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!


The tendency is to compare digital signal transmission to a telegraph.  After all, the dot-dash DC circuit of the telegraph is similar to the 0-1 of digital.  And like the DC circuit of a telegraph the voltage of a digital signal is either 0 or 5 Volts.  We tend to imagine an analog wave form as something like a +/- sine wave or combination of sine waves overlapping.  Digital signals are waves too.  They do not cross zero but they have a bias of 2.5 Volts.  ie. over time the average voltage of a square wave of a digital signal will be something around 2.5 Volts.  That means the digital square wave "zero crossing" is at 2.5 Volts.  Given that these square waves are propagating at 5 MHz and higher, they share many properties of analog waveforms.  They can experience phase shift due to capacitance or inductance and they can pick up distortion although their tolerance for distortion is much higher than analog.  On the other hand, digital signals for streaming are less tolerant to phase shift or timing.

 Ethernet and USB cables have an impact on the sound of streaming music that many claim is impossible.  Meanwhile, audio hobbyists may not fully understand why or how but find ways to improve and move forward the state of the art.

Maybe I'm talking out of my hat here but much of what we experience with streaming hifi manifests itself more as a wave than not.

Just buy regular CAT6 cables you will never know the difference and for get that. Communications companies use CAT6 and 5 at high speeds in Data Centers without errors or issues. Spend your money else where.

Im of the belief that everything that you do in your system has the potential for making a difference.  Whether that difference can be heard or not depends on the resolution of your system.  Whether that difference can be heard and is worth the additional money is another story.  Every little improvement also adds up usually.  So adding a few extremely minor improvements can add up to a cumulative positive effect.  I use a 50ft run Supra CAT 8 Ethernet cable from my music server direct to my MSB DAC. Was it a major leap forward over my CAT 5e cable? Nope.  A very minor but audible improvement. But I also have a Tripp-lite isolation transformer, two Puron Power filters, and a GigaFoil v4 in the system.  Each made a difference, but cumulatively, It was a big improvement, say 15-20%. FYI, off-topic, but I found the Purons (my last tweak added) to make a startlingly significant improvement!

Well made and well-shielded, not-junk ethernet cables are essential for carrying any data from point A to B. They need to meet modern standards too, as Ethernet speeds are not the same today as they were years ago. However, the stupid expensive ones are just that-- stupid. They are transmitting digital data not analog signals and will not sound better despite of all of the wild claims made by manufacturers. No one will be able to tell the difference in any true blind A-B comparison. So yes, a well-made cable should deliver data packets with fewer errors, which get corrected upon delivery BTW, but to equate the price of ethernet cables with sound quality is just more audiophile nonsense.