Posh switch - another cause of Audiophilia nervosa?

The idea of a "Posh" switch I think is ill founded. More expensive managed or enterprise switches include large switch-mode power supplies and loud fans that make them poor for domestic use. All the small density switches that you would use at home are using the same commodity chip sets and spending more does not get you any better results. The only benefit you can get from spending more is by getting a less noisy is a less noisy power supply. iFi makes a good number of cost effective solutions that are compelling. There maybe others, but the iFi is a cheap upgrade to your TP-LINK, Netgear, ASUS or other wall wart devices.

DUPREE posted:

The idea of a "Posh" switch I think is ill founded. More expensive managed or enterprise switches include large switch-mode power supplies and loud fans that make them poor for domestic use. All the small density switches that you would use at home are using the same commodity chip sets and spending more does not get you any better results. The only benefit you can get from spending more is by getting a less noisy is a less noisy power supply. iFi makes a good number of cost effective solutions that are compelling. There maybe others, but the iFi is a cheap upgrade to your TP-LINK, Netgear, ASUS or other wall wart devices.

Not really in my opinion, I think you might have missed the point. The 8 port downlink 2960 devices we have described in this thread are silent... no fans. They offer inbuilt shielded switch mode PSU variants with quite exacting commercial EMC conformance and external DC 48 volt powersuplly variants... where you can use a linear powersupply if you wish.

The Catalyst device design, the so-called posh switch,  seems to offer a better performance at several levels over cheap consumer devices. The data performance is less of an issue I suspect for many, but I suggest the improved physical layer performance and clocking absolutely is relevant as it reduces synchronisation jitter on the send twisted pairs. People like Naim appear have a growing understanding how noise from high frequency sources like Ethernet and the intermods from clock jitter pervade into connected electronics. As people look to push more and more into a single box and push the quality up these aspects I suspect will matter more.

as I say the fact you can configure or 'manage' these switches is most irrelevant.. I suspect very few if any who have heard an improvement with these devices over their previous switch will be 'managing' it

 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

Maybe one is Lowly and one is Super. 

The L version is more powerful, can switch more data and has a higher specification set of functions than the S version. The L version costs more than the S version. I have only listened to L devices.

Simon

Thanks Simon. It's odd that L is better than S, opposite to what one would think. Maybe L is Luxe. 

DUPREE posted:

The idea of a "Posh" switch I think is ill founded. More expensive managed or enterprise switches include large switch-mode power supplies and loud fans that make them poor for domestic use. All the small density switches that you would use at home are using the same commodity chip sets and spending more does not get you any better results. The only benefit you can get from spending more is by getting a less noisy is a less noisy power supply. iFi makes a good number of cost effective solutions that are compelling. There maybe others, but the iFi is a cheap upgrade to your TP-LINK, Netgear, ASUS or other wall wart devices.

I was using an iFi on a Netgear 105 switch, prior to moving to the Cisco. There was a modest improvement from adding the iFi, which made for a slightly clearer sound, but the improvement from iFi powered Netgear to Cisco is very significantly greater. Maybe you should try one. If you don't hear or like the difference, just sell it on. 

Just to throw a 'cat' amongst the pigeons.   A mate of mine, currently bored & recovering from major surgery, & with the help of an IT guy supplying the parts,  has been testing small form consumer grade 5 & 8 port switch's on his Linn KDS. 

He's not getting very far I must add,  finding inconsistent variables .   He is now looking into the switch chipset brands, Broadcom, Realtek etc. & that they (he says) do make a small difference, he's compared switching & forwarding speed variables shown in the mnfts data sheets & is now looking at onboard memory - which he is beginning to think might hold a clue.   Simon, any theories you have on that ???

He is going to see this through to his own satisfaction or he gets back to work,  but in the meantime has made the decision to go Melco,  that in his opinion beats any switch variable.   

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
DUPREE posted:

The idea of a "Posh" switch I think is ill founded. More expensive managed or enterprise switches include large switch-mode power supplies and loud fans that make them poor for domestic use. All the small density switches that you would use at home are using the same commodity chip sets and spending more does not get you any better results. The only benefit you can get from spending more is by getting a less noisy is a less noisy power supply. iFi makes a good number of cost effective solutions that are compelling. There maybe others, but the iFi is a cheap upgrade to your TP-LINK, Netgear, ASUS or other wall wart devices.

