Which ethernet cable?

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Hawkmoon

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2020
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Been there done it with cables, both analogue and for digital purposes. Most recently an Audioquest Cinnamon USB, which originally went for about £100 or so. I bought one NOS a year or so back, had to pack some stuff up a while back and ended up with the stock USB cable that came with the external hard drive. Months later I was marvelling at the sound only to go round the back of the stereo and...yep. The Cinnamon was in its' box. I tried it out with my usual four favoured test tracks and the differences were, well, minimal at best (which I guess is my way of saying that if both were delivering the right sound for the tracks played, then you couldn't easily tell them apart). The Audioquest went on Ebay a few weeks ago, followed not long after by a couple of mains power cables.
Well I'm not saying you're wrong. I guess the main thing is we end up happy with our kit and the sound we're getting.
 
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RobGardner

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Jul 22, 2008
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I used high end Ethernet cables between my router, modem and nas drive before selling them to buy something much cheaper. When I bought them I thought they sounded much better than the cheap patch cables I was previously using. Then one day I had to buy another Ethernet cable for something mundane and swopped out an expensive cable to check the sound quality of the new cable (I can’t stop myself fiddling with my system). I struggled to hear any difference. I used the money from the sale of the expensive cables to buy a very nice very high end coffee grinder. (another black hole for cash)Yes there was a difference in sound quality and presentation - I actually found the cheaper cable to be better. More presence, more space more hifi. Maybe they were better at polishing the 1s and 0s? I have so far found the optimum for my system to be ugreen cat 8 cables (Amazon) which are inexpensive. Maybe they are better made or the screening is better?They come in a plastic bag, not a wooden box.They are made by a big robot machine somewhere in China and they are black with ordinary looking plugs. It’s quite surprising how different cables can sound, analogue or digital. I quite enjoy trying different tweeks - sometimes things improve other times they don’t. Stuff that sounds really good in my system can sound really flat in a friends system and vice versa. The fact is there is no substitute for trying kit at home in your own system. and being honest with yourself about what you are hearing. I now have some extraordinarily expensive and some extraordinarily cheap cables in use, they are all there on merit and have to justify their use as I now want an Olympia Cremona coffee machine.
 

iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
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The quest for expensive digital cables is a redundant quest from the analogue domain. I remember buying a very expensive Scart cable for my first DVD player, connected to a big CRT widescreen TV. That was twenty years ago. Everyone could see the difference between an ordinary and a better made Scart cable.

Then we moved to HDMI and people still think a more expensive cable will make a difference. It simply doesn't. As long as all the 1s and 0s arrive without any disruption there is and can't be any difference. People who say that see or hear a difference with expensive digital cables suffer from expectation bias. They simply can't get their head round the fact a cheap cable is as good as their gold plated only at full moon produced esoteric cables.
 

djh1697

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2008
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Router to Streamer, Cat 6 cable, Cat 5 might not be too good at handling higher data rates, such as multiple 4k AV stream and multiple 192/24 streams. However, they are so inexpensive these days, if you had trouble with Cat5, you could always upgrade to Cat6. What ever you get remember the data has usually traveled down some simple copper cable to get to you.
 

djh1697

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2008
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@iMark This is so true, digital cables just need to be capable of handling the bandwidth, however, when i used a Chord cable to connect by DAC to my Naim 202/200 there was an immediate uplift in the sound. I also have to say I heard an improvement with Titan mains leads on my Naim 200 and the power supply, which I was shocked about.

My next upgrade will be in the analogue domain again, this time Kudos speaker cable. I borrowed some for a week from #Cymbiosis and noticed the difference when i went back to the previous cable.

Careful buying of used equipment, and some new accessories has left me with a very satisfying HiFi system, although it has taken 37 years to build up, started back in 1984 with a Cyrus 1 amplifier and a CD player, a tape deck, then, an item i still have to this day, a beautiful Pink Triangle 1 turntable.
 
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iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
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Did you do a double blind test with the cables? Or did you switch the cables yourself? You wouldn't be the first or the last to suffer from expectation bias that a more expensive digital cable must sound better than a cheap one.

Do you get better looking prints when you connect your printer to your computer using an "audiophile" USB cable?
 

daveh75

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2008
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Router to Streamer, Cat 6 cable, Cat 5 might not be too good at handling higher data rates, such as multiple 4k AV stream and multiple 192/24 streams. However, they are so inexpensive these days, if you had trouble with Cat5, you could always upgrade to Cat6. What ever you get remember the data has usually traveled down some simple copper cable to get to you.
Cat5 hasn't been in common usage for years, and Cat5e is good for 1GbE at upto 100m so it's more than capable of handling multiple 4K streams without issue.
 
