Do I really need an " Audio Grade Network Switch "? - Hi-Fi Stereo & Home Cinema forums | ATC Forums

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Do I really need an " Audio Grade Network Switch "?

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  • Do I really need an " Audio Grade Network Switch "?

    I think it's been a quite controversial topic for years, like what's the difference between normal network switch and an audio grade network switch, the price difference is certainly obvious though...
    Anyway, I've done some researches, most audio reviewers say that under this " new digital streaming era " that an network switch is a must for an audio system, which is understandable for me, I mean because if I wanna play TIDAL or Qobuz or Spotify, I gotta use network so I can stream these online services, so yeah I get that if the network quality is good enough, it can possibly level up the music performance.

    But anyhow, I'm new to this area, so I don't like to spend big bucks on my first purchase hahaha... there's a very wide range of the prices though, the top one is Ansuz Power Switch I think, the inner circuit and design look pretty sharp, and surely over my budget lol

    So I'm choosing between Bonn N8 and SW-8, these two both got good reviews, and the prices seem so darn much friendly to me as I'm looking for an entry level switch now, do any of you have any insights to share?
    or should I just go for the higher level ones?

    Best,

  • #2
    This thread might better sit in the Music Streaming part of the forum.

    The title asks a question to which the answer from my PoV is "no". The text, however seems to have assumed the answer is "yes". Others have different ways of assembling and enjoying their audio systems than mine and that's fine. Ignore me if you disagree with my PoV but the question was asked.

    I am sure the technical matters upgraded by tweaking a standard network switch into an "audio grade network switch" (see for example this Bonn-N8 page) are described truthfully; but in any basically competent system these issues do not propagate into problems on the analogue audio signal with the same names but different origins These problems can occur in a DAC but are not from the network switch. That's marketing vs engineering for you. If there are jitter noise and amplitude noise problems in a DAC then from my engineering PoV the network is not the place to solve them.

    The network for an audio system needs enough capacity at all points for the audio you want to stream; and then a margin for safety. Buying a big margin for safety is pretty inexpensive these days with standard 1000 Base-T home switches.

    One of the things I find attractive about ATC is that in all of their videos and other material they concentrate on the engineering that matters to audio performance and dismiss what does not. That mirrors how I practiced my engineering career. But if the hobby is about more than this for someone else and it's pleasing to have an audiophile grade switch then that's OK too. If so, then I am not the person to address the other question asked, about which one.

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