Not really in my opinion, I think you might have missed the point. The 8 port downlink 2960 devices we have described in this thread are silent... no fans. They offer inbuilt shielded switch mode PSU variants with quite exacting commercial EMC conformance and external DC 48 volt powersuplly variants... where you can use a linear powersupply if you wish.

The Catalyst device design, the so-called posh switch,  seems to offer a better performance at several levels over cheap consumer devices. The data performance is less of an issue I suspect for many, but I suggest the improved physical layer performance and clocking absolutely is relevant as it reduces synchronisation jitter on the send twisted pairs. People like Naim appear have a growing understanding how noise from high frequency sources like Ethernet and the intermods from clock jitter pervade into connected electronics. As people look to push more and more into a single box and push the quality up these aspects I suspect will matter more.

as I say the fact you can configure or 'manage' these switches is most irrelevant.. I suspect very few if any who have heard an improvement with these devices over their previous switch will be 'managing' it

 

I can see how that would be the case. Juniper, Dell Force10 and HP Procurve all make managed switches that are fanless in small port densities. I work with enterprise switching all the time, these devices do have far better chipsets, backplanes and handle things like auto-negotiation better. I guess there could be a sound difference due to any number of these factors as the architecture of these switches is quite different than a 4 port D-Link. I may have to experiment with that..

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

Maybe one is Lowly and one is Super. 

The L version is more powerful, can switch more data and has a higher specification set of functions than the S version. The L version costs more than the S version. I have only listened to L devices.

Simon

Hehe....mines only the 'S' version but functionality beyond plug'n'play is lost on me anyway, so it's just as well it worked when I plugged it in!!  

Jon, it seems surprising that you are resorting to making these comments, particularly some which people may actually follow, assuming them to be sensible suggestions. I for one have found using this switch very beneficial, and I wonder why you are choosing to belittle it? Perhaps you should try one and then you can comment based on real experience. 

Now now ... everyone please behave and play nicely or I'll have to take your toys away...

I think (hope?) what John was trying to demonstrate is the 'danger' of making changes by following advice without understanding what you're actually doing ... obviously looping a network cable between unused ports *COULD* lock up your network and I know that John is aware of that but I also know that he'd be aware that it wouldn't cause any permanent "damage".

Now please all hug...

Phil

Rather than showing off, perhaps you could try to be helpful, or at least make clear what point you are making. Sorry Phil, but Jon's comments are really unhelpful, on what has been a really positive thread with people trying out things and some gaining real improvements. 

Hungryhalibut posted:

Rather than showing off, perhaps you could try to be helpful, or at least make clear what point you are making. Sorry Phil, but Jon's comments are really unhelpful, on what has been a really positive thread with people trying out things and some gaining real improvements. 

Hi HH,

I've just 'spoken' with Jon so can we regard this diversion as 'closed' please?

There are a number of points that it does raise though that will be interesting to explore going forward such as the effects of partitioning networks using VLANS as opposed to physically setting up dedicated (and isolated) networks and the effects of unterminated / unused ports on switches.

Cheers

Phil

Phil Harris posted:

Now now ... everyone please behave and play nicely or I'll have to take your toys away...

I think (hope?) what John was trying to demonstrate is the 'danger' of making changes by following advice without understanding what you're actually doing ... obviously looping a network cable between unused ports *COULD* lock up your network and I know that John is aware of that but I also know that he'd be aware that it wouldn't cause any permanent "damage".

Now please all hug...

Phil

Of course Phil, using the the Cisco 2960 switches as described here in default mode, will resort in no damage or impact to the network with looping a network cable between ports, but DONT readers, do such a thing on a cheap consumer grade switch such as Netgear.

quite honestly using 802.1q tagging with VLANS and partitioning really is a diversion. Such an action is only really valid if ones uses internal routing between VLANS, and the considerations and benefits  here are down to reduced broadcast frame processing by host network interface cards and stacks.. but that again has nothing to do higher quality switches. Also these switches will close the port down if there is no synchronisation on the link.. one doesn't need to administratively close the port down to achieve this.

However these really are distractions, the SQ improvement is through improved PHY level performance of the switch and reduced physical layer jiyyer and nothing I suggest to do with TCP/IP. This really doesn't need to be complicated as most on here seem to have found out.

