Effect of Internet Service Quality on Streaming?

I’ve struggled for a long time with sound getting much, much worse around dinner time, and in some rare cases I don’t get depth, clarity, dynamics and imaging back until around midnight. Like many people I’ve attributed this to noise on my AC lines. But recently I’ve been wondering if maybe internet service quality is at least contributing to the issue in some manner. When I run tests it appears that speed, jitter, and latency are all higher at times when the sound is poor. That got me wondering if anyone knows whether one type of internet service is better than another for HiFi streaming? For example, is ADSL or DSL better, or does it matter? And what about speed? Particularly interested in anyone who has real world experiences from experimenting in this area…

Forgot to mention, I’ve tried several conditioners (Torus RM20, Audioquest Niagara 5000, Puritan PSM156, others). I also have a PhoenixNET Innuos switch with Audioquest Diamond Ethernet cables.  And I have dedicated 20A AC lines, Shunyata outlets in my wall, etc.  All of which makes things better but the delta between good and bad periods remains.  It’s just the bad periods are less bad and the good periods are even better.

You’ve covered most of the bases, and I can’t answer your question about internet services. However, one suggestion is adding optical isolation on the network, it’s a cheap experiment. 

ADSL/DSL runs over copper pair phone lines. Ever see the connections in Krone boxes using blades? The diodic interface there alone can’t be good. Have you tried cable or fibre?

First, @noromance covers it pretty much.  ADSL/DSL is like 30 year old technology with extremely limited bandwidth.  I'm not really concerned with the physical connections, but the back switches and routers on those circuits are probably just as old and will never be upgraded.  Consider cable, fiber or 5G based Internet as a much better options.

Generally speaking though, most streamers have enough buffers that they can ignore normal internet latencies, but not errors and reconnects.  Roon for instance has the ability to choose how much of a streaming buffer you use to try to eliminate this issue. 

Next, if possible, avoid Wifi streaming.  If it's not possible to avoid it, use a phone or laptop Wifi analyzer app to ensure your router is on an unused channel.


As an experiment you can put some FLAC or HiRes files on a USB stick and play from that during the times when you are getting worse quality.  If that does not suffer from the quality issues you know it is likely not the power but is your connection instead.

I’ve never bought the AC noise explanation. I have an oscilloscope and it doesn’t change much day to night and an good power regenerator cleans it up anyway.

You can check if it is your internet by just trying a CD in a transport using the same DAC.

I think often it is ambient noise. We often don’t realize how much ambient noise is coming from both inside and outside the home.


Regarding DSL: I am on DSL from Century link. There is a fiber trunc 2 blocks from my house from there its phone line to house. I pay for 50 Mbps and just tested it and I am getting around 60 Mbps down load. Only outage I have ever had is when squirrel nested in line pack. After some upgrades to my streaming stack i have near the same SQ as my Rega P6/AniaPro/decentphonostage. I occasionally get drops but its tolerable. I work from home on a Secure VPN , stream tv and music all the while. Occasionally I have to upload large software installations to remote servers albeit slow, taking hours , its consistently solid.


I like to relax and listen to music on holidays.  Few years ago, my internet stopped working for a whole day on Labor Day.  Way to go Spectrum!

Glad I had my vinyl and CDs.

I suggest you ask your Internet service provider to check the signal frequently response and all the cable connections in your home. My frequency response was too high and he replaced all my inside connections.  He also corrected and rewired the cables in my outside box.  

My immediate reaction was, it’s your streamer. Then I looked at your streamer. I had a Grimm in my system for a while. It sounded very good, definitely worth the money. Sonically it was not quite as good as mine… but it was much less expensive.

But thinking about your problem. I put a very high probability that it is that your streamer cannot cope with either your power or internet connection. Aurender streamers get very heavy as the go up in performance. The Grimm is very light weight… indicating to me it is lacking massive electrical and vibration isolation. That would account for it sounding good in my system and yours when power and the internet is quiet. The Aurrender has massive electrical isolation from outside and cashing to make up for bad internet performance. My streamer sounds exactly the same at all times. While there is a very slight increase in system performance late at night… it is the whole system related to the power grid.



I recommend borrowing a Aurender W20SE. I bet the problem goes away. I would think even an Aurender N20 will significantly if not completely mitigate the problem.

Thanks all. @ghdprentice i wish it were my streamer. My streamer/server is actually an Innuos Zenith Mk3, feeding a PhoenixUSB reclocker (went back from the Grimm in the end). I had the same swings in sound quality with both products - no difference whatsoever on that front.  I also briefly owned an Aurender N20 and the problem also remained.

I will try comparing local files vs streamed when the SQ goes south next (it is great right now).

I live in a quiet, treed area with space between houses and very limited traffic, and even when there are no household ambient sounds I still get poor sound that peaks around dinner time.

I actually do have fibre service, at 500Mbps (worth getting faster service?).

Yesterday I did test latency and jitter, using the online fusion network speed test tool. Latency and jitter readings were absolutely higher during the period my system was sounding worse. But, I’d assume that maybe AC was also noisier during this “peak demand” time.

@hgeifman Thanks I will look into “signal frequency response”. Haven’t heard of that before..

System is back to sounding incredible right now. But after dinner last night was about the worst I’ve ever heard it! Muffled, compressed, no higher frequencies coming through, loss of dynamics, overall dull.

Related question - does anyone know if Class D amplifiers are supposed to be more immune to AC noise?  I’m considering some changes to my system and a possibility is that I could move to the Mola Mola amplifiers.  I am aware of the general pros and cons of Class D but not sure if they are more immune to environmental noise.  Guessing not but it crossed my mind as a possible solution.






Based on your comments above, and the fact that your SQ is great sometimes and poor other times, as I stated above, I suggest you ask your Internet service provider for an in house audit of your Internet signal coming into your home. In addition, please check your router to ensure its software is up to date and working okay.

Your Internet Service Provider needs to check the signal both outside your home and inside In other words, is the signal strong and solid outside your home at the junction box and still strong inside your home at the point of entry and at the cable modem. Please confirm the cable modem is their current model.

For example, my Internet signal was very poor at the outside junction box because of poor wire connections He replaced all connections at the junction box and all connections at the box on the side of my home. Unfortunately, these connections go bad after time and impact the signal. This is why I am suggesting your ISP audit your signal, connections, etc. He also replaced the cables and connections inside my home. Everything worked perfectly after these corrections were made.



I would try Muon Pro filter between your Innuous switch and Streamer. Comes with 30days money back guarantee.

@lalitk , I have a Muon Pro, two Network Acoustics ethernet cables, and a Tempus switch on order, to replace my Innuos PhoenixNET and two Audioquest Diamond network cables - assuming I don't return it all in 30 days that is....

That said I still don't know at this point if my issues are due to network degradation (which I DO see on measurements during periods of bad quality), or AC power noise, or both.

I've downloaded from HDTracks a 16/44 version of a test track I use a lot and put it on my server.  Right now, both the Tidal streamed version and the local file sound fantastic.  Different, but both great.  A bit better image specificity on the local file but really I enjoy them both.  I will wait until I get crap quality again, and do another comparison.  If they are both bad, I suppose it means AC power noise is the limiting factor.  If the local file is much better, then I will 1) see if the Network Acoustics gear changes things when it arrives, and 2) follow up with my ISP as @hgeifman suggested.

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@nyev my system is plugged into two dedicated circuits. The sound is better after 11pm. Everything is quieter, my family members including my dog are not running around. Sound is fantastic. I tried Ethernet filters (N A Eno streaming system) and it changes the sound yes, but does it filter anything? May be. But it didn’t mitigate the lower performance of my system until that quiet moment after 11pm comes. 
So in my opinion it’s a mix of everything that uses electricity in your house plus people who quit disrupting our listening before midnight. Doubt it’s Ethernet/internet quality. 

@audphile1, I think you are probably right.  I was hoping that just maybe, it was an issue was something I could address, if it was related to my network/internet.

I don’t think my issue is ambient noise; my system sounds almost as good most of the day, it’s just the 3-5 hours around dinner time that is an issue.

High ping times are fine, it’s error rates and high jitter (> 300mSeconds) that can cause issues.  Large ping times may make a stream slower to START but once started don't add up over time. 

500 Mbps is more than enough to stream just about anything.

IMHO, only really poor streamers should have a problem with Internet conditions you’ve described. They usually have several seconds of buffering built in, which can sometimes be configured, which should eliminate all but the worst kind of connections.

IMHO, again, it’s much more likely to be a power issue.

@erik_squires , sigh, yeah I think you are likely right.  I was hoping.

