When using ethernet for hooking up streaming devices and dacs, what cat level of  ethernet cable should be used. Is there any sonic improvement by going to a  higher dollar cat 7 or 8 cable?


I did notice a sonic difference when purchasing and switching to an ethernet Audioquest cable (it wasn't even their top of the line). It was only a 3' cable, but I swear I heard an improved difference. That cable feeds my desktop computer, which I use for streaming (has a decent soundcard in it). My other Cat 8 cables (I don't think the Audioquest cable was rated Cat 8) I use for TV ethernet streaming delivery, so I couldn't tell you if they improve audio performance or not. When running long distances, I'm a fan of shielded ethernet cables, but to reap that benefit, you must make sure they are in fact tied to ground (not always easy). 

I went from Supra (Cat 8) to Wireworld Starlight 8 to Audioquest Vodka (Cat 7). Each step was an audible improvement, especially the move up to the Vodka, better than the two prior Cat 8's, FWIW the Cat level between 7 and 8 seems to be irrelevant. At some point I will try the WW Platinum Starlight 8. Neal

Ethernet connections have an isolation transformer at each end; however, Cat 8 cables are shielded and can transfer noise via the shield from one component to another. That is not true of Cat 5e, 6, or 7, any of which has rated bandwidth far exceeding what's needed for home audio.

I second the recommendation for cables supplied and tested by Blue Jeans Cables. Though personally, I’ve never found any significant differences in sound when switching Ethernet cables -- except for one that failed completely. That was a difference -- no sound!

Thanks Mike, I appreciate your feedback. I will need a 35' to 50' length so that is why I am questioning whether it's worth to buy a higher quality cable.

Didn’t try bluejeans for ethernet but liked their 4974R 12G sdi cable as an SPdif cable.

For ethernet I started with some throwaway CAT5e scrounged from work but later tried some belden 1305A CAT5e and 1303E CAT6a from Designacable in the UK and was surprised to find I preferred the 5e and liked it enough to stop looking.

Ditto on the bluejeans cat 6 ethernet cable. Also using the small green computer optical isolation bundle to clean it up. At first it was a subtle improvement but after a while  experiencing with it on or off, I feel it clearly cleans up the sound, better clarity and space. 

I just bought 4, cat 8 cables of various lengths from Amazon. I had cat 5 cables that I made years ago and one of them started acting up is the only reason I replaced anything.  

Post removed 

Oh boy... 10Gtek for isolation, Coverts to Fiber Optic (great noise reduction) then use your BJC Cat 6. I have Cat 8 from the modem to the switch. 

Sounds awesome...Yo need 2 and FO Cable $70.00



@juanmanuelfangioii what is the purpose of this equipment? I don't even understand what it is supposed to do.

Fiber/Optical is taking out any emi rfi and cleaning the signal up.

Similar to using the small green computer optical isolation bundle 

Was a thread on this at one point. 

  • Seamless Conversion of LC Fiber to Copper – This fiber optic to ethernet media converter kit includes a multimode 1000BASE-SX SFP module(850nm), which enables you to convert 1000BASE-SX LC fiber to 10/100/1000 Base-T RJ-45 copper media or vice versa
  • Extend Your Transmission Distance – By using this ethernet fiber media converter, you can easily extend link distance up to 550 meters/ 1804 ft via OM3/OM4 multimode fiber (MMF, LC, Duplex)
  • Plug and Play – No software installation or configuration required. Hot-swappable design makes this ethernet fiber converter easy to install and troubleshoot
  • Reliable Auto-Negotiation Gigabit Connection – 10/100/1000Mbps Auto-Negotiation RJ45 Port supports Auto-MDI/MDIX Crossover and Half-Duplex / Full-Duplex Transfer Mode, bridging different network speeds and devices to a Gigabit fiber network

I work with computers and a cable isn’t going to do anything. 1’s and 0’s are going to be the same 1’s and 0’s on the other end. If they aren’t then you dont get a correct signal and are dealing with other problems. These fancy cables dont “massage” the 1’s and 0’s to make them sound better. 

@juanmanuelfangioii  +1

I've used a similar kit by TP Link between my router feed and Node N130.

