Hi guys: I’m loving my K41 but am discovering it is kind of “finicky “ insofar as communicating with my K22 player via my EtherREGEN switch with and without fiber.
Example: I used a DH Labs Silver sonic cable for several weeks and sounded very articulate and worked well until it didn’t. Today I installed a > than $500 US Synergistic cable and must have power cycled everything on and off a half dozen times, reversed directions and Antipodes server never did find my K41!
I ultimately went back to an older Amazon cheapie CAT7 and it works fine, as it did before while awaiting my new cable. And it actually sounds quite good!
I understand I am in the minority of users who are deep down the fiber rabbit hole. But I like it and will have a lifelong relationship with fiber. But I do not believe my issue is unique to fiber as other cables work just fine and never had this issue with other servers. I am beginning to believe that the more expensive and complex Ethernet cables are (with higher end servers like this K41), the more trouble one might expect to experience with communication.
So does anyone else experience this issue? Is there a “great” cable anyone can recommend that communicates well with the K41?
I have found that some exotic Ethernet cables have slightly dodgy connectors and I have experienced intermittent connection issues with them.
After lots of experimenting what works best for reliability of connection and sound quality in my system is a PhoenixNET switch just before my Antipodes and then a non exotic 0.5m length Cat 6 UTP (unshielded twisted pair) to connect to the Antipodes streamer.
Note that my preference is for unshielded Cat 6 rather than shielded Cat 7 although both give ultra reliable connection in my system.
With your mention of fibre I have not had any connection issues with this but I dislike fibre network anywhere near the Antipodes, not because of dodgy connection but rather because of its obvious degrading of sound quality. By degrading I mean over emphasis of percussion and plucked notes and a hardening to the sound, almost as if everything sounds as if it has too much enhanced detail.
Thanks for the feedback Nick; nice to know I’m not alone in discovering that many boutique higher end cables don’t communicate well with Antipodes, or other higher and servers for that matter.
As regards my use of fiber, I think at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference. I appreciate what you share in terms of your perception of how fiber affects how you hear music and no doubt you are not alone, but me and many of my friends enjoy fiber and don’t necessarily experience the same phenomenon that you appear to experience. So I think sound is much like food in many respects. Some people have a preference for filet mignon while others prefer a ribeye steak. Some people prefer a particular kind of pasta over another or one seafood over another. I love my fiber optic world that I’ve constructed, and I’m committed to it for several reasons, and safe to say for better worse, I’ll remain married to it for the rest of my life.
I would add that I have a good friend who is a small manufacturer of high-performance audio cables, and he refuses to build ethernet or USB cables for precisely this reason. They are too finicky and he doesn’t want to deal with pervasive issues such as the one I’ve documented here. There are seldom if ever any issues with interconnects for example or speaker cables but USB connectivity issues and apparently ethernet as well are issues not uncommon apparently. But I may seek out a good Cat6 cable such as one you’ve described. I need at least 1 meter to run from my eR switch so half a meter wouldn’t be enough length for me.
I’m pretty new with my K50, as it has been on continuously 24/4 days now, but absolutely no ethernet issues. I am also using the etherRegen infront of it, with fibre into the ER and an Audio Sensibility Telegartner equipped Supra ethernet from the ER into the K50. Still debating the whole fibre comparison as that has only been installed in the chain for a month. Very reasonable price for this AS Supra ethernet bought direct from Audio Sensibility- don’t know if you classify this as “boutique” or not- maybe give one a shot? I haven’t experimented with any other ethernet cables.
This was using AES output from the K50 into the DAC. I have had some strange issues with the USB though- I just hooked it up to see if it works, and to try some of my DSD files, and going back and forth from squeeze to Roon (still having a roon issue too) so I took it out quickly and have been using AES since. I’ll revisit USB at some point but like I said, I am just getting to grips with this new (to me) unit so at this point I would rather burn in the AES port and cable.
Very interesting that you should mention the brand Supra. This is the very cable I use to connect from my other EtherREGEN to my K22 and I always love the way it sounded. In fact, most recently, I had bought a second Supra cable and connected it to the K 41 server without any issue whatsoever. Communication was immediate and successful. Ironically, I did not like the way it sounded when connected to the server. What had been very articulate became almost “blurred.” For me, the two Supra. cables were simply not a good match together. Or, perhaps one cable can be just fine for a player and not so much for the server So I returned it after a distributor essentially said that I have a Mercedes-Benz but I’ve gone to Costco to buy tires. In other words, his analogy was that this cable was not equal to the level of performance of the server. Enter the Synergistic cable which is unable to communicate. So I shall have to return that, and in the meanwhile, find that the $7 and seven year-old Cat7 cable sounds remarkably good, but clearly I know I can do better. I just have to find a cable that can communicate properly. Computer audio can, as we know, be quite “tricky.”
