Ethernet Cables in for evaluation

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Puma Cat, May 17, 2019.

  1. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Today I received two Ethernet cables in for evaluation, the Audioquest Vodka and Wireworld Starlight to competively benchmark against my current Ethernet reference, Audioquest Cinnamon, in my digital streaming front end configuration (which use an upstream fiber media convertor (aka FMC) and Tripp-Lite fiber for the long run to a downstream FMC to my audio rack, where my streamer resides. The cables under evaluation will go in between the downstream FMC to my Sonore microRendu streamer/network bridge.

    Stay tuned...
     
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  2. ishmael

    ishmael Forum Resident

    I say Wireworld wins out...
     
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  3. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    What does that mean?
     
  4. ProfessorC1983

    ProfessorC1983 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Washington, DC
  5. BayouTiger

    BayouTiger Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans
    Curious of a few details....
    How far is your run from the front end that would require fiber? I am starting a project to move my QNAP server to a conditioned attic space that i am setting up as a server room. It will be doing 10Gbe and trying to decide between fiber or Cat7.

    To be honest, i am extremely skeptical of “audiophile” ethernet cable, but i am interest in the infrastructure side. Are you running Gb or 10Gb? What switch? My NAS has two 10Gb ports and allows them to be a virtual switch with the 4 GB ports. I currently only connect my iMac pro to it, but am looking to build with that s a minimum for the future.
     
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  6. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
  7. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    My run of fiber is ~ 7 meters, Tripp-Lite MMC fiber connected by two 850nM TP-Link FMCs; this saves on requiring a long run of Ethernet cable, and all the problems and failure modes Ethernet (or, any copper or silver cable, for that matter) is thereby susceptible to, e.g. EMI, RF, etc. The Ethernet cables are Cat 6e (Belden, which sound like *ss), Cat 7, or Cat 8. Not using a switch, presently. If I were to use a switch, it would be an AQVox or SOtM switch, but I haven't had the need to invest in that route, yet.

    I should point out that I am using Sonore microRendu as my "streamer/network bridge", and the Sonore powered by an Uptone Audio LPS-1 linear power supply which in turn is powered using a Shunyata Venom 14 power cord plugged into a Shunyata Triton distributor. The downstream FMC is also powered by a 9V iFi iPower LPS plugged in my Shunyata Hydra. So, the power going to the Sonore is exceptionally quiet.

    The USB cable going from the Sonore is a Shunyata Alpha USB cable to my Schiit Gen 5 USB multibit DAC. The Schiit Gumby is powered with a Shunyata Black Mamba CX PC, also plugged into the Shunyata Triton. Preamp is a Conrad-Johnson CT-5 and power amp is a C-J LP70S, all plugged into the Triton with Shunyata Black Mamba CX (HC/CX for the power amp) or Zitron Cobra PCs. Speakers are Dynaudio Contour S3.4s with Esotar 2 tweeters and Shunyata Venom speaker cables.

    Installing the Shunyata USB Alpha resulted in a huge, significant and top-flight component-level improvement in audio quality, literally on the order of installing a very high-end preamp (e.g. a top-end Conrad-Johnson ) or a very high-end R2R/ladder DAC. The Shunyata Alpha USB blows every high-end USB cable I've ever heard completely into the weeds, in fact, they're not even in the same zip code.

    So, needless to say, this is a very, very quiet and very transparent and revealing digital front-end and system, overall. It also sounds very lovely, sweet, natural, analog, and musical in the best possible way. The Alpha USB took this system to another level I simply have not heard on a digital front-end before.

    And...fully capable of discerning differences in Ethernet cables. I'm sure there will be a number of folks viewing this thread that are skeptical of “audiophile” Ethernet cable, but I can clearly hear differences between Ethernet cables, and could even discern audible differences when my AQ Cinnamon Ethernet was installed in the "wrong" direction (arrow going the "wrong way").

    If you came over and listened, you could hear the differences, too.

