LAN cables BJC or Designacable?

Hi all,
I’m experimenting with LAN cables. My system consists of fiber going into modem, short LAN cable to router, ca 8m LAN cable to Cisco 2960 switch, short LAN cable to macbook.

I currently try BJC cat6 cables from modem to router and router to switch. They have replaced various cheap/free LAN cables. Most claimed to be cat5…

The immediate result is huge increase in clarity, dynamics and general sense of control throughout the audio spectrum. Drums stand out with greater impact, voices seem clearer and the deep bass is more authoritative. Good then.

However, there is also some downsides which are less easy to describe. It is as if the BJC6 sounds more ‘closed in’, has less sense ‘air’ and effortlessness and less warmth and ease through in its sound. They come across as more sterile and mechanical.

They have only been used about a day so first question is what to expect from more burn in?

The other question relates to a recent thread here where Designacable cat5e (Belden CatSnake I believe…) has been spoken highly of. There was mention of comparisons to BJC cat 5e and 6 where the designacable was preferred which made me interested in whether the designacable might be a better match/balance with my system.

Later in the thread BJC 6a was also praised as significantly better than the BJC cat 5e and 6. Has anyone compared the BJC 6a to the designacable 5e Catsnake, and if so, what’s your take on it?

I excuse if this has been reported. If so, I missed it and would greatly appreciated inputs on where I can read it :slight_smile:

Many thanks,

BJC cat6 is shielded as far as I’m informed. The cat5e cables they replaced are not.
I’m not sure the shield is necessary -and perhaps even a compromise if the Designacable 5e, which is unshielded, is in fact reportedly better.

:small_blue_diamond:@Juhleren,…Hi,.if you search for Michaelb’s comments in the thread…
“Ethernet Switch and Cables Mania”.
If I remember correctly,.he has tested and written about these cables you mention in that thread.

/Peder🙂

Cat6 cables are unshielded, they just have more twist than Cat5e. Cat6a has a shield but is not connected as the plugs are still plastic.

If you want fully shielded and connected to the plugs, you need Cat8 cables.

100% agree - BT Connectix, BJC and DesignaCable (Belden) are inexpensive well made cables and are all you need in a top class audio system.

@Juhleren, you’ll get lots of conflicting advice, but none more sensible than @jmtennapel’s above. In the end, only you can decide if changing cables makes your system more enjoyable to listen to.

Thanks Peder. I will search for Michaelb’s comments on that thread. He was also the one whose comments I took notice of in another thread on the topic.

/juhleren

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I haven’t mentioned any wish to buy expensive audiograde or audiophile LAN cables. I just want to find that sensible middle way where good performance is achieved without the big price tag. The case is just that to my ears there are quite large audible differences between the cables I have listened to, so apparently all patch cable just doesn’t work equally well for music streaming. That’s my observation.

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It’s possible to find screened cables for all the various categories, however some are exceptions from what is commonly available & considered as normal spec
Normally Cat5e is not screened
Cat6 is not screened
Cat6a is screened
Cat7 & Cat8 are screened

Cat6a & Cat7 & Cat8 screen is normally connected end to end via metal shrouded or metal cased RJ45
Some patch cable vendors such as BlueJeans choose to not use metal shrouded plugs & to leave the screen unconnected (passive) or others leave one end not connected (floating), information about this is hard to find from most vendors.

Peder, since you initiated the switch and ethernet mania thread I thought that you also might be able to point me in the direction of comments on which port on the Cisco 2960 8 port switch that is understood to sound best. I tried port one and 8 and to my big surprise found them to sound vastly different…

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

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I have recently been auditioning the Audioquest Cinnamon against Atlas Hyper Streaming and the differences are huge. Don’t need a double blind test for that. Also the difference with standard data centre cable is massive. Last week I have ordered some BJC cat 6a cables to test them as well here in my setup. But I agree to your statement that the more expensive cable is not automatically the best sounding match in a setup.

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I didn’t say you wanted to buy expensive cables, I quoted @jmtennapel to say how sensible his post was. @Mike-B has, as always, added some very useful information.

