Ethernet cables

Hello everybody!

I would like to have your opinions about Ethernet cables. I recently saw some silly expensive Ethernet cables! Do you think it is worth spending a huge amount for a cable which transfers data? Your thoughts please! 
Thank you!


Definitely worth it.

Mine weren't expensive, but also not cheap. The last two in the chain, from wall to switch, and to streamer.

Triode Wire Labs Freedom. Very happy with them.



Assuming you have a high-end system with the requisite resolutioncapabilitiesc: (a fine but important distinction) ….

Then the run-of-the-mill junk cables you get at STAPLES is a huge step down.…brittle, annoying digital “edge”, raspy, generally harsh and very fatiguing …full stop.

2nd thought based on actual experiences.

to max out the performance of quality audiophile Ethernet cables, think

- linear power supplies into the network switch,

- insert a step-up audiophile network switch ( yes…I used to be a big sceptic too) , and

- if your  sreamer/ DAC lacks an internal linear power supply, then plug one here too.

Another do cables matter discussion.
Have you used a search function? It almost seems like you’re trawling here. 

"Digital is just 1's and 0's" is a good way to think about data trasfer (banks, nuclear weapons, photo downloads) but not streaming.  Streaming can's use FTP with error checking that will take whatever time it takes to get files bit perfect.  Streaming will just move on, play the song, with whatever bits it has been able to gather.  So good cables make a difference.

That said, with the stupid expensive cables you are paying for a lot of marketing, salesmanship, cosmetiic upgrades and perhaps not much engineering improvement. the sweet spot is probably in the middle somewhere.


Ethernet cables like all other interconnects in high end audio can make a significant difference, depending on your system and components they can make an almost imperceptible difference or a very substantial one. Matching the cost with the improvement by experimentation is a prudent method to choose cables. I use DHLabs and Cardas Ethernet cables although I have tried a few others,

Applying logic as to why they should or should not make a difference is best done after you have tried a variety of them, 

As others have chimed in, 


As to why, I have no idea, but they do.



And  Soblon 

Both made in the u.k and much better then main strsam digital cables 

Even a Bluejeans Cat6a will be a vast improvement over any stock Amazon whatever. Of course, the Bluejeans is as far as I’ve gotten! ;)

But yeah, also a decent network switch and linear power supplies wherever you can manage is a big part of it. Finally, some filtering too (not to get too off topic but that also helps):

These are affordable and also made a difference


You asked, so my answer is no. I doubt anyone here has honestly heard a difference they could reliably distinguish on sonics alone. Some might say use CAT 8 because of the additional shielding but I am even skeptical of that. As a mid-point between super cheap and stupid expensive, I like these simply because of the connectors and build quality.  If you have a long run, consider optical/fiber.

@audphile1 I like boats are we Trawling now? There are no silly questions regarding Audiophile salvation!😎

I believe we are running a purse seiner….. sorry - couldn’t resist. 

on topic…. great sturdy connectors and verified quality assurance matter, and shielding….

My experience albeit somewhat dated is 50% DOA on Bluejeans

Suggested for APEX dCS streamer/dac ($32k), I have tried for 2 weeks with resounding success: Nordost QNet network switch & QSource Linear Power Supply and premium QSource DC Umbilical interface cables, all $6.3k.  This upgrade is really justified -although expensive-  .

+1 @ghdprentice

purchase cables to the level of your audio system - under and your cabling bottlenecks sonics, over and your money is quickly wasted. So be prudent.

Do you think it is worth spending a huge amount....

In this hobby, "yes" is what we often tell ourselves.....

They absolutely make a difference and the ones that I have had the best results with are Wireworld, especially the red starlitght 8 and my reference the Platinum (my favorite). The build quality is second to none and believe it or not (and I wasn’t a believer) they make a big difference in sound, just like interconnects. Highly recommend. Would I spend a huge amount of money? Maybe not, but these are very reasonably priced and I’m comfortable at this level for the results that I’m getting.

@coachpoconnor check the link I posted. Tons of data out there if you’re willing to do your research. 

My attitude towards cables, particularly digital ones, is to go one step up from the basement, but not to go into the stratosphere 

They absolutely make a difference and as mentioned should be commensurate in quality to the rest of your system. The "zeros and ones" argument is a false one because the issue is with noise on the line - if not removed - will travel to downstream and present both noise and timing errors for the streamer and DAC to cope with.

