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Silent Angel

Manufacturer: THUNDERDATA Co. Ltd.
Price (when reviewed): 17 490 PLN

RM503, Building 18, No. 1889, Huandao East
Road, Hengqin District, Zhuhai City,
Guangdong Province | CHINA



Provided for test by: AUDIO ATELIER


images „High Fidelity”

No 225

February 1, 2023

THUNDERDATA CO. LTD. is a company founded by Dr. ERIC JIAN HUANG. It is engaged in the production of servers, network communication, data management, network storage software, hardware engineering, etc. The company operates in the hi-tech industry and focuses on 5G mobile networks and 8K video transmission. Its audio offer is concentrated in two series of products, available under the Silent Angel and ThunderData brands.

HEN I SEE THE LETTER "X" in the designation of the device, I know, almost for sure, that it is intended by the manufacturer as its top model. This does not always work, the is not an ironclad rule, but it works often enough so that one can talk about a trend.

This is the case of the Silent Angel Bonn NX LAN switch, tested by us for the first time in Poland. LAN switches, for the record, also called "frame switches" in computer networks, are commonly used in Ethernet networks. These are specialized products that allow cooperation of devices transmitting data via LAN (local area network, a computer network connecting computers in a specific area). A four-port switch is usually built into routers used in homes and small businesses, but it can also be a separate element of the network.

After years of trials and experiments, it turned out that switches of this type play a key role in creating a high-class, stable, interference-resistant audio system based on an audio file player. A properly made LAN switch should not add anything from itself. Because it supports bi-directional transmission, which is immune to jitter, and it handles files, not audio signal, so it is error-tolerant by design. So much theory. Practice has shown quite the opposite: the quality of the sound depends on the quality of the switch, the precision of its clocks and even the class of the sockets.

Bonn NX

PREVIOUS SILENT ANGEL PRODUCTS have been characterized by far-reaching engineering reliability, attention to detail, and listening tests were part of the design process. You can rely on them. There is a longing in me for such a structured, somewhat technocratic approach. That is why I made the Bonn N16 LPS switch from this company a part of my listening system (test → HERE).

But this switch showed me that something unusual can be done to improve the sound. This device offers two independent sets of RJ45 sockets. Built for large audio and audio-video systems, it had a utilitarian form that allowed it to be mounted in a so-called "rack". Separate groups of inputs allowed separation of video and audio devices. This allowed me to connect them in series and only use the sockets in the second section. This combination further improved the timing accuracy of file transfers, reduced noise, and consequently improved sound; more about "High Fidelity" routing → HERE (PL).

The photo of the latest Silent Angel product, a LAN switch called Bonn NX, was therefore a surprise to me. In place of the black, utilitarian housing, I saw a device made of aluminum plates, aimed at audiophiles. Everything about it said: class. And when I unpacked it at home, it turned out that in reality the Bonn NX looks even better.

Functionally it's an ordinary eight-port 1 GB LAN switch. Unlike in switches for rack installation, all sockets are located on the back. On the flat surface of the low front panel, the series logo ("Bonn") and the symbol of the device (NX) are engraved. A fairly bright blue LED is placed in the cutout at the bottom edge. I don't like this color in audio and it's a pity that it can't be turned off. But it is it that points to the target group of customers - the audiophile. Such respected manufacturers as Marantz or Esoteric illuminate their devices in a similar way.

⸜ CHASSIS Also the chassis is something that distinguishes audio products from industrial ones. It was built of two enclosures, one inside the other. The inner one, made of galvanized steel, is the actual chassis to which the electronic components are screwed. The outer one is made of aluminum plates that stiffen the whole design and counteract EMI and RFI interference. In the case of digital devices, this is extremely important. Experience tells me that the precision of clock timing largely depends on the proper damping of the housing, the power supply and the removal of interference to the outside, for example to the artificial ground.

⸜ CLOCKING In the case of the tested switch, it is important because it uses two high-quality TCXO (Temperature Compensation Crystal Oscillator) clocks custom built for this company (this is evidenced by the inscriptions on the housings). They are temperature and mechanically stabilized, but a good housing always helps. Manufacturer did not forget the feet either, usually the weakest element of the mechanical construction of audio products. Those in Bonn NX are low, massive, made of stainless steel and a rubber ring and have a diameter of 60 mm. They can be replaced with better ones in the future, but you can start with placing them on Acoustic Revive RKI-5005 pads.

⸜ POWER SUPPLY The manufacturer says that thanks to these measures he managed to reduce the jitter from 705 ps, as in ordinary switches, to 369 ps. The power supply also helps. Its basis is a small impulse power supply. The manufacturer claims that this chip was borrowed from radar, where precise power supply is often a matter of life and death. This 12 V DC power supply has been supported with filtering and voltage stabilizing systems, separately for each component.

