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Network Acoustics Muon

Network Acoustics Muon

Getting great results from a streaming audio system is not as simple as it seems. It’s a bit like a high-end turntable, where selecting the right components is only the first step of the process. Setting the thing up to perform as well as it can is often a painstaking process that frequently requires professional input. It’s an art that some of us have learned over decades as the components themselves become more refined and the knowledge about what really matters accumulates. Streaming of a quality that turntable owners would accept is less than a decade old and there’s still a lot to learn about what makes streaming sources sound engaging and revealing.

Network Acoustics has not been in business long but it has a good handle on what it takes to give any streaming system a good chance of performing as well as it can. Richard Trussell and Rob Osbourne of Network Acoustics have been working on ways to stop the noise that seems to be an intrinsic part of data networks from polluting the data flowing from both local and external streaming sources. They make cables and filters at two levels with this sole purpose in mind and the results produced by the ENO and now Muon filter and ethernet cables suggests that they have found a rather effective way to stop noise entering the system without harming the signal.

Network Acoustics Muon

The Muon Streaming System consists of an ethernet filter in a compact, ABS box (sounds better than metal) measuring 7.5 inches long with a Neutrik RJ45 socket at one end and a 50cm captive ethernet cable connected to the other. This has two cores that terminate in a Telegärtner RJ45 plug. The plug goes into your streamer or possibly hard drive (if it has a dedicated ethernet output) and the socket connects to Network Acoustics Muon Streaming Cable which is plugs into a network switch at the other end. It could be connected to the router if that’s in the vicinity, but as a rule it pays to have at least one switch between the router and the network for a streaming system, as a switch provides a degree of isolation.

Secret sauce

The Muon Streaming Cable is similar to the captive lead on the filter but has a small filter nearer to one end than the other, this end should be connected to the filter. The minimum length that Network Acoustics offer the Muon Ethernet Cable in is 1.5m. That length is not an arbitrary one but an important ingredient in the Muon’s performance,  in a classic ‘secret sauce’ manner, where the technology that filters the noise is not disclosed. Richard and Rob will say that the RFI/EMI filter uses proprietary pure silver elements and that this metal is also used in the cables which are 99.99% purity UP-OCC types, but that’s all folks. It’s a passive device that sits inline and somehow extracts the noise that undermines digital audio.

I have been using the ENO filter and cable between an English Electric 8Switch and a Melco N10 music library for some time so the first comparison I made was with this already very effective filtering combo. The Muon increased the clarity of vocal and the acoustic around it, reinforced the impact of a kick drum, increased the sense of immediacy and opened up the soundstage to let the dynamics through. This was with Patricia Barber’s Company (Modern Cool) which is an excellent recording but I’ve not heard the drums in particular sound so real for a long time, good enough to get the arms flailing around on the air kit in fact. On a more audiophile level it was possible to hear that the gaps, the quiet moments were in fact quieter, the noise floor being audibly lower. This indicates greater perceived signal to noise and hence dynamics.

Natural to the max

The next step was to take the Melco out of the loop and contrast the Muon Streaming System with an Audioquest Cinnamon ethernet cable between switch and streamer using Qobuz as the source, a maximum potential situation as far as filtering goes. This was more dramatic with openness, ease, detail and colour flooding in to make the voices on Ryan Adams’ live studio version of ‘Dear John’ tear inducingly beautiful. The sheer onslaught of nuance and tonal depth was overwhelming and the pedal steel extraordinarily enchanting, it was like turning up the naturalness to the max.

Once I had regained composure I did something similar but this time using the Melco as the signal source, dropping in the Muon chain in place of a Melco ethernet to the switch. Here I put on Chasing the Dragon’s recent Locrian Ensemble recording of Mendelssohn Octets where the timing became much clearer and with it the melody, likewise the character of the stringed instruments came to the fore along with the way in which they were played. There was an increase in openness too but not to the extent seen above. On another more familiar piece the same comparison produced greater tone colour with piano notes gaining greater shine, the space around it and a voice being better defined and the phrasing used by all the musicians making its presence felt.

Network Acoustics Ethernet cable

I carried on making comparisons with various streamers and DACs including using USB between Melco and DAC with the Muon components shielding the drive from the network, as it was doing above. The result was very similar with naturalness, beauty and openness all being greatly increased, so much so that ‘Helplessly Hoping’ (Crosby, Stills & Nash) put a lump in my throat. The sound is so clean and yet so relaxed that it’s as easy as very good analogue.

With the Muon Streaming System Network Acoustics prove that RFI/EMI is what stops streaming systems performing sounding as good as they should. I would go so far as to say don’t buy another hard drive, streamer or DAC until you have heard what the stuff you have already can do when it’s free of the hidden harm that electrical noise brings. This is one of those, “you don’t know what you’re missing until you hear it” products. It’s a game changer.

Technical specifications

Muon Ethernet Filter

  • Type Silver wired ethernet filter
  • Input Neutrik RJ45 ethernet
  • Output 50cm UP-OCC continuous cast pure silver ethernet cable
  • Termination Telegärtner RJ45 CAT8 connector
  • Size H×W×D 50 × 190 × 78mm
  • Weight 300g
  • Muon Streaming Cable
  • Type 4-core 100MB/s ethernet network cable
  • Conductor UP-OCC continuous cast 99.99% purity silver
  • Length 1.5m (longer lengths available)
  • Terminations Telegärtner Cat8.1 wide bandwidth gold plated connectors
  • Price Muon Ethernet Filter £1,295
    Muon Streaming Cable £995 (1.5m)
    Muon Streaming System bundle £1,795


Network Acoustics


 +44 (0)1803 313714

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