The Great Ethernet Showdown 2

Perhaps unsurprisingly, my original post appears to have been deleted (unless I've missed it).  Not surprising to me because it got hijacked by a collection of several selfish self indulgent individuals who had never listened to the cables in question and therefore had absolutely zero to contribute to the debate.  These individuals can feel free to start their own post about their scientific supremacy, but leave me and the rest of us who trust our ears in peace.  Perhaps the mods could sort this out.

So in my home today listening with an Atom and Totem Tribe In-Wall speakers (second system) we went from bog standard CAT5 to Chord Epic to Chord Signatue to Chord Sarum T.  At this point we kept the Sarum T from Atom to home network and used the Signature to connect the NAS to the home network.  And then we reverted to the original bog standard for both.

There was a clear and broadly speaking roughly similar improvement as Epic, Signature, and Sarum T were substituted.  With the standard CAT5 the Music sounded somewhat muddled which Epic resolved .  Signature added fluidity and effortlessness, and Sarum T simply raised it all again in every way.  Dealer and I agreed that any improvement adding a posh cable between NAS and network was very marginal.

So my head says Signature, and my heart Sarum T.  Definitely better (although Signaure very good), but one posh cable rather than two+ Is something I can afford, or I suppose Shoreline is an option for the NAS.

PS If I follow correctly there was some sort of challenge submitted.  Subject to agreeable conditions etc I am 100% up for it.

 

 

Original Post
French Rooster posted:

i hope also there will be no pseudo scientific writers here, who will try to convince us that we can’t trust our ears.   Lan cables have the same importance as interconnects, power or speakers cables.  I have any doubt in it.

The debate was perfectly healthy but not IMVHO in this thread.

It’s interesting that you found little difference changing the cable between the switch and the Nas. I found that it was easily heard and pretty much as big as that between streamer and switch. I use AudioQuest Vodka cables, which are a step down from the Chord offerings. I’ve had them over a year now and have basically forgotten about them. One thing - and this is not to divert the thread - when I later swapped the little Netgear switch for a used Cisco, the improvement in sound was greater than that from the posh cables - so £50 against £500 or so in this case. So if you don’t have one, you should get one. Perhaps the switch only worked so well because the cables were already in place - I don’t know. Certainly, with cables and switch in place, the musical flow is much better, and using the wussy description I’ve used before, it just sounds nicer. 

To follow on from HH, i found whilst experimenting with cables the improvement diminished after I installed a Cisco switch. In the end I settled on Melco cables which are about £70 or so for a metre. I could still hear the effect of say AQ Vodka, but thought the Melco had the right balance, it’s also very flexible. Bottom line wish I had got the Cisco a year ago. Now between Core and Nova, upnp or Spdif makes no difference, before I preferred Spdif cable for SQ.

Hungryhalibut posted:

It’s interesting that you found little difference changing the cable between the switch and the Nas. I found that it was easily heard and pretty much as big as that between streamer and switch. I use AudioQuest Vodka cables, 

Hi HH and others 🙂

Interesting,a friend has Linn's toplevel system....all new Klimax-products and 350 exakt/katalyst-speakers. Only Audioquest Vodka  in his system,even to the speaker. Cisco 2960-switch of course 😉😁.

He says,....on a scale from 1 to 10......10 is the best. If we put AQ Vodka between switch and streamer, and we say it's a 10 in SQ.

So the AQ Vodka between switch and Nas in his system,he think it's around nr 5 in SQ.

And the AQ Vodka to the speakers,he says around nr 4,..... maybe up to 4,5 in SQ.

You HH, say it's almost the same big difference between Nas-Switch as Streamer-Switch in SQ.

And Bruce Curdy, hear very little difference between Nas-Switch in SQ when changing the cable.

The difference we see here,is it because of the quality of network-solution or.....❓❓ 

Thanks to HH and Gazza - interesting.

