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Hi Guys - I was recently told by a very respected colleague in the industry about these Ethernet network isolation devices. They do make sense and I think I'll get one in the near future. Does anyone have experience with thee or similar products?

 

http://industrialcomponent.com/oem/baaske.html

 

 

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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I suggest to treat the audio analog signals first rather than digital signals. I'd suggest to invest in Jensen Transformers if you suspect a ground loop issue. RCA are notorious for ground loop issues but it can also happen with XLR if the circuits are not properly balanced with respect to ground.

 

http://www.jensen-transformers.com/

 

Just a word of caution - all transformers add distortion - this distortion is small and often inaudible and can be linearized with active circuitry, however, a passive transformer will degrade very slightly the audio signal.

 

Distortion from passive transformers on line level signals is actually minimal compared to what can occur on an output transformer of a tube power amp (due the different current levels involved).

 

Benchmark DAC2, Active speakers: ATC 150's, 100's, 20's, C6CA, C6 Subwoofer.

 

Headphones: Only for playing drums. I don't like sounds in my head. The best headphones suck. Nothing can replace good speakers played loudly. And nothing absolutely nothing is a substitute for live music!

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Seems like an interesting idea. If I understand this correctly this is only eliminating noise at an electrical level, correct? All broadcast/IP level traffic would still pass through to the device, right?

 

If one was going to take this to a typical audiophile extreme I think it would be very cool to have an isolation device that isolates both electrically and at the application level. It would be great once the server is set up to have all the broadcast/nonessential traffic on the network prevented from reaching the music server so that the server is only processing data/packets that relate to its function.

 

 

mpdPup maintainer

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Idolse... what you describe (preventing non-essential packets) can be achieved with a Level 4 (possibly with a level 3) switch. Need to get a commercial type switch from someone like Cisco, HP or 3Com rather than a Netgear, Linksys, etc.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Is there a rationale as to how/if this device would contribute to better sound quality?

 

Mac Mini / Pure Music > Firewire & USB > Metric Halo LIO-8 > Hypex NCORE 400 > Geddes Abbey Speakers > Rythmik Servo & Geddes Band Pass Subs // DH Labs Cables, HRS MXR Isolation Rack, PurePower 2000, Elgar 6006B

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@ Eloise - Nice idea except it may cost me much more money now. Time to call my Cisco rep for some hardware and the USB to Serial cable for configuration :~(

 

@earflappin - The galvanic isolation cannot hurt that's for sure. Lately I've been wondering about grounding issues because I plug my audio equipment into my separate audio subpanel and my computers into the standard house power. I'm certainly no expert on what the effects of this may be over Ethernet, but I've sent emails out to a couple engineers who've forgot more information than I'll ever know.

 

I also know that having a music server connected to the network increases noise dramatically on an AES line to the DAC. This has been measured by colleagues of mine. If this device will help I really don't know. As long as it's fully capable of the speeds and specs it claims to be I don't see how it can hurt.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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It will certainly help protect your ethernet port in the event of one ethernet device failing in such a manner that it sends stray voltage along the ethernet cable. It is hard to imagine how any consumer device could generate 5000 volts but this feature may help in the event of a lightning strike.

 

Since ethernet is a digital form of transmission there is no concern about ground loops creating hum or adding volume level dependent noise - as you have with analog devices (where power supply leaks to ground can be modulated by the output levels in the output stage of an amplifier and this noise can be picked up on an unbalanced line such as an analog RCA).

 

Benchmark DAC2, Active speakers: ATC 150's, 100's, 20's, C6CA, C6 Subwoofer.

 

Headphones: Only for playing drums. I don't like sounds in my head. The best headphones suck. Nothing can replace good speakers played loudly. And nothing absolutely nothing is a substitute for live music!

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I asked a friend who definitely fits the "has forgotten more about this sort of thing that anyone else knows at the moment" and his response was that...

 

"The device description is a bit deceptive in that it claims to offer galvanic isolation (and I don't contest that it does), which implies that Ethernet isn't galvanically isolated. Actually, all Ethernet connections already have this feature built-in because they're transformer-coupled, though they typically don't offer this level of insulation against high-voltage events.

 

That said, this sort of device could be useful in very electrically noisy environments (like industrial installations where there is a lot of common-mode noise on cabling) or in medical environments, where leakage current is strictly limited, both to avoid interference with sensitive medical instrumentation as well as mitigate shock hazards for patients.

