Linear Power Supplies, Optical Connections or do nothing?

Following general forum advice, I was looking to power at least my English Electric 8 switch with a linear power supply, but also possibly my router and other switches as potential improvements in my digital chain. A multi output LPS like the HDPlex 300W would accomplish all of this or I could try various well documented other options from Silent Angel, MCRU, SBooster etc.

On approaching a HDPlex supplier however it was suggested I could achieve more by introducing an optical element to my ethernet chain, which would remove virtually 100% of any noise and this aproach would even avoid the need for LPSs?

I’ve since read a good deal of information on other forums (and some on this one) on the benefit of introducing an optical element to ethernet chains, some claiming optical isolation for them (even with reasonably high end streamers / DACs) was the equivalent of a black box upgrade! What I’ve also learnt is introducing optical into the ethernet chain could be done quite simply via two Fibre Media Converters and a Fibre Cable (cost £80 est.), then add an LPS on the ‘clean’ side to improve more, or if you want to really go for it there are more esoteric solutions involving multiple optical switches or offerings from audio suppliers such as Sonore (Optical Module Deluxe) etc.

I have tried some limited testing within my current system (i.e. not spending anything) to try and evaluate any benefits of removing any noise (if there indeed is any!) from my digital chain. I can stream Roon to my Sony TV which connects via optical to my NDX 2 but this has limitations in bandwidth (48khz max) the TV can handle via Google Cast and obviously loops in the TVs processing. That said, with even a 16khz stream the ‘pseudo optical’ route I employed didn’t appear to add anything. I’ve also tried streaming to my NDX 2 via MConnect and UPNP which will stream hi-res, which should avoid any cable/switch noise but I feel my cabled route including long runs, a Cisco 2960 and EE8 actually offers more and not just in ease of use. So my question to myself there would be, do I actually have any digital noise to remove or am I chasing my tail?

I also read somewhere on this forum that the newer Naim streamers are optimised to remove some nasties in the digital chain, and I’ve spent some time getting my ethernet chain right via switches and quality cables, so maybe that’s why I’m not feeling any major change streaming via UPNP or via my ‘pseudo optical’ route?

I’d appreciate any advice from anyone who has actually implemented an optical link and got any major uplift for their efforts? If so, it would be great to hear what was implemented too? I can go for LPS/s or an upmarket optical run, but would prefer not to do both…

My digital chain currently runs like this:

Router → Netgear GS108 (with TV, Sky, DVD attached) → in wall CAT 5E → Cisco 2960 → Roon NUC → back to GS108 → DeLock Ethernet Isolator → EE8 → NDX 2

Thanks for any constructive advice!

@james_n uses the ADOT system and may be able to advise.

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Thank you, all useful advice.
It is actually only one Netgear after the router, feeding the wall CAT 5E and various other devices, plus the EE8. The Roon feed comes back to the same switch. I implemented that before the EE8 but kept it to try removing traffic/noise from the EE8 so I’ll try all those connections straight to the EE8.
I’ll also try the other suggestion, swapping the Netgear and Cisco. The Cisco in my office currently feeds the NUC, the in wall CAT 5E, a PC and printer however is a bit of a brute to have in a lounge due to size and all the data connections front and bulky IEC at the back. Worth a try though.
I found moving the NUC into my office away from the audio definitely brought a good change, even though all the SMPSs are on a different power feed than the Naim gear.
I also understand the point about optical devices needing to be geared to audio, it was suggested I use a Sonore Optical Module with a LPS as an end point before the NDX 2, but as you say, I may already have enough complexity going on. I’m still curious though if that would remove noise or actually do nothing of note.

With only a lay-man’s knowledge, it seems to me this whole area is a mix of engineering and voodoo.

Excellent logical questioning summary by @jmtennapel above.

For me, I go back to 1st principles and try to have as little done to the signal as possible, which is what we always aimed for before streaming arrived. I have serious misgivings about devices that regenerate or translate from ethernet to optical and back again – my scepticism dictates that if anything is gained in these processes, there is a likelihood that something will also be lost.



FWIW - I have a Qobuz streaming setup that works rather well (good SQ)
A. NUC7i7NHE1 (fanless in AKASA Plato X7D case, 16GB RAM, Win10, Intel Optane 800P NVMe SSD) powered with an LPS (Paul Hynes SR7T 19VDC/10A). I happen to have a spare rail on this LPS, otherwise it is overkill!
B. RJ45 to USB converter : TP-Link UE300
C. FMC (2) : TP-Link MC-110MCS powered by one LPS with 2x 9VDC/2A rails (China via ebay)
D. Switch : (an older model metal case TP-Link TL-SG1008D) with a 7VDC/2A LPS (DIY with an old 1st gen Ted-P board)
30 ft flat patch cable: Tera Grand CAT7
5 ft patch cable: Startech CAT6
2 m patch cable: Canachoice CAT8
1 m fiber patch cable: Tripp Lite N506-01M SC/SC 50/125

Router—CAT 7—D—CAT6—C1 —Fiber—C2—CAT8—B—A

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I will start by saying that i have not invested in anything beyond standard domestic grade ethernet. I also have lot of experience on the commercial side of optical networking. I certainly understand the theory of isolation with an optical link. However my main concern is that any investment on the optical side could be easily undone if the PSU driving the streamer side optical connection is not up to scratch as that could just reintroduce noise that the optical link is looking to remove. You also have the issue of multiple signal conversions potentially adding jitter into the signal.

