network streaming tweaks

Thanks Mr Rooster yeah I had a look through that site before posting but allot of info and interesting characters and opinions - but see the isolation and bridge are pretty much agreed must do.

I am ordering some tp link converters and a fibre patch cable, all comes in at £122. Should be delivered tomorrow will spend sometime evaluating, but may wait as my switch is only 2 days old and no doubt breaking in.

Both the sites you mention offer some very interesting views and findings versus some very high end expensive HiFi gear.

vtpcnk posted:

hey all, i just started using a unitiqute. so what are the things i can tweak for SQ?

1. nas. is a nas certain to be better for sq than a hard disk hooked up to a computer?

2. ethernet cables. i saw chord company has some of these. anybody tried that?

3. since i can control the music through the naim app, i dont need a computer with a screen. any benefit in using raspberry pi or intel nuc? lesser interference, traffic, jitter etc?

4. is there an audiophile router or rather a router more suited by its features for streaming music?

5. i am currently using asset upnp. is there anything better than this?

Anything else?

Appreciate the insights.

 

Hi, I have been streaming one way or another since the late 90s and streaming with Naim pretty much from when they first entered the market. The main thing is to keep everything simple but effective.. and to get that balance right.

I would say tweaks fall into three varieties, which some interdependencies between the varieties.

1) Sound quality / sound presentation

2) Performance and usability

3) Bling and ‘feel good factor’

1 Sound Quality / Sound Presentation

Sound quality can be effected by electrical noise from some low quality switch mode power supplies, and so worth while looking into these. A quality SMPS powersupply can be as effective and clean as a transformer based powersupply or so called ‘linear’ power-supply, so don’t fall into the trap of assuming a linear powersupply is automatically better than a SMPS.

Local noise from the Ethernet leads can be an issue. This can be mitigated using better quality network equipment (see below), but can be also helped using certified Ethernet cable of Cat 5e or higher. Route the Ethernet lead away from signal and mains leads. Ferrite chokes around the Ethernet cables at the ends by the connectors can reduce common mode noise. You can experiment with different cable constructs and screening types... none of these need cost much at all, but anything aimed at the audiophile will have had its price multiplied by several factors. (See point 3)

With Naim streamers where one is using the inbuilt DAC many have found streaming WAV over FLAC or ALAC sonically prefereable, although when using the Naim streamer to drive an off board DAC this becomes less apparent.

Different media servers can effect SQ and for most this is going to be trial and error as measuring requires some expertise with WireShark and network expertise. I have found and measured a correlation between inter network frame consistency from a media server and sound presentation from the Naim NDX . It’s subtle like WAV / FLAC above but there none the less. Again physically decoupling the DAC from the streamer lessens this. 

f you are connecting your switch to your streamer, which I would recommend for the Classic streamers or if you have a basic broadband router type Wi-fi setup (see below), then some of us have found than some switch architectures can sound better with Naim syreamers... this I believe is down to the quality of the physical layer clocks on the Ethernet send pair, which in turn produces less coupled intermodulation side effects on the streamer. The Cisco Catalyst devices seem to work welll such as the 2960. Some have founding improving power supplies for very basic consumer switches helps, but this becomes moot for the higher grade devices like the Catalysts.

2 Performance and Usability

This for me is essentially ensuring the streaming works effectively. Naim use UPnP and that needs to have a reliable wired, wireless or combined network. Many Home  Wi-fi setups are very basic, and give rise to false assumptions Wi-fi is not optimum for streaming... invest in a Wifi solution using an ESSID (overlapping access points with same SSID name) and use commercial or ‘prosumer’ grade access points that you wire back to a switch / broadband router switch.  This way you should be able to stream via Wifi whilst others use your Wifi, and have effective and responsive Naim app performance irrespective of what else is happening in your house.

Next is ensuring UPnP discovery works well. This used to be quite a nightmare due to limited capability consumer home network product, but has appeared to have improved with more recent consumer product as these capabilities are required more often. The  important thing here is that multicast addresses are handled correctly... if you have issues with devices disappearing from the Naim app etc then try disabling a feature called IGMP snooping.. might appear on your Wifi and or switch... ideally you want enabled, but if there interoperability issue as above then disabling can help... but in some circumstances you might find your Wifi performance drops.

Then there is responsiveness of discovery, which builds on the above point... on tiny networks this may not be an issue, but on larger home networks, you might find annoying pauses for the Naim app to discover the media server(s)... setting up an IGMP Querier on a managed switch or router will massively improve performance  here... this is advanced.. if you are interested let me know or use Googke.

