In my latest review, I dive deeper into the world of linear power supplies and Ethernet switches and uncover what’s special and unique about Ediscreation Firebird LPS and Silent Switch OCXO Extreme.
Ediscreation was founded in 2014 by Edison Wong, an electrical engineer who devotes all his attention to making audio products.
Wong specializes in the development of electronic circuits and 3d mechanical structures. Wong has worked as a product engineer for many multinational and local manufacturing companies.
Ediscreation audio components are 100% proudly manufactured in Hong Kong, and all products are designed to provide high-quality reliable operation and great after-sales service. Wong also cooperates with several local audio websites to promote local audio culture.
To this day, Wong reviews every outgoing product to ensure his passion remains intact.
Ediscreation considers the LPS (linear power supply) to be the most important part of any audio system, regardless of what type of components it is paired with. Be it a phono preamplifier, DAC, NAS, switch hub, router, external hard drive, etc.
A well-designed LPS should deliver a significant improvement in sound quality. On the contrary, most power supplies that are usually provided are switching mode (SMPS) or cheap iron core-based power supplies.
Due to cost constraints, the noise and ripple of these power supplies are also very high, which directly affects the sound quality and background noise. It also affects the stability of the device.
Ediscreation LPS is designed to improve the above-mentioned issues.
Ediscreation LPS is the result of countless calculations and experiments to achieve a satisfactory end result. Wong never selects audio parts blindly. He uses given specifications and data as a guide, but the final selection is hand-picked and throughout tested to achieve the best sonic result.
Only a discrete circuit design is implemented instead of the IC design to ensure lower noise, faster response, more power, and less heat.
All Ediscreation AC transformers are EN61558 certified, and all finished LPSs undergo extensive full-loading “stress” and noise testing before shipment to ensure they are of the highest quality.
The Firebird LPS is designed from the ground up to provide a quieter background, reduce noise and effectively improve the sound.
Silent Switch OCXO Extreme
The Silent OCXO Extreme Switch was conceptualized with one clear goal in mind: to improve the quality of music streaming for any streamer, music server, NAS, DAC, digital front-end, etc.
The Ediscreation team has completely revamped the structure of the network switch and revised it for audiophile use, assuring extremely low noise floor and high precision when connecting network signals.
Silent OCXO Extreme Switch implements a linear power supply with discrete circuits for the main power supply and an ultra-low noise LDO for the OCXO clock supply.
Under the hood is what Ediscreation claims is the world’s first network ground isolation switch that can greatly improve router performance and lower ground noise and also has a built-in OCXO system clock for ultra-low jitter 0.25-0.35ps with Â±10 ppb phase frequency stability.
The core module design features a CNCed heat sink for best noise shielding and lower operating temperature.
Silent OCXO Extreme Switch also comes with audio-grade LAN jacks for the best signal connection that can host any large-sized LAN cable.
There are two versions of Silent OCXO Switch, Standard and Extreme.
The extreme version adds Furutech IEC inlets, FI -06 NCF, Audio Note Cap, Mundorf Cap, red copper base, UPOCC interconnect cable, and Silver Bybee.
The hubris associated with switching power supplies is obvious, and for that reason alone my reference listening room has a separate power line (even from the substation) to avoid anything connected to the power grid altering the electricity.
In my travels and visiting various high-end audio systems and with my personal experiences, not only the chargers for phones, and routers, but also LED lighting of all kinds cause and introduces massive pollution to the power grid, not to mention the devices that are connected to the high-end audio system.
The other issue is Ethernet. In the past, when analog sources were prevalent or digital sources were either connected to physical media or streaming was on the rise, we did not have (and didn’t know yet) to deal with the complexity associated with today’s digital audio streaming.
A few years ago, the topic of audiophile Ethernet switches would have surely triggered a heated reaction and questioned sanity :). Fast forward a few years and it no longer sounds like fringe science.
My brother has been exclusively involved with data transmission, IP protocols, optical data systems, etc. for more than three decades and just ensuring the right level of stability of data delivery is becoming more and more problematic with rapidly growing users. What many still consider irreverence is in other fields factual and handled daily.
I have often pointed out in my reviews that while analog front ends are complex entities and habitats, with the advent of digital, especially streaming and CAS, the digital realm has become even more complex, where even the smallest anomalies can affect digital playback.
Along with the wave of data handling and processing, audiophile switches became a sort of compulsory product offering. The same goes for audiophile-grade linear power supplies that offer a subjective alternative to cheapo SMPS enclosed with the products, sometimes even with hefty price tags.
