Ethernet/fiber network topology

Hi guys!

I need your advice. I read so much on this forum about networks and streaming and I’m still in two minds about certain things. Even though I’m an IT guy, I trust my ears and a couple of changes to my Roon server and network convinced me that there’s more to just bits.

I’m simple, I only stream Tidal via Roon ROCK on NUC to my NSC222 streamer.
Current topology:

I’d like to investigate two options, audiophile EE8 switch and ADOT fibre kit.

What I’m not certain is, would EE8 be used to connect both NUC and 222 streamer? Or should this be separated, NUC connected further left to the main Mikrotik router? (red line on the below picture)

For ADOT kit topology, ADOT would be connected to Mikrotik given it has an SFP port. But the question is should I only connect the streamer at the end of ADOT module? (black ethernet option on the picture)
Or put additional switch at the end of ADOT that could connect both NUC and 222? (red ethernet option on the picture)

I guess the question in both cases is, would NUC (stock SMPS) connected to the same switch as 222 streamer, potentially pollute or improve streaming?
Any experiences or should I try all options to confirm myself? :slight_smile:


From my experience its best to have everything connected directly to your main router if possible. Ethernet direct to your NUC and ethernet direct to your 222 on a separate port on main router. I have a similar set up using a pc as music server using roon. In the run to my DAC streamer I installed a basic fibre media converter with upgraded silent power supplies very close to my dac streamer keeping the ethernet cable from the fmc to dac streamer as short as possible. The difference the fmc makes is staggering


So you only have your streamer at the end of your FMC? What FMC model are you using? Directly connected from the router?

Yes I’ve got 4 ports on my main router 1 goes to streamer through a 10Gtek FMC, 1 to my pc, 1 to a switch for connecting TV, android box etc and the last one goes to another switch which branches off to other parts of my house for other pcs, game consoles and tvs etc. When I 1st put the fmc in sound quality improved, swapping out the included power supplies with better quality made it even better. I don’t know if a more expensive fmc will make it even better or not I’ve not tried, the power supplied to the fmc’s does have a big effect. I’m using 5v ifi silent power supplies. I will probably upgrade these in the future to see what happens.


I found that the Ifi power X power supply still produces common mode noise. But uncertain of course how this affects sound quality. Presumably “safer” to switch to linear power supplies throughout the chain, whenever you have the spare change available.
A question regarding ADOT package: It is quite expensive but looks just like a Gtec module (with an Sbooster power supply). Is there a known technical difference to the much cheaper GTec?


The ifi silent power is pretty cheap compared to other power supplies, can you recommend one that could do dual 5v ? to free up a socket. I don’t know much about the specs other than ADOT saying that with there’s the data transfer rate is slowed down because it increases sound quality. Not sure if that makes any difference, with an FMC as long as there is no data lost in the conversion it will do the same job as any other FMC. It’s the power supplies which effect the overall SQ especially on the streamer side of the fmc

I had a similar problem and used an sbooster with a simple splitter adapter. Not sure if that compromises the quality of power supply.

I read that even different SFP modules have a different SQ signature. Actually, people report that Fibre in general is painting the sound much more than Ethernet. I haven’t tried it yet, but I can imagine that last leg conversion should have the biggest impact.

I agree with you, seems like PS type/quality is making or breaking a product like an audiophile switch/FMC. Looking at the ADOT MC kit model options, along with a single mode SFP, LPS add-on is the main thing that impacts the final price/quality. Some pretty expensive switches like Melco S100 seem to lose in tests against ER/EE8 when not using high end LPS.

I ordered the EE8 and will try it with stock SMPS. Seems like SMPS is the way EE8 should be powered, but there’re different reports around using LPS with it, both positive and negative. I might get my hands on one to try it out, but there’s not many dealerships that hold LPS in my country.

It’s not that easy and should be done in the wider context of power supply in the system. You may easily find out that for the network equipment at least some trade-offs exist between lps and smps and based on what is chosen those should be compensated somewhere else in the chain.

If extra ethernet ports are needed a switch is the way to go. If the aim is to improve sound quality by getting rid of noise in the network an fmc close to streamer is probably all that’s needed. I have been told that any unwanted interference in the ethernet cable is not converted to optical by the media converter. So cleans up the sound

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Also worth noting that LPS and SMPS variances can be compensated for by ethernet cable choice. Some cables seem to like one type of supply and some another. I’m not sure if this is the transparency of the cable showing the noise profile or covering the noise profile? However, it’s worth bearing in mind!