BTW good to meet you on Tuesday, I hope you get the car sorted 

Simon

Hungryhalibut posted:

Harry - I'm not going to bother. Even if there is no difference, the fact that I think there is, and that the music is more enjoyable, is good enough. In this instance, the heart is ruling the head. I changed my speaker cables, and didn't bother to revert to the old ones. The same for the din to XLR, and the same for the Vodkas, so I'll do the same for the switch. 

Anyway, with my head injury, every time I put my head on one side everything spins and I feel awful. Installing the new switch entailed lying on the floor on my side and fumbling around under the sideboard, and I have no desire whatsoever to repeat the process!!

Hungry halibut am i right in thinking that you have changed only the network switch that controls your hifi gear? 

I currently have a sky Q router/modem with 2 switches connected one for sky, tv xbox etc then the other port connects into my cabinet where all the hifi stuff is controlled, i currently use Chord C stream cabling x 3 to my network player my nas and my av pre, if i change the WD switch i currently have to this cisco you mention you think that will make a difference?

Phil Harris posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

Rather than showing off, perhaps you could try to be helpful, or at least make clear what point you are making. Sorry Phil, but Jon's comments are really unhelpful, on what has been a really positive thread with people trying out things and some gaining real improvements. 

Hi HH,

I've just 'spoken' with Jon so can we regard this diversion as 'closed' please?

There are a number of points that it does raise though that will be interesting to explore going forward such as the effects of partitioning networks using VLANS as opposed to physically setting up dedicated (and isolated) networks and the effects of unterminated / unused ports on switches.

Cheers

Phil

Might even think about deleting some of those Jon posts . . . this forum has a reputation for being helpful, and decidedly unhelpful "tips" masquerading as helpful "tips" . . . probably are unhelpful.

I have just replaced my Netgear 5 port switch with a pre loved Cisco 2960 8 port jobby with lowish expectations. I have to say I am rather pleasantly surprised. Not night and day but very wothwhile enhancements in SQ. A little more air, a tad more incisiveness and a little cleaner and clearer. A bit like the enhancement I got from adding SL speaker cables but not such a big leap as with the speaker cables. But for 50 quid, a great VFM upgrade.

I have a question. On the Cisco switch there is a port highlighted on the extreme left hand side called CONSOLE then the 8 ports x1, x2, x3,.......x7, and x8 and then two separate ports to the right of these. Should any of these ports be specifically used or just use any of the 8 ports labelled x1 to x8? I currently have 3 ethernet cables attached to the switch, one from the BT Home Hub 5, one to the UnitServe and one to the NDS and all 3 are plugged into the x1 to x8 row of sockets.

Unless it is my system being particularly well behaved today, I just might have underestimated the impact the Cisco switch has had. Today I am hearing deeper bass (but with control) and finer detail that simply adds to the inteillabilty and enjoyment of music (and lyrics). 

This little box might just win the prize for the very best VFM upgrade.

The console port is for linking to a computer to configure the switch if you know what you are doing. Apart from that, any of the Ethernet ports can be used. It's  worth attaching four small rubber feet to the base to aid air circulation. There are indentations where they go so you can get the right size.

nigelb posted:

I have a question. On the Cisco switch there is a port highlighted on the extreme left hand side called CONSOLE then the 8 ports x1, x2, x3,.......x7, and x8 and then two separate ports to the right of these. Should any of these ports be specifically used or just use any of the 8 ports labelled x1 to x8? I currently have 3 ethernet cables attached to the switch, one from the BT Home Hub 5, one to the UnitServe and one to the NDS and all 3 are plugged into the x1 to x8 row of sockets.

Hi - the console is a RS232 port for connecting a serial terminal to the switch for configuration - its what is used when network connectivity is not set up.

The main switch ports are those 8 switch ports - and the two separate ports are the uplink ports. In default you can can use any of these ports as appropriate as they are all the same. Typically in a commercial setup the two uplink ports are what are used to connect the switch to a core switch of some description. 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
nigelb posted:

I have a question. On the Cisco switch there is a port highlighted on the extreme left hand side called CONSOLE then the 8 ports x1, x2, x3,.......x7, and x8 and then two separate ports to the right of these. Should any of these ports be specifically used or just use any of the 8 ports labelled x1 to x8? I currently have 3 ethernet cables attached to the switch, one from the BT Home Hub 5, one to the UnitServe and one to the NDS and all 3 are plugged into the x1 to x8 row of sockets.

