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.

antigrunge2 The cable you recommended arrived today, and was installed between the EtherRegen and Rock server. I noticed an immediate improvement in presence and sound stage. I really get a kick out of modestly-priced system improvements.  Thank you for the suggestion.

I have used both the Linkup and Supra CAT 8.  In my rather modest system the difference in presentation between the two was surprising.  I can understand why anyone would like the Linkup, I like the Supra a bit better and only needed a 6' run.

My findings with ethernet cables were that silver plated copper wire works best.  Reasonable cost cables (5x over basic ethernet cables) that are silver plated can be had.  I have used both Pangea SE (advertises Cardas wire)  and AQ Cinnamon ethernet cables.  Both are a clear step up in sound to basic ethernet cables.  Some of the more expensive ethernet cables feature a thicker silver plating.  The question might be how much plating is enough?  I stopped when I got satisfactory results with the AQ Cinnnamon. 


jerrybj Yes that is the HD-Plex LPS. It wasn’t cheap but provided outputs for all the different voltages that each of those boxes below it demanded. The supplied DC cables are a bit on the cheap-feeling side but met most of my needs as shipped. I did make a couple of splitter cables and learn to solder those XLR jacks, which wasn’t difficult/

I’m a lucky audiophile indeed. My wife is remarkably tolerant of my audio endeavors, which is one of her many virtues. Another is that she had the house wired for Cat 5a when she designed and built it, with outlets at every imaginable location. I recently discovered that the phone jacks, which are terminated in the wall next to each Cat 5, are actually wired with the same type of cable, and can thus be easily converted to Cat 5.

Most of this stuff used to be in a hallway under the stairs where the printers and cable modem and a big Cisco switch, a patch panel, the main mesh router, the alarm system control box, a phone controller and other potentially noisy gear has to live.

There’ve also been substantial-but-theoretically-reversible sound treatments in the listening room....

That looks like the HD Plex 300W. I nearly took that route.

Are their DC cables okay? When upgrading, I initially went for Ghent Audio Cables. A decent product for reasonable money.,11264,11286

Thanks to all who responded.

soix:  We have a (Google) mesh network in the house but most places I've read say Ethernet is preferable.

antigrunge2:  I've ordered one of those cables for the short run between the EtherRegen and ROCK server. Certainly worth a try!
gdnrbob  Excellent idea; I'll check out HiFiShark. Didn't know about that site.

jerrybj:  Running fiber to the streamer presents the same logistics problems as the long ethernet run, which I can handle, but would also necessitate an FMC near the streamer, with either a wall wart power supply or another linear power supply.

audphile1:  I'll check out Network Acoustics Eno; that's a new one on me.

If anyone's interested, here's the setup in the hallway outside my listening room.


I’d suggest putting the Etherregen as close as you can to the server. Keeping the clean side cable as short as poss. really matters. If anything, use fibre for a long link between router and Etherregen

Consider changing the long run of ethernet cable to fibre from the Etheregen.

+2 on the LinkUp cable recommendation. I wouldn’t hesitate to run it from the router to switch, with the short run after the switch using a better cable or even LinkUp into streamer. Should be an improvement over the cheap cable.
Add Purist Audio Design CAT7 to the list as well for the short run into streamer.

I use and like the Network Acoustics Eno streaming system (passive filter and cable). It made a nice improvement in my system. 

Buy with a solid return policy though. If you don’t hear any improvement (unlikely) or don’t like the change in sound, you should be able to return. 

I would look on HifiShark to find some bulk AQ cable. You never know if you'll get lucky unless you try.

I scored a partial roll of Carbon at a great price. It goes from the Verizon box to the router, and then to the streamer.


The LinkUp cable @soix mentioned is an excellent cable. I am running a 50FT length from my modem to a switch near my streamer. The 50FT cable eliminated the mesh network. Should you choose to try LinkUp cable, I want you to be aware the 22AWG version is quite stiff, so no sharp bends. Instead, consider LinkUp 26AWG version, which is much from flexible.  

Here are a couple different options from what I’ve read from far wiser posters here. You could replace your current CAT 5 cable with this…

and maybe get some good benefits just from that.  But, and if it’s me and given your system, I’d run a Mesh system to your listening room and run a Vodka or Wireworld Platinum Starlight from that Mesh node to your excellent streamer/DAC. That’s what I’d do FWIW, and best of luck.