What ethernet cables are members using?

If you have compared it with other products can you elaborate more on what differences you found?
It would require more bytes than my arthritic fingers are comfortable typing, to fully detail what I have heard between different Ethernet cables. Here are few comparisons, as I recall.



The first three cables were auditioned over three years ago, and not likely current.



Supra: can not recall version. Was well rated, was better than my stock cables.

Buffalo: can not recall version. Barely better than my stock basic cables.

Blue jeans: can not recall version. Smooth, flat, but, not very refined.

WireWorld starlight 8 : More detailed the previous three above cables, but an aggressive top end. Better harmonic bloom and layering compared to above cables not comparable to three cables below.

Synergistic Foundation: previous Generation. Better than the previous four, but not in the same league as the two cables below.

Viablue EP-7 Silver Cat7: a great value. Very detailed, with a less upfront stage than Transparent, and a more laser focused image density.

Transparent Ethernet: If I understand correctly, this cable is an unshielded Cat 5. Compared to the ViaBlue, it is the more refined, smoother, and has a slightly better harmonic character. This cable is not as top end weighted as the ViaBlue, but it projects a deeper stage. The Transparent’s more upfront presentation could complement speakers that have a too distant sound stage.

Either the ViaBlue or Transparent Ethernet could be a great choice, depending on system synergy.
 
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I used a Nordost Heimdall 2 for quite a while and then tried the Melco C100, which was quite a bit better at 1/5th the cost. It surprised me.
The Melco uses a floating ground at one end, so perhaps my systems ground plane noise was high and it benefited from the break just before entering the end streamer device.
 
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Do you consider shield grounding at all? I take a lot of care to avoid improperly grounded shields.
Ethernet and TCP/IP are robust and designed to be reliable.

I figure that using CAT 8 cables in high traffic environments where many devices are connected (mission-critical, like the server room at a busy office with more than 100 employees) is worth it. And it's fine for audio also. Of course, we never want cables to be nudging each other; especially in audio. We don't want to introduce interference in to the signal chain; as you probably already know, cables can act like antennas and pick up noise.

I'll give you an example. We regular CAT 6 cables to connect industrial-grade label printers to a patch panel. After the recent upgrade, our ping times (for these printers) are 1 to 4 milliseconds! No packets are being lost. And the host program we run to provide an interface has not yet glitched in a major way. The improvement was thanks to a recent upgrade by our ISP (internet service provider).

Now, to your question - the shielding of CAT 8 cables far supersedes that of previous generations of CAT. We also have 2 Wi-Fi networks in the warehouse that are designed to span the entirety of the warehouse and the building. Tons of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi all around. And the printers, computers, etc. were unaffected. Nothing special is required for ethernet.
 
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Nothing special is required for ethernet.
That is true for IT. High-end audio has additional requirements that, if met, can improve perceived sound quality. IT gear cares only that it gets the right bits. High end audio cares that it gets the right bits at exactly the right time with nothing else coming along for the ride.

I borrowed the illustration that follows from Antipodes web page here as it illustrates the impact noise can have on timing. The data is the same in both cases, but noise can skew the detection of exactly when the thresholds representing one and zero are crossed. IT systems are oblivious to these kinds of timing errors, but minimizing them in high end audio can pay huge dividends.

The other thing that can skew the timing is the ability to of the cable to pass a perfect square wave. IT systems have no need cables that strive for as close to perfection as possible in this area, but a high-end system can benefit if the cables do an excellent job of this. Achieving excellent square wave performance comes at a cost, as materials and construction matter greatly when this is of paramount importance. While this review covers speaker cables, it provides insight into how much square wave reproduction can vary. They included measurements of a "standard cable" so I suspect that when one buys a generic ethernet cable they are likely getting something is just as bad at passing a square wave. Even some of the audiophile brands don't do a good job of this. Shunyata nails it even with their more affordable Venom-X cable, so it's likely that their digital cables to do an even better job of this. That may contribute to why Shunyata's ethernet cables have been mentioned positively so many times in this thread.

1702504786389.png
 
That is true for IT. High-end audio has additional requirements that, if met, can improve perceived sound quality. IT gear cares only that it gets the right bits. High end audio cares that it gets the right bits at exactly the right time with nothing else coming along for the ride.

I borrowed the illustration that follows from Antipodes web page here as it illustrates the impact noise can have on timing. The data is the same in both cases, but noise can skew the detection of exactly when the thresholds representing one and zero are crossed. IT systems are oblivious to these kinds of timing errors, but minimizing them in high end audio can pay huge dividends.

The other thing that can skew the timing is the ability to of the cable to pass a perfect square wave. IT systems have no need cables that strive for as close to perfection as possible in this area, but a high-end system can benefit if the cables do an excellent job of this. Achieving excellent square wave performance comes at a cost, as materials and construction matter greatly when this is of paramount importance. While this review covers speaker cables, it provides insight into how much square wave reproduction can vary. They included measurements of a "standard cable" so I suspect that when one buys a generic ethernet cable they are likely getting something is just as bad at passing a square wave. Even some of the audiophile brands don't do a good job of this. Shunyata nails it even with their more affordable Venom-X cable, so it's likely that their digital cables to do an even better job of this. That may contribute to why Shunyata's ethernet cables have been mentioned positively so many times in this thread.

