The inaudibility of Ethernet

Jinjuku

New Member
Apr 18, 2011
228
3
0
#22
No they don't in this system. TCP packets have checksums. That checksum allows the TCP layer in the operating system to detect bit errors. If that happens, it discards the packet and the sender will retransmit it. So unless the link is broken solid in which case you get a glitch or playback stops, you are good on bit errors.

The player software and DAC are downstream of the above. They have no ability to see or know about packet bit errors. They either get reliable bits or nothing.

Now if there is noise that is riding on Ethernet connection that gets coupled to an internal DAC in a streamer, then it could cause jitter and other distortions. The measurements provided before in that test fixture shows that such noise does not bleed. Of course broader tests are necessary to make sure that test was representative.
I think the number of cables tested speak very well to the outcome. Various manufacture, and length. Boutique outfits could replicate this and show the superiority of their CAT5/6/6a offerings.

There was a batch of Rasberry Pi's produced where the manufacturer cut corners and used an Ethernet PHY w/o magnetics. This reported to be very noisy and something even a $340 1.5 meter Ethernet cable wasn't going to fix.
 
Feb 25, 2016
462
2
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Zhejiang
#25
Are you postulating there could be 2nd order effects of differing nature based on the Ethernet cable used?
That's my conjecture, yes. No need to postulate data differences, just as for S/PDIF and USB cables. Amir makes the point in his post about noise, that's what I was referring to by '2nd order effects'. Any clearer now?
 

Jinjuku

New Member
Apr 18, 2011
228
3
0
#26
That's my conjecture, yes. No need to postulate data differences, just as for S/PDIF and USB cables. Amir makes the point in his post about noise, that's what I was referring to by '2nd order effects'. Any clearer now?
When someone says 2nd order effects I think of odd and even harmonics of the fundamental.
 
#27
I use inexpensive CAT7 cables, but I have found that leakage through Ethernet PHY transformers is audible.

This can easily be solved by connecting the DC common of the Router or Switch to earth ground in wired systems. Also, Ethernet isolators, like those used in hospitals can help as well. I like the EMO EN-70e. Tried several and this one is cheap and sounds great. Others use optical, but I'm not convinced it's better yet.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
 

RussR

Well-Known Member
Dec 31, 2017
28
11
68
Gold Coast ,Queensland,Australia
#28
I have to disagree Bruce I believe it depends on the system as in my set up I can differentiate between generic cat6 Audioquest Forest cheap Vodka a sweat slightly warmer sounding cable to the Audioquest Diamond which has a lower noise floor cleaner more pristine sound.The Chord Sarum Tuned array ethernet was nice a different balance but noisier ,The Chord Music was better than the Sarum TA cable a nice cable a has a pleasing balance but still not as quiet as the Diamond cable and it is 5-6 times the cost??????????I understand solutions and cables for courses ,but everyone of those cables has a signature in my system .
 

kleinbje

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2012
161
5
248
CT
#31
Still feel that way? The only conclusion I can draw is your streamer's dac has a very well shielded clock and well isolated ground plane. Ethernet cable upgrade even to 60$ cinnamon has dramatically improved my streaming quality. It's not even close.
 
May 5, 2010
1,887
282
525
NYC/CT
www.stereophile.com
#32
Ethernet cable upgrade even to 60$ cinnamon has dramatically improved my streaming quality.
Can you tell us the nature of that improvement? Can it be reliably demonstrated or measured?
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,824
223
560
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#33
Still feel that way? The only conclusion I can draw is your streamer's dac has a very well shielded clock and well isolated ground plane.
The infrastructure in my room has been well sorted out. Great shielding, electrical and isolation, makes using expensive Ethernet cable, a waste of money.
 

kleinbje

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2012
161
5
248
CT
#34
The infrastructure in my room has been well sorted out. Great shielding, electrical and isolation, makes using expensive Ethernet cable, a waste of money.
They always say the last meter is the most important, antennae effect for noise. On this forum 60$ let alone 1k for a Sigma is hardly considered expensive. Really worth your time to try. I was floored.
 

