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LAN switch

Telegaertner Japan Limited

Price (in Poland): 2550 €



Provided for test by: JCAT

LAN (Local Area Network) is a local computer network, connecting computers within a specific area. It may be one room, a few rooms, but also a few buildings. Computers are connected at one point in the network and the point is connected to an external Internet network. A LAN network may take on a classic form where individual computers are connected using cables (Ethernet), but the connections can also be wireless (Wi-Fi). In practice, these two solutions are usually used one alongside the other.

n March 2012, I published a test of LAN cables manufactured by the Japanese Acoustic Revive company. It was like throwing a bomb onto audiophile circles and discussion forums. The strongest impulses, however, demonstrating disbelief, shock and even anger, were sent to me from the circle of IT engineers. I regularly landed at, was ridiculed on specialist exclusive forums and there was no end to laughter and jokes. And what? To be frank, I partly did not give a s… and partly pitied all the people, as they had either been deceived by “deniers”, or were simply deaf. I do not know which is worse…

It was already clear then that music signal is not the same as signal for a printer and that digital cables affect sound also when we deal with “perfect” data transmission, i.e. in USB and LAN cables. Those who played the main role in making music lovers aware of these facts were people from Japan. It is no coincidence that they have introduced (or reintroduced) certain audio solutions that are something ordinary today, e.g. (to name a few of the reintroduced ideas) tube amplifiers, horn loudspeakers, reel-to-reel tape recorders, etc.

I recalled all that when Marcin Ostapowicz, the owner of the JPLAY company, suggested that I test the new LAN switch manufactured by the Japanese division of the Telegärtner company, the M12 Switch Magic model. It is a smaller and simpler version of the M12 Switch Gold which we tested together last year. The new version is much smaller and thus easier to apply in such a cramped and mobile (in the sense that it changes every day) system as mine.


What is the function of a LAN switch? It is both complex and simple: switch signal in a LAN (it is assumed that this is audio signal, but it could be any signal) between different devices. The operation is normally carried out in a router, but routers – as we already know – are highly imperfect devices.

As we can read in the company materials, the M12 Switch Magic is designed for audio applications and compatible with Gigabit Ethernet. It is manufactured by one of the IT industry specialists, the German Telegärtner company, or rather its Japanese division: Telegärtner Japan Limited. Set up in 1995, it deals with the development of high-speed internet networks in Japan and has a seat in Tokyo.

The switch | The whole set, which we receive in a simple cardboard box, consists of the switch, a dedicated power supply unit and a set of LAN cables. The switch is really nice – it has the same length as the palm of my hand and is narrow. It is enclosed in a plastic casing, but the inside is filled with resin. This helps cool the elements, but mainly serves to minimize vibrations. And again – are there any vibrations in a LAN switch? Really? The answer is short: yes, there really are. Systems in which digital signal is transmitted or processed, i.e. ones working with very high frequency signals are extremely sensitive to vibrations and thus also to their reduction. Please remember that this also refers to D-class amplifiers.

Anyway, the interior of the switch is filled with epoxy resin containing some additives. On the top there is a connecting terminal for the external power supply unit and five identical M12 X-coded industrial connectors. Similarly to the Gold version, signal quality is improved by, among others, precise screening of the connecting terminals. This simple technique eliminates most unwanted interference, while signal itself is precisely clocked inside. Let us add that there are two openings in the switch (plastic) casing, so the device can be permanently attached to a surface, e.g. to a wall.

The cable | M12 X-coded connectors mean that the M12 Switch Magic must be used with Telegärtner LAN cables and we cannot use our own ones. It is even better for us – the company’s cables belong to the world’s aristocracy. At one end, they have the Telegärtner M12 X-coded plugs and at the other one – the Telegärtner RJ45 LAN MFP8 plugs. Their gold-plated housing is made of aluminum. They are very robust and precise – the Telegaertner MFP8 Gold plugs are used for network connections at the International Space Station (ISS).

