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. 

@audphile1 Even with FMC, ethernet cable quality still matters, your experience illustrates that. Using your best ethernet cable closest to dac makes sense. Upgrade all your ethernet and be prepared for further gains. Upgrading from Supra and various other ethernet to AQ Vodka was well worth it for me.


Further gains with generic FMC can be had with even better lps, power cords, and connection to power conditioners.

@sns I got both units plugged into my Puritan PSM156. 
And yes planning on picking up a better Ethernet cable at some point.
Pretty amazed after another listen this afternoon. Less shouty and more relaxed presentation and it just sounds sweeter and more detailed.
Crazy stuff…but I think these units are benefiting from break in. Had them running about 20hrs. 

@audphile1 good to hear your assessment. I have gone a great deal in this and everything matters, including a separate 20 amp line, wall socket, power cables, ethernet wire, ethernet switch, SFP module. Some are small improvements and some are big ones. Depends on system and your preference in tonality. I like to have black background with low noise. Have never stopped trying different components in chain and still find the optical fiber to be the best bang for buck. 

While I hate to say this, as generic FMC can be very nice upgrade, one can still further optimize optical. Generic FMC use pretty lousy clocks and noisy regulators, last FMC in chain injects it's own noise into network, and this, most likely close to dac which is worst place to inject noise. So, we replace last FMC with Sonore Optical Module, much better Femto clock and four low noise linear regulators, less noise, better timing for less jitter. I have one coming supposedly in July (chip issues), I expect good things.


Just goes to show for every upgrade in streaming, there is yet another upgrade. Streaming  and network optimization has yet to reach a static optimal solution.

@romney80 Thank you for the FMC advice, greatly appreciated.

But you have just sent me down a rabbit hole 😉