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I love watching Simons cat on youtube anyone has seen it, funny as
 

spacecadet

Active member
Jan 21, 2021
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Speaking as a network engineer a Cat5e or Cat6 cable, that meets the standard, is electrically identical to any other. So paying more for an Ethernet cable will achieve nothing other than wasting your hard earned and anything that suggests otherwise is complete bullsh*t. That goes for the connectors too. Just buy a standard cat5e network cable, data will flow quickly enough through it to enable you to access digital music without issues and nothing (in terms of cable) can possibly make that better.

£4.51 (choice of colours) 10 metres.
 
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TheJoker

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2019
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I just used chord ethernet cables, in my system they sounded very good and much better than my 4 other standard cables that i tested them against, i did blind test them with 3 friends and everyone agreed the chord was better for music, i only paid £25 for them so nothing silly, just better quality than the Amazon crap out there.
 

ThisIsJimmy

Well-known member
Nov 11, 2020
283
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1. Their is no need to go beyond CAT6A U/FTP cable an autio visual equipment
2. The whole conversation on cables making a difference between audio gear depends on.
a) The Environment - Heavy EM or not
b) If the cable actually is half decent and compliant with standards
c) Your equipment. The best way to measure that is with an osciloscope or analyzer as to how your equipment treats each of its interfaces. Best place to find that out is Audio Science Review if they've tested it.

If you ultimately have to spend oodles of money on cables with non-standard properties, because your DAC/AMP/other device isn't up to scratch says more about that equipment rather than the cables.

We need more reviewers to be scientifically analyzing and testing audio visual equipment like ASR.
 

joeroberts931

Member
Mar 21, 2022
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The one that is best for you depends on several factors. You need to know the distance between your router and streamer, as well as what kind of material your router and streamer are located in. For example, if your router and streamer are both in the same room, you can use a cheaper Cat5e or Cat6 cable. If your router and streamer are separated by several rooms or walls, you should use a Cat6e, Cat7, or Cat7a cable.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
We need more reviewers to be scientifically analyzing and testing audio visual equipment like ASR.
We do have Stereophile and Hifi News who always both test on the bench and audition the kit. Hifi World publishes tests sometimes.

ASR occasionally seem to listen, and the gear that Amir sells - or his company does - does really well. And so do many cheap Chinese products that seem designed with low gain to meet his chart approach where low noise is king. Unfortunately, from my perspective while it is interesting to read his tests, he fails to correlate his measurements with listening quality.
 
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podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
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I bought a 10m CAT6 cable and it cost a fiver. The delivery cost more and it works as expected, because it's the right spec. I have it connected from my 4G router, to my Audiolab Omnia. I don't know what people are expecting, when they use a really expensive cable and find there is no difference. The cable is sending zeros and ones and so long as they all get through, they supply the relevant information, from the sender, to the receiver. Whatever data you are sending, does not get 'polished' via the expensive cable. There is a CAT5 or CAT6 spec etc. and that's it. The zeros and ones going through, don't 'see' the better quality cable, or materials, or fancy design etc. They can't be transferred with 'better quality'. It really is nonsense. Avoid stuff like this:


and buy some more decent HIFI kit. If cables were made of pure silver and all the rarest, expensive materials, they still wouldn't send data better, than an industry standard LAN cable. The page says: 'The Cat 7 cable standard has been created to allow 10- Gigabyte Ethernet over 100 m of copper cabling', which is true, but this is a short cable, where CAT5 would do the job and how many people send 10Gb a second, over 100m? I work in IT and only massive datacentres, would need anything like CAT7 and they wouldn't buy it from Audioquest. These expensive cables, are there to take advantage of the unwary, with deep pockets and those with little understanding of cable standards and what cables can, or can't do. These pricey cables are massively over the top and the materials and designs, will not change the information they carry. The specs are a mixture of facts, which won't make a difference and made up jargon, that has no meaning, in relation to what the cable does. Just say some big, technical words and people will fall for it. Well, I don't. If you send a print job, from a PC, down the network cable, to the switch and back through another network cable, to a printer, you get a printout. The image quality is due to the printer and settings and drivers on the PC etc. If you installed expensive cabling, you wouldn't get a better quality printout. LAN cables carry data, not sound. It gets turned into sound, with the DAC or whatever, at the other end. The data they carry cannot have sound quality, or be improved with different materials etc. So many people are being brainwashed by these companies and these companies are laughing at their gullible customers, throwing their money away on nonsense. I do believe some people think they can hear a difference, but this will be other factors. Physics, scientific consensus and testing has proven, that a fancy cable, is not capable of affecting sound quality. No part of it, can make a difference. You can pay nearly £10000 for a 12m Audioquest LAN cable and people think this will improve sound quality etc. It won't. A previous post above, from djh1697 accurately stated that these zeros and ones, have already travelled through very average copper cabling, to get to your broadband device. An extra 12m of £10000 LAN cable, will not make those zeros and ones more capable of producing film/movie/video/music etc. Also, the CAT7 'standard' is total overkill for any domestic installation: What is Cat7 - and why you don’t need it. (cablematters.com)
 
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Symples

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2021
36
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545
Which ethernet cable would people recommend for streaming from router to streamer?
I have connected my printer to my PC and and the difference in picture quality was awesome.
OK... so I am joking.

