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


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Some relevant comments here about cable shields.  Probably relevant to both  'regular' and 'audiophile' cables.

 

My response was ...

 

the short answer seems to be "it depends what it is connected to".

 

Firstly, I am starting to be more fussy about the grade/quality of the cables.  I have not ventured into industrial grade.  But certainly not using $5 garden variety.

 

I am quite confident that from nbn > ER side B, Cat 6a UTP is far better than Cat 6a STP on cables that appear to of similarly good grade/quality (not $5 garden variety), and than a far more expensive cable that is shielded and shield connected to ground at both ends.

 

However, the Cat 6a UTP was relatively dull, flat and 2 dimensional further downstream.  I will revisit that though.

 

From router > server I am quite enjoying a Cat 7 STP that has shield connected to ground at only one end, but it also has carbon fibre sheath.  This is competing with cables many times its cost in this part of my network.

 

I have also investigated how the shields are connected on my cables and discovered the designers made deliberate decisions after trial and error to chose a method that sounds best.  More often than not the shields are connected to ground at both ends.

 

I am not settled on anything.  Changes usually teach a lesson and prompt review of another aspect.

 

I am thinking, as a hypothesis, in a relatively high noise situation (eg. from nbn box or router), no or disconnected shields may perform better, whereas in portions of a network that are very low noise and very sensitive to noise (eg. from an audio server to streamer) there are sonic advantages using shields and connecting to ground depending on other aspects of the cable design and the gear they are connected to. 

 

Fibre fits somewhere in that spectrum.  But the Cat 6a UTP and Cat 7 STP impart qualities quite similar to fibre.  Further downstream, higher end cables (shielded) have previously performed better than fibre.

 

None of these are anywhere near the magnitude of benefit I get from wifi in my situation.  However, I may revisit that too.

 

Then a reply from @Assisi

 

With the Cat 7 STP cable with shield connected at one end, have you tried it connected either way and if so, is there a difference? 

I have until recently used a 15 mt CAT 6 UTP cable to go from my upstairs router adjacent to the NBN box to the Router downstairs that is the beginning of the Audio network.  The result when streaming was fine.  Maybe not as good as files from the NAS but not critical. 
A few days ago, I received a 14 mt Cat 7 with Telegartner plugs. I understand it is S/FTP.  This cable goes from one router to the other and replaces the CAT6.  The multiple shields on the new cable are detached or not connected at one end.  The end with the shields not connected is designated as the receiving end.  So, it is directional.    https://avantiaudio.com/

 

The cable has been connected for five days.  Over that time there seems to be a beneficial change as the cable settles.  Whether the change is due in any way to the shields being disconnected I cannot say definitively.  You would need an identical cable with the shields connected at both ends to compare.  If I change back to the CAT 6 cable that was replaced, there is a small but perceptible benefit with the new cable.  So regardless I am happy with the outcome.
I have also had the shield on one end of the cable that goes from the Melco 10 switch to the Waversa Filter removed.  Probable benefit.  Hard to tell but definitely not a disbenefit.  I am tempted to have more shields disconnected at one end of some cables.  Once it is done though it is not easy to go back.

John 

 

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In reply to @Assisi

 

With the Cat 7 STP cable with shield connected at one end, have you tried it connected either way and if so, is there a difference? 

 

Not yet, I need to work out which end has shield connected.

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On 10/04/2022 at 3:38 PM, dbastin said:

In reply to @Assisi

 

With the Cat 7 STP cable with shield connected at one end, have you tried it connected either way and if so, is there a difference? 

 

Not yet, I need to work out which end has shield connected.

How do you know it has one end not connected?  If the shield is lifted or not connected at one end, I would expect that to be marked or indicated in some way.  If there is no indication maybe try it both ways and try to ascertain if there is a difference in the outcome.  My understanding is that the end not connected should be the receiving end.  It should provide the better outcome.

John

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  • 4 months later...

I recently came across these posts about cabling which is really worth considering.  I am pretty sure I rad a similar post elsewhere by someone with similar experience.  It contributes to the 'everything matters' but perhaps highlights attention to smaller details may at least reduce the potential for problems that are assumed to be elsewhere.

 

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