With moving to a new home, the opportunities for experimenting with acoustics, AC treatments, etc are plentiful. In this specific case we are talking about tweaks to the devices that connect to the internet, and stream music over our home networks to our audio components.
Not all of these are "Audiophile grade", the modem and/or router from your internet provider most likely was not designed with high quality parts or a low noise linear power supply. They are electronically very noisy devices. Not at all like the audio components most of us own that go to great lengths to have low signal to noise ratios, filter power as well as not put any noise back on our home's electrical grid. I have found a few things that work to reduce the noise, and make the digital signal sound better when converted to analog.
1. Get A Balanced Power SupplyI make absolutely no money from this recommendation, and I don't care. Most of the time we are stuck with the noisy switching power supplies on routers, switches and modems. not only do they produce noise that gets into the signal path, they also inject noise into our home's electrical grid. A balanced power supply does 2 things: First it cuts the noise on incoming power by 50%. Less garbage in, less garbage out. Second, it uses an isolation transformer, which will electronically isolate anything plugged into it from getting in to your home's AC grid. That is perfect for all of those switching power supplies on your data components.
I've covered balanced power on Computer gear in a previous blog which you can read here.
|Balanced power supply. This unit has 4 ac receptacles on the back, and can be found on ebay for around $200.|
I stumbled upon this after getting my system set up and fairly dialed in. We have a large panel in one of our bedroom closets that houses all of the Ethernet and coax cables. I'll call it the network closet for the sake of less confusion. In the network closet, the security system and the modem/router from our ISP is connected. I was tidying up the wiring and electrical connections here, and had already installed the balanced power supply for powering all of these devices when I started experimenting. I had an ADD-Powr Symphony Pro on hand, and wanted to see if it had any effect on the devices in the closet. As I said I had the audio system fairly dialed in, and was used to what it was delivering in terms of musical characteristics. It took me days of playing with speaker placement to get to a "good place", and I was pretty familiar with the sound of the system in the new room.
2. Try an ADD Powr Symphony or Symphony Pro
|Front and rear view of the ADD-Powr Symphony Pro|
The Symphony Pro was a surprise. I had the Sorcer X4 in the listening room, and thought that the Symphony Pro would be undetectable or at best, minimal.
Adding the ADD-Powr
I did several A/B listening tests over several days with the Symphony Pro powered up and unpowered in the network closet. Every single time I powered it off, within a very short period of listening to my system I would lose interest in the music, feeling that the soundstage was flatter, and the music less dynamic and interesting. I would engage the Symphony pro and sure enough, I could sit at length, engaged with the music and surrounded by a wide, deep wrap around soundstage. This A/B testing went on for several days, sometimes I would turn off the Symphony pro, and leave the house. I would Forget about what I had done with it while I was away. I would come back to listen later that day to hear a flat, less dynamic, less 3D, & less interesting sonic presentation. I would get up from my listening chair and go over to the network closet and realize I had turned it off. After a few times of that phenomena occurring, I decided the Symphony Pro was staying in my network closet.
Even though our computer and networking devices may not be audiophile grade, there are things we can do to improve the influence they may have on the sound of the musical data that flows through them. The balanced power supply and ADD-Powr Symphony Pro worked to improve power delivery to the data components, and kept their noisy power supplies of the house grid. The impact they had on my system and to my ears was significant enough to warrant keeping them, and sharing my ideas with you.
As always, you can order the ADD-Powr Symphony or Symphony Pro from Tweek Geek with the protection of our 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. If it doesn't work well enough to justify the price tag, send it back for a refund. Official details here.