Are audiophile network switches a scam?

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  • Jstas
    Jstas Posts: 14,699
    Yes.

    Network switches transfer data, they don't process it.

    You can have yourself a $90K "audiophile" network switch and if all you have is an iPod (do they still make those?) and a Walmart receiver from a HTiB you're going to get exactly what your iPod and Walmart jobby would get you whether you had a $90K "audiophile network switch" or a $9 D-link piece of junk network switch from Walmart.
    Expert Moron Extraordinaire

    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!
  • rebelsoul
    rebelsoul Posts: 738
    In the link (video) shows this company is scamming what they sell you.
  • rebelsoul
    rebelsoul Posts: 738
    I called ps audio and if you have bridge two with the perfect wave or direct stream dac no bridge or linear power supply on modem will make a difference. He said use a cat 5 and above Ethernet cable.
  • Emlyn
    Emlyn Posts: 4,335
    edited January 2023
    If a common thing is marketed with the word "audiophile" in it then it's probably not that.
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 27,880
    This really flags my bs meter side of audio. I do believe digital cables and such can make a difference but it is really hard for me to digest 600 dollar switches and such.

    Netgear nighthawk s8000 can be had for under a hundred and is a pretty stout legit switch.

    The illuminati jewel in the video had me laughing hard... Lol good stuff

    Really reminds me of synergistic research fuses. 30 cent fuse, fancy packaging, black dot of textured paint... Shocked with 10k volts.... 40 million percent mark up.
    - Not Tom ::::::: Any system can play Diana Krall. Only the best can play Limp Bizkit.
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 27,880
    My favorite reading into all of this are these guys who recommend daisy chaining switches... Like 3 or 4 switches back to back...

    The mental gymnastics behind that logic is thick
    - Not Tom ::::::: Any system can play Diana Krall. Only the best can play Limp Bizkit.
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 5,392
    I use a WiFi router to connect to my laptop then USB to my DAC and use an audiophile HEPA air purifier to clean up the WiFi signal. Makes a HUGE difference in sound quality! I'm selling the air purifier for $499.95 on a limited run basis. PM me for details!
    Gustard X26 Pro DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Polk SDA 1C's modded / 1000Va Dreadnaught
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables
    Harman Kardon T65C w/Grado Gold. (Don't laugh. It sounds great!)


    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
  • Jstas
    Jstas Posts: 14,699
    rebelsoul wrote: »
    In the link (video) shows this company is scamming what they sell you.
    rebelsoul wrote: »
    I called ps audio and if you have bridge two with the perfect wave or direct stream dac no bridge or linear power supply on modem will make a difference. He said use a cat 5 and above Ethernet cable.

    I know the video was pointing out the scam. I was just trying to save people the time of sitting through a 20 minute rant video.

    It's good that you did research by calling a company and asking but I'm not really sure what your second post is saying.

    However, anyone that is telling you that standard of ethernet cable matters for sound quality clearly has no idea what the CAT 5/5e/6/6a designations for standards means.

    I've been doing IT work for 27 years now on HUGE enterprise scales for some very big name corporations that you've likely heard of and/or did business with, some of it you didn't even know happened. I will gladly give you a dissertation on why networking gear has no impact on sound quality at all but you're going to have to read page after page of some really heady technical stuff around network and data protocols that I try to over-simplify so you can understand it. Y'all already hate when I do knowledge dumps so I'm refraining.

    I'll just tell you that @Emlyn is correct. If you see a common thing typically wholly unrelated to audio reproduction that is labeled "audiophile", you can rest assured that it is a snake oil scam. This "audiophile network switch" is no exception.

    Even the stuff PS Audio is telling you about is dubious at best because all they did was tell you that you needed at least CAT 5 and above ethernet for a wired connection and, in all honesty, that's because nothing supports any data network cabling standard older than CAT 5 anymore except telephony applications and hasn't since the late 90's. It's got nothing to do with the quality of audio and everything to do with the interoperability and performance of TCP/IP protocols, data signal quality and data transmission rates. It goes for all wired network connections, not just "audiophile" ones.
    Expert Moron Extraordinaire

    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!
  • Jstas
    Jstas Posts: 14,699
    VR3 wrote: »
    My favorite reading into all of this are these guys who recommend daisy chaining switches... Like 3 or 4 switches back to back...

    The mental gymnastics behind that logic is thick

    That's a great way to introduce excessive network latency issues.

    Additionally, what happens when one switch fails or reboots and resets your IP tables giving you duplicate IP address on the same network?