The power supply unit | Power must be supplied to the clock circuit in the switch. The device that is used for the purpose is a small 12 V DC switch mode power supply made by the Taiwanese Bridgepower company. At one end, we connect a classic power cable to it and at the other one – the very good M12 X-coded (five-pin) cable with a wonderful terminal, connected, in turn, to the LAN switch.


I tested the M12 Switch Magic in a system similar to the one in which I tested the more expensive Gold model. The basis was the same, i.e. the Ayon Audio Spheris III line preamplifier, the Soulution 710 power amplifier and the Harbeth M40.1 loudspeakers, everything connected using the Siltech Triple Crown cables.

This time, I had two signal sources and I also used them for different purposes. I used the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge file player to listen to files from Tidal. As for the Lumïn T1 file player, I used it to play files from the Synology DiskStation DS410j server with four HDD discs, 2 TB each, configured as an UPnP disc. I also had a new router in the system, the Orange FunBox 3.0. Internet signal is sent to it through an optical fiber.

The test consisted in comparing the system with the router acting as a switch, with the Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA cables connecting individual devices.


Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion)

| Tidal
  • Noon, Algorytm, Nowe Nagrania/Tidal, EP, FLAC (2018)
  • Maciej Obara Quartet, Three Crowns, ECM/ Tidal Master, MQA 24/88,2 (2019)
  • Progressive Duo, Duo di Brasso, Exton/Tidal, FLAC (2016)
  • Sinne Egg, Face The Music, Stund Records/Tidal, FLAC (2014)
  • Taylor Swift, Lover, Republic Records | Taylor Swift Productions, Inc./Tidal Master, FLAC 24/44,1 (2019)
  • John Coltrane, Blue World, Impulse!/Tidal Master, MQA 24/192 (2019)
  • Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Columbia/Legacy/Sony Music Entertainment, COL 480410 2, FLAC 24/192 (1959/2013)
  • Dead Can Dance, Anastasis, [PIAS] Entertainment Group PIASR311CDX, „Special Edition Hardbound Box Set”, CD+USB drive 24/44,1 WAV (2012);
  • Billie Holiday, Body and Soul, PolyGram/Mobile Fidelity UDCD 658, gold-CD/FLAC (1957/1996)
  • Stan Getz & João Gilberto, Getz/Gilberto, Verve Records, FLAC 24/96 (2014)
  • Kankawa, Organist, T-TOC Records, UMVD-0001-0004, "Ultimate Master Vinyl", 4 x 45 rpm 180 g LP + CD-RIIα + 24/192 WAV (2010);

By coincidence, a few days before the formal test of the switch, I talked to Dirk Sommer, the Editor-in-chief of the magazine. As always, we shared our latest discoveries and strangest experiences. As he knew that I once tested the M12 Switch Gold model, he told me a short story of how he used it with an external line power supply unit and how the sound of his files, converted from analog tape (Dirk has two Studer tape recorders) to DSD256, improved. And it was even better when he connected a power cable (costing more than the PSU and the switch taken together) to the PSU.

That, he concluded, shows the hidden possibilities of systems used to play audio files, but also demonstrates how much is still left for us to learn. I will say more about it in a moment.

Lumïn | I started the listening session with the Lumïn T1 player, because, as my logic tells me, it was a more complex system. In this case, files were sent from the server to the router or the LAN switch, and then to the player. Ethernet is a two-way connection, but this is the way the signal path looks like.

The differences in sound between these two systems were not hard to notice and, in fact, it would have been difficult not to notice them. While listening to each subsequent track, I had the impression of déjà vu, as if I had gone back to a time 12 or 15 years earlier when upsamplers were the real hit in audio. Changes introduced into sound by a high-class LAN switch are, generally speaking, very similar to what we obtain after re-clocking signal (asynchronously, if possible) and increasing the word length and sampling frequency. It would be best if this was done after intelligent upsampling to DSD

Then, sound becomes softer and therefore more natural. The centre of gravity in sound is lowered, thanks to which the volume of voices and instruments from the midrange increases. They not only become larger, but also deeper – the switch changes the organization of space and makes instruments deeper and more vivid and, as a result, more natural (again).

