Cat8 Ethernet Cables

It’s most certainly not beyond doubt. I have not heard even the tiniest differences between ethernet cables. As long as they are in spec that’s all that’s needed. I have followed these threads about ethernet cables, and think many of the claims are just outrageous and silly, and contradict the facts and science. I’ve also looked at some of the manufacturer sites and am appalled by the utter nonsense and BS touted to sell this snake oil. Much of it is rather nebulous (on purpose?) and silly market speak, but there are also statements that contradict the facts and science of ethernet and the physical transport layer where it lives.

You are all welcome to your opinions that different ethernet cables sound different, but you aren’t welcome to your own facts about it. Maybe the expensive boutique cables sound different if they aren’t in spec and cause noise issues. It’s been shown that some boutique cables can’t even pass specification tests. Ethernet cables are not audio cables. They are simply binary packet transmission cables. I agree the rest of the physical layer hardware (i.e. NICs) can make a difference, but not a proper cable within Cat spec (and 5e is good enough for the bandwidth demands of digital audio at the highest resolution).

Because of all the ethernet claims I now have little confidence anymore in just about everything else stated here in these (and other) forums, and have decided nothing is better until I can hear it for myself. The whole ethernet thing lowers the credibility of these discussions.

We’re all the laughing stock in IT circles around this, and we deserve it.


i have tried 7 ethernet cables at home: no one sounded the same. How can you explain that? Can it be if it’s only binary packets transmission ? But please, don’t talk me about placebo effect.

Maybe they all have issues and introduce noise you may or may not like.

But this fact is incontrovertible: the ethernet cable cannot change the digital audio for the very simple reason there is no digital audio transmitted on the cable in any recognizable format. That’s why marketing claims I’ve seen of improving/fixing digital jitter are so utterly bogus and ridiculous.

Furthermore, ethernet transmission is both error detecting and error correcting. Each packet is received bit-perfect. If not it is retransmitted until it is, or the whole things fails and you get dropouts/disconnects. What that means for the digital audio the hardware decodes the data into bit-perfect digital audio for the device (which buffers it for playback). If it ends up changed that’s a problem with the device, not the cable.

If ethernet changed data in any way at all, networking and the internet would be horribly broken.


I think everyone here has heard the theories including that this is less a matter of data than of noise shaping, which I personally find persuasive. If you have not heard a difference, that’s fine. Others have, which doesn’t mean they necessarily favour the most expensive cables with the most exotic theories behind them.

Then I propose that all those fancy ethernet cables have noise issues, maybe because they try to do things outside of the ethernet/IP specifications or because they fail to even meet spec, and that good ethernet cables built and tested to spec make no difference because they do their job correctly. I believe that’s just as compelling an argument as the noise shaping theories.

I guess it’s OK if one likes that a potentially improper ethernet cable adds noise/distortion that is pleasing to certain tastes, but I want ethernet cables that add/subtract nothing unexpected, working predictably to ethernet standards. The cables I use are tested/certified to ensure they meet spec. I think that is most ideal.

Yes, completely agree, shouldn’t make a difference.
Yet, as per @frenchrooster different cables introduce different SQ on different systems in different ways.
Check out a recent Topic Sarum Array Streaming cable following the introduction of a Sarum Tuned Array Streaming Cable over a Chord Anthem a Streaming Cable (a RRP £1,900 Cable vs a £450 one) as the last leg to my NDS.
There are potentially some answers but just as many questions and bemusement.

1 Like

You didn’t hear a difference. But perhaps you could credit those that do for not being delusional, just as no one here has suggested you are either deaf or have insufficiently revealing equipment. Even to-spec cables made by reputable “non-hi-fi snake oil” companies, like Belden, have different audio profiles.


I didn’t say anyone is delusional.

I put forth my theory that the cables that sound different introduce something out of spec, like noise, and that’s what they are hearing. I further proposed that I don’t hear any differences because my cables are proper in-spec cables and they sound the same because of that.