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  8. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    BayouTiger,
    For the optical setup, I am presently running two TP-link 850nm FMCs: Gb Ethernet coming in at the upstream FMC end, a 7M run of Tripp-Lite SC/SC MMC fiber to the downstream FMC, and then (whatever I end up with) Ethernet cable from that downstream FMC to the Sonore microRendu.

    But, I am thinking of using a somewhat different setup based on Sonore's SystemOptique specifications: TP-Link MC220L LC/RJ45 1000Mbps w/ SFP Slot using a TP-Link SFP optical module, PN#TL-SM311LM, connecting to a downstream Sonore OpticalModule using a
    Tripp-Lite Duplex Multimode 62.5/125 Fiber Patch Cable (LC/LC). The Sonore OpticalModule is described here: Sonore - opticalModule

    This revised Ethernet->Fiber->Ethernet might provide some advantages that Sonore describe on their System Optique page: Sonore - systemOptique (though I have to say my current config sounds very good).

    Hope this helps...

    Cheers, Stephen aka PC
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  9. BayouTiger

    BayouTiger Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans
    Wow! Thanks for the details. It's amazing to me that some folks can hear the nuances on the data side. I know I would not, but I completely understand that some do, and frankly, I believe that we hear what we want to hear and many love tinkering with that side. Hell, I tweak and tweak my car trying to get the next 1 or 2 MPH in the standing mile and my friends chastise me and just cont understand the difference in running 180 and 200 (it's almost double the HP to get those 20 MPH - from 600 to over 1000).

    My network is mostly for moving lots of data and music is just a part of it. I have about 60Tb of data online and sync a lot of data between boxes.
     
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  10. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
  11. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    What does business benchmarking have to do with benchmarking of ethernet cable comparisons in an audio system? The two entirely different types of benchmarking are completely unrelated.
     
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  12. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I put in WireWorld Starlight (the latest series) ethernet after a brief run with Blue Jeans Cat 6. It was a significant improvement. I have not tried any Audioquest ethernet cables yet.

    I just got in a dCS Bartok for review which is breaking in on the desktop system but will then go in the main system and we will see how it sounds with Starlight there.
     
  13. ProfessorC1983

    ProfessorC1983 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Indeed. That is because error correction (CRC, checksumming) is built into both the TCP protocol and Ethernet frame topology, which means the quality of the data received is not a function of the cable quality.

    But, hey. No one else can tell you what's happening in your brain, so if you say can hear a difference, then you can. Mazel tov. :righton:
     
  14. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    I'm doing competitive benchmarking for very specific reasons, but those reasons are not the subject of this topic; its for something unrelated which I won't be discussing here.
     
  15. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Glad my post with the details was of some help to you, Bayou.

    With respect to "hearing what we want to hear", with all due respect, that's not me. As a professional scientist my entire life, I don't have any biases, expectations, or "skin in the game" when it comes to what I would classify as "experiments". I'm simply listening, gathering empirical observations, and making comparisons.

    I would more than happy to find that I didn't hear differences in Ethernet cables, because that would mean I would not have to buy an "audiophile-grade" Ethernet cable and I could put that money instead towards something for me stereo system that made a practically significant difference.

    But I do very clearly hear differences in Ethernet cables on my system. I recently installed some Belden Cat 6e cable into my digital streaming front-end on a recommendation, and the sound of it literally drove me out of the room. It was absolutely ghastly. My Audioquest Cinnamon sounds quite a bit better; more on the specifics later as I gather a set of observations.
     
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  16. Optimize

    Optimize Forum Resident

    Location:
    EU
    The Swedish Supra cat 8 is said to be one of the better sounding cables out there.
    Something you will test?
     
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  17. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Its not about the quality the data; its about the quality of the noise...

    However, the timing of the data is mission critical.

    If you don't think that Ethernet cables can have any audible or impact on the quality of music reproduction of digital music files in a network bridge streaming configuration, that's great; I'm happy for you.

    However, I won't be replying to, or addressing, any other "cables (of any type) can't/don't matter" comments in this thread.
     
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  18. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    Ok. I guess I misinterpreted what you said in your initial post, and then the reason why you posted the link that you did in response to that post.

