Network Power Question

I read many posts regarding power supply upgrades to network devices with interest. If I have my router connected to a 5-port Netgear ethernet switch with all my dedicated audio devices connected to it, would I have to do both devices to get any possible benefit or could I just do the switch?

The only one who can tell if there is a difference is you. Try it and see.

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If there is a benefit, I believe that 99% will come from the switch, and 1% from the router. I would go for the switch only.

How did you arrive at those percentages?

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Some people have too much imagination.

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I am not a “super” audiophile but I am a network engineer :wink: - and as long as we disregard any voodoo, there is absolutely no way changing power cord/brick to a switch can change anything in network traffic!!! If your switch backplane is overloaded and you are having latency issues that can cause interrupts but it still will not affect the actual tonality, etc of sound - and if you having latency issued on a wired ethernet device you need to replace/upgrade either the switch or cabling… that’s assuming music is local - if you are streaming then of course you connection to ISP is the main bottleneck.

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I am not a network engineer, but an “audiophool” hobbyist who keeps trying various tweeks and then listening for positive changes to music reproduction.

Assuming that you have sufficiently revealing hifi equipment in an acoustically-appropriate environment and time (and $$) to waste, you might want to explore the fine points of noise reduction for digital music. For me, this has been a rewarding sonic adventure.

I started down this path years ago with groundbreaking hardware from a small English company, Meridian, who pioneered network audio in the 1980s. They never recommended exotic power cords or cables or expensive ethernet gear, but when I finally listened to a retailer’s advice I discovered that there were substantial gains to be made.

Power: I am convinced that cheap switching power supplies on a hifi circuit generate hash that obscures fine details in the music, so replace them with linear models, even inexpensive wall warts from companies like Jameco. And check out Shunyata Research. There are online retailers who will send you their products to try before you buy. This was a revelation for me, especially for my powered speakers.

Network: my first step was a Netgear GS-108 with an IFi SMPS shunted to ground per engineer John Swenson. You should at least audition a Cisco Catalyst 2960 switch available used from eBay, <$70. Most recently, I find that the Uptone EtherREGEN is worth every penny at $640.

Don’t be intimidated by the many naysayers; trust your ears, and follow your bliss to music nirvana (as budget allows).

Interesting, this is really what I was hoping for when I first posted. My current network layout is NUC/ROCK to Netgear GS-105 to Devialet Expert/Dynaudio speakers. I was kicking around the iFi option and had read a little about the “shunt to ground” but could not find any actual details. If I heard “any” improvement at that point, maybe stepping up to something like the EtherREGEN or equivalent in the future. Did you hear a noticeable improvement with just your first step? Enough to take the subsequent steps on faith? To me, the change from a laptop/core to the NUC/ROCK was an obvious improvement.

The handy things is that the Swenson grounding ‘trick’ is incredibly easy to blind test. I listened over headphones whilst my partner randomly connected or disconnected the ground for periods - I was entirely unable to discern when this happened so concluded that in my system it was of no value. At that point, I decided to quit whilst I was ahead when it came to network tweaks.

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Hi Gary,

Like you, I started with USB out from a Mac running Core and then graduated to a separate NUC feeding various endpoints over the network. Better. In every case, I found that replacing the supplied SMPS wall warts with a decent lps had a sonic benefit, if only because they were no longer polluting the shared AC circuit.

Even though the Cisco 2960 that I purchased (used) has a switching PS, the internal components and design, including a superior clock chip, meant that there was less “Phase-Noise” (or something) to make a difference that I can hear. For the few dollars that it cost me, it was worthwhile to experiment without going back to school for an engineering degree.

The resulting improvement in clarity opened my mind to the EtherREGEN. Also, because I have the time and money to chase down additional increments, I did replace the stock Uptone power supply with a (relatively) cheap Chinese ZERO ZONE lps and a quality ZU cord through my Shunyata PS8 power strip w/ Defender filter.

Everything matters. -Unless you know that the currently accepted laws of physics constrain any new thinking. -i.e. Let’s not learn anything we don’t already know🤪!!

I have had two different Cisco 2960’s that made zero difference in my Naim system, I got them on recommendations from the Naim forum. I recently changed them to Unifi switches as they fit in with the other Unifi products I have and easier to manage my network as a whole. Again changing to these made no difference.

If you want a Cisco I have the Blue version and a more recent white CG version. I am happy to sell them on, you can PM if you want to try one out if your in the UK.

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One does have to wonder how appallingly bad some systems sound when ‘in every case’ replacing the SMPS gives rise to a ‘sonic benefit’. Unless of course it is a replaced component with an integral SMPS, in which case the whole idea of ‘linear is better’ is discarded in favour of another idea ‘Phase Noise (or something)’, whatever that is…

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Anyone using PoE switches? Thoughts on the isolation between the source power block and the remote switch when in this configuration?

Yes, I use a UniFi PoE powered switch in my listening room, powered by the UniFi core switch upstream in my network closet on a different floor of my house. I chose the configuration solely to reduce the number of cables in my listening room. Before using that switch, I used a non-PoE UniFi switch.

As I fully expected, there was absolutely zero impact on the SQ of my audio system, but a slight reduction in wire clutter behind my equipment rack, and a power outlet on my ZeroSurge was freed up.

Yes makes zero difference. Less power bricks and cable is nice though. I have same as @Kuryan_Thomas