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!



Well Put! Just one problem though. They (cable sellers) are not cable manufacturers. Just like us they buy digital/data cables on amazon/ebay under $10/pc and add jacket (and heat shrink tubing) in someone’s garage or warehouse and sell them for hundreds of dollars.


We know digital/data signals are stepping/square waves in the form of discrete values, but you call those signals ANALOG? Furthermore... "the square wave’s weakness is distortion causing timing and phase shifts. And EMI or RFI can get in the line and ride all the way into your DAC"

I actually want to learn more about it. Can you give us reference links or citations or some other source of the information?

Thank you.

Network audio relies on error free bulk data transfer. When the musical data is transferred from the source to the destination the data is broken up into thousands of small data packet/frames. Each chunk of data has an associated checksum. If timing or phase errors occur causing one or more bits to be received incorrectly the checksum will fail, the packet will be discarded and eventually re-transmitted. Once a packet/frame is received at the destination it will be copied and moved around in system memory multiple times. The data will eventually be reassembled in system memory and then the process of generating an analog signal will begin.

Some one on the internet ran an experiment where he/she wrapped an electrical cable around an Ethernet cable and measured a small 60 Hz signal coming out the DAC. When the electrical cable was removed the 60 Hz signal disappeared. Maybe some one here can reproduce that experiment.

This is a summary of about 3 years of study on the subject and experimentation on my part to confirm or dispel others’ claims. I can’t cite a single source that would explain it all. Much of the information is scattered about. I’ve not had technical courses or been tested on this subject matter so I am open to corrections and clarifications. But you will find references to digital signal transmission having an analog component. I think a lot of the information is held closely as trade secrets and to hold a competitive advantage. The IEEE specs for data transmission has protocols and standards that the industry follows, but beyond that it is up to engineers and designers to finds ways to beat out everyone else. In time more information will find its way into classrooms.

When it comes to cables- Caveat Emptor. Yes, a lot of hocum in the world of cables. I stick to the more established brands with a pedigree. They often cost more but they also resell better. If you research wire, only a handful of wire makers exist in the USA with the experience and know- how to draw wire for the best sound in audio. The drawing process is crucial. Finding out who the companies are would be a real feat. The cable makers hold their cards close to their chest. Beyond that, materials, weave types and assembly processes play a crucial role as well to the sound of cables.  Look for companies with the technical resources to develop cables.  Not just put something together that looks pretty.  They need to have a lab with the proper test equipment.  Another thing is to take note of what cables vendors use at audio shows like Axpona.  Not the rooms specifically selling a brand of cable but the rooms that are showing off their speakers, amps or sources.  I actually saw a lot of rooms using the same few brands.

As for Ethernet and USB cables, 4 years ago I did not believe they could impact the sound at all. Digital has come a long way. CD players up to the early 90s couldn’t hold a candle to vinyl’s low level detail and the ability to create a 3D soundstage. Now my digital rig is as good as my best vinyl. That is is all done digitally- creating lifelike images in space like analog totally amazes me. But just like with vinyl, everything matters.

" I can’t cite a single source that would explain it all." of course i already knew it.

I know the IEEE very well our team has submitted our research manuscripts to them a few times. I can’t really find "digital signal waves are analog". So could you be more specific about the IEEE specs for data transmission in regards to "it's analog"? I will contact the IEEE tomorrow for details.

Don’t waste money (if you’re not elon musk). Just buy on amazon for less than $10. You won’t find any audible difference at all. Those cable sellers buy them on amazon/ebay just like us and decorate them with fancy jacket or some other snake oil


I didn’t say that about IEEE and you know it.  I said a square wave is analog.  Agree or disagree and explain why.

You are free to buy cheap cables.  They will make sound.  Why are you on this forum is all you want is sound?  This forum is for the pursuit of hifi.