My Experience with Fiber Ethernet

I have been interested in any benefits of using fiber Ethernet to connect my DACs to my home network. While I would like to try the SystemOptique, I have three main listening locations in the house each with UltraRendu, Oppo HA1 DAC and Oppo PM1 phones. Core is a Small Green Computer SonicTransporter i7. So, the cost of conversion to SystemOptique was prohibitive for me.

So, I decided to try the much less expensive route of using fiber to Ethernet transceivers, short pieces of fiber cable with the DAC end transceiver powered by iFi 5V power supplies, which I had from another system iteration. The transceivers are multimode Bidi brand and cost $63 for the pair, including the SFP module inserts. The cable cost varies by length, of course, but 1-2 meter cables are $10 or less. I had the iFi PS but they cost about $50 for the required 5V ones. So, the investment was not at all prohibitive, even for use in all three locations. I also installed a fiber link from my network switch to the SonicTransporter Core.

As for me, I am a retired Electrical Engineer who began his HiFi/Stereo hobby at age 11. That was 61 years ago!! Also, a good friend installed two sets of fiber links in his audio system and had similar results as mine, which confirms that my impressions are not imaginary:-)

So, how did it turn out? First was the link to the DAC at one listening position. Immediately, I noticed increased clarity in vocals, using the very well recorded Neil Diamond albums at 192/24. Then Streisand, Celine Dion and others with same impression. Bass was also cleaner with better transients (drums) and, oddly, stronger bass output.

Then I put in the optic link to the SonicTransporter Core. Similar improvements with about equal amounts of improvement in vocal clarity and bass transients and output.

I know that some readers will not believe the significant amounts of sonic improvements, but they are real. And, as stated above, my buddy noticed almost identical sonic benefits when he installed fiber links to his microRendu and NUC Core.

Now, if I were to start all over I would certainly consider the SystemOptique route but this was a relatively inexpensive way to try fiber to see if it would improve my listening experiences. Try it and post your impressions.

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I’m running on fiber for about 5 years and would not return back
Started with TP Link 10/100 media convertest, then switched to Etherregen + OM Deluxe (not as significant for SQ than optical isolation itself).

Removal of grainess/noise and then also the sub-bass output was immediately prominent here too.

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Or imaginary. You’re already using ultraRendu Ethernet-to-USB transceivers in each listening position, and Ethernet is in any case electrically decoupled from the rest of the system. Since what’s being transmitted are digital packets, with error correction and retry, what do you, as an electrical engineer, think the optical link could possibly add to the transmission experience that would in any way affect the sound that you’re hearing?

So you’re both imagining the same thing. Not unheard of.

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Thanks, Bill for your opinion. And that is all I was expressing - my opinion of what I heard. Readers can believe it or not, but that is so true of many of the things we as audio enthusiasts try. At least I presented a way for folks to try optical without breaking the bank.

My engineer mind agrees with you - the differences should not be there. But, I am enjoying my music much more with the changes I made and that is what it is all about.

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Well, regardless of whether the difference could be measured, or not, the experiment is interesting. I had no idea fiber links could be so cheap.

Are these the kind of transceivers you are using?

The bits are bits argument is not what matters here. What fiber prevents is radiated electrical noise that is specific to your environment being picked up by the ground on your ethernet cables. You may have none. You may have some. You may have a lot. You may have some and your streamer/dac is built properly to reject it. Some won’t. So many variables and completely environment specific. From my perspective, at minimum, doing the ethernet transceivers with fiber in the middle is so cheap, I don’t really understand why more people wouldn’t just do it whether it’s needed or not. No downside and only upside. I also expect fiber connectors on streamers/dacs will become much more standard in the future…

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Doubt it. Noise just isn’t that big a problem for most people. And in this specific case, there’s already another device between the Ethernet and the DAC. Maybe it’s really badly built and will transmit noise, but lots of people love the ultraRendu, so I doubt it.

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Thanks. You reinforce my point on noise when you say “I Doubt it.” My point is you don’t know, so why not spend $100 for a couple of transceivers and don’t worry about it.

In regards to devices supporting fiber…the Lumin X1 and P1 already has fiber and doubt Lumin will release another networked device that doesn’t. Sonore also has multiple fiber devices. Others will follow. They always do.

I avoided this thread earlier as I didn’t want to start bits are bits post.

But as someone who buys a lot of fiber gear for the office, I can say that fibre switches (particularly Netgear 8 port with 2 FSP) have become really cheap in the last few years. Not sure how much of a step up or down it is from just a transceiver, but I have bought a lot of them.

Not needed to try one for audiophile testing though, but I thought it worth saying.

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You misunderstand me if that’s what you think.

