Wow, I truly appreciate you taking one for the team and contributing your research. I got nothing to share re: network improvement. I was able to improve my streaming experience by using a Sony TAZH1-ES DAC to remaster everything in DSD. I am sure if I upgrade the signal being sent to the DAC using your info will improve even further. Plus this should improve my video streams as well.
Hello @singingg , Wow.
We have done many similar things in our network optimization. I never tried optical though, and probably won't. One thing I have not done is upgrade the power supply to my ONT terminal in my garage. I also have one long run of Verizon's cat 6 from ONT into my office. From there I am highly optimized:
Supra Cat 8 > Verizon Modem Gateway G3100. Wifi is disabled. The imbedded switch in the G3100 feeds non audio (TV's and Eero Pro 6 wifi routers)
It also feeds my JCAT m12 gold switch with Sean Jacobs DC4 -AR6 power supply. This M12 switch then feeds my two audio streamers. It formerly also fed my Roon Nucleus, which is now gone. All cables in and out of the JCAT m12 Gold switch are JCAT cables. The one meter JCAT cables then connect to longer runs of Supra with the JCAT Net Isolators. This is cleansing and also avoids any cheap wall plates or couplers.
At the stereo system, the Supra again uses a JCAT Net Isolator to connect to my passive Network Acoustics Muon Pro filters. The filters have NA cables on both ends, running into my Grimm MU1 streamer. This (Grimm) is now where my Roon Core lives, so that simplifies things.
I am going to look into upgrading the power supply on the ONT and also eventually replacing the long run of Cat 6 with Supra.
I agree with that on my first attempt. I replaced my Netgear cheap switch with a English Electric Bonn 8. I could not hear a difference, but felt better for having it!
Then I got the M12 Gold from Marcin at JCAT. Easily heard the upgrade in clarity. When I added a JCAT Optimor 3 Duo power supply the improvement doubled! Now I am using the Sean Jacobs AR6 to power the switch and better still. Maybe I will repurpose the JCAT Optimo 3 for the ONT! Anyway, with all you have done, you should get your hands on a M12 switch and I think you will appreciate it!
You know we are never done, right! :)
Thank you so much for sharing your journey. Wow, you are a man dedicated to the cause. Incredible dedication to doing what you did.
Just a note to those just joining in on streaming. You can achieve outstanding sound quality by two routes: enormous effort into cleaning up and optimizing your whole network or buying a better streamer that will isolate and provide outstanding sound quality. I think we all have tremendous respect for those that want to use their dedication and problems solving skills to optimize the network. But for most of us, we would rather just plunk down a box and use it.
Is there a big difference in cost? I will be honest, I am not sure. The cost of exploring both options would be costly in both money and time. But it would be interesting to know. But typically one takes one route and not both.
@ghdprentice I tend to want to do both! Optimize the network then add a very good streamer! I currently have a JCAT XACT S1 Streamer on trial from Marcin at JCAT. It is sounding amazing. It runs JPLAY, Marcin's proprietary software. It does not run Roon, due to sound optimization. I am still listening and comparing. I would say the S-1 is maybe 5% better than the Grimm MU1 in sound quality. But I miss Roon. I remember when I did not know what Roon was, now I miss it? :)
I appreciate you for sharing your impressions. Would you say S1 is the best you’ve heard so far? I loved my trial with JPLAY app. Its seamless integration with Qobuz and uncomplicated layout impressed me. Can’t quite comment on SQ cause I didn’t tried with a bonafide streamer like S1. I wish Marcin thought of including an external clock input on S1. Having heard, N20 with external master clock, I am now spoiled. It is very unlikely, I would consider another server or streamer without external master clock provision.
Thanks so much for sharing @singingg ! Hopefully this is helpful to someone. Obviously other than ASR crowd.
Speaking of which:
Like what? What proof do you seek? Also, why does anyone, anybody, any person, any human being, has to convince YOU? Who are YOU? People share their personal experiences. If it does not matter to you, move on. Read something else. Like ASR.
Hello @lalitk, I have not heard the top Aurender models. but the S1 is easily better than the Aries G2.0 and sounds slightly better than the MU1. I am still a Roon fan. I have two systems and two additional (bedroom / bathroom) endpoints so I enjoy the ability to link them with Roon. I wish the S1 did Roon, but I understand that sound quality drove this decision for Marcin. Aurender seems to be bending this consideration, and as I am still searching for a second streamer, I would be interested in hearing a new Aurender Roon certified Streamer. Grimm is also to be updating their software so a MU1 can be endpoint only vs Roon core as default.
I am trying not to like the S1 more than the Grimm but this is not proving easy!
