Streaming vs. Downloading and Ethernet Cable Quality

I’ve seen some people claim that the sound quality of streaming is affected by the quality of their ethernet cables. I don’t do streaming, so I’ll have to take their word for it.

I was wondering if downloading is a different situation since the timing of bits presumably doesn’t matter. I download a lot of files from Qobuz and HDtracks. These go into my laptop (either SSD or SD card), then get played later by Audirvana. Will the quality of my ethernet cable affect the sound quality of the downloads?

Downloading is different from music playback. I use WiFi to download so I can not answer your direct question.

After the files were downloaded into cloud, I tranfered them into a external Samsung SSD. I have used both cheap and expensive USBs for transfering, I heard no difference from music playback.

However, the USB cable from the SSD to the streamer plays a major role of music playback SQ. It seems only during playback the cable makes a difference.

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Thanks for sharing your experience!

Do you hear different SQ, sonically speaking, between streaming and playing a downloaded file, if that file comes from the same source (Quobuz for instance)? It means with the same depth/bit rate.

Just for curiosity.

They are very close as I remembered. But I have not compared them since the Massive update and Furutech plate/socket change. I also moved the Dragon to streamer now. I couldn’t tell any difference under casual listening it seems.

This afternoon I’ll compare more closely. :golfing_man:


Thanks, I’ve finished my holidays, there’s no more daily time for my comparisons.
I give you the baton, with a little envy!


Vacanze estive?

Don’t let my last name fool you. I had to look it up. :slightly_smiling_face:

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After my first day back at office, my system seems to sound better than yesterday. Psycho effect of working?

I’m trying feeding the PhoenixNET by the Puritan and I changed the power cord of the Puritan. Quite odd but the Classic Plus cable seems to be more airy, clean, detailed and lifelike than the Ultimate.

How I’m liking what I’m hearing now!

Next week I receive (just for home audition) this new USB

a few WTB forum members suggested me to give it a try because it works very well with the MSB USB Pro module, filtering the 5V noise with great results.

I’m going to receive also this little toy to test

A few tweaks to soothe the discomfort of returning to work… and hopefully keeping away the insane idea of an expensive Shunyata Omega!

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Luca, I have been listening to a track I purchased a few days ago for the 10th times: “Pistol” from Cigarettes After Sex. I did this because of two tests:

First, I use a $10 flat ethernet cable Cat.8 from Amazon to compare with Inakustik Referenz in the system between a Orbi satellite and the SW-10 switch. Because I use fiber optic direct link between the switch and Lumin U2, there should not be much SQ difference. I was wrong! The Inak. Ref. ethernet is the clear winner. Unfortunately the etherent cable upstream still matter. I will give the cheapo a few more days of break-in and hopefully it will catch up.

2nd, Using Inak. Ref. ethernet for streaming to compare with Samsung T7 4TB SSD (with Nordost Fry 2 a to c USB) playing the local file, I had a hard time to tell the difference. At first, I thought SSD may sound a bit cleaner, but going back to streaming it sounded just as clean and as detailed. So, here you go, I do not believe there is much difference between the two.

I will compare Streaming to PST later. Now I have AQ Dragon serving Lumin, the SQ is better than before, and I may have problem telling it apart from PST too. Wouldn’t that be nice! :man_dancing:


Interesting, thank you for testing it.

I was asking because in my system I cannot hear any differences. But my chain is the same streaming or playing downloaded files. Statement to DAC in both cases and running Sense App in both cases.
Even though I have a small collection of downloaded files, I was curious.

As per ethernet cables… I need two of them: from router to PhoenixNET and from PhoenixNET to Statement. AQ Diamond the first, Pink Faun the second. Along with the other toys I also ordered to CAD a tailor made cable terminated RJ45 to connect my GC.1 (that is a passive Ground Control box) to the router or to the PhoneixNET. I was told from Scott (CAD owner) that it can clean the sound from high frequencies, improving the performance of my actual set up. Ethernet wire has no ground, but it is very noisy, he said. If it works I can postpone the purchasing of other ethernet expensive cables.

It seems a never ending story, my friend.


Luca, it seems that once your streamer/cables/DAC reach a certain level, the difference will get smaller. I remembered before I heard better SQ from local files than streaming. But now they are the same. Congratulations to both of us :wine_glass:

Let me know how do you like the CAD RJ45, looks like my cable hunting is not ending yet because I heard a difference from the ethernet cables. I will give the flat one a few more days to warm up before I compare them again.

