Cheapest way to enhance SQ with digital streaming

I could not stop but post my observations on remarkable SQ improvement with just a small change. I have been using digital streaming predominantly and have tried many things (cables, conditioner, room treatment). Everything does matter and they all did improve the quality without doubt and are definite investment. But after going through some reviews of fiber optic for Ethernet and their noise reducing properties compared to copper cables, I thought of giving a try. I connected Ethernet cable from router/Ethernet switch to media converter and fiber optic from this media converter (need SFP module) to second media converter (with another SFP module). Then regular Ethernet cable went from this second media converter to server/streamer. Basically the idea is to add fiber optic cable between the router and streamer, which will reduce the noise. But, wow, the difference was huge and amazing. Not sure how to explain the improvement, but the SQ was more fluid, melodious, fast, clean and separation of instruments were clear. The total cost for this was less than 150 (on Amazon). Apparently, as the fiber optic cable conductors are made of glass, they carry less noise compared to copper and also cost very cheap. Compared to money spent on other component in my system (have spent quite a lot), this is the most cost efficient and gave more improvement in the SQ. I am still amazed by this and very happy with what I heard. I feel negligent not to share with my fellow audiophiles, who are trying to get the best out and improve their system, sometime spending quite a bit for small difference. I guess, since the cost of trying this is so cheap (please don’t make me feel guilty for telling 150$ is cheap), try yourself and see the difference. On a different note, have been reading that use of Ethernet switch also does some “saucery” (I am no technical guy, but do read quite a bit of articles on audio) to reduce this noise to improve SQ and combination of fiber optic and the Ethernet switch takes SQ to different level. Will try some audiophile Ethernet switch sometime (may be uptone ethergen or Sotm snh-10g) to try out as I am very intrigued. 

It often depends upon the DAC as to whether all or any of these measures will be useful or just a waste of time.

Just as we saw how the use of asynchronous modes neutralized jitter and clocking issues, more and more of the better DACs now include opto-isolation as one of their built-in features.

@romney80 and everyone else - thanks for the tip!  I installed the two FMCs and fiber this afternoon.  It sounded horrid (extremely tilted up) the first hour but then started to mellow. I was curious about the burn-in time because it’s still tilted up sonically. 

But then I remembered that I had to use a never-used-before power receptacle on my Furutech power bar for one of the FMC wall warts. When I first got the Furutech it had a very long burn-in time. So that’s probably what is causing part of the sonic problem. And wall warts require burn-in.  I’m very optimistic. I’m only 1 ¾ hours into my first listen and it’s rapidly improving.

Anyone else experience sound quality issues during burn-in?   For how long?

@txp1 Not sure I had experienced like you. I had almost immediate improvement. Give it time and see if it changes better. 

You'll find diverse opinions on most streaming products, in the end one has to determine for self. The good thing about the FMC experiment is it can be done for less than $100, where can you find such a deal in audio! If experience promising you can then optimize with linear power supplies, from there you can go to even further optimization with product like Sonore Opticalrendu.

The ethernet route has its own set of basic equipment and further optimization.