Regarding regenerators, I’ve been curious about them but after digging into them, it seems that they don’t actually help with noise but helps with other things?  Phrased as a question as I’m not totally sure about that.  I have an idea in my mind that they help by removing DC and also stabilizing voltage but again I’m not sure…  


I prefer Furman power conditioners, and if I have concerns about he power stability I use a Furman with the VR (Voltage Regulator) feature.  IMHO it is a good trade-off to the power regenerators.


I can’t wait to hear your impressions after Network Acoustics goodies are in place. I’ve read nothing high praises for Tempus switch and Muon Pro. I had ENO in my system many moons ago before switching to Telegartner Gold 12 Switch + JCAT LPS and JCAT Sig Gold LAN cabling. 


I must be in minority here to report that my system is immune to high’s or low’s as some of you experiencing. Granted, I have paid ‘special’ attention to passive grounding, separate power distributors for analog and digital, pair of dedicated power lines. 

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I think it’s probably 85% power related and 15% ambient noise or something to that effect. Who knows…gremlins everywhere 😂

@lalitk yes I’m really looking forward to trying the Network Acoustics products.  It was Christiaan’s review on HiFi Advice that really motivated me to order those goodies.  He’s a great and very descriptive reviewer who is not afraid to compare products in a descriptive way.  And everything he said about the Tempus are the qualities I’m always seeking.  The big question is, how it compares to the PhoenixNET, which of course is highly regarded.  From Christiaan’s review I am expecting the Tempus to possibly be airier with the PhoenixNET being more dense and organic, but we’ll see.

Your digital can and does pick up packet noise from home to home 

this is why I installed a good LPS  power supply and bought my own upgraded router modem combo motorola 8702 which has docsis 3.1 many are older 3.0 

the new ones much better wifi picture even tv streaming Roku.

I hard wire my streaming the LPS which I use Linear Tube Audio Excellent !

nothing even close under $1200 , it’s on sale$700  Audiogon  and the DC cableto the router is excellent ,most others charge $150  for the cable , youcan buy a LPS for $3-400 but no where is good and crappy Dc cable , use decent aftermarket power cords.and a decent Ethernet switch for $600 the best  LHY , SW-8 

eastern electric no not as good just look at the parts quality compared. And decent Ethernet cables . The most important cable for sure is at the end point. Look for  Telegartner make topEthernet connectors on your cables. 

Was looking forward to comparing my streamed song against the local file tonight during the “bad” period, but unfortunately for the test, it’s really not sounding bad at all tonight.  Not at all like last night which was unlistenable.  And, one kid is playing games online and the other is FaceTiming friends in a marathon call.  And there’s a kitchen fan in the background that is on, plus there is a loud computer fan that is on as well.  Doesn’t sound as great as really late or earlier in the day, but not terrible like it was yesterday!

As I have understood streaming over the many years that I have been doing it (remember the Griffin iMic?), the "streamed" files are downloaded, cached and replayed by the given software: Apple Music/iTunes, Spotify, Qobuz et al.

Although someone of you may refute that, it seems that the problem of line, processor, cable etc. noise has largely been solved by well-wrought(writ?) playback software. 

Just measuring the sound floor in a quiet NJ den, I get readings of 27-30dB. 

Whose ears and brain can process that amount of ambient hash and hear the "effect" of AC, cable, fiber transmission?


nyev  did you say you had measured the power to see how bad it is?

Ever try an ADD-POWR  Sorcer X4 ?  They seem to work well with bad power  systems.

If you live in the NW or So Cal I can help you try one.

@jkevinoc , I believe you are correct in the way that modern playback software works. But I don’t believe the “captured” and cached stream would be a bit-perfect copy of an equivalent purchased local file at the same bit rate. Possibly due to differences in the streaming company’s source file, and possibly due to errors introduced in the stream that the cached copy came from originally (due to noise or jitter). And yes, I am aware that the Ethernet protocol has error correction built in, but I still believe noise and jitter are still factors.


@jeffseight , I am based in western Canada. Never heard of the device you are referring to but I’ll look into it - thanks for the suggestion.

I’ve not been able to measure the quality of my power as I don’t have a meter that reads THD. I mentioned above that I had measured my internet service quality using Fusion network tests (a website you go to and click to start the test). Measures jitter, latency, download and upload speed. And as I mentioned, when the sound is bad, jitter and latency go from their normal 3ms and 12ms to spikes of 40ms or so and 70ms, respectively.  I’m simply guessing that AC quality is also poorer during those times.


