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Review Fidelizer Etherstream switch

Pros

  • Sounds a little bit better

Cons

  • Far too expensive
  • Cheaper alternatives sound better
  • Price: € 399

    Build quality
    Sound
    Usability
    Price
    Fidelizer Etherstream

    Intro

    Contents

    Another switch? Oh, yeah. But for a good reason. More on that later. Fidelizer is mainly known for its excellent software for Windows use. The Fidelizer software provides more peace of mind in playback. We use it privately for our htpc with Kodi. Now the company also has a switch in its range: the Fidelizer Etherstream. It’s basically an 8-port Cisco SG110D. Fidelizer claims to have modified these very successfully. We’re gonna check it out

    We get the box from Fidelizer a short week after request. In the Cisco box we find as expected a Cisco SG110D-08 switch. With an extra sticker with a serial number. Furthermore a few booklets and an adapter with British connection. Fortunately, we have an adapter. We’ll turn the switch on to get the electrons flowing.

    According to Fidelizer, the Etherstream should give quite a difference with streaming audio. And, according to our mail exchanges, mainly with online content. Think of Tidal, Qobuz, et cetera.

    Modifications

    Now Fidelizer has modified this switch. We are, of course, curious about what exactly has been done. In short: we screw it open and compare it with the regular version. The difference is really minimal. A nicer capacitor has been put in place to filter power noise and some modifications have been made around the chip. Capacitors too, by the looks of it. Maybe also to reduce some noise. We see no changes to the layout, power adapter or galvanic isolation. So, not much has been changed.

    Now, of course, it is perfectly possible that this gives an audible effect. More on that later. The point is the price difference. Fidelizer charges $395 for this version. That’s 350 euros (!) more than the normal one, which costs about 50 euros on average. We think it’s really exaggerated. After all: for 329 euros you buy a very nice 12 volt Sbooster power supply. And that – as you can read further on – also does something with the sound.

    The Setup

    We’ve included the two switches in our network. This is done by connecting them to a Netgear GS108T that hangs behind our reference set. We use shielded standard CAT6 cables. Both from the Netgear to the Cisco’s and from the Cisco’s to the Metrum Acoustics Ambre.

    We use a solid aluminium power strip to power the switches. Between the two adapters we place Isotek Isoplugs to keep things clean. Our meter indicates no noise after using the Isoplugs. In short, that’s been taken care of.

    The rest of the system consists of:

    We play music from both the NAS and Tidal. We’ll take care of with help from our Roon server. Roon Rock in our case runs on an AMD quad-core APU with 8GB ram and an SSD.

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