network streaming tweaks

there is something interesting i discovered today. you do not need internet to stream when the streamer is hardwired to the router. you just need the router to route the network traffic. so for my bedroom setup i can simply setup a dummy router which is not connected to the internet and hook up the router to a NAS and the streamer and get it going. no need for a wifi extender etc.

Aside from the Cisco, the Netgear GS105/108 or FS105/108 (10/100 only) are highly recommended. For my audio traffic (microRendu, NUC, and office UQ) I use an FS105 ($10 on the bay) with a cheap Chinese LPS and the John Swenson ground shunt (google exactly that) which is really easy and safe to do and makes a difference. The Netgear’s are magnetically linked through ports 1,3,5, and the ground shunt bleeds off a lot of high impedance hash. I also changed my initial ethernet cabling route to make it more direct from the modem to main switch (Trendnet fanless 24 port) and Tidal sounds a bit better. The cheap cable I had in place had a bit of a kink in it - works fine for the laser printer now but might have degraded sound quality otherwise. 

Sometimes I wish I could have one box for everything, no extraneous power supplies, cables, FMC’s servers, etc but all those things do make a difference, esp as for the time being I’m financially stuck with the gear I have, so small tweaks have made a huge difference, and have been the equivalent of a box upgrade or two for pennies, comparatively. I’ll challenge anyone to see if they can get a V1 or first gen UQ sounding as good as I’ve gotten mine. And the nice thing about network tweaks is that once done, they’re there for any future box upgrades. I think if one is streaming, and has any amount of DIY in their bloodstream, they owe it to themselves to pull up their sleeves and figure this stuff out. It’s not really that difficult except for the challenge of wading through Internet forums and parsing the info.

vtpcnk posted:

there is something interesting i discovered today. you do not need internet to stream when the streamer is hardwired to the router. you just need the router to route the network traffic. so for my bedroom setup i can simply setup a dummy router which is not connected to the internet and hook up the router to a NAS and the streamer and get it going. no need for a wifi extender etc.

remember the router only has a role to route between networks - ie the internet and the local network. If you are not using the internet - you are not using the router, however you are almost certainly using the switch that is built into the 'home router' to switch frames between hosts on your home network.

Clearly if you are streaming locally you don't need the use of the internet.........

 

Obsydian posted:

I found the following when progressing the various options from just adding a switch, cables and full power Fibre Bridge

I have ranked each (#) and then the order (1st, 2nd, etc…) of change.

 

Yes #03 – if you factor VFM and bang per £, then I would rate it #09, but I see this exercise as letting the Nova flourish and excel.

 

#01 (6th) – Adding IFI power supplies (£90) to the fibre bridge = Major drop in noise floor, vivid soundstage;

#02 (5th) – Adding fibre bridge (£75), between switch and Nova = Major improvement in dynamics, wide soundstage, everything got much better;

#03 (2nd) – Upgrading Atom to Nova (£4100) = Allot more emotion and control, brings ease to the presentation (as in effortless);

#04 (3rd) – A new Cisco 2960 = Much tighter grip/control/timing, made the used switch sound sluggish an “loose” in comparison;

#05 (1st) – Adding a used Cisco 2960 (£100) used = Very noticeable improvement in dynamics and detail;

#06 (4th) – Using Chord C Streams (£50) = Subtle but clear minor veil lifted;

#07 (7th) – Using AQ Vodka (£500) fibre bridge to Nova = A clear step backwards, dynamics lost and heavy bloated bass.

#08 (8th) - Wurth Ferrite Core = Nothing no change whatsoever

If you can ever fit Chord Indigo Aray Ethernet cable in your budget , it is a very clear upgrade in SQ over chord C stream! I was shocked how much ! 

musicfan51 posted:
Obsydian posted:

I found the following when progressing the various options from just adding a switch, cables and full power Fibre Bridge

I have ranked each (#) and then the order (1st, 2nd, etc…) of change.

 

Yes #03 – if you factor VFM and bang per £, then I would rate it #09, but I see this exercise as letting the Nova flourish and excel.

 

#01 (6th) – Adding IFI power supplies (£90) to the fibre bridge = Major drop in noise floor, vivid soundstage;

#02 (5th) – Adding fibre bridge (£75), between switch and Nova = Major improvement in dynamics, wide soundstage, everything got much better;

#03 (2nd) – Upgrading Atom to Nova (£4100) = Allot more emotion and control, brings ease to the presentation (as in effortless);

#04 (3rd) – A new Cisco 2960 = Much tighter grip/control/timing, made the used switch sound sluggish an “loose” in comparison;

#05 (1st) – Adding a used Cisco 2960 (£100) used = Very noticeable improvement in dynamics and detail;

#06 (4th) – Using Chord C Streams (£50) = Subtle but clear minor veil lifted;

#07 (7th) – Using AQ Vodka (£500) fibre bridge to Nova = A clear step backwards, dynamics lost and heavy bloated bass.

