Audioquest ethernet cable(Vodka vs Diamond)

Hi folks,


Kindly advise if there is anyone tried the captioned cables and made a comparison between both in ND5XS?


I am planning to buy one more source for my main system but don't know which cable is better?  Does the wired streaming is better than than wireless streaming by a far margin and the difference is noticeable?


Thanks for your experienced advice.







Original Post

YPatrick, I haven't, but I have discovered switches do make a difference for streaming and non streamed sources in the vicinity.. I think it's the SMPS associated with the switches primarily to blame. I have been using a Netgear Gigabit switch, and I have discovered it radiates horribly.. I can hear it with analogue sources such as a tuner.. It's a very low level high pitch warble.  I have currently disconnected Netgear and long lining back to a Cisco 2960 which has no such effect.. and low level analogue source interference gone and subjectively I feel bass definition and PRaT has improved marginally for my digital source..But this may be for a number of reasons such as reducing mains noise.

I just mention this as in my expierience these have the biggest effect rather than patch leads on my audio equipment..( I am using a generic shielded CAT 6a cable for my NDX). It has ended  up proving quite annoying.



best sonic results are actually achieved by wireless streaming because of the potential electrical interferences, which Simon has described above. No wires, no electical noise.

The only downturn is that wifi has its limitations with regard to capacity. Streaming a file in 192 kHz 24 bit simply doesn't work without the buffer running empty regularly. I stick to 48 kHz 24 bit and stream wirelessly with best results.

Don't let anybody tell you that wired would improve SQ. As long as your buffer is filled, it doesn't matter where it is fed from. 


That said, there are exceptions to the rule of course. On individual devices there may be noisy wifi adaptors. And there are certainly switches and well manufacured patch cables (and I am not referring to the snake oil stuff that some people would like to sell us) which will render the better result.

Check out the Knowledge Base on the main website. There are no audible differences in sound quality between wired and wireless in a perfectly functioning network. Unfortunately, creating such networks can be "quite difficult".



I'm not qualified to comment on the AQ Cat cables because I have heard both and use Vodka. This means I am deaf and my system is catastrophically broken. You’ll get plenty of advice from people who have never heard them and are therefore entitled to answer.

My dealer lent me the Vodka last year and I was amazed to hear an improvement in the sound over a non-shielded cheap cat 5 cable. Also, tried the cheaper AQ cable (Cinnamon) which I felt was better value for money.


I found during my tests that having the files on the internal hard disk of the HDX as opposed to being on a NAS sounded the best (ie totally removing the network out of the equation). I would like to do the comparison again to a good quality non-audio Cat 6 cable, but didn't have one available at the time for a comparison.


Definitely worth a try if you can borrow one for a few days.

Hi Patrick,


I'm a little reluctant to post on his subject as it tends to produce quite a negative reaction.


The Audioquest cables do make a significant difference. The Vodkas are great but even the relatively cheap Forests make a very nice improvement.


There are three schools of thought on audiophile ethernet cables.


- they can make a small difference but not enough to justify their cost;

- they can't make a difference so they don't;

- they make a significant difference, based on listening at home or in a dealer's demo room, but goodness knows why.


I recommend you try them.



Keith, please don't let the negative reaction of a few put you off posting...

There is no magic, a well designed Ethernet lead will reduce differential and common mode noise. Both of these things have the ability to pollute connected electronics. Computers don't care on the whole, delicate audio and medical equipment it's completely different.

The conentious bit is perhaps the premium one pays for a boutique cable over an industrial cable produced also to an extreme high standard.. But it's a free world.. But the bottom line Ethernet patch leads that are not carefully constructed have a great ability to cause RFI distortion/intermodulation to connected equipment. This has nothing to do with the encoded signal carried.

BTW if you find you have suffered from differential and common mode RFI on your Ethernet patch lead.. Ie certain leads sound a lot better than others, you might want to look at a LAN isolator for reduced side effects.



I may try the LAN isolator, especially if my dealer recommended them, but it is Five times the price of the entry level AQ cables!


I notice that Acoustic Revive claim significant improvements over medical grade hardware. It's not made clear how they do this, but do by use funky cable materials and geometry :-)



I think it was because of all these factors discussed in this thread that I never got fully satisfactory results with streaming and ended up selling my NDX and keeping my preferred HDX (for feeding external DAC). I must say, I did not try any measures against noise from the network; I used a standard Cat 6 cable, used no ferrites, filters or isolators, and had the switch with SMPS which Simon fears. Still, because the network (wired or wireless) is always prone to be a source of noise and interference, I believe the most convenient solution for a demanding system is to have a server (Naim or non-Naim) with a good S/PDIF output directly connected to the main music system and use streaming only for the other rooms like kitchen and bedroom...

Aysil -- I think that whatever you feel comfortable with is best for you.


If all hardware is in the same room, I do not see the benefits of streaming either.  Indeed, when my server (uServe) was in the same rack as the hi fi, I used its spdif output.  Then, I WANTED the server out of the room (as well as the nas, cable modem, etc) and that lead me to streaming as the only reasonable solution.  But it works very well for me and I'm perfectly happy with it.


All of this talk of 'issues' sure can scare one off, but honestly it should not.  I have played with ferrite cores, etc., and I do not hear any difference.  My ears may not be good enough, or I may not have any issues to remedy.  I think that most of us would be perfectly happy with the sound offered by streaming music to a high quality player.

Bart, I agree it's a matter of personal preference; and whichever system you choose you run into other "issues" if you start digging into them. Maybe in my case, that interference happened to be just too strong to allow me to enjoy fully the result of streaming on my main system. I am actually also very happy with the sound I get from my stream client Naim NAC-N 172 XS on my second system.

Originally Posted by aysil:

Bart, I agree it's a matter of personal preference; and whichever system you choose you run into other "issues" if you start digging into them. Maybe in my case, that interference happened to be just too strong to allow me to enjoy fully the result of streaming on my main system. I am actually also very happy with the sound I get from my stream client Naim NAC-N 172 XS on my second system.

Aysil I'd be interested in learning what you heard -- what the interference caused / sounded like. 


I've got my Quit right on the same rack with my server and switch and other undoubtedly noisy electronics, but the music seems fine to me . . .

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