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Ethernet cables for audio - Part A: List of cables, related info & experiences


dbastin

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To accompany threads about Ethernet switches, tweaks, here is one of three threads about Ethernet Cables.

  • These are listed from highest to lowest cost. 
  • Prices are for about 1m and what I could find as a guide, not best price
  • AU$ is simply conversion from US$, £ or € - excluding shipping and import costs. 
  • Cost range is once again staggering - upto $30k.
  • This list is just for information - not my recommendations.  
  • Feel free to post your personal experience with any cable listed, eg. you upgraded to one of these listed.
  • I created a template to help post your experiences.
  • Comparisons between these cables would also be of interest.
  • Also feel free to advise where to read other peoples' experience with these cables (eg. on other forums).
  • I will add to this list and include links to reviews if I am made aware.
  • Let's try not to clutter this up with technical debates.  
  • If you wish to advise or read about why these shouldn't work, then I've created Part B for that purpose. 
  • I've also created Part C for Fibre Optical ethernet connections.
  • Please be civil and respectful to keep this resource open, and not moved into the Great Debate sub forum

 

In terms of cost, I suggest consider these cables as you would interconnects.  I suspect pricing is guided by the improvements the cable has on a system's sound quality, rather than the cost of materials and comparisons to generic ethernet data cables.  The price is the designers/manufacturors reward for achieving those improvements.

 

Some stats

  • Currently 80 cables + a few combinations with SOtM ISO Cat6.
  • Median price is about $5k
  • 60% of the cables are between $200 and $2000, the median of which is $900
  • Even with this median nearly half the cables are over $900 - $2000.


 

 

The List:

 

$2000 - $10300 (14)

 

  • Anzus Acoustics D-TC Supreme
  • €6.600 AU$10300
  • (DT-C powerbox or powerswitch mandatory - €23000 and €12000 respectively)

 

 

 

  • Anzus Acoustics D-TC
  • €4.400 AU$7200
  • (DT-C powerbox or powerswitch mandatory - €23000 and €12000 respectively)

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Anzus Acoustics D2
  • €2.160 AU$3500
  • (upgradable with DT-C powerbox or powerswitch - €23000 and €12000 respectively)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Combos with SOtM ISO Cat6 (favourites trialled by Audio Bacon)

https://audiobacon.net/2017/07/09/sotm-iso-cat6-special-edition-the-flavors-of-audiophile-ethernet/

 

  • SOtM dCBL-CAT7 -> iSO-CAT6 -> dCBL-CAT7
  • US $1350 AU$2000

 

  • SOtM dCBL-CAT7 -> iSO-CAT6 -> Purist Audio Design CAT7 
  • US$1200 AU$1775

 

  • SOtM ISO CAT 6 special edition (ie. filter + 3 different short cables)
  • AU$1650

 

  • SOtM SE Black Cable -> iSO-CAT6 -> dCBL-CAT7
  • US$1000 AU$1475

 

$1400 - $2000 (8)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$800 - 1200 (15)

 

 

  • Anzus Acoustics A2
  • €860 AU$1140

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • SOtM SE Black Cable -> iSO-CAT6 -> SE Black Cable (combo tested by Audio Bacon)
  • US$650 AU$960

 

 

 

 

 

 

$500 - $750 (15)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Sablon Audio Panatela Reserva
  • US$350 AU $520
  • Audio Bacon says quite a bit better than SOtM Cat 6.

 

 

  • Purist Audio Design
  • US$350 AU$510

 

 

Uñder $500 (15)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undèr $200 (13)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by dbastin
Tinkering, improving, more added, update pricing
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Here's a template people may wish to use to report their trials

 

New Cable:

Connected upstream to:

Upgraded from:

Switch:

Other downstream:

Other cables you considered:

Reason for your choice:

Links to info about the new cable:

Your comments/observations:

 

Unfortunately I cant seem to cut and paste into posts using PC/Explorer, but can with Google Chrome.

 

Alternatively people can simply Quote the template and fill in what they wish - example below.

