Image: Synergistic Research

Audiophiles have been criticized as being an insane bunch for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on premium sound equipment, and there are plenty of companies out there who have capitalized on their passion by releasing new products that claim to improve audio quality.

One of these is Synergistic Research, which has recently released something that goes beyond cable elevators and exotic power cables: an audiophile-grade Ethernet switch. Dubbed the Ethernet Switch UEF, Synergistic Research’s new contraption costs over $2,000 and promises improved sound quality via streaming and other digital sources thanks to various technologies such as “active EM conditioning” and a direct connection for a ground block, enabling a lower noise floor.

“From the opening seconds, I could feel the atmosphere in the venue,” wrote one reviewer. “The music had a clarity, presence, and natural feel that, for the first time, made me think there was something worthwhile to streaming music. The sibilance was finally controlled. The soloists were so realistic I could feel something like their personalities in their voices. Musicians were solidly placed in realistic, identifiable positions on the soundstage. Jackson Browne sounded like I had heard him on my reference CD & LP rig. And the applause came from real people in the audience.”

“There are products that can be considered just the icing on the cake,” reads another. “This is not that. The Ethernet Switch UEF provides a dramatic step forward for streaming and digital performance. It is an important component and without question a real game changer. Congrats to Synergistic Research for another outstanding design and for the superb product execution.“

The exact MSRPs of Synergistic Research’s Ethernet Switch UEFs are $2,295 for the 110 V version and $2,595 for the 230 V version. Pricey upgrades such as the SRX, a 6-foot power cable that normally costs $10,000, are also available.

Source: Synergistic Research

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20 Comments

  1. This just goes to show that so called audiophiles have no knowledge about how the technology they love works.

    There could certainly be some advantage from trying to avoid digital noise propagation in a system, but that should really be handled in the design of whatever source device takes the network signal and outputs it as an analog signal.

    The things the reviewers are discussing (sibilance, sound stage, etc. etc.) There is no way at all a switch, any switch, can have any impact on that. The TCP data packet is verified upon receipt by whatever device is decoding it and is bit for bit identical to when it was sent, regardless of what switch is in between. Even if a service uses UDP, where no verification is performed, there wouldn’t be a sound quality impact. At most, if you had a bad switch, you’d get an interruption in the sound, but it wouldn’t do anything to “warmth”.

    To me this highlights two things.

    1.) There are a lot of people in our society who are fond of saying stupid things like “oh, I’m bad at math” or “I’m not a computer person” or “I’m not a technical person”. Well, if you are going to be enthusiastic about absolutely anything, you had better become one, or you are going to be scammed by companies like this. The devil is always in the details, and if you don’t understand them, you know nothing. Absolutely [I]EVERYTHING[/I] is technical/scientific/detail oriented. Without it you are just a hairless ape.

    2.) Schools really need to focus more on theory of knowledge. How our perception of the world works, and how our monkey-brains distort it for us. It is absolutely disturbing how many people believe that they should be able to trust their own senses and perceptions as absolute truth, when it is incontrovertibly known to science that ALL humans suffer from imperfect perception, from various forms of biases. The Placebo effect is real, persistent and impacts all of us all the time. If we think something is going to look, sound or feel better, it WILL regardless of whether or not it is different at all. People who trust their own senses and perception of the world demonstrate only one thing, that they know nothing about what it means to know anything at all. Every single ounce of information we encounter in life whether we “see it with our own eyes” “hear it with our own ears” or not, is filtered through our imperfect brains which lie to us.

    This has implications across all levels of society. It impacts legal cases (eye witnesses KNOWING they remembered seeing a defendant do something even though they didn’t) technology “I can totally see the difference between 350hz and 390hz”, audio “this piece of car priced audio jewelry totally sounds worse than this piece of house priced audio jewelry” etc. etc. etc.

    It is so key to understanding the world we live in and making proper decisions and it is absolutely horrifying how few people accept it as fact.

    You can never trust your own perceptions of the world, and that is pure scientific fact. You have to always be on the lookout for how your biases might be impacting your perception, and how you can devise strategies to confirm your conclusions so you know they are true, otherwise you know nothing. You can’t constantly do double blinded studies on everything. That is not practical, but at least accepting and constantly considering your own subconscious bias as you move about the world helps a bit. (As long as you are also considering the [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias_blind_spot’]Bias Blind Spot[/URL])

    This cognitive bias codex is great, but the forum scales it down so small that the text is mostly illegible:

    [ATTACH type=”full” alt=”1639604377042.png”]1368[/ATTACH]

    Use [URL=’https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Cognitive_bias_codex_en.svg’]this link[/URL] for the full size. (It has links to wikipedia articles on each listed bias!)

