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English Electric 8Switch

$595.00
(1 review) Write a Review

The English Electric 8switch is an audio grade 8-port gigabit streaming network switch.

In the world of streaming music, there is a belief that digital signals by their nature are immune to the failings of analogue transmission – but it’s not that simple – and even the most hardened digital skeptic may be surprised at what can be achieved with a high specification Ethernet switch.

Listening to streamed music is not just about measurements and numbers. While both elements have important roles during product design and development, the real test for music lovers is how it sounds…

The 8switch by English Electric (a Chord Company brand), is an 8 port gigabit Ethernet switch modified and upgraded to our specific requirements for high-performance music streaming networks.

Have a listen and test it yourself!

Core technologies

Powered by a customized TCXO (Temperature Compensation Crystal Oscillator), accuracy is 0.1ppm – far higher than normal crystals and higher than a normal TCXO, allowing the 8Switch to generate higher accuracy network signals, which in turn helps provide more stable music data transmission.

The power supply and clock generation circuits each have two electrical noise isolation circuits which ensure stable network signals. An EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) absorber helps to further reduce the noise from the digital circuit.

Compare the increased performance and jitter measurement (90% less!) of the 8switch compared to that of a general network switch.

What's inside?

Eight audio grade 100/1000 Base-T gigabit Ethernet ports make it possible to connect even the most demanding streaming setups. Significant (ie. audible) improvements can be experienced in music playback via streaming services or music stored on a NAS.

The 8switch features low and high electrical noise isolation, reducing data issues that can often be apparent during the playback of high-resolution material.

Casing & Power Supply

The machined aluminium enclosure offers excellent protection from both acoustic and electrical noise.

The minimal LED display on the front panel includes power, alarm and the link status/speed for each of the 8 ports.

The medical-grade power adaptor has been designed to reduce electrical noise from AC power and prevent mains quality issues from affecting the network signals. It also boasts high power efficiency, a no-load power consumption < 0.075W and protection from short circuit, overload and over-voltage.

Switches require high speed power supplies so we could not opt for a linear power source due to their speed limitations. We set about improving the power signal by using an extremely high-quality wall supply. This clean supply permits an optimum quality network signal, driven by high-accuracy TCXO clock technology.

Read More about the 8Switch:

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  • 5
    The 8Switch will now take its rightful place in my audio system.

    Posted by Lawson Hale on May 18th 2020

    I’ve been in the HiFi business long enough to know that nearly everything you touch in your system can either make things better or worse in musical terms. The best thing you can do is try to remain open minded and let your ears (and body) convey what is happening. At one time I was skeptical of the ability of ‘Audiophile’ Ethernet cables to make a meaningful difference but extended listening indicates that indeed they do and the benefits can be astonishing.

    The English Electric 8Switch doesn’t necessarily impress when you first take it out of the box — it’s solidly built to be sure, but at the end of the day it’s just a network switch — or is it? Like premium Ethernet cables, this is one of those products that needs to be heard to be believed and ultimately understood.

    After just a few listening comparisons, the effects of having the 8Switch in your network path are undeniable. Phrasing of instruments becomes so much easier to comprehend. Musical transients and dynamics are also greatly enhanced, giving the listener a front row seat as opposed to sitting in the Mezzanine level. Instruments are given their proper space to breathe and express themselves, producing a much wider and deeper sound field.

    Being a former musician I believe that timing is everything in music. As good as I thought my system already was at this discipline, the 8Switch improved timing by at least a factor of two. There is an undeniable sense of togetherness that is present when the 8Switch is injected into the signal path. Take it away and you’ll find your foot is no longer happily tapping away to the beat of the music.

    After hearing such improvements, I find it useful to go back to square one to either confirm or deny any perceived findings. In my view, removal of the 8Switch from your system forces the computing power of your brain to fill in the missing pieces. At 53 years old, my brain is still pretty sharp but I’d rather leave this task to the 8Switch. Dynamics become crushed and phrasing becomes smeared like peanut butter on a stale pieces of bread. This is truly one of those upgrades that you do not want to ever take away from your system, especially at such a modest price.

    In summary, there are few upgrades for a networked audio system that are as easy to install and hear an immediate and meaningful improvement.