Ethernet opinions

Hello everyone, I finally got my system setup. I had a few setbacks the past few months. My mom had lung cancer and passed away a month ago. It has been a journey getting my system set up which is part of the fun. I am running Pass Labs XP-12, pass 250.8, and Bricasti M3. My original plan was to run the Bricasti with a EERO mesh network since the modem is on the opposite end of the listening space. Needless to say the EERO mesh would not work and Roon could not see my M3. I was on the phone with Bricasti trouble shooting the issue. I removed my M3 from the system and double checked everything with it hard wired to the modem which worked. I was told I could really use any Ethernet for the most part as long as it’s cat 5 or 6. Well, I returned the EERO and got a 25 foot Ethernet cable from Best Buy for 10 dollars. The sound is much better then I was guessing running a 10 dollar cable, for me it’s deff a temp fix. Especially since I bought two audio quest vodka cables. I am using one of them now connecting the room nucleus to the modem at the moment. I have read a bit about blue Jean cables which seem to hold spec. I don’t see me buying a longer Audio quest vodka cable given the cost. In some ways I feel like I spent more then I should have on the Vodka cables at this point. Opinions please ?



@vthokie83 +1 on Supra CAT8! I had it and it’s pretty good. I also tried the version with Telegartner connectors which is better than the stock Supra. As good as the Supra is, and it’s a really good value for the money, it falls slightly short of the performance I hear from my Purist Audio CAT7 ethernet cable or the Network Acoustics Eno Streaming System. The Supra would be nice for a long run between the router and the switch or filter, with the last leg using something like the AQ Vodka into the streamer.

I alternate between the Purist and the Eno just to enjoy the different ways these cables make my system sound. The Purist is slightly more dynamic. The Eno is sweeter, slightly more silky and relaxed sounding in a nice way. Pretty cool to be able to switch between the two once in a while and appreciate the difference.

I have tried a lot of this streaming add-on stuff and my suggestion would be to simply hardwire an Ethernet cable to your streamer and then listen for a while and think about whether the sound meets your expectations.  There is always more stuff to try but, in my system, none of it has come anywhere close to the level of sound improvement I have achieved by improving my streamer and/or DAC.  Some thoughts:

  • I have not heard noticeable differences in Ethernet cables so I went with a generic CAT 8 cable from Amazon because the CAT 8 is better shielded than the lower CAT numbers but, as has been said here, any CAT cable will likely work fine.  
  • You could think about running your signal using fiber, instead of using Ethernet .  Fiber cables are very inexpensive, and the fiber provides isolation,  but you would need a converter at the router and another at your endpoint, near your system.  I have tried my 45-foot run both ways and cannot say I reliably hear a difference between Ethernet and fiber.  I am set up with fiber currently.
  • You could also keep adding stuff, like:
    • a linear power supply on the fiber converter nearest your system, or at both converters (which is what I am doing)
    • a switch at your system, at the Ethernet endpoint or, just following the fiber converter, and then you have the option to run a shorter length of a higher quality Ethernet cable, or simply a very short cable, from the switch into your server (I am using two of the Bonn switches)
    • If you choose to run Ethernet and not fiber, you could consider optical isolation using something like the GigaFOILv4 INLINE Ethernet Filter (I have tried this)
    • some sort of isolation filter prior to your server, such as one of the Network Acoustics models, eno, muon, or muon Pro, which probably work best coming out of a switch with their own Ethernet cable into the filter and then the slaved, short network cable from the filter to the server  (I am using the muon system currently)
    • You can try different connectors between your server and DAC but some here will say those cables make no difference (muon USB in my system)
    • There are a bunch of other add-ons you can read about in these forums and try such as the EtherREGEN

You can spend a lot of money and time on this stuff so my suggestion is to go slow, research how others like the changes you are considering, and make sure you like each improvement before you move on.

Good luck

@mitch2 thank you for the suggestions. That’s the most informative so far. My DAC is hardwired at the moment and I am going to leave it what way for a bit. If anything I may get a blue Jean cable for a while, they are in spec and aren’t expensive. Part of the fun is trying different things to see what works and how the sound can change. I still can’t get over the new system from the old setup. The old one does not even compare and I had it for 15+ years. My wife even loves this setup, prob as much as I do at this point. 

You are welcome.  Just sharing my experiences. Two of the things I like most about a streamer/server set-up are how easy it is to operate and the wide range of music available that I wouldn't have otherwise found out about.  Just yesterday, I learned about three artists I was previously unaware of who are creating music that is similar to other artists I listen to. 

Regarding your hard-wired connection, that is for sure the best way to go, IME.  I have both fiber and Ethernet available over my 45-foot run so I can easily switch between them.  I have done so several times over the past couple of years, and I cannot reliably say I hear a difference - at least to the point where I would be comfortable saying I could tell one from the other based on a blind listening session.  

Regarding mesh networks, in my experience with residential applications, they are generally preferable to a single router when needed to provide internet over longer distances and they are certainly preferable to using boosters.  My outdoor system, which is set up in the garage, is connected to an Orbi mesh satellite, which has Ethernet jacks for hardwiring so, the signal travels wirelessly from my base router over the mesh network to the satellite and then over a short Ethernet cable to a Roon endpoint that feeds a DAC.  That set-up has been great functionally but I cannot comment on whether there are any sound quality differences compared to a hardwired connection directly from the base router, which I what I have always done for my main system. 

@fredrik222 my post letting everyone know that you don't understand streaming was removed.  If a moderator has a problem with that statement, please let me know what rule it violates.

You are spreading misinformation.  Streaming is not bitperfect as you are trying to convince people it is.