Paulssurround

Throw Away Your Ethernet Cables And Audition Some Cat8 Ethernet Cables?

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Posted (edited)

I have explored many different things to try to get better sound quality from my system.

As part of that journey, I have tried many different types of Ethernet cables in my system, and have now found what  I think is the best performance to cost ratio in Ethernet cables.

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Last year, I heard that Cat8 Ethernet cables were finally available on the market, and that they are certified to meet a Cat8 specification that includes a far wider bandwidth, faster speed and far better shielding compared to Cat7, Cat6 or Cat5. I could not wait to try Cat8 in my system, and finally they were available.

The new Cat8 cables  were ordered from Certicable in New York State, and are certified to meet the Cat8 specifications for bandwidth, speed and shielding. I ordered 4  X 10 foot Cat8 cables and a single 25 foot Cat8 cable, but when they arrived realized I should have ordered 1 more 10 foot cable.

Cat8 cables have excellent shielding between each wire strand inside the cable, as well as a braided copped mesh shield around the whole cable. This virtually eliminates crosstalk between wires, and minimizes EMF and Radio interference.

Sound quality of my system was a major improvement with the Cat8, compared to my previous cables

I had installed Cat8 from the NAS to the switch, AEDSM to my Katalyst Akubariks, my Exaktbox 6 for the centre channel, and the front right Akubarik to my Exaktbox I which powers my Surround speakers. But I was missing the Cat8 between my switch and the AEDSM, so installed a Chord Anthem Ethernet cable to complete my network.

Last week, I received my newest and final Cat8 Ethernet cable, to complete my whole network in Cat8. This now includes the Cat8 from my switch to my AEDSM.

The improvement in sound quality with my whole system now Cat8 connected took another major step up in sound quality, and has given my system a completely new and stunning sound signature.

Cat8 provides a much quieter background than anything else I have tried, a far more realistic sounding music, that is more natural and organic,  instruments are better separated, and it is the best sounding streaming I have heard.

The cost of the Cat8 is modest, compared to the cost of my system, and each Cat8 cable was one tenth the cost of a single Chord Anthem cable and a huge cost saving compared to Audioquests top Ethernet cables, while sounding significantly better than those offerings.

My friend with Akudoriks installed Cat8 Ethernet cables in his whole network last week and is beyond impressed for the new performance standard he has now experiencing.

I cannot recommend highly enough to audition Cat8 in your whole network.

They can take at least hours to burn-in, but have provided me with a great wow factor. YMMV.     😊

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As a reference, I have tried the following Ethernet cables in my system, over the last 10 years, listed below:

I have tried the top end Audioquest Vodka and Diamond Ethernet cables as well as their lower cost range. I have tried Cat5, Cat6 and Cat7 cables from different manufacturers, both shielded and non-shielded, custom Cat6 cables, and some high quality Meicord, as well as a Chord Anthem. 

‘I have also auditioned some very expensive Chord Music Ethernet cables in other people’s HiFi systems, which were very impressive.

Originally I used Cat5 and Cat6 ,when I first started streaming, however, when I first heard that Cat7 was available , with its better shielding, wider bandwidth and faster speed, I did hear an improvement in sound quality. It was not a big improvement, but it was definitely audible, and worth the very modest cost.

 

Edited by Paulssurround
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Hi Paul,

Would you recommend Supra CAT 8 cables as well as the Certicable ones you have? Will they both perform as well?

I am currently using Audioquest Cinnamon, which was a significant improvement in my system.

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Posted (edited)

Paul, if I understand you right, you are saying that the Certicable Cat 8 are better than Audioquest Vodka and Diamond? Or you have never made a direct comparison?

Is this the one? https://certicable.com/cat-8-cables/new-10-ft-cat8-cat-8-shielded-copper-cable-10gb-10-gigabit-ethernet-rj45-rj45.html

Edited by Tendaberry

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Hi,

can someone please explain differences in CAT “x” purposes? 

Im currently using CAT5 between virgin router to my streamer, but have a brand new CAT6 which I could use?

im now going to try this instead to see if it makes any odds.

tbh I thought an Ethernet was an Ethernet! But this is possibly not the case...

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Posted (edited)

Dang you all to heck Mr. Surround. I just bought four CAT 6a from Blue Jeans Cables for my system. My four cost $52 for three and five footers. They are beautifully made, and click in with a crisp snap. I have been making too many changes to my system to actually say they made a difference, but just that click is worth the price of admission. My old ones were ratty.

Wow, Linn is screaming in red against them. I can't imagine why a better quality, faster, better isolated cable could be worse?

Edited by Jail4CEOs2
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16 minutes ago, Amormusic said:

Hi,

can someone please explain differences in CAT “x” purposes? 

