Value of a premium Ethernet cable

In my current setup, digital music from a Roon ROCK NUC server travels through an Uptone Audio EtherRegen and a short link of fiber, thence to a long stretch of ordinary contractor-grade Cat 5a cable, and finally to a dCS Bartók streaming DAC.


At substantial effort and expense, I could rearrange things so the final length of Ethernet would be replaced by a single run of something like an Audioquest Vodka Ethernet cable. I'm wondering if anyone has experience of whether this is worth the trouble and expense. Well mostly the expense; the "trouble" is the hobby part of it.


@akg_ca ”…So….I recently did that cable direct bakeoff myself, and the audio improvements were immediate .”… 


@ghdprentice can you share more details on what you baked and how they tastes differed?  Thanks 👨‍🍳 

The part I can agree with is "try it yourself at home"

If you think you are getting noise into your analog system via the Ethernet, I suggest you have a crappy Ethernet NIC so you are expecting magic cables to fix a bad design.  If you tested you would probably find a lot more garbage is from the processors in the router and switches and not RFI. If your receiving device does not take care of it, it was not correctly designed to work in the intended environment. Blame your box, not the cable.  As far as which cable it is possible to transfer this noise, it is only the last link as the signal is reconstructed in the router and any switch. 

If you believe, so be it. 

What you hear is what your brain says, not the actual sound.  -140dB noise flor? Well that is truly fantastic so quite a great system. Not sure how you get that as even a Bryston amp has about a 114 dB SNR. -140 is pushing Johnson noise. With what source material? A CD with 110 dB dynamic range compressed to maybe 40 to make it loud?   A super great LP direct to disk that maybe has 65dB?  Or do you have some first generation  24/192  digital files before mastering?  I bet what you are actually hearing is more like -80 dB if it is actual physical, not perceived. 


Oh, yea, guess I'd agree a lot of big box cables and hubs are junk. So junky I only get 360 Mbs on my computer with Amazon cable, self terminations, Netgear dumb hubs and the supplied Spectrum router and Modem.    Not saying Belden is the only or the best but if you buy their wire, it will meet spec.  I have had no problems with Netgear hubs.  Instead of expensive linear supplies, I just put a ferrite on the wall wart cable. 



If you think you are getting noise into your analog system via the Ethernet, I suggest you have a crappy Ethernet NIC so you are expecting magic cables to fix a bad design.

I’m sure I was getting noise from my Panoramic modem that the streamer is plugged into directly.

The magic Ethernet cable cost $130, came with a 60 day no questions asked return policy and absolutely sounded better than the $20 Belden cable.

No placebo effect, and my bias was in fact against the magic cable - I wanted to send it back.

Tomorrow I will be trying out a black-magic Ethernet cable to compare with the magic cable, also returnable.

Either way this was a low cost solution that didn’t require another powered device that I have no room and no spare outlets for.

Yes, there is abundance of snake oil in this industry but there are also plenty of really effective reasonably priced products.


@macg19 try giving a value Amazon optical set up a try.  Under $100 without LPS. Couple hundred with an LPS. Some like it others don’t and it’s returnable.  Worked wonders for me. Set up is  router-ethernet cable- FMC-Optical cable- 2nd Fmc - best ethernet cable- streamer. 

FMC Need 2:  

Optical cable Need 1:
LPS Optional but worth it , powers 2 FMC’s need 2 cords.


So far, no one has alluded on which type of Ethernet cable is better than others for high end audio.

Jussi Laako - the owner of Signalyst (HQPlayer - a product that I like) has done a lot of research on the pre-DAC part of the signal and signal transfer.

He recommends using CAT6 / 6A U/UTP (plastic connector ends. No shielded cables like STP or F/FTP).

No one has eluded because in truth, CAT-3 is more than what is needed.  This is just another "reaching for magic" topic by well meaning folks who do not understand how Ethernet works.  That extends to a lot of equipment makers apparently. 

Cost has come down, so no harm in running 6a if it makes you feel good and future proofs you. 

Another Freddy. @tvrgeek just let people do what they want to do. Why do you have to piss in everyone's Wheaties?  

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Stupidity. So you are calling people on this forum stupid and they are now enlightened by your presence. All praise the audio messiah.  Who says they are wrong? You? And where is your IEEE papers saying this is fiction, validating your claims. Who asked for your opinions? Do not see people clamoring for your facts Freddy 2. Take your crusade and move along Mr @tvrgeek 

I really do not care as my entire house and our community is 100% fiber. Has been for 20 years. I have 12 inches of HQ Cat6 going from my media converter to my Innuos Zenith. That is it. 

I encourage folks here to do a little research on their own and understand how Ethernet works and how the IP stack works.  As one member suggests, GOOGLE can be your friend.  Things work the way they do, not by some made up rules because someone wants them to work differently. 

Folks  may also be interested in the iFi "better" wall warts if you think switch power noise is causing you an issue. 


Tvrgeek, practice what you preach man. It’s clear you do not understand fully how the ethernet works. Otherwise, instead of denying people’s actual experiences with better cables and network switches you would look into how and why it is possible. Discovery and an open mind is the first step to learning.

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