Network cables - another upgrade.

ALL212ALL212 Posts: 1,194
edited March 8 in Going Digital
I was going to bump for another Bottlehead Crack but wasn't real sure where it would go so instead I decided to upgrade something...anything. And two incidents occurred.

1) I had trouble with my cable modem connection and it turned out to be the coax coming from the splitter. It was just a stock cable that went bad somewhere. I only had one of those push on cables and I don't trust them but it did fix my issue. In the meantime I went on a search for a new cable.

2) I watched a video on Facebook in which a gentleman went over potential jitter issues with poorly made switches and low end cat5 cables. Got me thinkin...

I'm not associated with Monoprice in anyway. I've purchased there before so I went searching and found inexpensive cat8 cables (as well as RG6 coax with F terminations but hey - that's really boring stuff and it's just a standard, well done cable).

If you're not fussy about color you can pick up cat8 cables for about the same (if not less) than cat6 and the build is considerably better. You can get "audiophile" network cables on the web but the price on those was prohibitive.

I really didn't expect much out of this. I'm an IT guy and TCP/IP isn't a mystery but I switched out my cables. I use older commercial grade switches (HP 2910al at the "dmark" fiber patched to a Meraki fanless switch in the audio cabinet). I replaced the cable from Roon server to switch and then from the 2nd switch to the OPPO that acts as my Roon endpoint. While I was in there I changed out the cables from my cable modem to firewall and then to switch as well as the cables from the 2 NAS units I have. I had been using cat6a STP (shielded twisted pair) in the 36 gauge version (it's small and very easy to route around equipment).

Cat8 is a friggin' hose. It doesn't bend much so routing the cables was "fun" but the job got done.

From left to right:
Cat8 S/FTP 24 awg (up to 40Gps)
Cat6a S/STP 36 awg in a flat configuration (up to 1G)
Cat6a S/STP 36 awg in the round configuration (up to 1G)
Cat5e non-shielded 24 awg. This will probably be what you have (up to 1G)
ccxdcrlzmo50.jpg

I turned on the big rig and went to my test playlist. ...and my jaw dropped.

I really hate to use audiophile standard terms but I'm at a loss to describe this. Everything tightened up, "the veil was lifted". Bass is tighter, treble more defined and clearer. I didn't notice anything "wrong" before but there were a few tracks I thought were lacking. No longer.

We work pretty hard at tuning up our rigs and cables have always been a point of contention. TCP/IP has techniques to insure the packets arrive alive and on-time but there is something to be said about using good quality network cables and switches.

I spent about $50 and some of that expense was the coax cable I bought for my Comcast modem connection.
Aaron
Enabler Extraordinaire

Comments

  • verbverb Posts: 10,158
    Very nice! I run CAT5 (nothing special) to my office computer. Got me thinking about an upgrade!
    Basement: Polk SDA SRS,Cary SLP-05 Pre,Enlightened Audio Designs CD Transport,Northstar Designs Excelsio DAC,Cambridge 851N streamer,Marantz SA-14 SACD,McIntosh MC300 Amp,Silnote Morpheus Ref2 Digital Cable,Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner,Pangea Power Cables,Wireworld Oasis 8 RCA IC's,MIT Shotgun S3 IC's,MIT Shotgun S1 Bi-Wire speaker cables
    Office: PC,EAR Acute CD Player,EAR 834L Pre,Northstar Designs Intenso DAC,PASS ACA Monoblocks,Denon UDR-F10 Cassette,Acoustic Technologies Classic FR Speakers,SVS SB12 Plus sub,MIT AVt2 speaker cables,IFI Purifier2,AQ Cinnamon USB cable,Groneberg Quatro Reference IC's
    Spare Room: Antique Sound Labs Wave AV-8 Monoblocks,Tisbury Mini Passive Pre,Tjoeb 99 tube CD player (modified Marantz CD-38),Analysis Plus Oval 9's,Zu Jumpers,AudioEngine B1 Streamer,Klipsch RB-61 v2,SVS PB1000 sub,Blue Jeans RCA IC's
    Living Room: Peachtree Nova Integrated,Cambridge CXN v2 Streamer,Rotel RCD-1072 CD player,Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner,Polk RT265 In Wall Speakers,Polk DSW Pro 660wi sub
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,087
    Interesting. I wired my house with Cat 6 recently and am upgrading my cabling when I can to Blue Jean CAT6 cables as I know a properly terminated cable matters....

    I also need to buy myself the tools to terminate my own cable so I can custom make them to fit just the right length.

    CAT8 spools to re-wire my existing house runs are a bit” cost prohibitive lol....

    And CAT6 in residential overkill anyway lol
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • ALL212ALL212 Posts: 1,194
    I can terminate up to cat6 unshielded. I Probably could figure that out but it takes a different end (bigger) and crimper. I cannot imagine trying to terminate this cat8 stuff.
    Aaron
    Enabler Extraordinaire
  • polrbehrpolrbehr Posts: 2,573
    edited March 8
    Not surprised about this; as with most things in audio, cables matter.

    That said, I "only" use bulk Cat5e cable bought from... Monoprice, but that’s really only for internet, and not audio signals. But it did the job. I can terminate it myself, and I took a lot of stress off of my router by having ethernet jacks in which to connect almost all of my devices that formerly needed Wifi (TVs & PCs in 3 B/Rs, my entire HT setup).
    So, are you willing to put forth a little effort or are you happy sitting in your skeptical poo pile?


    http://audiomilitia.proboards.com/
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,087
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    And CAT6 in residential overkill anyway lol

    Says the man with like 8 12" bass drivers in an 12x14 room with 750 gigawatts of power....

