Ethernet switches, LPS, and cables

I have a few questions regarding my Roon setup and if there is anything I should change. First off this is what the chain looks like:

Router (without internet access) -> Ethernet Switch -> Late 2009 iMac (Wifi for internet) + Bryston BDP-1 (both connected to the switch).

Nothing else connected to either the router or switch. Bryston BDP-1 in Roon Ready with nothing else attached to it and all other services disabled.

Router: Linksys E3000 (I’ve disabled both wireless bands)

Switch: D-Link DGS-1005G (

Ethernet cables: Regular Cat 5e that I had from before.

Other audio gear that’s in the room: Torus IS 15, Dangerous Music Source powered by Teradak 12V13A, Amphion Amp 100 + One15 + Amphion cabling, Grimm TPR for AES and analog cables, and 2 x Jitterbugs attached to iMac for now. I don’t know if any of these will have any negative interactions with the networking gear or vice versa.

I want to make it clear that I am not experiencing any obvious networking problems that I can tell. Only looking for potential improvements in sound. Zero dropouts with 16 and 24 bit WAVs. No latency issues.

1) Should I keep this plastic gigabit switch or swap it out for a managed one or one with metal casing? Anything to be gained from optimizing the switch settings in this particular case? I did notice that the sound differs when I had the iMac and BDP-1 connected directly to the router vs. the switch.

2) Changing power supply of the switch? Anyone have experiences with changing the PS of the switches with a LPS or a switching like iFi iPower? This one in particular uses a 5V 1A adapter. Any recommendations or suggestions? What about the Teradak U9 or DC30 or the ifi iPower? This is the listed specs for the switch:

Power Consumption
Power On (Standby):
DC input: 0.4 watts
AC input: 1.1 watts

DC input: 2.37 watts
AC input: 3.9 watts

3) All this gear is in the vicinity of each other. So, the ethernet cables only need to be a few feet long (~6 feet max). Given the gear mentioned and close proximity, any benefit to swap out the cat 5e with 6, 6a, or 7? Shielded or unshielded versions? I did read about the shielded versions possibly messing with the galvanic isolation if connected on both sides. Any thoughts for my context? Blue Jeans makes those bonded ethernet cables. Anything to be gained there? Looking for reasonable priced items here.

Please let me know if there are other things that I should consider that haven’t covered here. Many thanks!

you are chasing imaginary dragons.

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Most router using LAN connection is not galvanic isolated, If a poorly designed switching PSU can cause noise to propagate to the PC/endpoint then to the DAC. Switching to linear PSU helps to reduce the spread of noise. My recommendation is to use high speed wireless connection.

I’ve used iFi iPower but not satisfied, this is essentially a switching power supply with aggressive filtering in the audio range. Switching power supply has a wideband noise above the audio range, so the aggressive filters only take care of the audio range.

As long as you are getting adequate data signal via ethernet or wifi you should be fine.

I use eero mesh routers, and have four Linksys SE3008 switches in my network, and also use a BDP-1 in my setup. I use Cat 6 cables. but 5e should work fine.

In my experience, managed switches are more trouble than they are worth. YMMV.

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How do you get the full value of Roon without an internet connection?

Good point, and Roon needs to connect occasionally to the internet to validate the license as well.

I think I’ll stick with an LPS. Also reports of ifi iPower crapping out. I can’t use Wifi for the BDP-1 as it’s ethernet only.

Roon is on my iMac. My iMac is connected to the Wifi for internet. So Roon is connected to the net. I use the iMac’s ethernet for output to BDP-1. The BDP-1 has no internet.

That’s good to know. Thanks.

Yeah, speed is no problem so far with the Cat5e given the small distances and small data sizes. I was thinking more in terms of benefits from shielding. Not sure if I have anything to worry here.

Here are a couple of ways to connect where you don’t have an ethernet cable wired up for non-wifi equipped components.

I might use a Bridge at some point if I need the internet capabilities on the BDP-1 or for control purposes. Thanks for the link. If you know of a good AC bridge, please let me know.

Powerline adapters on the other hand I’ve tried. I have a D-Link AV500 and have used it connect to the BDP-1. It made the BDP-1 sound worse than the iMac connected to the DAC via USB vs. AES output on BDP-1. I put both devices on the same zone and so could toggle between BDP-1 and iMac in sync. After I had done that testing for a few hours, I went back to MPD with local thumb drive and it was a big difference. Also, the powerlines mess with some of my single ended headphones. The thing itself makes this high frequency whine that can be audible when the room is very quiet.

