At the 2022 Audio Video Show in Warsaw, I sat in Silent Angel's exhibit where Chorus Chuang let me assess their top switch Bonn NX with/out their precision Genesis GX clock. I was impressed even under show conditions and finally samples arrived at my own door to test their influence on my own gear. Until now prior Silent Angel switches looked very standard. They were built well but cosmetically not yet up to the standards high-end audio brands seduce us with. That's no complaint or perceived weakness as basically, IT doesn't focus too much on overkill chassis unless it's Apple. With their Bonn NX and Genesis GX, Silent Angel revised their approach. Now these devices can proudly sit next to an upscale amplifier or DAC and look the business. Feature-wise the Bonn NX is still just an 8-port Gigabit switch. The audiophile elements begin with an elegantly curved aluminium chassis with engraved model name and continue with stainless steel footers with rubber O-rings. The gold-plated network ports space out sufficiently to accept thicker LAN cables and reduce interference.

Of the two power inlets, one is a standard IEC for the internal SMPS, the other an auto-sensing DC input for an external power supply which requires no selector switch. There's also a ground post, 25MHz BNC clock input selected by switch and a switch that turns off the RJ45 LED. The chassis is a nested affair of outer aluminium casing with inner galvanized steel cage which "maximizes shielding and control of eddy currents while damping vibrations and noise". Inside sits a "class-leading radar-grade" switch-mode power supply of discrete stages for the low-latency temperate-controlled crystal oscillator and network switch module plus an AC power filter. Though already an audiophile-optimized switch, the Bonn NX offers its own upgrade paths. The ground post can shake hands with a ground conditioner available from various brands. The DC input can upgrade the internal SMPS with the company's own Forester 2 linear power supply or a competitor's with the right voltage. The BNC clock input can reach for the companion Genesis NX whose identical chassis makes for a good-looking stack. Does any of it matter? Can one hear any difference? I already heard the effect of the Genesis NX slaving the Bonn NX at the show. Now I had a chance to re-evaluate my initial findings with the Bonn NX, Forester 2 and Genesis NX at my disposal. Today I focus on the first two. The clock deserves its own follow-up.

My AC feed for the Bonn NX sample plugged into my Gigawatt PC3 SE Evo+ conditioner via LessLoss DFPC Signature cord. The DC feed used the companion Forester 2. I also had on hand Ayon's latest network transport, the S10 IIT to use in lieu of my own server. I already knew from its earlier review that the Bonn N8 Pro outperforms my N8 with Forester 1. I also knew that the delta increased further when the Pro powered from a Forester 2. So I expected even more of an improvement with the Bonn NX in AC or DC mode. When comparing LAN switches or similar devices, I find it easier to track differences by subtraction, i.e. let my ears settle into the new devices for three-or-so days, then return to my own kit.

Jessica Williams' And Then There's This! sounded really good on my own Roon server or Ayon's S10 II T transport into my Pacific 2 DAC off my regular switch. I had no complaints despite knowing that an N8 Pro would make it a bit deeper and more engaging. With the Bonn NX, the sound grew even more real, present and rich. There was more texture to each instrument and even more intricate detail in their playing. These improvements seemed subtle, almost negligible. That's until I switched back to my own N8. It still wasn't a huge gap yet my listening was a bit less exciting, enjoyable and realistic. Why?  A little voice kept whispering that whilst really good already, it wasn't quite as good as with the Bonn NX. Why should I waste my time on the inferior version?

I repeated the process with Lee Ritenour's 6 String Theory. Again no night'n'day gap but the Bonn NX did transfer more energy, the electric bass kicked a bit harder, the guitar was richer, denser and more textured, the overall sound purer and reverb a touch longer. All the tiny ambient detail was just a bit clearer or prominent. Rather than pushed forward, such detail simply took less effort to notice whenever I felt like it. The whole reading was more intense, emotional and colourful. Even dynamic range seemed increased a tad. All this was particularly clear when I switched back to the N8 then returned to the Bonn NX. Each time I went back to my own hardware, the experience was a bit less enjoyable, a bit poorer and less intense. Simply put, I had more fun with the Bonn NX due to its richer, more 'here and now' presence.

Finally I cued up 4 Generations of Miles performed live by Ron Carter, George Coleman, Jimmy Cobb and Mike Stern. These guys all played with Miles Davis hence were a great choice to resurrect his spirit. I play this a lot and my system delivers a refined, lively, convincing performance. Yet switching back to the Bonn NX showed once more how there could be a little more Miles present, how the impression of a live event could be a touch more convincing, the musical flow still smoother.