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In the world of streaming music, there is a belief that digital signals by their nature are immune to the failings of analogue transmission – but it’s not that simple – and even the most hardened digital sceptic may be surprised at what can be achieved with a high specification Ethernet switch.
Listening to streamed music is not just about measurements and numbers. While both elements have important roles during product design and development, the real test for music lovers is how it sounds…
The 8switch by English Electric (a Chord Company brand), is an 8 port GbE Ethernet switch modified and upgraded to our specific requirements for high-performance music streaming networks.
Eight audio grade 100/1000 Base-T gigabit Ethernet ports make it possible to connect even the most demanding streaming setups. Significant (ie. audible) improvements can be experienced in music playback via streaming services or music stored on a NAS.
The 8switch features low and high electrical noise isolation, reducing data issues that can often be apparent during the playback of high-resolution material.
Powered by a customised TCXO (Temperature Compensation Crystal Oscillator), accuracy is 0.1ppm – far higher than normal crystals and higher than a normal TCXO, allowing the 8Switch to generate higher accuracy network signals, which in turn helps provide more stable music data transmission.
The power supply and clock generation circuits each have two electrical noise isolation circuits which ensure stable network signals. An EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) absorber helps to further reduce the noise from the digital circuit.
Compare the increased performance and jitter measurement (90% less!) of the 8switch compared to that of a general network switch.
Casing & Power Supply
The machined aluminium enclosure offers excellent protection from both acoustic and electrical noise.
The minimal LED display on the front panel includes power, alarm and the link status/speed for each of the 8 ports.
The medical-grade power adaptor has been designed to reduce electrical noise from AC power and prevent mains quality issues from affecting the network signals. It also boasts high power efficiency, a no-load power consumption < 0.075W and protection from short circuit, overload and over-voltage.
Switches require high speed power supplies so we could not opt for a linear power source due to their speed limitations. We set about improving the power signal by using an extremely high-quality wall supply. This clean supply permits an optimum quality network signal, driven by high-accuracy TCXO clock technology.