I’ll be comparing the SOtM
I didn’t have The Linear Solution OCXO on hand but was able to compare it to the SOtM before sending it back. The SOtM
Aside from the last track on this list, they were all streamed via Tidal. The last track was played locally on the
Aretha Franklin – Amazing Grace
Although not the greatest of recordings, this live recording still gives a fantastic sense of stereo imaging and plenty of textural perspectives. Instruments, voices, and even cheers from the audience have their directionality and independent energies. The youthful talent of the Queen of Soul is realized beautifully in this piece.
In comparison to the SOtM
In addition, leading edges of the piano notes are obliterated on the ZyXEL. With the SOtM, you could clearly hear every single key press – including how long the note is held, associated decay, and tactility. “Controlled timing” is what comes to mind.
Whereas the ZyXEL does have a richer tone – that’s probably the only positive I could think of. Otherwise, it sounds very jumbled and confused. The SOtM trumps on dynamics, separation, and noise floor. It imparts a perspective in depth and clarity. It’s difficult not to be drawn in – especially midway through when the commotion of the crowd escalates. As the recording ends, you’re able to hear the powerful exertion and prowess in her voice.
John Coltrane – Lover (Coltrane ’58: The Prestige Recordings)
The ZyXEL simply falls apart with this fast-paced recording. It just throws its hands up. Instrumentation lacks the tonal variations required for differentiation of timbre. Everything just sounds heavy. Cymbals are also muted in their shine.
Although quite punchy, it’s very broad with its articulation – it lacks precision. Once again, transients are completely nonexistent. It’s also difficult to isolate individual performers in this recording.
With so much going on, the SOtM remains composed. It is not only able to relay all the macro and micro dynamics of the recording, but it’s also able to do so with finesse. You could hear how quickly the cymbals vibrate and gain insight into Coltrane’s impeccable technique on brass. The drummer underpins rhythm whilst the gentle piano plays with presence and palpability. There’s plenty of musicality in the complexitites.
Alice in Chains – No Excuses (Unplugged)
Although the previous track exemplifies what an audiophile-grade switch is capable of, this recording puts the nail in the coffin.
With the SOtM
The ZyXEL is far less engaging. Everything seems to be glued together in a disoriented way. Voices and instruments sound more singular, synthetic, and diffused. There seems to be a cloudy overcast over the music. PRaT is also unnaturally mellow. Huge difference.
Dr. Dre – The Next Episode
For kicks, I wanted to try a local file on the
“Crip walk if you down with the set.”
In the past, I wanted to determine which Ethernet cable sounded closest to a music file played locally. This is in hopes of finding a cable that’s most “pure.” Unfortunately, I’ve noticed changes to the sound of my local music files depending on which Ethernet cable was connected to the
How a switch affects your stored music
Keeping the Ethernet cable the same, I wanted to know what the impact was on locally stored music with different Ethernet switches. Keep in mind I’m not talking about stored music from a NAS but a file that doesn’t traverse the network at all. In my
With the SOtM
ZyXEL GS-108B v2
The ZyXEL sounds warmer (which is nice) but heavier and more convoluted. It’s difficult to hear aural contrasts – it’s more like a blob of sound. Not a very subtle difference.
So even though the music isn’t streamed through the Ethernet switch and cables, it affects the sound of your music library stored locally. Your local files will sound different depending on what’s connected to your music server. As mentioned, this doesn’t only apply to the switch, but the Ethernet cable as well. Not much of a surprise I guess, considering how pervasive noise is in a system.
I’ll be posting a video demonstrating the differences. It’ll be in a blind test format. If you haven’t done so already, SUBSCRIBE!.
How much noise is introducted by the switch?
Since the switch is introducing noise into the system, what happens if I unplug the Ethernet cable from the
Totally impractical – but I was curious. Luckily playing a local file will still play through in Roon so I could test both. Testing streams was a bit more time-consuming.