3 Bling and ‘Feel Good Factor’

This is harder to quantify but psychological and time and effort factors come into play.... and many appreciate buying something like an Ethernet cable from an audiophile brand that looks impressive, performs at a known level for a premium... its not for me, but is certainly an option if one wants to remove some of the trial and error. The same exists for some media server types running on popular computer platforms like OSX, frame converters for audio such as USB to PDIF, NASs etc etc.

Obsydian posted:

Thanks Mr Rooster yeah I had a look through that site before posting but allot of info and interesting characters and opinions - but see the isolation and bridge are pretty much agreed must do.

I am ordering some tp link converters and a fibre patch cable, all comes in at £122. Should be delivered tomorrow will spend sometime evaluating, but may wait as my switch is only 2 days old and no doubt breaking in.

Both the sites you mention offer some very interesting views and findings versus some very high end expensive HiFi gear.

you will normally hear an improvement but it is also very recommended to put ifi power on each tp link, because these tp links are powered by stock smps which are a bit noisy.  The ifi power 5v costs around 40GBP.  Some use batteries for smartphones but it often powers off...I had it before.

The ifi power can also power the ethernet switch, it isolates the switch from noise too.

Anyway you can try like that first and after, if you want, you can replace the smps by ifi power .

If you have the cisco 2960 switch, you don’t need ifi power.

The best is to put linear ps on each tp link and on nas or unitserve. The uniticore has already a linear ps inside.    You can find all these informations on the sites i mentioned.

 

Will try the ifi ps at a later date prefer one step at a time and judge, but thanks noted.

Have been reading Computer Audiophile and Audio stream sites/forum, wow I thought I'd seen tweak mania but these guys are pretty hardcore, but in most cases some logic. I tried one tweak with regards to switch in and out port position and left it at that. Either way nice to learn something new.

Don't mind a few easy low hanging fruit, but for sure want to avoid the OFF tweakery.

I hear my network tweaks more on my DAC V1 in the living room, but I can also hear them to a lesser degree on my UQ1 in the office. Of course no amount of tweakery will turn a UQ into an NDS, but it’s also not going to cost a lot of $ and then the network is ready for any upgrades of boxes down the road. 

I haven’t tried a 2960, but very happy with my Netgear FS105, using ports 1,3, and 5 (due to magnetic connection between those) and a ground shunt at the DC entry. Also be sure the dip switches are set up right on the FMC’s. No need for them to talk in both directions. 

French Rooster posted:
Obsydian posted:
French Rooster posted:
Obsydian posted:

Get  Cisco switch and as a start the chord entry cables one from router to switch and one from switch to streamer.

With regards to both I would no regard them as tweaks if anything essential components.

you are right, these tweaks are essential but took separately, one by one, they give minor improvement. But the global network upgrade improve significantly :  dedicated switch with linear ps or minimum ifi power, or cisco 2960, good lans cables , optical bridge on linear ps ....

I am not sure that the op should invest in all these tweaks that cost nearly the price of the unitiqute.  For an ndx or nds level, it is worthwhile 

I would go just for a cisco 2960 used and factory reset , with a lan cable like chord c stream or meicord lan cable.

Interesting you disagree then state my proposal, in the same response.

i am not very clear i think.  I wanted to say that for an ndx/ nds/ linn klimax level, upgrading the network is essential, but this system is enough revealing to show the differences in sound quality. It has a cost too: audioquest vodka level of cables, dedicated switch, fmc converters with linear ps, nas or serve on linear ps.  

But the op has a uniqute.  It is an integrated amp/dac/ streamer for around 1700GBP.  Do you think, in that case, that it is worthwhile to invest in an network ‘s upgrade in that case?

Just a dedicated switch and a not so bad lan cable should be enough.  Or invest in a better amp and steamer first, like supernait with nd5xs....

No, you were perfect clear. 

Obsydian posted:

Will try the ifi ps at a later date prefer one step at a time and judge, but thanks noted.

Have been reading Computer Audiophile and Audio stream sites/forum, wow I thought I'd seen tweak mania but these guys are pretty hardcore, but in most cases some logic. I tried one tweak with regards to switch in and out port position and left it at that. Either way nice to learn something new.

Don't mind a few easy low hanging fruit, but for sure want to avoid the OFF tweakery.

Yes of course, some guys are pretty hardcore. But a lot of members here use ifi power. It is a cheap tweak and very useful.  In the search part of naim forum, you have the topic:  “ ifi power smps”.  You can have a look if you want.  