Im currently using CAT5 between virgin router to my streamer, but have a brand new CAT6 which I could use?

im now going to try this instead to see if it makes any odds.

tbh I thought an Ethernet was an Ethernet! But this is possibly not the case...

Simply put, the higher the Cat number, the higher the data rate that the cable will support, and also the higher the cost. See:

https://twistedpairtech.co.uk/cat5e-cat6-cat6a-cat7-cat7a-cat8-comparrision/

If your existing cabling supports the data rates that are in use in your network, there is no advantage in using a higher category cable, and it will cost you more for that lack of advantage. in the case of Cat8, there is no point in using it in a domestic environment - it is intended for use as a data center interconnect to support very high data rates (25 Gigabits and higher), and is restricted to 35 meter cable runs (vs. 100 meters for the lower categories).

If I was having a house cabled from scratch, I would specify Cat6a or Cat7 purely for "future-proofing", but in reality, a well-installed Cat5e infrastructure is really all that most of us need right now. 

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35 minutes ago, Tony_J said:

If I was having a house cabled from scratch, I would specify Cat6a or Cat7 purely for "future-proofing", but in reality, a well-installed Cat5e infrastructure is really all that most of us need right now. 

There might be an argument that shielded and foiled cable protects against "noise" being picked up by the cable and finding its way into equipment.  The noise wouldn't affect the network signal (the 'ones' and 'zeroes') but some might say that noise could find its way into the audio circuit.  I would expect Cat5 or Cat6 to be entirely adequate but might benefit from shielding and foiling.

https://www.universalnetworks.co.uk/faq/copper/what-does-utp-ftp-stp-or-sftp-mean

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3 hours ago, nhojsllih said:

Hi Paul,

Would you recommend Supra CAT 8 cables as well as the Certicable ones you have? Will they both perform as well?

I am currently using Audioquest Cinnamon, which was a significant improvement in my system.

As far as I understand, Supra Cat8 cables meet the new  Cat8 specifications.

This topic on using Cat8 cables has been posted by me in the past and many Linn owners purchased the Supra Cat8 cables at that time.

The reason I tackled this topic again is that I now have my whole network as Cat8 spec, as of last week. 

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Supra are manufactured in Sweden, are readily  available in Europe, whereas Certicable is readily available in North America. Although, it should not be a problem to ship either brand.

Without exception, everyone who purchased the Supra Cat8 cables in past threads, reported a significant improvement in sound quality.

I am reporting a significant improvement in sound quality with my Certicable Cat8 cables.

I have not had Supra cables in my system to do a direct comparison.

I could suggest you get a hold of some Supra or Certicable Cat8, that have at least 10 hours burn in and audition them in your system, and see what you think.  😊

3 hours ago, phino said:

Thanks Phino, very interesting.

The results speak for themselves, and I believe you will be surprised.

I have heard many people’s systems, with people using Audioquest Vodkas and Diamonds, Chord Music cables, Meicord and so on. Not one of them would go back to generic cheap Cat5 or 6 cables.

Linn also don’t recommend power conditioners, after market power cords, vibration control, but the improvements in sound quality are undeniable with the right products.

2 hours ago, Tendaberry said:

Paul, if I understand you right, you are saying that the Certicable Cat 8 are better than Audioquest Vodka and Diamond? Or you have never made a direct comparison?

Is this the one? https://certicable.com/cat-8-cables/new-10-ft-cat8-cat-8-shielded-copper-cable-10gb-10-gigabit-ethernet-rj45-rj45.html

Hi Tendaberry,

Yes, I find the Certicable significantly better than the Audioquest, for a fraction of the price.

Yes, that is the link to Certicable products. Thank you.   

I suppose that any brand of Cat8 cables that meet the Cat8 specifications would be worth a try.

Unfortunately, there are always manufacturers that produce products that claim to be a certain specification, but don’t meet the standards.

I trust that Supra and Certicable do meet the Cat8 spec.    😊

1 hour ago, Sound Hound said:

Wow!

I am also surprised at Linn’s recommendations.

I can only suggest they audition my system and others that have bought higher spec cables 😉

1 hour ago, Amormusic said:

Hi,

can someone please explain differences in CAT “x” purposes? 

Im currently using CAT5 between virgin router to my streamer, but have a brand new CAT6 which I could use?

im now going to try this instead to see if it makes any odds.

tbh I thought an Ethernet was an Ethernet! But this is possibly not the case...

I have not noticed much difference between generic Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet cables, in terms of sound quality.

I did find that the well built Meicord Ethernet cables are individually tested with their own diagnostic, sound better than generic Cat5/6.

