Ethernet Cables in for evaluation

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

  1. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    There are three other issues that impact sound quality differences:
    1. Each listener has different preferences and sensitivity to different parts of music reproduction.
    2. Each listener has a different system so we have varying levels of resolution. The more resolution, the better these differences become.
    3. Some people have good critical listening skills; some don't.
     
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  2. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Yes. Good sounding too. A nice thing is they can update by firmware as well as the DAC and transport.
     
  3. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    There’s a difference between keeping an open and perpetuating a scam. Unlike a speaker cable or interconnect cable, if an Ethernet cable is functioning differently from another, there will be packet loss and the software one is using will error out.

    I agree with you that great measured performance does not equal great sound. Everyone hears differently and has different preferences. No one hears Ethernet cables differently because it is impossible.

    I wonder what NASA uses aboard spacecraft and satellites (if they use Ethernet for data at all)?
     
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  4. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Yeah, I'm going to do that comparison today.

    With respect to test, I don't know which test you're referring to. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks.
     
  5. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    .... or clamped his head in a vice. If we accept that inches of speaker placement make a difference, how can we accept the possibility of inches of head movement - let alone reliance on memory after hours of listening to many different audio samples...
     
  6. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Ah, that's cool.
     
  7. rill

    rill Active Member

    Location:
    PA
    I posted a link to a cable review...

    ETHERNET RJ-45 CABLES SHOOTOUT
     
  8. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
  9. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    No one is perpetuating a scam here. I've tried several ethernet and they do sound different. Get some good ones, listen, and keep an open mind. You might be surprised.

    I wonder what the NASA scientists' stereos sound like? ;)
     
  10. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Just got Roon to interface with the Bartok and the network. The Starlight cable sounds better than the BJC.
     
  11. Archimago

    Archimago Forum Resident

    Who determined the "fairness" of this statement? Is there any reason to consider this statement as anything beyond your idiosyncratic opinion?

    It's one thing to believe in what are likely fairytales. But another to IMO unfairly paint others as having the "worst" systems because of your own subjective criteria not even based on anything rational.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  12. jmczaja

    jmczaja Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey
    A sucker is born every day. :rolleyes:
     
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  13. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Just one?
     
  14. jmczaja

    jmczaja Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Unless the fundamentals of IP data transmission have changed, the claims that ethernet cables affect sound is utter and complete nonsense.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  15. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    That's a tired, bankrupt old trope unworthy of a journalist/writer/reviewer with your experience. It's also a complete red-herring because everything that counts can be measured, and because only people who want to deflect or confuse bother to measure what doesn't count.

    The people who think that certain measurements can't be done (e.g., how does someone measure "air" or "presence") simply don't understand exactly how deeply everything about audio can be measured. Of course auditions count just as much for components that actually interact with a listening room (e.g., speakers) and that electrically interact with other components in a listening room (e.g., DACs, cartridges, preamps, CD tranports, amps, etc.). Some combinations of components work better than others, but the reasons are measurable and fully understood. I only count the measurements that are relevant. I've also never met any music lover or audiophile or hobbyist that based all of his or her decisions on component or system measurements. Who are these people that you talk about as a "crowd" because while I've met plenty of audiophiles who favor one approach over the other, I've never met one who favored one to the exclusion of the other.

    Measurements are metrics of performance. Marketing collateral and effusively florid descriptions of ethernet cable performance is a metric of product marketing descriptions. Undefined and poorly defined language used to describe one product's superiority over another is simply self-deceptive because it uses language carefully qualified to confound measurement. That's why cable makers use such metrics in their marketing, and a reviewer who takes up such language should know that he's been co-opted by the cable makers.

