Melco have launched their C1-D20 SFP+ Direct Attach Cable in January 2024, they have been experimenting with this type of cable for some time now ensuring that it could deliver the very highest possible performance.
It has been designed to bypass some of the limitations of network data transmission and the C1-D20 allows Melco to take ownership of the cable, the connectors and the interface electronics and it effectively means the whole interface of the C1 is classed almost like a component in the signal chain.
In performance terms the jump from a using a Multi-Mode or Single-Mode cable to the C1-D20 is quite substantial and this is regardless of whether it is installed between an ADOT and S100/2 or S10 or between an ADOT and N1 directly (without a switch in play) or from an S100/2 or S10 to the N1. The presentation is more transparent and alive sounding with much great space and air around everything, it’s not a subtle change either.
I have also used this C1-D20 cable between my demonstration Taiko Extreme Switch and Extreme Server with great effect, it can also be used on other components that use the SFP interface such as HiFi Rose, Linn Klimax DSM, SFORZATO DSP-Columba, DSP-Corvus, DST-Lepus
Much of the hardware commonly encountered with network audio is imported wholesale from the wider world of IT. This has some positive aspects as the economies of scale involved means that the hardware generally works very reliably, but there are limitations to the achievable performance from this equipment.
A standard RJ45 cable comprises of twisted pairs of cables that are accessed by a Bus interface called the PHY (Physical Layer). This is robust and reliable but not optimal for audio use. Twisted pairs are subject to impedance mismatch, speed restriction, pulse infidelity, crosstalk and external interference, all of which can be minimised by good engineering but not entirely negated.
Melco is committed to its equipment being as user friendly as possible and has worked to ensure everything can be used via standard RJ45 cables, going to great lengths to ensure that the highest performance possible is achieved from this connection type. But it has not ignored the scope for still for even higher performance and as such Melco has fitted SFP (this stands for small form pluggable) connections to the flagship N1, N5 and the S100 and S10 Network Switches alongside the conventional RJ45 socket to give end users more choice and flexibility and the potential for greater performance.
C1-D20 Design and Build
SFP completely bypasses the need for the PHY interface and allows for data stored on the N1 and N5 to be accessed directly, with a commensurate decrease in data errors and loss, improving the quality of the overall signal. The cable comprises of two twisted pairs of silver plated OFC conductors rather than four in an RJ45 cable. Each pair is individually screened and the entire cable is constructed with exacting precision to ensure that the technical benefits of the design are achieved in reality.
The benefits of improving the data integrity (often referred to as the ‘eye pattern’) is that the demands placed on the decoding hardware are reduced as less reinterpretation and reconstruction work is required, yielding further benefits in overall audio quality.
The C1-D20 SFP+ is two metres long and designed to reflect the requirements of transmitting digital audio where stability and minimising errors are more important than out and out transmission rates. The cable is used between Melco Music Libraries fitted with SFP sockets and the matching connections on the S10 and S100/2 network switches, creating an ultra-high-quality link between the two devices that is almost wholly immune to outside interference.
The C1-D20 SFP+ is a superb option for those who can take advantage, it is plug and play, no configuration is required, cables are available to buy now from stock.
Please get in touch if you have questions.