Interesting response on switches and ethernet cables

Well seeing all these different threads about switches and ethernet cables, i thought i would post up the response that dCS give out to owners, certainly throws the cat among the pigeons
Please remember that dCS developed or helped develop a lot of the stuff that most use today, and are leaders in digital, so they probably know what they are saying, but anyway, i found this interesting and you might as well.

Thank you for contacting dCS. I am pleased to hear you are enjoying your Bartók so far!

When it comes to your network, the key point to consider is that you are striving for your network to be stable and reliable, not for it to sound good. Sound quality does not come into networking - only when the data arrives at the Bartók and has been through the final buffer stage does it become relevant. Audiophile network switches often introduce connectivity problems as they try to carry out network traffic management, blocking the traffic that your Bartók uses to communicate with your control device, such as an iPad - without introducing the sound quality improvements they claim to.

I would recommend a basic unmanaged network switch if you are looking to add one - the Netgear GS108 is a good example. The extra investment in your system would be much better spent elsewhere, such as on upgrading the cables in your system, just not ethernet cable.


I will get some snacks and refreshments, this could turn into a monster


Must say when i tried a melco S100 switch, i didn’t like it, to the point where i did think it took away dynamics.
But adding a better ethernet cable between the melco and dac, i did like.

But with so much un divided opinions on both, i did think that its rare to get a manufacturer bluntly say what they have.

I 100% agree with their response and well done for saying so. It follows my experiences not with DCS kit though I don’t have that deep a pockets.

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I suspect that if you asked the same question of Naim, they would say exactly the same thing. No manufacturer is going to state that network tweaks improve their product. They will all say that they they will work fine if you just plug them in. To say that they benefit from network tweaks implies weakness and sensitivity. The response is exactly what I’d expect and I don’t find it remotely controversial.


That’s not entirely what they’re saying though. They say that improvements can be made with cables, just not with network cables or switches. Which is a sensible position and would also be what common sense would dictate imo.


Sorry, I was referring specifically to network tweaks, so have edited my post to include that limitation.

You tried the Melco S100 switch. Two or 3 other members tried it with Nd555 and they didn’t liked it, finding it too soft and uninvolving.
However the ER is used by DCS owners on elsewhere forums. So maybe you should try, to have really a definitive position on switches and DCS.

Yes correct, cables etc can and will, but switches and expensive ethernet cables won’t make any difference apart from in your pocket, is how I read it.
Also I don’t recall any other manufacturers even answering a question like this, most will not say anything or get involved in any debate, let alone give a answer so clear

Some dCS owners use the melco switch, as well as others, thats not the question really is it

A bit maybe, because the ER seems to be preferred in general, at least from the discussions I read.
Did you found also that the Cisco 2960 gives nothing better than a cheap Netgear switch?

I do use a cheap cisco 2960, but only because i ran out of outlets on my router, secondhand £40 and it sits next to my router under the stairs

The Cisco new costs 500/600 dollars. Not really cheap. So if you disconnect it and put a Netgear instead, would it be the same?

What Bartok is saying also matches my experience. I have also never seen any evidence of expensive switches and ethernet cable “enhancing” a digital signal.

I dont have another switch to use and certainly not going to bother buying one to try, especially having tried one that cost £2000 and didn’t keep it.
£40 on a secondhand switch is fine, as i actually use it and need one

The Cisco is a top notch switch and is precisely the sort of thing to help with a reliable network in the way DCS mention. It has never been promoted as an audiophile product and will provide benefits by doing things exceptionally well. Certainly when I got one it was a good step forward over the Netgear that went before. A current Cisco is very expensive and again there is no way that DCS are going to say that people need a £500+ switch. They can do nothing other than saying that a little Netgear will be perfectly adequate. If they did otherwise you can imagine what people would say - ‘they are selling a £20,000 piece of kit and it won’t work properly unless I buy a £500 switch! That’s rubbish’. It’s not going to happen.


I read it the complete opposite, they are saying it wont do anything, rather than say other manufacturers that wont say anything, so your £20k streamer from another manufacturer might well need it?

I have just plugged my ethernet into the main router that goes to the streamer, cant say its sounding any different, than using the Cisco, but as said need the switch as i need 8 outputs and i use all the ones in the router and 4 in the Cisco right now

I don’t even use an Ethernet cable nowadays, streamer connects wirelessly to my Google router. Neater and no noticeable difference in sound quality vs a wired connection.

As long as the bits can reach the streamer it’s fine, it really doesn’t matter if the equipment transporting the bits costs 5 quid, 500 or 5000. Just get the cheapest option you can find, unmanaged is even preferrable as dCS stated, unless you are a network expert and know how to properly configure it. Shouldn’t really make a difference in a home scenario nonetheless, as the number of connected devices and the amount of packets is really low (in terms of networking).

Also just use any cheap UTP cable you can find, it won’t make a difference at all in terms of sound quality.

(i’m not expecting to convince any of the believers here though :wink: )

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