Since I’ve had my ND5 XS2 I’ve used three different routers and noticed absolutely zero difference in sound quality from any of them either from local streaming or from Qobuz. Using wifi to connect the streamer to the network.
I live in Sweden,.there we can turn the chuko connector 180 degrees on the SMPS unit to change where the “live” is on the DC plug to the router.
It definitely makes an audible difference to the soundquality from the router.
Then I tried a slightly simpler Linear powersupply to my standard router,.it also affected the soundquality in a positive direction.
So my feeling is that there is a lot to do here. @Blackmorec has written a lot of interesting stuff about this earlier.
The sensible thing to do is to use whatever router you like. If you use WiFi, it won’t matter. If you use an ethernet cable, put a good switch between the router and the streamer, close to the streamer so you have a short cable from the switch to the router (1 to 3 metres). If you really care about sound quality, upgrade the power supply of the switch.
All routers are ‘noisy’, by design and by nature, since they are not designed with audio application in mind. Neither are most switches, but due to their design, they act as a filter or barrier for the ‘noise’ (electrical noise, not audible noise like a hum).
Here are some simpler experiments in a friends house,.who wants to get help with his cabledressing,and try an LPS for his incoming fiber-box.
The fiber-box is visible on the right in the picture on the wall.
Here this simpler LPS definitely made a difference in the soundquality.
SO,.when all the cabling is optimized and exchanged, the next picture will look much nicer.
BUT,.back to the question of the importance of the router…
Don’t know that I can describe it, but I believe there was a definite uplift when I swapped out my isp supplied router and put in a separate modem and TP-link router. More reliable also. I only use WiFi.
Hi Peder, I tried some experiments with this some years ago, but over time with various changes up to current modern equipment, I don’t hear any difference between either ISP wireless hubs or the (claimed) high performance market offerings.
When I first started streaming I had a basic ISP wireless hub, and also not helping was a very variable network bandwidth of less than 5mb/s.
The hub over heated badly when feeding a stream through the hub over ethernet from NAS to NDX, its switch-set I believe was half duplex, so adding a full duplex network switch fixed that & noticeably improved SQ.
I then changed the hub to an Asus, still with the network switch, there was a slight improvement in SQ, but it turned out to be unreliable, I swapped that for a more upmarket version, again no improvement in SQ and again some nuisance issues.
Then I renewed the ISP contract (British Telecom) to get a higher bandwidth & they supplied a gigabit ported wireless hub. All this fixed the nuisance issues with the previous hub & although ADSL made a big improvement to phone line SQ, it made no audible difference to SQ when streaming web radio.
I stayed with BT & their supplied wireless hubs since then, the service is now fibre (VDSL) & has far far more bandwidth than streaming needs.
Also over this time the wireless hubs have been upgraded to what is now (arguably) the best performer on the UK market.
Over the time, since the line was ADSL & is now VDSL, I have not detected any audible ‘improvement’ in SQ despite that I have measured significant improvements in Bandwidth, Signal to Noise Ratio & Line Attenuation performance.
It is definitely just as important to upgrade to a linear powersupply for your router.
It is very easy to hear the improvement in soundquality compared to the associated SMPS that comes with the router.
I am very familiar with the rest of what you write,.and have spent a lot of time optimizing these things…
BUT,.I haven’t had time to explore the effect of the router itself on the sound quality yet.
That’s why I opened this thread,.to possibly get some experience from others here .
When you mentioned an external linear powersupply to a switch.
You can also get a switch with a built-in dedicated LPS.
Ediscreation Silent Switch OCXO is a very good switch,.with a built-in dedicated linear powersupply.
What I was looking for is if there is a way to use a phase pen which I have to make sure it is correct to save hours of listening. This is what I do with the power cables
I will evaluate if it can recognize lower EMI by measuring distance to the SMPS to verify correct direction. I have done that in the past but not on SMPS.
By the way I just noticed a strange thing. My speaker closest to the incoming fiber/ethernetbox and WIFI router buzz even if I don’t have a speaker cable connected to it! Will ground my Tannoy drivers which have a ground post connected to the basket and also move the WIFI away to see what happens.
I found a gain by using a CISCO 200 series switch with an iFi low noise smps used as the final switch before the streamer.
Good SMPSs optimised for low noise can be as good as linears, and can be better in some cases (linear PSUs are prone to emitting some of the switching noise from the bridge rectifiers).