Edited by dbastin
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26 minutes ago, dbastin said:

New Cable:  Wireworld Starlight Platinum Cat 8 (Series 7) 1m & 0.5m (bought used on US AudioMart/Audiogon)

Connected upstream to:  Devialet Pro 220 & Antipodes Edge (Roon)

Upgraded from:  WW Starlight Cat 8 (Series 7)

Switch:  iinet Bob lite Belken modem functioning as switch and WIFI AP - hi end LPS, Shunyata ztron Alpha power cable, and Akiko USB tuning stick

Other downstream:  several metres of garden variety Cat 5e - to iinet Bob lite and then to main iinet modem

Other cables you considered:  Synergistic Research Atmosphere, AQ Diamond, Shunyata, SOtM - hard to find on used market.

Reason for your choice: to see what difference change to solid silver conductors made - ie. same insulation and connectors as WW Starlight.  Read reviews and observations in forums and by dealers.

Links to info about the new cable:  in the List

Your comments/observations:  Yes solid silver conductors did make a big difference (go figure), so much more info coming thru, such change in tonal signature I had to do a bit of EQ/re-tune some of the system a bit. A lot more and better midrange but a bit less sparkle high end than Starlight.  BUT ... I'm not concluding on this until I upgrade switch.

 

Edited by dbastin
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New Cable:  Wireworld Starlight Cat 8 (Series 7) 1m (bought from SNA)

Connected upstream to:  Devialet Pro 220  (Roon)

Upgraded from:  air - Wifi

Switch:  iinet Bob lite Belken modem functioning as switch and WIFI AP (40cm from Devialet Pro) - hi end LPS, Shunyata ztron Alpha power cable

Other downstream:  several metres of garden variety Cat 5e - to iinet Bob lite and then to main iinet modem

Other cables you considered:  garden variety Cat 7 or 8.

Reason for your choice: to see what difference change to sheilded cable made - before wifi I used Cat 5e.   Read reviews and observations in forums and by dealers.

Links to info about the new cable:  in the List

Your comments/observations:  WiFi is crap!  This is SO much better!

Edited by dbastin
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New Cable: DH Labs Reunion (CAT8 - silver/copper, from Reference Sound in Melb)

Connected upstream to: Audiophonics LVDS (I2S) streamer (with processing done via Roon Rock, also connected to the LAN), which connects via Shunyata Venom HDMI for I2S signal to PS Audio Stellar Gain DAC/pre, and PS Audio S300 amp, and Krix Neuphonix MkI loudspeakers

Upgraded from: stock ethernet, and AudioQuest Cinnamon (still in use to the Rock)

Switch: Google Mesh Wi-fi point

Other downstream: Short stock ethernet CAT 6(?) from NBN modem to Google Mesh Wi-fi primary point

Other cables you considered: AudioQuest Diamond

Reason for your choice: Availability, good price point, curiosity

Links to info about the new cable: https://silversonic.com/products/digital-cables/reunion-cat8-ethernet/

Your comments/observations: I wasn't sure I'd hear much of a difference, to be honest. But I have. Significant improvement over the stock ethernet cable, and definite improvement over the AQ Cinnamon. Differences include greater presence, greater musical coherence, more "pop and wow" factor (more detail, I guess), better bass definition, increased sound stage, more atmospheric, especially depth, and more distinct placement of instruments/voices in the space. I'm no audio reviewer, but that's a summation of what I'm hearing after a few days.

 

I don't know whether "burn in" is a thing with ethernet cables - I guess I'll find out. All I've managed (aside from some hours of music listening) is a few runs of the Purist Audio Design Enhancer signal material to help "get things moving" through the wires. All that said, after trialling, I bought the cable. The system sounds better with it, and that's what matters.

Edited by PMAAMP
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Wow....how much??

 

I've just bought the Supra Cat 8 recommended by Audio Bacon so I'll be interested if I hear any diff Vs my generics; according to his website I should so fingers crossed.

 

Reading the review on AB, I'd like to try the SOtM Black SE but it doesn't look like you can buy it seperately...well I coujldnt find it?

 

Cheers

Matt

 

 

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19 hours ago, mattjtaylor2809 said:

I'd like to try the SOtM Black SE but it doesn't look like you can buy it seperately...well I coujldnt find it?

When I enquired with Crux Audio I recall they said it is possible to buy a single Black cable. Audio Bacon has also noted the Linear Solution ethernet cable as excellent value.  From reading a fair bit of Audio Bacon I gather Audio Bacon reference ethernet cables have been SOtM Cat 7, Synergistic Reserach Atmosphere Reference and most recently JCAT Signature.

