Cheapest way to enhance SQ with digital streaming

I could not stop but post my observations on remarkable SQ improvement with just a small change. I have been using digital streaming predominantly and have tried many things (cables, conditioner, room treatment). Everything does matter and they all did improve the quality without doubt and are definite investment. But after going through some reviews of fiber optic for Ethernet and their noise reducing properties compared to copper cables, I thought of giving a try. I connected Ethernet cable from router/Ethernet switch to media converter and fiber optic from this media converter (need SFP module) to second media converter (with another SFP module). Then regular Ethernet cable went from this second media converter to server/streamer. Basically the idea is to add fiber optic cable between the router and streamer, which will reduce the noise. But, wow, the difference was huge and amazing. Not sure how to explain the improvement, but the SQ was more fluid, melodious, fast, clean and separation of instruments were clear. The total cost for this was less than 150 (on Amazon). Apparently, as the fiber optic cable conductors are made of glass, they carry less noise compared to copper and also cost very cheap. Compared to money spent on other component in my system (have spent quite a lot), this is the most cost efficient and gave more improvement in the SQ. I am still amazed by this and very happy with what I heard. I feel negligent not to share with my fellow audiophiles, who are trying to get the best out and improve their system, sometime spending quite a bit for small difference. I guess, since the cost of trying this is so cheap (please don’t make me feel guilty for telling 150$ is cheap), try yourself and see the difference. On a different note, have been reading that use of Ethernet switch also does some “saucery” (I am no technical guy, but do read quite a bit of articles on audio) to reduce this noise to improve SQ and combination of fiber optic and the Ethernet switch takes SQ to different level. Will try some audiophile Ethernet switch sometime (may be uptone ethergen or Sotm snh-10g) to try out as I am very intrigued. 

@goofyfoot I'd rather run longer optical than ethernet cable, less signal loss, optical also immune to emi/rfi, so first FMC close to modem, second close to Pi. Power at least the second with lps.

@clive101 Thanks. Yes, once you start this route, it is a rabbit hole but you will find the journey very revealing, exciting (with some frustrations and hiccups in between) but  will get you were you want. 

I have tried etheregen, sotm, English electric, ubiquiti network switches in my system, individually and in all combinations of 2 and 3s (including the sequence in which they are in series). My take and for my taste, more the switches in chain, lesser the noise but there are some changes in musicality which I did not like it. I ended up just using sotm (Router to ubiquiti switch > sotm via fiber > streamer via ethernet). Still, in digital chain, fiber optic and network switch (of your choice and taste) gets best out of your system. Of course, I have seen people using multiple switches in chain, but it is not my preference. 

@romney80 again thank you.

just been looking at the Afterdark Network switches and upgraded version of the Melco S 100.

Has anyone experience of these or similar...but a little off topic as not cheap.

But I did order two Finisar and some fibre cable.... apparently top class.

I will post my findings when they arrive.


I also have Finistar and they do uplift quite a lot from regular ones. From my understanding Melco S-100 and Telegartner M12 switch are top echelons in the network switch category. I would love to hear people who have Melco S-100 or M-12 switch. If you do buy them, please keep us posted about your observations. 

Yes, certainly seems like topic is going from "cheapest way" to expensive switches, but since these come under category of clean ethernet, I guess it is alright, as long there is lot of learning.