@mapman @larry5729 , all that matters to me and my money is what I hear. Sorry, words don't do that. No offense if it is not for you. I cannot unhear improvements in sound. It is no different than upgrading any other component in the chain; would you argue about words explaining one amplifier sounding better than another?
@ghdprentice I have tried, for example, removing the Muon filter prior to my Grimm MU1. While the difference is not as large as without this 'quality streamer', it is still an improvement (to me). Marcin (JCAT XACT) has stated his S1 was developed to sound amazing without fancy switches or network tweaks. But keep reading, he also states that using an quality switch (in his case another S1 in switch mode) sounds even better.
Let’s start with you. Over 21,000 posts here and I fail to see your stereo under “systems” here. In Audiogon. If you post a link to your “system” in ASR that’s fine too. Graphs are fine too
@thyname not that I owe you any response but with all due respect I am not the one making any claims in this thread so there is nothing for me to prove. Btw my system has largely changed but I did have it posted here for quite a long time. Posting personal information on unsecured public sites is not a good idea in general so I stopped doing it. But I am glad to answer any specific questions and even offer a listen if ever in the area.
With outmost due respect, what are you actually saying? You asked for proof. No? Copy / paste:
So why are you twisting it?
I simply asked you “what proof do you ask for?”. Who asked YOU for proof? What am I missing here with your logic?
Here is my post:
If you think the dudes are all stupid here, you are grossly mistaken. Being of ASR doesn’t make you any smarter 🤯
And yet you asked the dude the following point blank:
So it’s OK for demanding others post their system but you are immune to posting yours? Again, I fail to see your logic. Unless you think people here are stupid. You are mistaken. Being of ASR doesn’t make you any smarter.
Nobody is obligated to offer any proof or even evidence of anything.
Accordingly of course nobody is obligated to either accept or reject claims asserted. That’s each persons choice. If someone wants to believe I have no problem with that. But apparently some have a problem when other’s opinion differs. Oh well, that’s life.
Apparently ASR is living rent free in some heads. What’s up with that? I have 21k+ posts here so I am entitled to post anywhere else I please don’t you think?
BTW just so happens I have never posted on ASR and have no desire to do so. Go figure!
No @thyname I did not ask for proof nor “demand” anything. That was your interpretation. Also not interested in pi—ing contests. So over and out. I’ll stay tuned and see if anything more of interest or value should pop up. Why? Because I like to learn and you never know where something useful might pop up.
You got ASR living rent free in your head. Maybe see a doctor about that.
"I would be curious if you would hear a difference if blind tested. If I had a $1 million system maybe it would be worth looking into. "
I have been in IT since the early 1990's. I just can't jump on board here although I appreciate the tenacity of the OP
Ditto. Op mentioned a house wide surge protector. I also have one of those. Highly recommended.
DAC and software used for streaming matter the most IMHO. No hardware can make up for poor quality streaming software. I am a Roon fan and Roon took my streaming to a higher level. Not the easiest to get one’s arms around but worth the effort.
I appreciate that Roon tells me each digital signal processing step along the way from source resolution to digital output resolution. This clearly enables one to better understand what one is hearing and the DSP performed to produce it. Very cool!
I stream mostly cd res files in my music library and Qobuz hi res up to 192 kHz and 24 bits as I recall.
I use only very strong wireless WiFi connections. Very simple and sounds simply fabulous.
I’ve heard it all over the years to compare with. Is my streaming the best? Don’t know. But it is very good and definitely in the game. I believe I have a pretty discerning ear and it definitely meets my expectations.
All my wires are connected properly TTBOMK. I have no inclination whatsoever to fiddle with those at this point. I chose my wires pretty well I think and they are all pretty cost effective especially by high end standards.
I run Roon endpoint software on 5 different devices currently. My two “hifi” streamers are Cambridge Audio Units. Nothing fancy….just well executed and pretty reliable. Roon itself is reliable most of the time but is subject to occasional glitches usually fixed by a restart.
One of my Cambridge units is an all in one so guess what? The only wires are to the speakers. It connects to my Roon core over WiFi so no wire there either. As simple as could be. Maybe that’s one reason why it sounds so good?
Congratulations on wasting a ton of time and money on this useless experiment!
the only thing you did of real value was to turn off Wifi on your router, which can interfere with lower end equipment, the rest is useless and it is physically impossible for it to make a difference.
and Ethernet is absolutely not directional, it is a two way communication street at all times, anyone telling you otherwise is selling you snake oil.
@nonoise you are, of course, wrong again. Someone saying that Ethernet is directional as an example is absolutely ridiculous without any type of evidence showing that at 50 year old network protocol autonomously changed how it works with the swap of a cable. As just one example.