It's a no brainer for the relative small outlay. It helped my Node no end, noise floor decreased significantly. Much more relaxed, and no longer "grainy" 

My router is in the next room where the TV, Sonos, BRay player, Phillips Hue Bridge, TV Cable box all live and feed from - quite a lot going on/noise. The kit in the above post puts a fire break on all that noise transferring to your streamer via ethernet. 

Granted, the 2nd convertor in the chain introduces its own noise, but this can be reduced by swapping the stock wall wart for the convertor with an ifi low noise power supply, or something similar. 


@dpcoffey Great to see someone who talks some digital sense. I fully concur, never understood how 'audio grade' ethernet cable, or USB cable can make a difference. All other data is transferred error free ... bar audio?

"I did notice a sonic difference when purchasing and switching to an ethernet Audioquest cable"

I won't say you didn't hear a difference, the brain can do funny things. But let's analyze this together. If the sound difference stems from receiving 'better' digital data since you installed the new cable, this means that the old cable introduced errors. Let me ask ... when you browsed the internet, did you ever see spelling errors in the texts? Or pictures or video come in corrupted?  Or when you downloaded apps, or Windows updates, sized many MB or GB, did they work? I bet this all was fine? So, only streamed audio contains errors? Isn't that weird? (OK ... I give you this ... Windows updates can sometimes be weird. :).

Of course their is a sq difference in a better cable, including Ethernet cables.

In the past, I tried the top of the line blue jeans interconnects to see what all the talk was about and to compare them to my reference cables that cost many times more. I gave them a month (I knew in a minute but wanted to see if they would burn in). I sold them. No comparison to my better cables. 

I second the fiber media converter tactic.  It makes a world of difference in the sound. 

I too work with computers and in fact, I work with highly complicated global networking.

Guess what? Cables absolutely matter and the correct cable for the correct application is critical.

I echo the comments about sticking with Cat6 - I have used Audioquest Pearl Cat6a and the results were very good.

For a cable run that long you should consider the recommendation around a fibre run however the claimed isolation benefits are reduced as the 10GTek devices are very noisy, especially their cheap-as-chips SMPS (I've trialled a pair of 10GTek's and they aren't great, very cheaply built). Alternatively, look at using Powerline Ethernet Adapters with passthrough sockets - they can yield great results. TP-Link adapters are very well made.

If you want to get into fibre in a quality way consider using Cisco switches with Cisco SFPs as they have very high-quality internal power supplies for serious data and voice applications and are intrinsically less noisy.

With all of this said, my sound quality improved the most when I switched to using a wireless network bridge (ifi Zen Stream) with a quality WiFi circuit connected to a high-quality WiFi router (TP-Link Deco). For me, this is the cleanest (less cabling mess) and sonically best solution.

This is a repost of an article that I previously made on CanuckAudioMart

REVIEW:What causes audible differences in network cables ... erkkabels/


We round off our little investigation into network cables with a listening test and a clear conclusion. As promised we subjected the network plugs to a listening test and listened to three different configurations: shielding fixed on one side, shielding fixed on two sides and double shielded (and both sides connected). Do we hear differences? Well…. yes…!

Let’s clear up one myth: there is NO audible difference in network plugs. There is a difference in build quality, price and ease of installation. In short: it does make sense to invest in a good plug.

But let’s continue with the sound reproduction: as you know, we have installed everything from standard plugs to expensive Telegärtners. We tried all cables on the same switch (with an IFI power supply) and listened to the same system:
We did not notice any difference between the connectors. Sometimes we thought we heard something (think of a louder or sharper S-sound), but when we went back to the other connector, there was no difference. It is sometimes very complex to listen to this properly and to judge it honestly. But after hours of switching back and forth, we dare say that there is no difference in reproduction. In any case, we do not dare to take a bet in a blind test…

But where we do hear immediate differences – and continue to hear differences even when going back and forth – is the method of shielding.

We made three cables for this purpose: one cable with DeLock plugs and shielding fixed at one end. One cable with Delock plugs with the shielding fixed at both ends and finally the double shielded version with the nice sleeve. Also with the shielding on both sides (and Delock plugs).

What we observe almost immediately is that the version with the shielding fixed on both sides focuses better. The version with shielding on one side seems to play a bit larger, but that is not true: the effects in the song Perfect Life by Steven wilson are placed at the same spot in the room, but are more tightly framed with the cable where the shielding is fixed on both sides.

With voices, the same is true: it’s tighter in focus and also more stable between the speakers (if we move our heads back and forth, the voice stays in place better very odd).