#08 (8th) - Wurth Ferrite Core = Nothing no change whatsoever

If you can ever fit Chord Indigo Aray Ethernet cable in your budget , it is a very clear upgrade in SQ over chord C stream! I was shocked how much ! 

You read my mind I have been talking to someone regarding an Epic Tuned Aray : ) also waiting on my dealer to get a few demo Chord cables in.

No quarter posted:
Mike-B posted:

The idea is to route the important connection between streamer & NAS through the switch,  the router connection is less important.   Having the NAS traffic go via router & then via switch makes no sense.   

Don’t confuse broadband/internet line speed connection  with switch or other network device ‘speeds’   

Now I am confused...I was thinking that I need a switch to isolate my gear from the router.I currently have my Core and 272 hard wired with Ethernet to my router.How do I know if my router is good enough as a switch?All this talk about fibre optic bridges etc.,had me thinking I am missing something...but am I really?To me it sounds good as is,but I guess I would not know if it can be improved,unless I buy all of these things.

if it is a commercial / tv/ phone / ethernet router, it is better to have a dedicated switch. you connect your 272 and nas to this switch, and the switch to router.

FR

I have a Cisco wireless router attached to the Modem provided by my internet provider,no phone or TV connected to it.I am at work,so I can not check the model number.Maybe this is basically a switch?I am not very good with all this computer lingo,but I originally got it just to have wifi in my house,but when I got a Unitiqute 2,hardwired it to the router,and everything worked good.

 

 

 

No quarter posted:

FR

I have a Cisco wireless router attached to the Modem provided by my internet provider,no phone or TV connected to it.I am at work,so I can not check the model number.Maybe this is basically a switch?I am not very good with all this computer lingo,but I originally got it just to have wifi in my house,but when I got a Unitiqute 2,hardwired it to the router,and everything worked good.

 

 

 

i followed the recommendations of this forum for a dedicated switch and it worked, the sound improved clearly. It was a simple netgear gs105 for 20GBP.  You can try, i don’t know if it will work for you. My router is a basic commercial tv/ phone / internet provider which i can’t change.

Now my switch is the cisco 2960 and it is better than before.

No quarter posted:

FR

I have a Cisco wireless router attached to the Modem provided by my internet provider,no phone or TV connected to it.I am at work,so I can not check the model number.Maybe this is basically a switch?I am not very good with all this computer lingo,but I originally got it just to have wifi in my house,but when I got a Unitiqute 2,hardwired it to the router,and everything worked good.

A switch only has a row of RJ45 sockets into which you plug Ethernet cables, allowing you to connect multiple devices to your network. Small ones commonly used for home networks normally have 5 or 8 ports. Your 'Cisco wireless router' may have multiple Ethernet ports, in which case it may, amongst its other capabilities, fulfil the function of a switch perfectly well if it is in a suitable physical location. 

Yes Chris,it is in a good location,and has about 6 or 8 Ethernet ports,I am just not sure of the quality of it,or if that matters.There is one Ethernet input that comes from the modem,the rest are outputs to connect devices to I guess.Maybe tomorrow I can post the model number of it,see what you guys think of it’s capabilities.

Hi Chris,or Simon

i am home now,and had a better look at my router...it appears to be a real cheap one,it as a Linksys E2500 Advanced Dual-Band N Router.There are only four Ethernet ports,do you think this thing can be improved upon with a switch?It does say Cisco on the box,any advice is greatly appreciated.

No quarter posted:

Hi Chris,or Simon

i am home now,and had a better look at my router...it appears to be a real cheap one,it as a Linksys E2500 Advanced Dual-Band N Router.There are only four Ethernet ports,do you think this thing can be improved upon with a switch?It does say Cisco on the box,any advice is greatly appreciated.

why not try yourself the cisco 2960-8tc, on bay, factory reset/ refurbished.  Before, even a simple switch as netgear separated from the router gave  me an real improvement ( perhaps also the separation from phone/tv...)

No quarter posted:

Hi Chris,or Simon

i am home now,and had a better look at my router...it appears to be a real cheap one,it as a Linksys E2500 Advanced Dual-Band N Router.There are only four Ethernet ports,do you think this thing can be improved upon with a switch?It does say Cisco on the box,any advice is greatly appreciated.

