Installing whole house Ethernet wire - audiophile wire type advice

KPC

Member
Dec 5, 2019
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San Francisco Bay Area
I'm installing CAT6 Ethernet wiring in the house and will have a dedicated line to my digital audio chain. Is there a better wire than CAT6 for my run to my digital audio? I'm looking for first hand experience/knowledge advice rather pointing to a brand that sells it.

A side question, maybe I should open another thread. I'll need to install a switch as I have 7 lines to run. I read the benefits of an audiophile network switch. Should I use the audiophile switch only on the dedicated digital line like a filter meaning I'll have to purchase another switch for the other lines, or should I just use the single audiophile switch to include other lines?
 

jeromelang

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2011
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I use shielded cat8 cables.

This particular cat8 cable sounds audibly better than the cat7 and cat6 cables in their range.

But there are people who claim that cat8 cables may actually sound worse because of grounding connection.

Whatever you believe it's all up to you.

But just take note of directionality.

Every single piece of ethernet cable that I've tried so far has always sounded best in one particular direction, and not the other.

Check directionality before they are lined up behind the walls.
 

dorch

Member
Apr 8, 2020
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if you are completely recabling, you mght also want to look at fibre instead of wired.
Although i havent switched entirely to optical I do have fibre connections in the critical parts of the network that relate to my music system. This does seem to reduce electromagnetic interference and deliver greater transparency to the music. Its also very future proof compared to Cat6 cable as it can support very high transmission speeds. Optical convertors are of increasingly good quality where you need to convert back to wired. Several audiophile switches now seem to have this as an option too.
 

aLLeARS

VIP/Donor
Feb 20, 2020
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But just take note of directionality.

Every single piece of ethernet cable that I've tried so far has always sounded best in one particular direction, and not the other.

Check directionality before they are lined up behind the walls.
I just recently found that out by accident. I was swapping out CAT cables in my audio network and noticed the same cable sounded different depending on direction. Not a huge difference but noticeable.
For my audio system I'm using Belden CAT5e plenum cable (Belden 7928A). To me it sounds better than standard CAT5/6. This particular cable sounds best when the direction of the signal is opposite of the direction of printing on the jacket. I have not tried CAT7 or CAT8 so I can't comment on that.
For audio CAT5 has more than enough bandwidth.
For non-audio inwall installation I would install the latest and greatest CAT cable, so you are set for the future.
 

MarkusBarkus

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2021
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...I recommend running a couple of options, as usually labor and fuss costs way more than cable. For example, I ran two types of copper (floating shield, no shield) and two of fiber (MM, SM). Good to have options, IMO.
 

K3RMIT

Well-Known Member
Sep 4, 2020
389
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Never run parallel to power cables. Keep as far as possible, dont use combo boxes for power and data .
Keep cables away from dimmers and other lighting controls
Now regarding cables I know new seems to make some feel better . But it's truly an unknown parameter . I would stay away from cat8 or at least test using pre made patch cable .
I would use two kinds cat 6 and 7
But would use cat 7e shielded
And cat 6 e non shielded

Some feel shielded is better it maybe be no audio or any I see is using the shield
if one felt to u to use the shield only one side is recommended.
Pactch cables are cheap . Lastly no audio grade cables in walls . It's a completely unknown cable it most likely does not meet specs. This is one reason they don't work on audio grade sws or most sws.
All of digital is based on real standard cables and sws. I'm not saying there no it good but enters many non spec applications to use in walls where you can't remove easy
 

KPC

Member
Dec 5, 2019
72
28
23
62
San Francisco Bay Area
Due to aged related lower back issues, I'm hiring out the "in wall" install. Therefore, limited trial/error ability.
But just take note of directionality.

Every single piece of ethernet cable that I've tried so far has always sounded best in one particular direction, and not the other.

Check directionality before they are lined up behind the walls.
I just recently found that out by accident. I was swapping out CAT cables in my audio network and noticed the same cable sounded different depending on direction. Not a huge difference but noticeable.
How do I check directionality? I hope it's written on the cable.

...I recommend running a couple of options, as usually labor and fuss costs way more than cable. For example, I ran two types of copper (floating shield, no shield) and two of fiber (MM, SM). Good to have options, IMO.
Maybe both, but leaning to not - this is not my forever house. Likely move within 5 years. Each install $175.

Never run parallel to power cables. Keep as far as possible, dont use combo boxes for power and data .
Keep cables away from dimmers and other lighting controls
Now regarding cables I know new seems to make some feel better . But it's truly an unknown parameter . I would stay away from cat8 or at least test using pre made patch cable .
I would use two kinds cat 6 and 7
But would use cat 7e shielded
And cat 6 e non shielded

Some feel shielded is better it maybe be no audio or any I see is using the shield
if one felt to u to use the shield only one side is recommended.
Pactch cables are cheap . Lastly no audio grade cables in walls . It's a completely unknown cable it most likely does not meet specs. This is one reason they don't work on audio grade sws or most sws.
All of digital is based on real standard cables and sws. I'm not saying there no it good but enters many non spec applications to use in walls where you can't remove easy

Thanks for "avoid electrical influences such a power lines" tip. It's obvious, but I would have missed it.
CAT 7e seems the best choice because of it seems to be at the highest level with a safe track record. Is CAT 7e universally the same, or are there differences between different brands, if so, any brand recommendations?

Thanks all, I really appreciate your valuable advice.
 

engadin

Member
Apr 23, 2022
48
28
20
60
Right now new rooms for me get built.

I opted for fiber to the home, a with fibre coming to my listening room into a fritz!box 5530 which has a fiber modem included.
Only for music.
A LAN cable out to another router for all other duties like tv, door bell, whatever.
Unfortunately this second router will sit close to power distribution…
 

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