 

As for use with audio equipment: this might be worth trying if you have something like an Ethernet DAC. The high-voltage isolation isn't going to benefit you directly, but if the device acts as a noise filter, it might be helpful in the sense that it helps to attenuate electrical noise that might otherwise couple into your audio gear. Standard Ethernet magnetics offer about 30dB of common-mode rejection, and a device such as this might double that figure. You could also put it on something like your DroboFS, though I doubt it would be significantly useful there. If you do, it might affect your data transfer rates somewhat, but if you're just pulling audio data from your drives, that's probably irrelevant.

 

I'm not sure I'd be willing to drop $190 to play with it, but compared to most audio tweaks that's cheap, of course!"

 

 

Dave Clark[br]Editor, Positive Feedback Online

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It is true, that the data lines on a LAN system should be galvanic isolated, but the shield is definitely not. So you would have also the possibility to use a non shielded LAN cable, but then you have to take care, that the common mode rejection of your LAN setup is high enough, that you do not emit differential mode voltages or be too sensitive to incoming voltages.

 

If you have a network player, than just try different network cables and listen to it, whether it makes a sonic difference on your system or not (I know it is digital, so it should not make any difference, but we have the same or similar situation with USB cables on USB DACs, but also here, there are sonic differences, (at least for some of us)).

 

So even for those who have technical background, what should not be audible and what should, I ask to just give some “crazy” ideas a listen and decide for themselves, if they are willing to get one or not.

 

Juergen

 

 

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The main symptom you'll see if your CAT 5/6 cable is picking up interference is a drop in the data rate. If the inward interference is high enough to do that, then it may be worth opting for a shielded cable. Also, if you have nearby equipment which is sensitive to any RF emitted by the LAN wire, shielding may help, but remember datacentres run bundles of these cables, unshielded, and get full performance. Domestically, something exceptional has to be going on to warrant shielded cat 5/6.

 

The ethernet port could be spraying EMI into the insides of an ethernet dac, but consider that the power of the signal is not being overblown by the power of any external interference (or you'd notice as described above), and you can see that however much isolation you put inbetween the dac and the network, that ethernet signal still has to get through. I don't know enough to know whether this would apply to interference at any frequency, or just at frequencies related to the line frequency. Ethernet ports have 1.5KV isolation as standard (I think). I don't see that adding an additional 5KV isolation will reduce EMI emitted inside a box from a box's own ethernet port, unless the circumstances of the install are very extreme. The isolators may have value protecting equipment if you're at risk of lightning. Meanwhile if EMI from internal ethernet ports is an issue, caused by ethernet itself in standard use, and not by exceptional external interference (and I've no idea if it is an issue), then my bet is this would be best dealt with by hardware and casework design by the manufacturer of the ethernet dac.

 

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MMM- I would be critical indeed of their worth. Indeed, any device connected to a quality switch is going to be isolated electrically, and unless you are running the ethernet cable through a swamp (or through an area with a lot of body fluids, which is what these little beasties are designed for :) I seriously doubt that there will be $190 worth of improvement. Sorry, $380, since you need a pair of the beasties.

 

If you are really concerned about such electrical interference, then use fibre connections, which is indeed, what most of the medical vendors who build equipment for use in - eh - "damp" places are doing. :)

 

-Paul

 

 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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  • 3 years later...
Hi Guys - I was recently told by a very respected colleague in the industry about these Ethernet network isolation devices. They do make sense and I think I'll get one in the near future. Does anyone have experience with thee or similar products?

 

Baaske Medical Ethernet Network Electrical Isolation

 

Hi Chris,

 

Raising a thread from the grave as I am curious what you ended up doing.

 

I am struggling with listening fatigue coming in through the ethernet connection on the mac mini. First the NAS was replaced with a Tbolt drive...better, but not gone. I still use the ethernet connection to remote in through iPhone/iPad. When disconnecting the ethernet cable completely the fatigue goes away. There seems to be some noise introduced although too high frequency to hear that is still felt as fatigue.

 

By the way I ripped out all antennae, bluetooth, IR, switching PSU etc. from the Mac already.

 

Did you find and implement a shielded/filtered ethernet solution?

 

Thanks!

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Hi Chris,

 

Raising a thread from the grave as I am curious what you ended up doing.

 

I am struggling with listening fatigue coming in through the ethernet connection on the mac mini. First the NAS was replaced with a Tbolt drive...better, but not gone. I still use the ethernet connection to remote in through iPhone/iPad. When disconnecting the ethernet cable completely the fatigue goes away. There seems to be some noise introduced although too high frequency to hear that is still felt as fatigue.

