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LAN Switch

Telegärtner Japan Limited

Price (when reviewed): 4165 EUR



Provided for test by JCAT

arcin Ostapowicz is known not only to the readers of "High Fidelity" magazine, but they should be particularly familiar with him. Already in September 2011 we tested the JPLAY software music player, that he was a co-creator of, and shortly becase the sole owner of. He is responsible for its incredible popularity all over the world. In the included in the review letter he wrote about many variables related to music file playback, which the vast majority of engineers and IT specialists treated as... well, BS. Today, seven years later, Marcin's insights and postulates are widely accepted, and their implementation is carried out by the most important players on the market (more HERE).

The software has been constantly improved, and it has undergone a complete metamorphosis since then. Also, JPLAY is now a part of the JCAT. JCAT is a company created so that the computer could use the advantages provided by the software player because for the latter to work at its best the hardware must be properly configured and build using proper components. Marcin hels with the latter offering computer cards - USB and LAN, USB filter and cables - USB and LAN. Together with the player they create a microcosmos designed for audio files playback.

The quality of solutions proposed by Marcin Ostapowicz is unique, which has been noticed by numerous users in Europe and in the USA. This happens to Polish producers more and more often. However, the company's success in Japan is unusual. JPLAY and JCAT are recognized as top solutions of their type. They are included in the systems of many top bloggers from the Land of the Rising Sun, as well as in the editorial office's reference system of the most important Japanese magazine devoted to computer audio - the "Net Audio". It was there that an interview with Marcin appeared and it was probably the first interview with a Polish producer, which appeared in the audio press in Japan.

Already back then, seven years ago, it was known that audio files playback is a complicated process insluding many variables, partly unrecognized and partly underestimated. Today we know more than then, but we are still not quite there yet and it is difficult to even talk about any deadline for fulfilling the promise of the highest sound quality instroduced with high resolution files. Small steps lead to that goal. Let's have a look at the latest product introduced to JPLAY's portfolio - the LAN M12 Switch Switch Gold designed and manufactured by the Japanese TELEGÄRTNER JAPAN LIMITED with one simple goal in mind: to switch the audio signal between different devices. Normally this operation is performed by a router. Router, however, does this job in a less than perfect way.


The M12 Switch Gold from Telegärtner Japan Limited is a high-quality network switch (LAN). One connects it to a router and the other devices in the system should be connected to it. As it reads in the company's literature, it is intended for audio applications and is compatible with Gigabit Ethernet. Improves signal quality for eample through precise shielding of industrial M12 sockets. This simple procedure eliminates most of the undesirable distortions. The second element is a separate power supply and independent clocking of the signal.

The switch is extremely robust, but has a fairly ordinary appearance, very industrial. And not by accident - it has been created based on company's experience in industrial data transmission in harsh environment. It is a longitudinal box with sockets on the top panel. To connect a device to one of them one uses LAN cables prepared by the manufacturer, terminated on one side with ultra-solid Telegärtner M12 X-coded plugs, and on the other with a gold-plated Telegärtner MFP8 RJ45 connector. The housing is made of cast aluminum weighing 1.5 kg, which allows reducing harmful vibrations. User can also ground it – that's a standard feature for many Japanese products. In the box one find a dedicated low noise power supply.

Let's add that the Telegaertner MFP8 Gold plugs are used for network connections at the International Space Station (ISS). The cable received the 2016 Audio Accessory Excellence Award in Japan and the gold medal in the USB and LAN cables category (more HERE).

I could test the M12 Switch Gold switch like any other product. At the time I had in my system the high-end Fidata HFAS1-XS20U file server/player, connected with a USB cable to the Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition player, and via a LAN cable to the Lumïn T1 file player. However, I remembered how interesting it was to meet the creators of the Verictum products and to listen to their products together with them (more HERE). I also knew that you had enjoyed this slightly different approach to reviewing. So I invited Marcin to come with the switch. He agreed.

The following text is a record of the conversations that took place during the intervals between the auditions.


WOJCIECH PACUŁA | Switch, that you brought with you looks like a metal box with some cables- but what is it exactly and what does it do?
MARCIN OSTAPOWICZ | One can say that this is a "network switch for audio applications". The idea for this product came out of the industry, as the first high-class LAN signal switches were used in industry, in the most demanding environments.

It's a German company?
The mother company is German, but Telegärtner Japan Limited is a separate entity that deals with this type of products, i.e. intended for transmission networks and IT products, such as a top-class connectors. The prototype was fluid-resistant, which indicated where it came from. But it was only a starting point, since, as it often is the case, it is not quite suitable for audio, because the audio signal is a completely different story. The switch has therefore been improved with audio signal in mind. What has been changed exactly – we don't know, because one can't open the housing and see what's inside. The manufacturer does not provide detailed information on this subject, treating it as protected intellectual property.

Have you also noticed that the best products come from a cooperation between financially strong entities, in other words industry, and enthusiasts who take industrial solutions and adopt them to our needs? That's where the best products of Acoustic Revive, Verictum filters, Acrolink cables came from.
Indeed, it is a good model of cooperation. This product is also different from the prototype, it is obvious that they have removed some elements that improved functionality but were unnecessary for audio purposes.

Let's get back to the key question about what this switch actually is – which element it replaces in a system?
It can replace the network switch in a router, although the router as such has to remain in the system, for example if you need a remote control over a wireless network. Routers are not designed to transmit digital audio signals, where precision and low noise are key factors. The switch has its own clocking systems, separate power supply and fantastic connectors with cables custom-made for this application.

