A Review Of The Ansuz X-TC Audiophile Network Switch
Ansuz is part of the Scandinavian manufacturer Audio Group Denmark. Its three brands are Ansuz (network switches, cables, and mains products), Aavik Electronics (amplifiers, streamers, DACs, and phono stages), and Borrensen Loudspeakers.
These brands are the result of a group of world-renowned designers. They include Lars Christensen, Michael Borrensen, Frits Dalmose, and recently, Flemming Rasmussen (ex Gryphon).
Let’s dive into why we think this power switch is the best for your HiFi system.
A Unique Design
The X-TC is the entry-level model of network switch from Ansuz and is unique because of its design and chassis. Not only does it have all the right components of a network switch, but it also grounds the ethernet and removes significant amounts of RFI (radio frequency interference) and EMI (electromagnetic interference).
It also has an exclusive active square Tesla Coils which greatly reduces the noise floor, and a cabinet design is a key Ansuz characteristic. Ansuz designed it to eliminate sonic distortion. The disturbing sonic influence which emanates from the cabinet’s material (mostly aluminum) results in its mechanical resonance. To eliminate this sonic distortion, the challenge was to minimize the aluminum used in the cabinet.
Ansuz’s sister company Aavik began testing various materials. They designed an innovative natural-based composite material, which reduces the mechanical influence, particularly the hysteresis. The sonic result is distinctly audible and reflects a further prominent cornerstone in Ansuz’s quest for the ultimate music experience.
The key operating principle of the Ansuz Tesla coil is to have two coils wound in opposite directions – one coil and one counter coil. In Ansuz’s words, this is called “a double inverted coil.” The two coils carry voltage, and when one of the Tesla coils encounters a voltage spike, a counter spike is activated to eliminate the noise.
Since noise spikes are pure voltage carrying virtually no charge, the cancelation is quite good but not perfect. Adding more Tesla coils in parallel increases the noise cancellation and the perceived blackness in the music increases significantly along with the purity and clarity of the sound. Ansuz uses various Tesla coils, as their individual properties ideally complement and reinforce each other.
Finally, the Analog dither technology originated in radar, ensuring a stronger signal and thus a wider range. Their active Tesla coils send pulsating signals at precisely defined frequencies. These signals are sent in anti-phase. It significantly amplifies the musical signal and eliminates the background noise floor.
A network switch provides a clean ethernet signal to a music streamer or another device with an ethernet port. The X-TC can provide this for up to seven components. You can connect the music streamer to a TV, gaming console, or a Sky box.
Impressive Sound Quality
So what exactly does this network switch do to a music streamer? Well, I was able to try it with three different good-quality streamers. First, I tried it with the Gold Note DC-10 unit, and I was honestly shocked at the jump in performance level once you put in the network switch.
Now I must admit, I am a big fan of Network switches, and I tried several of them in various systems. Some are more expensive, and some are less expensive than the Ansuz X-TC. However, the jump in performance of the Ansuz X-TC was simply in a different league.
Where I was getting a 10-20% upgrade from other network switches the X-TC gave me a 30-40% upgrade. But when I added the Ansuz network cables the upgrade was even greater. I tried using more expensive streamers like the Lumin T2 and the Ansuz S-180 and the results were even better.
Bearing in mind that this is the entry-level network switch from Ansuz. I am excited to review the more expensive models and also the better network and digital cables the company makes.
The differences this network switch makes are considerable. Dropping the noise floor allows you to hear more subtle details. Ansuz improved the sound staging and the three-dimensional soundstage. The naturalness of vocals and instruments is much better. The top end is more refined and less bright, and the bass is more controlled. The overall sound is more organic and more natural.
Great Value For Money
The X-TC is £2,000 many people will think it’s expensive for a network switch. It’s true that network switches start from about £400, but they all are essential if you are streaming music from Qobuz or Tidal. The ethernet is so polluted with RFI and EMI interference, and if you imagine all the interference from other users is coming into your house, that’s a lot of interference.
What I am about to say may be controversial, but I stand by my findings. If you are streaming and not using a network switch, you are lucky to be getting 60% of your streamer’s capability. I also think you should be spending the same on the network switch as you do on your streamer. For example, a £2000 streamer with a £2000 network switch and decent network cables will (I believe) outperform a £4000 streamer.
Therefore I think that the X-TC network switch offers exceptional value for money and is the best network switch I have heard at this price.
I highly recommend the Ansuz X-TC, and if you are using a streamer, it is a no-brainer if you can afford it.