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Unexpected convo at ultra high end audio salon

klettermann

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On a recent trip to NYC I dropped into an uber high end salon just to check it out. It's owned by a big name audio guy who has been in the business for decades. Usually they're appointment only but I got lucky and we ended up chatting for at least an hour. This was followed by some serious listening to the reference system. The guts of the system was D'agostino Relentless mono blocks, Relentless preamp, giant Wilson speakers and endless other stuff - cables, power conditioners, etc etc. System was said to be valued at over US$1,000,000. No doubt, it was the best sounding system I've ever heard, as I suppose it should be. I consider it a kind of lifetime experience, like being invited on a joyride in somebody's private jet. Pretty cool!

Yet...... here's what came a s surprise to me. In the course of the conversation the guy mentioned the evils of noise via power line and Ethernet. His solution was, of course, a $700 audiophile ethernet switch. I can't say I've ever listened through such a switch (and likely never will), but the concept bothers me greatly. I do have a pretty good handle on how ethernet works, so this causes me to question what a major influencer is doing. The obvious answer, I guess, is just selling more stuff. And if $$$$$ is no object, as it obviously isn't with a $1.000,000 system, then what's the harm? After all, why leave any stone unturned? But still. And that doesn't even get into the ethics of what a $1mio even means. So there you have it. Whadaya think? Cheers,
 
In these situations, people will unironically repeat "everything matters" and various other things meant to convince you that even though there's no logical, practical, or even physical possibility of something improving the sound, it improves the sound anyway, and you should pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for it. So you end up with scams like cable lifters and high-end ethernet switches.

People WANT this stuff to be true because they want to be able to share their sophisticated evaluations of very sutble improvements to the sound, as an exercise in ego-building. It's a ripe target for a salesman because you can easily pressure people into hearing things they don't actually hear by implying they *should* hear something. If you don't hear the improvement from the magic ethernet box, well, you must have tin ears. To be part of the cool club, you have to hear it. Wow, what a difference!

If not sheer ignorance, it is literally a belief in magic which drives this, which almost makes it seem less bad. After all, people spend plenty of money on fairy tale nonsense all over the place, like homeopathy, healing crystals, fortune tellers, etc.
 
youll find people here who have worked information techology for years have pretty steadfast opinions on 'audiophile switches'... didnt Amir and even Linus test these already?

my question will always be that if you have an audiophile switch... why not replace it with an access point or router and "send your music thru the air"

tcp thru an audiofile switch or a $10 gbe switch or an AP should be the same thing no?

tcp is tcp?
 
youll find people here who have worked information techology for years have pretty steadfast opinions on 'audiophile switches'... didnt Amir and even Linus test these already?

my question will always be that if you have an audiophile switch... why not replace it with an access point or router and "send your music thru the air"

tcp thru an audiofile switch or a $10 gbe switch or an AP should be the same thing no?

tcp is tcp?

Regular home ethernet switches are capable of transmitting vastly more data than even the highest res audio streaming site can transmit.

Your home ethernet switch views audio data as moving in slow motion. Like a cat that swats at a sloth. It has no problem transferring the data. You have to be seriously uninformed/retarded to spend a lot of money on an ethernet switch thinking it will improve the sound quality.
 

 
Your home ethernet switch views audio data as moving in slow motion. Like a cat that swats at a sloth. It has no problem transferring the data. You have to be seriously uninformed/retarded to spend a lot of money on an ethernet switch thinking it will improve the sound quality.

a company's ability to *make* a so-called 'audiophile switch' means they have electronics engineers on board

and i found it illuminating to hear their engineering staff talk about the 'need' for their switches

these are e.engs tcp/ip specialists.... they guys know they are selling bullshit

but their justification for it was that if you have a truly high end system with cable lifters and shakti stones then you want to go 'all out' and be 100% sure your network is also '100% audiophile'

and so goes the pursuit of peoples' money
 
a company's ability to *make* a so-called 'audiophile switch' means they have electronics engineers on board

and i found it illuminating to hear their engineering staff talk about the 'need' for their switches

these are e.engs tcp/ip specialists.... they guys know they are selling bullshit

but their justification for it was that if you have a truly high end system with cable lifters and shakti stones then you want to go 'all out' and be 100% sure your network is also '100% audiophile'

and so goes the pursuit of peoples' money

They aren't engineers. They are scammers.
 








 
The only story I've heard that makes any kind of sense is that noise on the Ethernet can get into the host's power rail and cause issues with a DAC clock. it's not that the Ethernet frame is bad. I don't remember where I saw that, and I don't think it made any meaningful errors in the analog reconstruction. Anyway, just spreading more unreferenced gossip.
 
my question will always be that if you have an audiophile switch... why not replace it with an access point or router and "send your music thru the air"

Cannot!

It will pollute and add noise to the air that the sound waves need to travel through!!

;)
 
a company's ability to *make* a so-called 'audiophile switch' means they have electronics engineers on board
Not really. I'm sure it would be pretty easy to find a factory or two overseas that will customize a switch to your specifications. So you don't need to know how to engineer anything so much as pick upgrades off a list.

