Where to invest the most in the "digital chain"?

Dear All,

I'd love to get everyone's opinions on where best to invest/invest the most, in the "digital chain".

Using my current "basic" system as an example I have very good Internet service into a very good router with the stock PSU on a dedicated power conditioner strip with an ifi AC iPurifier. From there I have Audioquest Pearl Cat6 to a Cisco 2960G with an upgraded Russ Andrews Power Cable. There follows another AQ Pearl Cat6 to an English Electronics 8Switch with an ifi iPowerX. From there I have the Chord C-Stream Ethernet to my ifi Zen Stream with a 15V ifi iPowerX. Then a Wireworld Chroma 8 cable to an ifi iPurifier3 into a Zen DAC v2 also with ifi iPowerX. The EE8, Stream and DAC benefit from a power-conditioner/surge protector and a pair of AC iPurifiers.

I've got a SotM iSO-CAT7 on order which I am intending to put between the EE 8Switch and the network transport with a dCBL-CAT7u into the network transport.

Phew, that was a lot of words!

My question is, and this applies to all systems as a generic question, where is it best to invest the most? Should the best Ethernet cables and/or switches and/or isolators be first in the chain (i.e. from the Internet source) or at the end of the chain (into the DAC/Music Streamer/Network Transport)? Similarly, where should the best power supplies be placed? Or does it all matter equally?

This is purely about the digital chain, I'm well aware that great speakers and a great AMP with good power and speaker cables make all the difference too!

I'm interested in opinions and I will of course experiment for myself.


It's good to learn from the virtues of setting up camp on a dry river bed while watching the rain clouds unleash upstream. 

I see the DAC as the hub of a great digital system.   I have had a DAC long before they were in fashion.  Obviously the DAC's quality is of great importance,  but what feeds the DAC is equally important.    I really like my current DAC but in the spring I am going to bring home a few DACs and most likely upgrade within my one year window.   I want to get the most of of that DAC, so this streamer makes sense .

Well since records make noise

since CD sound sterile 

Since tape stretches 

FM is noisy 

speakers are unpredictable 

and the internet sounds ok sometimes 

my recommendation is to invest in a great chair

at least you will be comfy!




we have more experience here than most we have tried almost every major streamer out there and the sound improved dramatically from one device We started with Auralic then Aurender then Innous then the 432evo servers.


we also tried the roon nucleus and Sotm computer and a Baetis server

On a good DAC the differences were quite noticeable even the USB cables produced different results.


Dave and Troy

Audio intellect NJ

us importer 432EVO music servers

@larryro2 - best comment of the day! you are absolutely right that a good chair is one of the most important listening tools!

@audiotroy i'd love to drop £4k+ on anything, in fact I'd love to have £20k+ to play with full stop. But, I'm on the budget end of the enjoyment of music so this will have to wait a while!