Electrical noise – it’s bad mmm kay?
Electromagnetic interference (EMI) travels into your home courtesy of your friendly electricity company. It’s also the result of your own foolishnes. That dimmer switch you installed might be great for creating an intimate late night vibe (boom chicka-wow-wow) when showing off your Captain Beefheart rarities but it’s sure as hell doing nothing to keep the electrical noise down in your home’s mains supply. Ditto those cheap-ass switch mode power supplies that recharge your smartphone, your fancy camera’s battery and your Dyson vacuum cleaner.
Then there’s the more insidious radio frequency interference (RFI). It’s EMI as a free agent, radiating through space. Got Wifi? Got a mobile phone? Chances are your home is swimming in RFI. It gets picked up by your hi-fi system’s cabling which acts as antennae to such airborne detritus. Oh dear.
Ultimately, this noise can travel along power cables and into your supremely sensitive, supremely expensive hi-fi equipment causing tiny voltage perturbations and increasing distortion (which is bad mmm kay?).
What to do? We’ve recently seen how LessLoss’s twisted DFPC cables can help mitigate noise entering gear that’s direct connected to the wall socket. Earlier this week we saw how TotalDAC’s D1 USB cable can filter (some of) the PC-induced noise to prevent it from reaching the DAC over USB.
But what about a network streamer connected to a router? It too could become a victim of noise generated by the router’s internal circuits and the switch-mode supply that powers it.
Mitigating noise along Ethernet cables is Vincent Brient’s latest target. He’s just announced an Ethernet cable with in-built filter.
“The RJ45 ethernet filter/cable is a TotalDAC exclusive that improves the sound of any DAC or music server using an ethernet link. The filtering of high frequency pollution improves the soundstage and makes the sound more natural.”, says the promotional blurb.
With number of network streamers on the rise this will undoubtedly be of interest to those looking to juice the last from their AURALiC Aries, Aurender X100L (both of which are slated for evaluation by yours truly), SoTM SMS m-100 mini server or Lumin S1.
Of course there will always be those who refuse to believe it can possibly make a difference whilst simultaneously declining an invitation to attend a demo. Them’s the audiophile breaks. The TotalDAC USB cable yields very real results against a backdrop of healthy skepticism, hands-on.ears-on experience that opens my mind to the Ethernet version bringing similar results, especially when triangulating experience with an Audioquest Ethernet demo earlier this year.
Two meters in length and weighing a kilo (!) the TotalDAC filtered Ethernet cable will run you €390.
Further information: TotalDAC
One final thought: Those looking to plough the Ethernet sound optimisation field at the cheaper end might wish to consider the Acoustic Revive RLI-1.