Using Ethernet Switch with Nucleus and dCS Bartok

Have ordered a well regarded audiophile DAC with a Roon Nucleus+ and a Bluesound Vault (as NAS)

Two questions,

  1. Has anyone used a Bluesound Vault as an NAS in a set up like this? Better/worse than a QNAP or similar computer NAS?

  2. I’ve been told that the setup will require using an ethernet switch. Is there anyway to avoid the switch and/or does the switch affect SQ?

Any recommendations for setup would be most welcome.

Thanks. Michael

If you search the forum you will see a number of people have the vault. If you are just using it as a NAS then it is a very expensive option.
You will need a switch, IT people will normally say they have no affect, hifi enthusiasts may beg to differ.

I’ve never tried comparing switches. However, it is my suspicion that a resolving-enough system will show differences between switches. If you’re buying a Bartok, you’re probably going to attach it to a very resolving system. I think it would be worth buying a few and comparing. “Audiophile” switches are starting to become available.

However, please note that the “sound quality” of your ethernet switch will not compare to the effect on sound quality of many other variables, especially speaker/listener placement and room acoustics.

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A good switch definitely helps. The Cisco Catalyst 2960 series are a good benchmark, especially the PD models with external power supplies (which you can easily replace with a good linear power aupply). The best switch I’ve heard is the Uptone EtherRegen.


Hello Mike.
Long time lurker, first time poster:slightly_smiling_face:

I have just put a deposit down on the Nucleus - hurrah! I’m very excited about this. It’s my first proper step forward.

I’m new to networking and want a reasonably robust backbone on which to run all my Audio components. I currently use an EE hub and the four Ethernet ports are in use right now. So I am going to plug an 8 port switch into my EE broadband hub. So all the computer and TV stuff will run through 3 ethernet ports in the EE hub, and the 8 port switch will be plugged into the remaining fourth ether port. I will then plug hi fi streamers etc into the 8 port switch.

I see that you recommend the Catalyst 2960. Thanks for that. However, when I google this switch, I am presented with so many different 2960 model numbers that I’m routed to the spot.

The Naim Forum ( has good things to say about the Cisco WS-C2960-8TC-L switch, and I’ve found a refurbished one and I think I should buy it. However, people say that I should buy an ‘unmanaged hub’, or an ‘intelligent hub’, because I need a simple plug and play switch. I am new to networking and so I have a daft question - sorry about this:

Will I be able to simply plug the Cisco WS-C2960-8TC-L switch into my EE broadband hub and forget about it and get on with playing my music?

Any advice gratefully received
Thank you everyone

A cheap switch will do the job, you could then buy a more expensive one, from Amazon or somewhere with a good return policy, to see if it makes a noticeable difference.

Get a cheap switch to start. You can upgrade later when you would probably be better placed to notice any improvement.

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That’s the one. Some say the newer white switches sound a bit better, but YMMV. Keep in mind that’s only 10/100 out on the ports so if you have any other devices that need 1000 then best to get the CG model.

Be sure it’s been reset by the seller and it will be plug and play (ie unmanaged). They take forever to boot up, so be patient (at one point all the lights go off). Sound much much better than a prosumer switch.

What Charles said: buy it unused or reset by the seller and it will work fine and you will have no need to use the managed functions.

If you find a WS-C2960PD-8TT-L go for it. It has an external power supply and performs slightly better for audio as a result. It also has a slightly smaller footprint. Some people prefer using the 10/100 ports in preference to the 1000 as being noisier.

If you are able and happy to spend more, go for an Uptone EtherRegen.

Thanks ged_hickman1. That’s good advice - thanks for your time.

I am torn though. There’s a company that reckon that they have 38 refurbs @ £89 + VAT:

What do you think?

Thanks for your time Henry. I’m interested in the cheap Netgear options as per Ged’suggestion.

However. This is tempting:

Not sure about the supplier though - 38 refurbs in stock? And there’s the odd spelling error in their website. Do you have any thoughts? Thanks again.

Hello Charles

Thanks for your swift and detailed reply.

I have seen 38 refurbs listed here @ £89+ vat:

Have you come across this supplier before?

Thanks for your time Charles.

I’m in the US and have only bought off of ebay. For that switch I probably wouldn’t pay more than $50, but ask what they mean by refurb and the age of the unit. Newer the better most find.

My main house/office switch is a 2960L-16PS-TC that is $1k plus new that I got from a private seller for $155 (Nov '17 build). I had to go in a rese it via terminal but not that big of a deal. The other ones, older 2960’s, I got from office resellers and all worked fine and came reset and didn’t pay over $30. My main switch can supply power over ethernet (poE) so it’s powering another Cisco 2960PD Catalyst that is disconnected from the mains altogether and has only audio devices on it. Sounds great.

I’ve found the more I’ve done to the networks side of things the better my system has sounded. Nothing crazy expensive, though the opticalModules could probably be seen as pricey. Many on here I know poo poo the network side of things but I and thousands of others know what they’ve heard - and have actually tried it vs solely relying on outdated, non-audio related, theories.

Network components have two main sides.
The “it’s just computing” and “you can hear the difference”.
Bit like power supplies, cables etc etc.
Hence the suggestion to buy something cheap so you have a baseline then go for something more exotic to see if you can tell the difference.

Thanks Mike. I appreciate your time.

I’m trying to keep costs down and Your suggestion of the smaller footprint Cisco with The ext PSU is getting pricey I think.

You will see in the thread that I am now considering a cheap Netgear, or a Cisco refurb:

As I type my reply to you, Charles_Peterson and Ged_Hickman1 have both offered good advice and I’ve come to a conclusion. I’m going to purchase a cheap solution for now, and keep my eyes open for a used Cisco at the right price on EBay.

Did you know that Melville’s are about to release an Ethernet switch? How much? 2k. Yes, 2k! :thinking:

Thanks soMuch for your time Mike

Thanks Charles.

You’ve hit the mail on the head. I’m going to go with Ged_Hickman1’s advice, and go with a cheap option - probably a Netgear or something.

Tthen whilst I get accustomed to the sound I will enjoy scouring the ‘Bay for 2nd hand Cisco or uptone audio et-al solutions as you have.

Thanks again for giving your time to help me Charles. It’s so helpful bouncing these ideas around and I feel like I’m going in the right direction now.

Kind regards

Hello Ged

Do you know what, I’m goingTo do just that. My furrowed brow has gone and this is the perfect way forward for me-thanks!

I will acquaint myself with the sound through a cheap Netgear option, and keep my eyes peeled for a more exotic solution cropping up on the’Bay.

Thanks again for your time

You may be able to get hold of an unused old one. I got mine for £70. Will probably be selling soon. I wouldn’t bother with a new Netgear or even used.

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Hello Mike

Thanks. I’ll keep my eyes pinned. I’ve now freed up 1 ether port on my EE hub. So no rush. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled.

Thanks again

If you hear a 2960 after a Netgear, you’ll just end up throwing out the Netgear. So why not go for what’s best first?

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