Audiophile Ethernet cables snake oil

I have earlier posted about Audio trends and snake oil. What annoyed then and still today in marketing and media that too often today then talking on hi-fi, science is replaced by bizarre belief structures and marketing fluff. It seems that there too many snake oil rubbish products marketed in the name of hifi. It is irritating to watch the stupid people in the world be fooled with things like exotic materials, directional cables, thousand dollar IEC power cables, and all that rubbish. “If you pay ridiculous money for these cable you will hear a difference, but don’t expect your friends to”

I can agree that in analogue interconnect cables there are few cases where better cables can result in cleaner sound. And there are very many cases where there is no objectively noticeable difference.

In digital interconnect cables story is different than on those analogue interconnect cables. Generally in digital interconnect cables the communication either works, does not work or sometimes work unreliably. The digital cable either gets the bits to the other end or not, it does not magically alter the sound that goes through the cable.

But this digital interconnect cables characteristics has not stopped hifi marketers to make very expensive cable products that are marketed with unbelievable claims. Ethernet has come to audio world, so there are hifi audiophile Ethernet cables that do not make sense to me. With Ethernet the data either gets through the cable without any changes to it, or it does not get through at all. Ethernet has checksum on every data packets to detect for any errors (which are rare) in the transmission and all the packets that have data changed in any any way are discarded. So Ethernet cable can not not magically slightly alter the digital sound that goes through the cable.

Here are links to two articles on such expensive audiophile Ethernet cables:
Is streaming cable more or less expensive than $1000 audiophile snake-oil ethernet cable ?
https://audiobacon.net/2019/11/02/the-jcat-signature-lan-a-1000-ethernet-cable/

Gallery: We tear apart a $340 audiophile Ethernet cable and look inside
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/07/gallery-we-tear-apart-a-340-audiophile-ethernet-cable-and-look-inside/

Apart from the absurdly high price tag and more mechanically robust connectors, I see nothing special on those cables for carrying the data signal. I suppose those does look quite attractive to some users and this makes them willing to pay the high price.

Despite the fact that some people desperately want there to be audiophile Ethernet cables, there simply is no such thing. The IEEE standards do not include a superset of specifications that make a regular Cat-7 cable into an “audiophile” Cat-7 cable. If you still believe those “audiophile Ethernet” cables sounding better, please inform yourself how an Ethernet and Ethernet cable works.

jasonfilley_Network_Cable

26 Comments

  1. David Salz says:

    Lots of consumers buy products that fail to provide value based on the most logical criteria and there is no doubt that many upgrade audio cables are purchased simply for their visual aesthetic. On the other hand, some of the most respected audio engineers in the world, including Bobby Owsinski, the leading author of audio engineering books, purchase expensive upgrade cables for use in their own studios. These include analog, digital and power cables. Your technical argument is wrong, because cable related issues of noise and waveform integrity create complex interactions in audio systems that affect music reproduction. People are usually very surprised by the changes they hear when swapping Ethernet cables in a high fidelity music system. Furthermore, local solid state drives usually provide substantially better fidelity than network drives. Upgrade Ethernet cables can provide value by reducing that loss of fidelity.

    Reply
    • Tomi Engdahl says:

      “Your technical argument is wrong, because cable related issues of noise and waveform integrity create complex interactions in audio systems that affect music reproduction. People are usually very surprised by the changes they hear when swapping Ethernet cables in a high fidelity music system.”

      The answer to subtle difference of sound due Ethernet cable differences moving data bits differently cause sound to changer is no, unless you want to believe those who make big money by persuading people otherwise, or those who fell for the emperor’s new clothes. Digital is quite simply different from analogue: the signal gets there or it does not.

      There could be some differences on on the electromagnetic noise being coupled to the cable and sometimes going though the equipment to output of the device is not well built.