    Side note. The codex, if color inverted, makes for a nice desktop background!

  2. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 45182, member: 203″]
    Side note. The codex, if color inverted, makes for a nice desktop background!
    [/QUOTE]

  3. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 45182, member: 203″]
    This just goes to show that so called audiophiles have no knowledge about how the technology they love works.

    There could certainly be some advantage from trying to avoid digital noise propagation in a system, but that should really be handled in the design of whatever source device takes the network signal and outputs it as an analog signal.

    The things the reviewers are discussing (sibilance, sound stage, etc. etc.) There is no way at all a switch, any switch, can have any impact on that. The TCP data packet is verified upon receipt by whatever device is decoding it and is bit for bit identical to when it was sent, regardless of what switch is in between. Even if a service uses UDP, where no verification is performed, there wouldn’t be a sound quality impact. At most, if you had a bad switch, you’d get an interruption in the sound, but it wouldn’t do anything to “warmth”.

    To me this highlights two things.

    1.) There are a lot of people in our society who are fond of saying stupid things like “oh, I’m bad at math” or “I’m not a computer person” or “I’m not a technical person”. Well, if you are going to be enthusiastic about absolutely anything, you had better become one, or you are going to be scammed by companies like this. The devil is always in the details, and if you don’t understand them, you know nothing. Absolutely [I]EVERYTHING[/I] is technical/scientific/detail oriented. Without it you are just a hairless ape.

    2.) Schools really need to focus more on theory of knowledge. How our perception of the world works, and how our monkey-brains distort it for us. It is absolutely disturbing how many people believe that they should be able to trust their own senses and perceptions as absolute truth, when it is incontrovertibly known to science that ALL humans suffer from imperfect perception, from various forms of biases. The Placebo effect is real, persistent and impacts all of us all the time. If we think something is going to look, sound or feel better, it WILL regardless of whether or not it is different at all. People who trust their own senses and perception of the world demonstrate only one thing, that they know nothing about what it means to know anything at all. Every single ounce of information we encounter in life whether we “see it with our own eyes” “hear it with our own ears” or not, is filtered through our imperfect brains which lie to us.

    This has implications across all levels of society. It impacts legal cases (eye witnesses KNOWING they remembered seeing a defendant do something even though they didn’t) technology “I can totally see the difference between 350hz and 390hz”, audio “this piece of car priced audio jewelry totally sounds worse than this piece of house priced audio jewelry” etc. etc. etc.

    It is so key to understanding the world we live in and making proper decisions and it is absolutely horrifying how few people accept it as fact.

    You can never trust your own perceptions of the world, and that is pure scientific fact. You have to always be on the lookout for how your biases might be impacting your perception, and how you can devise strategies to confirm your conclusions so you know they are true, otherwise you know nothing. You can’t constantly do double blinded studies on everything. That is not practical, but at least accepting and constantly considering your own subconscious bias as you move about the world helps a bit. (As long as you are also considering the [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias_blind_spot’]Bias Blind Spot[/URL])

    This cognitive bias codex is great, but the forum scales it down so small that the text is mostly illegible:

    [ATTACH type=”full” alt=”1639604377042.png”]1368[/ATTACH]

    Use [URL=’https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Cognitive_bias_codex_en.svg’]this link[/URL] for the full size. (It has links to wikipedia articles on each listed bias!)

    Side note. The codex, if color inverted, makes for a nice desktop background!
    [/QUOTE]
    I’ve never seen that before. That’s totally awesome! Thanks!

  4. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 45182, member: 203″]
    You can never trust your own perceptions of the world, and that is pure scientific fact. You have to always be on the lookout for how your biases might be impacting your perception, and how you can devise strategies to confirm your conclusions so you know they are true, otherwise you know nothing. You can’t constantly do double blinded studies on everything.
    [/QUOTE]
    In my youth, for better or worse, let’s just say I did a lot of ‘altering’ on purpose and one of the benefits was gaining an awareness of changed perception. I found myself saddened by those who kept a pretty static diet, lifestyle, and couldn’t see the inconsistencies of their own perceptions.

    Now as I’m getting older I’ve also found how fatigue (physical, emotional, or mental), either long or short term pain, and stress all play factors as well. Sometimes just ‘feeling’ different in a given moment will cause me to notice things I haven’t before. All that said and I completely agree with your statement.