What did you change?

So I’m using Roon for Tidal streaming and light DSP. I have a single band narrow correction to flat out a peak induced by a room mode.

My Roon server was a Linux Ubuntu VM running on my white box Vmware ESXi server which has many VMs and network VLANs all connected to MikroTik router.
I never had any issues and the Roon used 10% of CPU allocated at average.

I at the time heard that Roon ROCK provides a much better SQ in general, so I took a punt and ordered an Asus NUC 13 with Intel i5 CPU to run ROCK on it.

There were a couple of things that changed with this. Obviously, Roon now had an optimised ROCK OS distribution running on a dedicated hardware. But also it’s now connected directly to an access port, it’s no longer a trunk port of my ESXI server.

On first listening, me and my wife couldn’t believe what we’re hearing. Noise floor went down, instrument separation improved, but the most impressive change was the soundstage. It went bloody 3D and wiiiide, beyond my speakers. I got instrument separation into the debth of the soundstage. It was a wow moment for me!

My room is mid size at most with 20m2 and it’s a living room so I’m constrained in speaker positioning. I’ve done much thought and effort into speaker setup and this change brought the best to it.

I’m now trialing Catsnake cat6a cable as a replacement to a non branded thin UTP cable in the last leg to my streamer and I hear difference in the low end mostly. Still need to do A/B when it settles a bit.

That’s my experience of changes in the digital domain. Plan is to experiment more with switches and ethernet cables.

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I suspect the flex mini is likely the biggest influence; interesting to see if the EE8 is any different.

I’d be interested to know if you tried WiFi too - and if so whether 2.4GHz or 5GHz band was preferred…

I have a Ubiquiti U6 Lite as my AP, covering both bands, and my experience with Wifi and NSC222 was not good. I had regular dropouts which I didn’t have with my former Uniti Nova.
I didn’t tshoot it much but moved to wired and obviously things improved, reliability wise. I cannot say I remember Wifi being better/worse than wired given I had reliability issues. I might do a Wifi/Wired A/B test when I get to it.

Regarding the Flex Mini influence, you are correct, Roon and streamer are now connected to it but at first, they were connected directly to MikroTik.
I added Flex Mini later because I needed more ports on the MikroTik. And to be honest, by adding Flex Mini to the chain, I didn’t hear any noticeable improvements. Certainly nothing similar to what we saw when Roon ROCK NUC was introduced.

Just got EE8 delivered a few minutes ago. It going to be a fun evening if I manage to find some time for critical listening. :slight_smile:

Odd that you experienced dropouts with the NSC222 but not the Nova as they use the same streaming board. I wonder what the difference was.

Just for my benefit then - the NSC222 was connected directly to the (same port on the) MikroTik when Roon was running on the VM?

Correct, no changes in the network leg to NSC222. It was Mikrotik > NSC222. Then I moved Roon from VM to NUC and used the last available port on my Tik. At this point it was a huge improvement in SQ!

After that I ordered Flex Mini to get some more ports. And finally moved both NUC and NSC222 to Flex Mini (PoE powered). This change didn’t do much.

The most recent hearable change was replacing the ethernet cable on the leg to NSC222.

I’ll now try to replace Flex Mini with EE8 and try the Chord C-stream in a leg between Tik and EE8. One change at a time of course.

Do you have enough ports left to move the NUC back to the MikroTik?

I’d add that permutation if you can - I’m thinking the UniFi is a managed switch while the EE8 is not… might be significant.

One change at a time though… :wink:

Good suggestion, I’ll add that to the test as well. I’ll use Flex Mini for non-hifi ports (Philips Hue bridge etc.) and EE8 for NUC and 222.

I need to check if I’ll then have a free port to test NUC over Tik. I’ll disconnect something if not. I love my MikroTik but man it’s only 4 downstream UTP ports and one SFP. That’s why FMC over SFP is so tempting as well. :slight_smile:

True, Flex Mini is a managed switch but I didn’t adopt him, I left him unmanaged.

So many permutations, crazy :smiley:

Good luck…

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