Let’s finally look at some of the more tweaky optimisation tricks. If you are the hobbyist kind and like fiddling you might wish to explore some of these in your own time. The first is to use multiple switches, daisy chain them and have one reclock another. This is something I’ve touched on above. It certainly would appear to be good practice to locate one just before each network attached device that has a power supply, e.g. the router, NAS drive,a Roon core, and then definitely one just before the streamer but people have reported a powerful effect when they are used in pairs, perhaps joined by an optical link if they have that facility.
This leads us on to copper to fibre conversion. It seems that doing this somewhere in your network – converting to fibre and then back again – has an additional cleaning effect, lowering the noise floor and giving a purer more precise sound. This can be done with some of the switches natively or with converters. It gets complex still because changing the FMC modules inside these converters also has a definite effect on the sound but you will forgive me if I will refrain from going down that particular wormhole here in this guide. I have a customer who has auditioned modules from Startech, Planet Audio and now Finisar an dthey all sound subtely different.
Just bear in mind that the subjective assessment of the fibre conversion seems to vary a bit from person to person, network to network. Quite a few customers have reported that whilst you get a quieter, more precise sound, something is also lost in the process and a degree of sterility is introduced into the system. Another customer of mine got around this by locating the fibre portion way upstream away from the Hifi and then the effect was lessened giving a well balanced final result that was better than all copper.
That just about wraps things up. There’s a fair but more to talk about here of course, it’s a big complicated topic so feel free to give me a call. Finessing your network to the intricate level that some customers are doing on the forums is probably well passed most people’s desire and inclination but the good news is our fit and forget products will get you most of the way there. Waversa audiophile router, Shunyata ethernet cables and mains cables, Plixir and Entreq LPS power supplies and the Melco S100 and Entreq Empire dataswitch. There are alternative products of course but all of the above are amongst the best offerings currently available. The Shunyata ethernet cables in particular have been blazing a trail all throughout 2020 and seem to be so far ahead of the competition. If you only make one improvement to your network I would say fit a Sigma into your streamer. The effect is really quite dramatic.