      Reply
    • Tomi Engdahl says:

      Your cable page says
      https://www.wireworldcable.com/phone/digital.html
      “Starlight 8 Ethernet utilizes an innovative flat and parallel twinax conductor geometry that supports extreme transmission speeds and reduces noise for the most lifelike reproduction of streamed music and video. The patented Tite-Shield™ design has twelve internal shields that isolate noise for improved sound and video quality. The official network cable categories (ie. Cat5/6/7/8) only include twisted pair cables, so these non-twisted twinax cables cannot be rated by those test specifications.”

      How this specifically helps to make audio sound better?

      When I have worked with pro audio systems, I have had two cases where changing Ethernet cable has had noticeable effect:
      1. A broken Ethernet cable cause network connection to on and off. Sound breaking or no sound at all. Decent basic IT cable fixed it.
      2. A shielded thick CAT6 cable caused humming noise to system. Using a cheap unshielded CAT 5e patch cable solved the ground loop problem that caused humming.

      Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    From
    https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/ethernet-cables-do-they-make-a-difference

    On the LAN datatransfer is usually limited by the network cards of two connected devices. Most oF NAS do not support 1G.
    If any of the devices in your LAN route from the storage of your audio file to your playing device is 100M – your entire connection is limited to 100M. Any cat5 cable will serve you as good as the most expensive cat6,7,8,9,10 whatever number you can come up with and willing to pay for.
    Do yourself a favor and run a couple of tests:
    1. Time one audio file copy over the cheapest network cable you have and compare it to the time of copy over the most expensive one. I bet they will be the SAME, and much less than duration of the audio track – conclusion: network is not a bottleneck.
    2. Copy the same file file over to the playing device (computer or whatever) and compare playing it to playing from NAS. I bet you won’t be able to tell the difference.

    Alternative approach – do the blind test and try to guess if cable is cat5 or cat.

    Did anyone do a blind test?
    Please post your honest results.
    It would be nice to see “placebo effect” eliminated.

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    From https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/ethernet-cables-do-they-make-a-difference

    Yes, they make a difference, but not because “bits is bits”. The last meter, I have been told, improves EMI rejection. Regardless of the science, I hear a difference.

    However your digital signal, especially from file source (NAS or streaming server) is a different story. Media player cashes the digital information as it comes from the source over the network cable and has enough bytes to play “smoothly”. Network protocol takes care of packages transfer, ordering, re-sending lost packages (if any) and so on. Digital data is sent in discrete packages – that is defined by TCP/IP protocol. No cable can change that, Media player converts bursts of data into contentious stream of digital data over the optical cable (for example) to DAC.

    With digital data transfer – your system is as weak as your weakest link and weaknesses do not usually add up.

    p.s. reasonably priced good looking cable is worth the money just for it’s look and high quality of the connectors.
    p.p.s. Each of us can define “reasonably priced” for themselves ;-)

    They make no difference. None. Zilch. Nada. Spend your money elsewhere in your system.

    You are streaming 1’s and 0’s. If you hear music, they are getting there. Period.

    The 1’s and 0’s are turned into ANALOG by your D/A converter, and THAT matters, but the quality of the cable that delivers the 1’s and 0’s only needs to be sufficient to get them there without loss.

    Any cat 5e or 6 cable is sufficient for audio use transmitting a digital signal. Cat 6 is what I use and what I wired my entire house with since it supports 1GBPS speed.

    Anyone who tells you that ethernet cables make an audible difference in the digital domain does not understand digital data transmission and /or they are trying to profit from your ignorance. The same is true of digital Coax and Toslink (optical); the signal either gets there or it doesn’t.