Lynksys used to be owned by Cisco, which can cause confusion between the two brands. Id ones look like a pretty cheap consumer grade device, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it won't work, so I would still be inclined to try it anyway. At least then you will have a baseline against which to compare other products. Improvements in sound quality are, in my limited experience, subtle at best, although others may have different experiences. 

The “router” supplied by ISPs can be thought of (if it helps) in the same way as the Uniti range vs Classic / 500 range of separates.

The ISP router is a combination of ADSL (VDSL for Fibre to the Cabinet) modem, router, firewall, switch and wireless access point.  Cramming all that in a box which costs less than £100 is going to require making compromises; just like even the best Uniti is compromised vs Classic range separates.

ChrisSU posted:

Lynksys used to be owned by Cisco, which can cause confusion between the two brands. Id ones look like a pretty cheap consumer grade device, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it won't work, so I would still be inclined to try it anyway. At least then you will have a baseline against which to compare other products. Improvements in sound quality are, in my limited experience, subtle at best, although others may have different experiences. 

A very sensible way to go - NQ, i'd heed this advice. 

No quarter posted:

Thanks for the advice,Chris,I already have the Linksys router in place,I have been using it for about 4 years.So would I be better off getting a better router,or just adding a 2960 switch to the existing router?...if I try anything.

If your internet connection and wireless are working well, I would leave that side of things well alone, and just add a switch. If you go for a used 2960, there is a steady supply of them on ebay - try to get one which has been reset to factory default settings, then it will be simple plug and play. If it doesn't improve anything, just stick it back on ebay. 

Eloise posted:

The “router” supplied by ISPs can be thought of (if it helps) in the same way as the Uniti range vs Classic / 500 range of separates.

The ISP router is a combination of ADSL (VDSL for Fibre to the Cabinet) modem, router, firewall, switch and wireless access point.  Cramming all that in a box which costs less than £100 is going to require making compromises; just like even the best Uniti is compromised vs Classic range separates.

I am not sure that generalisation  works... some ISP routers are necessarily rather advanced devices to support the ISP  bundled services such as supporting real-time HD IPTV and traffic management... many standard off the shelf home network routers would struggle here even if they could support at all.

Your comparison perhaps should be more consumer home routers (ISP and off the shelf) vs professional routers, where the latter can cost several thousands of pounds, and some  exceeding the cost of a Nac552 by quite a margin....

ChrisSU posted:
No quarter posted:

Hi Chris,or Simon

i am home now,and had a better look at my router...it appears to be a real cheap one,it as a Linksys E2500 Advanced Dual-Band N Router.There are only four Ethernet ports,do you think this thing can be improved upon with a switch?It does say Cisco on the box,any advice is greatly appreciated.

Lynksys used to be owned by Cisco, which can cause confusion between the two brands. Id ones look like a pretty cheap consumer grade device, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it won't work, so I would still be inclined to try it anyway. At least then you will have a baseline against which to compare other products. Improvements in sound quality are, in my limited experience, subtle at best, although others may have different experiences. 

Hmm, I think there is some views on this forum suggesting that  just because the network device has a brand owned by Cisco it will sound better..not at all. The Cisco 2960 Catalyst   switches that some talk about have a specific architecture, design and specification that leads, in my opinion,  to subtle changes in sound of connected Naim streamers... it’s this I suggest rather than being Cisco that makes the difference.

Interesting thread.

I was wondering why having such a good switch as those from the Cisco Catalyst range would improve sound quality.

I suppose that the streaming protocol used by the media server is something on top of UDP which means possible packets loss.

Having an efficient switch is always nice but, in the present case, wouldn’t it be better to use a fully managed switch (layer 3) and prioritize data streams between 2 specific IP addresses or, even better,  between two switch ports (those to which Media server and client are connected) ? 

If one reads the entire thread particularly the posts by Simon, one will find all the answers. I’m not an expert but I think Simon is saying that intermodulation from cheap switches affects the streamer in sonically undesirable ways.

Besides eBay, Used Cisco (google) provide refurbished Cisco 2960 8tc switches (64€ inc UPS shipping) and any other that you might like such as the PoE variant. No need to wait for an auction to end. Yours within a week.

Phil

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Eloise posted:

The ISP router is a combination of ADSL (VDSL for Fibre to the Cabinet) modem, router, firewall, switch and wireless access point.  Cramming all that in a box which costs less than £100 is going to require making compromises; just like even the best Uniti is compromised vs Classic range separates.

