RANS-1 Network Switch Review
Monday, 3rd August 2020
The Russ Andrews Network Switch (RANS-1) achieves a HI-FI CRITIC Recommended Award... and Five Stars from customers.
The respected audiophile journal HI-FI CRITIC recently ran a test on a selection of audio grade network switches, including our own RANS model. Falling in the middle of the price range for the models tested, we were pleased to find our unit achieving a coveted HI-FI CRITIC Recommended award.
The need for a superior switch in audio applications
Reviewer Martin Colloms established the need for a superior switch early on in the piece, suggesting that, although standard models are absolutely fine for most applications, the designers of these computer peripherals “generally don’t have regard for, or experience of, high sound quality, let alone the subtle adjustments and optimisations which will be involved when such data networks are then married to well tuned analogue audio systems”.
Click here to learn more about RANS
Tested in two situations
Testing the RANS switch in two locations: at the wireless data entry point of an Apple Airport Express and then “at the heart of the system where served data and control meet to feed… the Naim ND555 network player”.
Although there were some improvements in the former situation - “Transparency and delicacy were the watchwords for the Russ Andrews, though it was little reticent for dynamics and timing: sweet and clearly low noise but with less excitement” - it was in the second location when the RANS really came into its own (in the wired set-up, directly feeding a component, which is more of the type of situation we originally designed the RANS for, rather than Wi-Fi).
Here, he found the improvements more significant:
“the RA switch performed well here with lower noise backgrounds, sweet, delicate and informative treble, and with a relaxed and a well-balanced timbre”.
A word about Cone Feet
Interestingly, already a convert to the benefits of our Cone Feet, Martin found that adding these under the unit brought out even more of its inherent performance: “basslines were articulate, again improved by a trio of RA oak cones for feet, which also helped with dynamic expression”. Despite some reservations about the unit sounding “touch subdued” and a “little less focused on the beat” than his own.
Read more about Cone Feet here
Martin concluded that the RA network switch
“scored well on micro detail, subtlety, and delivered deeper and more focused stereo images” and added that “it seems that the specially filtered external supplies and also the low jitter Trichord clock, were having a positive effect”.
Magazine: Hi-Fi Critic
Issue: April-June 2020
Click here to find out more about RANS.
We’ve also had a couple of customer reviews posted on the website, both giving the unit five stars.
"There is a significant improvement in sound quality - all types of music have more clarity, depth, and the music has much more life. My system is Linn Akurate and includes an Exakt Box DAC. Linn has for some time emphasised the need to refine the timing and phase of Digital signals and I am sure the clock in the Russ Andrews Switch is at the core of the sound improvement. Both the switch and the power supply are very well made , the Kimber connecting cable is a very secure fit and this is plug and play technology for sure.
So a really great product and excellent value given the improvements it has delivered".
For Sean, the addition of the RANS brought:
"a significant upgrade. I am not new to the concept of upgrading a switch after previously upgrading the power supply on my Netgear switch with a RA PowerPak. This had a meaningful impact, but was nothing compared to the new RA Network Switch.
From the very first notes there was a more analogue sound, increased musicality and detail taking the sound to a whole new level. For those that maybe sceptical about what a switch can do, you can try without risk as RA offer a refund. This is an exceptional product."
Click here to find out more about RANS.
Written By Simon Dalton