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    MUSINGS: Audio Cables Summary, Non-Utilitarian Functions & Scientific Falsifiability
    http://archimago.blogspot.com/2015/06/musings-audio-cables-summary-non.html

    MEASUREMENTS: Ethernet Cables and Audio…
    http://archimago.blogspot.com/2015/02/measurements-ethernet-cables-and-audio.html

    Which brings us to the concept of “audiophile ethernet cables” (see here also, and recent mainstream press exposure of the “madness”). Let me be clear. If I have issues with USB cables, or SPDIF cables, making any significant contribution to audible sound quality (assuming again essentially error-free transmission of data), there is no rational explanation whatsoever that ethernet cables should make any difference. The TCP/IP protocol has error correction mechanisms that allow for worldwide transmission integrity (otherwise Internet financial transactions should be banned!), and is asynchronous so there is no temporal dependence on exact timing mechanisms (jitter not an issue with adequate buffer to reclock and feed the DAC). So long as the “protocol stack” is functioning as it should between the devices, there will not be any issue. Systematic errors causing audible distortion either means hardware failure or poorly implemented communication software. Therefore the expectation if we were to test or “listen to” different ethernet cables is that there would be no difference.

    Since I like to make sure objectively, let us at least run a few tests to see if indeed evidence can be found to support the hypothesis.

    IV. Summary / Conclusion
    I believe if there indeed is an ethernet audio device that “sounds different” because of different cables being used, then that device should be returned because it is obviously defective. Remember folks, it is like accepting that the earth is spherical or that 2+2=4 – because that’s just the way it is. Ethernet communication is an engineered system, the parameters and capabilities of this system is not only understood but designed to be the way it is by humans! You really cannot claim to have “discovered” some combination of dielectric or conductor or geometry that works “better” within an already errorless digital system unless you’re claiming improved performance outside technical recommendations (in the case of Cat 6 for gigabit networks, it’s 100m or 328 feet lengths within a reasonable ambient electrical noise environment).

    It’s also worth remembering that audio data bitrates are quite low. Today, I hope nobody is running anything slower than 100Mbps “fast ethernet”.

    Ultimately, I’m not suggesting anyone use the cheapest ethernet cable he/she can find. If you like the esthetics and build construction, go for it! Just realize that it’s essentially impossible to argue that a functioning (free of data transmission error) ethernet cable will “sound” any different or worthy of significant cost differential based on sonic quality. The idea of specialized “audiophile” ethernet cables (or “ethernet switches” for that matter) is plain nonsense.

    For the record, subjectively, I have never heard a difference between ethernet cables on my system.

    Well, it looks like Chord got their hands slapped for claims about sound quality with their ethernet cable ads determined to be “misleading advertising”, lacking in “substantiation”, and “exaggeration” in November 2014. Bravo to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority. Truth is important.

    Bottom line: There’s no evidence that any of the digital cables make an audible difference be it TosLink, coaxial, USB, or now ethernet within an error-free system.**

    As usual, if anyone feels that I am in error, please demonstrate and leave a link to the evidence.

    Comments:

    Yes, indeed any low-level noise will not corrupt data.

    But some folks still have this belief that the noise carried within the ethernet cable itself can creep into the DAC and cause noise floor issues (presumably). I wanted to demonstrate that with what I believe is a reasonable high-resolution streaming solution (Transporter playing 24/96 with the ethernet cables directly plugged into the device), these concerns were unfounded.

    Furthermore, whatever concerns people may have about long cable lengths (like 50-feet), I could not detect any difference either…

    What intrigues me about the idea that digital cables sound different, is the way in which those differences are described, by those who hear them, in audiophile terms. Quite how data can be re-arranged in a cable such that ‘the soundstage can be opened up’ or ‘percussion sounds more lifelike’, or whatever else is heard, is quite amazing. As one of the poster’s in a link above put it, “perhaps the 0′s are more rounded and the 1′s are straighter”.

    Now as to the subjective descriptions… That of course opens up the whole field of psychoacoustics and the importance of controlled conditions when doing subjective evaluation! It doesn’t help of course when some audiophiles feel controlled tests like DBT’s are not valid…

    As for “rounded” 0 and “straighter” 1′s, here is a beautiful example of analogue thinking in digital *data* transmission! Obviously the writer does not understand the technology to speak in this fashion. Overly “round” 1′s or overly “straight” 0′s would at some point hit a threshold and be misinterpreted leading to data error. We have no evidence anything like this is happening. I therefore cannot take this writer seriously when it comes to technical commentary.

