Testing Ethernet switch

If you have bought an "audio" Ethernet switch, don't bother with this thread 

If you question Ethernet switches, here is one test of one brand. 

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Simpleton Linus should stick to building computers

Watch these measurements/tests from alpha audio and get educated on this topic a bit more. Yes, they do have audible differences.

Youtube Video - Does a Bad Network Switch Ruin Your Streamer?

If you don’t have a highly resolving room+rig, don’t bother, pat yourself on the back after watching that Linus video, get any crap switch and enjoy the music.

Nevertheless, an audiophile grade switch need not be as expensive at all. That’s the doing of the vultures in this industry.

Deep, you make an extraordinary claim with nothing but your belief and some other you-tuber who has no evidence either.  Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence. 

As I know how Ethernet works, I know of no way using the science of this universe that suggests layer 1 or 2 can have any effect on your system sound. A poorly designed power supply may transfer some noise, but as that is inherent, a client device that does not deal with that is a bad design. Don't blame the switch. An overloaded network could starve a path of data as IP is not a real time protocol, but a managed switch can mitigate that as well by using QoS.   A defective switch could cause high error rates, but that is not what this is talking about.  IP ( Internet Protocol) will completely resolve any errors if using TCP as it is a guaranteed delivery. If using UDP, a best effort, well you are not attempting a robust system and any error is your fault and the switch just reads the packets, figures out their destination and reforms packets to send to the correct client. Bits is bits. There is no level, slope, timing, jitter, or magical influences. 

If you have any concept of how a switch or cable ( often talked about magic) can effect your sound, please present it.  We use Ethernet for life-threat, live-fire, banking ,and nuclear control so if you have discovered some mysterious error, please let it be known. Until it leaves the client buffers in order and stripped of the headers, bits is bits.  It has been that way for 30 years and overseen by engineers far smarter than any of us. You do know packets don't even have to arrive in order don't you? 

I do agree, the scam of these expensive switches that are just a couple better power supply caps and some encapsulation is taking advantage of folks looking for magic who do not have the technical background. Not everyone does. Last time I looked you don't need a class in networking to be a brain surgeon. 

Again, our brains lie to us. They hate to admit we have been scamed and will reinforce belief harder and harder.  Sound is real. What we hear is the lie our brain tells us.  If you believe it sounds better, your brain will convince you it does. Just it has no bearing on the actual sound. 

There are a lot of improvements we can do to our systems. Some well known, some innovative. Some plausible but ineffective. Then there are those that are impossible. Where should one spend their time and money? Possible or impossible. 

If you believe in the impossible and want the very best, you can always buy a Cisco Catalyst.  I'm sticking with my $35 Netgear. 360 Mb/s download to any of my clients.  IGb/s aggregate client to client as my internet is only guaranteed to 300Mb/s.  It can stream 4K video without error and streams radio to my PC streamer just fine. 

Don't believe me. I did not invent the Internet. ( actually I do know someone who did invent some of the IP stack. He was a DoD contractor I supported when I was a systems admin)  Please go read about how it works. Look at what each of the seven layers of the IP stack do. Then explain how anything but an actual dropout can effect your sound. 

I try to help with facts and reason. Not everyone has mega-bucks to waste on fantasies, but would still like to optimize their music experience. Spend your budget where it counts. 


You don't have to read my posts.  You don't have to insult people either.

Do you find any factual error in my post? If so, please point it out. 

Again, our brains lie to us. They hate to admit we have been scamed and will reinforce belief harder and harder.  Sound is real. What we hear is the lie our brain tells us.  If you believe it sounds better, your brain will convince you it does. Just it has no bearing on the actual sound.

So, you don't trust your own brain? You do know that that's how sound is processed, right...by our brain receiving signals heard by our ears? Is this based on some religious tenet of original sin or something? Or are you saying that our brains have been collectively duped but your brain knows better?

For those curious enough, here's a link to a mini rant by John DeVore about measurements:


All the best,

We can leave religion out of this. 