    A wire is a dumb device. It's a linear device. It's not a filter. It can't randomly become non-linear and shift into rectification or any such thing. It's just a wire. If its conductor configuration is really badly designed, it will have sky-high capacitance and perform poorly. If, on the other hand, @Puma Cat is, as he posted, concerned about noise performance, that's a metric that can be measured. Problem is, most of the so-called high-end audio cable makers don't publish specs for their wire about noise rejection, DC loop resistance, capacitance, inductance, how well their connectors meet defined specs or anything else. Some of the makers talk about reduction of goofiness such as eddy currents (e.g., Wireworld, Audiomica among others) but don't publish comparative specs because eddy currents are irrelevant at audio frequencies and transmission lengths except in the most bizarrely non-functional conductor configurations and installations (none of which I've ever encountered in any audio setup over the past 40 years). Same goes for foolishness like strand-jumping and all the other cable woo.

    If one of the cable makers were to publish an eddy current reduction spec or a strand-jumping reduction spec, that would be an example of your "what can be measured doesn't always count" thing. Problem is, in typical home audio installations eddy currents aren't usefully measurable because they don't exist in any meaningful way. Ditto for strand-jumping measurements because in physics in the time/space continuum in which we all live, strand-jumping doesn't exist. It's useful for cable makers to marketing-babble about it though because doing so can make some potential customers concerned about it. It's the audio cable makers' marketing that's at issue here, and the regurgitation of it unchallenged by otherwise respected writers (among others) that has become an issue on SHF and many other forums.

    @Puma Cat confused us by using language meant to control the narrative (as @Hooch and @Archimago and @harby posted or implied), which raised suspicions, which caused the cable debate to bubble up in this thread.

    When someone starts talking about - waxing enthusiastic about - the "sound" of an ethernet cable (a linear wire that is carrying a digital data stream, not an analog music waveforms) it is natural to ask exactly what that person things he's hearing when he reports differences in ethernet cables. It's remarkably - bizarrely - disengaged from music and audio to simply accept what is technically impossible to support without asking some sorts of questions like that in addition to questions about what the person thinks is causing the differences in what he's hearing. SHF is not a cable marketing forum; it's a discussion forum.
     
  16. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    So, I put my Audioquest Cinnamon back into the streaming setup. It's a very nice-sounding Ethernet cable; reasonably spacious, natural and neutral with a hint of warmth in overall character. There's a nicely defined but somewhat smallish soundstage and good but not exceptional imaging. By contrast, my $7 generic Cat7 cable sounds muffled, veiled, closed-in, dark, and notably rolled off on the top end. Cinnamon is not quite as extended or silky as the AQ Vodka, but its quite similar overall in character and a good value for money.
     
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  17. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    As a poster suggested previously I should buy some audiophile air to be able to hear the difference because with the air that comes included in my room is so hard to tell.
     
  18. Hooch

    Hooch Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Ajax, Canada
    Ah-hah! Thank you. Brain hiccup on my part. I know the cables because a friend uses them. I see that Blue Jeans Cable does installations in data centers where data packet integrity is of the utmost importance, so I do not know why @Puma Cat posts so negatively about “BJC” then.

    I think I will add Blue Jeans Cable to my audition list.

    What you say makes sense, but because so much digital audio streaming enters homes through Internet connections and routers and home networks it also makes sense to expand into ethernet cables in relatively short lengths. I have now looked at the Blue Jeans Cable prices. I also checked out the prices for the Audioquest ethernet cable that the OP is excited about - it is $799 for 3/4 of a meter with no assurance that it meets any CAT spec. But the Audioquest Cinnamon cable the OP likes a bit less is $130 for the same short piece.

    Audioquest does not seem to post detailed cable specs or post any guarantee that its ethernet cable meets the ratified spec. When I finally make my buy, I do not want to be guessing about that.

    Audioquest also states that its ethernet cables are directional and must be plugged in a certain way. I don’t understand why and I haven’t found anything anywhere on the IEEE web site that supports cable directionality. So that part is confusing and I cannot find out why there is such a thing as directionality (according to Audioquest and I think Cardas and Nordost). I am slowly learning about cabling and did find a number of articles about cable direction related to lifted vs connected shields in interconnects, but that is about grounding so nothing to do with ethernet.