    For a moment, suppose I did measure AudioQuest ethernet cables and imagine if (most likely) they did not make any difference objectively. What happens when the Super-Duper-Audio releases their Cat 8 ethernet cable with silver conductors, Ultimate (TM) shielding, and Mega-Hyper-Tesseract (TM) geometry? Do we need to also measure those before we can dissuade certain audiophile beliefs of the “faithful”? IMO, obviously that would be perverse. It’s more important to educate folks to understand how things work and extrapolate based on understanding, developing critical ability in the process. This IMO is the higher calling of those who call themselves “journalists” in the audiophile press and formal blogs rather than ending up being the cheerleaders. And ultimately the onus of proof should be on Super-Duper-Audio to show the audio consumer why their product is better and worthy of whatever price the item may “command”.

    Until someone is able to demonstrate that there actually are timing irregularities which would cause a significant change in the characteristics (like some kind of actual jitter test coming from a reasonable DAC), I think there are no worries. Just theoretical possibilities. I have seen the jitter anomalies from DACs and source players, but I don’t think cables are cause for concern…

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    https://forum.psaudio.com/t/ethernet-cables-and-sound/11297/11

    BER is 10E-10 for ethernet. But a very rare error won’t change the continuous transfer of data and thus the sound. Errors aren’t the issue, if there even is one. Until a bit sees a DA, it has no sound.

    As an “RF Guy” working in IT because it pays the bills. I’ve seen some of the most piss poor cabling in main distribution frames (MDF) & intermediate distribution frames (IDF). How do they successfully transport all that data and yet Audiophiles insist on megabuck Ethernet cables because it makes a difference. I just use good ‘ole CAT 6e shielded. CAT 7e is the best but only if you really need that much shielding.

    Analog cable has several ares where changes in the cable can alter measurable attributes that superimpose go distort the signal in various ways. This is the nature of analog,

    Digital, too, has measurements that define how much the “analog” signal in the guise of a square wave is distorted, I agree. But, digital. Isolates the signal to a one, or a zero. We only need the fine, answer to be the correct one or zero that it was when it left the far end of the wire.

    This is what is so nice about digital. We break up the signal into easily identified pieces. Sure, the smaller the piece the better it is built back. Those fundamental pieces identified right REMOVES the cable from the “sound”.

    Sure, if we mis identity the bits, we hear clicks and pops, or error circuits fills the gaps with what was being played immediately before. That does not change the tonality and timber of the music though. A persistent and continuous analog “distortion” does that.

    Moving bits from A to B is pretty transparent to the external cable. A change in sound means SIGNIFICANTLY different PWM bits are comprising the finalsignal. To digital, this is a BIG change, and would trigger all sorts of detection and correction errors. The DA filters can, and do, change the musical timber and tone. But this is the analog domain now.

    How are we changing the data between point A and B such that a CONTINOUS change in tone and timber are now encoded, and go undetected as errors in the Ethernet link to be corrected?

    I’ve designed digital Ethernet cables for 25 years, and kind of know how to make sure the bits are the same at each end. Same, same is really good, and why digital can be so good, too.

    Differences in theoretical errors on cable, yes, but differences in the sound? What are the underlying reasons we think we KNOW digital is as fragile as analog for signal integrity?

    Don’t say, because (same as no answer), or jitter (We reclock the data to re-set the pulse width).

    Trying to define real reasons for the signal at A turning into, digitally, an entirely different signal at B. Noise is not it. Noise won’t, and can’t, change the PWM modulated initial signal encoding into a different animal. Errors, yes, but those aren’t a continuous change in the signal.

    It is BER. Same data means the same sound UNTIL the DA filters. There we can have some discussions.

