The detrimental effect of wi-fi on SQ

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Pastafarian, May 10, 2019.

  1. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I’ve just gone over to the dark side, laptop running JRiver feeding a Rega DAC-R, with my pad Gizmo allows me to remotely control JRiver.

    Fantastic but I’ve discovered activating wi-fi on my pad and laptop has a detriment impact to the sound.

    The overall effect is a ‘thinning’ of the music with a slight ‘digital edge, turn wi-fi off and instrument have more body, vocals become more natural and in terms of dynamics everything has more punch.

    This effects obvious to me but I don’t recall this issue being addressed in computer based threads.
  2. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Are you talking about using the wi-fi as your connection to the DAC, or just having wi-fi enabled at all on the devices while using a wired connection?
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  3. Audionut614

    Audionut614 Well-Known Member

    Reynoldsburg, OH
    Interesting. Posts I have read have said that WiFi is actually better then Ethernet from a noise standpoint... are you a long distance from your router? Weak signal?
  4. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm using a USB lead feeding the DAC, so my laptop is close to all my electronics.

    Wi-fi would be on to allow the pad to remotely control JRiver.
  5. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    The only thing you are using wifi for is searching through and selecting music files that exist on your laptop? Otherwise, music is hardwired?

    Is remote volume control accomplished by changing output level of laptop?
  6. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm only using it to control the selection of tracks, as far as I can see it's the effect of the wi-fi being turned on.

    I'm considering ethernet for my other computer, whilst turning wi-fi off on my hub:crazy:?
  7. swvahokie

    swvahokie Forum Resident

    I have Jim Smiths book on getting better sound. No wi-fi in the room is one his tips. He maintains that wi-fi does exactly what you described
  8. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    When your wifi is on, how do you change the volume? When you turn wifi off, how do you control volume?
  9. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The volume control on my pre-amp (I'm not that lazy!), both scenarios.

    Bit more clarification, wi-fi on, even when not opening Gizmo causes the problem
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  10. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I have WiFi in the room and it has never had any effect on my sound.

    I have streamed files over WiFi and it has never had any effect over their sound.

    It is completely possible and somewhat probable that you have other issues.
    The Pinhead, Xarkkon, Jacob29 and 7 others like this.
  11. MichaelXX2

    MichaelXX2 Forum Resident

    United States
    I use Wi-Fi to stream files from my desktop to my laptop, and I run a USB cable directly into my DAC. It sounds exactly the same as a CD.
  12. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident Thread Starter

    OK I was thinking about this and if it is just a issue for me, possibly as my 'vintage' equipment was built when wi-fi was a military secret and perhaps it's not shielded.

    My daughter's just completing her Masters in electrical engineering, although she knows nothing about Hi-Fi, she raised the possibility of RFI and cables.
    uzn007 and SandAndGlass like this.
  13. Just Walking

    Just Walking Forum Resident

    Abingdon UK
    I run a CAT5 cable from my router to my streamer (Logitech Transporter). The router is connected by a short cable to my NAS drive with my CD's ripped to it using dbpoweramp. Now the peculiarity of the somewhat ancient Transporter means you have to run Logitech Media Server on your main computer and iPeng on an iPad. So the iPad talks to the router via wifi, and liaises with Logitech Media Server on the computer. That then talks to the NAS drive. iPeng also gives access to Tidal HiFi (or whatever streaming service you use) which is a battle in its own right.

    Yeah - it is cryptic. And getting it working seamlessly first time is a real PITA. And it is a mix of wired and wifi. But it sounds absolutely great.
  14. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    I guess I really misunderstood. I thought that the music files were on a laptop that was hard wired to a dac, which, in turn, was hard wired to a receiver or integrated amp. Is this not the case?
    Pastafarian likes this.
  15. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    Well, what you have discovered is that getting a computer to sound good is PITA. Even when the DAC manufacturer says that the DAC supposedly is completely immune to what's on the other end of the USB connection. Less usually means more, in the sense that you'll get better sound when the computer delivering the bits to your DAC is optimized for the task and has as little work as possible to do.

    In my setup, I have a Win10-based PC with separate, external linear PSUs for a motherboard and custom-built digital board that takes the SPDIF signal from the motherboard and reconstructs and isolates it from the motherboard. This PC runs Roon Bridge, a small applet that presents a very easy load for the PC. It gets sent data from another computer, which hosts the Roon Core--a much bigger program, which allows itself to indulge in all sorts of processor-intensive tasks. Actually, I have this done through wifi, which is probably not ideal but it depends on the implementation. The computers are separated quite a bit physically, and I've tried connecting them with a long ethernet cable, and that didn't sound better.

    BTW, I also use Fidelizer on my streaming PC, which shuts down as many processes as possible.
  16. But it's a "tip," right, no absolutes? I'm just trying to wrap my head around what effect having wi-fi in your room would have, since even if it's outside of your room the wi-fi signal is still blasted all over the house. o_O
  17. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Sorry my fault, it's laptop containing all my music, usb lead to the DAC and analog out rca to DIN in to my pre-amp.
  18. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident Thread Starter

    You're right hence my consideration to go ethernet to my computer.

    First time we had wi-fi, eons ago, it was at the back of the house with no signal coverage in my music room. Of course each time you move you're system will sound different and this is the first time my hub gives a signal to the music room, never thought of it as an issue.

    I've only had the DAC for 2 weeks and only tried Gizmo yesterday, suddenly I was thinking I'd made a bad decision as I'd been playing new albums but when I went back to those, which had sounded very good before, again they were poor, wi-fi off and joy returned, perhaps I'm going/gone:crazy:.
  19. RH67

    RH67 Forum Resident

    Simi Valley Ca.
    What is your source via JRiver, ripped cd`s or streaming? My Mac Mini contains my ripped CD`s which will always sound better than streaming.

    This was talked about years ago when streaming first came about but now years later people have grown accustom to it and don`t question it. During the years i have talked to techs about this and they have all said to think about it if your source is only a few feet away from your equipment it`s going to sound better than if it`s piped in from who knows where. I was a test mule for several of these streaming services so i have tens of thousands of streaming hours experience with almost all of the services. For personal use i do not stream music unless i want background music.
  20. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    I hope you get a solution, 'cause I'm really puzzled. The only thing wifi is used for in this setup is searching and selecting which song stored in the laptop to play? So, you sit back in a chair, use a pad and wifi to select your music, and then get out of that chair and walk to the pre-amp to change volume?

    I wanted to be clear, because I know that the way the desired loudness is achieved can affect sound quality. For example, you can crank the volume on the player, and have the volume on the pre-amp low, or vice-versa, and they could sound very different.
  21. nwdavis1

    nwdavis1 Forum Resident

    You may be able to choose which band (frequency range) your WiFi router is using. If you can, try a few different ones and see if it has any effect.
  22. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm not streaming this is ripped CDs, digital downloads or needledrops.

    That's why it seems to me just having wi-fi enabled is enough to cause the problem, as I said before my daughter knows something (beyond me) about wi-fi, cabling and the detrimental effect from RFI on electronics.
  23. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I really am clueless about this, I though my pad was communicating directly with my laptop.
  24. noway

    noway Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada
    Do you have any components that have a switched mode power supply that are near your modem/router? Maybe the laptop, etc.? Have you tried moving your modem/router away from your system, using longer cables instead?
  25. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    But guys, he's saying that once he has used his pad to select and start playing a song, wifi is no longer in the chain.

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