 

By the way I ripped out all antennae, bluetooth, IR, switching PSU etc. from the Mac already.

 

Did you find and implement a shielded/filtered ethernet solution?

 

Thanks!

 

As Barrows stated, I would try my recommendation of the Acoustic Revive RLI-1.

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Here is a project description from Amazon's website:

 

Product Description

Noise and hub NAS, such as the network players, each device may occur come and go through the LAN cable, network audio is significantly degrading the sound quality. External noise even further mixed through internet, are you dropping the quality of the audio. Was able to combine the common mode choke coil for noise isolation and transformer, cut to low levels of noise transmission phenomenal RLI-1. I am proud of much higher noise rejection compared to medical LAN isolators using only isolation transformer. In addition, since there is no sense of any side effects, such as attenuation of liveliness and energy as isolator medical SN ratio is improved as increase the number, a profound effect can be obtained

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Here is a project description from Amazon's website:

 

Sounds good to me.

 

I would also like to see some entrepreneurial type develop an audiophile switch incorporating RLI-1 capabilities into all ports and utilizing good power supplies. I am kind of surprised no one has built one yet.

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OK, then can you translate it for us?

 

NO, I have no clue as to the jibberish but like I said, the jibberish sounds as good as any other audio jibberish I read from manufacturers.

 

On the objective side, I can tell you I have never witnessed such stable transmission of data packets. On the subjective side, the unit has provided my system with better dynamics particularly on the microdynamic side and an improved and wider more three dimensional image.

 

WG, as I have said on other threads, some of my favorite "upgrades" are in places I least like expect them and they are often in the cheapest of ways and this was one of them. But I have no clue why or what they are saying.

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IMO, best isolation is to use optical ethernet...

 

But there's lot of similar protection to the original post, like:

APC ProtectNet standalone surge protector for 10/100/1000 Base-T Ethernet lines

 

For electronics in general, I use something like this, to filter out EMI/RFI plus surge protection:

http://www.apc.com/products/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm?base_sku=PF8VNT3%2DGR

 

(copper ethernet in itself is already transformer isolated at both ends without extra gadgets)

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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OK, then can you translate it for us?

Network audio performance is significantly deteriorated due to the noise generated by network players, HUB, NAS, etc which goes back and forth through LAN cables.

Furthermore, invasion noise is also mixed in through the internet line which remarkably degrades the sound quality.

RLI-1 has succeeded in cutting the transmission noise to an extremely low level via the combination of an Isolation transformer and Choke coil for common-mode noise. The noise-cut effect of RLI-1 is far superior to that of medical LAN isolators which are only based on isolation transformers.

In addition to this, by designing for the audiophile approach, RLI-1 does not generate side effects such as the feeling of energy loss and reduced dynamics which is not avoided when using LAN isolators for medical treatment, and in this reason, the more it increases the number of units, the more the effect increases without generating any negative side effects.

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Network audio performance is significantly deteriorated due to the noise generated by network players, HUB, NAS, etc which goes back and forth through LAN cables.

Furthermore, invasion noise is also mixed in through the internet line which remarkably degrades the sound quality.

RLI-1 has succeeded in cutting the transmission noise to an extremely low level via the combination of an Isolation transformer and Choke coil for common-mode noise. The noise-cut effect of RLI-1 is far superior to that of medical LAN isolators which are only based on isolation transformers.

In addition to this, by designing for the audiophile approach, RLI-1 does not generate side effects such as the feeling of energy loss and reduced dynamics which is not avoided when using LAN isolators for medical treatment, and in this reason, the more it increases the number of units, the more the effect increases without generating any negative side effects.

 

Thanks. IMHO It works and I wouldn't think of listening without it

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As Barrows stated, I would try my recommendation of the Acoustic Revive RLI-1.

 

Thanks Priaptor! I will go find one of those gadgets.

 

I noticed that my Netgear switches spew a ridiculous amount of noise in high frequency that hopefully will be blocked by the RLI-1. Now I just need to find a place that sells it.

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I just got my RLI-1 yesterday and listened to it last night.

 

It's another reminder in this hobby of how the seemingly inconsequential can be consequential.

 

In short, I noticed a subtle but important improvement. For lack of a better way of putting it, the background was smoother. For the price, a no-brainer of a purchase.

 

Joel

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