One point I never made. Ethernet is a transport layer used to move IP traffic. One can transport IP over other fabrics. Fiddi, old "thicknet" or "thinnet" on top of ATM ( the world backbone) etc.  One can use Ethernet fabric for other protocols.  But for our discussion, we are talking IP. That is what comes out of our router and switches. TCP is guaranteed reliable. UDP is best effort. Shame on anyone using UDP. 

Exactly, what we hear is the results of our brains processing sounds picked up by our ears. Sound is real. Hearing is our interpretation. It is subjective. 

The point I am making is no one should trust their brain to be objectively accurate.  It lies. Mine is just as biased as anyone.  The difference may be that I understand and accept mine is biased where some believe theirs is not.   That is one reason to use objective measurements as a starting point. ( not an end point)   Seeing may be believing, but it does not mean it was real. I do love magic. Just I limit it to the good old "Blackstone" in your face skill kind. 

If you ask a person "which sounds better", you have biased them to determine they are different. As our subconscious ego won't admit we are not good enough to determine a difference, we will make one up.  We WILL believe it!

If we fall for something, and I assure we all have, again our internal bias does not want to admit we were fooled, so it will make up the difference and reinforce the decision.  This is called "being human" 

I see so many claimed "double blind" tests, but never with a sample size large enough to meet any scientific correlation. 5 out of 5 is just as likely to be a statistical guess fluke as valid.  To boot, the very nature of a test is again biasing the listeners that there is a difference.   Try running a test with no differences, but an obvious "click"  to signify a change.   You will get not only selections, but attributes ascribed to them.  This has been done. Pretty funny actually. And yes, many people are insulted when they understand they were duped.  Our ego hates that!

I hope you are aware the lowest confidence evidence in a court of law is witness identification. The law recognizes we can't trust our brains. 

 We need a lot more work on what clues our  brain uses to decide something is musical.  Not the same for everybody. I started studying psychoacoustics in college when I noticed music majors had speed controls on crappy turntables, but engineers had expensive speakers and fixed speed tables.  Different experiences required different queues. Music majors hate when the pitch is off. I would not have a clue. We need a lot more work on things like our ability to extract information below the noise level. We need more work to quantify which measurements correlate to hearing preferences.  Understand why a "perfect" measuring amp like a Benchmark leaves me cold, but my Mosfet sounds more dynamic. Why does my Vidar sit in the middle?   I actually know some of the technical reasons and they are not included in classical SINAD type measurements.  Some attempts to simulate "musicality" has been included in CHI-FI DACs.  "Tube" mode with increased DSP generated even order harmonics. "BJT" mode with higher overall, but odd order closer to even.  I heard one. I'll take the clean setting thank you. A clue, but not correct or complete. 

Anyway, a layer one or two switch is not going to change the sound. There is no amplitude, timing, phase, or magical parameters involved. They are just not there. It just moves packets and if you read my link below, you will see most of the packet is not even your data. MTU size dependent.   Again I challenge anyone, if they can come up with a parameter we do not know of, please please bring it forward. You-tube rants are not evidence. Neither is my hearing nor yours.     If you do hear a difference, it is not a difference is sound buy because your  brain made it up.  Still, if you think it is better, then for you it is better and keep on keeping on. The good news is a "boutique"  switch works just as well as my TP-link or Netgear $35 switch, so no harm done other than your bank account. 


Ethernet is not like PCM where the bits are just the signal and timing does matters. Ah, except on some newer DACs that buffer and re-clock the PCM.  Classic case of bias from old very real faults that have been fixed. 


Great video indeed. I have been, for a long time, of understanding that our ears are not the only means of sound experience. Hence my hesitancy toward headphones, perhaps.

Thanks for sharing.

We can leave religion out of this. 

What I said had nothing to do with religion in the way you're red herring it.

I hope you are aware the lowest confidence evidence in a court of law is witness identification. The law recognizes we can't trust our brains.

Yes I am as it's the result of witnessing a traumatic event, the crime itself. Tell me you're not equating listening to music with a traumatic event, unless it is for you, as that would explain everything.

