How much can a switch on signal path affect sound quality - diyAudio
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Old 2nd October 2013, 12:54 PM   #1
MikaT is offline MikaT  Finland
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Default How much can a switch on signal path affect sound quality

Hi all!

I have a Hypec ucd 400hg power amplifier at home. Until this autumn I used it with rca connectors to my Audiolab MDAC and everything was fine.

Yet, one always has to seek more something more... I purchased two xlr connectors and two 3-pole switches to choose if rca or xlr connectors are used. A friend of mine did nice work to install them.

So, at the moment I use xlr connection between hypex and my dac. Rca connectors are there for future purposes. Technically everything works fine. I think it's safe to assume that soldering is well done and the connections are as they should be.

But there seems to be something wrong with the audio quality. Not very significantly, for example my wife who loves to listen music does not notice anything. But still. Music is not as present, as lively or as tempting as it used to be. I'm sorry I cannot describe the difference more professionally...

The equipment before the dac (SB Touch) is the same as before, the speakers (Gradient 5.0, REL Britannia) are the same, there are no significant changes in the listening environment to affect the acoustics. I've listened also with the same rca connectors I used before but the problems remains.

And now the actual questions. Can "standard quality" switches affect the audio quality in this way? Do you have any experiences? Is there something I could measure to verify the actual difference in line level signal before and after the switch? Any other suggestions before removing the switches...?
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Old 2nd October 2013, 01:37 PM   #2
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Yes, a mis-applied switch can absolutly affect sound quality. Using a typical high current switch in small signal circuits can allow an oxide build-up on the contact surfaces which will cause poor conductivity. Many high capacity switches require a minimal amount of current to "burn through" those oxides in order to operate properly. So using switches designed and rated for small signal applications is a must in cases like this.

Mike
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Old 2nd October 2013, 01:57 PM   #3
MikaT is offline MikaT  Finland
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I suppose that's the mistake I've done... Only information I have available from order confirmation is 3pole ON-ON 2A250V. I suppose that the switches are manufactured by Taiway and are series 100.

Does that oxidation show/affect immediately or during time?
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Old 2nd October 2013, 02:16 PM   #4
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Location: West Australia, straight over the road from the beach, natural ambient sounds only.
Typical rotary switches perform a wiping/self cleaning function when operated, and may be better suited in this application.
That said, adding just about anything in the signal path can subtlety change subjective sound.

Dan.
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Old 2nd October 2013, 09:02 PM   #5
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It takes more than a simple switch to go from unbalanced RCA interconnects to balanced XLR interconnects.
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Old 3rd October 2013, 06:17 AM   #6
MikaT is offline MikaT  Finland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
It takes more than a simple switch to go from unbalanced RCA interconnects to balanced XLR interconnects.
Could you open this a bit more?
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Old 3rd October 2013, 09:47 AM   #7
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Google is your friend.

Dan.
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Old 4th October 2013, 07:24 AM   #8
MikaT is offline MikaT  Finland
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Ok. Thanks!

I think there is nothing else to be done but remove the switch and thus forget the possibility to use rca connection.
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Old 7th October 2013, 07:57 PM   #9
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Do you have any idea how many switches your signal has passed through before you got it? Some mechanical. some electronic. Sure, a bad switch can do bad things. Sure there is no perfect switch. ( good use if rotary switches using multiple poles and separated sections is pretty good)

Please, stop looking for problems where there aren't any. Worry about your speakers and source material.

Everything you need to know about RCA to XLR etc:
JENSEN TRANSFORMERS, INC. - APPLICATION PAPERS AND SCHEMATICS
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