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 ?

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.



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ethernet card for high-end audio.

    There are already a number of network audio devices on the market, but it would be fair to say that none of them yet have Ethernet ports designed for audio purpose.

    When USB audio devices were available on the market more than 10 years ago, there were many questions about the practicality of audio purpose USB cables or like the USB host card products. It’s probably because people thought that the digital interface only transmits data represented by 0 and 1. However, these audio purpose USB products are now the basis of digital audio systems, and the audio-purpose network card, sNI-1G, will also play an indispensable and important role in digital audio devices.

    There are high-frequency noise flowing from the network port, and it can be beyond our imagination. Since it is noise of very high frequency components, it passes through various devices and parts to the DAC’s circuit, and results in deterioration of sound quality. Without understanding this process, it will be difficult to find out why you should use the network card for audio purpose.

    Although noise from AC power line is commonly known, the noise from Ethernet port is different from that of AC power, so careful technical review is required for Ethernet port.

    This carefully reviewed network port, sNI-1G, provides a complete transmission of network audio streaming, as well as a very clear improvement in medium-to-low transparency and the instrument’s texture and wide-to-deep stage expression, enabling you to experience a completely new level of sound.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The speed of light in vacuum is 2.998 × 108 m/s, which is approximately equal to 1 ft/ns. In most coaxial cable and many twisted pair wires, the speed of an electrical signal is about 2/3 of this.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “Warmth” = distortion I like.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    PVC is very lossy compared to Teflon or Polyethilene


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