switches nor the filter have a 75Ohm BNC clock port, so I am afraid the answer is likely to be: no.

In any case, the impact of adding the clock was larger than adding the LPS.

So I needed to get internet to my Hegel H390, that doesn't have wifi, hardwire only and this is what I got.  NETGEAR WiFi Range Extender EX5000 - Coverage up to 1500 Sq.Ft. and 25 Devices https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083R46CV8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_JSJHQV05WS5BVXCQHXQ7?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

It has two eithernet jacks and so far it's working great and I have not noticed any noise.

All the best.

JD

"The plan is as follows: Media Room In-wall socket >> CAT6 cable >> Cheap router >> ENO’s ethernet cable >> ENO filter >> ENO’s ethernet cable >> Innuos Zenith."

@arafiq

I am wondering the need for router in your media room? You’ve mentioned that long LAN cable running inside the wall is already being fed from the router in your study. If that’s the case, you do not need to add another cheap router unless you really meant to say a cheap Ethernet switch before ENO? 

Have you considered adding fiber to your setup?   I replaced my ethernet run with fiber and was very happy with the results.   I terminated the fiber at my equipment rack with an EtherREGEN before feeding a short but high quality ethernet cable into my streamer.   I personally found the switch to fiber to darken the background and bring more details forward.    I didn't spend a lot on the network switch with the fiber port (< $100) and in the end found a cheap fiber to ethernet converter (and power supply) that replaced the EtherREGEN and its matching LPS.

Maybe if I used a more expensive switch and powersupply it would sound better yet, but I haven't tried it with the assumption the fiber connection is my 'moat' from the noisy switch and home network. This of course assumes either the converter or EtherREGEN is then not adding more noise to the short ethernet run.  In your case you will have a filter after the conversion takes place anyways.   

It would be a fun and relatively cheap experiment to try :)

 

 

@ddafoe

if @arafic can replace the 100ft cat6 with fiber, I wholeheartedly agree with your suggestion. Just converting the last 6ft makes limited sense, though. In any case, any high quality reclocking of the Ethernet connection in my experience is very desirable. Supposedly that is why ENO suggest adding another switch before their filter.Cheap fibre converters in that regard don’t add much.

@lalitk Sorry, I made a mistake when describing the setup. I meant to say network switch, not router. So the correct version is ...

Media Room In-wall socket >> CAT6 cable >> Network Switch+LPS >> ENO’s ethernet cable >> ENO filter >> ENO’s ethernet cable >> Innuos Zenith

But based on our earlier discussion, I'm going to first try the Supra Cat 8 cable ...

Media Room In-wall socket >> Supra Cat 8 cable >> ENO filter >> ENO’s ethernet cable >> Innuos Zenith

 

The ENO filter is wonderful. I use mine with an English Electric 8 switch going into an Innuos Zenith server. I set it up just as TVAD outlined and Rich from Network Acoistics directed me. I also use an LPS on the EE switch and my modem/router.

I tried placing the EtherRegen after the ENO filter and found zero additional benifit. I sold it. That is my experience.

A ’audiophile’ graded Ethernet switch

From discussions, debate in this forum, and research, it is probable that the greatest bang for buck on Ethernet switches to help mitigate noise on the transmission of data is to use a liner power supply on the switch.

(1) REVIEW:What causes audible differences in network cables
https://alpha-audio.net/review/wat-zorg ... erkkabels/

Intro
We round off our little investigation into network cables with a listening test and a clear conclusion. As promised we subjected the network plugs to a listening test and listened to three different configurations: shielding fixed on one side, shielding fixed on two sides and double shielded (and both sides connected). Do we hear differences? Well…. yes…!

Let’s clear up one myth: there is NO audible difference in network plugs. There is a difference in build quality, price and ease of installation. In short: it does make sense to invest in a good plug.

But let’s continue with the sound reproduction: as you know, we have installed everything from standard plugs to expensive Telegärtners. We tried all cables on the same switch (with an IFI power supply) and listened to the same system:
We did not notice any difference between the connectors. Sometimes we thought we heard something (think of a louder or sharper S-sound), but when we went back to the other connector, there was no difference. It is sometimes very complex to listen to this properly and to judge it honestly. But after hours of switching back and forth, we dare say that there is no difference in reproduction. In any case, we do not dare to take a bet in a blind test…
But where we do hear immediate differences – and continue to hear differences even when going back and forth – is the method of shielding.