View attachment 121590

Interesting... thanks for sharing.

So if you were to set up the same system - One with a CAT 8 cable that arrives at your front door with a datasheet that guarantees performance, and a Shunyata ethernet cable (everything else being equal) A Null-Test and audio file output comparator would clearly show less noise and or a more linear /honest rendition of the original waveform? Above all, the output of the streamer would be different? Are we talking a 2-5% improvement, or much more than this?
 
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So if you were to set up the same system - One with a CAT 8 cable that arrives at your front door with a datasheet that guarantees performance, and a Shunyata etherernet cable (everything else being equal) A Null-Test and audio file output comparator would clearly show less noise and or a more linear /honest rendition of the original waveform? So above all, the output of the streamer would be different?
“Different” isn’t the goal of folks here. Our goals vary but they are usually expressed in terms of the music. “Timbre more naturally reproduced“ or “better separation between instruments” or even “less harshness” or “greater resolution of low level details” are some of the things we are after. Our ears are the only test instrumentation we have that can allow us to assess differences in those areas.
 
Interesting... thanks for sharing.

So if you were to set up the same system - One with a CAT 8 cable that arrives at your front door with a datasheet that guarantees performance, and a Shunyata ethernet cable (everything else being equal) A Null-Test and audio file output comparator would clearly show less noise and or a more linear /honest rendition of the original waveform? Above all, the output of the streamer would be different? Are we talking a 2-5% improvement, or much more than this?
Much more. There is much more to what you do (and don't) hear and it's also much more in terms of the signal as well. Performance of an E cable is one thing for computers. It's a whole other animal when it comes to audio. Like Apples and Oranges kind of different.

Tom
 
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Much more.
It depends on the system, of course. When I tried an audiophile ethernet cable for the first time, I believe my music server was a Mac Mini. I didn’t hear much of a difference from the Ethernet cable as there were far worse problems that first needed to be addressed. Fast forward to the present and even improving the power supply used by my router and the DC cable between them made obvious differences.
 
It depends on the system, of course. <snip>
Very good point. I should have added that. Thanks for your comment and for pointing that out. I can almost guaranty you that when I had a BS Node2, even with an external DAC? Yeah, I doubt I would have heard any difference(s) I had much more to address at that point. 2 streamers and a multitude of gear to clean up the signal later? The difference is undeniable.....and wonderful to experience as well.

Tom
 
Ethernet and TCP/IP are robust and designed to be reliable.

I figure that using CAT 8 cables in high traffic environments where many devices are connected (mission-critical, like the server room at a busy office with more than 100 employees) is worth it. And it's fine for audio also. Of course, we never want cables to be nudging each other; especially in audio. We don't want to introduce interference in to the signal chain; as you probably already know, cables can act like antennas and pick up noise.

I'll give you an example. We regular CAT 6 cables to connect industrial-grade label printers to a patch panel. After the recent upgrade, our ping times (for these printers) are 1 to 4 milliseconds! No packets are being lost. And the host program we run to provide an interface has not yet glitched in a major way. The improvement was thanks to a recent upgrade by our ISP (internet service provider).

Now, to your question - the shielding of CAT 8 cables far supersedes that of previous generations of CAT. We also have 2 Wi-Fi networks in the warehouse that are designed to span the entirety of the warehouse and the building. Tons of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi all around. And the printers, computers, etc. were unaffected. Nothing special is required for ethernet.
I've read the subsequent posts, but tend to agree with your original comments.

I have a quite busy wifi in my house, including 25 audio devices capable of wireless streaming 24/192 PCM, a lot of home automation including the lighting, kitchen appliances etc., a couple of servers, Shelly relays in various switches, about 100 devices in total.

I use Unifi access points and get excellent signals everywhere. These are half of them, almost all green!
Screenshot 2023-12-14 at 02.28.22.png

Cabling:
- For the access points: generic CAT8 from Amazon.
- To the audio: Fibre optic
- Spare ethernet to the audio: AQ Pearl CAT 6a. I like it because I got 20m off the reel, it runs through conduits and is extremely robust, and the wires are slightly thicker than generic so are a lot easier to terminate with a crimper.
- Audio connections: Blue Jeans CAT 6a

CAT8 was recommended because the access points need PoE. I'm told that domestic devices don't operate at speeds at the differential between CAT7 and CAT8, so CAT8 is irrelevant in relation to data transmission.

The main switch is a TPLink 16-port, the audio switch a Cisco with a seriously upgraded clock and LPS, and an inline passive filter just before the streamer.