  5. In an attempt to find some justification…..

    Could the better signal reduce latency?

    Even then I dont see how a digital packet system is going to somehow be improved.

    I swear I know people who would buy stuff like this too completely ignoring little things like facts.

  6. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 45182, member: 203″]
    This just goes to show that so called audiophiles have no knowledge about how the technology they love works.

    There could certainly be some advantage from trying to avoid digital noise propagation in a system, but that should really be handled in the design of whatever source device takes the network signal and outputs it as an analog signal.

    The things the reviewers are discussing (sibilance, sound stage, etc. etc.) There is no way at all a switch, any switch, can have any impact on that. The TCP data packet is verified upon receipt by whatever device is decoding it and is bit for bit identical to when it was sent, regardless of what switch is in between. Even if a service uses UDP, where no verification is performed, there wouldn’t be a sound quality impact. At most, if you had a bad switch, you’d get an interruption in the sound, but it wouldn’t do anything to “warmth”.

    To me this highlights two things.

    1.) There are a lot of people in our society who are fond of saying stupid things like “oh, I’m bad at math” or “I’m not a computer person” or “I’m not a technical person”. Well, if you are going to be enthusiastic about absolutely anything, you had better become one, or you are going to be scammed by companies like this. The devil is always in the details, and if you don’t understand them, you know nothing. Absolutely [I]EVERYTHING[/I] is technical/scientific/detail oriented. Without it you are just a hairless ape.

    2.) Schools really need to focus more on theory of knowledge. How our perception of the world works, and how our monkey-brains distort it for us. It is absolutely disturbing how many people believe that they should be able to trust their own senses and perceptions as absolute truth, when it is incontrovertibly known to science that ALL humans suffer from imperfect perception, from various forms of biases. The Placebo effect is real, persistent and impacts all of us all the time. If we think something is going to look, sound or feel better, it WILL regardless of whether or not it is different at all. People who trust their own senses and perception of the world demonstrate only one thing, that they know nothing about what it means to know anything at all. Every single ounce of information we encounter in life whether we “see it with our own eyes” “hear it with our own ears” or not, is filtered through our imperfect brains which lie to us.

    This has implications across all levels of society. It impacts legal cases (eye witnesses KNOWING they remembered seeing a defendant do something even though they didn’t) technology “I can totally see the difference between 350hz and 390hz”, audio “this piece of car priced audio jewelry totally sounds worse than this piece of house priced audio jewelry” etc. etc. etc.

    It is so key to understanding the world we live in and making proper decisions and it is absolutely horrifying how few people accept it as fact.

    You can never trust your own perceptions of the world, and that is pure scientific fact. You have to always be on the lookout for how your biases might be impacting your perception, and how you can devise strategies to confirm your conclusions so you know they are true, otherwise you know nothing. You can’t constantly do double blinded studies on everything. That is not practical, but at least accepting and constantly considering your own subconscious bias as you move about the world helps a bit. (As long as you are also considering the [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias_blind_spot’]Bias Blind Spot[/URL])

    This cognitive bias codex is great, but the forum scales it down so small that the text is mostly illegible:

    [ATTACH type=”full” alt=”1639604377042.png”]1368[/ATTACH]

    Use [URL=’https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Cognitive_bias_codex_en.svg’]this link[/URL] for the full size. (It has links to wikipedia articles on each listed bias!)

    Side note. The codex, if color inverted, makes for a nice desktop background!
    [/QUOTE]
    How do you know this product highlights anything in society? I always assumed audiophile snake oil was a niche of a niche. Most people just look at it and shrug.

  7. [QUOTE=”serpretetsky, post: 45212, member: 4634″]
    How do you know this product highlights anything in society? I always assumed audiophile snake oil was a niche of a niche. Most people just look at it and shrug.
    [/QUOTE]

    The audiophile community is certainly a minority of all people, but I see shit like this everywhere I turn.

    No one wants to be bothered with the technical details anymore and instead make up bullshit like “a warm sound” to describe differences that aren’t there. It happens in cars, with computers, with just about everything.

  8. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 45214, member: 203″]
    The audiophile community is certainly a minority of all people, but I see **** like this everywhere I turn.

    No one wants to be bothered with the technical details anymore and instead make up bullshit like “a warm sound” to describe differences that aren’t there. It happens in cars, with computers, with just about everything.
    [/QUOTE]
    It may or may not be true, but I wouldn’t use this as evidence of “no one wants to be bothered with techincal details anymore”. A lot of the things that float to the top on the internet are the craziest most absurd things. This is true for politics, technology, science, religion, you name it.