All the best,


Just making the point that reality and what we think are often not objectively related. It applies to all aspects of our thought process.   John makes the very same points going back to Helmholtz.  This understanding is not new and I sure did not discover it so I wonder why it is not well understood? Actually I don't wonder as our public education only teaches to the tests. We have a population with degrees, but no education in the broad classical sense.  James Burke talked a lot about that.  Really great lectures. 

Now I could greatly get going with what is wrong with our simplistic "SINAD" kind of measurements and chasing one number engineering.  I will argue back in the early transistor days, to get SNR and THD down meant you usually got a lot of other things fixed. Eventually by the 70's, we found out band-width was the driver for IM. ( Slew/TIM just different ways to look at it) but advertising stayed on the same bandwagon as no one has yet come up with a "musicality" scale. But we do get these limited static tests and they do tell us something, so I argue they are a place to start.  In my experience really good sounding equipment measures at least respectively.  I can learn a lot from Kipple loudspeaker measurements. ( Yea, I have built speakers for 45 years too). Not everything but a place to start. 

 I want to know other things because I have designed and built amplifiers and I know what they mean.  Few  audiophiles are engineers and I don't expect them to be, so Madison Ave, needs some simplistic "bigger is better" number for the rest of the world.  After all, we can't trust our hearing and I am sure not going to trust some You-Tuber who never has posted a less than glowing review of anything.  Been burned  by that myself. Paradigm, Fosi, Parasound, SMSL, and Toppinig at least. Great reviews. Sounded like crap. On the bright side, I would never have found JDS, Schiit, IOTA, March, Tyler, Geselli,  or other direct sales who are doing great work. I might have not paid attention to Hegel, Atoll, or even ATI. Gad, I might have a Denon AVR instead of my Anthem!  Without You-Tube I would not know how turning down the level in JRiver fixed 99% of my DAC problems. 

The only traumatic event I have had listening to music was when I had a CM labs amp that could get unstable and I would hear the heat sink pop and the amp go silent when I was about a foot from the power switch. 


You can read my posts or not. Up to you . There is no test at the end. 


Remember the old Stax "Nearphones" ?  Much better presentation. Big boxes so they did not catch on, but they made use of your full ear. Unfortunately, like all Stax, they really highlighted bad recordings and of course STAX price.  I have not heard any modern cans I like so still use my old Yamaha YH-1's. Maybe above a few $K they get better, but I'll never know. 

Sigh, the phrase is " Miller time" but for me, that means Highland Gallic Ale. Life is good. Shameless plug for North Carolina craft beers. 

I think that if someone is going to listen to music and keep thinking that it would sound better with a better switch, they should buy the better switch. Then they can relax their brain and enjoy more.  Until the next thing that has to be changed creeps into their brain. 

Exactly.   Maybe, with a little factual information, they can pick something that actually matters.  Speakers always. More music to discover. Better beer, wine, whisky, etc) 

@tvrgeek - I would wager that anyone who buys a better switch already knows that they don’t measure better. They just want them and I think that’s a good enough reason. I think Alvin from Vinshine (Denafrips) said it best. He said that as a computer professional he knows the switch doesn’t make a difference, but as an audiophile, he wants to feel he is doing everything to make sure his system is the best it can be.  Yes, he does sell switches, but that doesn’t mean his comment isn’t true. People want what they want. Leave ‘em alone and let them have fun. 

Except, there seems to be a contingent here who absolutely, positively, believes they make differences ( or sell them themselves, I don;t know) and do their best to convince other who are happy with their systems that they are wrong and their systems stink unless they shell out copious amounts for snake oil.  A big disservice to the community in search of better sound. I try to suggest facts. Then one can decide if they want to feel better or not.  Not everyone knows how IP works so it is not hard for the fraudsters to take advantage of them.  Just wanting it is a perfectly good reason to buy it. Ascribing magic to it is not a reason to install inferiority to some one else. 

I have stated MANY times, if it makes you happy, then you are happy. Real or imagined as everything we hear is actually imagined. 

Not everyone knows how IP works so it is not hard for the fraudsters to take advantage of them. A big disservice to the community in search of better sound. I try to suggest facts.

