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Multitest – The best switch for streaming audio

Price: € Differes

Entry Level

Contents

We now move into the serious class. All these switches cost around 400 – 500 euros. And we tested them with and without a custom power supply. In this case especially the Ferrum Hypsos, a power supply that is completely adjustable. Very useful in this case. And – as it turns out – very well audible.

Paul Pang Single

We start with the Paul Pang single switch. A modified Dlink 8-port unmanaged switch. Paul Pang didn’t modify the power supply. But it did tweak the clock on this Switch. There is a nice TCXO clock in this 8-port switch. We were frankly surprised, because in most cases manufacturers actually adjust the power supply to reduce noise.

Paul Pang reported during the stream – he was present in the chat – that clocks also produce noise. And that a good, stable, ‘silent’ clock also reduces noise. We have to be honest: it certainly sounds better than no switch. And it is more precise than the standard Cisco switch. But we still hear some harsh S-sounds with James Taylor (clearly audible compared to the NuPrime and English Electric).

However, if we take the Ferrum and connect it to the Dlink / Paul Pang… we hear at once that this combination is very nice indeed. Rhythm, openness, precision. The question is: what is the better choice? Because 349 euros for the Paul Pang single switch is a lot of money. For 499 you also have a NuPrime or English Electric 8Switch. And those add a better power supply in addition to reclocking.

However, the latter two do sound a little darker compared to the Paul Pang. And perhaps the Paul Pang with a decent IFI adapter is also an option … Now that switch does lack a nicely finished casing compared to the NuPrime and English Electric. As you can see, they do look down their noses at each other when it comes to price.

English Electric 8 Switch

For a little more money compared to the Paul Pang, you get an English Electric. This switch – which is based on the Silent Angel / Bonn N8 – comes from Chord Company. So there is a neat Chord network cable in the box. Nice detail!

What can be heard very well is that the basis of this switch is already in good order. It sounds very pleasant. A touch more warmth it seems. It is a ‘smooth operator’ as they say so beautifully in English. The Silent Angel was already a very decent performer. That became clear in the earlier group test. Partly because of that, the S sounds are very well controlled by James Taylor and the song is easier to hear.

By the way, it doesn’t feel like a veil. It feels like more calmness. That’s also because rhythm and timing are not lost with this switch – and the NuPrime and Silent Angel.

When we pair the Ferrum with the English Electric we take another substantial step forward. The bass is wonderfully pointed and tight and the quietness is even more dominant. What an upgrade that it! Is it in proportion? Mwah… not quite. But it is very audible and the fact is: the system just sounds better now. Absolute peace and control. Impressive.

NuPrime SW8

Like the English Electric, this NuPrime is based on the Silent Angel / Bonn N8. It’s a popular thing. And that’s not surprising; it sounds a smidge better than a standard switch. And with that ‘golden edge’ it impresses.

Now we can start repeating the review of the English Electric, but that seems unnecessary to us. This switch is identical and performs similarly. For the test we have not done the English Electric threect after each other. This is to determine whether our experiences are the same again.

And they are. These switches have – compared to other switches – a touch of warmth. It just sounds nice. In short: we understand very well that they are popular!

We tested this NuPrime on two custom power supplies: the Ferrum and the NuPrime F1. This to determine what NuPrime itself would add. It goes without saying that the optional NuPrime power supply is much more proportional in price. The NuPrime power supply costs 399 euros. It is striking that both power supplies sound different. The NuPrime is powerful and has a lot of “grunt,” which is very audible with Jacques Loussier. Bass kicks have a lot of energy. The Ferrum is very nicely balanced and seems to magnify less. It also costs more than twice as much and has only one output. Keep that in mind.

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