Internet signal enters the router, and then it is transmitted with a single cable to our switch – we plug all the other devices into this switch. This guarantees a much better clocking of the signal, an element that is completely overlooked in router because it has no significant effect on signals that are not audio signals. This can be compared to a high-end power strip - the effect on the sound is similar.


WOJCIECH PACUŁA | We are after the listening session. Just to be clear - the only element that has been changed in the system was replacing router with your switch in the job of switching signal between the Fidata server and the Lumïn T1 file player.

MARCIN OSTAPOWICZ | In technical terms, the change is that with the switch we have significantly less signal interference. There are higher quality wordclocks inside, so the signal has simply a better timing.

And it doesn't even take an afford to hear the difference.
Yes, it takes no more than two seconds.

I m not sure if my interpretation is correct, but two things have changed for me: first of all, the sound has become more 'present'. Before it was not bad at all, I would even say it was very good, but with the switch it got rid of some haze, it was a bit like I changed from listening to music from Tidal to listening to it from local disc. Am I right?
Yes, I agree. It seems to me that with the switch everything sounded in a more orderly way, it was better controlled and more resolving. I think that there was just more sound. The sound was “heavier”, as if the individual sounds had more mass.

With the 2Cello duo recordings, the switch probably did the most good work, because it finally sounded interesting.
Yes, it was a badly recorded disc, and the switch made it “listenable”. It even sounded interesting, there was some story, emotions. With the router, it sounded monotonous and boring.

With Kate Bush on the other hand, but before that also with Dianna Krall, the lower end opened dynamically.
Yes, with the switch the sound was more sophisticated and the dynamics was really opening and spacing was much better.

But, let's be honest, this is not a cheap product so it belongs to high-end systems, correct?
Well, sure it does not make sense to use it with inexpensive components... But on the other hand it is with inexpensive routers and players that its presence will make the biggest difference, because such products have the biggest problems due to imperfect signal timing and interference transmitted from the AC mains. Paradoxically, we will hear equally large changes with the top server, such as Fidata, and music played from Tidal. Especially if something bothers us in the sound of files. Your system delivers such a high level performance that even without the switch we were able to enjoy the music, and yet introducing this switch brought a significant improvement.

Let me tap into your extensive knowledge and experience – once you already have this switch, what's the next step?
The next step should be a linear power supply for the router, or simply a better router. Because the latter matters – you can find higher and lower quality models. I've checked several of them and currently I'm using Ubiquiti router. This brand manufactures high-end devices for corporate use. I use a cable router and additional Wi-Fi access point.

And it actually changes something?
Of course, it does - if the router does not have to "deal" with the wireless network, it has less workload, i.e. less noise, all the computing power is devoted to the processing of the music signal. Everything works faster and more reliably. This device is not particularly expensive. It's installation and configuration is a bit more complicated, but it works much better. But if I were to recommend some easy upgrade I would suggest starting with a line power supply for the router. It's the first step, as even the cable connecting modem with the router changes the sound so its quality matters.

Despite the fact that in the wall I have a regular cable, when I hook to it the switch we talk about up using a higher quality cable, the sound changes. And it is a significant improvement. And again I think of a comparison with the AC power, because in the walls we also have ordinary cables, and then we plug in two meters of a specialized cable and the sound changes in an unbelievable way. As if these final segments were the most important ones.

That's why it was so important for me to add this switch to my system. Even though my system had already been really good before. I use two separate computers (JPLAY dual PC mode) as a source of music. The Japanese use three computers, believing that it is an even better solution, but I am not there yet :) On the high-end level I can not imagine playing music without such classy products. The switch organizes the signal in time domain and reduces the interference - these excellent cables and connectors rarely seen in audio applications also do their bid. The Biggest problem is, as I suspect and what I have already said, the interference coming from th epower grid that leak into the LAN. And it's the fight against these that brings the best results.

The real world is analog, and the digital solution are an attempt to "embrace" it. But our perception of the "digital world" is different when it comes to the image and sound. The 4K image is already so good that is is hard to image going back to analog TV, and in audio still the best analog systems are a rolemodels, do you have any idea why?
It seems that humans have better hearing than sight, I mean it seems that we are less sensitive to problems with the picture than with sound. Another issue is that - perhaps – there are fewer videophiles than audiophiles and their collective knowledge does not force manufacturers to fight for quality, for details to such extend as the audiophiles push manufacturers in our industry. When it comes to video one can enjoy movie even without higher quality cables and power supply. In contrast, in audio, listening to a poor quality system is unacceptable.

I wonder why there is no consistent knowledge base on this subject. After all, the switch you brought, or the Fidata server, were designed and made by engineers, is not the work of a crazy audiophile and his soldering iron. And yet most engineers do not accept the results of these observations and experiments.
I work with various companies and know how they work. The truth is that after designing a solid product, based on hard engineering knowledge, you have to assess the results via listening sessions. And only this stage allows you to prepare a product that really changes the sound in the direction that is required in our industry, i.e. towards real music. You can not jump this stage, the audio equipment is used for listening to music, it has to inspire an emotional responce in listeners.

And what about those that consider all of this a BS?
I think that they just do not listen to music, or they can't hear what we can... You have to learn to distinguish a good sound from a worse one, just like with wine. You have to learn this by experience, you can not learn it from books. Listening session must be a part of a development process of high quality audio components. And it was from such experiments that the switch we were talking about was born. I would recommend it to anyone who has thought so far that the files can not offer a satisfying sound.

See you soon :)

Polish distributor:


ul. Rymarska 45/153-2
06 Wrocław | Polska