Ditto the first answer.

Triode Wire Labs freedom. I have two, one from extender to optical isolation and a very short one from switch to streamer. It gets complicated but it all makes significant improvements.

Everything matters.  A While back, Jay of Jays Audio Lab said to save the Either net cables for last because they made the least amount of difference.

Take it with however much salt you wish.

No, no it's not worth it. Ones and zeroes don't know nor care how they travel and all the stupidly expensive cables absolutely will not change that.

+2, @ghdprentice …well said!

It is much easier to discern differences between cables in a well appointed system. 

No, no it's not worth it. Ones and zeroes don't know nor care how they travel and all the stupidly expensive cables absolutely will not change that.

And here they are.  Well, it was a good thread while it lasted.



8,357 posts


No, no it's not worth it. Ones and zeroes don't know nor care how they travel and all the stupidly expensive cables absolutely will not change that.

And here they are.  Well, it was a good thread while it lasted.

And this is exactly why I answered the way I did. If you’ve seen one Ethernet Cables discussion, you’ve seen ‘em all. 

If you have a good system  it is worth investing in good cable. One of the best ethernet cables is  J cat Signature LAN Cable GOLD.

Supra CAT 8 work well in my system. Relatively inexpensive, solid connectors, double screen insulation.

I just bought an Aurender N100 from another member and found that I didn’t have a spare Ethernet cable, so I bought one at Best Buy.  Seems to work fine (but then my system is not as revealing as some here have). 

for a digital signal you will not hear anything different - digital signals have error correction - save your money for the analog cable which is audible and lacks error correction. 

Think about it - you're streaming digital information over the Internet where the info transects hundreds or thousands of other cables en route to your streamer - you really think the last 10-20' is going to make it better? 

you really think the last 10-20' is going to make it better?

no but the last meter might. 

Maybe we could ask for peoples experience with digital cables on their streaming system.

Also, have these people identify their system.

One person may say they can’t hear a difference and have a system that isn’t very revealing. Another might say they hear every difference and have an extremely revealing system.

I use a digital coaxial cable between my transport and DAC. It makes a DRASTIC difference.

I have a Meridian 800 transport modified by The Repair Shop (Marc Koval, authorized Meridian repair shop is THE BEST!!!!!) with a linear power supply and all other boards removed except for the digital audio output board. It runs into a Meridian 861v8 DAC. Amplifiers are Pass XA-200.5's with Wilson Sasha I speakers.

Power conditioner is a Sound Application TT-7 with CH Acoustic X-20 power cords and MIT Oracle Interconnects and speaker cables.

The last non-audiophile who heard my system said she couldn't hear the speakers because they disappear - the music is a 3 dimensional soundstage.

I'm not bragging, just explaining. Because of a divorce, I am taking my system down. When I get it back up, anyone in the central NJ area is welcome to hear it. I'd only ask you post your comments.

Best, TJF

No, I don't think it's worth spending a huge amount.  Out of curiosity, I purchased an ethernet cable that several members here touted on Amazon, easily returnable.  That's when I found out ethernet cables can sound different.  It made my system sound worse than the standard issue provided by my cable company, so back it went.  I was not about to wait several hundred hours to let it "break in".  I then tried DH Labs Reunion ethernet cable as it was also returnable.  I think it sounded better. It definitely looked prettier, so I kept it.

Ethernet cables are directional whether they are marked or not- at least the silver plated wire ones are.  So if it sounds bad, try turning it around.  I bought some silver plated wire Pangea ethernet cables about a year ago.  They made my previous NUC based music server sound better.  They were not marked but they were directional.  It wasn't hard to tell the difference.  The highs were edgy and grating one way and smooth the other way.  I had the same thought at first- these silver plated wire cables sound worse than my basic cheap ethernet cables.  Then I thought to reverse them and they sounded much better.  I don't think it took much time to tell the  difference.  So I had to try out each cable both directions, and I marked them; but by the third one I could tell right away.  Also, the cable closest to the server is most noticeable with the cable between modem and router the least noticeable.  The Pangea are very reasonable offering silver plated Cardas wire.  I later bought some AQ ethernet cables with thicker silver plating.  It improved the sound but I'd say the improvement didn't match the increase in cost.  I kept the AQ because cost is a secondary issue for me at this point.

