Do I really need an " Audio Grade Network Switch "?

I think it's been a quite controversial topic for years, like what's the difference between normal network switch and an audio grade network switch, the price difference is certainly obvious though...
Anyway, I've done some researches, most audio reviewers say that under this " new digital streaming era " that an network switch is a must for an audio system, which is understandable for me, I mean because if I wanna play TIDAL or Qobuz or Spotify, I gotta use network so I can stream these online services, so yeah I get that if the network quality is good enough, it can possibly level up the music performance.

But anyhow, I'm new to this area, so I don't like to spend big bucks on my first purchase hahaha... there's a very wide range of the prices though, the top one is Ansuz Power Switch I think, the inner circuit and design look pretty sharp, and surely over my budget lol

So I'm choosing between Bonn N8 and SW-8, these two both got good reviews, and the prices seem so darn much friendly to me as I'm looking for an entry level switch now, do any of you have any insights to share?
or should I just go for the higher level ones?



Hi preston8452,  Clearly some people say it won't make a difference, and others say they have tried one and it does.  Very few say they have tried one and it did not make a difference.  But maybe it didn't in their system. Certainly peoples systems and hearing will affect their opinion as well.  I have nice stuff, including nice streamer / DAC, good cables and I am ecstatic with the sound.  I added an EtherREGEN, and to my ears it was a nice improvement.  I then added the Bonn 8 Silent Angel network switch, replacing a Netgear switch, because as you stated, the price was appealing and I wanted to try one.  To my ears, the Bonn 8 improved things again.  Not as much as the EtherRGEN, but I feel it added and was worth it.

I recommend you try one!  Ken

I have an EtherRegen on order since early December. I'm going to try it. Here's why: 

Recently I was building out a wall-mount rack on the opposite side of the front wall of my listening room. (I always told my daughter that her bedroom would become - my media room when she moved out.) This is conveniently adjacent to my network closet with my firewall and router. 

In my planning, I'd decided to run a single network cable from a switch port in the network closet and then place a small switch in the rack that would supply the two devices (Oppo and streamer) with network access. This I did. And when everything was ready, I went back to the listening room to give my results a listen. 

Digital streaming sounded awful. Brittle. Streaming local files was not as bad, but neither sounded like they had before my most recent modifications. Long story short, I removed the new switch and the system returned its prior performance levels. 

The thing is, I've been working with networks for 30 years in my day job. I would NEVER have told you that I expected a switch to make a difference in the presentation of digital sound. But the answer, I think, is that switches can introduce noise onto the medium (wire), and some will more than others. Maybe your gear will filter out that noise, maybe it won't. My DAC is a Benchmark DAC3 HGC. It clearly doesn't capture it all. My streamer is a Tinkerboard S-based Volumio streamer that I built that normally sounds pretty fantastic. (Not expecting more than the standard level of galvanic isolation from that unit).

Converting to fiber and back comes with its own limitations on bit rate, etc, and in the end, it's two more conversions from the original format, so I'm a little shy about that approach. 

So I ordered the EtherRegen. I don't know if I expect it to improve on the link that I'm currently using, but I still want a switch in my rack, and the Netgear device I'd purchased (been using them for years) wasn't going to cut it. 

I am feeding a dCS Network Bridge with good optical + audioquest diamond  thru 3 switches (ER x 2 + Sotm)  Further, each stage is externally reclocked by a double emperor clock, as is the NB (as suggested by dCS).  

I heard improvement at every stage (including when improving clock cables).

All I can say is that different systems react differently.  In my case it's a huge, repeat huge upgrade.  

Try in your own system whatever anyone says.

We really  don't know everything.

Best wishes





anybody care to go back and see how many times this has been discussed on this and many other forums with the exact same results? Next time somebody wants to discuss this, please do just a tiny bit of research and see that it has been discussed ad nauseam..If I had seen it before you all chimed in I could have summarized the responses before they were posted. 

It is an endless and fruitless debate. It is an utter and complete waste of time. We see the same things stated over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again

and yet we will very soon see yet another thread where we see the same things stated over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again


the problem is the immature state of digital music reproduction: to wit: lack of interfaces with universally applicable results, error correction and dsp protocols with uncertain impact on sound reproduction, differential quality of power supplies and other signal transmission prone to RMI/EFI as well as ground level noise incursions, various degrees of clocking accuracy and phase noise generation and rejection, shall I go on? It doesn’t help that most reviewers tend to skirt these issues and give highly system context dependent recommendations. So I am afraid we’ll have to keep wading through endless threads. I only wish that people who have nothing but theoretical postulates to reiterate would exercise some restraint. My digital replay continues to evolve from an early start with the first CD players via computer servers to dedicated servers and latest generation dacs. In the process I have found significant benefits from gradual finetuning of all digital connections through signal and power cables, Isolators, reclockers, and power supplies.

Most of all: let’s enjoy the music!