How is that any more unreasonable?

The problem is that in-spec cables don’t all sound the same, even in-spec cables made by the same company using cables from the same supplier. For example, in my system there are clear differences between Blue Jeans Cat5e and Cat6, both of which use Belden bonded cable with the same gauge solid wires. The only differences are in the insulation and twist rate. Both are to spec. Blue Jeans themselves are adamant that they should sound the same, but they don’t.

if fancy ethernet cables introduce noise and distortion, how can you explain that i hear more details, better defined bass, bigger soundstage, and more natural tones. Noise and distortion can’t produce an improvement of the sound.
This noise shaping is the Simon S theory, but i don’t believe in it. It goes against experience.
Noise and distortion introduce harder tones, more congested sound, less open and detailed sound. But with my most expensive ethernet cable, i have the total contrary on this aspects.
I don’t think however that the most expensive cable will give the best results. But in my case, the audioquest diamond is the most refined and the best in all the aspects i cited. It’s also the most expensive of the 7 cables i tested. The difference vs cheap cat 5e, and audioquest entry level forrest, is in my case dramatic.


Then what do you think makes the difference? The cable cannot change anything about the digital audio signal itself.

Then what’s the science behind it? The cable can’t possibly change the digital audio, so what is it?

i don’t know and think nobody here knows too.

It’s a mystery. All I know is that it was worth my while experimenting, though costly, time-consuming and frustrating, since much of the claimed science is simply nonsense, so you have to simply buy and try, letting your ears decide. All the high-end cables were disappointing, albeit for different reasons, but some of the broadcast cables have been a real surprise, especially the Belden Catsnake sold by Designacable. It’s not expensive and not that impressive until it has burnt in, but is the most musical I have tried so far.

1 Like

Same here when I recently swapped out a Cinnamon for the Vodka cable. I don’t care about the science of it all. I can’t be bothered to read up on it all either. I took the Vodka home on a trial basis as I was preferring my CD replay over streaming. Not now, dealer is not having the cable back and there has not been any diminishing returns thus far. It’s the second most expensive cable I have ever purchased in the 35+ years of this hobby. It’s almost laughable but who cares. Enjoy!


Would those who tell us they hear difference by an ethernet cable of any sort please say what is at each end of this cable. If for no other reason it may encourage others with the same gear to play.

Well, I consider the whole thing suspect. I certainly don’t buy the various manufacturer claims for ethernet cables. There is no real evidence for it that I know of, and it’s unknown why people hear differences. Why does no one publish any scientifically-sound test reports for them? I wonder how much is just confirmation bias or other factors independent of the cable itself.

I’m not saying I doubt the people who say they hear differences. They probably do. The real question is why and I’m not convinced they are for differences in the cable. There are plenty of people who hear no differences too. I am one of them, but I hear differences in other things, like audio cables or the step up from a HiCap to a SuperCap. I also hear big differences in isolation products. I think they can make a bigger difference than cables in general.

Anyway, you know my position and I stand by it. I’m going to stick with my Blue Jeans cables that are known to be working correctly and within spec, and call it a day otherwise. I have more money left over from patch cable purchases than others, for new record purchases. :slight_smile:

Why don’t you guys trying all these experiments with cables try adding ferrites to the cables?

Ha…I should try that. I have a box of them.

Go ahead & try it, nothing to loose.
I’ve been working with ferrite for a while (years) & TBH ethernet is not a place I’ve found the biggest bang for buck.
Ethernet RJ45 (8P8C) ports include galvanic isolation & this isolation prevents a direct electrical connection between devices on the LAN & that is true with lower frequencies at least. Data stream signals will pass but stray currents such as induced by RFI or EMI more so might or might not be blocked. So does this mean there is nothing for the ferrite to absorb ???
My experiments have left me undecided, does ferrite bring a positive benefit? So far I’m minded to say I don’t hear anything detrimental with or without so they do no harm. Question is what do they do with screened ethernet.