Posh switch - another cause of Audiophilia nervosa?

Welcome thought... there's certainly no universally correct answer here, however I'm more inclined to keep the NAS away as I have no idea how clean it's power supply is. It's a QNAP TS-453S Pro, with 4 1Gb SSDs. I'm pretty convinced that any audible issues result from poor power supplies coupled through copper cables.

We have a 253A, with its standard power supply. I always assume that because the stereo has its own mains that the power supply issue can be set aside. The nas lives in the dining room, with the switch, on the other side of the wall from the stereo in the sitting room. So the wire from nas to switch is 75cm long, and the one from switch to 272, through the wall, is only 150cm. The network is, therefore, compact.

DaveBk posted:

Welcome thought... there's certainly no universally correct answer here, however I'm more inclined to keep the NAS away as I have no idea how clean it's power supply is. It's a QNAP TS-453S Pro, with 4 1Gb SSDs. I'm pretty convinced that any audible issues result from poor power supplies coupled through copper cables.

Yes, I'm sure issues occur from electrical noise with cheaper devices, but when you go to higher quality switches and/or fibre you still hear the benefit of reduced Ethernet transport clock jitter... Clock jitter is no stranger to audio SQ related issues... 

Ok so a little late to chime in but +1 to real switches and network equipment - at first I had the N-172 hooked up to a 4 port "dumb" netgear switch - but since have brought my professional life into the house and upgraded my whole network to be a full stack of Cisco Meraki equipment - MX65 router/gateway - 2x MS220-8P - MR36 AP's

I have also done some bandwidth control and VLAN isolation of the music system from the rest of the network and have POE off on the ports connected to non POE Equiptment

Since the swap I have better connectivity with tidal, slightly fuller sound - more engaging and addictive, faster response with the naim app and browsing the NAS overall it is an alarming improvement - and the significant other is happy with the faster wifi!

Win win situation 

Hi, I am not sure how you are achieving your egress traffic shaping ... but Tidal, and other cloud services can suffer with Naim streamers if you are dropping TCP packets because of the web latency and the limited current Naim streamer buffers... so would be interested to hear.. or perhaps you are just shaping the ingress, or using some sort of PfR/CoS to give the highest priority to web streaming, or home audio VLAN, and effectively shaping everything else?

 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
DaveBk posted:

Welcome thought... there's certainly no universally correct answer here, however I'm more inclined to keep the NAS away as I have no idea how clean it's power supply is. It's a QNAP TS-453S Pro, with 4 1Gb SSDs. I'm pretty convinced that any audible issues result from poor power supplies coupled through copper cables.

Yes, I'm sure issues occur from electrical noise with cheaper devices, but when you go to higher quality switches and/or fibre you still hear the benefit of reduced Ethernet transport clock jitter... Clock jitter is no stranger to audio SQ related issues... 

Yes, I agree in principle, but I would be interested to understand the relative magnitude of the effects. Just how much better is the clock accuracy on a professional switch vs. a simple unmanaged consumer item? How does this compare in terms of audible impact against the detrimental influence of a noisy SMPS?  Very difficult to compare, so I'm happy with my choices at present.

Hungryhalibut posted:

Every time TCP is mentioned it reminds me of childhood. I don't recall the TCP packet, merely the bottle. 

TCP - very dodgy stuff... "Soothes pain" it says on the label... the hell it does, stings like buggery if I remember rightly (and I do).

Could very probably be used as an effective contact cleaner - your Fraim stack would certainly be smelling fresh (if that's the right word) for a while after cleaning equipment with this.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Hi, I am not sure how you are achieving your egress traffic shaping ... but Tidal, and other cloud services can suffer with Naim streamers if you are dropping TCP packets because of the web latency and the limited current Naim streamer buffers... so would be interested to hear.. or perhaps you are just shaping the ingress, or using some sort of PfR/CoS to give the highest priority to web streaming, or home audio VLAN, and effectively shaping everything else?

 

 

 

SJB

rjstaines posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

Every time TCP is mentioned it reminds me of childhood. I don't recall the TCP packet, merely the bottle. 

TCP - very dodgy stuff... "Soothes pain" it says on the label... the hell it does, stings like buggery if I remember rightly (and I do).

TCP...TMI...

G

fatcat posted:

Is it possible connect a NAS directly to a streamer, therefore eliminating the need for a switch.

