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

not everybody likes the Lumin sound and operating system and the choice of fiber-only servers/dacs at the moment is still limited. Also, not all networks are fiber-optics and for those still coming off copper the optical converters and their PSUs open another can of worms. On short cable runs, the superiority of fibre is also more debatable, but in the long run the market will turn your way

I am not advocating for anyone to buy a Lumin DAC. In fact, I do not even consider it due to price. My max price for a DAC is $3k. My point on the Lumin is that I believe that their solution for streaming with the X1 SFP is the best. I base this on my experience with streaming using the Sonore OpticalRendu. I believe what I use, while the best I have owned, is inferior to the Lumin X1 streaming. In the future, I wish all DACs had the SFP so I can eliminate the OpticalRendu.

BTW - in my office I have the following switch. It hooks up my computer, TV, and other devices, including the Sonore OpticalRendu to my DAC. I have 2 of these streamers for 2 DACs. In the future, with a SFP compatible DAC I can eliminate the OpticalRendu and just plug my fibre cable to the DAC from this switch. 

Amazon.com: Ubiquiti Networks Networks UniFi Switch 8-Port 150 Watts, White : Electronics  (price seems to have gone up since I bought it)

@peter_s tp link mc200cm won't work?

 

Based on my research and experience I'd have to say audiophile switches hit and miss, can't recall a single negative experience with FMC.

 

As far as server/dac/streamer vs streamer dacs vs discrete components. I have trifield meter, measures RFI. The worst offenders, in order are routers/wifi, NAS, all transformers.  Think about the all in one with wifi capability and internal storage, maximum noise producer, next will be streamer dac, at least one with wifi capability, best is all discrete. Careful placement of these discreet components will pay off, and provisions for shielding. Certainly, manufacturers of these components take some measures to decrease internal noise, but the amount of RFI I'm measuring makes it impossible to eliminate it. Only a farraday cage around individual sections would come close or improve upon discrete solution.

 

I understand with discrete components noise has possibility of entry with ethernet cables, reason for fiber, added switching power supplies, reason for LPS. The other downside of course is added complexity, mess of cables. In final analysis, essentially what you have is diy vs off the shelf solution, the problem with comparisons of sound quality is diy is bespoke, likely a singularly unique setup. These solutions should not be dismissed as inferior without hearing any particular setup. Audiophilestyle forum has been my go to for streaming solutions.

@sns1 - That might work, but I am having trouble interpreting specs.  The recommendations for the optical rendu state that the unit should be Gigabit:

a. 1000base-SX (10/100/1000 base units are not supported only use 1000 base)
b. Interface: LC
c. Fiber type: 62.5/125um
d. Multi-Mode Wave Length: 850nm

Looking at the tp-link website specs for the mc200cm, it states "10/100/1000Mbps Auto-Negotiation RJ45 port supporting Auto-MDI/MDIX" but it also states that it supports Network Media 1000BASE-SX (fiber) and 1000BASE-T (copper).  The second statement suggests that it should work. 

I have an Innuos Statement and as I understand essentially has a Phoenix built in.  Adding an ER was beneficial, as was then adding a SOtM  ngh10.  I agree the EE 8Switch was not as profound as the ER or SOtM but I keep it in the chain as does help.  Point is I found more is better than just one switch.  I essentially have four.

I have a Mutec REF10 clocking the ER and SOtM,  it lowers the noise floor significantly.  

I tried fiber between the SOtM and EE with a variety of Finisar's and felt it added digital haze in my system.  I am not convinced the sfp's are not noisy.  I would like to see someone develop an audiophile grade sfp, it seems to me there is a lot going on in that itsy bitsy sfp changing a digital signal to optical and then back. The sfp's were built for data just like most switches.

 

@anzaanimalclinic ,

totally agree on the importance of clocking, also and particularly on the Etherregen. One other tweak worth mentioning: inserting an Acoustic Revive RLT-1 Ethernet terminator into the second RJ45 removed quite a bit of edginess from my Zenith MK3 to where now ethernet actually is at least on a par with ripped CDs and the resolution gain from higher resolution formats on Qobus is very audible