Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why Ethernet streaming sound better than USB and others










Ethernet and USB are on the physical layer 1 on the 7 layer OSI model, but USB has more complex communication data packages.

Because of the larger data packets of USB - that gives a latency of 940ns - Ethernet has small data packets that gives only 96ns latency on a gigabit Ethernet.

When you are sending data it goes up to layer 2 when using a switch, a Router is on layer 3 which is slower.

Jplay acts like a windows service - it's on layer 5, 6 and 7 - session, transport and application.
The lower the layers the simpler and faster it is, which gives better sound and lower latency/delay. The higher layers are much slower than the lower layers.

To get the best sound - don't use a complex operating system at all with all it's sessions and tasks.

When using small simplified code installed on a FPGA chip inside a player - it's active only when you use it and goes to sleep when the music is playing - this will improve the sound quality many levels compared to a system used inside a operating system.

From a CH Precision C1 user who has used the USB card with Jplay in StreamerMode with ControlPc and AudioPc.

"The Ethernet card has been installed and yes it is better than USB!
More control over sound, more organic, much more detailed sound. Also more analog sounding. Very happy to be rid of this unlimited windows tweaking."

C1 is using asynchronous Ethernet technology, it provides a bit exact audio interface to audio files stored on the network.

Update:
By Rich Maez at Boulder Amplifiers:

In general, any networked server should be far superior in sound quality over the same DAC connected via S/PDIF or AES3 and much, much better than USB.

Here's why:
When transmitting digital data via one of the traditional digital interconnections (AES, S/PDIF, etc.), the clock is embedded in the digital audio data stream. Whenever it gets moved, goes through a connector, is exposed to low frequency noise or a million other things, it has the potential to induce or increase jitter. USB also has its problems: bandwidth, grounding problems, isolation from noise, etc.

UPnP (streaming over a network) has none of these issues because the clock signal is non-existant and because the transfer method has no bandwidth problems and carries no ground. This means that the digital transmission arrives, is buffered and is converted with no jitter artifacts and no accumulated noise issues. It also means that there are essentially no limitations on the resolution of the digital file itself, at least as far as current file formats are concerned

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