    Just looking at this crazy stuff on the internet would make you think everyone on earth has gone insane. I like to believe that most people are middle ground people.

  9. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 45214, member: 203″]
    No one wants to be bothered with the technical details anymore and instead make up bullshit like “a warm sound” to describe differences that aren’t there. It happens in cars, with computers, with just about everything.
    [/QUOTE]
    I think the same thing about crazy high refresh rate monitors.

  10. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 45219, member: 96″]
    I think the same thing about crazy high refresh rate monitors.
    [/QUOTE]

    Exactly.

    I think time has taught us that there is certainly some benefit above the old gold standard of 60fps (even though I still consider that quite playable, at least in single player titles), but by 90fps, I think we’ve seen most of it, and pretty serious diminishing returns start to set in. I’d argue there is probably very little point to ever render above 120fps.

    But still kids are buying overkill CPU’s and GPU’s and turning all quality settings to low, and then complaining when they can’t max out 390hz on their ridiculous high refresh 1080p screens, because they feel like they are at some ridiculous disadvantage in multiplayer games.

    One of the main reasons I don’t like playing anything multiplayer anymore. I like full lush foliage and high graphics settings, and it winds up completely unplayable if those are only being rendered on my screen, and not on everyone else’s, because they have set all the settings to the lowest they will go because they absolutely have to have some uselessly high refresh rate.

  11. I mean, there are some products which you can tell are objectively nicer/better or whatever. However, there is a point where the amount of money being paid isn’t in line with what you get.

    It’s like the difference between a $2200 1911 and a $4,000-$5,000 one. Aside from some aesthetic design choices, the difference between those two disparate price points is virtually negligible to most shooters. At least there is some prestige to the latter. With a $2,000 network switch, you are getting nothing over a standard one. We are talking about data. Digital stuff either works or it doesn’t.

    If I’m buying a $2,000 switch, this isn’t what I’d spend my money on. That’s for sure. I’d go with something you’d see in a data center before this nonsense.

  12. Must use [URL=’https://hothardware.com/news/10000-ethernet-cable-claims-earth-shattering-advancement-in-audio-fidelity-if-youre-stupid-enough-to-buy-it’]these cables[/URL] with this switch:

    [IMG]https://images.hothardware.com/contentimages/newsitem/32600/content/AudioQuest_Ethernet_Cable_Product_Page.jpg[/IMG]

  13. [QUOTE=”serpretetsky, post: 45212, member: 4634″]
    How do you know this product highlights anything in society? I always assumed audiophile snake oil was a niche of a niche. Most people just look at it and shrug.
    [/QUOTE]
    THe audiophile community is just a prime example of this, but it’s not the only one. You can find the same biases right down to what brand of ketchup someone buys.

  14. [QUOTE=”MadMummy76, post: 45261, member: 1298″]
    THe audiophile community is just a prime example of this, but it’s not the only one. You can find the same biases right down to what brand of ketchup someone buys.
    [/QUOTE]
    There are 8 billion people on the planet. You are going to find examples of crazy everywhere. People dont’ post news stories about how “7.9999999” billion people didnt buy some crazy audiophile switch. People don’t post news stories about how “7.9999999 billion people didn’t buy gold flaked ketchup”. Products like this will will only get more numerous as population grows. This is inherent. The internet will only pickup all of the crazy. This is inherent. I cannot see the coorrelation between seeing more and more crazy on the internet and there being a problem with education. (i’m not saying there is no problem with education, just that THIS isn’t evidence of that).

    If anything the only problem I really see is more and more people not realizing the major issues with the internet and media. forums, news, social media are not inherently representative of people’s opinions. They are reprentative of the “most-clickable”, “most click baity”, “best headline”, “loudest speaker”, “craziest idea”.

  15. I’m thinking of making a digital pet rock. Comes with NFT certification. If you can’t afford to adopt your own you can sponsor one by buying Rockoin, a crypto currency used exclusively to support the pet rocks that have yet to find a virtual home. If you act now and adopt a digital pet rock, you’ll receive a digital calendar with pictures of mountains, boulders, and river rocks, as a thank you.

  16. [QUOTE=”MadMummy76, post: 45261, member: 1298″]
    You can find the same biases right down to what brand of ketchup
    [/QUOTE]
    Heinz or gtfo

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