Internet based streaming services like Tidal and Qobuz are becoming more and more important and relevant for people, for many customers the beloved CD and Record are being replaced by a virtual music collection, which you never really own although you can play what you want whenever you want.
Tidal and Qobuz both offer ‘CD quality’ services which stream at CD resolution, they certainly sound way better than their compressed alternatives – Spotify, Amazon, Apple etc.
Your router is connected to the outside world and your hi-fi and away you go, all of the music on earth at your fingertips. Unfortunately routers are inherently noisy devices and are pumping information all over the place in the modern home (TV’s, phones, iPads, games consoles, computers, lights – the list goes on an on, the amount of equipment connected to a router can be frightening when you break it down), they use poor quality, cheap power supplies that inject noise onto the network – Not good bedfellows for a high performing audio system!
By adding an Entreq ground box and cable(s) to ground your router and network switch (if you have one) you remove this noise and in turn lower the noise floor – streamed music becomes more dynamic with better clarity and all of sudden becomes a whole lot more enjoyable to listen to as a serious source for a good music system.
Even systems that stream music from within a network and don’t talk to the outside world for information can also benefit from grounding the router, switch and/or NAS drive (most decent NAS drives – like the QNAP range have a spare RJ45 port). If you don’t have a free RJ45 port most NAS devices will have a USB socket on them so a USB ground cable could be used.
So, if you have something like a Melco or Aurender with onboard storage or a Naim, Linn or Lumin streamer with your music stored on a QNAP NAS drive (or Melco) simply grounding the storage device and the router can have the same sort of effect as outlined above, removing low level noise from the signal path – allowing subtle previously unheard details jump at you at like never before.
I am well aware that Entreq looks a bit weird looking in as a newcomer, but don’t underestimate its ability to increase the performance of your system.
The obvious starting point to ground a network is a Minimus or Silver Minimus Ground Box, these are nice and compact and will happily sit with your router/switch etc without taking up too much space. In terms of cables there is an extensive range available, whereabouts in the range you look at really depends on your system. The Apollo is the most popular ground cable, followed by Challenger. Although the Copper cable is relatively inexpensive it is still effective at removing noise if you have a more modest system.
We’ll be following this up with more interesting information over the next week or so as Entreq are just about to launch an entry level range of ethernet cables, they are producing an RJ45 to RJ45 version (suitable to connect your router to a Melco, streamer, NAS drive, switch etc). They are also producing a RJ11 to RG45 and RJ11 to RJ11 versions so you can connect your incoming master phone socket to your router. These signal cables come with a ground box and ground cable included. Our demo set is on order!
We also have a selection of ex-demo Entreq items available here