Some naim members use also linear ps for nas , mac mini or unitserve.  

As you said, try first that.  If not satisfied, you can even return.   The cisco 2960 switch, used and factory reset, is also an important upgrade for little money ( around 50GBP).  A lot of topics here on this switch.

 

Obsydian posted:

Thanks I already have a Cisco 2960, was new and sealed.

Just realised the TP link Converters have 2 pin plugs, what a pain.

i am french, i followed the explanation on :   pont optique audiophile on google then you have all details on home cinema . fr and what exactly to buy.  My tp link are mc110cs model.  

Sorry for your pain.  You have all the links for amazon to know what to buy:  tap just:  pont optique hifi home cinéma.fr on google then you find the post 04 november 2015. Then translate in english.

Obsydian posted:

Thanks I already have a Cisco 2960, was new and sealed.

Just realised the TP link Converters have 2 pin plugs, what a pain.

i found a link in english, using tp link mc200 converters:  electrically isolate your networked audio/ audiostream.  Michael Lavorgna explains all you need.

djh1697 posted:

Do  not bother with expensive  CAT5 cabling, it will make no difference to the sound. If there was a difference you can bet companies like Naim would be producing them, we would have "super lumia" and "Hi-Line" variants of such cables? 

sorry, but there are differences.....as important as with analog interconnects.  Try one day...

French Rooster posted:
Obsydian posted:

Thanks I already have a Cisco 2960, was new and sealed.

Just realised the TP link Converters have 2 pin plugs, what a pain.

i am french, i followed the explanation on :   pont optique audiophile on google then you have all details on home cinema . fr and what exactly to buy.  My tp link are mc110cs model.  

Sorry for your pain.  You have all the links for amazon to know what to buy:  tap just:  pont optique hifi home cinéma.fr on google then you find the post 04 november 2015. Then translate in english.

I went for the TP Link MC 200CM, will find some plus adapters and realised I need one more ethernet, luckily I have another chord c stream.

I followed the audio tream guide thanks.

Let's will maybe try if everything arrives tomorrow just worried where to hide all them boxes and plugs.

Obsydian posted:
French Rooster posted:
Obsydian posted:

Thanks I already have a Cisco 2960, was new and sealed.

Just realised the TP link Converters have 2 pin plugs, what a pain.

i am french, i followed the explanation on :   pont optique audiophile on google then you have all details on home cinema . fr and what exactly to buy.  My tp link are mc110cs model.  

Sorry for your pain.  You have all the links for amazon to know what to buy:  tap just:  pont optique hifi home cinéma.fr on google then you find the post 04 november 2015. Then translate in english.

I went for the TP Link MC 200CM, will find some plus adapters and realised I need one more ethernet, luckily I have another chord c stream.

I followed the audio tream guide thanks.

Let's will maybe try if everything arrives tomorrow just worried where to hide all them boxes and plugs.

behind the rack, in a shoes box....    i hope it will work for you.  We will see tomorrow....

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

a network streaming tweak is a tweak irrespective of whether its for NDS or UQ2!!

True, but if you're looking for improved sound quality, you could easily blow, say,  £1000 on network 'tweaks' only to find that they produced subtle changes/subjective improvements. With an NDS, this might be justified, but with a Unitiqute, you're into major hardware upgrade territory. 

Yes, but a thousand pounds won’t get you from a UQ to an NDS (along with needed pre and power amp). Plus one doesn’t have to spend anywhere near that. Caveat though: I’ve tweaked my network to the point that I realize I need a bigger amp now to truly show off how clean the source is via the microRendu and V1. My little 110 still sounds sweet but with such a lower noise floor I’m able to keep turning it up and up with less fatigue but it loses some steam and grunt for sure. So a better network could show you where you’re lacking upstream. Ignorance is bliss as they say. 

ChrisSU posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

a network streaming tweak is a tweak irrespective of whether its for NDS or UQ2!!

True, but if you're looking for improved sound quality, you could easily blow, say,  £1000 on network 'tweaks' only to find that they produced subtle changes/subjective improvements. With an NDS, this might be justified, but with a Unitiqute, you're into major hardware upgrade territory. 

well i think most of these tweaks as per my post cost very little - that is the whole point tweaks don't need to be expensive and there is a lot of bling for not insignificant sums that to my mind are aimed at the gullble. Things like fibre adapters are a completely ridiculous - there is no technical merit at all unless you have a segment greater than 100 metres - and in fact I suspect they are going to cause more harm than good in terms of digital noise, unless you are using professional grade equipment - but of course some might prefer this noise - it just seems an elaborate way to achieve this.