I had posted this in 2022: “I have and previously was using EtherREGEN as switch prior to PF Buffalo. I intended to test both switches in the system, but shielded ethernet cable did not work for me into “A” side”. My system evolved with adding the PF Buffalo, K50, and Mola Mola Makua with DAC.
The shielded ethernet cable referenced is an Audio Sensibility cable. I have two of them, and am pleased with them in use now, but I am unable to use on “A” side of the EtherRegen and music from my K50. I have more than one DAC, with one being a Lumin X1. Lumin has advised against using shielded cables, connected at both ends. I have been using fiber from PF Buffalo to the X1. I use a single switch now, PF Buffalo, with the AS cable from the switch to the K50 and another AS ethernet from K50 to Makua DAC (Tambaqui).
Very possibly an unshielded cable or one with shielding termination disconnected on one end may eliminate the problem when using EtherRegen. I still have the ER, but currently not in use.
That synergy thing. It surprises me your Supra makes that much difference plugged into the server vs. the player.
I wish I could contribute but I have no experience with ethernet cables; I have no idea how the Supra sounds compared to others. After reading your experience it makes me not want to try anything more expensive though. Check out Audio Sensibilities version- Telegartners and they cryo the stock Supra cable.
Yes, but Costco has some of the exact same Michelin and Pirelli tires the dealership sells. Always take recommendations from people who make commissions with a grain of salt. Obviously he would recommend an Audioquest or Transparent over the Muon or Mad Scientist?
Not sure on that but the rep did make a reference to the fact that Costco “typically” does not get the same level of tire that independent stores and chains may get. For example, they may offer a Pirelli tire like that which just can standard on my new EV, but they may not have that same exact model. I DO know that Sony for example doesn’t not offer their top of line OLED to Costco which one can buy at Best Buy, AV dealers or Abt, for example. But I for sure appreciate that many salespeople are “partisan.”
Interesting, and thanks for sharing your experience. So I have two of the EtherREGEN units - one of which I have had for several years and used previously with the Sonore Rendu without issue. Of course that is a player(streamer) and not a server. I have found servers are more “particular” than players. .
I ALSO have a Makua preamp and a Tambaqui (stand-alone) DAC, and have THAT connected to the A side of the eR and it’s actually quite nice. A significant upgrade relative to connecting to my network switch, That said, I rarely use it as an endpoint in Roon simply because music sounds better with a goos streamer.
I am completely satisfied that there exists no inherent problem with the EtherREGEN. Why? Well, they have sold thousands ( more than 3.5K) and the device gets nothing but accolades and I know the owner who is as honest as the day is long . And the fact that many cables communicate without issue from both the A and B sides affirms to me that it appears to come down to the server itself and whether or not it can communicate properly with the cable.
I appreciate your input relating to an unshielded cable and will look into that for sure… I ALSO know that Alex Crespi (owner os Uptone Audio) has recommended CAT6 unshielded cables to me in the past. Maybe there is a good reason for this . -
Whilst in general I agree with what you say about much of what we hear being down to personal preferfence, with digital reproduction and particularly with sound differences that are down to noise piggy backing on the digital cable or local network I personally think there are some things which are not just down to preference and some are just plain bad. The noise artifacts I hear from introducing optical convertors come into this category as far as I am concerned.
A manufacturer of optical bridges brought one to demonstrate in my network connected to my Oladra. Within about 10 minutes of listening to it I was able to demonstrate that the extra ‘life’ and ‘articulation’ which it introduced to the sound were nothing more than noise generated artifacts. Once I had enabled him to identify this sound he went away somewhat crest fallen. A plain length of ethernet cable sounded better than the optical bridge he had brought for me to hear.
It is not just his, I have tried many from all sorts of manufacturers and none have so far overcome the inherent noise introduced in the circuits when the optical (fibre) signal is converted back to an electrical signal.
But then I speak as someone who used to have an eR switch but abandoned (sold) it when I seriously sat down to compare the alternatives.
We had a client post here, can’t find the post for the moment, where the very expensive ethernet cable only allowed communication one-way, if the manufacturer cannot say it meets the relevant spec, then I wouldn’t touch it, ditto USB cables without earth, this is not spec.
