This LAN dongle claims to eliminate network audio interference

Daniel Sims

Posts: 929   +35
WTF?! Audiophiles go to great lengths to ensure they receive the best possible sound quality, but is it worth spending around $100 to remove audio interference in Ethernet connections? One company seems to think so, offering a dongle that claims to clean up streaming audio.

Audio equipment company ifi has released a small device that attaches to Ethernet ports to remove signal interference from sound streamed through the connection supposedly. The unique product, called the iSilencer, appears to target audiophiles who are already spending a lot of money to get pristine sound from internet sources like music subscription services.

The iSilencer connects to the Ethernet port on a router, a device's Ethernet socket, or an Ethernet wall socket. A diagram indicates it works for streaming devices with wired connections but doesn't mention WiFi, which could leave out products like smart speakers or phones.

Product pages mention premium galvanic isolation, which eliminates stray currents by separating electrical circuits. They also mention a zero-jitter memory buffer and a Transient Voltage Suppressor to shield against power surges.

Furthermore, the designers promise that the dongle won't slow down internet speeds, supporting gigabit connections. The iSilencer includes a shielded case to minimize packet loss and stabilize signals.

It's unclear how much the $90 attachment improves audio quality. According to the dongle's Amazon page, the iSilencer launched on February 23, but seemingly no hardware critics have tested it.

The Amazon page has one review giving it five stars. The reviewer, claiming to own a $40,000 sound setup, warns that network accessories and cables should be the last thing consumers invest in after more important components like speakers and receivers. ifi also describes the iSilencer as the final piece of a high-end audio system.

Commenters on forums either scoff at the device or express mixed impressions of it. Some users appear to hear a slight difference in sound quality, while others claim a significant improvement.

Amazon reviews for another ifi device – a USB audio interference eliminator that launched in 2020 for $60 -- carry a similar sentiment. It performs the same function as the Ethernet dongle after plugging into a computer's USB ports, and reviews indicate a noticeable but perhaps not transformative change.

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Posts: 3,533   +3,295
Considering the compression & over sampling in online audio, what difference does it make LOL


Posts: 308   +171
Sounds like 10% functionality and 90% snake oil to me. I'm sure it does have zero jitter (why would a noise filter introduce jitter, if the signal is running through a fixed-length path?), and I'm sure it does provide galvanic isolation (that's what noise filters do). But, ethernet spec already REQUIRES galvanic isolation (usually using transformers) to prevent ground loops and static discharges from damaging the port and computer. And it must be fairly effective since I have not encountered hum or crackle on any system I've ever used with ethernet hooked up. Claims it reduces audio distortion? Snake oil. People hearing the quality of streams magically getting better? Snake oil. If you're not presently hearing 60hz hum or snap, crackle, and pop coming off your speakers, there's nothing for this to do for you.

(I did have one sytstem in the distant past where I had the IDE controller card and sound card next to each other, the IDE cables were basically resting against the back of the sound card -- I could hear buzzing and popping off the speakers any time I used the hard drive. I moved the sound card over a slot or two, problem solved.)