    You'd be better off doing token ring standards over 75 ohm RG-6U coax (cable TV). You'd get the same level of performance but all your cabling would have the added benefit of being shielded.
    Expert Moron Extraordinaire

    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!
  • invalid
    invalid Posts: 1,240
    Fluke measured cat6 cables some years back and 80% of them didn't meet the standard, some didn't even meet cat5 standards.
  • Jstas
    Jstas Posts: 14,699
    Yeah, I have a buddy who is a Network Engineer for Verizon and he tests all his new hires on how to properly plug out and set CAT 5/5e and 6/6a cabling standards. They don't buy pre-packaged cables. They make all their own. Since they are mostly wireless now anyway, the only time they are plugging out data cables is in the data and telecom centers.

    But he said he does it because they have tested brand new cables right out of the box from cabling companies like Avaya and had a 50% or higher failure rate and of those that didn't test failed they didn't meet minimum standards for CAT 5 or CAT 6.
    Expert Moron Extraordinaire

    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,126
    Jstas wrote: »
    I will gladly give you a dissertation on why networking gear has no impact on sound quality at all <snip>

    Can we agree to strongly disagree on this one? Now, I do not have a switch in my streaming setup, nor will there ever be one but when it comes to other items within the network? It most definitely can make a change in the sound. Some changes can be profound. So profound, that I now consider an Ethernet cable in my rig as a "component". Just as beneficial or detrimental to the rig itself as an amplifier or CDP is, depending on the configuration/application/location within the setup.

    We haven't pounded chests in quite some time and I'd rather not start a chest pounding match here but, unless I misread or misunderstood what you were saying, we shall agree to disagree.

    Tom

    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 27,880
    edited January 2023
    Fwiw the etherregen is considered a switch in its own way, fwiw. I understand it has some interesting engineering with the moat and external clock capabilities but still a switch in the end. Similar function with less outputs
    - Not Tom ::::::: Any system can play Diana Krall. Only the best can play Limp Bizkit.
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,126
    Fair point. I don't use it as one though and from what I understand, it is one of, if not the only piece that offers a "moat" circuit. This circuit effectively isolates the noise passing through it.

    Getting rid of noise/jitter within the signal is what makes the change in the sound and what the whole point of cleaning up the signal is all about.

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • Jstas
    Jstas Posts: 14,699
    treitz3 wrote: »
    Jstas wrote: »
    I will gladly give you a dissertation on why networking gear has no impact on sound quality at all <snip>

    Can we agree to strongly disagree on this one? Now, I do not have a switch in my streaming setup, nor will there ever be one but when it comes to other items within the network? It most definitely can make a change in the sound. Some changes can be profound. So profound, that I now consider an Ethernet cable in my rig as a "component". Just as beneficial or detrimental to the rig itself as an amplifier or CDP is, depending on the configuration/application/location within the setup.

    We haven't pounded chests in quite some time and I'd rather not start a chest pounding match here but, unless I misread or misunderstood what you were saying, we shall agree to disagree.

    Tom

    If you noticed a difference in sound quality due to an Ethernet cable then the cable you were using previously was improperly terminated and despite it being 4 twisted pairs, you could be using only 1 twisted pairs. That would drastically reduce the bandwidth that your Ethernet cable was running which would affect sound as you would not have enough bandwidth to transfer a full data path. Error correction can only do so much before the collision ratio is too much to overcome.
    Expert Moron Extraordinaire

    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,126
    edited January 2023
    Well, in full disclosure John. The cables I am using aren't normal off the shelf Cat 5, 6, 7 or even 8. It was originally a cheap CAT 8 cable that I had lying around that opened my ears as to what just an Ethernet cable can do. That may have been only because of what you had mentioned though and not because of the category of the E cable. You would know more than I on that one.

    I am just going by what path my ears have led me down.

    I now own multiple thousands of dollars in just Ethernet cables. Even invested in an EtherREGEN, clock, LPS's and just tonight I got my final E cable in.

    The differences I am hearing is akin to getting a new amp, DAC or even speakers. Now, this isn't just because of the E cables but the change in going from just a basic CAT5 to a basic CAT 8 was significant enough for me to make a major investment (that has paid off in spades) in cleaning up the signal to my NAP.

    I am hearing things that I haven't heard on any system, anywhere, even on or with physical media and its presentation is a breath of fresh air, not to mention cool as ****!

    The three E cables currently in use are the Shunyata Venon, Alpha and Omega.

