wHIZZY

Do routers influence sound quality when streaming

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There has been quite a lot of debate as to whether linear power supplies are superior to switch mode in terms of sound quality when powering steamers and DACs. Just wondering if linear power supplies could improve sound quality if used to power a routers being used for streaming. In fact taking this one stage further when streaming can the choice of router influence sound quality? 

Edited by wHIZZY

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Thats food for thought...

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Not really - the data is sent over TCP which is a checksumming, retransmission protocol

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I agree with @kernow

Faults with routers tend to manifest in slowness. At a certain point, a fault could cause the speed to drop below the required bandwidth for the stream, in which case you'll get a drop out.  Some streaming protocols / services may sense this happening and drop back to a lower quality (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptive_bitrate_streaming) but this is more common with video rather than audio.  I don't *think* any of the major hifi streaming platforms do this.  In any case, a linear vs switching psu is not (in principle) going to make any difference to this.

FYI, a router is basically just a computer dedicated to directing network traffic.  Domestic "routers" tend to be "all-in-one" router, switch and wifi access point.  People who are really into networking sometimes prefer to have three separate boxes and good quality interconnects between them. :cool:

Edited by jamster
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14 hours ago, kernow said:

Not really - the data is sent over TCP which is a checksumming, retransmission protocol

I support your point regarding the received data but is it not possible that SMPS noise and RFI from within the router and router quality/design could influence sound quality, if so wouldn't the choice of router and power supply be important. 

Edited by wHIZZY
Router not DAC intended

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I can be a bit 'everything can make a difference', but I can't see it with the connection between a router and anything else. An ethernet cable only carries TCP data, nothing else, so there is no issue with ground planes as far as I can see. There is only a data connection and 'noise' is not going to have any subtle effect on the data. It really is either working or not working, with no grey areas.

I have seen plenty of discussions about how different routers and switches 'sound better', but I have yet to see any actual suggestion of how and why.

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when you think of the amount of data transferred around home networks,  business networks, streaming services both audio and video, not to mention the internet, that arrives in perfect condition, (when did a hi res photo last arrive  corrupted) why audiophiles suddenly start worrying about what are in effect low capacity requirements totally defeats me. It must be the advertisers of the foo kit spreading FUD.   

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Are we talking about a wired or wireless connection from the router to the streamer? If wireless then there wouldn't be a direct electrical connection.

Edited by MartinC
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Super Dealer
8 hours ago, rabski said:

I can be a bit 'everything can make a difference', but I can't see it with the connection between a router and anything else. An ethernet cable only carries TCP data, nothing else, so there is no issue with ground planes as far as I can see. There is only a data connection and 'noise' is not going to have any subtle effect on the data. It really is either working or not working, with no grey areas.

I have seen plenty of discussions about how different routers and switches 'sound better', but I have yet to see any actual suggestion of how and why.

Richard, You are perhaps intentionally or unintentionally trying to head off the discussion in the wrong direction by saying " 'noise' is not going to have any subtle effect on the data".  No one is even remotely suggesting that the digital data is changed, either subtly or otherwise.

It is a well accepted fact that hi frequency noise can piggy back on digital signals and cause distortion issues when it eventually gets into the DAC analogue stages. Designers of streamers are increasingly concentrating on reducing noise on the digital signal in order to increase sound quality. If a router is connected to a streamer then it is possible for noise to get into the streamer from the router even despite ethernet transformers isolation because they cannot be 100% effective at keeping out the noise. Remember that the ethernet standards were written to prevent degradation of the digital data and were not written with hi end audio equipment in mind. Routers often incorporate wifi which operates in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz area which is prime for causing IMD distortion in the DAC.

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6 minutes ago, MartinC said:

Are we talking about a wired or wireless connection from the router to the streamer? If wireless connection there wouldn't be a direct electrical connection.

No, just loads of lovely 2.4GHz or 5GHz wifi signals being processed and generated in the streamer or streaming DAC instead. Maybe that is why Innuos don't have WiFi connections in their high end streamers?

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1 minute ago, Fourlegs said:

Routers often incorporate wifi which operates in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz area which is prime for causing IMD distortion in the DAC.

I'm asking this as it sounds like you might rather than to 'call you out': have you got a link to some tests showing this?

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Just now, Fourlegs said:

No, just loads of lovely 2.4GHz or 5GHz wifi signals being processed and generated in the streamer or streaming DAC instead. Maybe that is why Innuos don't have WiFi connections in their high end streamers?

My comment was just in relation to using a linear PSU on the router :).

(We cross-posted as well BTW.)

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10 hours ago, kernow said:

Not really - the data is sent over TCP which is a checksumming, retransmission protocol

You are correct but now the can of worms is open all the people will be constantly worrying now so more upgrades will be on the table 🤣🤣

Edited by Bokke

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9 minutes ago, Bokke said:

You are correct but now the can of worms is open all the people will be constantly worrying now so more upgrades will be on the table 🤣🤣

That just about sums up the entire hi fi market at the moment. Stupidly rules, mega money cures for non existent problems. It would also suggest the problem lies within the streamers or dac's, rather than the router or its power supply. 

Edited by dudywoxer
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