55 minutes ago, Jail4CEOs2 said:

Dang you all to heck Mr. Surround. I just bought four CAT 6a from Blue Jeans Cables for my system. My four cost $52 for three and five footers. They are beautifully made, and click in with a crisp snap. I have been making too many changes to my system to actually say they made a difference, but just that click is worth the price of admission. My old ones were ratty.

Wow, Linn is screaming in red against them. I can't imagine why a better quality, faster, better isolated cable could be worse?

Sorry about that Jail4CEO’s

I know that Blue Jeans builds a well made cable. Enjoy your new cables.   😊

38 minutes ago, Tony_J said:

Simply put, the higher the Cat number, the higher the data rate that the cable will support, and also the higher the cost. See:

https://twistedpairtech.co.uk/cat5e-cat6-cat6a-cat7-cat7a-cat8-comparrision/

If your existing cabling supports the data rates that are in use in your network, there is no advantage in using a higher category cable, and it will cost you more for that lack of advantage. in the case of Cat8, there is no point in using it in a domestic environment - it is intended for use as a data center interconnect to support very high data rates (25 Gigabits and higher), and is restricted to 35 meter cable runs (vs. 100 meters for the lower categories).

If I was having a house cabled from scratch, I would specify Cat6a or Cat7 purely for "future-proofing", but in reality, a well-installed Cat5e infrastructure is really all that most of us need right now. 

Hi Tony,

I have to respectfully disagree that there is no point using Cat8 in a domestic environment.

I am well aware of the difference in bandwidth, speed and shielding between Cat5, Cat6, Cat7 and Cat 8. They will all transfer the data, and will all easily accommodate the data from streaming music.

The issue is that the cables are carrying more than just data, and appear to be carrying electronic noise, radio signals and EMF as well. This distortion is audible.

Cat8 has excellent shielding around each wire strand , which minimizes crosstalk interferences between wire strands. With crosstalk mimimized the digital edge to streamed music is significantly reduced, and will result in much more realistic music, that sounds more organic and natural. The Space between instruments and quietness of the background is very noticeable.

Cat8 also has braided copper mesh, shielding the whole length of the cable which helps reject EMF and radio waves.

Cat8 also uses the newer spec RJ45 Cat8 connectors.

Cat8 may seem like overkill, but the improvements in sound quality are significant, and provide great benefit for little money, compared to the cost of our HiFi systems.

If I were to cable my home from scratch, it would certainly be Cat8 specification.  😊

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49 minutes ago, FearOfMusic said:

There might be an argument that shielded and foiled cable protects against "noise" being picked up by the cable and finding its way into equipment.  The noise wouldn't affect the network signal (the 'ones' and 'zeroes') but some might say that noise could find its way into the audio circuit.  I would expect Cat5 or Cat6 to be entirely adequate but might benefit from shielding and foiling.

https://www.universalnetworks.co.uk/faq/copper/what-does-utp-ftp-stp-or-sftp-mean

Yes, absolutely correct.   

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Super Wammer
Posted (edited)

If it is the shielding you are recommending as the advantage over lower cat cables, why are you advising burn in?

Edited by greybeard

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Jail4CEOs2 said:

Dang you all to heck Mr. Surround. I just bought four CAT 6a from Blue Jeans Cables for my system. My four cost $52 for three and five footers. They are beautifully made, and click in with a crisp snap. I have been making too many changes to my system to actually say they made a difference, but just that click is worth the price of admission. My old ones were ratty.

Wow, Linn is screaming in red against them. I can't imagine why a better quality, faster, better isolated cable could be worse?

Linn are "screaming in red" against Cat 7 and 8, and only for the Exakt Links. Your Cat 6 are fine. And if you're talking network connections it's not an issue.

Edited by timster
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8 minutes ago, greybeard said:

If it is the shielding you are recommending as the advantage over lower cat cables, why are you advising burn in?

Good question greybeard.

The Cat8 cables are designed with more than just shielding improvements, and are purposely designed for greater bandwidth, speed and better shielding.

I liken a Cat5 or Cat 6 Ethernet cable as a 2 lane highway, and a Cat8 as a 25 lane freeway.   😉

I have noticed that when I first plugged in the Certicable Cat8 that there was an obvious improvement in sound quality on some aspects of the music, but there were things about the sound quality that did not sound right.

The bass seemed over emphasized initially, the mids and highs seemed like they were not quite right.

After an hour or so, the bass started to become very tuneful, detailed and musical.

Around 4 hours burn-in, things smoothed out in the mids and highs, but it wasn’t quite there yet.

With at least 10 hours burn-in, it all sounded magnificent.    

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By this logic then Ethernet of over mains adaptors shouldn’t work at all or sound a disaster ? 

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