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    SOtM sNH-10G Network Switch Review

    Editor's Note: From time to time we publish reviews of controversial products. Audiophile network switches fall into this category without question. We welcome all comments in the comment section below the review as long as they are respectful and not personal. - Chris

     

     

     

    Do network switches make an audible improvement?

     


    Key Features

    • Designed for high end network audio
    • Specially designed Ethernet noise filter
    • Support 10, 100, 1G ethernet
    • 8 x RJ-45 ports
    • 2 x SFP ports
    • LED indicator on/off function
    • sCLK-EX High End clock module
    • 10MHz master clock input
    • Wide range of power input (6.5v ~ 12v)

     

     

     

    sNH-10G_1.jpg

     

     

    Pricing starts at $800 for the plain Jane model, $1500 with sCLK-EX clock board and the full blown $1700 with sCLK-EX clock board and master clock input with your choice of 50 Ohm or 75 Ohm connector.  The difference between the sms-200 and sms-200 Ultra is the addition of the sCLK-EX board.  The sNH-10G tested here included this sCLK-EX board, maybe this should be called the sNH-10G Ultra?  I did not have the plain Jane model to compare.

     

    The fit and finish of the switch is top notch.  It is apparent that a lot of design work went into the aesthetics of the unit (such as the melodious grill work on the top plate), after all a $800+ product should look like it’s worth $800+.  The design and manufacture of the unit was all done in house.  This is not just a modified consumer switch with added clock and filters.  My unit arrived with an sPS-500 power supply and DC cable along with a dCBL-CAT7 ethernet cable.

     

    I am a believer that every component can potentially impact the sound quality for good  or bad.  On hand I have an older Linksys EG008W 8 port consumer switch powered by an LH Labs LPS-1 and an Aqvox Switch-8 powered by an iFi 9 V power supply.  The differences in price and performance was readily apparent. 

     

     


    Q&A with May Park from SoTM

     

    sNH-10G_5.jpgQ : When was the development started and completed?
    A : It was started at the end of 2017 and completed around Sep of  2018.

     

    Q : How was it invented? Even though there are many routers and switches already available?
    A : Because we’ve experienced sound quality differences by the different network devices but there was nothing to fulfill the quality of sound, so we started development for audio equipment. 

     

    Q : What is the benefit of using sNH-10G into the system?
    A : As for the audio equipment, the most important factor is sound quality. Also it has the optical ports and LED on/off feature.

     

    Q :What is the technical background of sNH-10G?
    A : All SOtM products have their own unique technical points. The sNH-10G is for the network audio device, every LAN port has filtering technology, which improves sound quality dramatically and this filtering technology has also been applied to the iSO-CAT6. 


    The noise coming from the Ethernet signal has a very wide frequency band. In order to eliminate this wide frequency band, we've created various parts corresponding to the noise of each frequency and then combining them to became the broadband noise filter. This filter is already applied to iSO-CAT6 and is also used in sNH-10G.


    Also, ultra low noise regulator, active noise canceller for clock and selectable audio components are used, and all such combination is well synergized to make better sound quality in the audio system.  All SOtM products have their own unique technical points. The sNH-10G is for all network audio devices, every LAN port has filtering technology, which improves sound quality dramatically and this filtering technology has also been applied to the iSO-CAT6. 


    The noise coming from the Ethernet signal have a very wide frequency band. In order to eliminate this wide frequency band noise, we've selected various parts corresponding to the noise frequency band  and then combined them to become the wide band noise filter.


    Also,  ultra low noise regulator, active noise canceller for clock and specially selected audio grade components are used, and all such combination is well synergized to make much better sound quality in the audio system. 


    Q : What is difference between the other network ethernet switch in the market and the sNH-10G?
    A: The difference is about the sound quality and it’s very real factor which is why the sNH-10G has been developed even though other vendors are also developing network switches. 

     

    Q : How to use the optical ports? What is the benefits of the ports?
    A : The SFP ports on sNH-10G can also bring benefits from the filtering feature which were explained on above. But we recommend using RJ45 ports with the good quality network cable like dCBL-CAT7 & iSO-CAT6 combination over using the optical ports, because the connection with RJ45 and dCBL-CAT7&iSO-CAT6 could bring the better sound quality than SFP ports.

