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Cisco 2960G vs. modded Zyxel ES105a switches

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I’ve been using 2 or 3 Zyxel ES105a daisy-chained switches just before my endpoint and read the good things here about a Cisco 2960G, so bought a used & wiped 8 channel. Because of it’s superior clock, etc. I assumed it would be rather better than the small unmanaged Zyxel’s, and yes it initially wowed with lot’s more detail and definition.

But after a bit I noticed that is was a bit like listening in an acoustically live room with uncontrolled reflections. So the 3D aspect of the soundstage disappeared even while giving me all this underlying detail. The music also didn’t seem to hang together as well. It felt like impressive sonics that somehow did not cohere into engaging music. I tried a few quick options regarding the feet and options for slightly damping the top panel of the chassis, but it would only improve one aspect and degrade another.

After a few days, in frustration I pulled the Cisco out and put the Zyxel pair back in. There’s the music and it sounds good! It doesn’t have the level of detail and definition of the 2960G but it has depth and 3D rendering of the instruments and the everything hangs together as engaging music.

I wondered whether I should bypass the internal SMPS and try a 12V linear power supply (which would have to be ordered and built), but not sure it would address the issues I’m noticing, and would be a waste of time and money.

I also note that having a patch cable from the Sky box to that switch introduces glare on the Cisco and a veil on the Zyxel, so keep it disconnected until using the telly.

It might be interesting to try an audiofool switch, perhaps an Etherregen in part due to its isolation moat feature. Others like Silent Angel Bonn16 or SOTM sNH-10G switches are just too expensive for me to even consider and most of the others I’m a bit suspicious of. I do feel an increasing tension of buying stock from a small dealer operating without much profit margin knowing it’s likely I’ll just be returning it for a refund after auditioning it

So, for those with experience of the 2960G, what am I missing and what should I try? Or should I just be happy with my unmanaged Zyxel pair and go on to play with another part of the HiFi?


BTW: the Zyxel’s have the voltage reg upgraded to an LDOver LT3045, and the switches are daisy-chained so that the signal passes through both clocks as per @Ryelands of this parish.

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