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SOtM sNH-10G - SOtM’s first network switch

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On 12/2/2018 at 2:53 PM, romaz said:

I've had my sNH-10G switch for a few weeks now.  Mine has the sCLK-EX board, Evox caps, OCC silver DC leads and 75-ohm master clock input.  All told, just under $2k and so pretty expensive.  With high cost comes high expectations but this one does not disappoint.  As posted on another thread, this one is a dynamics monster and behaves almost like a gain stage.  But not just better dynamics, detail articulation, tonal richness, and noise floor are significantly better.  

 

Powered with the sPS-500, it sounds very good but with my SR7, it sounds several notches better.  This switch really scales to a better PSU even with the ultra clean regulation that is already built into this unit.

 

Regarding the iSO-CAT6 tech that is incorporated into this switch, I own an iSO-CAT6 LAN isolator and I would say it makes a subtle difference at best and is almost disappointing.  It is another example that the impact of leakage current is variable from system to system but overall, my experience is that the impact of leakage current is overblown.  What I will say is the impact of this switch is not subtle at all.  This is not just about adding an iSO-CAT6 to this switch.  Having owned/tested many SOtM products, this is easily the most impactful of their products that I have tried in my system and in my case, well worth what I spent for it.  I find it more impactful than my tX-USBultra even though the tX-USBultra connects directly to my DAC and so I find this to be a remarkable feat.

 

Does higher level clocking impact this card?  Yes, when connected to my REF10, there is greater refinement with a slightly more open sound stage and better timbre but a master clock is more of a finishing touch rather than a must have.  This switch sounds very very good without the REF10.  It leads me to wonder how important clocking is for this switch as I have never heard clocking result in such improvement in dynamics.  Could this switch sound 80-90% as good without the sCLK-EX board at nearly 50% of the price?  As I have never tried this switch without the sCLK-EX board, I am left only to speculate.

 

Here is another significant benefit afforded by this switch.  Some are aware of how I am using this switch between a noisy, high-power Roon server and a low-power NUC endpoint and I have to say that this switch has basically the same level of impact as the NUC itself.  Well, these benefits apply to video also.  Using a TIVO Bolt as my video server and a TIVO Mini 4K VOX as my video renderer, I noticed a significant uptick in both video and sound quality when I power my TIVO Mini 4k VOX with an LPS-1.2.  This is a wonderful application of the LPS-1.2.  However, when I place the sNH-10G switch between the TIVO Bolt and the TIVO Mini 4K VOX, the improvement in both video and sound quality is even greater.  Video clarity and sound dynamics are better but especially noticeable is that dialog is clearer and better articulated.  With this inexpensive ($179) TIVO Mini 4K VOX powered by an LPS-1.2, connected to the sNH-10G switch, connected to my Chord M-Scaler/DAVE via optical and to my 4K projector via optical HDMI, this very easily surpasses what I was getting from my tricked out Oppo UDP-205 with OCXO and upgraded linear power supplies.

 

Thanks for the review. Quick question. I assume you still feel the USBultra adds value in the  chain even with the Chord M scaler? As I understand it, which may be a complete overstatement, the units do similar things but the M scaler is more advanced. Can you provide any insight into the value/role the USBultra plays with the M scaler in play?

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I think you may be a little confused as these two devices perform totally different functions. The USBUltra is a USB signal "optimiser". Chord's M Scaler is a digital music upscaler which outputs dual-channel BNC into a compatible DAC.

 

Cheers

GG

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2 hours ago, GryphonGuy said:

I think you may be a little confused as these two devices perform totally different functions. The USBUltra is a USB signal "optimiser". Chord's M Scaler is a digital music upscaler which outputs dual-channel BNC into a compatible DAC.

 

Cheers

GG

Thanks for your reply GG.I absolutely could be confused. Based on what I have read/watched on the m scaler, it appears that it is reconstructing the sine wave based on more slices (samples) to the curve, without adding any information to the wave. There is not much to read on the SOtM but from what is available, I have read, as you state above, that it repairs or reforms the USB signal (assuming this also an audio sign wave). I'm making this assumption because both devices take a USB input.

 

In short, I read that both devices seem to be trying to create more perfect wave forms. If I am reading the information correctly I am wondering if anyone has used them together and if they are complimentary devices or if they are redundant. If I am confused, which would not be the first time, I am trying to understand the difference between reforming the USB signal (USBultra) versus correcting and upsampling the sign wave (m scaler), given that both devices feed from a USB input.

 

Completely understand that the USBultra outputs USB and the M scaler outputs dual BNC. I have a Chord Qutest DAC so either (or both) will work in my case.