     

    Q : What is the switch on the back panel?
    A : There are 3 steps of the switch, it controls the LED power on/off. When it is positioned to be up, the led is on and power is on. When it is in the middle, the unit will be off, when it is in down, the LED is off but still the unit works. 

     

    Q : Why recommend using the dCBL-CAT7 and iSO-CAT6 even though the sNH-10G is used already?
    A : There would be no single product which removes noise completely, but they can help reduce noise and improve sound quality, so even though the sNH-10G and iSO-CAT6 have good quality filtering technology on their own, if they can be used together , the synergy is better than using only one filter and brings better results. There is no single product which removes noise completely, even though the product are good at reducing noise so it improves sound quality, it doesn’t mean that the products remove noise completely. But well designed audio products like sNH-10G and SOtM’s other products reduce noise and help to improve sound quality.

     

     

    sNH-10G_3.jpg

     


    Set Up

     

    My music network is very flat and simple.
    TELUS ISP Fiber Modem
    SoTM sNH-10G
    Netgear Duo V2
    (WD Red 4 TB RAID 0)
    Asus Vivobook (Anker Unibody USB Ethernet USB Hub)
    (Windows10 Pro, Fidelizer 8.2, AudiophileOptimizer, Bridged Ethernet Ports)
    SoTM sms-200 Ultra SE
    LH Labs Pulse X Infinity
    (LPS4)
    Reference Line Preeminence 1B Passive
    Sonic Frontiers Power 2
    Totem Mani-2 
    Fostex TX-00 Purplehearts

     

     

    Listening  

    The recommended burn in time for the sNH-10G is 50 hours but after initially setting up the unit, I could tell something special was going on.  The noise filtering technology really does what SoTM claims.  The device was powered with SoTM’s SPS-500 SMPS power supply.


    I did not have access to any fiber networking connections.  May Park from SoTM recommended I test with RJ45 cable which is what I did.

     

    On the back, you will notice a small 3 position switch.  Its function is an LED ON/OFF switch with the middle position powering off the switch.  Under close listening there is a slight improvement in sound quality with LED off.  The difference is very slight and at first I needed headphones to discern the small improvement.

     

    First up I connected the Aqvox Switch-8 listened to each track and then switched to the sNM-10G and made comparisons.  

     

     

    Here are my listening notes.

     

     

     

    godfather.jpgNino Rota | The Godfather Soundtrack Love Theme Released 1972 (24/192 FLAC)


    This is a very natural folk recording with traditional Italian roots.  Sweeping and romantic with a touch of bite.  The most apparent difference here is the microdynamics and detail resolution.  Instruments suddenly became more interesting and the music became more involving, at the same time more relaxed with an ease and flow which made the music more natural.

     

     

     

    q@2x.png  Listen via Qobuz (24/96) 

    T.png Listen via Tidal (16/44.1) 

    H.png Purchase via HDtracks (24/96 or 24/192)

     

     

     

     

     

    bc-Meghan-Andrews_Im-On-Fire_Cover.jpgMeghan Andrews | I’m on Fire (Single) 2018 Blue Coast Music (DSD128)| 


    Bruce Springsteen’s classic cover by Meghan Andrews.  This is a single available on Blue Coast Music.  You can download this in various formats, FLAC, DSD and WAV for your own comparison.  I used the DSD128 version.  A very spare acoustic voice and guitar recording.  Most apparent here is the guitar seemed to have more wood and body as compared to more strings with the Aqvox.  The voice had slightly more chest as compared to more throat.

     

     

    bc-logo.jpg  Purchase from Blue Coast (multiple formats)

     

     

     

     

     

    mad.jpg

    Mad Season | River of Deceit Above 1995 (24/44)


    This test produced more interesting textures.  Layne Staley’s voice more falsetto.  Better bass texture and articulation and a slightly wider soundstage.

     

     

     

     

    q@2x.png  Listen via Qobuz (24/96) 

    T.png Listen via Tidal (16/44.1) 

    H.png Purchase via HDtracks (24/44.1)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Metallica_black.jpgMetallica | Black Album Wherever I May Roam 1992 (24/96 FLAC)


    Using sitar- like guitar playing, the change brought about a more visceral and robust feel to James Hetfield's vocals yet at the same time the highs were more relaxed with a greater sense of ease to the flow of the song.  The same character as with earlier listening bringing about more interesting sustain to instruments and more decay in percussion.

     

     

     

    M@2x.png  Purchase from Metallica (24/48)

     

     

     

     

     

    vm.jpgVan Morrison | Poetic Champions Compose Spanish Steps 1987 16/44


    This is one of my desert island recordings.  I thought I would include a standard redbook recording. The difference here is more air.  The soundstage created slightly more image height.  Each instrument having more decay and sustain.  Already quite beautiful through the Aqvox, everything was just more there with the SoTM.

     

     

     

    q@2x.png  Listen via Qobuz (24/96) 

    T.png Listen via Tidal (16/44.1) 

     

     

     

     

     

    pm.jpg
    Pat Metheny | What It’s All About Betcha By Golly Wow 2011 24/96


    Another cover, this time Pat Metheny’s version of the Stylistics classic.  Here it was very close.  I have a redbook version of this recording and I can hardly tell the difference.  I had to use Fostex TX-00 Purpleheart headphones to detect just a slight bit more wood in the guitar and sustain in the notes.

     

     

    q@2x.png  Listen via Qobuz (24/96) 

    T.png Listen via Tidal (Lossy MQA) 

    H.png Purchase via HDtracks (24/96)

     

     


    Conclusion


    sNH-10G_2.jpgI have to declare that SoTM’s design goals of producing a good sounding switch by reducing noise has been a resounding success.  Musical textures are more interesting notes have more air and decay.  In some cases more image height and slightly deeper soundstage.  For fun I put in my old Netgear consumer switch.  I immediately had to take it out.  So here we have some careful considerations to make.  I can’t speak to the $1000 plain Jane sNH-10G but this upgraded version with the upgraded clock sounds much better than the 398 Euro (around $456 USD at time of writing) Aqvox Switch 8 which in turn sounds much better than a consumer Linksys switch.  Is it $1200 better?  That is hard to say.  Myself, I think this is a special product and worthy of consideration.

     

     

     

    Sneak preview

     

    double-switch.jpegMay Park just sent me a note.  Having done some internal testing they found that under this parallel  configuration there was a dramatic sonic improvement.

     

     

     


    Stay tuned.

     

    Ken

     

     

     

     

     

    Additional Information:

     

    Manufacturer: SOtM

    Product: sNH-10G Network Switch ($800+)

     

    Where to Buy:

     

    US Customers - Crux Audio / SOtM USA

    International Customers - SOtM

     

     



    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    8 hours ago, plissken said:

     

    That's all I'm proposing here. If you start Tidal and playback your favorite track and have someone randomly disconnect/connect the cable and you can't tell any difference there is literally no amount of money you can spend on the portion of your playback chain to improve things.

     

    $1500 for a 'audiophile' switch is just insanity.

    Can any one confirm there's no network activity in the streamer, while Tidal is in use? That is, no flashing orange light at the Ethernet port. 

     

    (I don't use tidal). 

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    7 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Not true with all digital signals. Ethernet sure, but a USB to AES converter doesn't reclock the data.

    Now, this IS false. How can you creat an AES stream without timing information? 

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    3 minutes ago, LowMidHigh said:

    Now, this IS false. How can you creat an AES stream without timing information? 

     

    I could be wrong but I believe the timing information is encoded within the AES stream, so you don't have to reclock the data to transmit it via USB.

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    48 minutes ago, EdmontonCanuck said:

     

    I could be wrong but I believe the timing information is encoded within the AES stream, so you don't have to reclock the data to transmit it via USB.

    First, decoding from AES/SPDIF to USB is rare, if existing at all. I assume it poses a serious technical challenge. 

     

    Regardless, the example was the reverse: USB to AES; from data packs to a timed-laced stream. Adding the clock information is inevitable. 

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    7 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    His statement said all digital signals, so I wanted to make sure to correct that.

     

    I've talked to the device designers about reclocking and they say their devices don't reclock. Perhaps a discussion for another topic.

     

    Maybe there's a confusing between reclocking and clocking. Every conversation from Ethernet/USB to AES/SPDIF requires adding the timing information. Re-clocking is stripping off the original clock and introducing a new one. 

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    1 hour ago, LowMidHigh said:

    Now, this IS false. How can you creat an AES stream without timing information? 

    Perhaps this is why you don’t design and manufacture components. I spoke about reclocking. When manufacturers tell me there product don’t reclock and aren’t reclockers, I believe them. Especially when they are people who’ve created cutting edge digital products for decades. 