Hearing a difference in ethernet cables is system dependent.  The better cables make the TV picture look better but I don't hear a difference with my HT system setup.  With my stereo system the difference is night and day.  I have found a handful of songs that have bad mic clipping with my stereo system.  I can't play those songs on my stereo, it's too grating.  Play the same songs on my HT system or in my car and I can't hear the clipping at all.  The detail just isn't there.  I can hear guitar strings rattle in some songs on my stereo that cannot be heard in the car or on the HT system.  You just don't know it's there until you hear it in a more critical system.  So, careful what you wish for.

I do not believe in audible differences between 2 properly made Ethernet cables of Cat6 or better. What I do believe in is never using the absolute cheapest example either. So I settled on Belden cat 6e. Belden individually tests each cable to ensure it’s up to proper spec. I chose cat 6e over 7 or 8 because there’s some evidence that the extra shielding in 7-8 can potentially cause ground loop issues. And cat 6e avoids this and is WAY faster than your music is streaming. It’s my opinion you can’t do better for an Ethernet cable. And it’s about $30 shipped.


By all means spend $2000 on a data cable if you just like having cool, expensive cables. Nothing wrong with that if you can afford it. But I do not think your $2000 Ethernet cable is getting you any actual advantages. 


Not many spend $2000 on an ethernet cable. Those who do, will have systems to match. And the effect of the cable would be noticeable compared to the Belden.

The Belden is a reasonable start.

My Triode Wire Labs ’Freedom’ have also been good value, in keeping with my system cost.

Going down the digital path for several years now, I've made a number of changes from DAC's to music-server/streamers, and the cabling that goes along with them.  There has been a lot of good information rendered in this topic.  What I have found on my digital journey is that while cabling does make a noticeable difference, getting a good solid digital equipment foundation is more important, then honing it with the right support components like cables.  The DAC changes I've made seem to have made the most noticeable difference in sound improvement.  Then going to a better music-server/streamer and re-clocking the USB signal certainly improved the sound.  Then I worked on improving the USB signal from the server to the DAC with different cables.  The improvement in streaming in my system happened last not with a new streamer but with changes upstream in the digital signal.  When I listened to the exact same song loaded onto my music-server/streamer, then streamed from QoBuz that same song through the same device, the streamed music left something to be desired.  Adding in an Ethernet re-generator from the modem to the music-server/streamer brought the listening between the two sources much closer and difficult to discern.  At that point, I felt that changing out the Ethernet cabling would be next., so I tried an Ethernet cable that was notably more expensive than my present rather inexpensive one and I noticed a slight improvement in micro-detail bringing the music experience to what I was hearing just from the loaded music on the music-server.  At this point, I don't think I can improve the sound from either music loaded on the music-server or the streamed music unless I start changing out equipment in the digital path.  (like a DAC or music-server/streamer)  What this experimentation taught me was getting better USB and Ethernet clocking/lowering jitter, and noise reduction made the most difference and allowed me to then hone-in on other changes like cabling to squeeze out the remaining sonic improvement.  In essence, get your digital components the best you can, then do your tweaking with cables...  

Yes of course they matter and so many here with good systems can hear that.  Easy to ignore those that can not hear it.  But what really matters is the LAST ethernet cable going into your streamer.  I use good but reasonably priced Link-Up 22 g cat 8 from Amazon for my long runs from computer room to music systems.  Then I have a Network Acoustics Muon Pro filter between that and the streamer.  One of the reasons this Muon works so well is the fixed high end ethernet cable coming out of it and going into the streamer.   I use no cheap wall couplings and run the long wires through the wall directly to the Muon.  It sounds better than without it.  I also just upgraded the very stock 13" piece of ethernet cable INSIDE the Grimm MU1 with a Kubala Sosna Realization ethernet cable.  Wow.  So much smoother and fuller sounding.  See, the cheap cable was AFTER the Muon Pro and again degrading the sound.  You don't have to rewire the whole house (although i did with the Link-Up vs the old cheap wire), just put a meter or two of nice wire right before the streamer.   Use a good coupler, like JCAT Net Isolator, not a cheap wall plate.  Or, consider the Muon Filter as this helps in a couple of mysterious ways, one being the quality cable.

it is never worth spending a 'huge' amount of money on any cable, lan cables included - relative to the rest of your system, your major components

but it IS absolutely worth spending a decent/reasonable amount of money to make sure you have good quality cables, well constructed, using quality materials

how much is reasonable? it depends on your ears your system your spending power....