An allegation of fraud is serious business. Of course, it's easy to make such claims here, as you so ably demonstrate. You do it again and again, repeating it over and over, and it establishes you as a "spokesman" for "victims" you've identified. It's just a ruse. 

But if you were serious, if you really wanted to do a service for your fellow humans, you'd attack this "fraud" where you could make a difference: through the courts. A template has been established for this by Stephen Tuttle, et al. and you can get rich if you and your attorneys simply follow the process.

You Can Get Rich From 'Snake Oil'!

Remember: You're attacking fraud because you know how IP works. You have nothing to lose, unless, of course ...

Sounds like a few folks here have purchased "audio quality" switches and their ego is bruised. No one likes to know they have been had.  That is just being human. 

I have provided links to the technical description of how IP and Ethernet work.  That is my evidence.  It is pretty clear it is impossible. All you need to do is to read it. No viewpoints. No opinions. No hear-say.  Technical how it works.  IP does not use magic.  V64 MODEM error correction looks like magic if you want to dig deeper.  But it is actually just math.  It even makes GCR backwards error correction look simple.

I have also repeatedly challenged the "believers" to provide any evidence of how a working to spec layer one can effect the audio. Any hind of a path.  If there is something we do not know, that would be important.   Nope, Only get attacks.  Claiming a switch makes a difference is the extraordinary claim so extraordinary evidence needs to come from that side, not the side of established science. 

As I have not purchased such snake oil, I have not been damaged, so I would have no standing in a suit against said fraudsters. At least that is what I learned in the basic  business law classes in college.






I have also repeatedly challenged the "believers" to provide any evidence of how a working to spec layer one can effect the audio ... Nope, Only get attacks.

I haven’t seen any attacks on you here but if you believe you’ve been attacked, you should alert the moderators to the violators. Consider that exposing your agenda is not the equivalent of an "attack." You’re just being too sensitive.

... Claiming a switch makes a difference is the extraordinary claim so extraordinary evidence needs to come from that side ...

No one here owes you anything at all, notwithstanding your incessant demands for "evidence."

You allege fraud. Prove it in court (where you could achieve Class Action status and really rake it in!) or press your case with consumer protection agencies. But promoting your zany notions here using repetiton as "proof" isn’t working.

 "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."  

https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/s   A place to start if you want to drink facts instead of Kool-Aid. 

If all you want to see is WEB bloggers who don't know any more than you and get paid every time you read their dribble, or are selling the garbage ( all the above, I looked)  stay happily uninformed and Pay $600 for a $35 switch .  

Fiber works fine. Still carries  IP traffic. Still layer one. Just costs more.

I know more than you think slick. Also for the 1000 time, I am 100% fiber have been for 20 years. Just despise crusaders who lie!, BTW you are doing the same schiit they are slick! Oh and no fiber cost’s no more than your copper crap. Wrong again slick!

Why would anyone read Cisco Propaganda? Not facts more marketing BS. The same schiit you are crusading against. 


I tried an audiophile switch back to back with a cheap off the shelf switch and couldn't hear the difference. My system is fairly resolving and I would have gladly paid the price but I couldn't hear a difference 

but I'm not emotional about it- if you can discern an improvement, that's great, go for it. Definitely a good idea to test an expensive switch in your system before dropping the cash but if it improves your experience good for you, just didn't do anything for mine. 

@kerrybh +1

I tried a Melco switch then returned it.  
A lot of the these arguments apply to many other facets in audio as well.  If people want to spend their money on perceived improvements, it’s their choice.  As long as reasonably priced alternatives remain available for the rest of us, no harm, no foul.


"The point I am making is no one should trust their brain to be objectively accurate."


This garbage is so old.

Go save the world somewhere else.