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    27 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Perhaps this is why you don’t design and manufacture components. I spoke about reclocking. When manufacturers tell me there product don’t reclock and aren’t reclockers, I believe them. Especially when they are people who’ve created cutting edge digital products for decades. 

     

    Resorting to ad hominen attacks is usually a sign of intellectual inferiority. And starting countless examples with "I have a friend who..." belongs to elementary school debates. 

     

    You know nothing about me and my sets of skills. For that matter, focusing on the issues in hand is far more productive and civil than hurtling insults. 

     

    As I sensibly wrote above it seems plissken refered to clocking the data (although he mistkakingly uses the term re-clocking). He was absolutely right. But instead of trying to dichper his true meaning, you jumped on his re-clocking phrase with a triumphant crow. Well done. 

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    42 minutes ago, LowMidHigh said:

     

    Resorting to ad hominen attacks is usually a sign of intellectual inferiority. And starting countless examples with "I have a friend who..." belongs to elementary school debates. 

     

    You know nothing about me and my sets of skills. For that matter, focusing on the issues in hand is far more productive and civil than hurtling insults. 

     

    As I sensibly wrote above it seems plissken refered to clocking the data (although he mistkakingly uses the term re-clocking). He was absolutely right. But instead of trying to dichper his true meaning, you jumped on his re-clocking phrase with a triumphant crow. Well done. 

    Let me know if you need a ladder to get down off that high horse. 

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    7 hours ago, incus said:

    By definition this signal would sound the same as the signal coming over the switch and its attendant ethernet cables - because it's already passed through these things and has therefore already been affected by them prior to reaching the device (computer) where it is buffered.

     

    You do understand digital, do you ?

     

    How would that signal be affected ?

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    23 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    perhaps this is why Sonore will create its own sfp module?

     

    Really? That would be news if true. 

    Perhaps you are thinking of their fortcomimg FMC, called opticalModule. But its SFP cage will be supplied with a standard Gigabit fiber SFP module.

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    56 minutes ago, Superdad said:

     

    Really? That would be news if true. 

    Perhaps you are thinking of their fortcomimg FMC, called opticalModule. But its SFP cage will be supplied with a standard Gigabit fiber SFP module.

    I must have misunderstood the product. 

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    21 hours ago, PeterSt said:

     

    You do understand digital, do you ?

     

    How would that signal be affected ?

    He's saying that to prove the switch and cable have no effect on the sound, just pull the cable and hear that the buffered signal sounds the same. My point is that that doesn't prove what he's saying it does. It's logic, digital or analog. The signal hanging out in the buffer has already passed through the switch and the cable so of course it sounds the same. For the skeptics among you, there just needs to be a loaner program or some other way to test. Play track. Then insert switch and play track again. Then post about it. (Which is, by the way, what the OP did and reported back on - as frustratingly unspecific / fanboyish as those reports may have been...)

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    7 minutes ago, incus said:

    He's saying that to prove the switch and cable have no effect on the sound, just pull the cable and hear that the buffered signal sounds the same. My point is that that doesn't prove what he's saying it does. It's logic, digital or analog. The signal hanging out in the buffer has already passed through the switch and the cable so of course it sounds the same. For the skeptics among you, there just needs to be a loaner program or some other way to test. Play track. Then insert switch and play track again. Then post about it. (Which is, by the way, what the OP did and reported back on - as frustratingly unspecific / fanboyish as those reports may have been...)

     

    ‘You are wasting your time. These pseudoscience guys never try anything. They already KNOW the outcome 

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    Off topic but it would great if the super wealthy among you took it upon yourselves to stock and maintain a kind of lending library with all manner of these devices in all their iterations and upgrades, etc. Then the components could make the rounds and a broad enough sample of listening data could be compiled. I must say all this back and forth between people who have heard a certain component and write about their impressions and those who have not heard the component but dismisses those impressions as wishful thinking is VERY tiring. It infected the old cable discussions - still does - and now it's all over this forum. I guess the way I look at it is this -- for every wishfully thinking fanboy who spent too much money on a dubious product and is hoping beyond hope it sounds better than not having it in his system there is a curmudgeonly troll objectivist who refuses to face the possibility there may still be undiscovered truths in audio. They cancel each other out. Now let the actual listening impressions and measurements begin.