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • tophatjohnny
    tophatjohnny Posts: 4,157
    I learned long ago and right here, everything makes a difference, good or bad let your ears tell you while your wallet guides you ! $750.000 speakers are overrated 😂😂😂🤪 and fuses are all the same 😜
    "if it's not fun, it's not worth it & remember folks, "It's All About The Music"!!
    *****************************
  • Jstas
    Jstas Posts: 14,699
    Geez, Tom, you're opening a pandora's box here and I really don't have the time to get in to this stuff here right now.

    These cables make differences but not for the reasons you or tophatjohnny think.

    Cat5, Cat6, Cat7 and Cat8 standards all have minimum codes for tolerances that mean they can support certain bandwidth levels and transfer rates. These standards are designed with data centers and communication security in mind.

    The benefit audio sees has nothing to do with signal path. It's literally just ones and zeros running across. Your source and your DAC are the critical components. If they can handle data rates that stuff like CAT7 and CAT8 can support then you will hear a difference. But if your equipment can only handle rates at a CAT6a level then you have a really expensive cable that isn't doing much for you.

    All the CAT standards are backwards compatible so any cable will work in any situation. If your transmission and receiving gear doesn't support CAT8 standards, though, you're only going to be running at the max supported transfer rates anyway.

    The high the transfer rates you can support, though, the higher the resolution your devices can transfer. So if you are using streaming audio, a high transfer rate CAT8 cable can support up to 40GBase-T rates at 2000 MHz (that's 40Gb/s ethernet, 40 time greater than the current gigabit Ethernet connections FiOS and Comcast claim they can get to your door). So if you are streaming lossless audio, you don't need to leverage a compression algorithm because your data transmission technology supports the data transfer rate necessary to stream uncompressed lossless audio.

    It's the same idea behind the difference between MP3's and a CD and a vinyl rekkid.

    If you have gear that will support those high transfer rates and can utilize the most cutting edge data center tech to do it, that's awesome. Most people don't get in to that gear level and spending $20 on a 15 foot CAT8 cable when your gear can't support anything more than a $6, 15 foot CAT6 cable is just throwing good money out the door for no benefit.
    Expert Moron Extraordinaire

    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!
  • invalid
    invalid Posts: 1,240
    Technically speaking it's not 1's and 0's it's differing voltages.
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 16,995
    VR3 wrote: »
    My favorite reading into all of this are these guys who recommend daisy chaining switches... Like 3 or 4 switches back to back...

    The mental gymnastics behind that logic is thick
    No, your can daisy chain switches in a managed world. I do networks every day and this is how you do it.

    You have a Modem to get you to the internet, your doorway to the world
    Then you have a router with no internal Wifi and that's all it does is route.
    After that one Ether net cable OUT to the first Managed main switch. This gets setup as the Route Bridge at 4096.

    Then below that, you run out of lets say you have a 24 port main managed switch, you run Port 24 out to your next managed switch. This is setup at 8092 and you can mirror another 2nd switch at 8092 so the priority is the same and the traffic flows from the 2 below switches to the main switch and then to the router and then to the internet IF need be. This is the flow of things on a common larger network.

    Each level of switches go under the last switches. You can daisy chain all you want. You have to stay within the limits of 253 unless you subnet and then you can have another 253 devices. Layering if you will. There is really no end only how much processing power do you have to how many subnets you can have.

    Your main switch can be POE to power your access points, all of them. Lets say you have 5 or 6 of the in your house. They all live on the main switch OR you can use a layered switch , level 2 and land all your access wifi points there.

    So there is NOTHING wrong with daisy chaining switches, this is the topology of big network.

    So let me answer the audiophile switch. What an audiophile switch could do is keep all the traffic off your network IF you have meltable devices that need to talk to each other. So lets say you have a Sonos system, you install a managed switch JUST for Sonos devices, you DO NOT load your main switch with your SONOS system, you put them on a layer 2 switch and Sonos gets positioned under a technology called Spamming Tree. This keeps all the talking from Sonos to Sonos all on that managed switch. This is what they are talking about kinda.

    AVB is another music technology which works like Spamming Tree. It's the same idea. It keeps all your network chatter in that switch freeing up processing power of your main switch and router.

    For FYI reasons, My home network retail total just hardware is around $3000.00. I have 4 switches , 2 of them are managed and 2 are 10/100/1000 dumb switches. I have a Router with no wifi built in, it's commercial grades and I'm wired directly to a ONT from Verizon. My network is completely managed and I have a dedicated level 2 8092 switch Managed and POE powered to run ONLY my Sonos system which is 9 zones.

