These are always tricky tests, because a network is not the same in any environment. We can’t just make a direct connection to our ‘core’ either, because the cables aren’t long enough. We are therefore dependent on a ‘best case’ scenario, in which we connect to the switch behind the set. Now it is connected to a neat Audioquest Pearl CI cable with Telegärtner plugs and an IFI low-noise adapter. It could be worse.
We compare the M12 Switch Magic with a connection directly from a normal – Netgear GS108T – switch (powered by the IFI plug), and our own optical connection. Cabling comes in all cases from Audioquest, except for the M12 Switch Magic, as this switch comes with two cables from home.
The test system is our own reference system that consists of a Pass Labs XP-12 preamp, Bryston 4B SST3 power amplifier, Metrum Acoustics Pavane DAC, Metrum Acoustics Ambre streamer (I2S connected) and a pair of Focal Sopra No1 speakers. Cables are a mixture of Grimm and Audioquest. Power passes through an Isotek Titan for the Bryston and a Kemp PowerStrip 8Plus for the other components.
For the test we take a few test tracks, including Adele, Love Song, Portishead, The Rip, Steven Wilson Song of I and some rawer work from Muse. We’re going into the test pretty blind, since we don’t know what to expect anyway.