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@mattjtaylor2809

That's what I was referring to.

 

I'm curious what cable the Canadian is using.  

 

Pure silver conductors appear to be best, ie WW Platinum, PAD and now JCat Signature.  The rest seems to be clever combinations of shielding, grounding, dielectrics and sometimes unique geometry.  And ocassionally a clever filter sych as Shunyata and Synergistic Research.

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  • 3 weeks later...

New Cable: DH Labs Reunion Cat 8

Connected upstream to: Kii three/BXT system and Sony HAP-Z1ES.

Upgraded from: Stock Kii cables.

Switch: N/A

Other downstream: Curious USB evolved.

Other cables you considered: Nordstrom Heimdall 2- but probably too expensive for an initial shot over the bow.

Reason for your choice: @PMAAMP ‘s recommendation above. Good feedback/comments online. Price.

Links to info about the new cable:

Your comments/observations: Build quality is very nice compared to stock CAT cables. They are a bit physically stiff, which is a bit of a negative, but very minor. Sound quality increase; frankly a bit shocking how much better this is in the context of the Kii system. Initial thoughts are that I am very impressed considering the relatively low cost, even for a 2 and 5 metre cable together, ie around one 5th of the cost of the Nordost Heimdall 2 equivelant. sound quality difference includes, bigger soundstage, much better bass, smoother sound without loss of detail, more organic less digital.

 

Thanks @dbastin and @PMAAMP for this thread and recommendation which spurred me to upgrade the cables, which I assumed would make a very negligible difference.

C643275A-B045-40F9-B187-992811B2E8FF.jpeg

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New Cable: Cardas Clear Cat7

Connected upstream to: NAD M12

Upgraded from: Bluejeans Cat6

Switch: N/A

Other downstream: Bluejeans from modem, + long runs of generic

Other cables you considered: Sotm Cat6, Wireworld platinum

Reason for your choice: experience with Cardas, flexibility of the cable itself, a really good used price, perfect length 

Links to info about the new cable: https://www.dedicatedaudio.com/products/cardas-clear-c7-audiophile-ethernet-cable?variant=26105465475 (it actually has more info on the cable than the Cardas site)

Your comments/observations:

I got the Bluejeans with a view to it getting the signal through without any problems (http://www.bluejeanscable.com/articles/is-your-cat6-a-dog.htm) and for its flexibility in the cable itself. They come with individualised compliance testing results for each cable.

 

I was interested in whether there might be an audio difference between Ethernet cables. Various forum debates suggested the Wireworld platinum was great, but it never seemed available in the size I wanted and it's rather expensive if taking a punt on whether an Ethernet cable will make a difference, or fit! 

 

The Cardas cable itself is quite flexible and fitted easily enough. I found it was quite soft and spacey to start with, a bit dull even. Gradually it found its way and locked into things. It's more relaxing and melodic than the Bluejeans and brings a whole lot more body to the music in my set up. So a keeper for me!

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

ok so @44maloo i have done your work for you ?  and gone and bought a sigma cable myself.  this closely followed the installation of a DH labs reunion.  the setup i am applying these cables to is modem to router (one ethernet cable required), then router to antipodes cx and then the cx to the ex.  so 3 places i need an ethernet cable.

 

i spent a night with the dh labs trying it in the 3 different spots.  outer ring worked best.  creates 3d world fo music type effect.  just lower noise i think.

 

anyway i bought a sigma.  store out of stock but they sent me an alpha as a place holder.  i thought that was pretty great.

 

eventually they post me the sigma and i hold onto alpha for several days (possibly a week) because i want to hear what $3.5k of ethernet cable does.  does it make a big difference for example.

 

alot of change in my system lately and you heard the system just settle into it as the week progressed.  so black and deep and quite beautiful.  wonderful low volume performance.  it is beyond i can hear that new bit in the song now (still happens but maybe i care less).  it is about feeling like the timbre is accurate and detailed and maybe even being able to get more resolution on actual notes plus the 3d-ness of the presentation.

 

i took alpha out to return it today.  without it  the sound is awful.  like skim milk.

