What is a network switch and will I gain anything?

Hi. I am streaming via hard wired Ethernet connection to my router. I also have an Ethernet cable from my Verizon Ont ( for internet service) going to the same Router. People on here talk about a network switch. Would I gain anything from a network switch? Periodically I lose WiFi if that means anything.

In the ‘old’ days, routers had poor performing switch sets and a pukka network switch did improve things. These days modern routers have better switch sets, but that’s not saying they are not improved by some network switches. YMMV.
I doubt periodic wifi loss is a switch issue.
I use a switch to give just the one ethernet cable to the router (tidy to avoid 3 cables)

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There have been reports of folks sticking a Cisco 2960C switch upstream of the streamer, resulting in a positive effect on sound quality.

This is, of course, impossible, coz it’s digital, innit? Perfect sound forever, and all that.

(I understand that one can pick up a 2960C quite cheaply on the infamous auction site)


Try to listen yourself, preferably with borrowed demo items. If someone tells you its just bits and bits, they do not know what they are talking about. Came to the conclusion the digital streaming side is in its infancy and we are all learning, including Naim and other manufacturers.


Steady on Gaz. Be fair, I was a digital elec eng for 50 years! I used to know all about it, but now thankfully I’m retired, and know nothing! :laughing:

OTOH those nice folks in Westminster will be giving me an 8.5% pay rise next year, and the cats are appreciative (coz I can support their addiction to Dreamies)


A bit over the top maybe……but i still think we have got nowhere near the bottom of the barrel on the digital side, just scraping the surface.
As ever just listen, do nothing or spend your hard earned money?
Funnily enough the last time i talked to Jason Gould he said the 16 bit format still has much more to give…a Naim opinion, when many just want 24 bit etc.

Mostly on Lego these days…….

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And they look spectacular👍

Ok, so Jason is a “marketing person”, but……

The nDAC is a most interesting beast. If you read the white paper and other blurb, then the double buffering of the digital input stream “is perfection itself”; after that then it’s all down to the D-A conversion process.

But it has been widely reported that improving the “quality” of the digital SPDI/F stream has a positive effect on the analogue output - notwithstanding whether the nDAC is powered by an XPS (which is another issue in its own right).


Its a can of worms……with a long way to be resolved with “better” products, but some of us may still prefer the sound of the nDac. I include myself in the nDac camp for the moment.

It is a wondrous beast.

Do you have an external PSU on the nDAC? Mine has an olive XPS. Well worth it.


No have a nd555……same concept, but with more isolation etc. My dealer did not have one way back…….now has a trade in, am tempted. Friend has an nDac with xps…….very nice indeed.


Anyway, I think we’ve gone a bit OT here….

So get back to the original question, folks on here have reported overall improvements with additional switches in the system. There are some very expensive switches, such as the English Electric 8 (especially if one then buys a separate linear PSU), and ones from Melco & Innuos (Phoenix?).

Then there’s the Cisco 2960C, first promulgated on here by one of the Simons (“The Hood”, if you know your Thunderbirds :slight_smile: ). Cheap as chips on fleabay when compared to the others (I think I paid £35 for mine), so could be well worth taking a punt. Just insert it between router and streamer. However it is physically larger (and uglier) than, say, the ee8, so may not fit in with your decor.

Then it’s down to your ears.


Adding a network switch will give you more ports but it will have zero effect on sound quality.

The switches I’ve used have a subtle effect on the sound. Given the small differences I heard I would say that the ‘audiophile’ switches I tried were hugely overpriced for the effect they had, and I wouldn’t buy one, but to make a blanket statement like that simply doesn’t make sense to me.

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What the general public call a “router” is actually a router, switch and wireless access point rolled into one. Sometimes there’s a modem inside there too.

A switch provides additional ethernet ports. The concept of an extra switch just for audio is to use a better switch than the one built into your router, generally to try to “isolate” the audio system from the “network noise”.

In terms of the effects on sound quality, results vary wildly, it’s a controversial topic that’s not well understood — YMMV.

The article you quote concludes, “In short: does a switch matter? Yes … in many cases it does. And sometimes not … :-).”

Please can people when they start a thread about Network switches, cables etc, please give the popcorn manufacturing industry advanced notice as they need to ramp up production.


Like the OP I would be grateful for some very basic info on switches, wifi and connections. My router is on the other side of the room from my hifi. I have a Core and am planning to get a streamer, both will be positioned with the hifi. I can run a Cat 6 cable (correct?) from the router through the ceiling and down to the hifi. This could plug directly into the Core, but I think it would preferable if the streamer (eg NDX2) was also wired into the network for streaming from Quboz, for example (correct?). My assumption is that a switch on the end of the Cat 6 cable from the router would enable both the Core and the streamer to be plugged into the network. Is it also desirable to connect the digital output of the Core to the streamer?

If my assumptions are correct, then I could use the basic Cisco switch for distributing the network connection (although a switch designed for hifi might or might not improve the SQ).

Finally, I should add that the Core is currently serving a Muso2 via wifi and I use the Muso to access Quboz via wifi.

Hi @CliveB , this is easy/basic, run a Cat6 from router to the hifi area into a switch port.
Connect the streamer (NDX2) into another switch port
Connect the Core into another switch port
Basic Cisco switch is good (I use a SG110)
The Muso will still operate the same over wireless
If you get the NDX2 that will give you Qobuz as well