    Objectively – no, subjectively – depends on you and your environment

    It depends on your environment, electrical, RF. If the data is getting there now without too many retries replacing the end patch cables shouldn’t make any difference. If you have poor terminations you may see some improvement. I would convert to optical at the last step if you can as this will guarantee true galvanic isolation

    Here is where noise can be a problem, it isnt the effect on the Ethernet accuracy, that remains bit perfect except under the worst of sitations, it is the effect on the system clock. The system clock controls the digital interpolation coming out of the DA block. A bad clock introduces jitter and non linear quantization noise in the X and Y axis. This moves the closest, and most accurate, value with respect to time and amplitude.

    This clock error is what impacts the sound. It is feasible that different Ethernet cables COULD introduce noise that MIGHT effect the system clock. A galvanic isolator might mitigate the issue if several things are true; the cable even has noise on it, it gets past the filters in the NIC card and it gets into the system clock circuit block…past the built-in noise safeguards in that critical block.

    This isn’t the “sound” of an Ethernet cable. It, if “it” is really happening, is the sound of the system clocks response to noise induced quantization errors. And the noise is assumed to be there, and introduced by the Ethernet block.

    This could be proven with noise injection and detection on the system clock. Are we really after a real problem, or failing to define that we have one?

    The most critical item in digital are clocks, and I doubt that these are left to the wolves and with no significant amount of noise shielding. That jitter value? The system clock is where it all begins.

    Galen

    Noise is the biggest culprit in Ethernet cables: the noise that’s near the frequency of the Ethernet signaling won’t be attenuated much by the transformers at each Ethernet connection.

    The higher the Ethernet frequency the more complicated it is to handle things so those computers make more noise.

    There’s almost always a lot of noise in these frequencies coming from whatever your Ethernet source is.

    The first thing is the DAC might be creating or reflecting noise back onto the cable and that noise along with any source noise might be affecting people’s systems via any groundloops (which are basically RF receivers) The (probably) very low level noise that’s picked up in any particular groundloop depends on the area of the loop. Bigger loops, more current noise is circulating in the groundloop.

    The thing about RF noise is that any non-linearity in any connected circuit can modulate any audio frequency noise on the RF signal down into the audio band (e.g. a crystal radio, which is just a diode.) Guess what? Almost all of our equipment has diodes, transistors, etc. near the inputs and outputs. They, along with any other non-linear idiosyncrasies of a system can convert audio frequency modulations in any received RF into simple audio noise, perhaps right at the inputs, or perhaps it ends up modulating power supplies, etc.

    How loud is this? It depends a lot on the system.

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    https://community.roonlabs.com/t/do-ethernet-cables-make-a-difference-in-sq/87775/2

    Any basic, competently constructed ethernet cable is all one needs. The concept of audiophile ethernet cables is actually a bigger joke than almost any audio woo nonsense. Cat 6 is more than fine. Cat 5e is fine. Cat 7 if you have it is fine. Bad ethernet cables will cause problems, but they won’t be subtle “sound quality” changes.

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Global feedback: can Ethernet cables make a difference?
    https://darko.audio/2014/12/global-feedback-can-ethernet-cables-make-a-difference/

    Audio playback from a digital source is similar to telling a joke: timing is critical.

    In 2014, the new frontier of acceptance is Ethernet cables; an area of digital audio transmission where scepticism remains rife.

    In the appropriately numbered KIH #13, Srajan Ebaen tackled the issue from the side. “Are you keeping an open mind or being taken for a fool?” he asked. Many an audiophile sceptic would have us believe that plonking down anything more than Monoprice money on an Ethernet cable is to be had by snake oil charmers. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re not. Without actual listening no opinion, no matter how forthrightly expressed, can be considered definitive.

    Besides, this Blue Jeans Cable editorial reminds us that many a CAT 6 cable doesn’t even meet the standard’s specifications.

    Have we not been here before with USB wire?