I don't think audio is any different from anything else. There is equipment used in various environments that is sensitive to noise over power and data lines, whether in engineering, medicine, education etc. as well as audio. This has been long recognised, and there is a company near me called Olson that has been making equipment to deal with these things for over 60 years.
Olson make an audio distribution unit that has been in production for 40 years. I used one for about 25 years.
 
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Hello everyone!

I’m using pachanko stellar velvety at home.
This cable is very well built and has a very nice finish.
You can see that the research and technology behind the cable required a lot of experience and know-how!

Listening to this cable radically transforms dematerialised music into revealing analogue musique...
The sound planes are sumptuous and remarkably fine.
The instruments sound true throughout the cable, with perfect balance and just the right timbre.

It's one of the best cables I've tried to date.
Don't hesitate to give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

Remember the name PACHANKO LAB.
Thanks to Chan for his work and professionalism.

Bye
 
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@kennyb123 the diagram depicting the impact of noise and bandwidth limitations on a square wave is nice but not applicable to Ethernet transmissions.

100Mbit Ethernet uses three voltage levels to transmit a bit. A bit is recognized by the change or lack of change of voltage during a bit time. 1000Mbit Ethernet uses 5 voltage levels.

Ethernet cables only transmit two values 0 or 1.

The bits transmitted on the cable are not the actual data but a representation of the data.

Copper Ethernet cables can transmit electromagnetic noise, absorb electromagnetic noise from the environment and generate electromagnetic noise.

Ethernet design increases immunity to noise, thus reducing transmission bit errors.

Fiber optic Ethernet cables do not transmit electromagnetic noise, absorb electromagnetic noise from the environment or generate electromagnetic noise.

There is no specific clock signal passed on an Ethernet cable the data is self-clocking. An Ethernet receiver re-clocks with the transmitter at the start of every frame.

Ethernet, IP and TCP operate on a block basis (frame/packet). A checksum is used to detect bit errors. If an error is detected the entire block is discarded and eventually re-transmitted.

Ethernet switches can not and do not change the physical properties of the data being transmitted.

The music file is transmitted in small discrete chunks and reassembled in destinations system memory. The analog signal is generated by transferring bits from system memory and not from the Ethernet cable. If there are timing errors it will occur in the transfer of the musical bits from system memory.
 
@kennyb123 the diagram depicting the impact of noise and bandwidth limitations on a square wave is nice but not applicable to Ethernet transmissions.

100Mbit Ethernet uses three voltage levels to transmit a bit. A bit is recognized by the change or lack of change of voltage during a bit time. 1000Mbit Ethernet uses 5 voltage levels.

Ethernet cables only transmit two values 0 or 1.

The bits transmitted on the cable are not the actual data but a representation of the data.

Copper Ethernet cables can transmit electromagnetic noise, absorb electromagnetic noise from the environment and generate electromagnetic noise.

Ethernet design increases immunity to noise, thus reducing transmission bit errors.

Fiber optic Ethernet cables do not transmit electromagnetic noise, absorb electromagnetic noise from the environment or generate electromagnetic noise.

There is no specific clock signal passed on an Ethernet cable the data is self-clocking. An Ethernet receiver re-clocks with the transmitter at the start of every frame.

Ethernet, IP and TCP operate on a block basis (frame/packet). A checksum is used to detect bit errors. If an error is detected the entire block is discarded and eventually re-transmitted.

Ethernet switches can not and do not change the physical properties of the data being transmitted.

The music file is transmitted in small discrete chunks and reassembled in destinations system memory. The analog signal is generated by transferring bits from system memory and not from the Ethernet cable. If there are timing errors it will occur in the transfer of the musical bits from system memory.
So hearing a difference with a $3k ethernet cable is psychoacoustics? Fiber is better than copper?
 
@kennyb123 the diagram depicting the impact of noise and bandwidth limitations on a square wave is nice but not applicable to Ethernet transmissions.
I was simply offering an example showing how IT differs from high end audio. I quoted the post I was responding to so the context was obvious to readers.
 
@Republicoftexas69 I cannot comment on what other people hear or do not hear. Personally in my system I believe I have heard differences in servers and Ethernet cables. Whether this is psycho acoustics or not I cannot tell. Both fiber and copper Ethernet cables will provide bit perfect data transfer. Fiber will not transmit additional electrical noise. What is better is a personal decision.
 
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@Republicoftexas69 I cannot comment on what other people hear or do not hear. Personally in my system I believe I have heard differences in servers and Ethernet cables. Whether this is psycho acoustics or not I cannot tell. Both fiber and copper Ethernet cables will provide bit perfect data transfer. Fiber will not transmit additional electrical noise. What is better is a personal decision.
I much preferred simple ethernet cables in my system. With Fibre the sound was more sterile and harsh.
 
I use an M101 Nova LAN cable between my router and my NAD M50.2 player/vault. I didn't want it to make a difference, but it did. It extended frequency range without adding any harshness and it also improved dynamics. I had the opportunity to A/B between the M101 and a high-quality generic cable and I could pick the M101 out as my preference every time.
 
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