Office work. My desktop handles that. It typically runs at least Outlook Express, Word, Opera and Photoshop. The web browser might have 10-20 active tabs including WordPress, Photoshop the same number of 5'000px wide open image files while I edit down photos. That parallel activity means many more computing threads than the dedicated music iMac ever sees. It runs HP's Intel processors at higher speed with more heat so greater noise. What's more, this network connection is always on. These RJ45 ports fire constantly. Unlike in the first system, there's no 'audio-grade' network switch as barrier between router/modem and PC. These then were real-world work conditions to learn how much the SOtM could do when more noise-challenged. Back in communal audiophile graces were these ultra-precision one-way monitors in the extreme nearfield; and Final D8000 planarmagnetic or Raal-Requisite SR1a true ribbon headphones. The latter's magnification powers eclipse even Susvara and the Super Cube oakies calibrated by an ex recording studio owner are my closest speaker approximation of the winged Raal.

Qobuz Sublime offers easy access to native 24/96 material and I have iFi's best DAC set for integer upsampling to 705.6/768kHz with what they call Gibbs transient-optimized filter. I bypass the DAC's tube buffer, don't use its PCM⇒DSD1'024 resampler mode and had their UK facility remove the WiFi streamer board to kill that otherwise constant radiation. [On our Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe integrated I managed to break out that module myself; for the same reason.] Now we've dotted our 'i' and crossed the 't' to wonder what 'it' all meant to the ears.

Once more increasing resolving powers of my transducers magnified the 'it' factor. Already the warmer/bassier Final headphones marked difference. Identifying it was simply more amorphous. My ears just called it fruitier whenever the iSO-CAT7 was in play. The SC5 speakers then began sorting 'why' to peel back what fruitier consisted of or meant. Wherever recordings had it, venue cues came to the fore. This made surrounding space visible through more apparent recorded reflections. Often nearly subliminal, their overhang of reverb gave new sounds a bloomier more interactive than passive milieu to rise in. It was no outer-space vacuum of nothingness. Tonal beginnings didn't overlay true emptiness for brutalist ultra-damped offset. As resolution increased and electrical/mechanical noise floors dropped, the emptiness showed off more planktonic life between/around primary sounds.

With surrounding atmosphere materializing, primary sounds grew softer and fuller; the earlier 'DSD effect'. They were no longer alone; no longer nekkid. They shared space with contextual decays whose textures clothed them. My best-dressed hostess was the true ribbon open-baffle Raal. It held the most extreme magnification on micro detail. That made it relevant sooner so enlarged the difference delta between sundry productions and showed that even drier albums had more subliminal atmosphere than the Final knew. The speakers sat in the middle. If they were entry-level Audio Engine actives instead, I seriously doubt that those would even match the D8000's amorphous recognition of the effect.

When we ask how much the iSO-CAT7 can do, it depends is the obvious answer. Have we unclogged all the bigger obstructions already? Is our system resolution keen enough to notice? Is our hearing attentive enough to care? Do we listen primarily to dry close-mic'd studio and electronica productions or wetter acoustic ECM-type fare? No blood from a stone. It matters. Under the right conditions SOtM's little inline Ethernet noise filter is clearly active and effective. My inner cynic expecting road work where nine guys stand around watching one do actual work was actually surprised that something this simple could be relevant enough to matter. I trust you now appreciate what appropriate conditions are for its successful use. First get the other nine guys to do their job!

Grand. Now happy cloud streaming to you and yours on the Ethernet offramp where an iSO-CAT7 acts as toll booth whose fee is paid in noise before you're allowed to pass. Less noise means more signal deep in the outer margins where ambient recovery awaits collection like pollen hopes for busy bees…