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    1 minute ago, thyname said:

     

    ‘You are wasting your time. These pseudoscience guys never try anything. They already KNOW the outcome 

    Which is of course the absolute inverse of the scientific method.

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    4 minutes ago, incus said:

    Which is of course the absolute inverse of the scientific method.

     

    ‘Agreed. And yet, they will tell you “they don’t need to go to North Pole to know it’s cold out there”. Argue that. You (and I) cannot win. 

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    1 minute ago, thyname said:

    You (and I) cannot win

    There is no winning on either side. Good discussions are great. Attempting to win or having arguments that go off the rails only end up in both sides losing. 

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    18 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    There is no winning on either side. Good discussions are great. Attempting to win or having arguments that go off the rails only end up in both sides losing. 

     

    ‘Any discussion without personal experience is just theory. I buy something very carefully as my budget is limited. Sometimes with good results, sometimes not so much. But I hate it when the scientists tell me that I am hallucinating when I say “this worked for me”

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    29 minutes ago, thyname said:

     

    ‘Any discussion without personal experience is just theory. I buy something very carefully as my budget is limited. Sometimes with good results, sometimes not so much. But I hate it when the scientists tell me that I am hallucinating when I say “this worked for me”

    I’d hate that as well. 

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    2 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    I’d hate that as well. 

     

    ‘You have been lucky nobody told you that yet. Or maybe because who you are. 

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    On 2/8/2019 at 9:37 PM, incus said:

    The wifi router and the optical transmitter impart their own noise as do the wifi receiving module and the optical receiver, which they then pass along. These may be perceptibly less noisy than a crappy RJ45 switch and generic CAT cable, but still...

     

    There you have it still right, if you only think of it in a way that e.g. a receiver may add noise that makes it through through its analogue means of influence which could be jitter in the D/A process somewhere down the line. It seems that you are saying that here, with said "impart their own noise". But here you change that context and go wrong with it (same post):

     

    On 2/8/2019 at 9:37 PM, incus said:

    By definition this signal would sound the same as the signal coming over the switch and its attendant ethernet cables - because it's already passed through these things and has therefore already been affected by them prior to reaching the device (computer) where it is buffered.

     

    with this as the context (same post and actually same sentence):

     

    On 2/8/2019 at 9:37 PM, incus said:

    Pulling a cable just means

     

    which implies a kind of recorded state (in the buffer) and where the analogue noise (mind you, in the digital signal) would have been mysteriously recorded and thus will have changed the digital data. Says you by implication (not me).

     

    ...

     

    Thus the part where the receiver (any) implies additional noise (it just does, it will, it will be there) is correct. That this influences the D/A converter is close to 100% likely (I know of no immune product). That without a re-generated signal the noise of an upstream receiver (like switch) is also in there, will be a fact although galvanic isolation will help (though never 100%). Pulling the upstream noise generator, e.g. a switch, will remove the additional noise (from that "generator"), just because it is not there any more. This means that the D/A conversion is now subject to less noise and thus less impeded jitter.

     

    Point is, we produce any and each of the hardware and software devices in that chain although it would be tough to say that we also produce the literal server(s) that put up the (music-)data stream at Tidal's and all the hoopla between there and the home. Anyway, this includes regeneration, the software which pulls the stream, the computer which passes it on to the DAC, the DAC and even the cables in between it. Really everything. Ironically the software ever back emerged to create similar noise, then "downgraded" to eliminate it which appeared to be impossible, then a DAC saw light which would be immune and which more than 10 years later still can not be made immune, no matter what I try from all angles all under my own control (the iron steaming hot). Isolators don't help, cables con't help.

     

    And from there a stream from Tidal is not played as a stream but is 100% buffered first because it is logic to me that there will be less noise influencing parts plus that it is totally clear that it sounds vastly better because of such a set up (which can be tuned for each aspect in the chain).

     

    The major source of noise which is avoided will be the processing of the PC which receives the stream from the internet (downstream from modem and switch) which is thus noise in the PC itself. I think that the noise from switch and modem further upstream don't even influence but this is hard to prove. Not hard to prove is the noise from the processing, which again, is all under the influence of the playback software (and all of its settings for that). Don't have these settings and the influence of the switch (say that this is the last device in the stream) may become profound (although still hard for me to see). But for example, supposed it generates errors, then the PC has more work to do to let it retransmit and the data is simply more and thus more (processing !) noise. Eliminate the switch and this noise can't be there. Eliminate the ethernet connection to the Audio PC at all, and a huge source of noise has been eliminated by guarantee. More practically: Buffer that stream into something which is static data in the PC and there is no Ethernet connection and thus also no noise of it. Disconnect the Ethernet connection software wise as fas as possible during playback and there is also no noise from the connection itself (which connection still implies huge processing when there).

