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any quality differences between routers?


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Hi all,

Something that I have not seen discussed here: is there any difference in the types of data transmiters/receivers for wireless in their errors or error correction or quality.

I was just wondering because we talk about the airport extreme a lot or others and we talk about transmitting things wirelessly. Is there any difference in the quality of the internal workings of the devices? Should the airport extreme have a separate power supply (like we talk about for servers and such)?

Another thought, how about wireless speakers (I know they exist) but are they the same as ones tat use speaker cable? Does the tramission and reception of the wireless signal alter the original signal?

Just my general questions for the day....

Thanks,

Joshua

 

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Power for routers should make no difference unless their powersupplies are dumping noise into the same circuit as other audio equipment.

 

Wireless speakers just combine a bunch of functions into one box. You have a network bridge, dac, pre, and amp all connected to the back of the speaker.

 

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Yes,but are wireless signals sent via WiFi like FM radio? Didn't people have different tuners and technologies for better signals and better signal reception? Is Cisco better than Belken or Sun in the quality of parts? does that not matter like it does in the audio world?

 

And in terms of the wireless speakers- wouldn't that take out a huge portion of noise production or signal degradation (ie. speaker cable)?

Thanks

Joshua

 

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my simple mantra is to avoid it for any serious audio. I have an airport express with its wireless activated, but that is more for my laptop to VNC to my music server. My PowerMac G4 music server is running iTunes which is feeding the airport directly over 100-baseT ethernet.

 

Wireless bandwidth is so all over the place that its effect on a digital audio stream couldn't be positive, or come anywhere close to the wire reliability.

 

Try this experiment on your Windows or Macintosh laptop:

 

Connect the ethernet jack and mount a network share. Launch the task manager and click on the network tab so you can watch the bandwidth utilization. For a Macintosh, launch activity monitor and click on the network tab. Since you are using the wire, you will probably see a 100 mbps or 1000 mbps connection. Copy a 100 MB file or larger to your laptop. As the file copies over the bandwidth used will remain pretty steady at maybe 80% for 100 baseT, or perhaps 7 to 8% for the 1000baseT connection.

 

Now run the same experiment wirelessly. If your laptop has Wireless G then the maximum bandwidth you will be able to use is 54 mbps. During the file transfer you will probably see that the most bandwidth you ever utilize is half, around 25 mbps. Not only that but you will also notice that the bandwidth fluctuates significantly more than the wire.

 

Of course, a digital audio stream doesn't even need a fraction of all that bandwidth. I think the main concern with digital audio, however, is to get the data delivered in a timely manner with the least amount of interference. Jitter seems to be digital audio's greatest enemy and wireless isn't exactly the resource I would bring in to combat it.

 

It doesn't really matter whether the wireless device is an airport extreme, Linksys, or netgear. Wireless is wireless. It is a network transfer medium whose greatest feature is convenience, not quality.

 

CD

 

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Thank you for the explanation. I just always find it odd that every part of the audio chain has been torn apart, but no mentions about the resistors or capacitor types within this electronic equipment is ever discussed. Or if it would even make a difference.

Joshua

 

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'I think the main concern with digital audio, however, is to get the data delivered in a timely manner with the least amount of interference. Jitter seems to be digital audio's greatest enemy and wireless isn't exactly the resource I would bring in to combat it.'

 

Depends on the kind of wireless, of course, but if you're talking wifi, which is wireless ethernet, then jitter is not an issue. Ethernet delivers data in packets, asynchronously. There's no concept of audio timing embedded in the stream, so there can be no jitter. The issues with wifi are range and interference from other wifi hotspots. If these cause the data rate to drop below that required by the audio stream, then you'll get dropouts. Any well implemented stream player should either play things bit-perfect, or not at all.

 

People sometimes find wifi works well most of the time, but not during late afternoons when all the neighbours start looking at youtube. Wired ethernet is the best way to go, but wifi can work, and is not subject to jitter.

 

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Ziggyzack is correct. I have used both wireless and wired ethernet and they both sound identical, however, when the microwave is being used or the neighbors wireless starts interfering with wireless reception then I get the odd audio dropout. When the CPU gets bogged down with too many tasks then this can cause drop out also.

 

If you go wired ethernet then audio dropouts are extremely rare but may still occur during automated backups or software updates.

 

One way to help reduce dropouts with Express is to use a large buffer. The other way is to use a very fast machine that does not get bogged down by applications that you may be running concurrently while listening to music.

 

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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Shouldn't need too super a machine! 24/192 stereo wavs have a data rate of 1.1MB/s, while gigabit ethernet can sustain roughly 80MB/s and today's standard hard drives, 50MB/s. The most basic NAS with a low-power processor should be well able to deliver high-res audio over ethernet, whether wired or wireless. A bit more powerful if you want to transcode on the fly. Meanwhile even a super-machine will probably divert all resources while doing a software update, just because those kind of maintenance tasks often require exclusive access.

 

I think a low power box which can be left on all the time, a NAS or a mac mini or a windows home server box, is the ideal thing to serve audio/video from.

 

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I'm very pro ethernet for this kind of stuff, it's the ideal medium - it's comfortably overspecced really. Powerline networking (which is still ethernet) is a good alternative to wifi for audio and maybe video streaming, if you can't run cat 5/6. And with ethernet, you have good separation between the computer serving the stream, and the DAC consuming it, so each can do its work as well as possible, without compromise.

 

The OP asked about wireless speakers - these are unlikely to be using wifi. They are also unlikely to be much good. They're either transmitting analogue radio, or passing it through an additional AD-radio-DA step. Even if you find a good design which gets the stream accurately and reliably to the speaker, you're left with several parts with different functions closely integrated inside the speaker cabinet, sharing power. To do it well would probably be more expensive than separates, and you'd still be sacrificing quality for convenience to some degree.

 

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