⸜ UPGRADES Another change compared to the basic LAN switches of this manufacturer is the possibility of further expansion of the device after its purchase, and thus - improvement of the sound. On the back, on a rigid sheet of aluminum, next to the standard socket, there is a small socket for an external 12 V DC power supply, implicitly a linear power supply. Plugging in the plug cuts off the impulse power supply, and the voltage is supplied from an external power supply. The manufacturer has such a device in its catalogue, the Forester F2 model. The selected power supply method is indicated by micro LEDs.

Further to the right (looking from behind), you will find a gold-plated ground socket. It can be connected with a classic ground, but the so-called "artificial grounds" become more and more popular. They have the form of a small box in which materials are placed that help convert noise into heat. I have been using Nordost's QKore mass for years and I know that it is a very good method (more → HERE). Unfortunately, the socket is not of particularly high quality, and every detail is important in achieving ultimate quality.

And finally there is a BNC socket, designed to connect an external 25 MHz master clock. Just like in the case of the power supply, the manufacturer believes in its product, but knows that it can always be even better, you just need to spend more money. We can now buy one of the clocks available on the market, for example from Esoteric, but we can also wait - Silent Angel has announced that soon its own external clock will join the top series. There is a small toggle switch next to the socket.

And there's another switch that we can use to turn off the LEDs built into the LAN ports. It seems like nothing, but for some time the best manufacturers have been offering such an option. As they suggest, powering the diodes introduces small but measurable distortions in the signal. Let's add that the LAN sockets in the Bonn NX, quite unusually, are nice, gold-plated.


⸜ HOW WE LISTENED The Silent Angel Bonn NX LAN switch was placed on the Finite Elemente Pagode Edition Mk II rack, on its top shelf made of braided carbon fiber. It was compared with the Bonn N16 LPS switch of the same company and worked with the Tiglon TPL-2000L LAN cables.

⸜ Silent Angel Bonn NX in the HIGH FIDELITY’S reference setup

The signal was switched for two file players. The first one, Lumin T1, worked as a transport, and its output was connected to the D/A converter section of the AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF EDITION SACD player or the MYTEK LIBERTY II D/A converter. I conducted a separate audition with the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge file player.

The switch was powered using Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version power cable. However, I also listened to it with the external power supply JCAT OPTIMO 3 DUO. To test the ground socket, I used the already mentioned Nordost QKore artificial ground. With the clock slot, I'll wait until Silent Angel proposes its own reference clock.

⸜ Angel Bonn N16 LPS with TiGLON and Acoustic Revive LAN cables – the present reference in the HIGH FIDELITY system

⸜ Recordings used for the test | a selection

⸜ MELODY GARDOT, Sunset In The Blue, Decca 0742561/Tidal, FLAC MQA 24/96 (2020).
⸜ DEATH, The Sound of Perseverance, Nuclear Blast/Tidal, FLAC 16/44,1 (1998/2011).
⸜ TAMINO, Amir, Communion Records/Tidal, FLAC MQA 24/44,1 (2018).
⸜ VINI VICI,Ghost Rider, Dreamstate Records DREAMSTATE01, FLAC 16/44,1 (2017).
⸜ DAWID PODSIADŁO, Lata Dwudzieste, Sony Music/Tidal, FLAC MQA Studio 24/44,1 (2022).
⸜ JAKUB SKORUPA, MARCELINA, Zeszyt Pierwszy , Def Jam Recordings Poland/Tidal, FLAC MQA 24/44,1 (2022).
⸜ RÖYKSOPP, Profound Mysteries III, Dog Triumph/Tidal, FLAC 16/44,1 (2022).


The LAN SWITCH I've been using for several months, the Silent Angel Bonn N16 LPS, is a really good device. Thanks to the fact that it is possible to connect two sections of switches in series, with eight ports each, we get a mature, internally complex sound from any file player. The better the player or transport, the better the sound will be. However, there is something in this device that makes the sound of files simply pleasant.

So switching to the Bonn NX model was not a revolution for me. The difference was clear, no doubt about it, but for some time it seemed to me that the increase in quality was not as big as one might expect. That is, until I went back to my old switch. The A/B comparison, from which I started the listening session, showed the differences between them, but only the B/A comparison, i.e. returning to my system, made me realize what could and should be improved in it.

The tonality of the presentation in both cases is similar, although not the same. Including the Bonn N16 LPS in the system reduces the level of noise and thus deepens the sound. It is more resolving, better differentiated and simply more pleasant. And yet… Bonn NX does it better. My LAN system seems to be more one-dimensional, tonally, dynamically and spatially. It is not, I know it, but a direct comparison makes differences clear.

For example, when MELODY GARDOT's voice enters on Sunset In The Blue, when the acoustic and electric guitars start playing, on several tracks, or on The Sound of Perseverance by DEATH, in the Voice of the Soul, or when vocals and electric guitar harmonize in beautiful harmony in Amir by TAMINO, the NX does it all better, in a more accurate, more natural way.