My home network is a little complicated - my house is a new build with over 20 data points spread around various rooms (approximately 8 used) with a largish Netgear switch in my garage beside a data panel.  The switch is connected to the router and is then 'patched' to the appropriate socket on the data panel which corresponds to a particular data point in the house.  My NAS is in my study and connects directly to a wall data point.  My Atom is in my lounge and connects via a small Netgear switch (I have other network devices) to another data point although I do have the option of a direct connection to another data point although this would require a cable length >0.75m.  Food for thought.

Forgive my ignorance, but what exactly is a switch?   The fibre optic box coming into the house is connected to a router given to me by my internet provider.  From there, I have it connected by an Ethernet cable (nothing fancy) to an Apple Extreme, running into the WAN connection (?port).  From there, I have two Ethernet cables going to my Core and 272 from the LAN ports.  It all seems to work.  Am thinking of trying better Ethernet cables.  So - what is a switch and where does it go?  Does it replace something I already have?

Thanks.

docmark posted:

Forgive my ignorance, but what exactly is a switch?   The fibre optic box coming into the house is connected to a router given to me by my internet provider.  From there, I have it connected by an Ethernet cable (nothing fancy) to an Apple Extreme, running into the WAN connection (?port).  From there, I have two Ethernet cables going to my Core and 272 from the LAN ports.  It all seems to work.  Am thinking of trying better Ethernet cables.  So - what is a switch and where does it go?  Does it replace something I already have?

Thanks.

the switch is like your router, with ethernet imput.....but is better to separate audio from the router with phone and tv also. So we use a dedicated switch, like netgear gs105, connected by a lan cable to the router. The nas and streamer are connected to this switch: so dedicated switch.  The sound is better....

Docmark - I’m assuming you are using your router provided by the internet company as a modem. If the fibre box is the modem and the router is being used as a router, with the AE connected you’ll have two routers, which is not a good idea. 

Anyway, we use an AE as router, and it’s connected to the Virgin Media hub set to work as a modem only. We connect from the AE to a Cisco 2960 8TC-L using AQ Cinnamon. We then have two AQ Vodkas connected to the 272 and the NAS. Using the switch like this means there is a direct link between Nas and streamer, so the music is unaffected by other internet and network traffic. The AE includes a switch, but a dedicated switch is better at doing switchy stuff than a router is. That’s about as much as I understand, which is not much, but it does work well and sounds good too, which is what matters. 

docmark posted:

Got it.  Are there better grades of switches?  The netgear gs105 is quite cheap - $34 on Amazon.  In your opinion, is there something like an audiophile grade switch?  Does that even exist?

i and some members here recommend you the cisco 2960-8tc, refurbished and factory reset on bay site.  Or you can buy new netgear gs 105 switch and add ifi power 5 v , for a total price of around 70/80 GBP.  The cisco costs around 50/70 GBP.  The netgear/ifi power i had before will sound more delicate, the cisco is more dynamic and involving.

French Rooster posted:
docmark posted:

Got it.  Are there better grades of switches?  The netgear gs105 is quite cheap - $34 on Amazon.  In your opinion, is there something like an audiophile grade switch?  Does that even exist?

i and some members here recommend you the cisco 2960-8tc, refurbished and factory reset on bay site.  Or you can buy new netgear gs 105 switch and add ifi power 5 v , for a total price of around 70/80 GBP.  The cisco costs around 50/70 GBP.  The netgear/ifi power i had before will sound more delicate, the cisco is more dynamic and involving.

FR - what's ifi power?  Googled it but all the results are for WiFi rather than ifi.

Hungryhalibut posted:

Docmark - I’m assuming you are using your router provided by the internet company as a modem. If the fibre box is the modem and the router is being used as a router, with the AE connected you’ll have two routers, which is not a good idea. 

Anyway, we use an AE as router, and it’s connected to the Virgin Media hub set to work as a modem only. We connect from the AE to a Cisco 2960 8TC-L using AQ Cinnamon. We then have two AQ Vodkas connected to the 272 and the NAS. Using the switch like this means there is a direct link between Nas and streamer, so the music is unaffected by other internet and network traffic. The AE includes a switch, but a dedicated switch is better at doing switchy stuff than a router is. That’s about as much as I understand, which is not much, but it does work well and sounds good too, which is what matters. 