I recently replaced the ice maker control board in my fridge and snagged a wire.

I soldered on some wire I had on hand for speaker repairs. The ice maker now makes colder cubes than ever before, plus the ice makes a much better crackling sound in the glass. Must be the upgraded wire. 

I think lugsy is mocking us audiophiles.  

Everyone knows that filling ice cube trays with hot water freezes faster.

It's been fun and fascinating to hear how one cable can influence the sound of my system. I've owned a couple dozen or so ethernet cables (from $10-$1000) and they all sounded different to me. The Triode Wire Lab FREEDOM is the first cable that I thought sounded beautiful and RIGHT from the start. And, not expensive at all IMHO.

@lugsytl47 I call 🐂 💩

unless you conducted controlled blind testing, I don’t believe you. I suggest sending your fridge to Amir at ASR to see if his measurements confirm your confirmation bias induced findings.

Post removed 

First, it’s important to point out that the OP asked for opinions, and that the ethernet cable believers do not have monopoly here. Many post in a civil manner and keep things respectful, but there are a a few that do not -- you know who you are -- and just so you know you don’t come off as credible by insulting other people or chasing them out.

Now, on to the topic at hand: I’ve had many, many different ethernet cables. Probably hundreds, albeit none purchased with the idea of changing the sound in mind. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t notice a change if it occurred.

I agree that really cheap cables should be avoided, because the ends are crappy and their ability to hold a good connection degrades terribly over time and the physical ends degrade.

You may also want to stay away from Cat7 if you are concerned about any form of EMF (highly theoretical) traveling down because the shielded ends can defeat the otherwise inherent galvanic isolation of ethernet.

So, buy well constructed cables within spec. Some "audiophile cables" are deliberately out of spec so beware.

If you review the myriads of discussions out there on the point of ethernet cables for audio (not just here - Roon’s forum, AudiophileStyle, plenty others) you will notice that those with science, engineering, and networking credentials come vastly down on the side that there is no way that the composition of the ethernet cable will impact sound quality except by being faulty and causing dropouts. No deeper soundstage, no crisper highs.

Ethernet is packet based with robust error correction that moves well faster than necessary to keep the streamer buffers full. There is no meaningful possibility of data errors affecting sound quality.

Noise on the line is a separate issue, but the material composition of the cables won’t change that. Isolation does. Ethernet already provides that if you don’t deliberately defeat it. But if you’re really double concerned, you can eliminate that issue with fiber optic network cabling (requires an adapter at each end) which is quite a bit cheaper than many of the more exotic ethernet with fiber you know you’ve nailed it first time and there’s no swapping out cables to see where the soundstage is better. That said I believe fiber to be completely unnecessary but in science and engineering it is at least an undeniably supported solution to this theoretical concern.

Not here to argue. We do not need to start a debate. I just believe it is important to have balance in these discussions. Ethernet cable believers are eager to chime in and recruit...I just want people to think logically for themselves and understand the tech before they spend their $$$.

Ethernet is, in fact, zeros and ones.  What's important are that the end connections are tight.  I don't know that the cable itself is super important as long as it's capable of not breaking down through twists and turns.  When we talk about digital, think about a typed message.  It doesn't matter much what kind of paper it's on, or what screen you  read it on. As long as it's clear and legible, the message is the same.  If, however, the connections are not secure, the components can retransmit the packets until the other end gets a good read. That retransmission takes time and can degrade performance, just like if the typed message is smudged or misspelled. Then you have to read it several times before you understand it.  Ethernet is the same.  Shielding can help reduce RMI interference.  The wires themselves are twisted pairs to reduce interference.  By the way, we don't talk much about the quality of the air when we talk about wireless or bluetooth.  That's because, wi-fi and bluetooth are digital.  Digital means that no matter how you get the message, it says the same thing.


Shielding can help reduce RMI interference. The wires themselves are twisted pairs to reduce interference.

