Yep… we’re allowed to ‘nerd out’ again! A new network tweak has been launched: the English Electric EE1. A network filter that does its job completely passively. Plug and play… well: sort of, because during the test we noticed that there are some things to pay attention to. Keep reading!
There are now a lot of network tweaks on the market. Audiophile switches, cables and also filters. Or rather: isolators.
The skeptical side of hi-fi enthusiasts will say: everything is already galvanically decoupled, so it doesn’t matter. The only answer we can give is: that’s not quite correct. And. believe your ears. Switching a switch is quite audible. Unless, perhaps, you do your hobby on a Yoko radio. And if that’s “your thing” … totally fine.
Back to the question for a moment: why is it necessary? Very simple: through the data network, noise can enter the system. It is mainly common mode which causes issues. Later in the article you can see measurements where we have shown Differential Mode and Common Mode separately. In principle, both give problems: after all, it is electrical noise. But common mode is more annoying because it is more difficult to filter out.
So this noise can potentially enter the system. The streamer is connected to the preamplifier or d/a converter, and this in turn is connected to the power amplifier. Just to name one example. Eventually this noise is amplified and thus reproduced. And that gives unrest. No matter how soft it is: we do notice it in the reproduction. In short: we need to get rid of this noise.
There are several ways to get rid of this noise. One way is to place an extra swtich behind the router. An extra switch provides more isolation, which therefore brings down the noise. However, this extra switch is usually powered by a switchmode wall adapter that can also introduce interference. In short: it is then wise to feed this extra switch cleanly. Most “audiophile” switches have pretty heavy modifications on the power supply, which largely addresses this problem. On Alpha Audio you will find many tests of switches and also some research.
Another approach, is to apply a network filter. This may sound idiotic, but it is not; you will see that later in the readings.
These – passive – filters remove quite a bit of garbage by isolation. We have seen that this approach can be quite effective.
The English Electric EE1
The new English Electric EE1 – 299 Euro, supplied by Latham Audio – is a passive network filter that, according to its website, “converts unwanted noise into heat.” That sounds logical, as the law of energy conservation dictates. It also indicates that it filters only the spectrum where no data is present, and that more filters makes for more improvement. More on that later.
The English Electric looks very neat with its metal housing. Installation is easy by simply inserting the EE1 into the digital signal chain.