Hi - the console is a RS232 port for connecting a serial terminal to the switch for configuration - its what is used when network connectivity is not set up.

The main switch ports are those 8 switch ports - and the two separate ports are the uplink ports. In default you can can use any of these ports as appropriate as they are all the same. Typically in a commercial setup the two uplink ports are what are used to connect the switch to a core switch of some description. 

Cheers Simon.

I won't be using the Console port as I am not savvy enough regarding switch configuration.

BTW, thanks for the Cisco switch tip which is a blinder IMHO and costs very little when bought secondhand.

Nigel - indeed - for casual use I wouldn't go there - but if you ever get curious that is the path for unlocking the power of the switch, and they are  bl**dy powerful devices...and fortunately Cisco have a wonderful set of guides that they publish on the public domain WWW  

And I am pleased you, HH and many others on the forum are getting some increased enjoyment from your Naim streamers using these switches.... its what it is all about...

My switch has just arrived (£60 on the bay) and I can say that based on first impressions - via my Qute2 - there is a definite audio improvement. I did a quick check to confirm my observation by reverting back to my Netgear switch, then back to the Cisco 2960 L. Improvement confirmed.

I now can't wait to try against my main NDS rig!

Awesome, many thanks for the recommendation 

David.

While we may never know the answer it would be interesting to know whether the difference is actually from better Physical layer ethernet performance or just due to the fact they have better and less noisy power supplies and not a 2 dollar wall wart.
> On Dec 14, 2016, at 12:29 PM, Naim Audio Forums <alerts@hoop.la> wrote:
>
adm95 posted:

My switch has just arrived (£60 on the bay) and I can say that based on first impressions - via my Qute2 - there is a definite audio improvement. I did a quick check to confirm my observation by reverting back to my Netgear switch, then back to the Cisco 2960 L. Improvement confirmed.

I now can't wait to try against my main NDS rig!

Awesome, many thanks for the recommendation 

David.

That's good then. Are you able to explain what improvement you found? I'd be interested to know if it's similar to what I found - that the sound is somehow 'nicer', more engaging and real.  Nobody so far has, as far as I recall, mentioned separation, soundstage or other technical things - the difference seems to be all about enjoyment of the music. 

DUPREE posted:
While we may never know the answer it would be interesting to know whether the difference is actually from better Physical layer ethernet performance or just due to the fact they have better and less noisy power supplies and not a 2 dollar wall wart.
> On Dec 14, 2016, at 12:29 PM, Naim Audio Forums <alerts@hoop.la> wrote:
>

I replaced my wall wart with an iFi iPower low noise SMPS on my Netgear 5 port switch and noticed a definite improvement in SQ. But going from that to the Cisco 2960 8 port switch is a bigger improvement. I am not sure if the internal power supply of the Cisco is an improvement over the the iFi iPower SMPS on the Netgear, impossible to judge. I suspect the explanation for the most of the improvement from the switch from Netgear to Cisco (see what I did there) lies in other areas, but I am guessing. Simon might be more suited to answer this one.

Anyway who cares why there is an improvement. There is, it is well worth having and only costs a few quid.

Result!

I assume that many responding here have the nice Naim streamers with good EMI rejection. If there are any using the Sonore microRendu like I am, and have access to the Cisco Catalyst with the external supply like the 2960CPD  and a low noise linear supply, please give some feedback when you can. I tried but was unable to find one, and they are a little steep for me on the web at the moment.

I've been following this topic with interest and feel it's time to give the said Cisco switch a try.

One question before I do.

The switches in question come in 2 versions, internal and external PSU. Is there any benefit either way as my assumption would be external would be best? 

Any thoughts would be appreciated

 

 

^

I am of this opinion too, just for the simple fact that one could use a  power supply of choice for specific audio setups. Today I tried the Catalyst 2960-8TC-L  (built in supply) with a microRendu into the DAC-V1. My take (while comparing to my 8 port TP-Link with iFi Power) was that the  bottom end of the frequency spectrum was more bold with the Cisco, but lost some tonal nuance, detail ~> less 'Joie de vivre'. I can only guess that is due to its power supply. I would like to hear it with a different power source as I think that could be fantastic with the mR.

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