I enjoy this forum and have learned a lot- especially from the good folks who have responded when I've asked for advice. I'm amazed at how much passion this hobby brings. The descent into personal invective over the relative importance of posting photos of your system a few weeks ago was entertaining, comical and vaguely disturbing all at the same time. 

the switch discussion is similar. I couldn't hear a difference and have a hard time understanding how it could matter- kinda like fuses. But if someone finds it's an improvement it's not for me to deny their experience- maybe my old ears aren't good enough. On the other hand, I thought I could hear improved sound with higher end cables- not ten grand cables but better than stock. So I bought them

was the improvement real? Imagined? Confirmation bias?

I don't know. Don't really care because it sounded better to me. And it's listening to music, not a physics test. 

measurements can be useful and are objective 

what somebody considers to be pleasing sound is inherently subjective


Folks  may wish to stay naïve, Folks may wish to learn. Folks may read my posts, Folks may choose not to. 


Quick Amazon search:

Budget 50' CAT6e  $8.75  Budget twin fiber  $29.49

Budget fiber switch $375, Budget copper $21.99   

You can use fiber to copper converters if you have fewer clients for a little less. 

As I keep saying and one particular person does not seem to read, Fiber works just fine. Passes the same IP traffic but just costs more. A solution in search of a problem. 

Miss the days when Almarg was still with us. Man had a wealth of knowledge and shared it with everyone with style and grace, no chest puff, no I know better than everyone else.

Keep in mind this is tvrgeek’s opinion.  He is not a degree’d engineer or scientist nor has he published papers in technical journals on this subject matter.  Therefore, he is not a subject matter expert.  Correct me if I’m wrong.  Treat his opinion as such.

I am not a subject matter expert on the internet or ethernet either.  I have an opinion too.  My opinion differs greatly from his.  My opinion is based on personal experience.  I am however an  experienced, degreed engineer.  I understand the value and context of measurements and how to interpret them.  I also have 44 years in this hobby and have experimented and trialed various mechanical and electrical upgrades with varying degrees of success as well as participating in the observations and discoveries made by fellow audio hobbyists.  One of the craziest tweaks still that I have encountered in this hobby is using a bulk tape eraser on CDs.  It works, my fellow audio friends have experienced it as well.  No one can adequately explain to me why or how it works.  Doesn’t matter.  What matters is the application and the repeatable results with a $20 Radio Shack bulk tape eraser.  The experience is like hearing a record with a poorly tracking cartridge before the CD is demagnetized.  After demag, the sound is much clearer.  One day someone may figure it out but since the CD era is about over I think it is not likely.

@tonywinga you are 100% correct. @tvrgeek I guess for some $11.00 variance is a lot of money. My house and our community was built on a fiber network. I also should be more cognizant of others resources. Again it is your opinion and two cents, and that is what it is worth. Don Quixote keep tilting at windmills. 


Keep in mind this is tvrgeek’s opinion.  He is not a degree’d engineer or scientist nor has he published papers in technical journals on this subject matter.  Therefore, he is not a subject matter expert.  Correct me if I’m wrong.

It wouldn't matter what degrees or certifications tvrgeek might have - nonsense is nonsense regardless of the source. Almost all of his posts share the same theme, such one @coralkong pointed out that I'd overlooked:

The point I am making is no one should trust their brain to be objectively accurate.

When someone tells you to discard empirical evidence, ignore your own thoughts, and instead heed them, that's a cult.

Keep in mind this is tvrgeek’s opinion. He is not a degree’d engineer or scientist nor has he published papers in technical journals on this subject matter. Therefore, he is not a subject matter expert. Correct me if I’m wrong. Treat his opinion as such

+1 @tonywinga

+1 @cleeds

Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence.

  • “Extraordinary” subjective judgment
  • “need” subjective judgment
  • There is no logic to this statement, only the OPs wanting proof before purchasing. While the OP is free to spend or not without understanding the mechanics/physics of the product, it is NOT some intrinsic requirement.

Just because it’s expensive and/or one doesn’t understand how it works does NOT automatically mean it doesn’t perform as intended or proof is a requirement

Sure, in an “ideal world” we’d like to “be assured” that what we’re buying is “worth” it by understanding how it works, but manufacturers for self preservation reasons rarely share their R&D findings.