Going to the double shielding we make another step. Again a bit more tightly focused, again a bit better framed. And with that a bit more calmness in the reproduction allowing details to surface a bit easier.

Clearly, for us it is clear where the differences come from: shielding, shielding, shielding.

And that is quite logical if you consider that a network cable is included in a digital chain. A chain that relies on clean energy to keep everything clocked tight. A chain that works with noise-levels of -140dB. A chain where small deviations are immediately audible in staging, focus and smoothness.

This also explains why fiber networks work so well as a first upgrade: you immediately shut out a lot of misery by creating a barrier through which electrical energy cannot pass. And thus no electrical noise (common mode in particular).

To conclude

Can you hear differences between network cables? Yes… definitely. Our samples have shown that. And about the real cables you can buy at the store… pay particular attention to what the manufacturer has done in terms of shielding. We would still leave the unshielded versions. Especially after this experience. But anyway: try it yourself at home!



Jabbaman, can you explain how come non-audio data is transferred over a normal cat6 cable without error, but only the audio bits and bytes get corrupted?

I am using Alpha Core FMC's with Linear Power Supplies.  I ditched the wall wart power supplies.  It seems to work very well for me but I have no idea how well these FMC units are built inside.  Something new for my stereo related neurosis to worry over.  My cousin, who has a more modest digital set up experienced a similar improvement in sound using FMC's with linear power supplies.

I ditched my ISP's modem and bought my own expensive modem.  Didn't make a difference in the sound.  Well, not every idea works out.  At least I did not buy a linear power supply for my modem- not yet anyway...

I agree with the shielded ethernet cables and I also found that a good USB cable makes a difference.  

Since the issue of 0 or 1 for digital keeps coming up, I thought I would add some comments from my own experience and somewhat limited knowledge. I am not a Electrical Engineer or a Digital Engineer, but I am a technician and have been involved with electronics since the start of the digital evolution. If you want more clarification of that, it means from discrete transistor circuits to simple chips to todays integrated multi function chips.

So a few basics, all digital data is moved in small chunks typically called words. Each word can and usually has a parity bit which is basically an odd even check to make sure no bits are lost. So if the word passes the number 5 but it should have been 6 that can be detected and corrected. But, if the word passes 4 and it should have been 6 that is not detected. Of course that assumes the parity bit is read correctly, which may or may not be true. The next level up in making sure the digital information is correct comes at the block level (group of words; the size of which is specified by a framing protocol)

As far as Speed rating goes I agree with the others here stating anything CAT5e and above is fine, BUT if you look at all of the factors that Audiophiles CALM cause poorer sound quality or interference, I must suggest the Better shielding, and that means CAT 6, 7, or better, is a must. That is what those higher ratings are about shielding and blocking interference.

Continuing because clumsy keyboarding posted before finished.

The framing protocol may or may not have additional parity and checksum error correction. A checksum is a calculated number that represent a mathematical calculation of the total value of the block to make sure there were no errors. If the checksums do not match, the block is discarded and retransmitted.

So that is just a portion of what is going on at the digital level to make sure that the data is what it should be. What about those 1s and 0s themselves. Although we call it digital, it is actually based on analog voltage levels. Once 12 volt and 5 volt, but even though still called 5 volt, most modern high speed circuits are based on a 3 volt threshold. That means anything greater than 2.8 volts is considered a 1, and anything lower is considered a 0. Moving that at todays speeds means that the clock that moves the data from place to place, and the voltage along the whole path is stable and consistent. The enemy of both of those is noise, temperature, and voltage ripple. Noise is easy to understand, temperature will cause the clock to be a little faster or slower, and also cause the transmitting and receiving chips to slightly change their response time to voltage changes. And the voltage ripple will cause the threshold for detecting whether it is a 1 or 0 to move slightly up or down. All this is to say that 1s and 0s are not so simple and the faster the data stream the more critical everything becomes. The quality of all the components, and the circuit design can and do have a big impact on how faithful the digital data is transported.

I have not read the full specification for the framing and absolute data rate for PCM and DSD data over various transport protocols (USB, S/PDIF, and ethernet). Each transport will have its own error detection and correction methods which is why some components sound better using one or the other transport. It is that their circuitry handles that protocol with better accuracy. It may be better noise rejection, better clock control, better voltage regulation through all the stages, or a combination of all of them.