 

Yes it absolutely is, you would need to use a cross-over (as opposed to standard pass through) internet cable patch lead to do specifically this. However not really recommended as the  considerations are:

  • no wifi access for Naim app
  • no internet access for web radio, meta data or cloud streaming
  • unless there is a DHCP server on your NAS you would need to manually configure the network interfaces..and unless the NAS had two Ethernet points (acting as a switch) on it you would not be able to manage or load it with out reconnecting from your streamer to a computer or similar.
  • the quality of the NAS physical network layer becomes important, as that now becomes the source of transport jitter and electrical noise, rather than the switch...
DaveBk posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
DaveBk posted:

Welcome thought... there's certainly no universally correct answer here, however I'm more inclined to keep the NAS away as I have no idea how clean it's power supply is. It's a QNAP TS-453S Pro, with 4 1Gb SSDs. I'm pretty convinced that any audible issues result from poor power supplies coupled through copper cables.

Yes, I'm sure issues occur from electrical noise with cheaper devices, but when you go to higher quality switches and/or fibre you still hear the benefit of reduced Ethernet transport clock jitter... Clock jitter is no stranger to audio SQ related issues... 

Yes, I agree in principle, but I would be interested to understand the relative magnitude of the effects. Just how much better is the clock accuracy on a professional switch vs. a simple unmanaged consumer item? How does this compare in terms of audible impact against the detrimental influence of a noisy SMPS?  Very difficult to compare, so I'm happy with my choices at present.

That for the most part can be only found by trial and error. Apart from some very specialist devices, transport clock jitter and electrical common mode  noise  is rarely quoted for Ethernet switches. I put the SQ differences in the decoding FLAC vs WAV category.... but if one is buying expensive Ethernet cables to my mind that made little sense if you were feeding it a poor quality Ethernet physical signal... GIGO.. and I think that is what started much of this discussion off.

Maybe a reality check is needed.   This switch thing SQ change is probably =/<  than the differences between FLAC vs WAV (per Simon),  & noting that a sizable number of the audio community can't detect any difference between the two.   And yes it might be that £1000+ of Ethernet cables feeding into a £20 switch makes little sense,  but maybe the question should be about the cost of those cables - not questioning what sonic gains they might bring,  just the sales price.   Then looking around the various audio, A/V & computer forums,  apart from a lot of OCD stuff on Lejonklou over various unmanaged Netgear models a while back,  very few others are so questioning about network switches & those that do never go further than the consumer level models.    Even the chief technocrat of Computer Audiophile's system has AQ Vodka's into a Cisco SG-200 - a basic level managed switch.  

Ah, but just because he is chief technocrat of Computer Audiophile doesn't mean he knows best - though he doubtless thinks he does. I have a PhD in zoology and a basic food hygiene certificate and I can hear a very worthwhile difference, as I can with the posh leads and as I can between WAV and FLAC. Whose findings are the more valid?

Others may not hear a difference, give a toss, or both, but for £50 it's a worthwhile experiment and I'm pleased I did it. If people try it and don't like it then they can resell it. In a world where people will pay £1,200 for a meter of speaker lead, things like Vodka cables and Cisco switches seem reasonable value. Saying that these cables should be cheaper is no different from saying that Super Lumina or Music cables should be cheaper - they are all just wires, and all priced as high as the market will bear rather than what they actually cost to make.

The reason I put audiophilia nervosa in the title was because I suspected where this might go! 

This has to be a case of ears first on an individual basis. It won't work any other way. If you can hear a difference there is one.

The difference in presentation between WAV and FLAC to my ears is glaring and irritating. Other people hear nothing at all. I like what AQ Vodka does in my system but I have been called mad and deaf for claiming it makes a difference. I prefer C-Stream from switch to NDS. I can't detect a difference between NAS type, processor or HDD make and model. Some can. Minimserver and Asset sound identical to me.  I think that devices that isolate components from network traffic/noise have a greater propensity to ruin the musical communication that enhance or even preserve it. Others will say the exact opposite. And we're both right. Because "right" isn't about winning arguments or proving things to strangers by proxy. It's about what's right for the individual.  The value of my system makes it entirely logical to have a punt. The cost is comparatively small. Each to their own needs, wants and circumstances, or for that matter , prejudices. We all have them. No guns are being held to heads.

Trust your ears. Don't trust other people ears, opinions or perceived reputations. Quotes of technical gibberish aren't experts. 

Hungryhalibut posted:

Ah, but just because he is chief technocrat of Computer Audiophile doesn't mean he knows best - though he doubtless thinks he does. I have a PhD in zoology and a basic food hygiene certificate and I can hear a very worthwhile difference, as I can with the posh leads and as I can between WAV and FLAC. Whose findings are the more valid?