As long as you can pay for 1000-5000 units they won't ask you why it needs gold plating, nor are they engaged in scamming anyone, they're merely "arms dealers" at worst.

And it's always possible to hire a contract EE to customize stuff for you if you're really serious.

But realistically, you can just slap any switch into a fancy housing and call it a day. What are they going to do, measure the output?
 
The only story I've heard that makes any kind of sense is that noise on the Ethernet can get into the host's power rail and cause issues with a DAC clock. it's not that the Ethernet frame is bad. I don't remember where I saw that, and I don't think it made any meaningful errors in the analog reconstruction. Anyway, just spreading more unreferenced gossip.
Just, no. Ethernet is used in data centres at up to 100gigabits per second, with essentially no loss. That’s 50,000 CD quality streams on one cable.

The cables are galvanically isolated at each end, so there is no ground loop.

The encoding used ensures there is no correlation between signal and EM field, so data induced jitter can’t happen

This stuff works, and it’s just embarrassing how the audio industry converts it into yet more snake oil.
 
So disgusting. A system like that should have at least a $5,000 ethernet switch.
That’s why you need to separate between streamer, dac, preamp, and amp. So, at least 4 devices that come from 4 different brand/manufacturers.
 
The only "real" network company involved with this is Melco, since their parent company is Buffalo.

What was neat was that they saw a reduction in jitter at the DAC level, but as is the case with line conditioners -- it probably doesn't make a difference at the audible level.

They did show better jitter from their own streamer as opposed to a PC. But again, probably doesn't make a difference at the audible level.
 
I'm surprised that store isn't selling audiophile grade earwax remover kits to maximize the listening experience.
 
Yet...... here's what came a s surprise to me. In the course of the conversation the guy mentioned the evils of noise via power line and Ethernet. His solution was, of course, a $700 audiophile ethernet switch. I can't say I've ever listened through such a switch (and likely never will), but the concept bothers me greatly
In a $ 1000000 system the thing that bothered you the most was the “cheap” switch :D

Honestly, I would probably be more bothered by the fact that the system has no room correction ;) Yes, that is pure speculation on my part, but I’m 99.999% sure I’m right :cool:
 
On a recent trip to NYC I dropped into an uber high end salon just to check it out. It's owned by a big name audio guy who has been in the business for decades. Usually they're appointment only but I got lucky and we ended up chatting for at least an hour. This was followed by some serious listening to the reference system. The guts of the system was D'agostino Relentless mono blocks, Relentless preamp, giant Wilson speakers and endless other stuff - cables, power conditioners, etc etc. System was said to be valued at over US$1,000,000. No doubt, it was the best sounding system I've ever heard, as I suppose it should be. I consider it a kind of lifetime experience, like being invited on a joyride in somebody's private jet. Pretty cool!

Yet...... here's what came a s surprise to me. In the course of the conversation the guy mentioned the evils of noise via power line and Ethernet. His solution was, of course, a $700 audiophile ethernet switch. I can't say I've ever listened through such a switch (and likely never will), but the concept bothers me greatly. I do have a pretty good handle on how ethernet works, so this causes me to question what a major influencer is doing. The obvious answer, I guess, is just selling more stuff. And if $$$$$ is no object, as it obviously isn't with a $1.000,000 system, then what's the harm? After all, why leave any stone unturned? But still. And that doesn't even get into the ethics of what a $1mio even means. So there you have it. Whadaya think? Cheers,

Your headline said "unexpected" convo, but invoking unlikely audio tech isn't at all surprising.

As for ethernet switches, yes data rates for standard tech are more than superfluous but hypothetical time domain/noise/interference related sonic degradation wouldn't have much to do with asynchronous packet transmission, if said degradations in fact existed.

More a case of making sure every component was satisfyingly expensive though.
 
HI

I I haven't checked the HEA scene for the past 7 years (Thanks to ASR and in particular to @amirm), I used to be active in it
..
The focus of most of the posts, is on the $700 Ethernet switch, since we know and it can be proven, that a $10 switch would have worked as well ...but I surmise another consideration: The big Wilson speakers could have been driven properly by the $90 Aiyima Pro reviewed here at ASR, and the sonic performances could have been similar.. One could adjust for more power/watts, and replace the D'Agostino paper weight$, with a, for example Topping Preamp + > 1000 watts Hypex amplifers; all that around $3000 total (preamp + amp)... Issue would be the absence of the Captain Nemo casing and the steampunk vu-meters... else, same performance... One could throw in an Apple dongle as DAC and your iPhone as source and the sound would still be the same, as with the >$625,000 complement of D'agostino electronics, cablelifters , cables and paraphernalia that composed this million dollars audio system ... The Wilson would have sounded their exact same, if you like their sounds...
Now ... I am speculating: perhaps a pair of Genelec 8361A/W371A audio System could have been more accurate than this $1,000,000 one, for 1/20 the price, around $35,000 a different discussion... I'd like to see measurements of both.. In room
Such is High End Audio: A complete disconnect between performance and price... To me a sad commentary of the HEA which has become through the years, a devolution of the concept of HiFi.

Peace.
 
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