    If any of you have networking questions, just ask away. I can answer your questions about so called audiophile switches, that is a play on words. networking is completely complicated and I only know it because I have to, not because I want to or give a rats **** about networking. Actually I kinda hate it especially when it brakes and I have to chase the ghosts in the machines and I work on huge networks.



    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 16,995
    Just a short follow up on my last post, a switch can not make your system sound any better. All it can do is get all the info to your source from your streaming service or hard drive of music you store locally. A managed switch can just make sure it gets there without slowing down your network.
    Geez I have so much to say about a stupid product like this and if someone doesn't understand networks, could easily get fooled into buying such a thing.
    Sometimes I really hate the so called "AUDIOPHILE" products.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 27,880
    I'm talking literally 4 switches back to back with a 6 inch ethernet cable between each one.

    There is no practical or performance use for this arrangement other than to sell more switches
    - Not Tom ::::::: Any system can play Diana Krall. Only the best can play Limp Bizkit.
  • rebelsoul
    rebelsoul Posts: 738
    edited January 2023
    Now I use the Xfinity x-1 modem and router in one . I have average down load speed of a gig.
    I have a cat 8 Ethernet cable running from that to a bridge 2 perfect wave dac . It's the only Ethernet cable out of Xfinity x-1 . Everything else is wifi.in my house. On wifi I have 3 phones , 1 tv and a laptop using WiFi . Ps audio said I am in a good spot and said a switch would be a was of money ,with no improvement with bridge 2 . I use m control with tidal masters and qobuz best service. Any thoughts? Using the perfect wave dac as pre now to my modded ps audio 200cx .
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 16,995

    rebelsoul wrote: »
    Now I use the Xfinity x-1 modem and router in one . I have average down load speed of a gig.
    I have a cat 8 Ethernet cable running from that to a bridge 2 perfect wave dac . It's the only Ethernet cable out of Xfinity x-1 . Everything else is wifi.in my house. On wifi I have 3 phones , 1 tv and a laptop using WiFi . Ps audio said I am in a good spot and said a switch would be a was of money ,with no improvement with bridge 2 . I use m control with tidal masters and qobuz best service. Any thoughts? Using the perfect wave dac as pre now to my modded ps audio 200cx .
    Adding a switch isn't something you do for performance reasons. You add switches to add the ability to hardwire devices. If you had let's say 4 to 6 Sonos units or any streaming units on your network, you would NOT want them wireless. You would want them hard wire behind a managed spamming tree switch.

    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 16,995
    VR3 wrote: »
    I'm talking literally 4 switches back to back with a 6 inch ethernet cable between each one.

    There is no practical or performance use for this arrangement other than to sell more switches


    One larger switch IF you needed all those ports would make way more sense Unless you where building a main switch and level 2 switches. The length of the patch cables don't matter. Back to back switches don't matter, it's the distribution of hard wired devices is the ONLY reason you would have more switches. Switches can be purchased in 5,8 ,16 ,24 and 48 port size units for home use.

    I didn't watch that video all the way though but I can if need be but explain to me what this 4 switches and 6 inch patch cable setup was supposed to do?
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 27,880
    I'm talking dedicated switches. One in and one out daisy chained.

    The idea is easy switch reproduces the signal cleaner each time
    - Not Tom ::::::: Any system can play Diana Krall. Only the best can play Limp Bizkit.
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 16,995
    VR3 wrote: »
    I'm talking dedicated switches. One in and one out daisy chained.

    The idea is easy switch reproduces the signal cleaner each time
    This might be the dumbest audiophile crap I have ever heard, it's up there with the best of them.
    So what they are saying is that you have a dirty digital signal coming from your hard drive and these switches like a car wash linked together will clean it up LOL. This goes beyond anything I have ever heard. Any Network engineer would tell you this is by far the biggest scam. No one on this forum should buy this product nor should anyone.
    Wow I'd love to talk to their engineers, I'd have a field day with them.

    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 27,880
    Mental gymnastics Dan!
    - Not Tom ::::::: Any system can play Diana Krall. Only the best can play Limp Bizkit.
  • invalid
    invalid Posts: 1,240
    I've read posts on other sites that claim every different brand switch tried had a different sound signature. It doesn't make sense but I have never tried different switches so I have no real experience.
  • tophatjohnny
    tophatjohnny Posts: 4,157
    I watched that video and it cracked me up! 😂
    "if it's not fun, it's not worth it & remember folks, "It's All About The Music"!!
    *****************************