Others may not hear a difference, give a toss, or both, but for £50 it's a worthwhile experiment and I'm pleased I did it. If people try it and don't like it then they can resell it. In a world where people will pay £1,200 for a meter of speaker lead, things like Vodka cables and Cisco switches seem reasonable value. Saying that these cables should be cheaper is no different from saying that Super Lumina or Music cables should be cheaper - they are all just wires, and all priced as high as the market will bear rather than what they actually cost to make.

The reason I put audiophilia nervosa in the title was because I suspected where this might go! 

....£50 spent, Cisco catalyst switch delivered, looking forward to experimenting this weekend....thanks for stimulating the discussion and the curiosity.

Scott.

It was worth £50 just for the interest and amusement provided in the thread, and if you can hear a difference too, so much the better. Generally speaking this is a damned expensive hobby, a £50 experiement that provides debate and interest sounds like damned good value for money to me

Sorry I'm not being difficult, honest.  My ramblings are my concerns & unanswered questions & I was just trying to keep the fire going.  I'm hoping that as I would really like to try this Cisco switch for myself but I don't have the room without a major upheaval, & maybe poking the fire might tempt another idea or two out of the mix.   I'm tempted to consider the Cisco SG200-08,  it's a small 8 port managed switch & it might be capable of gargling the TCP better than my little dumb Netgear; I need to look up the spec's when I get home later.     And I do hear the difference with WAV & FLAC & thats one reason all my music is WAV (& DSD),  the other reason is with WAV source codec the NAS does not have to share its CPU resources in transcoding,  and that might (might) just add another SQ gain.

rjstaines posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

Every time TCP is mentioned it reminds me of childhood. I don't recall the TCP packet, merely the bottle. 

TCP - very dodgy stuff... "Soothes pain" it says on the label... the hell it does, stings like buggery if I remember rightly (and I do).

Could very probably be used as an effective contact cleaner - your Fraim stack would certainly be smelling fresh (if that's the right word) for a while after cleaning equipment with this.

Oh Wow! Just the sight of the picture of the bottle and I can smell the damn stuff again...

Reminds me of being very young at my Great Grandma's house and that godawful Izal toilet paper too!

Phil

Think there's been a rush on used Cisco 2960 switches even before Black Friday!

I succumbed too, fitted 2 days ago. Thought it seemed like a very low risk/ low cost experiment. Probably won't say anything too much for fear of getting flamed :-) 

(But my system sounds good, is it any better, I *think* it is, very difficult to prove, the Cisco is staying anyway.....)

james n posted:

I reckon Simon dumped a job lot of 2960's on Ebay and then popped onto the Naim forum to get the interest up 

Looks like it has worked...

Oh well, he's just made another sale then....mine arrives tomorrow!

The Chord C-Stream made a nice, relatively cheap upgrade, so at around the same price it had to be worth a go didn't it ��

I recently replaced the standard power supply for my Netgear GS108T switch with a medical grade power supply from RS and found similar improvements. Another £50 upgrade. I assume the better power supply is radiating and injecting less noise. There has been a lot of discussion on this topic on the Linn forrum.

james n posted:

I reckon Simon dumped a job lot of 2960's on Ebay and then popped onto the Naim forum to get the interest up 

Looks like it has worked...

Drat - I've been collared

 

Now we have all these professional configurable switches out there - I can give some hints and tips to those who are reasonably IT proficient on how to configure the switch to help the Nam app find UPnP media servers and streamers quicker - and what to do for the ports to go live quicker when NASs etc wake up from sleep..

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
fatcat posted:

Is it possible connect a NAS directly to a streamer, therefore eliminating the need for a switch.

 

Yes it absolutely is, you would need to use a cross-over (as opposed to standard pass through) internet cable patch lead to do specifically this. However not really recommended as the  considerations are:

  • no wifi access for Naim app
  • no internet access for web radio, meta data or cloud streaming
  • unless there is a DHCP server on your NAS you would need to manually configure the network interfaces..and unless the NAS had two Ethernet points (acting as a switch) on it you would not be able to manage or load it with out reconnecting from your streamer to a computer or similar.
  • the quality of the NAS physical network layer becomes important, as that now becomes the source of transport jitter and electrical noise, rather than the switch...

Simon. Thanks for the info.

 The first 2 points aren’t a problem,

 I have a SBT and I don’t use a remote. I very rarely listen to web radio and don’t stream from the internet.

The third point is a problem. The NAS only has one port and I’m not confident I have the knowledge/patience to configure anything.

 However, I’ll probably make or buy a crossover and give it a try.