HH’s summary is good. However if you have a modern home network router device, including  the most recent BT Homehub, the switchports built in are often as effective as standalone switches..as internally they are using pretty effective chipsets. so it becomes a choice of wiring... and often where your home router is placed is not where the centre of most of your wired network devices are... here using a standalone switch makes sense.. and can reduce the amount of Ethernet wiring required. BTW I have used the AE switchports quite effectively for home network use... but only for devices close by it, but I have not used to connect to my streamer so no views on SQ.

Its worth remembering many home network broadband ‘routers’ are actually a combo of modem, router, Wifi access point and switch built into a single box... 

MangoMonkey posted:
docmark posted:

Got it.  Are there better grades of switches?  The netgear gs105 is quite cheap - $34 on Amazon.  In your opinion, is there something like an audiophile grade switch?  Does that even exist?

If you don't want to go down the Cisco 2960 route (buy used for around $50), you should consider the Cisco branded (maybe it's really linksys)  SG110D05NA or the 8 port version.

The Netgear consistently make the music sound a little hot on the top-end - a little too bright etc. 

 

I would question this. By all means use the Catalyst family of switches made by Cisco as many have found they have improved ‘things’ with their Naim digital audio... if not then different switches will perhaps bring differeing benefits if at all... it’s not really a brand label thing.. you might find a Belkin, Linksys, Netgear etc works for you. Certainly you can’t assume any device with Cisco badge on it, if not a Catalyst,  brings the benefits that many have discussed on the forum... it may bring its own benefits but is as equally likely as a particular Belkin etc...

I had to put a stake in the ground and compared to a Melco 0.5 m switch to Uniti Nova. AQ Vodka, Cinammon and True audio signal all sounded different, in the end I chose another Melco to complete the link between Core and Nova via Cisco switch. I am retired, it was fun, you should treat as a fun journey, take on the advice and make your own mind up.

Bryce Curdy posted:
French Rooster posted:
docmark posted:

Got it.  Are there better grades of switches?  The netgear gs105 is quite cheap - $34 on Amazon.  In your opinion, is there something like an audiophile grade switch?  Does that even exist?

i and some members here recommend you the cisco 2960-8tc, refurbished and factory reset on bay site.  Or you can buy new netgear gs 105 switch and add ifi power 5 v , for a total price of around 70/80 GBP.  The cisco costs around 50/70 GBP.  The netgear/ifi power i had before will sound more delicate, the cisco is more dynamic and involving.

FR - what's ifi power?  Googled it but all the results are for WiFi rather than ifi.

go to amazon and tap ifi power 5v....

I also liked the Melco. It has plastic RJ45s where as others such as Chord have metal making an earth via the shield I think. I'm not sure the streamers like that. Those types of cables sounded better/different with a plastic joiner bit between the end of the cable and the streamer breaking the earth link.

......... prepared to be shot down in flames

I think there has to be a balance struck between 'sound quality' and modern usage where switches are concerned.

Personally speaking I would want gig speed switches in my network. Whilst naim streamers may be on old tech where nics are concerned, there is plenty of stuff probably on your network right now that will benefit massively from gig speed switches.

Mike-B posted:

Monsieur Rooster,  you are very confusing,  the PSU you are trying to tell us about has a very specific way to print the company name & the component.    iFi iPower,   iFi is the company & iPower is the component

i am not confusing i think.  Bryce Cundy could not find ifi power on google tap. I indicated him to tap the same on amazon, he will find it easily.

Mike-B posted:

Monsieur Rooster,  you are very confusing,  the PSU you are trying to tell us about has a very specific way to print the company name & the component.    iFi iPower,   iFi is the company & iPower is the component

Good explanation,....Thank's

/Peder 🙂 

Peter1480 posted:

I also liked the Melco. It has plastic RJ45s where as others such as Chord have metal making an earth via the shield I think. I'm not sure the streamers like that. Those types of cables sounded better/different with a plastic joiner bit between the end of the cable and the streamer breaking the earth link.