If one is concerned about attached ethernet radiation - and I have quoted the TI paper on this to this forum many times, then one should use commercial grade Cat 5e either shielded or non shielded or wifi with quality wifi access points  - the issues of ethernet radiation are going to massively be reduced with wifi or quality Cat 5e, Cat6 preferably shielded cable. The ethernet carrier frequencies are far closer to what is going to make audio differences than wifi. Until Naim use fibre adapters directly on their equipment ( and I have discussed this with them) then its either WLAN or wired ethernet.... and with the attached segments keep it absolutely simple - ie don't use unnecessary wifi adhoc bridges, power line adapters or fibre adapters - unless for the latter you definitely need to have a segment longer than 100metres... which is going to be pretty rare for most of us....

The other ridiculous item is the unhealthy obsession with linear powersupplies - these can cause their own issues - especially if the core gets saturated with DC in the mains etc - and are essentially inefficient compared to a quality switch mode power supply. If one needs a large low impedance source then yes use transformers, which Naim of course does - otherwise use quality switched mode powersupplies for network devices, NAS etc. You tend to find with some network devices anyway that they have internal DC to DC converters which function a bit like switch mode power supplies anyway.

Finally - arguably - some of these tweaks are going to be more apparent on mid performance type equipment - as the higher performance equipment such as streamers like the NDS employ higher levels of system decoupling with reduced cross talk... albeit with the NDS differences between FLAC and WAV are still quite apparent so there are  still system coupling issues even here...

 

Simon I would say you are right about most things, but don’t knock the fiber media converters until you’ve actually tried them. I know I would certainly love to lose mine and their accompanying power supplies but whenever I remove them the noise (mostly as a harsher treble) is back and instrument separation not as good. It can sound a bit zingier, but more fatiguing. So please explain more how this is wrong? 

Plus, these things are dirt cheap in the scheme of things (for Naim, microRendu, and most only 10/100 is needed). And if you order from that big river site you can always return if they make things sound worse. 

a linear ps for nas, unitserve or uniticore is not an obsession. It just works .  The uniticore has , vs the past unitserve with stock smps, a linear ps. The uniticore sounds better than stock unitserve.  I put a linear ps on the serve and it sounds better now.  A lot of members on this forum have linear ps on nas, serve, mac mini and even switch.....they found an improvement.

Mr Rooster all parts setup, but at the switch end no signal, tried all off , reboots and setting one media unit to force (one to switch).

My setup is router (lan cable) to media unit 1 (fibre) to media unit 2 (lan cable) to switch and to Nova (lan cable).

Obsydian posted:

Mr Rooster all parts setup, but at the switch end no signal, tried all off , reboots and setting one media unit to force (one to switch).

My setup is router (lan cable) to media unit 1 (fibre) to media unit 2 (lan cable) to switch and to Nova (lan cable).

are the tp link powered?  are they lighting on?  

Obsydian posted:

Mr Rooster all parts setup, but at the switch end no signal, tried all off , reboots and setting one media unit to force (one to switch).

My setup is router (lan cable) to media unit 1 (fibre) to media unit 2 (lan cable) to switch and to Nova (lan cable).

the nova must be connected to the second tp link. 

cisco 2960 then lan cable to first tp link then fibers optic to the second tp link then lan cable to the nova.   The nas is connected to the cisco.   the tp links must be powered and lighting.

So it should be router to switch, the switch (lan cable) to media unit 1, then to media unit 2 (fibre), then to Nova (lan cable) ?

Ok will try but followed the audio stream instructions.

  • Connect Ethernet cable to Router and Media Converter 1
  • Connect Fiber Patch Cable from Media Converter 1 to Media Converter 2
  • Connect Ethernet cable from Media Converter 2 to the Ethernet Switch
Obsydian posted:

So it should be router to switch, the switch (lan cable) to media unit 1, then to media unit 2 (fibre), then to Nova (lan cable) ?

Ok will try but followed the audio stream instructions.

  • Connect Ethernet cable to Router and Media Converter 1
  • Connect Fiber Patch Cable from Media Converter 1 to Media Converter 2
  • Connect Ethernet cable from Media Converter 2 to the Ethernet Switch

yes, as you said first.  The instructions don’t mention a dedicated switch like your cisco.  I have also a router and cisco 2960 switch.  The network bridge is between the cisco and the nova.

Ok so router to switch (lan cable) switch lan = green working.

Switch (lan cable) to media unit 1 = switch no light

Media unit 1 (fibre) to media unit 2 = neither TX or RX only power and link lights on.