We made three cables for this purpose: one cable with DeLock plugs and shielding fixed at one end. One cable with Delock plugs with the shielding fixed at both ends and finally the double shielded version with the nice sleeve. Also with the shielding on both sides (and Delock plugs).

What we observe almost immediately is that the version with the shielding fixed on both sides focuses better. The version with shielding on one side seems to play a bit larger, but that is not true: the effects in the song Perfect Life by Steven wilson are placed at the same spot in the room, but are more tightly framed with the cable where the shielding is fixed on both sides.

With voices, the same is true: it’s tighter in focus and also more stable between the speakers (if we move our heads back and forth, the voice stays in place better very odd).

Going to the double shielding we make another step. Again a bit more tightly focused, again a bit better framed. And with that a bit more calmness in the reproduction allowing details to surface a bit easier.

ClearlyFor us it is clear where the differences come from: shielding, shielding, shielding.

And that is quite logical if you consider that a network cable is included in a digital chain. A chain that relies on clean energy to keep everything clocked tight. A chain that works with noise-levels of -140dB. A chain where small deviations are immediately audible in staging, focus and smoothness.

This also explains why fiber networks work so well as a first upgrade: you immediately shut out a lot of misery by creating a barrier through which electrical energy cannot pass. And thus no electrical noise (common mode in particular).

To conclude…
Can you hear differences between network cables? Yes… definitely. Our samples have shown that. And about the real cables you can buy at the store… pay particular attention to what the manufacturer has done in terms of shielding. We would still leave the unshielded versions. Especially after this experience. But anyway: try it yourself at home!

 

(2) Network Switches repost ..
Here are a few...
Melco S100 (just announced)  https://www.melco-audio-masters.com/upl ... eet_v3.pdf
SOtM sNH - 10G  https://www.sotm-audio.com/sotmwp/engli ... m/snh-10g/
The Linear Solution Reference Audio Switch https://thelinearsolution.com/ref_swtch.html
Feel free to add others...."

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/ ... i%20router.
" ... No, I have not, nor will I ever. Having been a network technician for over 30 years I know that a network switch's job is to faithfully receive packets and transmit them to their intended target. If it doesn't do that it will be replaced as defective. Implying that these devices can color audio signals is patently ridiculous, but I knew at some point some one would try it and some one would buy it...."

Ethernet source

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/ ... t=ethernet
" ...Well, I just tried using a wifi repeater and noticed no improvement (or degradation) of sound quality. ... "

As mentiomed above my experience points to clocking being more important than the power supply.

The best Ethernet cable should be the one going into the streamer ,

the uptone has on the output only 1 Ethernet port and benifits 

most going into the Zenith, and at least buy decent Ethernet cables 

the $200 Wireworld starlight is Avery noticeable upgrade vs cheap cat 7 cables 

I have compared , I use these , and most importantly the Ethernet cable going into 

the zenith most important ,For Sure and there are better sounding Ethernet cables 

my brothers top Jcat cable  cost him $1200 and much better then any Ethernet 

cableto date ,we blind tested 3 of them with 5 people listening within a few minutes 

a Much more musical experience , I am currently looking into buying one .

I went the route of using Sonore Opticla Rendu for the last leg. Keep the internet noise out of the Audio cabinet 

@grannyring Thanks for chiming in. It was actually your thread on Eno and Zenith that motivated me to purchase both recently. I do have a couple of questions if you don't mind ...

1. Do you leave the Zenith on all the time (talking about the front switch) or do you switch it off when not in use? I don't know if it makes a difference either way.

2. Is there a way to make Zenith the Roon core, but still easily switch back and forth between Sense and Roon? I know you can switch back and forth when using Zenith as a Roon endpoint, but not sure if the same is true when using it as Roon core server.

Thanks

 

@antigrunge2 I was looking at another Innuos product called PhoenixNET. It seems to be an audiophile-grade network switch with a nice power supply and a clock that's a trickle down from their top of the line Statement server. Not sure if you've heard anything about it.