I hear what you’re saying, Nick, and appreciate real world experience. I accept it as true but here again , you’ve nailed it at the end of your summary when you acknowledge you’ve never heard an EtherREGEN NOR (I presume) a Sonore Optical Module Deluxe. So, just as not all turntables are created equally nor are all $50,000 automobiles created.equally, there are vast differences among switches and in particular fiber media converters. The Sonore has an exceptional clock built into it that I rather suspect might mitigate much of what you have heard when comparing fiber against copper. And the eR is in a league of its own. The reviews speak for themselves.
I would be curious to know your experience, if you were ever in a position to use those two devices in conjunction with each other. I have had other lesser fiber, media converters( FMC) , and there is a world of difference
You know my experience today already Mark, but for the benefit of any ppl following this topic I resolved this issue today by removing the Supra cable from the K22 player and instead connected the cable to the network port of the K41 server. So the server is getting a pure fiber feed from my EtherREGEN.
I then proceeded to connect the server to the player using the provided CAT6 cable. The results are INCREDIBLE! My system has never sounded so good. I have abandoned and given up on the 2nd eR that was dedicated to feeding the server, so it’s been an expensive lesson as I’ve now got a second EtherREGEN and high end LPS I don’t really need…but oh well. No real complaints as I’ve gotten the SQ I’ve been after and I’ll be getting a $500 US credit for the Synergistic cable that failed to communicate with the K41, for whatever reason. So… all good!
I haven’t had to do this personally, but I read about a quick trick to eliminate conduction from one metal RJ45 end to the other, if that is the reason for the problems of signal transmission, is to coat the receiving end connector in nail polish. I don’t know if synergistic research will still accept the return if one end is pink though
You might be right about this approach but I’m for the moment “at peace” and feel like I need a break. Haha. But down the road I suppose I could speak with a small boutique company principal to see if they offer or could custom build a cable with return privileges.
And as for the signal path, yes, you’ve nailed it. That exactly how I’ve squeezed the most amount of juice from the lemon. Sounds fantastic. And since Mark Cole also has a Makua with the Tambaqui DAC card and much prefers AES as opposed to USB, I opted to purchase a new AES cable from Cerious Tech - their Lumniscate. In all of my years I’ve never heard cables at any price point sound as good. Amazing transparency, sound staging, detail revealed is just amazing. And these cables are stunning with spectacular build quality. Pic attached.
I have heard about them. There might be something with this graphene ingredient. I know I like my Zavfino Silver Dart power cords which have a graphene shield. I have a Jorma AES arriving today- hoping it will give me some more detail over the Triode Wire Labs.
Will await your feedback on the cable and good luck! Bob Grost insists that while other companies might be incorporating liquid graphene into the cabling, none are using his technique which he keeps “close to the vest.”
He just sold like 9 Lumniscate PC’s to a guy who owns a 50k MSB DAC and was using a stock power cord. LOL. He started with one and, get this : his wife pushed him to go all in! They are really something special.
Well the Jorma AES stays and the Triode Wire Labs AES goes back. I would have been shocked if the much lower priced TWL XLR cable would have been better, but you never know. The Jorma had tighter bass, and resolved better, and possibly had a little better dynamics. I thought it was clear, and then the next day I swapped again, and I wasn’t as positive I knew the difference, and went back and forth with a few different tracks, and then was pretty sure again. And then for fun I asked my 25 year old daughter to help me out.
I didn’t tell her anything other than ask which cable she preferred. She saw me swap them, but knew nothing else. She listens through a “regular” computer to a dragonfly, you know, a $80 DAC, into mid-level Sennheiser headphones.
I started with the Jorma, played 70 seconds of the latest track I was listening to: Dire Straits- Brothers in Arms, just a few sentences into the part where Knopfler sings. She is not familiar with the track. I then shut off the DAC and K50, waited for the beep, changed cables, turned on the K50, then the DAC, waited for Roon to register, and played again. Well sh!t, it took her all of 10 seconds to say “the first one is better”. I put on a poker face and said, okay lets try another track- you choose something you are familiar with. She chose Florence and the machine- Which Witch. I have never heard it before- not a bad track. Went back and forth again, and she picked out some percussion sound that sounds like clapping, and sure enough it was much better resolved the second time it was played with the Jorma. She used the word “crisper”.
I don’t know if I am happy or annoyed with her hearing ability.
I then told her one cable was $1200, and one was $300, which is which- she said the TWL looked like the expensive one and the Jorma looked like the $300 cable. I agree. So definitely the sighting didn’t influence her decision.