    Can I ask then what, if anything, you will be posting regarding these two different Ethernet cables that you have acquired?
     
  19. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    I would love to, if I could get my hands on one.

    Also, let's be clear: I am not "testing" anything. Testing implies conducting a set of defined measurements using a measurement system that has been previously qualified as fit for purpose by conducting a formal and statistically valid MSA (measurement systems analysis). I'm not doing that.

    I'm only evaluating cables, in my system, in my room, and listening to a range of musical content. Just posting my observations here for those who may be interested.

    What I won't be doing is participating in any further discussions that Ethernet cables "don't matter" when it comes to music reproduction using digital files streamed to a network bridge.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  20. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Differences I hear in how they sound based on a range of musical content, from jazz to classical to vocals (likely not rock.)
     
  21. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    See if you can snag an Audioquest Vodka for eval. It sounds better than the WW Starlight. The Starlight is nice; quiet and clean, but a bit thin and 2-dimensional compared to the AQ Vodka.

    Enjoy the dCS Bartok during your review period. I'm sure its amazing.
     
  22. Optimize

    Optimize Forum Resident

    Location:
    EU
    Yes, we have past that point a long time ago.
     
  23. BayouTiger

    BayouTiger Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans
    Sorry, i didn’t mean to imply that i think that the cables don’t matter, just that I have not been inclined to chase that demon. When i say that folks hear what they want to hear, i am meaning the folks that insist they don’t hear what many feel is significant. Basically, if you hear it, it is real, but some will never accept it. When i say i am skeptical, it doesn't mean that i will not give it a try. I was skeptical of the uRendu’s value compared to similar units, but i loved mine (until it died - i need to get with SGC).

    I actually buy Ethernet cables by the thouands and it is amazing hw performance can vary, even for simple tasks ( i use them in the lighting control business). Even if i didn’t hear a difference, I like using quality cables. I hate cheap cabling.
     
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  24. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Really...?

    I don't quite understand why this kind of unfettered product pimping via pseudoscientific "tests" is not called out here, and yet a thread "why was CD 44.1kHz", with no inflammatory happenings and just informative posts (with even links from one of the engineers at Philips) is deleted without fanfare.

    I'm listening to BBC Radio 1 on my Yamaha receiver "net radio". The data goes:

    1. Through 1m of cat5e,
    2. To an ASUS wireless access point in bridge mode,
    3. Through WiFi 802.11a for about 25 feet to another floor,
    4. To a Belkin WiFi router with DD-WRT, also acting as a transparent bridge and switch,
    5. Through a cat5e patch cable to a wall jack,
    6. Through another 15 feet of structured Cat5e riser cable to a basement patch panel,
    7. Through another Cat5e patch cable to a D-Link managed gigabit switch,
    8. Another patch cable to a firewall appliance running on a VMWare virtual machine on a Dell Optiplex,
    9. Out another network adapter and patch cable to a Motorola cable modem.
    10. Converted into DOCSYS3 and sent out through coax RG6 to a customer termination block,
    11. Up the house pole, and across the street, where it is joined in with the rest of the neighborhood cable plant,
    12. Likely to a neighborhood hybrid fiber/coaxial termination transponder,
    13. Then via fiber to a cable company signal distribution hub and headend, where it meets IP routers and many patch cables in the data center,
    14. Routed from Portland to Seattle and then to Kansas city through interstate fiber feeds and paired commercial connections,
    15. Received by a Lightwave Networks peering agreement router and then ingressed into their content distribution network datacenter,
    16. Where a signal is sent to me that has been repeated from a coastal fiber endpoint such as Mae East, and then has crossed the Atlantic via an undersea fiber optic cable,
    17. and repeat this complexity backwards to get into the BBC to their server farm, transcoding machines, digital studio workstations, serving audio to DJs with a system like Prophet or Zetta off a digital music datastore.

    Exactly what Ethernet cable is preventing me from hearing the music exactly like it would be heard in the studio or in another country?
     
  25. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I will see what I can do.
     

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