Routers and Switches

I have read a few threads about the affects that switches can have on the SQ of streamed music.
My question is, do routers affect the SQ as well?
Thank you.

Some people have talked about using a LPS on Routers. Not sure if anyone has tried this or not. I note that MCRU offer them. I was going to get one but never got round to it and siting it maybe hard currently due to the routers position. This may or may not give more change than a different router. I have also not heard of a flavour of the month router on this forum yet.

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No routers don’t affect SQ as used by home audio UPnP and RAAT systems.

The switchports on a router or anything else for that matter may affect the coupled noise into an attached network audio device, … however the router itself doesn’t.

Some quality routers like the BT Smart Hub 2 incorporate an IGMP querier, which although doesn’t affect SQ, can make UPnP discovery as used by the Naim app work more effectively/quicker.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the PSUs on quality DSL broadband routers tend to be low noise, as SMPSU noise will negatively impact DSL performance, especially VDSL, which is very sensitive to digital noise, possibly as much if not more so than Hi-Fi . In fact it is advisable to keep cheap SMPSU devices away from your broadband router and wiring,

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Funnily enough, I just swopped out the stock psu for my router, which is a Sagemcom wall brick, with an iFi iPower cable/psu.

It did seem to make a slight reduction in noise.

I’ve been listening now for over an hour and slowly attuning to the change in SQ.

There are things I like about it (more clarity and separation esp. in the high frequencies, in hi hat and cymbals especially) but something else a sense of the music being a bit colder and more crystalline, that I’m not sure about.

But I’m going to leave it and see if I get used to it.

I used it for about 6 months previously but took it out for t(e past couple of months as I’d had a few dropouts on the BB service and wanted to eliminate the iPower plug as a cause.

Well, I’m 2 hours in now.
(And 3 large glasses of Sauvignon blanc.)

And it does sound rather good.

As the kids are sound asleep I have turned it up to volume 27 and put on When Will the Blues Leave by Paul Bley, Gary Peacock and Paul Motian.

Yes, it does sound distinctly colder and clearer than normal, but I like that!

Esp. at slightly higher volume

And I should inform you that the reduction in noise is discernible despite the fact that the signal gets passed through 2 Cisco 2960s wired up in PoE configuration en route to the 272…

(I did have the iPower device up for sale on pfm a while ago, so I’m actually rather glad that it did not sell yet…)

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Hi Simon
Can I ask you to say how I would go about checking that my 2960s have the latest firmware/SW?
E.g. Can I log on and see and update what firmware they are running on a browser on my home network via a Cisco site?

A few years ago I stuck an iFi iPower wall wart low noise (supposedly) SMPS on my BT Hub5, as it was going spare. I seem to remember a slight uplift in SQ at the time, but it could equally have been expectation bias. I am however fairly sure that the iFi is more likely to improve rather than worsen things and it calmed my audio nervosa for a while.


I recently replaced my 5 yr old Asus router with a new Asus RT-AX88u it’s got better speed and range than my old router and it has eight LAN ports so I was able to remove a small 5 port switch and it’s power supply. My Auralic G1 is connected WiFi and with the added signal strength on 5ghz and speed, everything is super stable and may even sound a bit better.

I have changed many a router and many a switch (And many a server for music), it’s a bit of a hobby.

I have never heard a difference with my hifi.


Yes you might be mixing things. Nearly all Ethernet connected devices will add noise to varying degrees. A switch, a server, a PC, a NAS or a router’s switch port (one of the four LAN ports most likely on your broadband router) will do this, but the router’s capability won’t.

Adding a switch has nothing to do with not producing noise, but it can help network setup and layout as well as it can change the noise that might otherwise couple into your streamer … so just like interconnects, mains leads and Ethernet leads, you can vary network devices to suit sonic taste on connected equipment that is sensitive to this noise in terms of sonic performance.

Not all equipment is… for example I have now setup my digital audio replay such that it is independent of any network changes or devices… it took a while, but am there now, and provides to my sensibilities a more consistent platform for enjoying recordings.

Slightly ironic, as it was probably I that discovered all those years ago that a Cisco 2960 produced a more preferable sound than a little Netgear 4 port switch into my then NDX -> NDAC/555PS. whilst reducing radiating emissions that interfered with my FM tuner.

My approach is physical separation and careful audio device selection. The new Naim streamers are a massive improvement here compared to the earlier models, especially with their digital audio outputs.


I am of the opinion that routers and/or switches have no impact on the SQ. You won’t hear the differences unless something is wrong.

All streaming services use TCP, so the lost packet must be re-transmitted if it gets lost so that integrity of the audio stream is not impacted, you will get dropouts if those packets are somehow got delayed. You will not get into a situation where “a few bits per second are altered” in the stream of audio samples sent to the DAC.


Trust your own ears, and do not listen after a few weeds. :slight_smile:
It is not about skepticism and all that, it is about solid engineering proofs, but if you think you can hear the differences, it is fine with me, it is your money, and i would not be religious about it.

all cool then - I read it that you said adding a switch to a router improves SQ which is incorrect - but changing network devices and what is plugged into them may change and / or improve subjective SQ.

If you have the web interface enabled and a (loopback) address enabled you might be able to see there.

If you log onto the console - type Show Version and you will see

You can get update software (IOS) versions from here

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Nobody here is claiming that lost data packets are the cause of any perceived sound quality changes caused by network hardware. Lost bits are almost unheard of unless your equipment is faulty, and would, as you say, result in stuttering, dropouts, or just silence, so clearly nothing related to changes in sound quality.

Thanks, I know that I am a bit carried away, but what I am saying that electrical noises, voltages, current, all the analog effects have nothing to do with streaming.

The digital to analog conversion is the most critical, and this is where we can hear the differences from chalk to cheese.

Quinn, I have no idea what your last post means.

It is just like a CD player, or a turntable, given the same source, as all things being equal, the quality of the sound output depending on the design of the device. In the case of a streamer, what really matters is how to generate the high quality sound from the same digital input stream.

But what did you mean when you said, “all the analog effects have nothing to do with streaming”?

How can 0 and 1 be affected by electrical noises? If the data packet is corrupted, it will be rejected, and gets resent, and this where a good DAC or streamer stands out. It is its ability to deal with errors and non-audio data from the stream.

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