The word length and error handling for most digital data have a long history, and you will seldom find an error in text in digital transmission. More likely, the whole message will be unreadable because the circuitry has detected errors at some level and rejected the whole thing. In pictures and video, the protocols really don’t care about single, and even multiple bit (word) errors because you will never be able to spot them in the mass of data that makes up even a small greyscale image. If the errors for images for video get too high, much like with text, the circuits and protocol will reject the whole thing as unreadable. That is not exactly the same with audio data.

Clock and noise are likely the biggest weak points for audio data from what little I know of the audio specs, but voltage and temperature will also cause problems. From what I have quickly scanned, digital audio in and of itself does not have any error correction built in, so it relies only on the transport protocol and framing for any error correction. What is contained in the block of words is assumed to be correct.

So, in summary, I believe that everything in the chain of digital audio data can and will have an audible effect on the final sound, whether you can hear it or not. Will it show in the specs, a sonograph, or a waveform comparison? You would not be able to find it visually, or come up with a way to measure it with electrical instruments, but could you hear it if you are listening for it? The more complex and layered the final audio output, the more likely you are to notice differences.

Moving digital audio data that represents 30Hz to 22kHz and 0db to 100db sound levels is not simple 1s and 0s.


Listen to what DPCoffey is telling you.  Research Ethernet communications.  I have worked with the technology.  There is full error correction built into the receiver and error correction codes are sent with the data.  The received signal is quantized to a 1 or a 0 by a slicer.  At these short distance you are not getting errors and it will not improve your sound quality.  Spend you money on stuff that will improve sound quality.  

@12many et al


Nice of you to post your concern for how others may or may not spend their money. Additionally, its difficult to convince people who have experienced dramatic improvements in their audio enjoyment by optimizing their ethernet/digital streaming enjoyment that it’s imagined. Many skeptics have been converted…by listening. You may not be one of them.

Don't know what it is however I was at an audio show several years ago and they had a training room set up for the dealers. They were demonstrating the difference in ethernet cables. Lo and behold there was a difference. You can try for yourself with a cheap cable versus a name brand cable you will see the difference.

Assuming that digital send/receive protocols work as explained by the many network people on this site, then one thing that could cause Ethernet cables to sound differently from each other would be the effect of noise and shielding as discussed here.  Another review article I found stated:

The main culprit, as with all of HiFi, seems to be of RFI/EMI noise. Some Ethernet cables have filter blocks, proprietary shielding designs, higher quality conductors, and connectors. All of these design decisions seem to shape the RFI noise that ends up in the analog section of your components. There’s no way to completely eliminate noise – but manufacturers are finding ways to mitigate it.

It seems the higher CAT rated cables offer different and/or improved shielding.  Also, based on what I have seen, many of the expensive "audiophile" CAT cables being sold are of the higher CAT 7 or CAT 8 variety.  I have read about the Supra CAT8 Ethernet Cable being a particularly good bargain but other CAT8 cables may sound just as good, assuming the shielding results in the differences. 

I have used CAT 7 and CAT 8 and fiber for a 45 foot run from my router to my server and all three options sounded fine - I simply did not hear differences.  I simplified by removing the fiber and currently use just a single 45-foot CAT8 cable into a Network Acoustics ENO then into my server.

It’s not just 1s and 0s, the data rides in an analog signal which can pick up noise from various sources. This noise is clearly audible in a resolving audiophile system

I'll summarize my experience as accurately as I can.  This is over a 15 month period.  I am using an Ayon Stealth DAC and Transport.  Together they sound killer.  They create a large expansive soundstage with more detail and resolution in CDs than I ever thought possible.  I could have almost thrown out my turntable.  Well, not really but you get my point.  Then I added a ROON based music server.  I ripped all of my CDs to FLAC files.  Once I got a better USB cable I could not hear the difference between my Server/FLAC files and the CD playing on my transport.  My transport upsamples to DSD128 via I2S to my DAC.  My music server is USB to my DAC.

I started streaming with an ethernet (CAT7) cable from my router direct to my music server.  44.1/16 files streaming had some smearing, less detail/resolution than the CD and I found the highs somewhat harsh and grainy- worse in the middle of the day.  I'd say that I had to stream a 96/24 file to get the equivalent sound of my CD player or FLAC files.  Next I added a network bridge powered by a linear power supply.  Things improved some but it was clear that 44.1/16 files streaming were still lacking.  

