Network Isolation & Mains Cleaning—What's Your Approach?

I have a confession of a positive nature: I’m 99.998% certain I have maxed out my current Naim-based system. There’s just nowhere else to upgrade—analog or digital. Now, going separates (a different hierarchy altogether) within the ecosystem, obviously, there’s much that can and would be gained; but for an Integrated and source(s), it seems to have reached its zenith.

What made me decide this? Well, completing the final leg of isolation within my network, and it has really paid dividends, like obvious ones, which is something I do not say often. I recently experimented with fiber of sorts. They’re FMCs, actually—the single-mode TP-Link MC110CS, and I purchased a new fully online double-conversion pure sine UPS to add to my network, which is a Tripp-Lite 1500vA model. I believe this unit has really made the most impact after listening with it in for the past week. It is without a doubt contributing to a truly crystalline view of nearly every recording, albeit in different ways and each according to their respective strengths and weaknesses. What cannot be disputed is its consistency in providing such a listening experience, especially in terms of true sound effects and instrumental separation. Also noticeable is a sheer volume shift. I’ve had to adjust my volume knob because it has definitely increased in loudness across the board. I don’t mean it in a negative way, as in ‘loudness wars’ type of increase. It’s just I don’t seem to need to have it quite as high; and shrill recordings I auditioned have lost most if not all glare. I can quite easily pick out details in the treble and other parts of the spectrum that seemed subdued or altogether absent from before. It has been simply remarkable to discover the layerings of background vocalists or an instrument suddenly become quite easily identified within the stage that had otherwise been veiled or ‘hiding’ from before. But what really kills me lately is the obviousness of venue space that has opened up. Within certain recordings it was there, just not like this now. I am at a loss to describe how enjoyable it is to listen to such things effortlessly. It would appear to me that the uber-noise suppression/low capacitance of the Topaz in conjunction with the steady voltage regulation and especially my AC receiving a continuous pure sine wave has taken things in an extremely positive direction, which leads me to believe in such measures to get the best out of one’s network audio.

To get back on track, I’ll admit that I already have gone a bit overboard with my power cleanup/preservation and isolation techniques for streaming audio, but really wanted to eek out that last bit of potential and get to the cleanest, purest AC signal within the audio chain, which now includes the networking components and LPSs, and look something like the following (now with the addition of the UPS), starting with the components, followed by the LAN components, and finally the FMC and overall networking chain. I’ve separated them out first, then attempt to illustrate how they all come together:

• Google Nest Home Router & Teddy Pardo 15/2 LPS
• Ubiquiti Cube AC Modem & Sbooster BOTW ECO MK2 LPS
• English Electric 8 Switch & Paul Hynes SR4 LPS
• TP-Link MC110CS FMCs (x2) & Teddy Pardo 5/3 LPS, Jameco 5W

LAN medical isolation chain:
• LAN Isolator #1: Google Nest (WAN out) > BJC Cat5e > Baaske MI 1005 > BJC Cat5e > Ubiquiti Cube AC (LAN in)
• LAN Isolator #2: Google Nest (LAN out) > BJC Cat5e > Baaske MI 1005 > BJC Cat5e > EE8
(far right port #8)
• LAN Isolator #3: EE8 (far left port #1) > BJC Cat5e > Baaske MI 1005 > In-Wall Ethernet (to Ethernet Keystone Jack 3rd floor)

FMC chain:
• EE8 (far left port #1) > BJC Cat5e > TP Link MC110CS #1/Jameco 5W > 1.0M Tripp-Lite Fiber Patch Cable (SC/SC) > TP Link MC110CS #2/Teddy Pardo 5W > BJC Cat5e > Baaske MI 1005 > In-Wall Ethernet (to Ethernet Keystone Jack 3rd floor)

The power supplies are connected with either AQ NRG-Z3 or Schaffner ferrite-coated PCs and plugged into a standard power strip going to the output of a Topaz 1kVa Ultra-Isolation Transformer, which is fed to a receptacle of the online UPS. Overall, it looks like this:

Network Room 20a Wall Receptacle > Tripp-Lite SU1500RTXL2UA UPS >
Topaz 1kVa > Tripp-Lite PS-602-HG power strip <—Hynes SR4/EE8 switch;
Teddy Pardo 15w/Google Nest; Sbooster BOTW ECO MK2/Ubiquiti Cube AC; Jameco 5w & Teddy Pardo 5w/TP-Link MC110CS FMC #1 & #2 (last leg)

So this has been my digital isolation journey and has led me to wonder what everyone else is doing or has done? Maybe some aren’t doing anything at all, other than Ethernet cables and switches, which has obviously been enough for many. I’m interested to hear people’s experiences. Mine has been an absolute revelation thus far, and one I can only highly encourage regardless of what iteration one takes.


I have done absolutely zilch. Unless you count using ND5XS2 wireless…


Interesting, a lotta stuff you’ve done jsawyer09

I have a DC Blocking Filter, my own design & build, which is a throwback to another problem, apart from the DC problem it also gave a small but worthwhile gain in SQ & I’ve kept it in.
The DC filter is installed in a power dist board with 3 x MK 13A double unswitched sockets.
I make my own screened power cables, with a mix of Furutech, ieGo & BG PermaPlug plugs.