It seems to be quite expensive for what it is, but when you consider the alternative, it doesn't seem to be all that bad. If you get the etherregen + LPS + clock + LPS for clock, it starts getting quite pricey as well. And you have to deal with all the boxes and cabling. Not sure if anyone had a chance to try it yet.

If you want a good switch that does not cost a lot may I recommend the Cisco 2960?  Bought used on eBay these are around £50 in the uk ($65).  Audio switches are expensive due to short production runs.  Despite these Cisco switches being manufactured in the hundreds of thousands, still new these cost many hundred dollars as they are built so well.  And the resulting sound, in my experience, is so much better than the cheap Netgear type switches, and up there with the one audio switch I have tried (SoTM).  It also has an optical input so you can experiment with optical. I actually run an optical cable from the Cisco to the Ethergen, and it sounds incredible. 

I was able to run fiber alongside CAT6 from my Google fiber entry switch to my audio room. I have an Ethergen at the system room which can take either a fiber or CAT input. This allows me to move between fiber and CAT very simply. At first I didn't hear a difference between the two, but having made an amp switch to ARC 160Ms I can now clearly hear a difference. Choice in SQ is a personal choice, but the difference is clearly audible with my current components. I prefer fiber to the Etheregen, to a Sablon 2020 ethernet cable, to a Vivaldi Upsampler. Things are sounding very good with this configuration.

Interesting you raise the Phoenix Net: it is actually InnuOS’ admission, that re-clocking the Ethernet is important and: yes, you are right: by the time youget all the boxes, you might as well... The reason that I didn’t is that my clock also re-clocks the DAC and thereby the USB connection. Depending on the Zodiac you have, you might have a clock port on that: just a consideration...

Just to share another experience, over here from Europe.

I can confirm that running a fiber cable from ones internet router (as in my case via a Ubiquity ethernet switch with a fiber uplink) to your audio room, already makes a substantial improvement over the 15 feet cat6 standard cable that I had earlier. It connected into my Innuos Mk2 Roon core/server via a fiber/ethernet converter that I used for this, which in turn was fed by an Sbooster Linear PS.

Recently I was offered the chance to test replacing this converter and PS with a Cisco Meraki MS-2020-8 switch which was 'reliefed' from its own internal power supply, and teamed up with a Plixir Elite Balanced DC power supply by someone here in my home country, who also threw in a home made specially shielded short ethernet cable to connect the Meraki switch with my Innuos Mk2. The improvement in refinement, dynamics and overall image opennes that this delivered was mind blowing.

Last night I took the same Cisco Meraki switch plus Plixir BDC and short ethernet cable to a friend where we tested this setup, but this time fed by his 15 feet Cat8 standard cable (so no fiber) and still the improvements where astounding.

I have no personal affiliation with neither Cisco or Plixir and hope to have given a purely unbiassed experience.

 

Enjoy the music!

 

I can confirm that running a fiber cable from ones internet router (as in my case via a Ubiquity ethernet switch with a fiber uplink) to your audio room, already makes a substantial improvement over the 15 feet cat6 standard cable that I had earlier. It connected into my Innuos Mk2 Roon core/server via a fiber/ethernet converter that I used for this, which in turn was fed by an Sbooster Linear PS.

vs

Just converting the last 6ft makes limited sense, though.

 

Yea, the first case rings true for me as well which is why I suggested it, as relatively speaking it is a very cheap thing to try.  Replacing a 15 ft cat6 run from my media room closet to the equipment rack by simply replacing the A side connection of my EtherREGEN+LPS1.2 with an sfp + fiber made a significant improvement.   For my system I would say the improvement was close to what I heard by adding the EtherREGEN into the cat6 connection in the first place.

The Ethernet cable I run from my $100 fiber converter (which isn't cheap by the way...) to my Bricasti streamer costs about the same as all of the fiber hardware I purchased for my audio room, so compared to the prices of high quality copper ethernet cables, EtherREGENs, linear power supplies, master clocks, static ethernet filters, etc., it is a pretty cheap thing to try.   