Media unit 2 (lan cable) to Nova = Nova not responding (Naim app)

Restarted router, switch and media units also, same issue.

Obsydian posted:

Ok so router to switch (lan cable) switch lan = green working.

Switch (lan cable) to media unit 1 = switch no light

Media unit 1 (fibre) to media unit 2 = neither TX or RX only power and link lights on.

Media unit 2 (lan cable) to Nova = Nova not responding (Naim app)

Restarted router, switch and media units also, same issue.

Are you trying to connect a Gigabit FMC to the Nova? This might be a problem, as Naim streamers are 100MB, not GB, and as I understand it, fibre devices cannot autonegotiate between speeds the same way that copper Ethernet can. In other words, you may need a 100MB FMC.

First things first, though. Try restarting everything - if you haven't already! 

ChrisSU posted:
Obsydian posted:

Ok so router to switch (lan cable) switch lan = green working.

Switch (lan cable) to media unit 1 = switch no light

Media unit 1 (fibre) to media unit 2 = neither TX or RX only power and link lights on.

Media unit 2 (lan cable) to Nova = Nova not responding (Naim app)

Restarted router, switch and media units also, same issue.

Are you trying to connect a Gigabit FMC to the Nova? This might be a problem, as Naim streamers are 100MB, not GB, and as I understand it, fibre devices cannot autonegotiate between speeds the same way that copper Ethernet can. In other words, you may need a 100MB FMC.

First things first, though. Try restarting everything - if you haven't already! 

my nds is connected to the tp link mc110cs converter then fibers optic then another tp link then cisco 2960. All is working.  The nova is different from nds ?  But i use tp link mc110cs and obsidian uses tp link mc 200cm. Perhaps this mc200cm model is not working with naim?

ChrisSU posted:
Obsydian posted:

Ok so router to switch (lan cable) switch lan = green working.

Switch (lan cable) to media unit 1 = switch no light

Media unit 1 (fibre) to media unit 2 = neither TX or RX only power and link lights on.

Media unit 2 (lan cable) to Nova = Nova not responding (Naim app)

Restarted router, switch and media units also, same issue.

Are you trying to connect a Gigabit FMC to the Nova? This might be a problem, as Naim streamers are 100MB, not GB, and as I understand it, fibre devices cannot autonegotiate between speeds the same way that copper Ethernet can. In other words, you may need a 100MB FMC.

First things first, though. Try restarting everything - if you haven't already! 

Yes tried restarting all - same issue remains.

Obsydian posted:

Ok so router to switch (lan cable) switch lan = green working.

Switch (lan cable) to media unit 1 = switch no light

Media unit 1 (fibre) to media unit 2 = neither TX or RX only power and link lights on.

Media unit 2 (lan cable) to Nova = Nova not responding (Naim app)

Restarted router, switch and media units also, same issue.

try also to restart the nova.  I had sometimes, rarely,same issue and after restarting my nds, all was fine.  If not , perhaps your tp link model, different from mine. I hope it is just the first solution...

charlesphoto posted:

Simon I would say you are right about most things, but don’t knock the fiber media converters until you’ve actually tried them. I know I would certainly love to lose mine and their accompanying power supplies but whenever I remove them the noise (mostly as a harsher treble) is back and instrument separation not as good. It can sound a bit zingier, but more fatiguing. So please explain more how this is wrong? 

Plus, these things are dirt cheap in the scheme of things (for Naim, microRendu, and most only 10/100 is needed). And if you order from that big river site you can always return if they make things sound worse. 

Charles, I have used these at work - they are a necessary annoyance in some circumstances where you have very long runs between devices that don't support SFPs ... most converters i have seen are rather basic devices with little or no apparent attention to carrier clock accuracy and power supply regulation from what I can see... and as I say they are irrelevant from a functional point of view as Naim  don't currently Fibre SFPs... I am not denying you are changing the sonic profile - but I am sure you could achieve the same thing with experimenting with various cheap ethernet cables and some ferrite chokes whilst maintaining improved reliability ... and I suspect you may also be adding noise into the equation especially if you are using a quality switch... and reading the above posts of some of the issues some people are now having who are toying with unnecessary gadgets  really takes the biscuit. One should be enjoying your music - if you have spare funds - buy some music... from a streaming point of view number one rule is Keep It Simple ... and Naim have designed their interfaces to connect to a switch port either directly via wired ethernet or via wifi WLAN... this is important as there are internal timing and TCP optimisations based on the connection type.

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