Then I added the Fiber Media Converters just to try it out.  I have a 15 foot long optical cord.  I didn't even try the FMC's with their wall warts.  I went to linear power supplies straight on.  This is the way to go.  For me, 44.1/16 files streaming are very close to CD now.  Streaming Hi Res sounds fantastic and very close if not indistinguishable to downloaded hi res files.  

Nightime listening is still a bit better sounding than during the middle of the day but the difference is smaller now.  But that can be true for vinyl as well.

i tried to buy the sonore optical module last winter but after waiting 4 months I gave up on it.  I'm happy with my set up now and have no further plans to change things.

CAT8 is 22awg - the thickest wire of the CATs and therefore arguably the best durability.  It also has optimum shielding and twists but maybe not much if any different from CAT7.  It is by far the fastest but that speed is not needed in a home environment so the only reasons to pay more are for the extra copper and the shielding.  


What you are saying is technically incorrect.  The data is encoded, such as using PAM constellations, meaning the digital signal (1 and 0) are converted to a multilevel signal such that each transmitted symbol represents more than one bit.  As the signal is transmitted over the channel, it starts to appear as an analog signal due to the nature of high speed transmission and the channel.  This can be seen as eye diagrams.   The data does not ride or sit on an analog signal.  Just the opposite, the data is the signal.  Upon receipt at a receiver, the voltage of the signal is detected at specific time and that voltage is compared to numerous thresholds.  The signal is then re-created based on the voltage value in relation to the threshold to re-create the PAM signal.  For example, if the threshold are 0, 1, 2, and 3 in a PAM4 system, and if the received value is 1.1, then the signal is re-created and a 1 value is output.  The noise or timing error that causes the received signal to be 1.1 instead of 1 does not have any impact after slicing (quantization).  If the received signal is 1.4, it is sliced to 1.  If the received signal is 2.7, it is output at a 3 from the slicer.  Again, that noise or timing error does not have any impact.  The signal is recreated and the noise discarded.  The PAM4 signals are then decoded back to 1s and 0.  This is a good link to read.  


Best of all, the bit error rate of the home ethernet networks is amazingly good.  There are CTLE, FFE, DFE that all clean up the signal to correct channel degradation.  Plus, there is error correction such that each packet includes a error correction data that is used to detect and correct errors. And if, in the very rare instance, an error is not correctable, the packet will be resent and filled into the buffer of the streamer.  A typical bit error rate is 10 to the minus 13, which means that for every 10,000,000,000,000 bit sent, there is 1 error.  People do not hear this.  

Even if there were issues (which there are not) between the steaming source, which could may be an another city or state, and your streaming box, the last 3 feet inside your house is the least of your worries after the likely awful path the data has already taken for the miles or hundreds of miles to get to you.  And, over ultra short 3 foot link, there is so little signal degradation that we should not even be having this conversation.  I encourage anyone to correct any technical errors I have made to advance the conversation and improve the accuracy of this forum.  

It never ceases to amaze me how digital experts ignore RMi/EFI and ground level distortion. The issue isn’t at all about lost bits but rather about these distortions affecting timing and the subsequent D/A conversion. That’s why cable shielding and the quality of the conductors (dependent on purity of the metal) have such a big influence, The more distortion is travelling along the cables the harder the subsequent error correction circuits have to work, which in turn results in additional timing errors, not lost bits! And accurate timing is crucial for transmitting the spatial and attack and decay information in the analogue domain.

I like to use this little device for grounding my shielded Cat cables, when the piece of equipment the cable is being connected to doesn't provide a true earth ground.

Ethernet grounding adapter kit

Since we're on the subject, and even though Cat 7 or Cat 8 cables are not mentioned, some may find this article informative:

What makes a good Ethernet cable for audio applications?

Here's what audioquest has to say about one of their lowest quality ethernet cables. This is the one I'm positive I heard an audio performance improvement on. It was easy for me to perform numerous quick A/B comparisons, when switching back and forth to my standard Cat 5 patch cable, and this Pearl. Call me crazy, but I know I heard a sonic improvement.

audioquest Cat 7 Pearl cable

I just wanted a better ethernet cable from my router to my new iMac so after perusing all the articles and reviews, I found a one meter Cat 8 cable on Amazon for $8 that’s gotten 4.7 star reviews. Heck, they even printed out the Fluke measurement results.

