Value of audiophile network switches

I liked your post @Chrislayeruk but you couldn’t resist, could you? :joy:


Everything is better with MQA, i eat it for breakfast and it makes videoconferencing during the day so much easier

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You shouldn’t assume anything. I joined the thread posting about the new $3500 absurd Innuos Switch, stating that my NETGEAR was serving me nicely, and there wasn’t any desire to switch. The only need I would ever have to upgrade my switch is to gain more ports. I have never noticed any change in SQ. Build Q? Hell yeah, had two really cheap ones die on me, but even they sounded as good as my moderately priced 16 port Netgear that I currently use.

In your opinion. For me, MQA ruins soundstaging.

Hi Neil, if you do look to upgrade your switch you’d be hard pressed to beat a refurbished proper enterprise grade switch (from that well-known auction site) if you can tuck it out of the way somewhere - they tend to be fan cooled, so aren’t silent. Enterprise switches have a heavy duty backplane capable of simultaneously switching all ports at full capacity, unlike many consumer units. Most can be just plug and play, though there’s lots to tinker with if you’re inclined. They’re designed to sit in data centres and run all day, every day under heavy load, so they’re built to be extremely reliable. They normally have lots of ports and the PoE/PoE+ ones have a hefty power budget if you want to run IP cameras, Access Points etc. Both my switches cost me around £200 each. New, they’re nearer £900 each.

Whadda think of this switch?

Nice switch - the Amazon description is a bit sketchy though (as they often are) The Cisco datasheet spec is 22 X 10/100/1000 RJ45 ports, 12 of which are PoE+, 100W PoE capability, 2 x GB SFP ports, 48Gbps switching capacity (capable of simultaneous full-duplex load on all ports!) Has a cooling fan, so not one for mounting in your Hi-Fi rack. It’s a Cisco - expect it to live forever :wink:

My first big Dell switch was a complete steal - cheeky bid on a midweek closing auction for £203. Even now, the cheapest refurb is £400+.

It’s a beast of a switch and lives in the cupboard under the stairs. The fan noise at boot up is deafening! :laughing:


This was a session done last Friday…just posting FYI not saying it’s one thing or another.

I skimmed through the ‘noob’ explanations. Whilst I disagree with his almost endorsement of spending $1000 on an ethernet cable, mostly it’s a useful webinar.

Totally agree with his view on ISP provided routers. They’re not great and if you have anything more than the most basic of networks, put it in modem mode and add your own router.

A couple of key things to note - Cat7 and Cat8 are shielded cables and the shielding only works if you have Cat7 or Cat8 capable network gear with grounding connections in the RJ45 sockets. Normally only enterprise 10GbE kit will have this, so stick with Cat6 is my advice. If you really want to go with an optical connection - rather than media converters, an option is to buy a refurbed switch like the one above, and get an SFP optical module for it ($peanuts). My last pair of brand new 10Gb SFP+ modules cost me <£10 with postage. Plug your fibre patch lead straight into the switch and plug the other end into you optical UltraRendu or optical enabled streamer. You get optical capability and a much more robust and durable switch.

Optical can be a bit of a minefield though - there is a number of different standards (Single mode, multi-mode, short range, long range etc.) which utilise different fibres, different transmission wavelengths and there are also different types of connector.

I also disagree regarding audiophile switches - ethernet’s differential transmission (a bit like balanced XLR) deals with the noise. Leave out the shielding, and ethernet"s transformer-coupled galvanic isolation does the rest.

You also don’t need to be an engineer to do the basic config on a managed network switch. I managed to set up my first one with barely a clue about layers and ethernet protocols.

My second switch was trickier - it needed a console connection to do the initial setup…

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I have 3 spare Cisco 2960’s going if any one wants them, redundant since I swithed to Unifi, they are an audiophiles old favourite. Made 0 difference for me and they are too big. Like my Unifi SFF and PoE.

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Save your money and invest in a better DAC. “audiophile” network switches don’t improve or change the digital signal in any way. What they can do is remove, or not allow noise through from upstream to your devices downstream (very dependent on your situation, equipment, and environment). There’s no magic here, no night and day differences. They are simply network switches with cleaner power supplies and/or some power/noise filtering. The engineering involved is not worth the many thousands of dollars some of these companies charge. Many people use media converters (Ethernet<->SFP) with great results, this of course assumes you have an issue to begin with.


Does it run other stuff too? Seems a little bit of overkill (like an anti-aircraft gun on a duckhunt) for just running Roon :laughing: Of course, it does blow away any NUC, and at a ridiculously low cost!

I don’t use it any more. I bought it on a whim, almost 3 years ago now.
Currently, I have Roon under WIN 10 on a Ryzen 2700.

Oddly, as it turns out Xeon processors (even dual) are not the best CPU to run Roon.

Your Xeons aren’t that slow, though I hadn’t realised that Roon doesn’t leverage horizontal scalability that well. The Xeon E3-1230v2 in the RS3617xs Rackstation isn’t exactly blistering, but still, I rarely ever see CPU usage in double digit %ages.

I think what these companies are very good at is “sowing seeds of doubt”. They hint at a problem with a load of pseudo-scientific jargon and offer to sell you the solution. Most hardcore audiophiles can’t resist the spend because there’s a hint of a suggested improvement, even though if an improvement does exist, it’s so far below the threshold of audibility as to be insignificant.


Evidence please. Real evidence. Not the “many people are saying” type of evidence.

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IEEE 802.3at PoE+ (~25W)?

I don’t see that on the datasheet you linked.

My apologies, typo on my part. 12 of the ports are PoE.

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No worries. I’m looking for an unmanaged Cisco POE+ (802.3at, ~25W) switch but I don’t think one exists.

If you know of one, please let me know.

Unless it’s possible to setup/run one Cisco’s smart/managed switches in “unmanaged mode”?

I need a dumb switch (to suit it’s dumb owner :smile: )