Obviously YMMV, but you may find like me a few feet of fiber just before your streamer actually makes a big difference and potentially saves you from a few extra audiophile network cleaning devices.   As fiber becomes more ubiquitous in home networks one would assume audiophile components will continue to add native support for it (e.g. Lumin X1, EtherREGEN, ...).   What will then happen to the audiphile side-market of network devices that scrub/clean noisy ethernet connections?    On Audiophile Style there are already discussions about how different sfps and single mode vs multi mode fiber makes an audio difference, so maybe that will be the next area of networking tweaks (e.g. audiophile grade SFPs etc...).

 

Based on my experience the Cat 6 cable will always be your weak link. I've found using inferior ethernet in front of high quality ethernet cable negatively impacts sound quality. I run a longer coax cable to eliminate the need for long runs of expensive ethernet cable.

 

Converting that Cat 6  cable to optical would be a great move.

@arafiq 

 

I use my Zenith as both Roon core and end point. I easily switch from Innuos Sense to Roon by simply changing the settings in the "My Innuos" menu.  Takes just a couple of minutes. 

In a word yes. Y E S‼️As to where if one, Aduio. Kill your Television, right?

After a Streamer upgrade the dim bulb up there realised how important it is to have a clean signal in. I’m using the EtherREGEN along with a clock, optical cable in from the EtherREGEN and power supply. (Clock/Power are from AfterDark) Had I done this first, I may not have swapped out streamers. There are several passive filers out there that folks swoon over too such as the ENO. Clean your dirty signal and hear the difference.

 

@grannyring Thank you. I have to find a way to transfer my stuff from the current Roon core (Sonore Transporter i5) to Zenith, and then start using it as a core. Hopefully, I can sell the Transporter to fund some other goodies like better switches and clocks. 

As I mentioned in the OP, the Cat6 cable connecting the switch in my study to the media room is over 100 foot long, in fact if you consider the vertical distances (up and down the ceiling), we're probably talking close to 200 feet. Plus my house is divided in three separare attics with hard to reach places, which makes replacing with Fiber a very costly altenative. But I do agree that it is a superior alternative.

@fittebd -- The Innuos Zenith in fact replaced a Sonore opticalRendu in the media room. I'm now using the opticalRendu in my study. After trying out a few streamers at different price points, I can safely say that it is a phenomenal streamer that can stand its own against more expensive ones. The fiber optic conversion definitely makes a noticeable difference. Compared to the Zenith, I would say the opticalRendu provides probably 90% of performance at almost 1/3 the price. Not bad at all.

Where Zenith, in my opinion, has a slight edge is that it sounds more analog and has a slightly more refined presenation. But TBH, I could have easily lived with the opticalRendu.

@arafiq, I agree with you on the performance of the opticalRendu for its relative cost.   I purchased one after I had added fiber and swapped out my Bricasti M5 + whatever fiber converter I had at the time and I thought the sound quality of its USB input to my DAC matched what I was hearing with the much costlier M5 setup. 

I still preferred the SPDIF output from the M5 with my DAC so I stuck with it and sold the opticalRendu,  but I wouldn't hestitate to buy it again.

@arafiq I ended up with the new Signature Rendu SE and put through a Matrix SPDIF 2 to my Directstream DAC via I2S.  I absolutly love it.  I was going to do the T2 Lumin but then a deal fell in my lap for $2250 for this with the optical coverter and cable.  I could not resist.  Even if I did not like it I could sell and get money back fast.  But I ended up loving it.  Super clean sound and fits right in with the DAC I have.  Sonore makes some really good pieces.  Gets a bit confusing if you are new to them with all the models and how to hook them.  

@fittebd Did you get the optical version of the Signature Rendu? I think it's called the Signature Rendu SE optical Level 2. This one was high on my list but I decided to give Innuos a try especially after reading glowing reviews about their Sense software. I'm going to let it burn in for 100 hours before making any critical judgments, but so far it's only marginally better than the opticalRendu that it replaced. Too early to judge though.

I often wonder if I should have gone with the Signature Rendu SE optical instead. 

I work for Broadcom as a senior software engineer and deal with this stuff almost daily.