Craig, I respect your opinion, but really… Certainly noise, even noise over Ethernet grounds, can occur, but does it really occur? I have yet to see any evidence at all of it. But there’s plenty of evidence of people worrying about it. My leading hypothesis, based on the evidence I’ve seen, is that this noise problem is a shibboleth, a myth, the Abominable Snowman hiding in the woods ready to jump out and pounce on unwary audiophiles. Meaning that I doubt other hypotheses, including that the ultraRendu is badly built and is transmitting “noise” from the Ethernet ground to the rest of the audio chain. I’d be happy to update my priors with more evidence, though.

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In my case fiber runs through a rack and behind a wall close to many other power and signal cables that can be and almost certainly are a source of radiated noise. It goes to a transceiver and streamer/dac combo that is far away from any possible sources of radiated noise and I use very short lan cable without a shielded ground to connect to it from the transceiver. So your issue on the transceiver transmitting noise is not real if handled properly. If a streamer properly isolated is generating it’s own noise that gets transmitted to a separate dac it’s a crap streamer.

Its pretty ridiculous to think that almost anyone other then achimago is going to take the time and expense to acquire expensive measurement equipment and measure to determine if you have noise even though you will still be stymied if you do because you can’t measure what happens to it inside your networked streamer/dac. So in the end you still “won’t know the facts.”

But after all this typing, I’m kicking myself because I promised myself I wouldn’t participate in the discussion of this topic again and broke my own rule as it always goes nowhere. I however will continue protect my major investment in networked audio gear with a simple, inexpensive solution that prevents any issue with noise. I frankly don’t care if I have it or not. To each their own. The beauty of life.

I do take some offense to your implication that anyone who disagrees with your view is neurotic. Really?

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That is only part of the link - the part that goes into the SFP port on the transceiver. Here is the whole link.

Amazon.com: A Pair of 1.25G/s Bidi Gigabit Multi-Mode Fiber Ethernet Media Converter with 2PCS Bidi SFP LC Dual Transceiver Module Included, 10/100/1000Base-Tx to 1000Base-SX SMF RJ45 to SFP Slot up to 550M : Electronics

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Gee, guys, I really did not intend to kick off another firestorm:-). I guess next will be debate on the type of fiber connector that is best: SC, LC? Or maybe there is an “audiophile” connector that costs $100 or so each:-)
I hear what I hear and that is that. I thought I would post about my experience in case anyone else wanted to try fiber Ethernet.
BTW, this is the first hint that Sonore ultraRendus are badly designed, or am I misinterpreting what was said. Where did that come from? They are overpriced, but that is the only thing I know of being bad on them.

The whole thing is anything we can do within reason to increase our enjoyment of music, then go for it.

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BTW, stay with multimode unless your two ends are miles apart. When I was doing fiber link designs for power plants, multimode was good to 4000 feet or so, or at least that is what the IT folks at the company where I worked taught.

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Huh? No, because the proof is in the pudding, you just measure the resulting analog output of the DAC for its noise spectra. And that does not necessarily require “expensive measurement equipment,” only an ADC and inexpensive or even free software – the process that the cited Archimago uses.

If that is too technical or involved for the listening > measurement crowd, then just listen to the overall system noise floor at the loudspeakers. If you can hear hiss or hum with your ear close to the loudspeaker, back away until you no longer can hear it. If you do not make it all the way to your listening position, the noise is immaterial. Because auditory sensitivity and masking are real things.

AJ

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Harry
Absolutely correct, we run 1GB multi mode up to about 800Mt and 10GB 350Mt or so from memory.

Harry have you just used Media converters or fiber based switches as well. I’m seriously interested if the switches have more noise as I have not needed to try them.

I’ll stick to simply preventing any possible issue with a tiny investment and not wasting the time trying to measure or do listening tests that are almost impossible to do properly or anything else. I’ll spend my time just listening to the music …

Now I really am through with this topic…:slight_smile:

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Michael, the only other fiber application I have tried at home was fiber-based HDMI cables for long runs in my HT. I took them out because they caused time shifts (lip sync) problems that were hard to compensate for. So, I went back to copper HDMI rated for the longer runs I needed. So, no I have not tried fiber-based switches.

Folks, I read this forum a lot but rarely post. Ya see, on several other forums I have innocently started a post that soon gets uncivilized. From reading the Roon community I thought that I could express an opinion and have discussions stay “nice”. Apparently, I was wrong. So, I will go back to read-only mode to avoid future unpleasantness.

When you get to 72, you have a better understanding that, dang-it, life is just too short. Be kind, civilized, and respect other’s opinions. Bye!

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I haven’t seen any mod intervention in this thread. Not sure why you think it’s not nice [enough].

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This. Just enjoy the music!

In the immortal words of Stephen Stills, if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.