@nyev Could the TV be sending out some sort of interference? Could it be one of the components (doubtful). What kind of lights are in use near by? Is there some big eclectic using appliance near by? Micro wave tower near by?

Perhaps I missed it but have you tried another streamer?

’Round suppah time is when internet usage in residential areas is highest.

FYI I use starlink and that’s way up from the 12MB service before it.


@wsrrsw I’ve tried cutting power to the TV, and yeah, I did think of that.  No devices or appliances are near my system. LED household pot lights are near by. No cell towers or anything nearby that I know of.  It’s generally (but not always) the same time windows when quality tanks so pretty sure it’s related to AC and possibly internet service quality blips.

Yes, I’ve tried three different streamers (Innuos, Grimm, N20).

@jeffseight just read up on the Add Power devices and they sure look interesting.  Would definitely like to try one if I could but at the same time, it doesn’t look designed to deal with the specific issues that I’m having.

OP can you bypass all the conditioners and plug all your equipment directly to wall AC you can also skip the 20amp AC and use regular 15-10 outlet 

it’s definitely power problem 

@lordrootman, I’ve had this problem for a couple of years in my system, prior to my 20A dedicated lines and prior to my conditioners.  In fact, the dedicated 20A lines and conditioners was my first attempt to address the issue.  I even engaged @kingrex of King Rex Electric to help draft a specification for my dedicated lines. These upgrades really helped improve things, but the massive shift in quality depending on time was still there.  I know this issue is not unique, but I feel like the degree of the variance I get may be extreme and unusual.  Ranges from an unlistenable stuffy mess to absolutely sublime.


Just had a thought. People in this thread have mentioned that a component could be to blame. But the only gear that has not been swapped in or out while the issue has persisted, besides cabling, is my Diablo 300 integrated. Everything else has been added removed or changed while this problem has existed.

BUT…. The first time I noticed this issue ever was when I upgraded from Clarus Crimson Biwire speaker cables (fantastic speaker cables these…) to Nordost Valhalla 2 speaker cables. A couple of years ago I did ask Nordost if they’d could be picking up RF energy or something and I think they said something to the effect of yes, but the amount would be negligible and couldn’t have any effect. So I had attributed it to the increased transparency of the Nordost cables exposing the issues. But now, I’m wondering if just maybe it IS a component issue, and the component with the issue is my Valhalla 2 cables.

To be clear I think this is almost certainly not the issue. BUT, because I first noticed the issue when adding these cables to my system, maybe I should try to rule it out. Am thinking I might need to get my hands on a demo pair premium speaker cables to try, at a Valhalla 2 or better level.



Was researching whether the issue could be my Valhalla 2 speaker cables (since I first noticed the issue after upgrading to these cables) and I came across a thread on that topic on this forum, that I had started years ago. Didn’t recall it but that’s probably because there was nothing conclusive. As above maybe I just need to get a premium demo pair of speaker cables from another vendor to compare during the bad quality period, if only to rule out the outside chance the issue would be addressed with a different set of cables and to rule out the possibility that my Valhalla 2’s are not enabling the problem.

@nyev just looked at your system pictures…couple of things you can try, if I may suggest…

1. Raise your cables off the floor. Cable elevators are not expensive. AQ makes decent ones called fog lifters. Lifting the speaker cables, interconnects and power cables off the floor in my system makes an audible difference.

2. try to position your signal cables as far away from power cables as possible or at least don’t lay them down close to one another in parallel - create a 90 degree angle and it should be ok

3. your amplifier is too close to your streaming components. The power supply can be creating an EMI there. I would move the Innuos stuff away from it about a foot at least if possible. I’ve found, in my system with all the amps I ever had that the system sounded its best with the amp on the floor or amp stand and as far away from source components as possible . This will probably minimize the noise your speaker cables may be picking up from the streamer / network components ascwell.

Again, just a thought and is cheap or even free to try.

Ok, this is really interesting… I am sure not so much for you.


+1 @audphile1 

You are comparing this to analog? I see some albums in your photos. Because this sounds like a power problem to me. My streamers are extremely insensitive to the incoming bitstream.


Are you direct wired into your streamer?

Do you have direct lines to your system.

I think I said this before… nice system.

What happens if you take your power conditioner out of the loop.

Can you borrow a different high end power conditioner… Everest or something?

