microRendu and Ethernet Hub

I finally go that microRendu working as I wanted in my living room. I cut a hole in my drywall to get an Ethernet cable directly from my router to the living room where the stereo resides. I have the following:

Benchmark DAC2 (must be set to usb 2.0 mode)
KEF LS50 Speakers (for now)
Parasound A23 amp (for now)
ROON Server in a different room
iPhone. iPad, Android Moto X, Mac Mini, Windows 10 PC, Surface Pro as ROON clients.

The system is exactly what I wanted for a long time. The ROON READY works well and sounds great. Great job to all parties involved.

I just want to comment on one unusual observation and ask if anyone else has seen this behavior.

I have an xBox in the stereo room connected to my TV. I thought I would be extra smart and add a Netgear Ethernet hub (an old one) to the wire I had passed through the drywall. I then split out 2 Ethernet wires from the hub to the xBox and microRendu. I started playing some music from ROON while I watched the mlb.com baseball game from a live xBox stream. So I had 2 streaming sources getting extracting data from the source Ethernet wire (from my wall).

While watching the game and listening to music I noticed that the volume level of the music would vary. It was rather noticeable. After the game was over I shutdown the xBox, disconnect the Netgear hub and ran the source Ethernet directly to the microREndu. I then played the same CD again on ROON and this time the sound did not vary. It sounded correct.

I am going to conclude that it was the streaming noise from the baseball stream that was affecting the microRendu’s music stream from ROON OR I have a low quality Ethernet hub. Anyone have similar observations? If you are using a hub and do not have this problem, what Ethernet hub are you using?

These days you’d use a gigabit switch rather than a hub and the two streams should have no effect on one another.

I think I made an error when I said I was using a Ethernet hub. What I used was a Netgear ProSafe 5 Port Gigabit Switch model GS 105

So you weren’t hearing any drop-outs or stuttering in the music, just fluctuations in the volume level?

I actually still have a real Ethernet hub sitting in a box… 4-port 3Com OfficeConnect 10Base-T Hub from the mid 90’s. Packet loss, network collisions, broadcast storms… oh the good 'ol days!!!

As most of your connections are digital cables, it is very unlikely (or impossible?) that some interference might lower the volume.
The only reason I could think of as a cause for lower volume (or the impression of lower volume) would be in the power supply of the DAC or Amp.
After reading your equipment list I’d also rule that out, as the DAC has a dedicated power supply. This can be an issue with usb powered DAC.

The music did not have any dropouts, just a lowering and then increase of the volume. It happened for many songs in the album I was listening too. As I stated before, when I listened to the album immediately after I stopped the baseball game stream and disconnected the xBox, the sound did not waver in level.

I have all the devices on the rack (very few) connected to a Torus R15 power unit. This unit is supposed to provide instantaneous power when the wall falls short. The Torus has tons of capacity given the few items connected to it. I am going to play around with the xBox some more to see if I can figure out the pattern or culprit.

I am very happy with the microRendu.