Cat 5 - 6 -7 or 8

Which is best to use for audio?






your answer applies in low density, rural areas. Anywhere else, and in particular near radio and telephone masts I'd stick to shielded.

@high-amp ,

If you are wanting the best quality sound, then use a grounded cable from the box into your house.

I found some nice Cat 7 cable for cheap and ran it directly from the Fios Box to my equipment. Having it grounded as far as I can possibly go, provides peace of mind.

Having Cat 7 allows for any future streaming demands.


While in general (eg from router to computer) shielded is preferred, if you are connecting a component (eg DAC) to a network switch or directly to a router or computer, check with the manufacturer of the component before deciding.  I recently acquired a dCS Rossini DAC.  I asked the manufacturer for recommendations re an ethernet cable.  The response:

"Thank you for contacting dCS. I hope you are enjoying your Rossini so far, if you have had a chance to try it out?

The short answer is that no, there is no sonic benefit to using 'audiophile' Ethernet cables in an audio system. A basic, unshielded CAT5e or CAT6 cable is all you need. 

The longer answer is that such 'audiophile' cables can introduce a host of problems that are simply not present with an appropriate cable - the main two being that they frequently cause ground noise issues in audio systems resulting in a drop in audio quality, and the very rigid cable paired with overly large connectors can cause damage to the Ethernet port itself. Take a quick look at our FAQ on this here.

The mindset to take with your network and with streaming is that you are aiming for a network which is stable and reliable, not one which sounds good. With Ethernet, using standard networking gear the sound quality takes care of itself. 

I hope this makes sense, but please feel free to let me know if you have any questions and I'll be happy to elaborate. "

Incidentally, dCS has been excellent in terms of customer support, quickly answering email questions.  

craig - great stuff craig, thank you!

CAT 6, use the best quality connectors and switches .

Don't go crazy!