Finally got my hands on one (a Chord Company product, made in China, power supply Taiwan), courtesy Sonority Design (big Crimso fans btw), and I installed it yesterday.
Fed by Synology NAS running Minim into a blue Cisco 2960 acting as an edge switch into a white Cisco WS-C2960CG-8TC-L via Cat 6A. From there its a 1.5 meter Chord Music streaming cable into the NDX.
It sounds terrific, so quite honestly my expectations of a worthwhile improvement are low.
The 8Switch is, naturally very easy to set up. It comes supplied with a wall-wart power supply and a Chord C-Stream ethernet cable, but to date I’ve chosen to use the Blue Jeans Cat 6 cable that I know is run in and gives good performance to link up the Cisco and the 8Switch, with the Chord Music connecting it to the NDX.
A variety of things, but the ones I concentrated on are:
PLS.Trio’s superb cover of Twice
Rammstein - Sonne
Teodor Currentzis - Mahler 6 (1st movement)
Cold, straight out of the box, it was noticeably more dynamic and engaging, and the more I listened swapping leisurely back and forth, the more I was drawn into listening to the whole of the tracks through the 8Switch. This wasn’t supposed to be a serious listening session!
I played music uncritically through the evening and left the system on iRadio overnight to put some mileage into it.
This morning I repeated the listening sessions with the same results except that now I was hearing a better defined…everything (a good night’s sleep? extra All-Bran for breakfast?) but especially more room around the instruments.
A blind test:
My wife: I’ll be brutally honest in saying she has no idea what I’m trying out - it plays music from a box down the other end of the room, and that’s it. I kept it simple - play her favourite track that she knows backwards - Dreadzone’s Return Of The Dread
I play it twice, she picked the 8Switch version twice (out of two random spins). “Crisper, tighter bass, better!”
It’s not a “I must explore my collection to discover hither-to hidden delights” type of upgrade, but in the context of my system it’s a value-for-money no-brainer upgrade. It’s staying.