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  1. #1
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    Wireless vs Ethernet. Any sound quality differences?

    My SB Touch feeds a DAC by digital coaxial and then onto my amp. I'm keen to get the best sound quality possible. Should I expect there to be any difference in sound quality between the wireless connection and a physical ethernet connection? I don't really like the idea of wireless connection for HD music files (up to 24bit, 96kHz) but I am having trouble with occasional drop outs on the ethernet connection (looses sight of the ports momentarily) whilst the wireless shows no such issue. Can I go wireless and be confident that sound quality will not suffer?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
    My SB Touch feeds a DAC by digital coaxial and then onto my amp. I'm keen to get the best sound quality possible. Should I expect there to be any difference in sound quality between the wireless connection and a physical ethernet connection? I don't really like the idea of wireless connection for HD music files (up to 24bit, 96kHz) but I am having trouble with occasional drop outs on the ethernet connection (looses sight of the ports momentarily) whilst the wireless shows no such issue. Can I go wireless and be confident that sound quality will not suffer?
    When you copy a Word file over your Wi-Fi, does it end up corrupt?

    No it doesn't

    The same thing is with music, Wi-Fi or Ethernet it's the same.

    If there is a problem, you will hear the music stop.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcolak View Post
    When you copy a Word file over your Wi-Fi, does it end up corrupt?

    No it doesn't

    The same thing is with music, Wi-Fi or Ethernet it's the same.

    If there is a problem, you will hear the music stop.
    I also think the same but I still worry about audio quality/integrity. I worry about small, occasional data loss that could just contribute to jitter, poor clock timing or stereo imaging and hence degrade the audio quality subtly without actual drop out?

    If that is definitely not an issue then I may as well give up on the ethernet hassle and go wireless..

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
    I also think the same but I still worry about audio quality/integrity. I worry about small, occasional data loss that could just contribute to jitter, poor clock timing or stereo imaging and hence degrade the audio quality subtly without actual drop out?
    Remember that the Touch and earlier Squeezebox players contain a buffer that collects the incoming data stream and then parcels it out as needed. I once unplugged the CAT-5 cable to my SB3 and it continued to play perfectly for 7 or 8 seconds before it stopped. That's a long time in the world of data transmission.

    Also, if you just want to be paranoid, any delay or minor interruption in a wireless signal can be duplicated on a wired LAN that shares the data path with other computers.

    The only problem with wireless is it can be subject to interference from other wireless devices such as 2.4 GHz cordless phones, etc. It that's an issue you're going to notice it and it won't be subtle. Otherwise, my opinion is that if it is working, don't worry about it unless you're just determined to have a case of audiophilia nervosa one way or the other.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Phil Leigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
    I also think the same but I still worry about audio quality/integrity. I worry about small, occasional data loss that could just contribute to jitter, poor clock timing or stereo imaging and hence degrade the audio quality subtly without actual drop out?

    If that is definitely not an issue then I may as well give up on the ethernet hassle and go wireless..
    No no no no .... did I say no? :-)

    There is no "data loss" - even an audible drop out is not a "loss" but rather a delay...

    There's no jitter to be found here. The audio integrity etc is 100%. Unless you get drop-outs - which means that your network is broken and needs fixing...
    You want to see the signal path BEFORE it gets onto a CD/vinyl...it ain't what you'd call minimal...
    Touch(wired/W7)+Teddy Pardo PSU - Audiolense 3.3/2.0+INGUZ DRC - MF M1 DAC - Linn 5103 - full Aktiv 5.1 system (6x LK140's, ESPEK/TRIKAN/KATAN/SEIZMIK 10.5), Pekin Tuner, Townsend Supertweeters,VdH Toslink,Kimber 8TC Speaker & Chord Signature Plus Interconnect cables
    Stax4070+SRM7/II phones
    Kitchen Boom, Outdoors: SB Radio, Harmony One remote for everything.

  6. #6
    Senior Member JJZolx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
    My SB Touch feeds a DAC by digital coaxial and then onto my amp. I'm keen to get the best sound quality possible. Should I expect there to be any difference in sound quality between the wireless connection and a physical ethernet connection? I don't really like the idea of wireless connection for HD music files (up to 24bit, 96kHz) but I am having trouble with occasional drop outs on the ethernet connection (looses sight of the ports momentarily) whilst the wireless shows no such issue. Can I go wireless and be confident that sound quality will not suffer?
    That's an odd twist to the wireless vs. wired debate. It's usually the other way around. If you have wire, I'd say use it. You should fix whatever is wrong with the connection rather than falling back to wireless. Try different patch cables, repunch the wall jacks, get a new switch or router.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJZolx View Post
    That's an odd twist to the wireless vs. wired debate. It's usually the other way around. If you have wire, I'd say use it. You should fix whatever is wrong with the connection rather than falling back to wireless. Try different patch cables, repunch the wall jacks, get a new switch or router.
    I felt cured of the "audiophilia nervosa" I was suffering - I'm now in the middle of a relapse...

  8. #8
    I think the argument about the buffer is really good.
    As always, the truth should be in listening, but that is sometimes easier said then done, and the A.N. Suffers are very tight.
    using wireless it seems to me there are two possibilties, taking into account the buffer thing:
    1) wireless is Evil because it causes the wireless receptor to be active giving pollution in the system or:
    2) wireless is Good, because now that horrible poisoned RFI from the router or server cannot reach your Squeezebix, at least not by signal wire.

    Me, I love 2), sounds very plausible and happens to be convenient to me, since my router and PC are on the other side of the house.
    Last edited by Dura; 2010-09-16 at 14:27.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Phil Leigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dura View Post
    I think the argument about the buffer is really good.
    As always, the truth should be in listening, but that is sometimes easier said then done, and the A.N. Suffers are very tight.
    using wireless it seems to me there are two possibilties, taking into account the buffer thing:
    1) wireless is Evil because it causes the wireless receptor to be active giving pollution in the system or:
    2) wireless is Good, because now that horrible poisoned RFI from the router or server cannot reach your Squeezebix, at least not by signal wire.

    Me, I love 2), sounds very plausible and happens to be convenient to me, since my router and PC are on the other side of the house.
    I agree "the truth is in the listening". I defy anyone to prove - or even claim! - that they can hear a difference between a properly working ethernet or Wlan connection.

    Curiously, if anything there is more of a chance of the ethernet sounding worse due to some people stupidly using cat6 SHIELDED cable!
    You want to see the signal path BEFORE it gets onto a CD/vinyl...it ain't what you'd call minimal...
    Touch(wired/W7)+Teddy Pardo PSU - Audiolense 3.3/2.0+INGUZ DRC - MF M1 DAC - Linn 5103 - full Aktiv 5.1 system (6x LK140's, ESPEK/TRIKAN/KATAN/SEIZMIK 10.5), Pekin Tuner, Townsend Supertweeters,VdH Toslink,Kimber 8TC Speaker & Chord Signature Plus Interconnect cables
    Stax4070+SRM7/II phones
    Kitchen Boom, Outdoors: SB Radio, Harmony One remote for everything.

  10. #10
    Senior Member aubuti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
    I don't really like the idea of wireless connection for HD music files (up to 24bit, 96kHz) but I am having trouble with occasional drop outs on the ethernet connection (looses sight of the ports momentarily) whilst the wireless shows no such issue.
    I suggest you fix that problem. There is absolutely no good reason to be "loosing" sight of the ports. Either your router's bad, or the cable's bad, or something else with your ethernet is not right. Fix that and use the wired connection, not because it has better sound quality, but because it is more reliable.

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