Gardot's voice is colored towards tube sound and positioned in front, almost at arm's length. It's really impressive and it's big. The album was recorded by the legendary sound engineer, Al Schmitt (Sinatra, Elvis, Toto, Diana Krall) and was mastered by the equally famous Bernie Grundman in his analog system, where reissues for Analogue Productions, Craft Records and Blue Note are also made.

The top Silent Angel showed, however, that it is about something more, a kind of patina on the voice, which is particularly noticeable when a large, swing band starts playing underneath, under the vocals. The vocal stays in the same place, but is deeper with the NX model. And because of this, it sticks better to the instruments and is not so unambiguous, so - and ultimately that's the point - intrusive.

Perhaps because the Bonn NX introduces more slack and effortlessness to the sound. Its precision is greater than with the N16 LPS and it is used to deepen the timbres. That is why the sound with the top switch from this company is more nuanced, less unambiguous. My system tries, as I see it now, to "show" everything in the best possible way. In a dark, resolving, but rather unambiguous way. When the guitars from The Sound of Perservance come in, they are brilliantly clear and distinct with the N16 LPS. But it is with the NX that you can hear the reverberation superimposed on the acoustic guitar better, and then how the next tracks of the electric guitar come in.

The new LAN switch is just more sophisticated. Less in terms of the sound of itself and more in the musical aspects of any recording. This can be heard through better differentiation of recordings. Tamino's vocals, under which the electric guitar is placed, are less "here and now" with it, and more in space with the guitar as an accompaniment. This latter has a long reverb, just like the vocals, and the Bonn NX does not mix them together, clearly showing the withdrawal of the treble in the case of vocals.

What I am talking about came out splendidly with the song Make Us Stronger from the Ghost Rider album by VINI VICI. The piece is constructed in such a way that the sound surrounds us. It resembles what we know from discs encoded in the Q-Sound system. The new switch showed transitions between planes in a smoother way, emphasizing the attack of the bass more clearly. The bass was great with the N16 LPS, and yet the tested switch accentuates it better, it also fills it up more. The difference may not be overwhelming, but once heard, it stays with us in the form of the question "what if?"

Ultimately, however, we realize that Bonn NX more accurately shows what is actually in the recording. I'm not talking about the details, but the nuances. Gardot's voice is more patinated with it, as is Tamino's vocal. The guitars on the Death album have a smoother sound and are deeper within their bodies. Also, the guitar from the Gardot’s album, with a classic, "jazz" sound, has "more" of this sound.

⸜ POWER SUPPLY Connecting an external, high-class power supply changes the sound in yet another direction. Everything seems a little quieter, about 0.5 dB. I know from experience that this happens when the dynamics of the signal is higher. As if there was a tiny compressor in the sound path earlier, which raised the average signal strength, making the sound louder, but which also equalized it for all recordings.

DAWID PODSIADŁO’S vocal from the Post single had a better defined reverb with an external power supply - a short, clean, kind of "small room". The bass was also better shown in this recording - very low, but with not fully defined contours. With the power supply it did not gain in precision, because it does not do that. However, it gained in expression, that is, it blended in better with vocals and drums. He wasn't so „lonely” anymore.

Just like with the switch from the N16 LPS to the NX, it all came down to resolution. The voices of JAKUB SKORUPA and MARCELINA from the Sierpień (2022), RÖYKSOPP from the third part of the album, the best one by the way, Profound Mysteries and each subsequent album, were better defined with the JCAT power supply. It might seem that there are less details with it, but the clarity of the presentation was greater with it.

⸜ GROUND Connecting an external artificial ground to the switch made less of a difference than the power supply. But still it was worth it. The sound was even smoother, more fluid, and more enjoyable. The whole thing seems to be slightly calmed down, which can be confusing at first. In a longer listening session, it turns out that this "calming down" is exactly that - fluidity. Interestingly, the bass with mass is less contoured. So it's better to get an external power supply first, and then the ground.


THE NEW LAN SWITCH from Silent Angel is really well-made. Their previous products were developed with industrial applications in mind and adapted for use in audio systems. The NX model was designed for "home" use, so it was possible to use solutions known from high-end, such as a rigid housing, anti-vibration feet and other elements that are natural for us, and exotic when it comes to products for industrial use.

This resulted in a sound that was a class better than the one that the company had achieved so far - resolving, smooth, and deep. One that is associated with the sound of high-resolution files, especially DXD and DSD. Despite all this smoothness, the sound of the NX is also more resolving - deeper and better differentiated. The performance of the switch can be further improved by combining it with an external power supply, artificial ground and a reference clock.

It all means that Bonn NX is a truly interesting tool for a reviewer, hence it will soon replace the Bonn N16 LPS in our reference system.


Reference system 2023

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

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Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC