Using cat 8 cables from router to streamer messed up sound

Discussion in 'Modifications and Tweaks' started by dericchan1, Oct 13, 2021.

  1. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Rando

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    Hello, sorry not sure where this thread should really belong to. Admin can you please move to the right place?

    not sure if this make any sense. I read from some other forums using cat8 cables in your network would yield better sound quality because the cat8 cables are very well shielded to prevent noise going to your streamer or pc to your dac

    So I bought some up to spec non audiophile cat8 shielded cables to try and MAN all three of my music systems sound are messed up!!! The sound was all muddled up and volume suppressed!!! For example for my 2.1 bedroom system my default volume is always set at 9 o’clock and now I have to turn up to 12 o’clock to get to the same volume. I swapped back to my old cat 6 cables and it all sound fine again!!!

    well $30 gone to waste in my experiment.

    Does it make sense ? Why would cat 8 cables messed up the sound compared to my old cat 6 cables?

    Deric
     
  2. fastfwd

    fastfwd Friend

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    No.
     
  3. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Rando

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    But it’s real!!! I swapped back to my cat6 cables I had to turn my bedroom system volume back down to 9 o’clock otherwise it’s too loud!!!

    It’s not even placebo!!!
     
  4. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    This isn't an audiophile nervosa thing. The fact that the volume was that far off means something was not working properly. What kind of system do you have that interconnects three separate systems with cat6 cable?
     
  5. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Rando

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    Not only the volume was far off, the sound was pretty muddled up as well. My set up is pretty straightforward -
    1) cable modem - ethernet to nest wifi router -
    2) Ethernet to rpi4 samba server with a 8tb external hdd
    3) google mesh points connect to nest router through wifi (I have 1 router and 4 mesh points in total)
    4) google mesh points connect to rpi4 through ethernet then connect to dac through USB or coax pi2aes.

    Cat8 cables did not impact wifi speed I am still getting consistent transfer speed approx 100Mps between mesh points to router. No skipping/drop outs while playing sounds in any of my system either. It just sounds like shit and volume being suppressed

    Deric
     
  6. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    tl;dr: what follows is mostly waffle

    I stopped working with this stuff when CAT5 was still the thing, although I do now have CAT6 network cables in my house. CAT7, CAT8 is beyond my ken, and I am unlikely to ever need or use it. I'm pretty sure that none of us here have any need to use it, unless they run data centres as a day job.

    A quick check with google assures me that it is backward compatible with CAT5/6 ... but I seem to remember watching some videos about cable termination (everybody needs something to pass the time) and CAT7/8 require special plugs/sockets that connect the shielding --- and if the socket is not CAT7/8 compatible then you are not getting that benefit anyway. The price difference of the parts is huge, and you threw your money away.

    One of our engineers will be along to confirm or deny this.
    You need to be careful where you go on the internet: you can easily catch nasty stuff! All the twisted-pair network cables are good at rejecting noise, and the ethernet system is pretty excellent at making sure the data is (eventually) correct on arrival.

    And it is amazingly resilient. Many cables are sub-spec (see Blue Jeans Cables article: "Is your CAT6 cable a dog?") and badly installed, yet faults are few. Even though ethernet is not a realtime (note "eventually" above) system, stuff would have to be very wrong for it to interfere with your listening.

    Music, on those ethernet cables is data. Do not consider any suggestions to the contrary: there lies madness. But lets consider a faulty network, and think how loading a spreadsheet might differ from playing music...

    If there are enough bad/dropped packets, the spreadsheet is going to be slow to load, and may even fail.

    If there enough bad/dropped packets, the music might not be the music any longer.

    I don't know. But I like guessing out-loud about this kind of stuff, and, apart from the possibility of super-strength placebo effect I propose...

    There is something wrong with one or more of your new cables. The fault may be recoverable for spreadsheets, photos, etc, but not for music.

    Oh... Do you stream video over the same network? I don't do video, but do know that it is much more demanding than music.
     
  7. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Rando

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    Yup, $30 gone into waste. I do stream movies over the same network and its been working fine with the cat 6 cables.
    Its an experiment to satisfy my curiosity, I knew the cat 6 cables have been working just fine but the expectation was with the cat 8 cables, worse case scenario would be no difference compared to the cat 6 cables!!! if its like $100 I probably would not bother to try in the first place.
     
  8. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    And a great mystery as to what went wrong.

    Sadly, probably never to be solved without a team of fully-equipped network engineers descending on your home, which would cost far more than the cables!
     
  9. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Rando

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    well another way to look at this, that little experiment saves me from spending $$$$$ on audiophile cat 8 cables
     
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  10. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Just avoid any cable company that even sells "audiophile" network cables. Completely.
     
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  11. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    From what I understand, the craftsmanship of those terminations is also super important. Just snipping and crimping your own ends often won't meet spec.
     
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  12. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    It almost certainly has to do with the shielding and ground, this is not an issue with unshielded cable. In a proper cat8 network the shield will be grounded (normally to an equipment rack) at both ends. Depending on your equipment, if it is not designed for cat7/8, it may or may not be grounded at either end, and being fully grounded may not even be desirable in audio due to ground loop issues.

    Even in the networking world there is an open discussion on this.

    https://perens.com/2018/07/03/how-should-you-ground-your-shielded-ethernet-cable/

    You can experiment with this. The little I have read on Cat8 and audio suggests that grounding only one end of the cable seems to be the best bet, but of course YMMV
     
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  13. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    Yes, in addition to the 4 ethernet pairs, there is also a drain wire and ground tab/connector shield that has to be properly terminated. There are videos easily available online on how to do this. If the OP is using pre built patch cables this should not be an issue though, but whether those grounds are connected to anything still will be.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
  14. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Rando

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    The cables were ordered from monoprice prebuilt patch cables. I didn’t know I need to be doing any additional grounding. Thanks I will take a look at the link provided just for my curiosity

    Deric
     
  15. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Have a look at a video on terminating cat 7/8 cables too. It's interesting. Throw away the old tools: it's different.

    Check it out, just for fun nerding. That's what I was doing. (well, I was actually revising cat6 stuff, because, just like work, I had to put right what a "pro" had done. And browsing one thing led to another. Internet, eh!)

    (Whoa! can't malign the cabling guys I used to use: they were real network engineers, from design and configuration to cabling. But it is true that I started to learn Unix, which became my second career, because I was finding answers quicker than system suppliers)
     
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  16. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Nevermind all the drain wires and shield, I've seen stuff where even untwisting a pair too far back will make the cable fall out of spec.

    Also... I dunno how reliable monoprice is for their cat8 cables. I consider them bare bones for interconnects and that's just carrying basic analog. The actual wiring inside is not great quality from what I've seen when I've hacked apart those that have failed.
     
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  17. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Rando

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    Well monoprice claimed they have tested each of the cable to be working before it goes out the door. Each cable has a hand written certification on it too
     
  18. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Had this lecture from my excellent cabling guys, as I watched them carefully maintain the twist on pairs while cabling the inside of a cabinet and asked why. CAT5 in those days. Days of 10/100 net cards. As magnitudes pile up, (everyone has a gigabyte port these days) tolerances are probably tighter.
     
  19. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Rando

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    Update: I contacted monoprice live chat, that they agree to process a refund and let me keep the cat8 cables !!! (Which I will have no use for anyway) Great customer care!!!!!
     
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