It's the Ethernet / USB Cable Question Again!


#1

Guys, I know that this question must have been asked - and answered - many time, but… At least one positive thing about growing older and more forgetful, is that you meet new people and learn new things every day!! I’ll qualify my oft-asked question even more by mentioning the fact that there have been quite a few advances in networking protocols and computer processing. So, I have to wonder - maybe I wondered this before? I digress…Since I have upgraded my modem and router network, I wonder if upgrading my old Cat 5 Ethernet to a 6, 7…or whatever the latest “number” is, will make any difference. I can’t help but wonder too whether plugging in a “better” (i.e.: more expensive) USB cable between my hard drive and dedicated laptop (server) would in the slightest make any difference…I mean could the little packet things be shaking hands more effectively!!!

For what it’s worth…

Cheers

Ben


#2

As you know, there is tremendous variety of opinion out there about cables. What I can tell you is this: in my system, upgrading a generic cat6 cable to Audioquest Vodka between my NAS and the switch that sits in my rack, and from the switch to the DS, made a clearly audible difference. Not earthshattering or life-changing, but definitely there. It just took everything up a notch or two. I no longer worry about my ethernet cable; maybe there are better ones out there, but I’ve got something quite decent.

My suggestion is to get cables from places that let you return them if they don’t work out, or use the Cable Company’s lending library.


#3

I upgraded my generic Cat6 cables which was present only on the path of the audio data (from NAS to a switch and then to the PC). So for this upgrade, I replaced all cables in my home network everywhere (not a a very large network) by some Ligawo SFTP Cat7 patches found on Amazon and the effect was unexpected for me because I was very skeptical. However the difference was there, a more analog sound, more quiet. Globally I found a very positive effect.

Note that these Ligawo Cat7 cables are not really Cat7 guarantee because their connectors are not Cat7 compliant but you can get them at low cost. The shielding (SFTP) seems very correct.

I can’t tell if it worth it to prefer the audiophile network cables but I can say I’m happy with them. The suggestion given by Magister is absolutely right but in my case I didn’t know a dealer ready to lend such cables.


#4

@timequest Are you using the Bridge or a USB-connection?

If it’s the Bridge, do I understand correctly, that thisis the setup:

Bridge - Ethernet - Switch - PC - (USB) - disk with music

If “yes”, then I would avoid playing music from a USB connected disk because of the delays. We discussed this in one of the threads. You are asking for skips.

The most important cable to try here is the one between the Bridge and the switch. And mind the ground connections/loops. Another interesting tweak is a linear power supply for the switch. Of course, the PC should be adequate and not very busy during the playback.

If it’s this setup:

DAC - (USB) - PC - (USB) - disk

then the “flow control” is “better controlled” than in the UPnP system. And the most important part will be the “left” USB cable and the USB card. You can also try a linear power supply for the USB card (if it’s supported).


#5

Hiya Ben,

I’m a member of the same club so I know what you mean. Here’s what I’ve found, of course within the context of my system, personal preferences and listening room.

Originally, before I had the DS DAC in the loop and was only listening to my Oppo 105D solo, I did find that Ethernet cables connecting the Oppo to my Xfinity Gateway made a difference. I went from a generic (CAT 5 I think) cable to an Audioquest Forest (their entry level) then to an Acoustic Revive LAN-PA and then finally added one of their RLI-1 LAN Isolators. I heard improvements, pretty much across the board with each change and it wasn’t a different therefore better type change, either. At least in my estimation.

I now have a second LAN-PA/RLI-1 connecting the DS DAC to the Gatetway and the Bridge connection may be my favorite in terms of clarity, sound staging and just plain musicality. Second favorite is the Oppo feeding the DS DAC via a Siltech Poseidon Signature II digital/coax cable. For some reason I can’t currently get JR21 to play via USB so that’s an open question but it is what I use to drive the Bridge from my EHD/PC. In the latter case I have not found the USB cable connecting the external hard drive to the PC to make a difference. On the other hand (isn’t there always?), the USB cable connecting an EHD to the Oppo does decidedly make a difference.

Just sharin’.


#6

Hi Joe,

If you are unable to use JRiver via your USB, do you play music with any other software using that USB port or not at all while you leave JRiver for the bridge alternative?

Can’t bring myself to like JRiver’s “house sound” for some reason, so I was thinking maybe 2 implementations symultaneously, say:

-Audirvana + (like its sound a tad more) via the DAC’s USB

-JRiver for the bridge.


#7
EfeTe said Hi Joe,

If you are unable to use JRiver via your USB, do you play music with any other software using that USB port or not at all while you leave JRiver for the bridge alternative?

Can’t bring myself to like JRiver’s “house sound” for some reason, so I was thinking maybe 2 implementations symultaneously, say:

-Audirvana + (like its sound a tad more) via the DAC’s USB

-JRiver for the bridge.

Hi,

Quite honestly I haven’t used the USB connection to the DS DAC in so long…mainly for two reasons. I find the Bridge connection more than meets my needs in terms of sound quality. When not using the Bridge, I use the coax or TOSLINK connections to the DS DAC from my Oppo 105D the rest (and the majority) of the time. If I’m not listening to music (mainly from an external hard drive connected to the 105D) then I’m either watching Netflix or TV which are also piped through the 105D and then to the DS DAC.

My previous post from April 25, 2015 was written just after I’d received the DS DAC and I guess over the intervening year I’ve decided that dragging my PC over to the DS DAC just isn’t worth it to me. If I remember correctly, though, I did get JR21 to work via USB.

Regards,
Joe


#8

Thanks Joe!

What I will intend to do is JRiver->Cat 6->Bridge for the ethernet alternative, plus Audirvana->USB->Bridge for the other.

Regards,

Fernando


#9

You’re welcome, Fernando. I’m not really familiar with Apple products so please excuse my ignorance. Are you physically connecting your MacBook to the Bridge because the Mac lacks a wireless connection to your router or is it a case of the router not being near your DirectStream Junior?

Just curious.


#10

Hi Joe, sorry about the somewhat late response -was on the road and just got back.

>Are you physically connecting your MacBook to the Bridge because the Mac lacks a wireless connection to your router or is it a case of the >router not being near your DirectStream Junior?

Actually the latter. My small dedicated room is 1 storey down in the basement and I’m not exactly chuffed with the quality / stability of signal.

BTW got myself a nice Furutech Cat 6 cable, so will try it on the DSJ the moment the unit has arrived.

Cheers


#11
EfeTe said Hi Joe, sorry about the somewhat late response -was on the road and just got back.

>Are you physically connecting your MacBook to the Bridge because the Mac lacks a wireless connection to your router or is it a case of the >router not being near your DirectStream Junior?

Actually the latter. My small dedicated room is 1 storey down in the basement and I’m not exactly chuffed with the quality / stability of signal.

BTW got myself a nice Furutech Cat 6 cable, so will try it on the DSJ the moment the unit has arrived.

Cheers


Hi Fernando,

I realize we’re talking MAC vs PC and Bridge vs USB but I did want to clarify a point. I was able to get JR21 to work with the DAC’s USB connection. For some reason you have to choose JR21’s “Player” option when running through the USB. When I do go from my PC wirelessly through the router to the Bridge I have to actually pick the DS DAC in JR21’s player menu.

Hope everything works out to your satisfaction when the DS Junior arrives.

Regards


#12

Pity -because I’m playing, tinkering with the JRiver and still don’t like it (not even the SQ!) while I have become so fond of the Audirvana +! Matter of taste I suppose.

Thanks a lot for your clarifications Joe.

Fernando