Even though I have limited review slots in my evaluations, the above reasons more than justify the inclusion of Ediscreations products.
As usual, here are a few of the albums/tracks used in the evaluation. With so many options offered by both devices, it can get convoluted, but here are a few references that show the merits of the Ediscreation Silent OCXO Extreme Switch and Firebird LPS in performing their intended tasks.
Black Coffee Subconsciously, which won the Best Dance/Electronic category at the 64th Grammy Awards, is a spacious, minimalist, melodic album with a unique depth of many subtitles.
The harmonic richness, clarity of the sound space, and even better handling of disproportionate audio dynamics associated with sibilants, as well as the unique wallop in the low bass have become noticeable in Firebird LPS, especially with the opening track “Lost”.
Keep A Lid On Things” by the Crash Test Dummies was ahead of its time and somehow still exudes a futuristic vibe. The band, which can act like a chameleon from album to album, has created a great-sounding sonic utopia that is still sounding original, enticing to join in, and up-to-date.
I am used to the great sound of Give Yourself a Hand and it was easy to detect the change with Ediscreation Firebird LPS engaged. “Keep A Lid On Things” enchantment was further elevated with better three-dimensionality and sense of the depth of sound field, as well as with an enhanced centered foundation of music vitality.
There was also something transpiring in the area of vertical and horizontal elongation, along with an adequate physical presence of the instruments and finer separation between them. Although the track is a surreal compound to start with, it sounded far less kaleidoscopic.
The qualities were further depicted with another great-sounding track “Seeker” by Hiromi. The Firebird LPS brought the midrange up to forte and managed to give the bottom end better drive, a better musical perspective, snappier attack o piano notes at pianissimo and forte fortissimo levels.
In addition, Firebird LPS produced alleviated pinpoint physical shaping, and piano notes lingered a bit longer with more natural decays and delays. In addition, the note overlays sounded more like a harmonic entity, and less like superimposed artificial overlays.
Silent OCXO Extreme Switch
In “I Remember You” by Lee Konitz from the album Motion, Silent OCXO Extreme revealed far more spatial details than expected.
It was interesting to observe how the physical connections between the instruments became close-knitted and sounded less like a parallel encounter.
The Silent OCXO Extreme switch furnished more content from origin to destination, with less subtlety lost in translation. It also submitted more reality and did not round the leading edges of the notes unnaturally, as some switches do.
The adoption of some of the qualities of the analog was unexpected but pleasantly surprising, especially with “I Remember You.”
Another interesting advantage of the Ediscreation Silent OCXO Extreme switch in action was effortlessly discovered with Bob Scagg’s album Dig. Dig is certainly an audiophile reference album that immediately shows what a high-end audio system is capable of.
There was simply more density available with the Silent OCXO Extreme switch, transliterating into more of a forte music momentum, without the sonic clutter that some even more expensive switches can cause.
Not only did “Thanks To You” feature less exuberant, overblown bass that almost works in submarine depths on the capable system. It also extended the slightly more viable uniformity across the frequency spectrum.
And the positive discoveries continued with the latest ECM output, the 2 CD anthology album Hellbound Train by Steve Tibbetts, which demonstrated the ability of the Ediscreation Silent OCXO Extreme switch to remove a layer or two of blur and deliver a more definite musical recurrence with guileless sparkle but no glare.
The Ediscreation Firebird LPS and Silent OCXO Extreme Switch were conceived for ardent audio connoisseurs and aficionados. These devices are designed to create a sonic order and bring out the details that can remain hidden.
Edison Wong has approached this particular market segment with great dedication and hands-on experience. As you can see on Ediscreation’s website, the company has a variety of products in its portfolio, ranging from cables to power amplifiers.
It’s not easy to approach a high-end audio setup in the 21st century. Advancements in digital audio technology have made high-end audio a complex field that is often a daunting quest for sonic excellence and requires a lot of effort to match all the components of an audio system.
Most generic routers and external power supplies for various audio components are mediocre at best. The enclosed universal switching power supplies are more often than not purchased in bulk by manufacturers. The same goes for off-the-shelf switches and their impact on audio streaming.
Our hearing is a highly sensitive apparatus that immediately senses a change in volume of half a dB. This is relayed to the appropriate brain center for decoding. But this is only part of the data deciphering.
Without getting into esoteric realms and talking about electrons and their interdependencies with many physical forces, our whole body is not only an aural sensor but also a data receiver that processes an amazing amount of minute information of all kinds.