......... prepared to be shot down in flames

It’s worth noting that AQ Cinnamon and Vodka have a floating screen (i.e. the screen is connected to the plug at only one end) so don’t cause network earthing issues. 

Picked up an iFi for my Netgear GS108 recently and am very pleased with it.  The original power supply was a heck of a noisy git and was throwing all sorts of hash onto the network.  Currently, it has it's own dedicated mains spur (one of the 6 I had installed was free so why not?) so a bit overkill, nevertheless it's not only removed a source of noise but has given an added sense of ease to Tidal. Great vfm.

French Rooster posted:
Mike-B posted:

Monsieur Rooster,  you are very confusing,  the PSU you are trying to tell us about has a very specific way to print the company name & the component.    iFi iPower,   iFi is the company & iPower is the component

i am not confusing i think.  Bryce Cundy could not find ifi power on google tap. I indicated him to tap the same on amazon, he will find it easily.

It's iPower with an i in front!

GraemeH posted:
Bryce Curdy posted:

And we're not suggesting using an iFi iPower with a Cisco 2960 because...?

It has an inboard supply.

G

According to my LW radio test as suggested by Simon, the built in PSU in the 2960 is very quiet indeed, much quieter that the iFi, so I suspect there would be nothing to gain.

Obsydian posted:

For my the Chord Indigo and network fibre bridge brought by far the biggest improvements, 🔸 the Cisco 2960 (old and new) in comparison was very minor.🔸 

For most of us here in Sweden, the Cisco 2960 was a big upgrade. I have write this before,if you know the level between Linn's Akurate and Klimax products......for many of us it was as big as that. Like a box upgrade❗ 

For some,not so many (2 or 3) it was a minor upgrade,but still an upgrade....and for the cost of just £50-70 it's amazing.

But you must have the right installation,right rubber-feets,put it on a good rack,try different power-cables.....in other words,treat the Cisco as a product in the hifi-chain.

If you have Naim Equipment,put the Cisco on another spur because it has a Switching power-supply.

This is some things you can do to get the best out of your Cisco.....there are more, but we stop here....most work 😉.

/Peder 🙂 

Peder posted:
Obsydian posted:

For my the Chord Indigo and network fibre bridge brought by far the biggest improvements, 🔸 the Cisco 2960 (old and new) in comparison was very minor.🔸 

For most of us here in Sweden, the Cisco 2960 was a big upgrade. I have write this before,if you know the level between Linn's Akurate and Klimax products......for many of us it was as big as that. Like a box upgrade❗ 

For some,not so many (2 or 3) it was a minor upgrade,but still an upgrade....and for the cost of just £50-70 it's amazing.

But you must have the right installation,right rubber-feets,put it on a good rack,try different power-cables.....in other words,treat the Cisco as a product in the hifi-chain.

If you have Naim Equipment,put the Cisco on another spur because it has a Switching power-supply.

This is some things you can do to get the best out of your Cisco.....there are more, but we stop here....most work 😉.

/Peder 🙂 

PEDER - to clarify when i added the Cisco 2960 (£70 s/h - i bought a new one later) it was big, but later i added the fibre bridge (£100) and Chord Indigo (£1200), they made the Cisco 2960 a minor improvement in comparison.

 

Obsydian posted:
Peder posted:
Obsydian posted:

For my the Chord Indigo and network fibre bridge brought by far the biggest improvements, 🔸 the Cisco 2960 (old and new) in comparison was very minor.🔸 

For most of us here in Sweden, the Cisco 2960 was a big upgrade. I have write this before,if you know the level between Linn's Akurate and Klimax products......for many of us it was as big as that. Like a box upgrade❗ 

For some,not so many (2 or 3) it was a minor upgrade,but still an upgrade....and for the cost of just £50-70 it's amazing.