    My friend’s brother is a P. Eng. at Pickering Nuclear Generating station and a senior electronics technician, so I’ve sent some questions (he’s was great about educating me when I had a problem with a power amp) about direction of ethernet cables.
     
  19. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Audioquest Cinnamon is $79.95 for .75 M; Vodka is $349.95 for 0.75M. And while I like the AQ Vodka, I am not "excited" about it. From my initial listening impressions, I prefer to WW Starlight, is all. I'd appreciate you not putting words in my mouth.

    The reason that copper or silver conductor cables are directional has to do with the orientation of the copper (or silver) crystal structure. Linear crystal copper isn't isotropic; it looks decidedly different in one direction than the other. David Salz has a white paper about it at his Wireworld site. Additionally, IIRC, there is an cable assembly technician at Audioquest that can invariably and correctly say which direction an AQ cable is installed, every single time. My recollection is that George Cardas, who casts and draws his own copper for Cardas and for many, many OEM products, says that copper crystal is directional with respect to the orientation that sounds the best.

    IEEE won't have anything on cable directionality because they don't actually listen to cables. They only test them. Its no different than HiFi Reviews back in the day only testing amps and never actually listening to them. If they had, they'd have found out that an Audio Research D-76 actually sounds considerably better and more like real music than a Crown DC300.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
    LeeS likes this.
  20. Hooch

    Hooch Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Ajax, Canada
    Sorry - I was going from memory about your ethernet cable preference. Too many different cables mentioned in this thread.

    I understand whey Mr. Salz would write a white paper to support his own theories, and I understand that Audioquest would boast of an assembler tech who it claims can ID cable direction just by listening every time. I confess to not being able to hear directional differences in the way electrons transfer energy through the crystalline structure of a metal conductor. Your claims have descended into the fantastical and unbelievable. Sorry again - but I joined this thread for help in making cable decisions but all I’m getting from you is mumbo-jumbo. I won’t bother you anymore. Enjoy your thread.
     
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  21. rill

    rill Active Member

    Location:
    PA
    If the Vodka has a larger soundstage than the Cinnamon, I would definitely be interested in that. If the Vodka is brighter... not so much.
     
  22. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    You don't need to buy it; just send me your address via PM and I'll mail you one of mine, free of charge. I bought three based on a recommendation from a member here, and won't be using them for audio; its new and has the testing papers that came from BJC. Might as well have it go a home where it might be used for audio.
     
  23. Francois

    Francois Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    This is utterly entertaining! Keep it up guys!
     
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  24. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    From your comments, my guess is you have don't experience in technicial product development or manufacturing. I spent a large part of my professional career in technical product development and manufacturing, so I'll provide some info for additional understanding:
    Its well-documented that oxygen-free monofilament or monocrystal copper or silver has "directionality" with respect to which "direction" these conductors are oriented when assembled into cables. And, here's how it works in manufacturing: it costs money to perform the testing, inspection, labeling, and stocking of each lot of directional monocrystal copper used as raw materials in cable construction. All this additional inspection, testing, labeling and stocking costs impact a manufacturer's BOM (that's Bill of Materials) and thereby, the manufacturer's overall cost of production and ultimately, profit margin. If there was nothing to monocrystal copper directionality, if it was all advertising "hype", these manufacturers would not spend all the money in Ops for the testing, inspection, labeling, and stocking of each lot of directional monocrystal copper raw material because they could have better margins by not doing it. They do it because it has a real impact on sound quality, they assume in the costs of this testing and inspection because it adds value to the product for the customer.

    No worries.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  25. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    I don't think you have to worry about that; Vodka is very nice as are AQ's other silver-conductor-based products. I've used both their Coffee and Diamond USB cables extensively, and they sound very nice. Some silver-based cables can sound bright, but Audioquest's don't, in my experience.
     

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