 

Finally - I apologize if this seems off topic but if someone has used both of these devices with the SOtM master clock and confirms that they are complimentary it is my full intent to run SOtM sms200 ultra neo, USBultra and the sNH-10G all under control of the SOtM master clock and all feeding the Chord M scaler and DAC. Thus my reasoning for posting here where it seems some may have used some or all of these devices together.

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@EnjoyTheMusicNow

HMS aims at reconstructing correctly the original signal from the digital data it has received.

 

txUSBUltra aims at transporting the digital data to the downstream device (HMS, a DAC are examples)

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Thank you for the responses.

 

I assume the SMS200 ultra neo is just not designed to transport an optimized signal, therefore the USBultra steps in?

 

I also assume they (USBultra and m scaler) are complementary products for this same reason. A more perfect USB transport into an m scaler will yield a better signal for the m scaler to reconstruct.

 

Am I understanding your responses correctly?

 

 

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3 hours ago, EnjoyTheMusicNow said:

Finally - I apologize if this seems off topic but if someone has used both of these devices with the SOtM master clock and confirms that they are complimentary it is my full intent to run SOtM sms200 ultra neo, USBultra and the sNH-10G all under control of the SOtM master clock and all feeding the Chord M scaler and DAC.

 

No offense, but are you really considering adding close to $13,000 of devices (not even counting power supplies!) to feed your $1,900 Chord Qutest DAC? 

That seems a bit out of balance. :/ You might want to start slower.

Jist my $0.02.

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Noted and certainly no offense taken. I'm sure there will always be a limiting factor in the chain. In this case you are simply calling out that you think that limiting factor will now become my DAC.

 

Just to clarify. The only components that I do not own currently are the switch and the USBultra, plus power supplies. If I stick with the SPS500s for now, the total added would be around $4K.

 

I do plan to move up to a DAVE DAC in the future. I'm curious to see if the rumors about a new version of DAVE will be true.

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1 hour ago, EnjoyTheMusicNow said:

Noted and certainly no offense taken. I'm sure there will always be a limiting factor in the chain. In this case you are simply calling out that you think that limiting factor will now become my DAC.

 

Just to clarify. The only components that I do not own currently are the switch and the USBultra, plus power supplies. If I stick with the SPS500s for now, the total added would be around $4K.

 

I do plan to move up to a DAVE DAC in the future. I'm curious to see if the rumors about a new version of DAVE will be true.

While I haven't visited head-fi for a long time, there was/(is?) a dedicated Chord thread in their forums and Chord's digital guru, Robert Watts, regularly chimed in, or at least he used to, and he was quite willing to answer people's questions on all things Chord DACs.

And while I'm sure you'll be able to get more clarity on what the M-Scaler does on that thread, from what I remember (as a former DAVE owner, but never owned the M-scaler), the M-Scaler adds to the number of "taps" that the DAVE already has and boosts the total to one million taps (actually 1,015,808 taps) which, according to Watts, solves timing issues when DACs reconstruct an analog signal. For this reason, it isn't anything like a USB decrapifier which the USBultra basically is. 

If you don't feel like going to headfi, start here with this article https://www.stereophile.com/content/chords-million-tap-digital-filter or use the Google and search for "watts chord taps" and you'll find lots of info on it. 

Ok, now, let's get back to the SOtM sNH-10G (name kinda rolls off the tongue...not) - any further updates from owners? 😉

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2 hours ago, ChrisG said:

Ok, now, let's get back to the SOtM sNH-10G (name kinda rolls off the tongue...not) - any further updates from owners? 😉

 

Well I'm obviously not an sNH-10G owner, but I did just speak with @Bruce Orr, who is successfully using an UltraCap LPS-1.2 to power his new SOtM switch.  So that's a confirmed match. :)

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SOtM sNH-10G SE with Clock and Master Clock Input ordered, as well as the USBultra SE with master input and M-scaler. Will report more when they arrive. Thanks for all the input.

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On 12/4/2018 at 10:04 AM, baconbrain said:

I find this discussion quite interesting given that is difficult to comprehend how a switch can have this level of “perceived” impact on SQ.

 

This is boggling my mind as well. I want to believe but not sure I can...

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5 hours ago, mrkoven said:

 

This is boggling my mind as well. I want to believe but not sure I can...

 

It is what it is. If I did not hear a difference, I would also make a post with that impression. 

 

The sNH-10G is remarkable.

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6 hours ago, mrkoven said:

 

This is boggling my mind as well. I want to believe but not sure I can...

 

22 minutes ago, nekoaoyama said:

 

It is what it is. If I did not hear a difference, I would also make a post with that impression. 