Personally, I believe that an ethernet cable does not make a difference to the sound quality.
I am assuming that the cable is performing 100%

Now to be honest. I have not tried different kinds of ethernet cables. I just bought one that had a decent quality construction.

But what is this theory that says that one digital cable is better than another?
Does a cheap cable produce errors which affect the cable?
Does an expensive cable produce no errors?
Does an expensive cable produce errors which improves the sound quality?

I suspect non of these as errors in the digital domain produces odd clicks in the sound and picture break-up in video.

Now I am by nature a cynical man and think that somewhere, we are being conned.

I am not convinced about the so called "home testing" by persons who have bought a new shiny cable. (for that kind of money, you bet I can hear a difference!)

I would like to see a blind test in a HiFi magazine.

Am I right that non exists?
 

Symples

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2021
36
18
545
Which ethernet cable would people recommend for streaming from router to streamer?

Let's just not forget about ethernet switches.
I think I paid £15 for 8 port gigabit.

Or maybe I should have bought Thus

 

ThisIsJimmy

Well-known member
Nov 11, 2020
283
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The snake oil in that switch review is comical.

The switch shouldn't matter. If you believe that digital 0s and 1s can be influenced by a Switch whose job is to pass information on that it recives, then what quality do you believe the switches are that exist between the source on the internet and you at home? I can guarantee you now they are not "Audiophile" switches.

If switches would make such a difference to streaming, then the audio would have long been "destroyed" before it even would get to your address if that's the case.

The only way you could categorically try and prove that would be to say stream/listen to an audio file from half-way round the world, and then do listen to the same file locally off your machine direct to your DAC/AMP and then also compare from a local NAS using an "Audiophile Switch" and a "regular" Network Switch. If such a difference is made, you should only ever be able to hear a difference then locally at home...

You need to know the distance between your router and streamer, as well as what kind of material your router and streamer are located in. For example, if your router and streamer are both in the same room, you can use a cheaper Cat5e or Cat6 cable. If your router and streamer are separated by several rooms or walls, you should use a Cat6e, Cat7, or Cat7a cable.
That's not accurate. Their is no concievable reason for any home user to require Cat7 and above cabling, unless they are running/hosting services that have a 10gbps or above speed requirement up to 100 Metres. If you are doing that, then you must be running some crazy enterprise from your home, and paying out a fortune for a 10Gb DIA (Direct Internet Access) Fibre Connection! The average compressed 4K stream is about 24mbps. You would need 416 simultaneous 4K streams to justify Cat7.

Read the following for more info: https://excel-networking.com/uploads/Encyclopaedia/Excel Encyclopaedia Copper Solutions.pdf

Sorry, Rant over :LOL:. Please don't take it personally.
 
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djh1697

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2008
135
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If in doubt, speak to the old man at #Cymbisois, no not Peter but Phil. He did an AB demo for someone who actually preferred a standard Cat 5 cable. There is no difference, however, if your home network has a lot of devices I would go for Cat 6, since it will support high data rates.
 

DiggyGun

Well-known member
Mar 2, 2021
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I’ve been lurking for a while now but have read some interesting threads along the way.

This is one type of threads that I like, with two opposing beliefs. It always amazes me that those in the “Snake Oil” camp always try a belittle those in the “Believe” camp. As though theirs and theirs alone is THE correct opinion.

It may well be, but then again may not. If someone has a different opinion from you, just accept it. That is all it is an opinion, like yours.

Just be polite, move on and enjoy your music from your system. And, let everyone else enjoy the music from their system.

It really doesn’t matter who’s got what as long as they enjoy it.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
It always amazes me that those in the “Snake Oil” camp always try a belittle those in the “Believe” camp. As though theirs and theirs alone is THE correct opinion.
You're not alone with that observation Diggy, but it works both ways.
'Believers' are, surely, implying that there's something wrong with 'non - believers' - either their ears, equipment, or both, are not as good as theirs.
Best not to think of these things as belittling 😉
 
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DiggyGun

Well-known member
Mar 2, 2021
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You're not alone with that observation Diggy, but it works both ways.
'Believers' are, surely, implying that there's something wrong with 'non - believers' - either their ears, equipment, or both, are not as good as theirs.
Best not to think of these things as belittling 😉
It just seems to very prevalent on this and similar threads.
 

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