Putting a switch in the chain - mixed feelings

Ok sorry

There is indeed al lot goin on with router/switches in the audiophile world.

Switches are very complicated and highly sophisticated devices, each with its own characteristics and purposes etc. Managed Switches are meant to be managed by highly educated IT-engineers. As a novice imho you should stay away from that.

Look for an unmanaged Switch which has a Quality of Service (QoS) dedicated for VoiP, that means telephone over the Internet. It uses the UDP/IP protocol, and that protocol is also used for steaming audio and video. That is exactly what you are looking for.

Cisco, and other brands, produce such devices, for example the Cisco sg110-dxx. Used in small offices where is no IT-engineer to setup the network with VoiP.

There is nothing to manage, everything works automatically as you want it, and there will be never a doubt or uncertainty with the mantra: Is There Something Else That I Could Have Done.

Enjoy listening,


And you just never know what they’ll get up to when your back’s turned…

@jmtennapel Sorry, I assumed it concerned the Cisco 2960-8tc-L switch on which you revered earlier.

Enjoy listening,

Just remember in domestic Hi-Fi streaming such DLNA, RAAT and all the WAV cloud streaming services I am aware of (Spotify, Qobuz, Amazon, Tidal etc) use TCP web protocol based media transfers and not UDP.

UDP is mostly used in IP telephony media transfer as you say where very low latency is required. QoS (DSCP) is also not supported by any consumer streamers and media servers I am aware of… so you would need a managed switch to define the rules to assign if you wanted to prioritise on your LAN, but as the media transfers use TCP and most home LANs don’t have contention., there really is no benefit in DSCP.
Of course for the internet it’s moot too, as the internet doesn’t support QoS.

Most switches people use in home setups are very simple affairs, and those who use configurable devices like Cisco 2960 tend to leave them at default.

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@Simon-in-Suffolk: thanks for your input, I appreciate this very much.

The Cisco I bought stipulates on the box that is has automatically QoS special for Voip. That’s why I bought this one. For what it’s worth. It does a terrific job on my LAN!

  • Correct me if I ‘am wrong, but I assume that the greatest profit on your LAN is not using the rj45 connections on your Router from your ISP, except 1 to make a connection whit a Switch. Because of the fact that a Router is sending the requested information to ALL connections made on his rj45 ports, where only the port that has send that request will actually accept the requested information. So, Routers are for a standard very noisy.
  • A Router is as fast as its slowest connection. So al domotica connections, for example Hue, your robot lawn mower, alarm systems etc. are usually equipped with 10 Mb/s ports as a standard. Such 10Mb/s devices should only for this reason always to be connected to a Switch.

Or: Is this old school knowledge😊

Enjoy listening,


Yes, but I think you will find that is a profile based on whether it detects a Cisco IP phone on the port… not really relevant for us with audio and streamers, glad it is all sounding good for you.

As an experiment yesterday I tried my nd5xs2 using Wi-fi as opposed to wired with Cisco 2860. The sound stage shrunk and details and presence lost using Wi-fi. Wired connection quickly back in. For info router is by hh6 and in the same room so strong signal


I’ll try a lead swap later then direct from the hh6 to see what that does also then!

How long was the Cisco powered up for and where was it sited? I also hated it initially, tried out briefly on the floor by the racks. I was later persuaded to install it away from the racks and speakers and let it warm up and settle down for s few hours. This made a very large difference and others have found the same.

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Maybe it depends on individual routers but I can’t detect any difference with WiFi versus wired, if anything I prefer WiFi, I removed my 2960 and cables a while back

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I also wasn’t impressed when it first hooked up. Just to satisfy your curiosity, leave it powered for several hours at least before giving it a listen. From what I understand (which is limited) this has nothing to do with burn it, but with allowing everything to warm up and stabilise properly, especially the clock. Getting it away from the system and speakers especially also helps since the Cisco is affected by vibration/microphonics.

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Maybe try it also on a tile Or hard surface if it’s on a carpet Or shakey floorboard.

Does it have hard rubber feet or do you have three Blobs of sorbothane?

Are the Ethernet cables to and from it good ones like say BJC 6a?

I’d keep it in for a week if you can stand it, then take it out.

Also, it’s possible you may have a knackered one if it’s SH

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Can you say what your system is - or point me to somewhere this is listed.

Otherwise there’s no context to interpret your report.

Interesting feedback. I wonder however if something is wrong, or a mismatch somewhere. I know that all is system dependent and vary with our tastes too. But the main characteristic of the Cisco is the drive and involvement, very often pointed.
So I am surprised by your findings, but believe you of course.

I’m in the same boat as you as just can’t get along with the cisco. I tried one for two weeks but found it quite fatiguing in my system.
I thought I had bought a duffer after all the positive reviews and ended up buying a new old stock one which sounded exactly the same.
Having read all the tweekery going on with the switches I’m now glad I prefer my system without one.

I can easily understand that the Cisco didn’t floated your boat. My first item was sounding a bit edgy and agressive.
However, vs cheap Ethernet switches, a lot of owners found the Cisco more involving and drivy. It’s the first time I read on this forum, or old forum, that the Cisco 2960 lacks involvement.
I am just surprised.

Absolutely - or use a very high quality and relatively low cost HP.


That seems to me to capture the meaningfulness of most of the content of most of the posts about cables and switches.

Basically, the results are pretty random.

Nice write-up and choice of music. I didn’t find the Cisco had an impact on PRaT. Being constrained to have it close to the subwoofer in your system could be the problem. At the same time there are switches that enhance the PRaT, but at much more than the cost of a second-hand Cisco and they’d probably benefit from being away from the subwoofer, too.