Standard ethernet cable VS wifi

I am wondering whether a standard ethernet cable might contain electrical pollution that goes into the streamer. The streamer is near a wifi AP so the wifi signal is powerful enough and has never given issues. Am I correct thinking that with wifi the only interference can come from the power cable while with ethernet there is yet another cable involved. What would bring the preferred setup in this situation? I have a standard TP link switch for ethernet so nothing fancy there.

It’s true that an Ethernet cable is a potential extra route into the streamer for electrical interference, but the WiFi module might also generate some, so there could be an advantage to having it turned off. Best have a listen to both options and see if you hear any difference.

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While investigating options during my Roon trial not to long ago some folk made quite a good argument for wired Ethernet being better for sound streaming than WiFi. I was thinking a digital signal was a digital signal but it seems from the way WiFi schedules packets to the various clients that a wired connection could very well be the superior option.

What I can say out of my own experience was that wiring both the streamer and the Roon Core in gave audibly better performance.

Wired, always better and more stable than WIFI, even you have 100 % WIFI signal strength.

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I wonder if this depends on the product and who makes it and I tend to think manufacturers generally know their products best. I understand Naim favour wiring where possible and that is how I run my Atom and, before that, ran my 272. OTOH Xuanqian Wang of Auralic argues for and himself uses WiFi with the Aries series of streamers and that is based on superior SQ. Of course good WiFi is essential in that scenario.


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I guess it depends on the streamer and its wifi module. I seem to recall reading that in the case of Naim products the latest generation have much better isolation of noise from wifi, so the potential may be there to be better than cable, depending on the network, its components, and the electrical environment, which will vary from setup to setup.

Given the cheap cost of ethernet cables (assuming you don’t go down the path of exotic cables and switches) it is a very easy comparison to make for yourself.

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True. Guess I’ll go to try out both ways to see if I can detect any difference. I certainly don’t want to go into the direction of buying exotic switches and cables for this.

Wifi and Ethernet each has their pros and cons, and modern wifi protocols and our relatively simple uses, wifi is as effective as Ethernet. In previous days, I would always recommend Ethernet over wifi, but not now, especially if you have a modern multi access point or ‘mesh’ wifi setup.
So choose what is convenient and sounds bests in your setup, and leave at that.

Ethernet is switching larger lower frequency voltages than wifi and so has the potential for greater SQ affecting noise than wifi. Wifi although incredibly low power tends to have more advanced/processor intensive circuitry so could produce more noise there… swings and roundabouts and will most likely depend on your setup.


That’s a well explained answer. Thanks!


Hard wired every time if you can. One variable in terms of WiFi you cannot control is the number of devices using an increasingly congested spectrum.

This is the thing, it’s not just about the interference signals coming into the device it is also about timing with sending packets of data, as I understand. I am pretty sure that Naim would not have built in WiFi and Ethernet if both did not give a really good result but with wired you are assured of dedicated low jitter signal.

I found out to my relief and joy this week that it is not required. Was about to buy something relatively expensive and then I searched the forum and saw how highly recommended Blue Jeans Cable comes for ethernet cabling. A few quid later it was delivered, installed and sounding really amazing.

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It’s interesting to see how people perceive the concept of value for money in audiophile circles. Go to a reputable supplier of properly certified, tested patch cables such as Cable Monkey and see how much they cost. A 3 metre Cat5e cable, for example, costs 96 pence. How does the cost of that Blue Jeans cable feel now? Sure, they do a nice bit of marketing by printing a paper copy of the Fluke test and sticking it in the bag with the cable. Added value? Sure, add on 10 or 20% to cover the cost. Nope…the BJ cable is a bit over ten times the price at £9.75.
I realise, of course, that this is just small change compared to the price of a Naim streamer, and I’m not saying that BJ are really so bad. After all, sticking just one 0 on the end of the price seems quite restrained compared to certain brands who stick 2 or 3 zeros on the end of that price for their more exotic offerings.


I suspect the important factor is using shielded cable, which is not a given on cat 5 or 6, but is often an option. As Cat 7 and 8 are shielded, then perhaps a budget version of these may be good enough these days? Anyone tried?

I think this may be an overanalysis of what I was saying. If there were thread after thread on here lauding Cablemonkey as much as BJC I’d have ordered that. Also take into account I don’t live in the UK so that would also have attracted a healthy shipping fee.

Was also saying the solution does not have to cost the earth. I am perfectly happy with the result I got.

Er, that still makes the BJC feel like excellent value.

Those Cable Monkey cables will get your IT bits to the place they need to end up, but they are probably not as well made with as good materials and as well tested as BJC.

In all the tests I have done none of my super cheap or free/ISP cables sounded like my BJC 6a.

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And this is the crux of the matter. If just about everyone recommends the BJC how many misses can you have for a tenner by trying various cheaper options anyways before you may just as well have bought it.


I have about 15 free cables in my garage that came with ISP routers.

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If ten times the price equates to good value in your opinion, fair enough.
I have some of each, they both work fine, and I can’t honestly say they appear to be any different in terms of build quality.

I don’t know Cable Monkey specifically.

So if they sound the same and are equally robust and reliable, then you’ve just saved a few squid.

I have no doubts that there are cheaper options that give the same performance. The thing is finding that option and being sure that it is better. Of course I want to buy the 69 cents option, who would not, but I don’t want 20 69 cents options before finding one that is 80% (or 100% or 110%) as good and how would I know anyways if I don’t buy the BJC? A cable which came highly recomended in every cable thread on this forum.

I am happy, my sound is awesome and I spent the price of two McDonalds meals on it. Which is what made the following bit come across super harsh:

I mean it is not like I had to mortgage my house for it.