I shun away from power line adapters unless there is absolutely no choice…I would rather string 100M of cable around the building than deal with EoP

Agreed. Hard wiring is always best. But the EOP (Ethernet over Power) will do the job, but can be noisy. I found placement to be huge with respect to noise. I tried MoCA adapters too (Ethernet over Coaxial cable) but after awhile they went flakey, and I ended up installing a Cat 6 line across the house to my media rack.

Next to hard wiring, eero mesh wifi has been the best wifi solution I’ve found. The modules broadcast wifi signal and can be used as access points to wire up ethernet compatible components.

Yup, if I had the option to hardwire, that would be the way to go. I’d just have the switch in the room. I will check out the Eero Mesh. It might help with other devices as well.

It’s a touch expensive, but it was a game changer in my network setup…

Yeah, I’ve been checking it out. It looks great for sure. The frustrating part is that the room with the router and the audio room are on the opposite ends of the house, but on the same floor, otherwise I’d definitely cable it. Despite the large distance and the old 2009 iMac, I can still pull in 130 Mbps on Speedtest with the Wifi on the 5 Ghz network. The newer Macbook Pro is even faster in that room. So the network coverage isn’t bad at all from the existing router. Luckily, Bryston’s coming out with a USB Wifi Adapter. Might consider that as a control tool for MPD. Although, I’ve learned that keeping devices off from the BDP-1’s USB inputs has been better for the sound.

I’ve been amazed/puzzled with what adding the switch has done to the soundstage and the plane. Whenever I’ve experimented with hard drives, flash drives, USB hubs, Audioquest Jitterbugs etc, they’ve all made an improvement/change to an existing and established soundstage. Both devices connected to the router directly is also along the same line. The introduction of the switch on the other hand is a completely different beast. All those other tweaks I listed pale in comparison to the magnitude of change by the ethernet switch.

I thought I was going crazy, but there are a few others on other setups and devices that have pretty much nailed down what I’ve been experiencing to a high accuracy:

Most reported the same change in sound, but not all preferred it. So it’s very system dependent along with the user’s preferences.

It’s too early for me to confirm that I like this presentation more or less. The plane has shifted a bit back. More depth, width, and height. I also experienced the “loss” of top end like the other members there, but then went to my test tracks that I have listened to hundreds of times. I don’t think I’ve lost any frequency extension. There’s certainly no sibilance or harshness. Very fluid and involving. The change in the plane was VERY noticeable and took me awhile to get used to. Before it was more in your face.

I use the Bryston BDP-1s BNC output to the Schiit Gumby then fed to either my Integrated amp or AVR.

The Bryston USB out is used to feed the Meridian Prime Headphone Amp/DAC for MQA titles.

Schiit Gumby USB input is used for my Sonore microRendu and HQPlayer (NAA).

One thing about wifi, it either works or it doesn’t…

Agreed, if you don’t need any of the features of a managed switch. I’m surprised to hear you’ve had issues with the TP-Link SG108e, though; I have two of them at home (I wanted VLAN support) and have never had an issue with them.

I had an idea to test out the switch with the LPS…and so I did…with Bryston’s BDP-1 own power.

The switch comes with a 5V 1A power supply and I noticed that rather than the barrel input for the DC, the switch used a mini USB input. So I grabbed the cable from the PS3 and it was all up and working.

Immediately, return to the black background and the top end and air came back. Soundstage was superb. Also, lot more dynamic like before with that authoritative bass. So the LPS does make a very benefit for the switch. That’s that

However, I did notice that there was this sibilance and peaks to the sound that I have occasionally been familiar with. This would happen with MPD use whenever I would connect a portable 5400 RPM 2 TB WD Drive I had. This would go away with flash drives or when the portable drive would be connected to the hub with a Jitterbug in front.

I am not sure how much of this behaviour is due to noise coming into the BDP-1 or whether the power supply is being stressed. Bryston has paid a lot more attention to the power supply in BDP-2 and BDP-3.

So going forward, I will get a LPS for the ethernet switch. This should keep the noise floor low and keep the BDP-1 stress free.

FYI only, not an endorsement of any mentioned product (except our own). (Disclosure: Sbooster shares the same US distributor as ours)