    It seems our respondents are happy with the idea that interconnects and speaker cables can make a difference but Ethernet, it’s “Nothing but snake oil, mate”.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Re: Ethernet Cables, do they make a difference?
    https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4415944

    Yes and no. Yes because you don’t want to buy cheaply made cables. No because there’s no reason to spend hundreds on an cable that some marketing company hyped.

    At the end of the day just get a good quality shielded cable and move on.

    No, it won’t.

    The only cables whose quality affects the sound are those that carry analogue sound. The music stream before the DAC is digital, meaning ones and zeroes, and the protocol they use for this is TCP/IP. That implies that even if that signal is horribly distorted, the pulses for 1s are still distinguishable from those for 0s, and the DAC will still produce the exact same signal defined by those 1s and 0s.

    If a ‘bit flips’ during transport, the network interface on the receiving end of the cable will recognize that the checksum of the containing TCP/IP package does not fit, and discard the entire package. If too many packages need to be dropped (which would be around 99.85% of packages on a gigabit cable for a 1.5mb/s uncompressed wav stream ), the entire playback will be interrupted, but NEVER EVER will it sound different.

    As long as it meets any standard, it is more important that the cable looks good in Your home.

    In the digital world “audiophile” cables are a waste of money. As long as the “1″s and “0″s that go in one end of the cable arrive at the other end without changing then no amount of money spent on a “better” cable will result in any improvement.

    Streaming audio is not audio, it is data. No different than any other kind of data, like a movie, photo or office document. If it is making it to your computer, then it is at 100% full quality. If it was anything less, it would buffer and stop playing. As long as the cable you have is connecting you to your network router at full speed, then it is a good enough cable.

    Cat 6 exceeds the requirements for gigabit (1000Mbps) network speed, which far exceeds most internet connection speeds and is 700x more than the requirement for TIDAL’s bandwidth needs.

    However, that is not what an Audiophile Ethernet cables is for. Some high end audio gear can use Ethernet cables to send signals between components. This is not a standard network connection, even though it uses a standard network cable. In this usage scenario, cable quality and shielding could potentially have a bit of an effect.

    After years of working professionally with audio gear, I’m convinced that “special” audio cables of all types are nothing but a scam.

    The thing about digital is this: it’s all or nothing. If the audio sounds more or less normal, then a better cable won’t help. Any deficiency in a digital cable will result in painfully obvious noise or silence (depending on the application that’s receiving the data and playing it). You don’t need a “golden ear” to tell when a network cable doesn’t cut the mustard.

    Indeed, the real problem is the opposite: it’s actually hard to detect a flaky network cable that’s causing excessive data retransmission because the most common symptom short of total failure is simply reduced throughput. And since the data rates required by audio are relatively slow, listening is pretty unlikely to reveal the noise or gaps in sound that would reveal the problem.

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ethernet Cable Comparison – with music samples!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc80yCACkP8

    Well… yes: we are comparing some ethernet cables this time. With music samples.

    Std Ethernet 2:05
    Audioquest cat700 Pearl. 5:06
    Shunyata Venom 7:59
    Shunyata Delta 10:48
    Shunyata Alpha 13:54
    Audioquest Cinnamon 16:53

    Great, no difference as expected… save your money

    Even though some people may hear difference, it’s just not worth the extra money over a standard cable IMHO. The first demo sounded just as good as any other (what I mean is, if you hear it you don’t actually miss anything at all).

    Thank you to the creator for making this video. It took a lot of effort and I just want to say that I rally appreciate you taking the time to do this for everyone’s benefit. The fact that you don’t even try to press your opinion on others is great. Despite that, some of the comments are still so dismissive and smug. The whole point of the video is that if you think there are no differences, now your beliefs are confirmed. If you think there are., you are also correct. Listen and see. Life is not all magic nor is it all science.