But you must have the right installation,right rubber-feets,put it on a good rack,try different power-cables.....in other words,treat the Cisco as a product in the hifi-chain.

If you have Naim Equipment,put the Cisco on another spur because it has a Switching power-supply.

This is some things you can do to get the best out of your Cisco.....there are more, but we stop here....most work 😉.

/Peder 🙂 

PEDER - to clarify when i added the Cisco 2960 (£70 s/h - i bought a new one later) it was big, but later i added the fibre bridge (£100) and Chord Indigo (£1200), they made the Cisco 2960 a minor improvement in comparison.

 

Obsydian,now I'm with you 👍🏻😉....fine that you explane this. I remember that I have read that you buy a new after your first s/h Cisco.

A friend just have a "try-out" between eht-cables,he also like the Chord around that price....it must be the same,have forget the name. Today it arrived some eht-cables from USA to him,it shall be interesting to hear what he think about them.

This friend is around 50 years old,has had toplevel systems from Linn and Naim,but just now he has Lejonklou Hifi's best pre/ power amps with Linn Klimax DS-streamer. He only goes for soundquality and musicality,

Maybe I can report back on this later.

/Peder 🙂 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
MangoMonkey posted:
docmark posted:

Got it.  Are there better grades of switches?  The netgear gs105 is quite cheap - $34 on Amazon.  In your opinion, is there something like an audiophile grade switch?  Does that even exist?

If you don't want to go down the Cisco 2960 route (buy used for around $50), you should consider the Cisco branded (maybe it's really linksys)  SG110D05NA or the 8 port version.

The Netgear consistently make the music sound a little hot on the top-end - a little too bright etc. 

 

I would question this. By all means use the Catalyst family of switches made by Cisco as many have found they have improved ‘things’ with their Naim digital audio... if not then different switches will perhaps bring differeing benefits if at all... it’s not really a brand label thing.. you might find a Belkin, Linksys, Netgear etc works for you. Certainly you can’t assume any device with Cisco badge on it, if not a Catalyst,  brings the benefits that many have discussed on the forum... it may bring its own benefits but is as equally likely as a particular Belkin etc...

Agreed Simon. In fact, in my installation and to my ears the 2960 -8TC L V01 that I bought on the bay following the original discussion on the forum doesn’t sound as good as the ZyXEL GS1100-16 that I now use. For me, the music with the Cisco had a slightly steely edged quality that I found made the listening very slightly uncomfortable by comparison. I still have it though and may swap it back in at some point just to see if it still sounds that way or not. 

The Catalyst series of switches are expensive for a reason - it reflects the quality of the components and quality of engineering.  They are designed to work as part of large systems with hundreds of other network components all located in the same place.  To make this reliable they are designed to minimise uncontrolled interactions with other components (such as excessive latency, bandwidth limitations and electrical noise).  These design features are, I believe, where we see the benefit due to the minimisation of the uncontrolled interaction with the network interface of the Naim streamers.

Changing the network cable can also change the way these interactions between network components are manifest in the analogue electronics of the streamers.

In my system, I still intend to test
Generic Cat6 UTP
Generic Cat6a SFTP
Meicord Cat6 UTP
Chord C-Stream (Cat7 STP).

The top two will be tested with and without ferrites.

Huge posted:

The Catalyst series of switches are expensive for a reason - it reflects the quality of the components and quality of engineering.  They are designed to work as part of large systems with hundreds of other network components all located in the same place.  To make this reliable they are designed to minimise uncontrolled interactions with other components (such as excessive latency, bandwidth limitations and electrical noise).  These design features are, I believe where we see the benefit due to the minimisation of the interaction with the network interface of the Naim streamers.

Interesting, thanks Huge. Any thoughts on why l might have had SQ issues with mine? It’s pretty old - July 2007 - but seems to be in good order. it’s been a while since I tried it and I’ve made quite a few changes in the network since I last did, so maybe time to try it again..

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