iFi-Audio has released the LAN iSilencer, an audiophile accessory which aims to “quiet your network.” According to the Ethernet dongle designers in Japan, this product removes digital signal interference, and thus protects your audio signals from noise. It recommends the thumbdrive-sized device be connected to your router, switch, or wall RJ45 socket to achieve audio bliss.
There is some background information about the problem of ‘noisy’ network audio and an explanation of how the iFi-Audio LAN iSilencer works shared on the product page. The key design features that are claimed to be of benefit to your digital audio’s 0s and 1s are “a zero jitter memory buffer and galvanically isolated inputs.”
The presence of buffers would suggest some built-in delay to your network signals, which doesn’t sound ideal for a number of PC use-cases. Meanwhile, the concept of galvanic isolation is used in mainstream electronic circuit design, but we can’t find any purported audio benefits for the technology. On the topic of galvanic isolation, iFi-Audio says that audio signals passing through won’t suffer due to the interference of ground potential differences and AC power transients. No before / after audio charts or similar details are shared to back up audio quality / reduced noise claims.
iFi-Audio shares some tech specs for the LAN iSilencer, which is listed for sale in Japan for the equivalent of $109 including consumption tax (10%). The device supports 1000BASE-T /100BASE-T /10BASE-T transmission speeds, has a shielded case, weighs 17 grams, and measures 73.5 x 19 x 16mm. In the examples showing this dongle plugged into various devices, it looks like it would be prone to accidental damage, as it's a rigid device that sticks out nearly three inches from your Ethernet jack.
What we can say for sure, is that iFi-Audio’s claims seem to be significantly less wild than other recent audiophile computing gear we have reported upon. For example, the $1,250 AudioQuest Diamond RJ/E Ethernet cable mixed “Solid Perfect-Surface Silver Conductors” and carbon-loaded synthetics to shield and protect your wiring from RFI. Even more outlandish are the claims about the $500 SATA SSD cable with Superstar Crystals, which would apparently work its magic even if you didn’t plug it into an SSD. In recent months we have also reported on an audiophile SSD, and the similarly targeted Ethernet Switch UEF.
Given the above products, the iFi-Audio LAN iSilencer is at least relatively cheap for the audiophile useless accessory market. Priced at around $100 before tax in Japan, it seems to be a bargain if you believe the spiel. If you don’t, you can save your $100 and spend it on better quality headphones, speakers, or other audio gear.
i'd even feel bad about it the first few days but then i'm sure as the money rolled in, i'd quickly get over it.
Combine something expensive with something popular. "These audiophile grade RGB LEDs will reduce the electrical interference that comes with running 'normal' LEDs and in turn increases the overall sound quality from your system."
I suggest a couple of beers.