My ethernet is unscreened, deliberately so, but has ferrite in the ends of each branch.
I do not use additional ethernet isolation, simply because each components RJ45 port incorporate isolation transformers., no point in adding more IMO.

I have a lot of SMPS switching noise suppression, this is typically over a band between 25 KHz & 3 MHz, most are 50 kHz to 1 MHz.
I have 2 methods to minimise it;
1: Ferrite on both the AC & DC sides of all my SMPS’s. The only ferrite that is effective in the SMPS switching band is an MnZn mix from Fair-Rite, formula 75; its effective between 150 KHz & 10 MHz with a maximum impedance at 1.8MHz. I have these on the DC side with as many cable turns (passes) through the ferrite as is possible. Plus I have the same formula on the 230vAC side.
2: All the SMPS’s are on a single power strip fed from one of the outputs of an APC 350 uninterruptible power supply (UPS). The UPS has an internal isolation transformer & C&D mode filter and these suppress switching noise feeding back into the mains.
I also have a splattering of other ferrite on some power leads.

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Nice one… same here… dont have the patience or money to do all that.
I just listen to my music…


I do nothing really and won’t be doing so either. I moved all my audio to a separate vlan, but that was for easier management for me and stopped the work VPN causing issues with Roon.


Seems you have done quite a bit yourself, @Mike-B. I see you’ve also approached ferrites very sensibly. Many don’t know or understand the importance of finding the right ones for specific attenuation needs.
I’ve eliminated any/all SMPSs in both the listening room and networking chains, too. Not that they necessarily need to be (as LPSs still add their own noise, regardless). I just did it for consistency over time.
I can say without hesitation that all of this has been quite accumulative insofar as improvements go. The results have been nothing short of astonishing. A couple of benefits that I neglected to mention is dead silence from the speakers and a newfound impactfulness in full-throttle openness in the soundscape that almost envelops you; especially impressive is the way bass—whether synthesized, kick drum, upright or electric—just hits you. It’s like it moves more air now and just projects into the room, moving through you. Seems no matter what I play, there’s this sense of physical impact that was nearly always absent before. It’s really something.

The only time I’ve found silence with a Naim system is with the power off…

True statement for many. I can’t say I’ve ever had such issues as reported. Even my SN2’s transformer is quiet (knock on wood) unless you get within an inch or two from it on the rack.

By silence from speakers, I have a very, very faint shhhhhhh coming from the tweeters no matter the volume, and you have to get within a few inches to hear it. In the mid- and bass drivers I used to have a very faint hum coming from somewhere (I should say from the mid-bass driver), so it wasn’t completely silent, though may as well have been, since six inches away and you couldn’t hear it in the least. Whatever change(s) I’ve recently made have quite literally eliminated any such hum. I can only wildly guess adding the fiber media converters to the last leg before entering the streamer from my Ethernet keystone jack had something to do with it. I honestly couldn’t say for certain without going piece by piece to track down the culprit (or in this case, the remedy).

Shhhhhhhhhh… is that with the D7’s? They’re slightly more sensitive than my Rogers. Hiss quite audible within about a metre driven by a Nait 5. Much less driven by an XS2.

Yes, sir. The hiss cannot be detected at all unless your ear is very nearly right next to it to about three inches. From there you can’t hear a thing, even cranking the volume knob to 12:00.

Very nice @jmtennapel. Yes, the ENO Systems function just like the Baaske passive isolators. Some prefer one over the other, but on paper they achieve nearly identical specs.
I started with a Cisco 2960, then an Uptone eR to my current EE8. I’ve documented my experiences here and felt they contributed either nothing or very little ‘improvements’ on their own. The EE8 has stayed because it was doing something that translated as subtly likeable to my ears, though not necessarily profound. Isolating, especially with the addition of the double-conversion UPS and Topaz IT, has made what I can claim as being pretty profound on the sound to me.

I use soap and brush for mains cleaning :soap:

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I tried Crest Whitening and Listerine, but the sound was a bit too bright and sterile.

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Why can you never find an eye-rolling emoji when you need one?

I know, I know…I was tempted to add, ‘and it killed 99.9% of the sound I was looking for.’ So there’s that.

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Been an advocate of fmc’s for a couple of years since I put one in. It isolates the rest of the home network, feeding a cisco 2960 which is exclusively used for audio.
My theory, borne out in practice, is that if there irregularities in the fmc clock, the cisco will reclock before sending to streamer.

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Good info, @raym55. I am finding that out. I was always reluctant in trying fiber or FMCs for no real logical reason. It just seemed overly complicated to me but not really the case anymore since researching different methods. FMCs couldn’t be any more plug-and-play, really. Just need to ensure you have the right fiber cable and if it’s SM or MM. I would’ve tried straight fiber but the EE8 isn’t capable and I like it too much to add the Cisco or another switch chained in the mix.

All this talk of understanding the importance of certain things. As per others I have done nothing. When the family and I detect a problem we’ll let you know.

Fair enough.
And nothing’s been a problem, per se. It is simply attempting to maximize a potential for better sound, which is what any tweak is. This method perhaps isn’t as exciting or relatable as an audio cable or new PSU upgrade is all.