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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.