Also I know from my commercial work with optical that cleanliness is critical when making optical connections. Any amount of dust or dirt can impact signal strength and error rates.


Thank you everyone on here for the good advice.

I’ve had a good look at optical solutions from ADOT, ENO, Sonore, Cisco switch optical connections and the cheaper 2 x FMC options. There are of course Melco’s and Innuos devices etc. but the price begins to escalate and then a black box upgrade comes into reckoning.

I also got some helpful advice from a Linn DSM owner who has FMCs and LPSs on every network node, his NUC and elsewhere!

I will do some testing by rationalising my LAN first, see what that does, if anything.

I also read with interest that the Naim NDS/NDX White Paper specifies 2 levels of optical isolation within the streamer, I’d assume that was carried forward to the newer streamers (if not more) so I’m not sure what adding more optical isolation will achieve…

I’m also unclear on is what LPSs actually bring to the party. There are a few members on here who have say they’ve gained using an LPS with the EE8 switch, also on Cisco switches modified to use an LPS and various Sonore/Uptone/FMC devices with LPSs added.
Can anyone clarify for me, does an LPS on a switch or similar node reduce only the noise transmitted as EMI/RFI down a streaming cable, or actually reduce noise transmitted with the signal (or possibly both)? If it’ improves the actual signal, it seems to me (with only basic knowledge) that adding an optical link will not necessarily help without cleaning up noisy network nodes first?

If I’m going to invest in something I’d like to be reasonably clear where to start (after rationalising my network) and how far I then need (or want) to go!

Apologies if that’s more questions than anyone feels like answering!

Thank you @jmtennapel , that makes it much clearer.

All my ethernet patch leads are Cat 6A with floating shields, except a Chord Epic on the last leg. Also I use IFI power supplies, standard on GS108/Sky Router and X on EE8 so there is some cleaning already in place, but I’ll study available LPSs some more, after I’ve tried swapping the NG and Cisco switches in case there are any gains there.

I had the Netgear gs105 some years ago. Was astonished at how the sound improved when I put a good linear ps on it. It was an Hdplex at that time.


I thought the floating shield means the shield is disconnected from the plugs, so RFI/EMI is not passed through the plugs but the cable length is still shielded. May be my misunderstanding but other forum members reported positive outcomes from floating shield cables?

You are correct, the other poster has it backwards.


Can you use wi-fi. Works brilliantly for me.


It’s been pretty universally accepted, esp by those in IT who don’t believe in ’snake oil’ cables, that fully shielded internet cables are for commercial server use, not home, and can create more problems (i.e. ground loops) than they solve. A Cat6a like Blue Jeans cables sells, is connected only at one end and therefore shield the cable but don’t allow ground loops to pass. But hey, you be you….


I too have the EE8 switch, but Chord do not recommend a LPS for this.

I went with an IFI Power2 PSU, which works well.



Same here
Currently only Router → EE8 → ND555 in setup.
Cisco 2960 is laying around and waiting to be tested.

Also would like to add a LPS to EE8:

  • Farad Super3?
  • Silent Angel F1?
  • Sean Jacobs DC3?

None at all - IFI Power2?

I am a bit confused and still in internet-research state.
And further advices are very welcome. Hope not to hijack - suits also the OPs needs with LPS for EE8


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I’d like to know about an LPS on the EE8. Think of the Farad 3……

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I’ve put a Cisco between router and ee8 with positive effect…

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I went with the IFI iPower2 as read in some reviews that it was a good pairing with the EE8. Did sound better than the stock PSU.

I’ve never used a LPS, so cannot comment.


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You need a low-noise power-supply. LPS or SMPS is irrelevant. And low-noise clocks in the switch.

Fiber is fine but you need to make sure those interfaces (SFP or external boxes) are fed from a low-noise power source. And unless you fancy doing a lot of experimenting look at the SFP:s, fiber cables companies like Sonore and Melco is recommending. They vary a lot.

Fiber or ethernet sound different and personally I prefer normal ethernet as long as you have good switch.

I have hotrodded my Cisco 2960 switch with silvercaps, extra RFI-shielding, low-noise OXCO-clock and a very low-noise external linear PS. And I have a separate streamer (no DAC inside) with really low-noise power and clocks running I2S to he DAC. I use DIY ethernet-cables (Excel etc. as described on this forum a while ago). I prefer this setup to the fiber alternatives I tried which tended to an overdamped sound. Probably due to my lack of experience with fiber.


Interesting! I tried the ifi and didn’t like it!