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SOtM iSO-CAT6 LAN Filter And tX-USBhub Review  Print E-mail
Home Theater Accessories Acoustics, EQ & Room Tuning
Written by Andre Marc   
Monday, 28 September 2015
Article Index
SOtM iSO-CAT6 LAN Filter And tX-USBhub Review 
tx-USBhub Cont.
SOtM iSO-CAT6 LAN Filter


SOtM iSO-CAT6 LAN Filter

Not only do noise, jitter, and other artifacts generate over USB transmission lines, but Ethernet is purportedly susceptible to similar issues. The SOtM LAN Filter, also priced at $350, was designed to isolate your streamer from the rest of the network and give you the quietest, highest quality data stream.

The SOtM LAN Filter is as well built as the tX-USBhub and comes in a similar transparent polycarbonate case. It is directional; one end is labeled “Router” and another one labeled “Device”. One must look closely as I admit I did not see that at first. SOtM’s own CAT6 patch cable is included, and it too is very nicely and ruggedly made.

iSO-CAT6 LAN Filter Features

  • Fully shielded modular jack
       
  • High quality isolation transformer  
     
  • Isolation: 1500Vrms, 0.5mA, 60sec

 

sotm_iso-cat6.jpg
iSO-CAT6 LAN Filter In Use
    
My living room system includes the Bryston BDP-2 digital player in DLNA mode, with a one Meter lead of Supra CAT7 cable running into the iSO-CAT6 filter, and SOtM’s CAT6 patch cable into the Bryston. My music library is houses on G-Tech drives attached to a Mac Mini in an upstairs office. All files are stored in FLAC, decoded to WAV on the fly by MiniMserver. iPad control points are Audionet and MPad. A/B comparisons were easy, but I decided to listen for longer periods with and without the filter in place. I used the same Van Morrison tracks noted above as well as other music.

Comparing the the remastered Van Morrison albums again I was taken by surprise by the fact the differences were even just as pronounced with the LAN Filter as with the USB filter in the other system. This was not what I was expecting as my network is fairly well sorted. Issues that can plague Ethernet for audio are a mystery to me, but clearly isolating your streamer from the rest of the network pays dividends.

An album I return to over and over for enjoyment and calibrating systems is Mondo Rama, by Jai Uttal. His seamless blend of Eastern devotional chants with rock and exotica never fails to draw my full attention. With the SOtM filter, I heard more nuances and more of what was “buried in the mix”. Ultimately, the ISO-CAT6 brought more clarity. As a matter of fact, it sounded like someone turned up the volume knob a half a notch.

Here is one part I left out: I recently implemented fiber optic isolation for my streamers in the form of Tripp Lite media converters. These devices take Ethernet over copper and convert it to light, and then back, breaking any connection to your network, reducing noise. I heard a clear improvement after this implementation, much to my surprise. I was not expecting the iSO-CAT6 to add to this improvement.  Is the lesson here that you can never have too much isolation?

Conclusion

Ultimately, clarity was the operative word that applied to both the tX-USBhub and the iSO-CAT6 LAN filter. The USB hub sets itself apart from similar products in that it can be used with SOtM’s external battery supply and offers two USB outputs. Both products are attractive, well made, and live up to the standard I have previously experienced with SOtM products.

Highly recommended an audition for those looking to reach the maximum potential of their computer and networked audio systems. Please note that according to SOtM both units are temporarily being offered at a discounted introductory-price.

Specifications


SOtM tX-USBhub: MSRP $350
SOtM iSO-CAT LAN Filter
: MSRP $350
Promotional price currently available

 

Available for Purchase Here: http://www.sotm.sonore.us/

Review System 1


Server: Bryston BDP-2
DAC: Bryston BDA-1, iFI Micro iDSD,
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Preamp: Coffman Labs G1-A, CIAudio PLC-1 MKII
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Simaudio 760A
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4, Bryston Mini T
Cables: Stager Sound, Acoustic Zen, Element Cable, DH Labs
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks and Svelte Shelves, Shakti Stone, Bryston BIT-15, Salamander rack

Review System 2


Music Server: SOtM sMS-100 w xps, Simaudio MiND 180D
DAC: iFi Micro iDSD
Integrated Amplifier: McIntosh MA6600
Power Amplifier: CLONES Audio 25p
Tape Deck: Sony TC-350
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3
Cables: Stager Sound, Transparent, DH Labs
Accessories: Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Sound Anchors Stands, Audience aR6
    






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