It does not surprise me well manufactured cables from BT Connectix, Doncaster Cables and Belden (or ones from cable assemblers such as BJC or Designacable who use wires made by the companies) outperform ones of unknown origin. Cisco, HP, Juniper and Uniquiti all make high quality switches.

I don’t think I can be of further help so wish you luck in finding suitable cables for your system.

I found that the BJC cat 6 took a few days to sound their best. I also found the Cat 6a to be a good bit better than the 6, and I’ve been using them happily for a few months now.

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Wow!
Vastly different?
Which one is which and which one sounded best to you?

:small_blue_diamond:@Juhleren,…Hi again :smiley:,.Interesting that you bring this up,.I myself have written some posts about just this subject.

Unfortunately,.the focus of the thread has been more on various ethernet/streaming-cables,.switches,dual-switches etc,etc.
And a little,.very very little about powercables to the switch,although I tried to open up this issue.

So this question has only I,.and my friend Music_Lover written a little short about.
No one else,.has so far commented on this in the thread.

So we have a lot left to discuss,.and exchange experiences about in that thread.
This to be able to optimize our music-systems in the best way.
I can’t give you an exact post-number to my post,.this because there’s been a whole deleting-activities of posts from especially one member.
It has ruined that possibility.

But I can briefly tell you what we have come up with,.when we have tested and evaluated this subject.

•Juhleren,.If you look at the picture above,.you’ll see that we have a “port-distance” between each cable.
That’s what we’ve come up with,.is the best way to connect their streamer,nas etc on.
The difference in soundquality is not big,.it is instead very,very small…but it exists…!!

•Here are your observations quite accurate,.there’s a difference in “soundquality”,between the ports in these Cisco 2960 8 port.
Every port sounds different,.our experience is that the differences between these ports,can vary from switch to switch.

So unfortunately I have to disappoint you,.there is no exact answer.
You need to do the awkward work of listening to,.and evaluate each Cisco-port for the best “soundquality”.
And to the rest of you,.as always,the better your music-system is installed,.the clearer you hear small differences and improvements.

:small_orange_diamond:But Juhleren,.very interesting that you also heard,discovered these differences.
It will be exciting to follow your continued “journey” :smiley:.

/Peder🙂

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Go with the BJC Cat 6a, most if not all have found better SQ compared to the BJC Cat 6.

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Yes in my system and to my ears the great surprise was that port one sounded far more airy and extended whereas port 8 was more focused, grounded and dark in its presentation. In the short comparison i preferred port 8 but im not sure i always would. They are just different beasts apparently :). As I can see Peder has elaborated this may not relate to other otherwise similar switches.

Many thanks for your elaborate reply! Interesting that these cisco switches behave differently. Ill try more ports and see what that brings. I can see that you have three lan cables connected. Which carry the signal from router and which are connected to streamer and nas etc?

I have the input from router connected to the yellow input and the port 8 connected to macbook. I have no idea whether this the right way but it seems to work.

Ill make sure to report my journey. This is very new to me and ti be honest i am quite surprised how much just the cables and the use of switch alters the sound in my system. Its not subtle to my ears!

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Many thanks for your recommendation on the bjc cat 6a.

Is it the perceived wisdom that this bjc cable is better for sound than the offerings from designacable?

Maybe port 8 was bunged up with earwax?

I’m using Catsnake 5e for all my exchangable cables but tried the Catsnake 6a with unconnected shields that (Michaelb prefered) and various combinations of the two. I don’t have any network cables from BJC but I like their 4794R and 4694R 12G-SDI coax for SPDif duties. I have two Cisco switches but the small enterprise SF110D rather than the 2960 varients so my experience might not transfer. I also use two switches with the server and router connected to one and the streamer on the other. In my setup the 6a was a cumulative downgrade disrupting the sense of musical flow so that for example a string quartet no longer sounded quite so much like they were playing off each other and more just playing off the same score. The difference is subtle but significant, to me at any rate.

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