I am not sure that generalisation  works... some ISP routers are necessarily rather advanced devices to support the ISP  bundled services such as supporting real-time HD IPTV and traffic management... many standard off the shelf home network routers would struggle here even if they could support at all.

My point (which maybe I failed to make) was that general ISP routers because they are an ADSL/VDSL modem, router, firewall, switch and access point all in one device, they are going to be compromised vs having those things as individual parts.  However they also become easier to manage for the end user compared with the more versatile component and as such some functionality is disabled (such as Snooping which many ISP routers have either permanently on or permanently off).

Mike-B posted:
French Rooster posted:

 

your schematic doesn’t show clearly that the nas and streamer should not be connected to the router directly but to the dedicated switch.  Or i am silly and can’t read a schematic....

Yes you're right about one thing,  you can't read a schematic

Does this help??

it is not technically a schematic diagram  but a usefull block diagram  useful for new comers.  naim should produce all options of set ups ,even recommending  cables switches drives etc in such a way it helps at installation

Eloise posted:

My point (which maybe I failed to make) was that general ISP routers because they are an ADSL/VDSL modem, router, firewall, switch and access point all in one device, they are going to be compromised vs having those things as individual parts.  However they also become easier to manage for the end user compared with the more versatile component and as such some functionality is disabled (such as Snooping which many ISP routers have either permanently on or permanently off).

Sure many home network devices are designed with simplicity in mind and price sensitively... and in my opinion the area that tends to get the most compromised is the WLAN access point... as most consumers are oblivious as to what’s make a good WLAN other than ‘range’ (which ironically can be a negative) and link speed and don’t expect much, which is why perhaps many think Wifi is always inferior to a wired connection.

To your point about IGMP snooping... I have found modern home devices that need to use multicast for certain ISP services implement this correctly (and there is no issue with Naim UPnP or Airplay for example), and you certainly wouldn’t want a user fiddling around and turning it off inadvertently, it’s more in the area of off the shelf providers such as Apple and Netgear I have found interoperability issues here and disabling is sometimes required.

NQ, to your earlier question, I suspect those switch ports will be fine.. you might find issues with discovery, in which case you might need to turn IGMP snooping off in your home router... failing that then you might need a separate WLAN access point (s) plugged into the switch ports or a separate switch.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

NQ, to your earlier question, I suspect those switch ports will be fine.. you might find issues with discovery, in which case you might need to turn IGMP snooping off in your home router... failing that then you might need a separate WLAN access point (s) plugged into the switch ports or a separate switch.

Why not simply make a direct connection between the music server (e.g. Naim Core, NUC etc.) and streamer using an Ethernet crossover cable?  (I suppose it won't be difficult to manually give a fix IP to both server and client)

This might be a good way to avoid switch issues and isolate the streamer from the rest of network.

Well you could do, but most like the use of Wifi for the Naim app and the use of the internet for streamer and indexing the rips on their NAS... and in which case you would need to open up the network into multiple segments via a switch.

Remember apart from broadcast frames a switch by its very function isolates the streamer connected to it from the rest of the network.

Melco have done something like this with their music servers, which have an optional direct Ethernet connection as an alternative to a regular network connection. I’ve never heard one, but apparently it’s supposed to sound a bit better that way. 

TomSer posted:

Having an efficient switch is always nice but, in the present case, wouldn’t it be better to use a fully managed switch (layer 3) and prioritize data streams between 2 specific IP addresses or, even better,  between two switch ports (those to which Media server and client are connected) ? 

No you don’t need a layer 3 switch (which is another name for a router switch), if you already have a home router,  as certainly UPnP audio almost always relies on being in the same subnet.

Also the differentiation (prioritisation) of data packets is moot, as most home audio doesn’t use DSCP or TOS and our home audio media transfer is non real-time and uses TCP, so timing prioritisation is not really important, and is more governed by the host TCP stack than anything else.

Simon

musicfan51 posted:
Obsydian posted:

I found the following when progressing the various options from just adding a switch, cables and full power Fibre Bridge

I have ranked each (#) and then the order (1st, 2nd, etc…) of change.

 

Yes #03 – if you factor VFM and bang per £, then I would rate it #09, but I see this exercise as letting the Nova flourish and excel.