@nyev There’s an old saying, "Madness takes it toll; please have exact change." Feel for you. I have gone through a months’ long house internet bugaboo that was h e double hockey sticks to sort out.

Is streamer hard wired?

It does seem like power is the bandit but is it something in your network? Given the excellence of your equipment, I imagine you have enterprise level or better stuff up stream of your streamer.

Have you asked, bribed or manacled your kids and others to cease web activity during the sound downturn times? This could be a revealing test. When there are problems the network pros always isolated it one part a time and build back in (I made this up but it sounds official). Run your system and then add back one other things, one at a time.

A few more pot shot thoughts. Have you swapped out power supply cables? Is something in the jumble of cables too close to something else?

St. Jude?


Thanks for the ideas All. My sound has not experienced a SIGNIFICANT dip in quality since Friday evening so I’ve not yet had the chance to test streamed vs local file during a “bad” period.

To answer a few questions that have come up:

  • No I don’t have a dedicated network line to my Innuos Zenith Mk3 streamer. I do have the Innuos PhoenixNET switch in front of my streamer/server.
  • During the bad periods before I’ve had family members stop their internet usage in the house and it didn’t improve things noticeably
  • I’ve upgraded power cables a number of times (have Audioquest Dragons now) and the major quality swings remain
  • I’ve tried several conditioners including the AQ Niagara 5000, a Shunyata Hydra, a Puritan PSM156, and also a Torus RM 20 isolation transformer and they all had equal swings in quality. None were any better than the other in this front so I highly doubt a different conditioner is the answer. Also sceptical that a PS Audio regenerator would produce better results, but I’d be open to that possibility. Not my first place to look to fix but something in the back of my mind.
  • Ahead of my Innuos PhoenixNET switch I just have the fiber modem from my ISP, feeding a the wifi router from my ISP which feeds an inexpensive D-Link switch in a smart panel (should I upgrade this???), with 60ft of generic new network cable going through my wall that eventually feeds my Innuos network switch. Maybe there is a problem here???
  • I need to update my system listed on Audiogon - I now have a Tambaqui DAC, the Innuos Zenith Mk3 and PhoenixUSB reclocker (no Grimm MU1 anymore), I have a Puritan PSM156 now, and I’ve upgraded my my speakers to Audiovector R6 Arrete’s. Also have upgraded all power cords to Audioquest Dragons.


Ok, so not the real obvious stuff. You have a challenge. Given what you have tried sounds like your logically taking apart the problem… logic will eventually succeed. I’m looking forward to hearing what successfully solves this.


My digital streaming further improved and stabilized by using a high quality 50FT CAT8 LAN (LinkUp from Amazon) between my Infinity Modem ➡️ SoTM iSO-CAT7 ➡️ Telegartner switch. The LinkUp cable replaced a pair of mesh network pods. I have also upgraded to 1Gb/s speed. 

@nyev absolute killer of a system there dude!
Have you added any acoustic treatments as well?

I’ll just add this for 💩 s and goggles…
I’ve recently compared, once again, CD vs streaming (yes I can’t be helped lol) and throughout the course of this adventure the sound quality definitely goes up late at night for CD and streaming. It’s been the case for me for years, even way before streaming was a thing. But as everyone else here I’m super curious to see you get out of this pickle and tell us how.

Does the issue occur with vinyl or just digital.

Do you have a CD player to try?

You should have a dedicated modem and a dedicated router.  A duel use modem/router is not as good.

You should have a filter at your data demarcation powering your modem, router and switch.

A significant amount of RF penetrates through the equipment chassis itself.  A significant amount enters through vinyl.

Neither of these paths can be managed with a power line filter.  Its up to the manufacturer of the equipment to create a power supply that filters the RF before penetrating the power supply.  But, a over filtered power supply can sound flat and lifeless.  This is especially true with a phono preamp.

I tried the puritan ground box.  It did nothing in my system.  But the dealer that sent it to me doesn't even use it.  He uses CAD.  What I am saying is a good ground box may help.  But your going to need at least 2.  One for chassis and one for signal.  Then you need a bunch of cables.  A good ground box solution is generally around $7k to $15K in equipment.

Erik, I note your comment that you can increase the buffer size for Roon.  Can you point me in that direction?  I had lots of issues with HiRes over a mesh network. The system is now wired but I still occasionally have stoppages that i suspect are related to buffering.    Thanks, Mike