Network Filters

jdjohn
jdjohn Posts: 1,928
Anyone here ever explore using network filters for digital playback/streaming? I ran across a thread on another forum about using fiber vs copper ethernet cable, and one comment in the thread intrigued me about (instead) using a passive in-line filter instead of all the conversion options from copper to fiber (and back). The idea is to filter RFI/EMI noise from the ethernet cable before it enters a player/streamer.

In the end, it led me to purchase an ENO Ethernet (Cu) filter from Network Acoustics out of the UK https://www.networkacoustics.com/product-category/network_filters/ They have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so I feel comfortable with trying their product. The filters are hand-made, so it took a week or so to construct, and it will be in transit across the pond on Monday.

Once I have it in-hand, and have tested it, I'll offer my impressions here, but I'm curious if others here have tried anything similar.
"This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
"Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon

Comments

  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 24,406
    I have not tried it but I do believe a quality ethernet cable is a must, within reason!
    - Not Tom

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 1,928
    Agreed! I currently have a BJC custom-made 30ft ethernet cable from my modem/router to my player/streamer, but that is obviously a very long run. I am interested to see if this filter, placed at the end of the cable run, feeding into my player/streamer, makes a difference.

    I currently have a Nativ Vita player that feeds into a Benchmark DAC3/HGC preamp via a DH Labs Silver Sonic USB cable.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • ALL212
    ALL212 Posts: 1,273
    IT geek checking in...

    The other reason for using fiber (optical) runs in your setup is that optical cannot under any circumstances transmit an over voltage to your gear (read...lightning strike).

    I've got two fiber runs in the house - both fairly short but one goes through and around a bunch of other electrical stuff and optical (reason #2 for using it) cannot pickup any interference from that. So in theory you could wrap your optical network cable around a 440 three phase line and it would not care in the least. I'm not so sure cat5e would be so forgiving!!

    I've used transceivers (copper to fiber) in situations where we had wireless access points and the building was sensitive to lighting so we would blow ports out of our switches. After putting those in we had no more blown ports. The final fix was to pull the switch to switch copper out of the ceiling and go fiber from switch to switch.

    Geek speak done...
    Aaron
    Enabler Extraordinaire
  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 18,370
    I love it when you talk dirty <3<3<3
  • ALL212
    ALL212 Posts: 1,273
    edited January 31
    Oh honey...!! <3

    I know... I violated the "Keep it clean" policy. he said "blow ports"...snicker... o:)
    Aaron
    Enabler Extraordinaire
  • msg
    msg Posts: 6,395
    f1pjygktawf5.gif
    4zlk8tecegq4.gif
    I disabled signatures.
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 3,231
    My streamer is running off wifi so no worries about lightning for that but once in a while is it stops playing for a bit. My smart TV does too so I'm not sure if it is crappy internet service out here in the middle of nowhere or the wifi can't keep up. Been wanting to run an ethernet line from the router to the streamer through the crawl space under the house. Should I run fiber or cat5? Which do mice like to chew on the least?
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January.

    by Dr. Sardonicus
  • ALL212
    ALL212 Posts: 1,273
    Cat5e is going to be cheaper. Can't say I've had mice chew on any cables (unless I've coated them in cheese). If the run is clean (not near other voltages) go copper. Cat5e or Cat6. Don't use Cat5. OH!!! this is "cat" wire. Mice will never go near it. :#B)

    If you're rich...use armored fiber but I don't think you can buy that terminated.
    Aaron
    Enabler Extraordinaire
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 3,231
    Cool, thanks!
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January.

    by Dr. Sardonicus
  • invalid
    invalid Posts: 519
    Why can't you just run your cat5e in conduit so the mice can't get at it.
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 3,231
    invalid wrote: »
    Why can't you just run your cat5e in conduit so the mice can't get at it.

    That's probably what I'll do. I still haven't figured out how they get down there. I hate rodents
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January.

    by Dr. Sardonicus
  • invalid
    invalid Posts: 519
    Why does audio equipment use toshlink for an optical interface, it seems there would be a better option for high end audio equipment.
  • engie490
    engie490 Posts: 91
    Strictly compatibility. Many TVs over the years only had TOSLINK digital outputs.