    I cannot understand why there cannot be a difference. Electronic devices are much more sensitive today and computer technology and live audio works much differently. Theoretically speaking, if the steaming renderer could cache the track enough and transparently recreate the file locally, there should be no difference.

    It is all about common mode noise. We are working on an article with ‘proof’ / measurements.

    That is great, is it that noise interferes data transfer or the noise is transmitted to the renderer and gets into the decoded analog signal?

    One thing people forget about ethernet cables is while the data is digital, the signal is analogue and suffers from EMI and jitter effects. I definitely heard a difference on your compressed video even. The streaming application is time sensitive versus bog standard computer TCP/IP with retries and error correction.

    Ethernet is quite resistant to emi especially any low levels in the home and jitter really isn’t an issue if the DAC is built properly. Most $100 chinese DACs with power bricks don’t even have these problems any more. AudioScienceReview has debunked a bunch of this BS.

    Consumer audio brands selling ethernet cables. Just when you think you’ve seen it all… this comes along. As a certified ICT engineer … it’s bullshit. Just buy a shielded cat6a or 7 cable and you are fine. PS ethernet cables don’t need burn-in. not ever…

    Thanks for going through the effort on this. I created a response video where I took the audio track and saved the 6 copies and randomly labeled them. Here is the response YT video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gebv9BUuNNQ&feature=youtu.be

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Measuring Ethernet cables – Part 1
    https://alpha-audio.net/background/measuring-ethernet-cables-part-1/

    Ethernet cables. Since streaming has entered the world of high-end audio, we see ethernet cables from almost every manufacturer: Audioquest, Supra, Nordost, Shunyata, Chord, et cetera. But Ethernet is digital. And also package based (in contrast to spdif, for example). That can’t go wrong, can it? How is it then possible that we hear differences? We are going to investigate. Prepare for multiple parts. And no: we don’t have any answers yet. And we don’t know where this journey ends either!

    Conclusion

    We have not measured any differences in the digital domain for any Ethernet cable. UTP, Audioquest, Shunyata… all cables perform equally in the digital domain. Every bit in the sample is the same… literally: 0 difference. Take a look at the results in the screenshots.

    But we still can’t conclude that Ethernet cables have no influence. After all, we have remained within the digital domain. And then something like jitter doesn’t matter. And ‘noise’ doesn’t really matter either. In short: what we have learned is that we no longer have to search in the digital domain: there is no packet loss. And there is no difference in cables as long as we keep working digitally: this is proven by exactly the same samples. And that also explains that in fact the rest of the network is not at all interesting when it comes to audio quality. Just upgrade the cable to the streamer. The rest can actually have no influence.

    We wanted to take you on this trip. We will continue the search!

    Reply
  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    HAARLEM
    Ethernet Cable Comparison – with music samples!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc80yCACkP8

    Well… yes: we are comparing some ethernet cables this time. With music samples.

    Std Ethernet 2:05
    Audioquest cat700 Pearl. 5:06
    Shunyata Venom 7:59
    Shunyata Delta 10:48
    Shunyata Alpha 13:54
    Audioquest Cinnamon 16:53

    Great, no difference as expected… save your money

    Audio science has all the proof anybody needs to prove many of these manufacturers are just taking people for a ride.

    Ethernet Cable Mixup
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gebv9BUuNNQ

    This is a response to TheAlphaAudio recording a track being played over 6 different Ethernet cables.

    Reply
  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    https://spy.com/articles/gadgets/electronics/ethernet-cables-for-gaming-1202753801/

    In 99.9% of instances, any Ethernet cable that’s rated Cat 5e or higher will perform identically on the average home network for gaming. Assuming interference is not an issue, ping times should be the same. And while there are different tiers of Ethernet cables — Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a, Cat 7 and Cat 8 — all of them except for a Cat 5 cable are going to perform identically on your home network. And even for the purpose of gaming, the Cat 5 cable will probably be fine.