At that price and not getting one for audio purposes, how could I pass on it? But if it were for audio purposes, I’d try out the ones that "sound" better.

All the best,

Head on down the cable deniers rabbit hole.

My gear sounds awesome with every improvement I made.

Have a great day. 


Bingo we’ve another winner. Your post as mine will do little, forget digital and measurable facts, many will hear what they want. As most I believe in the brain, ear correlation. I’d also believe great earbuds in space but I’d sure as F… want to see Scientific and Digital fact on paper before you slingshotted me up there. And of course the only burning in is out the A.. end, start to finish !


If you are using ethernet to connect to a DAC, I recommend that your communicate with the manufacturer.  For example, DCS recommends an Unshielded CAT 5 cable rather than a potentially more expensive and in particular shielded cable.  In fact, they recommend AGAINST a CAT 6, 7 or 8 shielded cable.  They explained to me that the reason is the design of their circuit-- what they do with the incoming signal (voltage).  

Another + on Blue Jeans Ethernet cable I didn't think ethernet could make a difference at all decided to give BJ a try cause they were cheap $17 for a 1M cable bought two and got a nice increase in clarity from a lower noise floor.

I wanted to provide a few more details that may be helpful. What is important to remember is while there is signal degradation that occurs in the channel (cable) the processing inside the network receiver and transmitter (pre-equalization) overcomes the signal degradation. Plus, we are talking about a very short run between audio components. The engineers who designed the Ethernet system know what they are doing.

Ethernet cable consists of 4 twisted pair conductors, so 8 conductors total. Each twisted pair carries a differential signal meaning the voltage on the pair is not referenced to ground, but is the difference between the voltage on the two conductors that form the pair. The audio world understands this as being very similar to a balanced audio cable. Therefore, if noise or interference does couple into one or more of the pairs it does not matter because it will for the most part couple into both conductors, which will not change the value of the voltage difference between the two conductors. This takes care of noise, EMI, RFI that may couple into only conductor, and any small amount that couples into only one conductor is accounted for by the slicer that I described above. This is a good link.

As to shielding/grounding, it usually unnecessary unless there is a specific reason and can actually harm the audio outcome. One reason it is not needed is because the signal is a differential signal as discussed above, and the signals values are not referenced to a ground, but to the other voltage value of the two twisted pair. Second, the shielding with grounded will couple one device chassis ground to another. If/when once devices ground is at a different voltage than the ground value of a second device, then couple these two together with a grounded end to end shielding will couple the bad or non-zero ground into the other device(s). In my opinion, if this finds its way into analog devices such as the DAC, where the analog signal exists, that could spell trouble. One might think ground is the same everywhere, however each device may have leakage, coupling, interference, or a bad ground. We don’t what that device’s poor or different ground to leak into other device chassis.  We don't want that coupled from one device to the next.  Trust the designers of the Ethernet system. Grounded/shielded cables can be needed for industrial applications or where specific issues exist, but not for typical 3 foot runs in an audio system.

This is a good link that explains the issued better than me, with multiple posters each providing the information slightly different with pictures. I find this help me understand.

Finally, as to retiming, the data gets retimed at every network device, such as at the switch or router or streamer. This can be performed by retimers, or other hardware in the network interface This is all taken care of so we don’t need to worry about it. This link is a good screen shot because it shows the eye diagram I reference above, with and without re-timing. Notice the improvement due to the retiming module Keep in mind, the digital signal is completely regenerated within the network interface after retiming anyway.




The Audioquest write-up is from the marketing department.  The first paragraph may have validity for analog signals but neither their long grain copper nor the polyethylene insulation will make an audible difference to a digital signal. The second paragraph basically supports their use of CAT7 cable, and/or any other CAT7 cable.

Frankly, I find it amazing that there's so much focus on what could possibly go wrong with a 3-10ft network cable.  Considering the audio isn't transmitted at 1Gb frequencies, then even lowly CAT5 will suffice just fine.  Any decent network cable will do fine.  If one is to believe there is a sonic difference between network cables on a digital signal, then please explain how the signal didn't degrade to unacceptable levels through transmission from the storage server in Qobuz, Tidal, Apple, Amazon, etc., in the hundreds or thousands of miles to your streamer.