    It dates back to the advent of digital components in the early 80s. The fact that it is still around means that it must be cheap to implement.
  • ALL212
    ALL212 Posts: 1,273
    Well... Mice appear to like fiber runs as well.
    cxf75myx1amk.jpg

    I've implemented a NIST compatible off line device to thwart such attempts in the future.
    bavtlwuykkvp.jpg

    Aaron
    Enabler Extraordinaire
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 1,928
    Rodents - all of them - are a menace. My wife likes to feed the squirrels that come around our patio... :s
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 3,231
    I bought a Bird-X ultrasonic transmitter for the crawlspace. For a couple months I didn't have any problems then I think they started dancing and drinking to the noise. Eventually they set up furniture around it like it's two channel audio or something. My next attempt is rattlesnakes.
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January.

    by Dr. Sardonicus
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 1,928
    A little update here after some burn-in and testing. As a reminder, I've been using a custom-made 30ft length of BJC ethernet cable between my router and Nativ Vita player. The Nativ Vita then feeds a Benchmark DAC3/HGC preamp via a DH Labs Silversonic USB cable.

    Doing some A/B testing tonight with and without the ENO in the path, I have a few thoughts. First of all, the ENO purposely governs throughput to 100Mbps, so there can be initial 'handshake' issues between devices in order to match bandwidth. Most of us have in-house ethernet connectivity of 250+Mbps, so throttling-down to 100Mbps is a bit unintuitive. With the ENO, this process can take several hours to normalize, which can be frustrating while you wait...if you are monitoring such things. Spoiler alert: it's worth it IMO.

    With the ENO filter in-line, I initially thought I detected more gain, which didn't equate, since I didn't touch the volume knob, but after a little more listening, I realized this was actually just less noise, and more audio content coming through. My test tracks were from Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms, going from "Your Latest Trick" to "One World", played via Spotify Premium.

    I used a pair of vintage Denon headphones plugged into my Benchmark DAC3/HGC for listening/testing. I find that using headphones makes it easier to distinguish differences between source components. With only the ethernet cable in place, the sound was quite pleasant and satisfying, with a solid wall of sound between my ears. But with the ENO filter in place, the wall of sound transformed from one cohesive wall into a multi-faceted aura of instruments. The difference was somewhat subtle, but it was there. It's kind of funny: with the ENO in-line, everything seemed to slow-down a bit, bringing more attention to every detail. Without it, the sound was very pleasant, normal, and 'typical' in time and space. The improvement with the ENO filter was between 5-7%.

    Ok, having said that...Network Acoustics' first recommendation is to place an ethernet switch in-line as close as possible to the player/streamer/DAC. That is, just before the ethernet cable enters the playback device, put a cheap ethernet switch in-line, and then a short ethernet cable between the switch and the playback device.

    Of course, their second recommendation is to then place their ENO filter between the switch and the playback device. I have done that here:
    17xf00b97pou.jpg
    The top-left cable is coming from the router, then you see the other connections, with the black cable going into the Nativ Vita.

    Well, I can tell you that having that cheap little ethernet switch in-place near the player made a difference in sound quality. In fact, that alone might be all someone needs to make an improvement.

    Having both the switch AND the ENO filter in place improves things up to 10-12% IMO. Just sayin. Again, I'm only using Spotify Premium for my streaming. No doubt that Tidal or Qobuz might yield even more of an improvement.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,523
    Are you waiting for something in particular to make the switch to a lossless streaming service?
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 1,928
    Well...a superior interface, and a comprehensive library would be a great start :)
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,523
    Look into the controller apps for the "big three", Auralic, Lumin, and Aurender, and see which interface looks the best to you.
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 24,406
    I use the m connect app with the lumin and it's great. Basically transposes the tidal app into it

    Very interesting write up on the network filter. The price is pretty steep, but the source is everything!
    - Not Tom

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
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