    The main difference between Ethernet cables are the speeds that they’re rated for and the level of protection they have against interference. But because most online and cloud gaming requires speeds under 50Mbps, the speed rating of Ethernet cables for gaming is irrelevant. They’re all fine.

    But where upgrading your Ethernet cables might benefit your gaming performance is when it comes to interference. If you have an older Cat 5 cable buried in a rats nest of power cords and HDMI cables and audio wires behind your TV, it’s possible it could be suffering from crosstalk which would affect network performance.

    Reply
  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    https://6moons.com/audioreviews/interconnects/interconnects.html

    Wire is wire, cable is cable. Too bad this statement is invalid. It’s all the more reason to dive into this matter a little deeper and attempt to understand what factors contribute to these audible if not always measurable differences.

    Cables — and thus the species of interconnects we shall focus on in our listening tests here — are all susceptible to the laws of nature. This is where electrical, magnetic and mechanical values play their roles. Most of the time, an interconnect consists of a pair of cables where each leg handles a discrete channel. The need for both legs to be absolutely identical should be evident.

    The only thing an interested layperson ever sees of an interconnect cable is its outside. Every supplier dresses — or better yet, cloaks — their cables in the most beautiful or at least most impressive looking mantles. The ends are terminated in various RCA or XLR plugs whose insides are often potted. The remaining available observation concerns the girth of the cable. This can range from just a millimeter to several centimeters. What is going on inside the fancy cable cover remains a closed book (safe for a few makes who publish cross-sectional graphics or photographs).

    Upon taking a closer look at these conductors, we may find a single tiny wire or a bundle of complexly twisted, braided, layered, bundled or otherwise interwoven wires or wire groups wherein each conductor could be individually coated with insulation (Litz). We might find thousands of individual conductors in fact. At this level, anarchy rules and any imaginable geometry could be revealed.

    Reply
  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Should those expensive hifi ethernet cables viewed more like art product than real technical solution for anything?
    Fancy looking artesanal products sold with a made up story why they are better and maybe even sold with help of real life art performance “cable comparison” (pitching and some magic tricks to make you believe)

    Reply
  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Pssst.. hey..look…the emperor…he’s got no clothes

    Reply
  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    expensive Audiophile Ethernet Switch..
    https://audiobacon.net/2019/04/05/sotm-snh-10g-audiophile-ethernet-switch-review/

    ha ha love how they talk about 0s and 1s being more complicated. Streamed content is buffered to deal with packet loss what more can you do

    Reply
  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Truth about RCA signal cables
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOagVDZLQnA

    Here we discuss the circumstances of when it is appropriate to use a twisted pair RCA cable vs a Coaxial RCA cable.

    Video comments:

    The only problem is that nobody lists what kind of RCA input or output they have on their headunit or amplifier.

    Take an ohm meter (DMM) and check the resistance from the battery ground connection on amplifier to the RCA outer ring on amplifier (with everything unplugged from amplifier). If you have less than 100 ohms it is a single-ended input.

    Thanks Mr. D’Amore for the quality information. Always good to hear it from a quality engineer rather than from someone who thinks they know what they are talking about. Love all the new product you are developing and can’t wait to see more.

    Reply
  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    AUDIOPHILES aren’t always sure they’re audiophiles, like Matt the recording engineer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd5Vz2TLcE8

    I jumped on the NYC subway to make it out to Rockaway Beach to visit Matt Walsh’s Oceanus studio, I had a great time!

    Video comments:

    If you’re being interviewed by Steve at your own place, you’re an audiophile already!

    “If someone give me a ton of money .. I would get my room treated” – Definitely NOT an audiophile

    A friend of mine is a classical composer. My favorite recordings of his work are when there’s just a stereo mic near the front seats of the auditorium – recorded live. No mixing, compression or anything. There’s some audience noise too, which I like.

    Reply
  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    https://www.nordost.com/valhalla-reference/ethernet-cable.php
    Yep really embarrassing marketing. Funny story about timing error

    Reply

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