    Remove all the devices in the PC as far as possible (HDD, SSD, SD, USB) and there is a. less electrical noise from them and b. less processing noise (which is far more crucial because far more). It goes on and on.

     

    Summarized

    Nothing much to summarize. It is only that people tend to feed their SSD etc. with linear power supplies while they better remove the SSD etc. at all, and that switches with less noise or better regeneration etc. better be eliminated from the chain at all. Easy to prove that removed devices now can't incur for noise.

    This got a bit long, but this is what happens for real when you "pull a switch" (etc.). And I (or customers) can really choose. From there, nobody connects his audio playing PC to the internet. Tidal is buffered in an upstream PC (which in itself connects to the audio playing PC which is under our 100% control (electrically)). Still don't like the "Tidal PC" to be connected to the internet because voodoo packets may come through ? go ahead and pull the plugs everywhere. Up to the connection between audio PC and "Tidal PC". Music keeps on playing anyway and the audio PC does not even contain a HDD/SSD/SD or any other means of storage.

    If you deem it necessary to have that switch, then you could contemplate it better be an "audio grade" one. Don't forget to use expensive cables for it and of course run it from batteries. swoon.gif.c0bf72827d80328c5664c1ec08b22bc9.gif

    :rolleyes:

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    On 2/8/2019 at 1:37 PM, incus said:

    Pulling a cable just means you're listening to the buffered signal from whatever is doing the buffering - which is the whole reason you are able to hear music play without the cable attached in the first place. By definition this signal would sound the same as the signal coming over the switch and its attendant ethernet cables - because it's already passed through these things and has therefore already been affected by them prior to reaching the device (computer) where it is buffered. So no change in sound tells me nothing.

     

    As @PeterSt has already said (though at some length and introducing other topics, which may have confused things), you're not picturing the experiment correctly because you're not understanding what goes on when a DAC has an asynchronous USB input, as most do these days.  The bits are collected in a buffer at the DAC input, then are clocked out by the DAC's internal clocking.  So nothing in the *timing* of the bits before they go into the buffer affects the timing of the bits out of the buffer by the DAC's clock.  That's the meaning of "asynchronous:" the timing of the bits in the DAC is not synchronized with the upstream timing, so no "jitter" (i.e., timing effects) upstream means anything to what occurs in the DAC.

     

    Picture an airplane loading: No matter what happened in terms of timing through the boarding of the plane (bits moving into the buffer), everyone takes off at the same time (bits being clocked out of the buffer).  The two aren't interdependent.

     

    So what might conceivably affect the timing accuracy of the clock in the DAC?  Electrical noise, in two ways: (1) Because the switch from a 0 to a 1 or vice versa depends on comparing signal to ground, noise on ground might affect timing of that change; or (2) Electrical noise might disrupt the accuracy of the clock itself.

     

    What @plissken's experiment would do is remove any electrical effect of the switch by pulling the Ethernet cable connecting it, thus taking it out of the circuit.  When that happens, there are still bits in the buffer, so as the rest of that buffer plays you can compare the sound when the switch was in the circuit to the sound when the switch is out of the circuit and can't be causing any noise.

     

    At least that's the general idea.  There has been some discussion on the forums about upstream clocking effects passing through into the DAC, but I don't have a sophisticated enough understanding to evaluate that, and it remains to be demonstrated that this can actually occur.

     

    Edit: Actually, I just thought of a way the switch could still have an electrical effect after the Ethernet cable was unplugged: through the power cord to the wall, and from there to the rest of the system.  So perhaps unplugging the switch from the wall would be a better test?

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    52 minutes ago, Jud said:

    Edit: Actually, I just thought of a way the switch could still have an electrical effect after the Ethernet cable was unplugged: through the power cord to the wall, and from there to the rest of the system.

     

    By the way, this is one reason a Wi-Fi or optical unit can still allow noise to get into the system - through the power connections.  (Another way, as already discussed, is through the electrical activity of the receiver of the Wi-Fi or optical signal.)

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