 

 

Quote

 

 

Edited by mr_gray
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Hello to everyone watching this post. This is an update on the Shunyata Sigma Ethernet Cable. Having read positive reviews on this product i decided to purchase this for my system, Using an MSB platinum signature DAC with Renderer module ARC Ref 150 tube amp and JBL DD 55000 Everest Speakers. My Sigma is 3 meter in length as i wanted to get it away from the system to avoid noise.

 

I like to evaluate a cable straight out of the box so once the system was warmed up i began to have a listen, the current cable i was using was an Audioquest Vodka and listening for around an hour the sigma sounded more quite and liquid to me. Another thing was how black the back round was , if you haven't heard this your missing out on how this impacts your system it is very addictive.

 

The Sigma is refined engauging very balanced, it's neither forward or recessed, The bass is smooth and punchy combined with the best feature of this cable the soundstage which is open wide and utterly beautiful. It respects the voicing so good nothing is more pronounced so treble mid and bass all work in harmony.

 

I stream via Roon with Tidal which i enjoy, The Router is a Nettcom standard Router which has me wondering if an upgrade hear to net better benefits again which i will look at it the coming months.

 

For those after a comparision on the Vodka VS Sigma my thoughts are the Vodak is an excellent upgrade over standard Cat 5 cable no doubt to me. The Vodka has more bass weight compared to the Sigma this is not a criticism on the Sigma. Also the Vodka seems to me to be a bit louder and forward compared to the Sigma, My advice if your looking to dip your toe into the Ethernet cable market 

if you listen to Rock Pop and Dance music the Vodka could be for you it's excellent for this. It is great on vocals and hi end music to but the Sigma is more refined balanced and just a joy to listen to and i think the best your system is the more you will get out of the Sigma especially if you are looking for a cable that has a big beautiful sound stage it's amazing.

 

joe.

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5 hours ago, 44maloo said:

Having read positive reviews

It would be great if you have time to share links to those reviews.  

 

I suspect Shunyata has a top class group of people to evaluate its prototypes - from recording engineers to medical imaging experts.

5 hours ago, 44maloo said:

I like to evaluate a cable straight out of the box

I've found there's a period of a few songs where eirher I am adjusting to a different cable, and/or the cable is getting settled - I suspect things like the contacts and vibrations and such.

 

And then there is some burn in, which probably varies depending on the cable.  Yes, even just for data!

 

In addition, whatever is in those common mode fliters might have a settling/optimising period.  I suspect its some kind of crystal/mineral powder mix.  Here's a pic for those readers who are not familiar with this ...
Screenshot_20200606-092734_Chrome.jpg

 

And on the subject of those filters, I suspect that is one way of dealing with noise that may be as effective as an audiophile switch.  I have been experimenting with EtherRegen (with its MOAT isolation), JCAT Signature LAN (which has a crystal based filtering sheild), Synergistic Research Atmosphere X Reference Ethernet (with SR ground plane tech), SOtM ISO CAT, fibre, and Synergistic Research ECTs.  They all deal with noise ... so its about combining and balancing their effects without over-doing filtering (and expense), which could be a risk in less resolving systems.

 

I feel we need to consider this as a system (well, sub-system of our entire hifi system).  I have been considering starting a new thread about putting together a ethernet system - combining network hardware, cables, PSUs, isolators, filters, grounding and other tweaks.

 

So far from a journey of incremental improvements I have evolved to this (note isolation ?

 

Antipodes Edge Server with ECT at LAN port > Wireworld Platinum > Ubiquiti EdgeSwitch with ECT on isolation transformer > fibre > EtherRegen (MOAT) with ECT at outgoing LAN port > JCAT Signature LAN > ISO CAT > SR Atmosphere X Ref > ECT on last connector > endpoint (Devialet Pro).

 

ECT are very effective for their cost. 

 

https://www.synergisticresearch.com/isolation/accessories/ect/

 

This pic is inside my EtgerRegen.

20200529_203057.jpg

 

I have resisted putting ECT inside Devialet yet until I optimise the network external to it, then I will put ECT in Devialet and go to the most remote cable and start to swap out to see if much if any SQ is lost.

 

So far, isolation matters, as does the connection from last isolation to endpoint.

 

While EtherRegen is very good, it benefitted SQ by even shifting server from EtherRegen Side A to EdgeSwitch, to be upstream of fibre and this achieve an extra layer of isolation.  What the?! This is mysterious stuff!

