Valley of "audiophile" ethernet cables

It’s not hubris. It’s confidence in knowing how this stuff works. It’s an informed position. Here is hubris:

" Me: Ethernet ports are transformer coupled. "

You: I am certain this is wrong!"

Don’t try to gloss over this. I’m an azzhole for pointing out people that think they are in the know when they aren’t?


I don’t feel like being tactful with a bunch of know it all’s that:

  1. Don’t really know anything
  2. Can’t find their way to making a slam dunk $10,000 for what is most likely 30-60 minutes worth of effort.

Not trying to start a war here, but I got myself some Wireworld Starlight Ethernet cable, and I like the results compared to the generic Cat6 I had. My perception is that improves the detail and the resolution on my setup (headphones).


Most of WW dealers allow for in home trial, so no risk for you guys to try. If it does not work / improve things on your setup, return it. You’re out only the shipping. PM me for a good WW dealer that gives a very nice discount.

I am now looking at ethernet switches that are discussed extensively over the CA forums.

Again, just my opinion. Please no judging. We all “vote” with our money.

I understand your point. There are good technical papers like Seimons ‘The Antenna Myth’, T.I’s ’ Reducing Radiated Emissions of 10/100 LAN Cabling’. Here’s a real myth buster: UTP Cabling and the Effects of EMI

I’ve also done some proof of concept videos. Here is one demoing a $350 3 meter WireWorld Starlight RJE and 98 meter CAT5e at $90:

The synopsis is that audio continues to play while I swap cables. Even with no connection we hear music. Did the SQ change? Get better, worse?

While many would think that’s a simple question and easy to answer, I still have yet to see a subjective audiophile answer this.


I found this useful. Covers ground loops, antenna effect, cable termination, and baked potato effect (I had never heard of this one).

I’ve been using Cat 6A S/STP I got for around $5-10. Each one came with it’s own measurements. I haven’t noticed any problems in comparison to Cat 5e and Cat 6 UTP I had been using previously.

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Good read and backs up the other papers I linked.

Some take away from your link:

A shield reduces the effects of induced
noise for signals > 30 MHz. GREATER than 30 MEGAhertz.


Apply 60 Hz AC current
directly onto shield of
F/UTP cable

– Not an induced current
– a placed current
• Test signal integrity on
balanced twisted-pairs
for presence of 60Hz
• No influence
on signal
integrity at

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You don’t really make your point by linking photos of PC boards with black boxes on them. Why don’t you instead link to a data sheet on one of the devices in question?

You see the repeated series of lego’ish dimension building blocks? Those are Ethernet Magnetic Transformers.

Let me google that for you:

You’ve also been told by Rik that Ethernet is indeed isolated.

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At least they’re visible (with visible part numbers for googling) - another alternative is the MagJack - the transformer is part of the RJ45 socket so not a visible seperate device.

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I couldn’t read them.

The part numbers on the transformers are like 10 foot tall on the screen. So are you going to come off your claim that Ethernet isn’t transformer coupled?

The not lazy would simply go to and input 'Ethernet Magnetics" if they wanted to see all these switches with them. I’ll stop spoon feeding you now.

I took a closer look at my switch, three routers, and BDP-1’s ethernet jacks. Only the BDP-1 and one of the older routers had ethernet jacks with the metal casing around the connector.

BDP-1 (metal):

Switch (plastic):

That shouldn’t matter right?

It shouldn’t. Most people are using UTP cabling.

I figured that’d be the case with UTP.

Though, would it matter with S/STP on a metal vs. plastic input jack on a device and/or switch?

This is the one I use. It lists the material for the connector as well:

Generally in home installs it’s better to keep things simple with UTP. UTP is basically noise immune 30Mhz and under.

I guess I’m asking more from a theoretical standpoint. Is there a theoretical advantage, disadvantage, or no difference when using S/STP with plastic vs. metal jacks?

The only other person I’ve seen here mentioned the use of S/STP is @joel. Any thoughts on why you picked S/STP?

Simply because it has two layers of screening/shielding.

It the jacks are plastic then there is no way to tie the cable to ground at the switch.

Yes, the jacks on all my S/STP cable are all metal. All the other Cat 5e and 6 cables I have are plastic. I didn’t find much info or discussion on the female receptor jacks on switches and routers and whether they are shielded or not. Some have metal casing around the female port, others have plastic. Maybe I’m being dense and not grasping it.

Anyways, I did briefly compare my S/STP 6a against the 5e I had been using previously. This is for the whole chain wherever ethernet is used and not just the last link. I had been using the SSTP for a month exclusively.

Based on the sighted and brief listening tests, I’ll be sticking with S/STP with the combination of components I have so far. It’s the same thing I heard (or rather not heard) when I got them first after having been using UTP for the entire duration.

Here is what you need to look for:

If you have those side tabs then you have a switch router that is going to make the connection and maintain continuity with the metal plated 8P8C connectors.

Thank you! That’s what I needed to know. I took a look at my BDP-1 and it does have the tabs. The spare router and switch I had been using for the closed system in the audio room didn’t have the tabs. I have another older Trendnet router that does have the metal tabs. I will give that a try as well.

I find it strange that between all the discussion of various Cat ‘X’ cables and shielding or unshielded, there’s rarely any discussion or concern whether the devices themselves support the shielding or not.