I see a Shunyata Omega RJ45 on your horizon!

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Donald, my cheap ethernet flat cable sounded flat again and wasn’t anything special. :rofl: I thought it should be at least a Cat 8 for the TV so as not to have a bad one on the switch and better than the accessory pack. When I tried the ribbon cable on my streamer chain after a long period of use, I was more than surprised at how good the sound had become. Luca with the Audioquest Diamond you already have a very good cable. My favorite Ethernet cable is the J-Cat Lan Signature Gold. If the Diamond were a Purple fuse, the J-Cat Signature Gold is a Master.

An affordable good Ethernet cable is the Furutech NCF.
It has a clear sound and comes very close to high-end cables. It can help to install an additional 360 shield on DC, digital and Ethernet cables.


I can use the flat cable for TV then. :laughing: Well, too bad it seems I still need another expensive cable. Luca is testing his CAD and will let us know how good it is.

Then, there is always Shunyata Omega that I know is great. :worried:


Donald then you already have a goal for the next year. You promised your wife and here in the forum. :face_with_hand_over_mouth::wink: Don’t you have another Aliexpress silver Lan cable? Or did it sound like a pancake to you? Perhaps the flat ribbon Lan is still developing. Mine took time too. I also have fiber optics from the modem on the floor to my Melco switch. Then I only have the J-Cat from the switch to the streamer. From the modem to the converter I would then have a choice between Furutech ncf, Amazon Flachband CSL or Linkup cat 8. With fiber optics instead of ethernet over power it should be an improvement. If not, the effort of laying the fiber optic cable in the house would be in vain.:grimacing:

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I still have it in my treasure box. Ever since vmax trashed it, it does not sound good in my system anymore. :laughing:

I should try it again, I bet it sounds better than the $10 one.

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Hopefully it’s like this :see_no_evil: 10 dollar experiment is fun and doesn’t get anyone in trouble. You might try a braided shield with a drain wire on your Ethernet cable.

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My $8 Amazon CSL ribbon cable went from being a cheap connection to a real surprise. It has a clean sound with sharp focus. As if someone had cleaned the dirty windows and you could see more clearly.
A Lan cable can also be turned in the direction. The J-cat is the only cable I have printed with a direction of travel. The Furutech sounds a little different going the other direction. Whether this is only after the exchange in the first time or in the long term I could not find out yet. That’s why I also prefer the SR fuses with a direction indicator. I find the constant turning at AM exhausting. :sweat_smile:


The following comment might be of interest for Donald and other members out there, I’ve just received it from CAD

There is a lot of noise created in ethernet networks. It is hard to do “too much” noise reduction.
Our own network server uses an Ethernet connection for operation, even though the music is stored on an SSD inside the server. Innuos is the same, MELCO……and other brands.
And when you stream music (TIDAL, QOBUZ and so on) then of course, you use the network connection also for the data.
We have found that the noise created by the ethernet network is significant.
It is more significant in streamed music, but it is still an issue in both streamed music and local file playback.
Ethernet switches, such as the Phoenix, try to reduce this noise before it enters the server.
Of course, additional noise is then also created by the server / streamer / laptop used for playback.
So, when we use GC1.1s, we have tried attaching them to every possible location. Including the main Router. And any switch. And the server.
In our experience, the most effective locations are “closer” to the server.
But if I had to guess, I would expect the network switch – being “the last” bit of ethernet network – to be more effective than the router.
My suggestion is to try the switch (alone) and try the router (alone) and see what you think. And also try the server alone (see below).
And try to work out which combination works best for the system.
There is also additional noise created by the server.
The GC1.1 reduces noise on the ground connection – and can be attached to servers through any unused socket. USB is a good one, but unused SPDIF will work too…….
The USB cables and USB filter are designed to reduce noise in audio USB connections.
In our experience it is hard to do too much noise reduction in digital products.
So this is a long way of saying, we don’t know which connection will be the most effective, but they should all work………

They also informed me that they are very closed to producing a network filter
It can be used IN ADDITION to GC1.1s, switches, and USB cables / USB filters / USB controls.
The filter will attach to any ethernet cable – it contains a male plug at one end and a female socket at the other.
It will be small – like the USB filter.
You connect it directly into an RJ45 connection on a router, switch, or on a server. It does not require an extra Ethernet cable.

I think it is something similar to a Pink Faun filter, I already own.


I use these filters between the modem and before the switch.

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