Naim Core internet connection. Cat 5, 6 or 7?

I am not using my Core with a streamer. I am using it through SPDIF to a DAC.
My question concerns the Core’s network connection which is used simply to the internet to find details of ripped CDs, and also to my iPad for controlling it.
I have a Cisco 10/100 switch which connects the Core to my network.This switch stops a lot of ‘digital hash’ from the internet reaching my system. As speed does not seem to be an issue in this circumstance, is there any reason why cat6 or cat7 cables need to be used? IS THERE any advantage in using a cat6 or 7 rather than a Cat5? I know that there’s little price difference in basic cables of all these three standards, but I happen to be using a very high quality cat5e cable and am loathe to change it without good reason. Cheers.

Cat 5e is perfectly fine and there is absolutely nothing to be gained in any respect from changing it.



That’s what I thought… My particular cable has only 2 pairs of inner cables (100% pure silver) because Cat5 only actually uses 2 pairs for data. Everything seems to work fine with it. Thanks for your input, David

I agree that you don’t need anything more than Cat5e, and I’d be surprised if there was any change if you swapped your silver cable for a basic copper certified Cat5e cable.
Cat6 and 7 cables are usually shielded, which can help in some cases, but it’s unlikely to be needed in a domestic environment.

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Don’t use Cat 5, but Cat5e would be ideal. Cat 5 is effectively obsolete now having being replaced by Cat 5e.

BTW in regard to a comment above, the Category of the cable doesn’t determine the number of cables. A cable, and more typically Cat5e as opposed to a higher category, can be two pair or four pair… two pair is used for Fast Ethernet ie up to 100 Mbps, and four pair is used for Gigabit Ethernet.

If you find a cable only connects as 100 Mbps on a GigE link, then almost certainly it’s a two pair.

But by inserting melco CAT cables in the chain. 7 or qed CAT. 6, surely more advanced for music in 24/192 an improvement is appreciated? It is preferable if a CAT is purchased today. 6 or CAT. 7?

For connectivity to Naim devices, then Cat5e is what I would recommend.
If you are wiring your house for Ethernet, then I would connect your room Ethernet points with Catt6a. (Note Cat6a and NOT Cat6)
Personally I would steer clear of Cat7, as it’s use for Ethernet is not universally approved in the data network industry …and it seems more a play for well healed consumers…where higher numbers must somehow always mean ‘better’.

BTW 192/24/2 LPCM is a trivial load, even for 100 Mbps Ethernet.

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Thanks electronics guru! :+1:I wanted to ask you if you prefer to connect the apple airport extreme directly to the gigabite modem router or to the right dual gigabite port of the Cisco Catalyst 2960!

Thanks, Simon & Chris. This cable is actually a ’special’. It is an Audioquest Diamond 72v bias RJ/E cat7 spec but with only the two pairs of pure silver cables, so it happily goes up to 100mbps but not to gigabit speeds which are not needed, but it does have the multiple layers of improved RI & EM shielding that cat7 is designed to give. So it does only what it needs to do, but in the best possible way! And I agree that inserting a cable like this into the chain between a 2960 and Naim equipment is a very positive thing to do!

I’d recommend a Cat 5e from Blue Jeans Cables as this comes with a Fluke test certificate and so you know it meets the specification. Many audiophile cables fail or only narrowly pass.

An alternative is to buy from Cable Monkey the retail outlet of BT Connectix. These are genuine Cat 5e, but do not come with a Fluke test certificate.

Both suppliers supply in different colours, but I have not heard any differences between them when in use in my system.

IMO audiophile cables are poor or at least unnecessary for these applications, but you hear what your hear.

Since the OP is using this cable only for control of the Core and metadata lookup and not to convey the digital audio at all, it really doesn’t matter what it is as long as it works.


Hi David. I agree that it would be a much greater advantage if I was to be using the cable to convey the data too. But some say (lots of info on this on the internet,Stereophile etc) that purely by having a cleaner connection to a digital device (ie through a switch and through higher quality & better shielded cables etc), it does reduce the amount of digital hash and therefore interference from the network, within the device itself. We have all heard the arguments re: power cables making a difference or not, and of course they are simply a link in the power chain, much of the chain being an unshielded mains ring. And there are those, including myself, who feel that it IS advantageous to consider power cables as being important, perhaps that they are acting, in fact, as a filter within that chain. I spend a lot of time carefully applying EM/RFI filtering to my system, and it is very worthwhile indeed. Since I fitted a Cisco 2960 switch and the aforementioned ethernet cabling into my system, it has definitely sounded very slightly cleaner and enabled the tiniest of details to become unmasked. I plan,at some point, to use the ethernet cabling to a streamer, and at that time it will be carrying the data signal, so to some extent I am future-proofing myself too. Anyway, it keeps me off the streets!

Hi David, I am not sure conveying the audio data is relevant. These cables are effectively acting RF stubs and EM radiators, so having them actively connected to or near any audio equipment may shape the noise to a tiny amount and therefore ‘sound’ different.

In the limit, if one is not considering noise shaping, then all the audio data needs at an Ethernet level is a patch lead that works.

Kind of a related question. I also use the Unity Core via SPDIF to a different DAC. What is the ideal cable to use for this connection. It seems that 75 ohm cable is ideal. I want to use BNC connectors since that is what is on the core and the dac. I also have BNC/RCA converters, but don;t want to use them anymore. What are the recommendations that you are happy with? I realize that most cables will sound different and I will audtion. Just looking for 2-3 to try and 2-3 to stay away from.

What’s your DAC? I have used a Chord Indigo Plus, a Naim DC1, and a Studio Connections (Abbey Road) one. I like all 3 and have used them with a Naim DAC, and a PS Audio DLIII.

Its a Meridian Ultra Dac. It has BNC inputs as well as the outputs on the Core. I would be looking to do that with a 75 ohm cable. I guess you have to be careful, as some of the BNC’s are 50 ohm and not optimal. I don’t want to use an RCA cable with RCA to BNC adaptors at this stage. I have that now. Looking to clean things up mechanically as well as electrically.

I fully agree with you. I have also cleaned up the network side of things with a couple of quality switches and a fibre optic link between them. Plus some quality network cables. I had heard it would make a difference,but it has actually made a startling difference.

Thanks vintageaxeman for your suggestions. Glad to hear that going bnc to bnc is not a waste of time and money. Had not thought of the DC1, but that is a good idea.

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