Where to invest the most in the "digital chain"?

Dear All,

I'd love to get everyone's opinions on where best to invest/invest the most, in the "digital chain".

Using my current "basic" system as an example I have very good Internet service into a very good router with the stock PSU on a dedicated power conditioner strip with an ifi AC iPurifier. From there I have Audioquest Pearl Cat6 to a Cisco 2960G with an upgraded Russ Andrews Power Cable. There follows another AQ Pearl Cat6 to an English Electronics 8Switch with an ifi iPowerX. From there I have the Chord C-Stream Ethernet to my ifi Zen Stream with a 15V ifi iPowerX. Then a Wireworld Chroma 8 cable to an ifi iPurifier3 into a Zen DAC v2 also with ifi iPowerX. The EE8, Stream and DAC benefit from a power-conditioner/surge protector and a pair of AC iPurifiers.

I've got a SotM iSO-CAT7 on order which I am intending to put between the EE 8Switch and the network transport with a dCBL-CAT7u into the network transport.

Phew, that was a lot of words!

My question is, and this applies to all systems as a generic question, where is it best to invest the most? Should the best Ethernet cables and/or switches and/or isolators be first in the chain (i.e. from the Internet source) or at the end of the chain (into the DAC/Music Streamer/Network Transport)? Similarly, where should the best power supplies be placed? Or does it all matter equally?

This is purely about the digital chain, I'm well aware that great speakers and a great AMP with good power and speaker cables make all the difference too!

I'm interested in opinions and I will of course experiment for myself.


The streamer lives in the digital world while the DAC has the important job of processing the digital input and converting it to an analog signal that gets output to the preamp (or to the amplifier if internal VC), and it must do all of that without adding noise or interference.  

Room correction is really the only thing that matters, and the more that can be done there, the better. Now perhaps I’ll be accused of being an elitist or a snob, but my Trinnov Altitude 16 has solved the problem of audio reproduction.

Nothing in the audio chain except quality room correction can compensate for what your room takes away - and this effect dwarfs any other minor improvement that can be made. It’s so large, I would go so far as to say it almost doesn’t matter what else is hooked up until you’ve done that.

Of course, my suggestion should be taken in context. Quality room correction is not cheap, unfortunately. Perhaps you can get good mileage by treating early reflections using physical room treatments (and don't forget about the ceiling and floor...). I haven’t tried that myself, but there is more than one way to skin a cat...

Quality room correction is not cheap, unfortunately

I have a Trinnov too, but you don’t need to spend that kind of money to get room correction. It is fairly inexpensive to create and use convolution filters that can be used within Roon, HQplayer , and many other software packages. Way too complex for a tutorial here but here’s a start




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"It's always amusing when someone posts a completely outrageous scenario and the audiophools pile on thinking it was serious. 

Bravo !!! You got these phools to believe you spent almost $700 on an ethernet switch, thousands on power supplies and wires,  and less than $200 on a DAC".

herman - Absolutely spot on m8. What a phool the OP must be.