 

One thing has occurred to me. Why don’t Naim produce a streamer with a built in switch. Just think of the benefits, no need to buy a posh switch, or regenerator etc, or a swanky cables to connect them together.

Surely Naim could build a high quality switch that would be superior (sonically) than any commercially available switch.

Hi Simon,

My switch is in and working. I will give it a proper listen over the weekend. You mentioned above that you "can give some hints and tips to those who are reasonably IT proficient". May I therefore ask a quick question? My NAS is a Synology 1511+. It has two LAN connections. I had these bonded on my netgear switch (dynamic link aggregation). I was thinking of doing the same on the cisco (just downloaded the cisco switch management software). Is that something you would recommend or best to leave these in independent (adaptive load balancing)? Is it likely to make a difference? Thanks in advance! Scott.

 

Hi the 2960 can support two modes of aggregation - either Cisco proprietary PAgP or standardised IEEE 802.3ad LACP. If your NAS supports 802.3ad LACP then you could connect to your switch for a high capacity and fault tolerant link.

You will need to connect to your switch - either via web telnet or telnet via the console port to configure it... 

The port aggregation advisory is here  http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/t...2960scg/swethchl.pdf

The software is built into the switch - you don't need to download it - other than changing/updating firmware.

Unless you are configuring the ports as some sort of etherchannel (PAgP/LACP) then they will be only ever treated as standard ports - and if you connect two ports together in parallel a loop would be formed. The 2960 has by default (from memory) spanning tree enabled and so the loop would be prevented - but only one link would be used at any one time - there woud be no load balancing.

 

 

Another Cisco kid. Received today via eBay. Plugged it in and works OK but I'm not convinced it is any better or worse than the Netgear switch it has replaced. It's an 8 port version and I have 5 Ethernet cables. Does it matter which ports are used? I've connected the router to the 10/100/1000 port (1) on the right and the other 4 cables to the first four 10/100 ports.

garyi posted:
fatcat posted:

Is it possible connect a NAS directly to a streamer, therefore eliminating the need for a switch.

 

Thats not really how they are designed.

Indeed, not how NAS is designed, as one can tell from the name, "network attached storage."

The Melco "thing" is designed to connect directly to a streamer via ethernet, but that is something they consciously designed into their "thing."  And it has a separate network card so that it can also live on the home network.

If a traditional NAS were to be connected directly to the streamer vie ethernet, it would not also be on the home network, and thus hard to control.  Plus I don't know that the streamer would even "see" it.

Jonn posted:

Another Cisco kid. Received today via eBay. Plugged it in and works OK but I'm not convinced it is any better or worse than the Netgear switch it has replaced. It's an 8 port version and I have 5 Ethernet cables. Does it matter which ports are used? I've connected the router to the 10/100/1000 port (1) on the right and the other 4 cables to the first four 10/100 ports.

Looks like another smoking gun?

Bart posted:
garyi posted:
fatcat posted:

Is it possible connect a NAS directly to a streamer, therefore eliminating the need for a switch.

 

Thats not really how they are designed.

Indeed, not how NAS is designed, as one can tell from the name, "network attached storage."

The Melco "thing" is designed to connect directly to a streamer via ethernet, but that is something they consciously designed into their "thing."  And it has a separate network card so that it can also live on the home network.

If a traditional NAS were to be connected directly to the streamer vie ethernet, it would not also be on the home network, and thus hard to control.  Plus I don't know that the streamer would even "see" it.

Bart,

I suggested yesterday Naim should produce a streamer with a built in switch, which could be directly connected to a NAS.

This is virtually the same configuration as the melco example above, except the switch device is integral to the streamer instead of the hard drive enclosure.

 I’d bet a lot of money Naim could produce better, low noise/jitter switch device than Melco.

 Just think how good it would sound with a DR feeding it.

Jonn posted:

Another Cisco kid. Received today via eBay. Plugged it in and works OK but I'm not convinced it is any better or worse than the Netgear switch it has replaced. It's an 8 port version and I have 5 Ethernet cables. Does it matter which ports are used? I've connected the router to the 10/100/1000 port (1) on the right and the other 4 cables to the first four 10/100 ports.

An update. After 24 hours or so it is definitely improvement over the Netgear. Music sounds that bit more clearer and well defined, so worth the £60 I paid for a refurbished unit. I also added some feet to allow free circulation of air as recommended in the user guide as it can get fairly warm due to the onboard power supply.

Only real downside is that it has to be placed sideways on the shelf as the mains socket is on the opposite side to the Ethernet ports.

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