Noise is the fiercest enemy of the most enjoyable aspects of music reproduction.
Micro dynamics, sense of space, detail, atmosphere... sheer delight.
Name those subtle features in music that open your own personal door to pleasure and all of them are affected by noise.
From the dawn of its existence, noise has been an enemy of hi-fi.
Today in the Digital Era, noise has become “The” enemy.
It not only affects silences. Noise also corrupts the process of transporting and recovering data itself.
In a way, noise has matured. It is no longer a “hum" or "hiss” in your speakers.
It has become something more complicated and much more difficult to deal with.
Once noise invades the sacred ground plane of a digital system, it seems to be everywhere.
Noise is very difficult to eliminate because it is inherent to some components, and since all components are interconnected, if one component has noise, all connected components can be affected.
The only solution is to confine it wherever it resides. Keep it from polluting the most critical components of the audio system.
Modern digital high-end audio means streaming, local (LAN) or remote (WAN), and in both cases that involves a router, or a switch, or both of them.
A switch is noisy, and a router is even noisier.
But not only them, a local server with all its processes and clocks running is noisy too.
Not to mention the local network itself.
Truth is, in all of its shapes and manifestations, noise simply denies silence.
And silence, is a vital part of music.
This is where galvanic isolation comes into play.
Isolation is the antidote.
Perfect isolation comes in the form of a device that has a RJ45 male plug in one extreme and, to protect the ground plane, a transformer coupled female jack in the other .
Two coils, inducting data to each other and presenting zero electrical conductivity between them.
As simple as that.
A passive device, no outboard power supply that potentially adds additional noise or inconvenience of its own.
All this has to be done properly to obtain the remarkable results that are possible.
As is so often the case, the simpler something is, more critical is the quality of the elements involved. It’s a reasonable counterpart.
Also, every step counts, every step plays a role in this process.
First you need a very good Ethernet micro transformer with a specific impedance & desired bandwidth.
Then you need to hard wire it (no PCB involved, please) by silver alloy soldering it to a very highly quality cable, whose natural shielding has been carefully incremented.
You also find the perfect shielded RJ45 connector for the task. You try many of them.
And to connect it to the assembly, again, hard wiring & silver alloy soldering, as wherever there is a connection.
You do all this by hand.
One by one.
Then you place the resulting device into its vibration damped container to ensure integrity and long term performance.
Then you developand test a few dozen architectures that accomplish the exact same thing in subtly different ways.
And you listen their effects on the music that you love for hours. And months.
Then you smile, when you find the one that works the best.
You smile because you know that you have a solution to the problem.