kleinbje

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2012
161
5
248
CT
#35
Can you tell us the nature of that improvement? Can it be reliably demonstrated or measured?
Hi Kal
There are a couple of very significant improvements that I've I noted, I'll start the way I actually began with the null hypothesis that ethernet cables could not possibly affect sound quality. Information is reclocked, arrives faster than any audio stream needs, can resend packets that get lost in the noise floor. Seemed crazy. Well I used my Prime and 30 day return to audition an Audioquest Vodka and some Cinnamons. I had well reviewed cables to try for free. I recently added a Cary Streamer but I still mostly play vinyl. I put the Vodka between the bridge and the streamer. Cinnamons replaced all other cat cables I had 1-2 meters each.
When I listened to streaming after installing the new cables, the improvement was anything but subtle. The first thing I noticed was the noise floor, I use a Naim Nac52 preamp and barely needed to get to 8 o'clock for loud. My digital listening habits have changed dramatically in the past few weeks. I know longer have to see-saw the volume. I can find a happy level thats loud enough to get lost in but doesn't make me want to keep inching down the volume until I inevitable lose that effect. I especially am enjoying live concert recordings, the intensity of the performances now seem to come through. I also can especially appreciate the spacing of the instruments, really get a sense of venue, especially with those recorded using binaural mics. All my old Dime downloads are reborn and rediscovered. The musician interplay is more immediate and engaging. I also am exploring new music, I streamed Lang/Lang last night and could turn it up to hearts desire with no edge or brittleness, I'm a rock guy, touch of jazz/classical.
All I ever wanted from digital was unlimited volume(70-85db gotta protect those ears) without ear pain or fatigue, now without the loss of detail, dynamics, or emotional enagagement which notably has been significantly improved I am thrilled.
Now that my hypothesis was shot, I started researching what could be causing my observed improvements from the yellow/blue freebee ethernet cables. I believe the data is stable and not a bits issue. Every streamer connected to ethernet likely has a few incredibly noisy switching power supplies in the circuit. This noise as well as other emi/rf piggy backs onto the cable and enters into the dac clock through the ground plane causing jitter. The better cables prevent this noise, and my noted improvements. Best explanation I have thus far. I truly recommend an audition, I was so skeptical of power cables, now that is a laughable notion.

I have swapped in the old cables, it is not subtle and highly repeatable. Measureable, not sure, though someone on the PSaudio forum has some interesting scope pics. Happy listening.

Jeff
 
Oct 1, 2020
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#36
So far I'm only aware of 6 people that can hear a difference in Ethernet cables. You aren't one of them (neither am I apparently):D
I haven’t tried any audio Ethernet cables, Trying to keep an open mind about it... but I was an engineer for IBM during the Token Ring Lan days and our testing/certification with TR and Ethernet in wiring closets never indicated interference or packet loss during close proximity testing or max runs between CAU and MAU units and Eth repeaters under heavy traffic conditions. We used scope and packet analysis to determine any crosstalk or saturation issues Affecting data.. CRC and netlayer hardware protocol error checking we’re also monitored. UTP is all we used on the Ethernet. we were testing random data , not music.. but we found no issues in close contact conduits for max length runs.
I doubt that shielded UTP or better conductors would have made any difference as we saw no issues in our testing.. FWIW, YMMY.
We joked that gold wire might show higher bank balances if used... but 1’s and 0’s still would look the same..
 
Jul 18, 2014
2,285
2,065
470
#37
I haven’t tried any audio Ethernet cables, Trying to keep an open mind about it... but I was an engineer for IBM during the Token Ring Lan days and our testing/certification with TR and Ethernet in wiring closets never indicated interference or packet loss during close proximity testing or max runs between CAU and MAU units and Eth repeaters under heavy traffic conditions. We used scope and packet analysis to determine any crosstalk or saturation issues Affecting data.. CRC and netlayer hardware protocol error checking we’re also monitored. UTP is all we used on the Ethernet. we were testing random data , not music.. but we found no issues in close contact conduits for max length runs.
I doubt that shielded UTP or better conductors would have made any difference as we saw no issues in our testing.. FWIW, YMMY.
We joked that gold wire might show higher bank balances if used... but 1’s and 0’s still would look the same..
Should just try it... it’s fairly easy to discern.
 
Likes: kleinbje
Oct 1, 2020
44
18
10
#38
Should just try it... it’s fairly easy to discern.
I plan on it.. I recently went Thunderbolt 2 to Ethernet, where I was using a USB 3 to Ethernet, using Clamshell mode to reduce EMI.. Things I never gave a second thought to before visiting these forums..
still in Progress..
 
Jul 18, 2014
2,285
2,065
470
#39
I plan on it.. I recently went Thunderbolt 2 to Ethernet, where I was using a USB 3 to Ethernet, using Clamshell mode to reduce EMI.. Things I never gave a second thought to before visiting these forums..
still in Progress..
Listening is always the best way to discover these things. It’s always about our own contexts.
 

BlueFox

Member Sponsor
Nov 8, 2013
1,452
160
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#40
The problem with Ethernet is not packet loss. It’s jitter. The jitter changes as the packet goes through each device. The end result for text data is none, but for music the jitter is audible.
 

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