What was perhaps more important, at least to me, was the fact that sound became a little less sharp and resembled the sound that I know from turntables more. It is really interesting, as the last thing I would say about the Lumïn player is that it is bright or sharp. It produces warm and dense sound, and it was like that in the basic setup with the router acting as a switch. However, right after the change, with the Telegärtner switch in the system, it appeared that this can be done much better. This mostly refers to recordings that are a little hard and “digital” in themselves.

Recordings that sound good anyway, e.g. Billie Holliday from the Body and Soul album, Getz/Gilberto from “dense” PCM 24/96 files or, finally, the monophonic version of Kind of Blue by Miles Davis from PCM 24/192 files, all sounded more serious and denser – their sound became more sophisticated and therefore more convincing. Such high-quality sound was simply more pleasant, interesting and inspiring with the LAN switch. Without a direct A/B comparison, in a well-configured system, sound with a router performing the role of a switch will be excellent. However, a moment with a product such as the M12 Switch Magic is enough for one to realize that there is no going back.

Mytek | It is true not only when we play files from a NAS server. I noticed exactly the same changes, even though the system is much simpler in such a case, while listening to files from Tidal. However, it did not happen instantly. At the beginning I doubted whether any modifications had taken place at all. After accommodation and calming down, etc., I came to the conclusion that the sound was a little purer and more precise. At the same time, however, it was also a bit brighter and less filled. To cut a long story short – even if the differences were negligible, they did not go into the right direction.

Do you remember what I said about learning and our still inadequate knowledge of reproducing digital signal from files? Now I have proven it through an (unplanned) experiment. As it appeared, I did not switch the LAN cable and the Mytek device was still connected to the router. So, the first obvious question is: why did the sound change? The files were supplied from the Internet (i.e. the server where Tidal archives its files) through the same router, and yet the sound changed.

To be honest, I do not know. I suppose (in an amateur fashion) that the change was caused by disconnecting my NAS server and Lumïn player from the router, and also by connecting the switch to the router. Why did that affect sound at all? Again – I do not know. There clearly is some reason for this and now it is a task for engineers to explain why it happened and how to protect ourselves from such a possibility.

While listening to the Brooklyn Bridge player, correctly connected using the Telegärtner LAN cable to the Telegärtner switch, I heard almost the same things as with the Lumïn player. The sound was smoother, deeper and a little warmer. I could clearly hear that the back plane was moved further away and that the “background” against which musical events were presented was darker.

The change was even more important than what I heard while playing files from the NAS server, as if files sent through the Internet needed more “sensitivity” before they get to the file player. The increase in quality with the Lumïn player was around 7-8%, while with Tidal it was 10%. These are just general estimates, as they cannot be exactly calculated, but this is how I felt about it.

The Magic model is almost 50% less expensive than the Gold model, but it is not 50% worse. The larger switch does the same thing, but a little better, especially when it comes to resolution. However, I see no reason why the smaller version should be disregarded for that. On the contrary – the changes that it introduces in sound are so important in building natural sound that it is even a better product than the Gold model.


A LAN switch may seem to be an oddity or even a scam, until we hear how sound changes with it. The term “blasphemy”, i.e. theological scam, was once used with reference to the information that the Earth is round and it is not the centre of the universe. Today we are perfectly aware of the fact that apart from not constituting such a center, it is also situated far away from it. So, it is going to be similar in the case of products such as the tested switch, although we need time for it to happen.

There are people and companies that professionally deal with sound and send audio files in their systems. These are, for example, the trptk record label in its recording studio, Dirk Sommer – in the system he uses for listening sessions and in his mastering system or, finally, Marcin Ostapowicz, who discovered the Telegärtner company for us and works on new JPLAY and JCAT products in such a system. They all say that a LAN switch is an important element of a digital audio system. I also hereby support this claim – the M12 Switch Magic is small and nice, it does not take up too much space and the changes it introduces are as significant as those that occur when we change one of our system’s audio components.



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