As long as your ethernet wire is rated for the correct bit rate and length, and you do not live in an extremely noisy (electrically) environment like a factory floor, there is ABSOLUTELY NO BENEFIT in spending any more on exaggerated and false claims on audiophile data wires.

If you can use fiber optic, even better. But the standard cat5, cat6 or higher wires are also perfectly fine too.

 

 

 

@arafiq Yes I bought the Signature Rendu SE optical Level 2.  Wish they did not drop the I2S on it from the first rev..but the matrix was only $500.  Yeah I was not about to pay the $5k for this one with the goodies needed but when the used one came up on Facebook of all places, from a dealer in Atlanta I grabbed it.  Have not looked back.  Vast improvment from the Bridge II in the DAC (which I sold).  Super happy with my setup for 2 Channel via Roon. 

@arafiq I am not smart enough to visualize your setup from the description. However, let me ask if you have something like this anywhere in the chain.

Amazon.com: Ubiquiti Networks Networks UniFi Switch 8-Port 150 Watts, White : Electronics

BTW - I added a EtherGegen to my RJ45 based streamer and it did nothing for me. As you know fibre is king with me. I am going to get rid of the EtherRegen if I can find the box.

 

If you can use fiber optic, even better. But the standard cat5, cat6 or higher wires are also perfectly fine too.

My CAT5 wires were poor streaming pathways compared to my fibre. It was the most profound audio upgrade I ever did.

 

@cakyol - the OP stated this in his first sentence PLEASE READ: This is not a thread about the merits or demerits of audiophile-grade ethernet cables, or any cable for that matter. If you don’t believe in spending extra on expensive cables, I respect your opinion but please don’t turn this into a point of contention.

Many audiophiles will tell you the improvements rendered from better network cabling despite the protestations of engineers. 

Hopeless case! Best ignored

@yyzsantabarbara -- that’s actually not a bad idea to use a switch that provides SFP fiber ports. I think this is similar to what @duckworp mentioned earlier. I already use a similar converter (not switch) in my office setup with the opticalRendu and can attest to the benefits of isolation and reduced noise floor.

For my main setup though, using the switch you mentioned is a possibility but since I already have an Eno filter in the chain, I’m assuming its providing similar benefits. But definitely a path worth considering.

Also, my experience with English Electric Switch8 was similar to yours with etherregen. My hunch is that fiber takes out the need for expensive switches so you don’t really notice any improvements. However, these switches might offer some benefits for non-fiber based chains. I’m really surprised that we don’t see many streamers/players based on Fiber optics in the market. The only ones I’m aware of are from Sonore and Lumin X1.

@arafiq I have been using that switch for a while now and it makes things super simple. Router - Ethernet to - switch - Fibre to - Sonore OpticalRendu - USB to - DAC.

Since this switch has 2 SfP’s I have 2 OpticalRendu to 2 DACs. The new DAC on the way is the Musetec 005.

For years now, I have been looking for DACs with direct fibre support like the Lumin X1 (and another new Lumin model) and the Linn $39K DAC. Those are the only 3 with direct fibre support. I am sure this will come down to the $1500 DAC in the future. That will shake things up a bit. When this happend then the OpticalRendu is redundant unless you want USB to DAC.

 

 

The. more I read about this, and the more I learn from folks like @lalitk and @antigrunge2 the more I think that things happening before the streamer are perhaps even more important than the streamer itself. Better switches, clocks, wires ... I’m almost beginning to wonder if one is better off buying less costly streamers and investing more money in fiber optics switches, clocks, and USB relockers.

I won’t be surprised if we start seeing single-box solutions in the future -- including switches, ethernet or fiber input, clocks, better LPS, and USB relockers all in the same box. Not everyone appreciates a jumble of boxes, LPS and wires everywhere :)

 

I have been asking this question ad nauseam so I understand if I get shouted down. What is the purpose of the high end servers, wires, etc..? My understanding it to curb the analog noise getting into the DAC. What if the DAC is served the music by fibre cable which cannot carry the analog noise? Ideally with something like a Lumin X1 DAC with a direct fibre connection to stream from a network switch with an SFP. Why would one care about what was behind the fibre cable (in front is the DAC)?