To help get the very best performance from streaming audio systems, Russ Andrews Accessories is launching a dedicated audiophile grade Network Switch, to replace a weak link that exists in many computer based hifi systems.

Russ Andrews has long felt that a fundamental problem with computer audio is the use of ‘off the shelf’ products that have been built down to a price and which are designed for use in IT, rather than audio systems. Transferring digital music information across networks requires more care than simple data transfers, to ensure accurate timing and minimum data loss. A period of intensive R&D was undertaken to work out where the failings are in computer audio and where improvements could be made, and it was discovered that the switch is often the main weak point.

Trichord Clock

The result is the Russ Andrews Network Switch, designed to be the best switch the company could make. At its heart is a custom Trichord Clock, which is used to coordinate the timing of the digital signal. Trichord’s clocks are well known for their low-noise operation and are highly respected when used in a multitude of CD and Blu-ray players. The unit found in the Network Switch is custom-built for the product, to provide a more accurate transfer of data to improve timing, reduce data loss and hence minimise the use of error correction.

Kimber Kable

Eight specially damped and shielded RJ45 gigabit ethernet ports provide ample connectivity for the majority of systems. And, as with many Russ Andrews products, the internal wiring is done with Kimber Kable in order to minimise unwanted RFI and the capacitors are Russ’ favoured Panasonic audio grade designs.

In keeping with the Russ Andrews philosophy that the quality of the mains power for audio is paramount, the Network Switch features a separate dual-output PSU to power the sensitive components. One output feeds the Trichord clock and the other, on an isolated, dedicated feed, is linked to the switching side of the unit. The PSU connects to the Network Switch via a 0.3m lead made using Kimber’s PBJ cable and with locking connectors at both ends.

YellO Power Cable

Both the Network Switch and the PSU are housed in matching custom designed ABS cases and each features a 4mm grounding terminal to make it easy to incorporate them into a grounded audio system if required. The PSU has a 10A IEC mains socket to connect the supplied 1m YellO Power cable.

Russ is a big fan of computer audio and was keen to apply his proven audio improvement techniques to this fast-emerging field. “I have been using computer audio systems ever since they started to appear on the market – the sheer convenience and availability of vast libraries of music make them very appealing. But I have always felt there was a fundamental problem with using low-cost IT spec products in high-end audio systems and, because of similar thoughts echoed by some of our customers, I began working with the R&D department to identify the problems.” He continues, “It became apparent very quickly that the switch was a primary area of concern. We tested many switches from different brands and at different price points, including some regularly used by computer audiophiles, and identified a number of areas that could be improved. The result is a switch that performs considerably better than anything else we tested and one which I am confident will improve the enjoyment of music for many people.”

Price

The Russ Andrews Network Switch is available now for £989 inc. VAT

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