 

#01 (6th) – Adding IFI power supplies (£90) to the fibre bridge = Major drop in noise floor, vivid soundstage;

#02 (5th) – Adding fibre bridge (£75), between switch and Nova = Major improvement in dynamics, wide soundstage, everything got much better;

#03 (2nd) – Upgrading Atom to Nova (£4100) = Allot more emotion and control, brings ease to the presentation (as in effortless);

#04 (3rd) – A new Cisco 2960 = Much tighter grip/control/timing, made the used switch sound sluggish an “loose” in comparison;

#05 (1st) – Adding a used Cisco 2960 (£100) used = Very noticeable improvement in dynamics and detail;

#06 (4th) – Using Chord C Streams (£50) = Subtle but clear minor veil lifted;

#07 (7th) – Using AQ Vodka (£500) fibre bridge to Nova = A clear step backwards, dynamics lost and heavy bloated bass.

#08 (8th) - Wurth Ferrite Core = Nothing no change whatsoever

If you can ever fit Chord Indigo Aray Ethernet cable in your budget , it is a very clear upgrade in SQ over chord C stream! I was shocked how much ! 

MUSICFAN51 - ordered the Chord Indigo Aray to replace the C stream from my fibre bridge to Nova, will report back later in the week.

Obsydian posted:
musicfan51 posted:
Obsydian posted:

I found the following when progressing the various options from just adding a switch, cables and full power Fibre Bridge

I have ranked each (#) and then the order (1st, 2nd, etc…) of change.

 

Yes #03 – if you factor VFM and bang per £, then I would rate it #09, but I see this exercise as letting the Nova flourish and excel.

 

#01 (6th) – Adding IFI power supplies (£90) to the fibre bridge = Major drop in noise floor, vivid soundstage;

#02 (5th) – Adding fibre bridge (£75), between switch and Nova = Major improvement in dynamics, wide soundstage, everything got much better;

#03 (2nd) – Upgrading Atom to Nova (£4100) = Allot more emotion and control, brings ease to the presentation (as in effortless);

#04 (3rd) – A new Cisco 2960 = Much tighter grip/control/timing, made the used switch sound sluggish an “loose” in comparison;

#05 (1st) – Adding a used Cisco 2960 (£100) used = Very noticeable improvement in dynamics and detail;

#06 (4th) – Using Chord C Streams (£50) = Subtle but clear minor veil lifted;

#07 (7th) – Using AQ Vodka (£500) fibre bridge to Nova = A clear step backwards, dynamics lost and heavy bloated bass.

#08 (8th) - Wurth Ferrite Core = Nothing no change whatsoever

If you can ever fit Chord Indigo Aray Ethernet cable in your budget , it is a very clear upgrade in SQ over chord C stream! I was shocked how much ! 

MUSICFAN51 - ordered the Chord Indigo Aray to replace the C stream from my fibre bridge to Nova, will report back later in the week.

Great!  And it does get better sounding over a two week period ! 

TomSer posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

NQ, to your earlier question, I suspect those switch ports will be fine.. you might find issues with discovery, in which case you might need to turn IGMP snooping off in your home router... failing that then you might need a separate WLAN access point (s) plugged into the switch ports or a separate switch.

Why not simply make a direct connection between the music server (e.g. Naim Core, NUC etc.) and streamer using an Ethernet crossover cable?  (I suppose it won't be difficult to manually give a fix IP to both server and client)

This might be a good way to avoid switch issues and isolate the streamer from the rest of network.

In my case,I have two systems running off my Core,so sometimes I use the direct SPDIF connection,other times I use UPNP...it depends on what I am using at the time.It does seem to sound a little better using SPDIF,but nothing night and day.I was under the impression that I have to connect the Core with ethetnet,in order to use the I-pad to control it.Anyway,I am sticking with what I have for now,I don’t feel like jumping into a rabbit hole.

Great  experience  with the just arrived Nac 272  -  upnp (Minimserver)

Nac ------>switch <-------Nas 

The switch's  (Tp link  5 port  , metal case )   input is connected to the  router ( used only for streaming radio and app control)

Nas ( Qnap fanless HS-251+ )   is powered  by a TP psu

Switch  is powered by the Nas usb port

---------------

Superb  experience  (but the Nas maintains HD always  "on"  ad I don't like  it )  is with the "virtual switch " option enabled on the Qnap

Like Melco  .......Nas connected directly to the Nac 272

         

 

 

 

t@rmac posted:
<snip>

Superb  experience  (but the Nas maintains HD always  "on"  ad I don't like  it )  is with the "virtual switch " option enabled on the Qnap

Like Melco  .......Nas connected directly to the Nac 272

If you are using a hard disc designed for NAS operation then it should remain powered 24x7 and be allowed to control (and optimise) it's power use and running parameters for itself (e.g. by running the disk at a slow speed and shutting down parts of it's own electronics when not needed).  It'll last longer this way rather than frequently being turned off and suddenly having to run up to full speed from a standstill.

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