I have been streaming music on my hifi rig for just over two years now. Since I am retired I get to listen to music pretty regularly. I have a killer analog rig and CD transport but I am streaming about 90% of the time now. It sounds great and I can explore Qobuz sitting on my couch with my iPad. Like everyone here, streaming music is a journey and I want to share what I have found sounds best for my rig. From what I have read on these forums, not surprisingly, everyone gets differing results and that there are many paths to musical oneness- ie. connecting to the music. This is my path.
1) An audio grade network switch between router and music server significantly improves the sound. The soundstage grows, bass is cleaner, highs are cleaner and the images are more dimensional. I was using a fiber optic link between the router and music server. This is the biggest bang for the buck for streaming. I found the LHY-8 network switch steps up the streaming performance a little more. As a stereo component the LHY-8 is relatively cheap but still, it costs 20x more than a basic network switch with a wall wart. For audio the difference between a computer grade cheap switch and the LHY-8 is no comparison. Don’t know if audio grade switches costing many times more than the LHY-8 would perform better- don’t care. This one works for me.
2) Silver plated copper wire ethernet cables are a must. These don’t have to be super expensive. I found silver plated copper wire ethernet cables for 5x-10x the cost of basic $10, 1/2meter ethernet cables do the job very well.
3) I stream PCM using a ROON based music server. I started with streaming DSD. Tried several different filter configurations. In the end I found it better to let my DAC do all the work and take the load off of the processor in my music server. That gives the best sound for me. My DAC can upsample. Depending on my mood I go NOS most of the time but I try upsampling now and then.
4) 96 kHz/24 bit files sound the best. This applies to downloaded files and streaming. I noticed this early on but was able to confirm it several times now because I have found some albums on Qobuz offered in multiple formats. I have a few albums on CD that are offered on Qobuz in 44.1/16, 96/24 and 192/24. I did some informal trials and concluded that 96/24 sounds the best to me.
That’s where I am today. I have my own modem and ifi 12 volt low noise power supplies on the modem and router. Can’t say I heard much of a difference with those upgrades- but they didn’t hurt. The other big benefit is that I ran an ethernet cable from the LHY-8 to my TV. Wow! what a difference in the picture that made- and it is not even a silver plated wire ethernet cable. (It is 75 feet long) If there are audio skeptics out there regarding an audio grade switch, then seeing is believing.
I could be cruel and mention that the one tweak the OP doesn’t mention is getting his OCD medication dose adjusted properly, but I won’t go there.
This site gets a lot of people who are new to streaming and are afraid of potential complexities. Hopefully they won’t stumble on to this thread or they might run away.
However, in all seriousness to the OP, I note that more than a few times you say a change resulted in the elimination of a “huge amount of grunge” or something similar. Really? How bad was the original setup? We can’t quantify grunge, it is a subjective term, but surely the original setup you describe must have given some satisfaction? To your credit you seem to have rejected some solutions, such as Uber expensive switches, so you have done some critical listening and not just thrown money at the system.
I started streaming, as many others have, with a Mac n DAC, using a program such as Audirvana Plus on the computer to maximize the sound quality. And it was a pretty satisfying way to go for several years. Eventually I got tired of having a computer in the system and then started with streamers. There are improvements as I go up the ladder, but in terms of SQ,, the original MacnDAC got me about 90% there. The rest has been incremental improvements, and about 2 years ago I called it quits and just sit back and enjoy what I have
Let me add my WOW to all the other Wow's. I did not realize the I was dropping a neutrino-bomb on the forum. I think the dust has settled sufficiently for me to respond.
First of all I am making no claims that necessitate belief. This is just my journey that I took, not by plan, but with open minded curiosity. Many times along the way I would question a tweak but always went ahead because “ you never know until you try.”
My original post is very long and contains much information. I spent many hours collating these experiences and writing them into a literate article. Much time was spent in making the best word and grammar choices. However I am sure a professional editor could suggest many improvements to my writing.
In writing my first and last two paragraphs I tried to proceed with all humility. I do not expect anyone to believe me about any of the points discussed. As a matter of fact I would be chagrined if anyone did. The topics discussed are meant to be a stepping off point for your own experiments in your own system, when and if you feel the need and have the time and inclination to experiment. If not, I am sure you are happy where you are at, which is nothing I would ever judge. As stated, I only proceeded when I heard a potential problem that I thought had a solution. I was rewarded many times and learned a lot. I am still going to stick with the $15 ethernet switch, as I have not yet heard a reason to replace it.