 

The sNH-10G is remarkable.

 

The reviewers usually exaggerate, and their reports are quite predictable. “I’ve swapped that and that in my chain, and a vail was instantly lifted. The bass is much tighter, the trebles are crystal clear, bla bla bla.” In most case, the more expensive the part, the more flowery the superlatives.  

 

Generally, the improvement non-essential components bring to the table is marginal. 
Sure, many drops make for a river, but each drop is still only a drop. 

 

There’re are phycological reasons behind those inflated claims, rooted in the personality profile of audiophiles.
But that’s not the place nor time. 

 

As for the science behind audio-grade switches: their electrical interference/noise/hum is minimized, which translates into a quitter chain—read, less jitter is injected into the receiver (roughly speaking). The result is more precise the timing, and thus better SQ overall.

 

Happy tunes…

  

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On 1/2/2019 at 12:02 PM, EnjoyTheMusicNow said:

 

I do plan to move up to a DAVE DAC in the future. I'm curious to see if the rumors about a new version of DAVE will be true.

 

It wasn’t too long ago that Rob posted that he hasn’t even started work on that.  I believe his focus is on the DAVINA A/D and the DX amps. 

 

DAVE just got a huge upgrade with the M-Scaler.  A new version of DAVE isn’t really needed now.

 

As far as the Qutest, my dealer (who was a close friend long before he became a dealer) was blown away by Hugo M-Scaler (HMS) plus Qutest.

 

I have an HMS on order and hope I’ll see it next month,  It will drive a Hugo 2 initially, which is on order as well.

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Good to hear on the Qutest. My m-scaler is on a 4 week back order but as soon as it arrives I will share my experience with the m-scaler / qutest combo. I will probably see my SOtM switch, silent running audio platforms and USBultra first.

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On 1/10/2019 at 6:16 PM, nekoaoyama said:

My sNH-10G special edition arrived today and it's a complete revelation. I was perfectly satisfied with my Cisco SG 200-08 and wasn't expecting this level of improvement. Better resolution, tone, texture, blackness, and instrument separation and placement. It's like I'm next to musicians and can hear the nuances in female vocals, feel the vibration of guitar plucks and the individual weight of piano keys.

 

It's being powered by an Uptone LPS 1.2 and Oyaide 5N silver DC cable. Now just waiting for Uptone's switch :)

 

Yours is without the external clock fitting the switch, only the SCLk-EX that come with the switch, correct?

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On 1/3/2019 at 9:07 AM, Bruce Orr said:

@Thank you for the nice introduction, @Superdad    I just got my new SOtM 9v switch today - with CLK, 75ohm REF10 port, silver, the whole enchilada.  Installed nicely and powered by the UpTone LPS 1.2 which I enjoy more than the standard SOtM 9v power supply. 

 

My baseline was a SOtM-modded Netgear FS108 switch pigtailed to the SOtM txUSB ultra so the switch would take advantage of the ultra’s better clock, as well as the REF10/Habst cable the ultra had been modded to accept. Now the REF10 directly controls clocks on the USB ultra and new SOtM switch.

 

I’m only 3 hrs. into what SOtM says is a 50-hr break-in. I will say, though, the combo (new switch with mods, direct REF10/Habst connect snd LPS 1.2) is already providing enough of a SQ bump to make me happy with the purchases. I already had the second Habst cable and LPS1.2 on hand, so my new investment was less than it would have been otherwise. 

 

Although I knew the dimensions, it’s size -for a switch - still surprised me. It looks great and I don’t find the size to be an issue. It’s just uniquely different. 

 

I’ll report back when I’ve gotten thru the break in!

 

 

 

Please tell how large the impact of the ext clock in your report as well.  Given that Ref10 may not be affordable for everybody (and the cables, PS as a combo), this report will give the CAers quite an insight apart from Roy's.  Thank you.

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37 minutes ago, greenleo said:

Yours is without the external clock fitting the switch, only the SCLk-EX that come with the switch, correct?

 

Correct, I have the version with the internal SCLk-EX clock and master clock input. Also opted for the internal silver dc cable, evox caps and paper. 

 

I would also like feedback on clocking the new SOtM trio with the Mutec Ref 10. This could become worthwhile when SOtM introduce new hardware. 

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3 hours ago, nekoaoyama said:

 

Correct, I have the version with the internal SCLk-EX clock and master clock input. Also opted for the internal silver dc cable, evox caps and paper. 

 

I would also like feedback on clocking the new SOtM trio with the Mutec Ref 10. This could become worthwhile when SOtM introduce new hardware. 

Thank you.  Then it means even with only the SCLk-EX clock, the switch is already very good.

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