I’m not sure what thread I was perusing, but I saw a recommendation for Audioquest Ethernet cables saying how it really improve the soundstage. So, I bought a Cinnamon to give it a try. It’s their mid-level cable at $100 for 0.75 meters. The Vodka is the next step up at $449 for the same length. That’s just to pricey for me without some measurements to back it up. I replace a non-audiophile cable that is my standard for my network:
I let the Audioquest cable break in for 3 weeks with it running almost continuously. On a whim, I switched back today and was surprised how much better my old cable sounded! All of the qualities people ascribed to the Audioquest cable I perceived in my affordable no-name cable. I got better soundstage, clearer bass, less jangliness, and an overall better sound. So, the Audioquest is going back.
The ones I’m using are excellent cables. They have great shielding and high purity copper. I really didn’t expect to hear a difference between the two, and I was surprised how much better the regular cable sounded than the audiophile cable. Well, that’s $100 I can put towards a set of Gaia II feet fir my speakers.
You might give the network cables a try. They aren’t expensive and you may find similar results to what I experienced. Even if you favor an audiophile network cable over the last hop, you may try this between routers, switches, or whatnot.
I still wish manufacturers would post graphs of the sound differences. What I believe I heard should be easily measurable.
My experience has been that interconnects have made no difference that my old ears can perceive. Ethernet wise I use standard issue blue cable stuff cat6.
The biggest difference I’ve heard from non component additions have been to install Gaia II feet on my 35kg speakers - tighter focus all round. Well worth the $$.
I’m glad to hear about the Gaia’s. I’m planning on buying a set soon. I’ve been impressed by the reviews and testimonies from people, like yourself. I’m eager to hear them!!
Very interesting your findings on the Cinnamon cables…
I still have no idea what an affordable, high quality Ethernet cable is for at least 10 meter? Maybe the Furutech NCF Ethernet cables?
Using the link I posted, you can get a 50 foot cable for $50. That link also talks about the construction, which is much better than your typical Ethernet cable. These are my go-to cables in my home network. I was really surprised to hear how it beat out the Cinnamon from Audioquest.
I should not that the song that really helped me hear the different is “The Window” by Steve Miller Band. This is one of my favorite test tracks. It has:
- Rich, deep base: the Cinnamon was muddier. The no-name was focused and easy to locate each drum in the soundstage.
- Sparkling highs: the tonality may have been the same on both.
- Excellent dynamics: I could hear more punch and crispness from the no-name cable.
- Sophisticated time information–there’s this part at the end where these chime sounds shift from left to right and back. With my no-name cable this was like magic as it appeared in my living room. With the Audioquest it was flatter and less defined.
This is by far one of my favorite test tracks! If a difference doesn’t show up here, I don’t know where it would show up.
Blue Jeans Cable is a great source for Belden 1700A bonded 5e+. They test to confirm each cable meets or beats spec and include the printout.
There really is no reason for cat 6 or higher in the home environment and at our needs that are sub 100Mbps speeds. 5e+ is 350Mhz capable and easily capable of gigabit if the cable meets spec, and likely short runs of 10Ge.
I think getting the bonded version is key. It retains the physical and thus electrical relationship between the pairs throughout the length of the cable.
I’ve managed several very large commercial installs over the years and lived with those networks for decades now. Installs with bonded cable simply have fewer issues/errors over the long haul. The installers don’t like it because terminating takes longer and is more difficult but the end result is worth it. Of course, neither of these are factors for a patch cable that is pre-terminated and hopefully tested to ensure it meets spec.
For the AQ cable to sound worse I would expect it’s because it does not meet spec.