    Just shut up and smack yourself 5 times in the face..


    It’s 16x18 and open the the house which you know already lol
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 25,403
    With apologies for free-associating a la @afterburnt ;) -- I used to use CAT5 for speaker cable :p Not a 'best practice' (even though it was a fad for a while, in certain circles).

  • ALL212ALL212 Posts: 1,194
    Didja braid ‘em? I made a couple of those. Surprising how much wire you need to make a pair if you use 3 braided triplets to do so!
    Aaron
    Enabler Extraordinaire
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 16,339
    ALL212 wrote: »
    Didja braid ‘em? I made a couple of those. Surprising how much wire you need to make a pair if you use 3 braided triplets to do so!

    yep I did. We had so much at work we were pulling out heck yes I spiermented. One was all individual wires braided then braid 6 of those into one cable.....twice. It was like 7 or 8 gauge maybe 9. Had to waller out a banana plug to fit and then solder as there was not near enough threads for the lock screws :p

    the guy loved them and still uses them AFAIK
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 25,403
    ALL212 wrote: »
    Didja braid ‘em? I made a couple of those. Surprising how much wire you need to make a pair if you use 3 braided triplets to do so!

    No -- I made two and only two flavors of CAT5 cables. early on, I used two runs as + and -, twisted together (fairly loosely).

    Later, I got to just twisting all of the solids together for one conductor, and all of the stripeys for the other one. I am embarrassed to acknowledge that this is what is still in my Frankenaltecs :| I shoulda replaced it with something with more audiophile cred when I had the danged twenty-six baffle screws out of each loudspeaker last week. :/

    49624054003_4df27066ba_b.jpgDSC_8279 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

    My 'supertweeters' are still wired with CAT5, too. :| I should remediate that some day, too.

    The braiding thing was very cool but braiding anything is right at the limit of my spatial and manual dexterity :)

    I have tonnes of CAT5, BTW -- I used to pick up castoff boxes when they were doin' network stuff at work in a past life... they'd pitch boxes with 20, 50 feet left in 'em... I'd just round 'em up after they did. :)
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 16,339
    yep that is how I got mine as well Doc left over spools that they would toss in the dumpster.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 25,403
    Packrat that I am -- I still have several boxes of it in the basement. :)
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 16,339
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,973
    Got a link to the specific CAT 8 cables you used?
  • ALL212ALL212 Posts: 1,194
    Clipdat wrote: »
    Got a link to the specific CAT 8 cables you used?

    Just hit Monoprice, cables , cat8. There’s only one. Go through the colors as some are heavily discounted
    Aaron
    Enabler Extraordinaire
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,973
    ALL212 wrote: »
    Just hit Monoprice, cables , cat8. There’s only one. Go through the colors as some are heavily discounted

    But what if the certain colors sound better than others?
  • ALL212ALL212 Posts: 1,194
    edited March 11
    Oh...they do….they do.

    And I'm not going to tell you which is better....

    You also have to ask yourself what is on the end?
    Wireless works best with what color?
    PC work best with what color?
    Printers work best with what color?
    TV's...ya...it's not the same!
    and audio...obvious which color goes here.


    >:)



    https://www.monoprice.com/category/cables/networking-patch-cables/cat8-ethernet-cables
    Aaron
    Enabler Extraordinaire
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,973
    Obviously baby puke brown is going to have the most subtle and nuanced high frequency reproduction.
  • verbverb Posts: 10,158
    Clipdat wrote: »
    ALL212 wrote: »
    Just hit Monoprice, cables , cat8. There’s only one. Go through the colors as some are heavily discounted

    But what if the certain colors sound better than others?

    Just test them all, and let us know! :smile:
    Basement: Polk SDA SRS,Cary SLP-05 Pre,Enlightened Audio Designs CD Transport,Northstar Designs Excelsio DAC,Cambridge 851N streamer,Marantz SA-14 SACD,McIntosh MC300 Amp,Silnote Morpheus Ref2 Digital Cable,Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner,Pangea Power Cables,Wireworld Oasis 8 RCA IC's,MIT Shotgun S3 IC's,MIT Shotgun S1 Bi-Wire speaker cables
    Office: PC,EAR Acute CD Player,EAR 834L Pre,Northstar Designs Intenso DAC,PASS ACA Monoblocks,Denon UDR-F10 Cassette,Acoustic Technologies Classic FR Speakers,SVS SB12 Plus sub,MIT AVt2 speaker cables,IFI Purifier2,AQ Cinnamon USB cable,Groneberg Quatro Reference IC's
    Spare Room: Antique Sound Labs Wave AV-8 Monoblocks,Tisbury Mini Passive Pre,Tjoeb 99 tube CD player (modified Marantz CD-38),Analysis Plus Oval 9's,Zu Jumpers,AudioEngine B1 Streamer,Klipsch RB-61 v2,SVS PB1000 sub,Blue Jeans RCA IC's
    Living Room: Peachtree Nova Integrated,Cambridge CXN v2 Streamer,Rotel RCD-1072 CD player,Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner,Polk RT265 In Wall Speakers,Polk DSW Pro 660wi sub
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 16,339
    edited March 11
    Clipdat wrote: »
    Obviously baby puke brown is going to have the most subtle and nuanced high frequency reproduction.


    It will transfer the brown note better...
    Post edited by pitdogg2 on
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