True for “copper” Ethernet cables, false for fiber optic. There are streamers made today that accept this type of connection and with it you completely eliminate noise.

By the way, we don’t talk much about the quality of the air when we talk about wireless or bluetooth. That’s because, wi-fi and bluetooth are digital. Digital means that no matter how you get the message, it says the same thing.

Nice view of earth from space!
However, in audio and video applications Bluetooth is a lossy transmission due to the method’s inherent compression. WiFi is definitely better. But you’re missing a huge part of the equation here, which is the receiver that is now required to be part of the streamer’s design in order for your streamer to be wifi or Bluetooth. These devices, because they’re bidirectional when it comes to commission with the host, send and receive data. By doing that inside the streamer there’s quite a bit of noise that will be generated inside the unit. In addition this may potentially negatively impact other components in close vicinity to such device. Not to mention the receivers need to be powered and will consume some of the streamer’s power supply capacity. The noise must be dealt with to mitigate impacts to audio quality. It is extremely difficult if not impossible to completely eliminate this problem.
So the quality of air, to your point, is immaterial. You got bigger fish to fry there.

  • .......I started a very similar thread  ( my apology ) and much to what has been discussed here, the quality of the cable is important to a degree but it is the connections that seems to play the most importance. I am new to this side of the audio world but just purchased the Accuphase digital separates and they have a coaxial as well as an ethernet connection between the DAC and transport. It seems that Accuphase likes the ethernet connection between these two pieces. So with that said and true to Cardas Audio ......they use their own copper wires but use the very good German Ethernet connector ; Telegartner. So the wire is important but what I am reading is that the connector is critical. Thoughts ....?           

@tonywinga Just some humour not mocking. I learn

plenty of info on these threads, the cable discussions are “interesting”. As another poster above states audio streaming files have gone through umpteen connection points on Internet and arrive as intended. Pretty sure Tidal etc. does not instant that their Data Centres use Cardas interconnects but that last couple feet in the living room. As far as what people think they hear, go for it. 

I found the wire in the ethernet cables matter. Bits are bits but the high frequency internet data transmission rates behave like an analog wave. The Signal to Noise ratio of digital is superior to analog but it is still not impervious to noise. My theory is that the 5-80 MHz ethernet signal is affected by the skin effect of wire. Therefore, silver plated ethernet wires might be sufficient for improved sound vs. full silver wire. The required thickness of silver plating for the skin effect can be calculated based on the frequency of the ethernet signal. My theory could be all wet but it seems to work in practice. Pangea ethernet cables are relatively inexpensive- about 8 times the cost of a basic budget cable. For the money however, you get silver plated cardas wire and good, robust connectors. I found them effective at improving the sound with my NUC based music server, but as I said, they are not marked but are directional.

Another good experiment that was discussed in these forums a few years back is to have someone disconnect the ethernet cable from your music server while listening to the music. Since the music is delivered in packets and buffered, it will continue to play for several seconds. Many of us noted an improvement in the sound for those few seconds of disconnected playing. Interesting, especially since that last packet of music was already downloaded. That implies the ethernet cables are carrying in noise that affects the server and DAC. It would seem that my NUC based music server that I had at the time had no isolation. So I added a fiber optic link to my ethernet to disconnect my music server galvanically- or electrically. The sound improved. Next I tried the Pangea silver plated ethernet cables and found more improvement. And finally I did the big step and bought an audio grade network switch. I didn’t expect much but found it a good step up in sound. I also found it performed better without the fiber optic link.

To summarize: The ethernet behaves like an analog wave. It’s not analog but the high frequencies have characteristics that mimic analog.

Streaming music files behave differently than downloaded music files.

Line noise/EMI is a factor in streaming music.

Silver conductors seem to work better with high frequencies- i.e. above the audible range. Maybe.

The better servers, streamers and DACs are moving towards isolation and reclocking. My new DAC and Music server/streamer have double isolation and reclocking. They sound fantastic but the downside is that I cannot turn them off. Otherwise it takes a couple of days for the clocks to stabilize for optimum sound. Hard for me to reconcile since I grew up in the midwest with a Dad who didn’t allow lights to be left on in a room unattended. And another thing, it took me about 20 years to stop eating all of the food on my plate.  So maybe in a few years I'll get over having to leave half of my stereo on all the time.