Wishing and/or griping won’t change anything. I don’t “like” paying a premium over box store prices, but this is a hobby. Many of us are after higher sonics regardless on understanding how it works

Actually, I am an engineer, but I referenced the training from CISCO.. You know them. The ENTIRE internet is either Cisco or Huewai.  They know a little about it.  

All for higher sonics, but you won't get it chasing the impossible. READ how IP works. Then make up your mind.   If you are not willing, then keep being taken by carpet baggers. You have been warned. 


Claiming digital audio is just “1’s and 0’s” is a simplistic and naive point of view.  Digital audio has analog components that affect the sound quality.  Thinking you know how IP works is not the same as knowing how it works.  Training is a non-heuristic process used to teach people a specific set of tasks.

And conversely, I have not seen anyone on these forums with the credentials to be subject matter experts on this topic, refute what audiophiles have experienced.

@tonywinga ,

i’m a 30+ year IT professional network engineer with more letters after my name than I can even remember.

It’s irrelevant when it comes to audio. I learned a long time ago that the guy who needs to feel he’s the smartest guy in the room will not be on my team.

No thanks.

IOW, I wouldn’t hire him, lol.


I appreciate you.  

One of the teams I managed was a group of rocket scientists.  So I was definitely not the smartest guy in the room but I had to have a few discussions about emotional maturity now and then to keep HR at bay. They could be a handful but that’s how we keep our country safe.

Haven’t had a blood pressure pill since retiring  



@tvrgeek did not listen to the podcast from a real EE/Audio Engineer regarding the 10 Audio Myths. Geek it's number 3 so you should not nod off.

BTW a lot of here are engineers, MSME. 


I retired in May. 😎

I'm not here to argue with anyone. 

But some folks just need to have a maturity intervention, I guess?

Happy retirement and who is arguing?

I am always the smartest guy in the room when I work from home 😎.

Should give it a listen.

@tvrgeek It isn't the value of your posts, it's the thought that counts.  I know you try.

I’ll pick up a 6 pack on the way, @jeffrey125 . Where you at? I am in the very northern tip of NH. God’s country. I have a great playlist!

@coralkong not sure that’s Gods Country but it’s darn close. You will need more than a 6 pack for that drive. 😉 Texas is a drive. Not saying Texas is Gods Country, partial to Montana and Idaho myself. 

I’ll add my experience. I initially purchased the Network Acoustics Eno filter system. I had a 30 day trial period within which I could return it for a full refund. I had also ordered the English Electric 8 network switch but it hadn’t come in as of yet. 

Candidly, I heard little to no difference with the insertion of the Eno filter and was going to return it. I don’t throw money out windows. But, as the company said it was important to upgrade the switch, I waited so I could audition them together.

Paired together, it was a clear improvement. Not night and day, but an improvement enough to keep the units. I did try the switch alone and while it made an audible difference, it was the pairing that brought the most benefit. 

My point is that I did not fall prey to psychoacoustics or confirmation bias. I was about to send back the filter - which is designed to clean up the Ethernet signal from ride along noise. The network switch is working on the same concept.

What i think the OP is missing are two things: 1) few are disagreeing that the network packets arrive fully intact and that timing is a non-factor, and 2) noise (not hiss, but EMF, etc.) is carried along with the signal. This is because while the network is transmitting 1s and 0s, that signal is in the form of analog electrical pulses not immune to noise. 

Hans Beekhuyzen addresses this in a YouTube video - and shows how this can be measured before and after the network switch. That we can hear the difference (not night and day, but audible) should be no surprise. 

In summary, the data is bit perfect. The packets are in order and there are no timing issues being addressed by the switch. The upgraded network switches are doing nothing to the signal in this aspect.

Yet there is an audible difference between stock and some upgraded audiophile hardware because the latter is reducing the amount of other things carried along the ride. It’s not all snake oil (some is).

I would ask the OP to reconsider.  While you appear to know far more than many of us about how networks work, perhaps that doesn’t translate into knowing all that is necessary to understand how sensitive digital audio conversion is to noise.

That’s why cables (all of them actually, digital, analog, speaker and A/C) are so audibly different.