Many audiophiles and music lovers have already discovered that audio streaming depends on many factors, such as how fast and stable the internet is the question is what kind of “penalty” you get for less than optimal handling of everything involved with streaming, where, to complicate things even further, each streaming service handles encoding differently.
In short, without an optimized base, there are always drawbacks, and this is true for both audio LPS and switches.
The Ediscreation Firebird LPS and Silent OCXO Extreme switches have shown in their application that they can positively affect sonic subtleties and dependencies on many levels without de-emphasizing and emasculating the music.
Ediscreation Firebird LPS, for example, can clean up the mud in the midrange without robbing warmth or altering timbre, while the Silent OCXO Extreme switch can introduce a new level of ambiance cues and transparency.
Both Silent OCXO Extreme and Firebird LPS do not alter or disturb the sonic balance but follow the path of factual reproduction that does not just gell into the group of similar deja vu devices.
The Firebird LPS has sufficient bandwidth that swings voltage and current sufficiently fast to minimize unwanted artifacts and ensure the stable operation of connected devices. It shows that great care was taken in the selection of each discrete electronic component to avoid the traps of generic solutions and ensure the stable voltage to the sources for a better signal path while reducing noise, delivering more potent performance, and nonetheless generating less heat.
The practical applications are many, as Firebird LPS can be used with phono preamps, DACs, NAS, hub switches, routers, external hard drives, etc. The point is that you get all components within the high-end audio system away from SMPS-based power supplies.
If necessary, the voltage can be adjusted (upon order) to the specific device, but all outputs must have the same voltage.
Not every switch is optimal for the audio application. I have tried a few audiophile and commercial switches, and indeed some of them can degrade the sound. In contrast, the Silent OCXO Extreme eliminates many of the frictions that can be perceived in the audible range.
Both the Ediscreation Firebird LPS and the Silent OCXO Extreme are proof of concept, vital products, with a resounding difference, and an important consideration for anyone looking for further refinement of the 21st-century high-end audio system.
The sheer amount of variables is simply staggering when it comes to finding the right combination and equilibrium in the system, but Ediscreation offers a solid solution at both ends of the spectrum with tangible features, that not only suffice but can set a reference point.
The impact of these two units should not be underestimated and I am pleased to grant Ediscreation Firebird LPS 2023 Highly Recommended Product Award and Silent OCXO Extreme 2023 Mono & Stereo Best Buy Product Award. •
- Firebird LPS: HKD 14.520
- Silent Switch Ocxo Version Extreme: HKD 14.640
- Ripple and Noise (20Hz to 20Mhz) 0.02mVrms
- Full Discrete Circuit design
- Extreme Double Regulator design
- 30000uF Mundorf Capacitors
- Custom made Grounded isolation Transformer
- Silent “Start” grounding design on PCB
- Independent channel outputs
- Audio grade FI-03R IEC inlet
- Top quality handmade 1.5M OFC DC cable
- Analog Voltage Meter with backlight (switch off possible)
- Top quality 6061 solid Aluminum to CNC one integration chassis to reduce mechanical vibration and better EMI isolation.
- Floating Suspension between body and bottom chassis
- Top quality stainless steel spike shoes included
- Short Circuit protection
- Overheat protection
- Dimensions 278mm x 302mm x 90mm (LxDxH)
- Weigh 10kg
3 output versions available: 5V10A, 12V10A, 19V6A
- 5V,10A For Fiberbox, Switch hubs, Cubox, Raspberry pi etc
- 12V,10A For Switch hubs, Router, Fiber modem, NAS, External HDD, DAC, NAS, PC, External HDD etc
- 19V,6A For Notbook, NUC, Router, etc
- Warranty: 2yr
Silent Switch Ocxo Extreme
- OCXO clock for extreme low jitter 0.25-0.35ps. Frequency Stability ±10 ppb Phase.
- 8ports with 1000M LAN Speed
- Meet IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3U Standard
- Ground isolation switch for breaking off Ground noise from Router easily
- True Audio grade LAN socket for best signal connection, support any giant size LAN cables
- Ultra Low noise LPS inside
- Top quality 6061 solid Aluminum CNC Case
- Core module design with CNC heatsink, provide best noise shielding and lower working temperature.
- Ground pot for Ground box connection.
- Commercial grade Network switch MCU for best and stable performance
- Weight 2.9 kg
- Dimensions 270 x 220 x 85 mm
- Version: Standard, Extreme