 

And putting ISO CAT in the chain of the last connection, even with top rank cables, improved SQ. So that last connection has RRP of AU$3700, but I bought all used for much less.  As if that weren't enough, an ECT on the very end gained another improvement.

 

This is not to brag, simply to highlight there are still gains to be made and expense to be considered, possibly even with Sigma.

 

And I agree the results are addictive.

Edited by dbastin
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mr_gray's review of sigma ethernet cable

 

New Cable:  Shunyata Sigma Ethernet

Connected upstream to: Telstra Modem

Upgraded from:DH Labs Reunion

Switch:?

Other downstream:Router

Other cables you considered:alpha and venom.  

Reason for your choice:the balls

Links to info about the new cable:see shunyata website

Your comments/observations: my experience of ownership is tarnished by fact i was able to pair it with a alpha e/net cable for a week.  now the alpha is gone and i am "back" to the sigma alone the difference is notable.  a flatter presentation.  more broadly i feel like the noise situation is a progression.  the two cords together got me to a level of noise so low and a stage so big that i started to hear into notes i guess and there was a magic sheen on even crappy 70s recordings.  without the alpha i've gone back to great detail and resolution but lacking the fizz of 3d the alpha brought to the combo.  in short: effective, addictive, and maybe absolutely fundamental to good sound.  my system settled over the week the new cables were installed.  on the last 2 nights it was quite sublime.  LDR sounding so silken and diaphanous almost.  6 months ago i was spending 2k on power cords sure but ethernet cable.  gedoutahere!  and also, this sigma connects a modem to an apple router.  i have no idea why but i decided for home wifi to transmit wifi from the apple router so i connect the modem by ethernet to router.  router then to CX,  etc.  so the music is on the cx.  music is not coming from internet.  experimentation found the best place for cable was outer orbit.  for me that is modem to router.  huge soundstage.  so i put this 2k ethernet cable between a telstra modem and my apple router and then the router connects to CX via dh labs reunion, and it sounds completely different.  and over time you begin to understand that the difference is just less noise.

Edited by mr_gray
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
On 17/02/2020 at 10:39 PM, dbastin said:

Well, Shunyata now has an even better ethernet cable, at AU$4500 !

So watch out for used ones Sigma's coming onto the market.

On 06/06/2020 at 6:35 PM, mr_gray said:

music is not coming from internet.  experimentation found the best place for cable was outer orbit. for me that is modem to router. 

Firstly, I'm somewhat puzzled, most people's home modem's are also router and switch in one.  And as I understand, nbn does not need modem. I suspect you may mean the nbn connection box rather than modem (well, its probably a modem of sorts).

 

I agree, isolate from the noise of the outside world and all the devices between your audio gear and internet devices.  I suggest try router > fibre > switch > Sigma > CX etc.  The fibre will give a good level of isolation for low cost.  Better still, add an audio grade switch, EtherRegen, SOtM, Dela and Melco accept fibre via SFP ports.

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I posted recently  in the Switches Part A thread to say

“I should have another Bonn N8 by the middle of next week plus two new network cables that are supposed to be the absolute bees knees.  It will be interesting.”

They arrived yesterday.  I haven’t had much to do with the Switch at the moment.  I plugged the cables in and I was transfixed.  The two cables are put together in Audio business in Melbourne and are Acoustic Revive with Telegartener plugs.  I have a few different cables but have not experienced many of the hiend Ethernet cables except the Audioquest Diamond.  So, you may think that I may exaggerate with what I say next. 

 

These new cables for me are absolutely out of this world.  Except for the plugs it is just small diameter red cable.  Nothing directional.  Nothing fancy at all.   After listening for awhile I did not want to go to bed last night.  I  didn’t sleep well as I wanted to start again in the morning to make sure it was not just imagination.  I was told that the cables would be better after a night of connection.  Well they definitely were better again.  The previous night experience was not imagination at all.  I now have a new system and it was significantly special before the new cables arrived.

 

 

The bad news is I do not have a cost and there are none left because the maker only had few metres of the cable.  I do expect that the cost will be significant on a price performance outcome.  Customers who were lucky to hear them last week bought all the stock.  More is coming though. 

 

 

Switches are one thing but these cables are another level again.  There are not enough words to describe what these cables do.  There may other cables out there that can achieve the results of these little red wonders.  I would be surprised if at waht I expect the price point though.

 

John

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