At a glance, this fibre conversion kit from Melco distributor ADMM looks like a tricky sell. There are numerous fibre to ethernet (media) converters on the market and most of them look like the ADOT MC01, except for one important detail; this one has four dipswitches at the ‘other’ end (the end you don’t see in most pictures) and these allow speed throttling down from the gigabit required for computer networks to 100Mbs, which is more than sufficient for audio signals. Fibre has a number of advantages on its own, but by slowing down the speed of operation ADOT adds another means of reducing noise… which usually means a reduction in perceived distortion in the eventual analogue signal.
The MC01 kits that ADOT sells are designed to make it easy for audio enthusiasts – as opposed to network engineers – to break the electrical chain between a domestic router or network and the audio system. Ethernet is marvellous stuff at sharing noise on a network, whether its created by the router itself or any of the devices using it, and ADOT has produced some impressive looking graphics to show how much noise and jitter its systems can remove. There are several advantages to a media converter such as the MC01, including galvanic isolation (which always reduces noise) and the fact that it reconstructs the signal at the receiver which reduces jitter.
There are two ways of using fibre in a streaming set up. The first requires two media converters with the ethernet from the switch or router connecting to the first where it’s converted to an optical signal and sent down the fibre to the second MC01 and converted back to ethernet. You connect that output to your streamer or server/hard drive. That arrangement requires two MC01s. The other option is to use a network switch with an SFP port for the fibre; Melco’s S100 switch has this but so do many others. In this situation, you connect the media converter to the switch with fibre then convert to ethernet for the final connection to the audio equipment.
It’s a simple installation process and the point of the ADOT kits is that they provide all the elements required to finish the job. These consist of the MC01 convertor, an SFP adapter that allows the fibre cable to connect to the media convertor, the cable itself and a power supply for the MC01. ADOT has selected the best performing examples of each element and offers a range of power supply options in its three kits. Kit 1 comes with a switched mode plug-top supply, Kit 2 gets a linear plug top with EI transformer and Kit 3 comes with a rather more serious Plixir 5V supply in its own rather smart case. The fourth option is a single MC01 for use with one of these kits; fortunately a divider is provided so that a single power supply can feed two converters.
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