Here is an informal outline of the topics discussed in my original post. I spent more time discussing some because they are still new ideas to the community. Many may find it helpful to print out my OP and reread it at your leisure because of the density of ideas. That will allow you to use it as a guide over time and to make notes as you experiment:
Power cords brands and models
Ethernet cable brands and models
USB cable brands and models
Wifi/router and wifi access point
If any of those topics are not in your “belief system” I am not going to psychoanalyze you. I do not find any of these tweaks to be fringe or controversial because I have done the work. It is up to you to investigate when you are ready. Please do your own due diligence.
Let us take one example. Every network has at least one ethernet cable. How hard is it to unclick both ends and reverse it while listening critically and while sober? Do it a couple of times. If you hear some difference then you learned something, if not, then be happy where you are! For heavens sake, don’t be too lazy to try!!
Here is tweaking story. Around 2000 I learned about the “fanatical” art of tweaking through Jonathan Scull’s excellent column in Stereophile Fine Tunes. I read that first when a new issue arrive and tried all of the suggestions. It was suggested that an audio grade outlet mattered. Well I found the $50 at the time, swallowed and placed the order. Still highly skeptical, I installed it, and since I was just beginning to seriously tweak my very good system, I heard just the most minor improvement that can be heard. I shrugged and kept it in my system. A couple of years later I was investigating plugging various amps and other components directly into the wall. I needed more outlets, so I had to remove the audio outlet and temporarily hard wired a star wired outlet box to complete my experiments. When I completed the study, along with many other enhancing tweaks, I realized I could go back to the audio outlet. This time there was a jaw dropping day-and-night difference because all my improvements had lifted so many veils. The difference was the same both times but much more discernible the second. Live and learn!
One last point. My hopefully completely tweaked streaming network is incorporated into my equally fully tweaked amplification system in my fully tweaked room. (yes that took a lot of meds and a couple of bottles of single malt, chuckle) The synergy has made my system sound like a million bucks. I/me/myself are happy where we am!
I don’t want to go back to 1968 when one plugged the captive generic PC of the receiver into the most convenient ungrounded outlet, used the red and white tin plated IC supplied with the turntable and tape deck, and using the zip-cord wire to the speakers that the dealer threw into the package @ 5 cents/foot ( How many feet do you need? No charge!) Oh, those were the days, not like the civilized times we now live in. My current system now sounds a little more refined, I think.
@fredrik222 That's quite the leap of logic you take to try to insult me. Out looking for revenge for your kaleidoscopic blunder from that other thread? I said no one's under any obligation to prove something they say they can hear.
Speaking of taking leaps...
All the best,
@nonoise lol, you really think that highly of yourself? I certainly didn’t do any blunders in the previous thread, but your ignorance was on full display. And of course you want no part of actual facts, because then everyone would see you for the noise you are.
if someone claims that an Ethernet is directional, clearly they attributing mind ghosts to system performance improvements, as that is simply impossible. So, you are, as usual, wrong.
@singingg Lol, yeah, facts don't play well on this forum, people can't handle when they are challenged by basic facts.
End of story - Ethernet is not directional, it is two way communication with equal speed and other performance metrics in both directions.
Based on responses here and other threads, most folks are quite content with their basic streaming setup. Almost all budget streamers or even laptops are capable of “The sound quality is good enough” premise. So when someone with their basic setup like Node 2, see someone like OP jumping through hoops to optimize SQ, they don’t quite grasp what is happening. Streaming after all, is plug n play 😉
I hear a difference based on Ethernet cable orientation in my system. It is easily detectable. I had the Pangea SE premier Ag plated Cu wire ethernet cables. They are not marked. I had to let them break in first for 48 hours and then I could tell which direction worked best. The AQ ethernet cable direction is marked. One thing I haven’t tried is reversing the AQ ethernet cables. Would be an interesting experiment...
I even reversed the ethernet cable live while streaming. I could swap it around fast enough and not interrupt the music. A few moments after swapping directions I could hear the sound change.
Agree on the “directional Ethernet” topic. Removing that from the assessment would be addition by subtraction. Otherwise I just don’t have the time or will to address such a large dissertation further. People can take what they like from it.
Of course making changes can matter. There are big ones and little ones. “Tweaks” tend to refer to the lesser ones.
It’s ok to focus on just tweaks when posting but my practical advice would be tackle the big items first before getting to the little ones. That’s kind of hard to dispute, right?
Surge protection is a good precaution to take and I second that wholeheartedly. Does it make my streaming sound better? Does not matter. Fact is it sounds grade A+++ to me and that’s all that matters to each in the end.
If someone is new to streaming, chances are there are improvements that can be made But the devil is always in the details and some tweaks might play a role . Have fun whatever turns you on.