back to article $10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

Got £6,899 (US$10,500) to spare and worried that a Cat-6 Ethernet cable is keeping you from hearing the very best of your NAS-stored collection of MP3s? Fear not, your moment has come, with this work of wonder from Audio Quest. El Reg notes that the advertisement indicates the age of Audio Quest's engineers. Since the super- …

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    1. J. R. Hartley

      Re: So Stupid

      I wholeheartedly agree.

      1. SalemTheRat

        Re: So Stupid

        I'm certainly not going to comment.

        1. Shades

          Re: So Stupid

          Neither am I.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So Stupid

            ... and neither is my wife.

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: So Stupid

          Even more stupid would be to reply to a comment about not commenting.

          I'm certainly not going to do that.

        3. BillG

          Re: So Stupid

          And who gets the stupid hat when not-a-single-person buys it?

          C'mon, people will buy this. Poor stupid people buy pet rocks, rich stupid people buy $10,000 ethernet cables.

          Remember, there's one born every minute!

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: So Stupid

      We bought 50M CAT-.7 last week for under 40€, zero packet loss.

      1. Pookietoo

        Re: zero packet loss.

        But ... but ... jitter ...

      2. AndrewDH

        Re: So Stupid

        Ahh but did you get it delivered for free!! Audio Quest very kindly supply these cables with "Free Delivery"

        I am feeling the love already.

    3. 0laf

      Re: So Stupid

      I've checked and even the cat refuses to comment

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So Stupid

        Cats 1-4 wouldn't comment. Cat5 hid under the sofa and Cat6 hasn't been seen since yesterday.

        1. launcap Silver badge

          Re: So Stupid

          > Cat6 hasn't been seen since yesterday

          That's because she (and cat 6 in my house is indeed a she - nominally) has bought 10 of these cables on your credit card, resold them down the market from scrap silver value and is now living it large on a mountain of tuna cans..

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So Stupid

      OMG you do all realize that you all commented !!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Posting Stupid?

        Post anonymously!

      2. fruitoftheloon

        @Ac: Re: So Stupid

        Dear AC ,

        I didn't (yet).


    5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: So Stupid

      This is not stupid.

      A fool and his money will soon be parted. The one who is providing for the needs of unhealthy paranoia and complexes in people is usually not stupid. Immoral - yes. Stupid - no.

      Stupid is the one who is _BUYING IT_

      1. nuked

        Re: So Stupid

        "Stupid is the one who is _BUYING IT_"

        And who gets the stupid hat when not-a-single-person buys it?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So Stupid

      I've always found binary value 100101111010111110100001000111 is less reliably transmitted through ordinary Ethernet cable. And this value is often found in classical music encodings. You lose the tips of the 1's. It's more reliably transmitted if coded first using Courier New though.

      Yours truly, Stephen Fry

    7. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: So Stupid

      I've already commented, though not on not commenting. Should I consider doing so?

  2. Sinick

    Anyone who would fall for this load of old bollocks... so bloody dense they'd undergo gravitational collapse and become a black hole.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anyone who would fall for this load of old bollocks...

      You do have to admit it does start the week off with a good laugh - ideal for a cold Monday morning.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anyone who would fall for this load of old bollocks...

      Just try your average audio forum. The snake oil vendors trying to tell you that the really expensive HDMI cables will give you 'better ones and zeros' then the cheap ones abound...Unfortunately it seems that there is no shortage of gullible suckers. This also explains why we still have religions I guess...

      1. Preston Munchensonton

        Re: Anyone who would fall for this load of old bollocks...

        "This also explains why we still have religions I guess..."

        The only constant is change. It was bound to happen, since we've long laid to rest the religious wars over Ethernet v. Token Ring and PC v. Mac.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Anyone who would fall for this load of old bollocks...

        Speaking of HDMI....

        Isn´t there a HDMI to ethernet converter? I need a 40 ft. cable HDMI, or I can just use a spare roll or two of cat5e.

  3. Kanhef
    Paris Hilton

    One born every minute

    There's at least some plausible basis for fancy audio cables for analog connections, where noise or interference can affect the output. (Whether or not that effect is noticeable or not is beside the point.) Once things are digitized, though, all the ridiculously expensive materials become irrelevant; as long as it still resolves to the same sequence of 1s and 0s, it doesn't matter how much noise there is in the signal.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One born every minute

      But but but....signal quality is always important to get superior audio quality. Without this cable your signal could degrade and the 0s and 1s might end up as 0.15s and 0.96s just imagine the effect on the quality.

      1. Tom 35

        Re: One born every minute

        I'm sure it produces warmer sound, with better clarity, smoother something or other.

        1. dan1980

          Re: One born every minute

          @Tom 35


          "Warmer" is dangerously close to something one might be able to quantify objectively.

          No, things like cables upgrades and hard drive swaps and CD beveling must bring only the unquantifiable and thus should be described in ambiguous words that can never reflect anything one might be able to test.

          Thus, swapping to a more expensive cable will make instruments 'float' in the air yet still, somehow, display far better stereo imagine and separation. They will increase the 'punch' and 'weight' of the bass but never anything quite so crude and pedestrian as increasing the actual amount of bass.

          Likewise, no increase in treble but more 'air' for certain. Though yes, it will be 'smother' and with better clarity, Also something about transients.

        2. hplasm

          Re: One born every minute

          The 1s are straighter and more defined, the 0s are rounder and smoother...

          1. Mpeler
            Paris Hilton

            Re: One born every minute

            "the 0s are rounder and smoother..."

            So round, so firm, so fully packed. Lucky Strike means fine tobacco fidelity...

            Paris, well, because...

        3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: One born every minute

          I think the phrase you're looking for is "It opens up the sound stage".

    2. Charles 9

      Re: One born every minute

      That's the thing. I know some cables can be so messed up that signals get flip-flopped (1's become 0's and vice versa) or just plain cut off, resulting in signal loss. Just how crappy do the cables have to be to reach that point?

      Another point I'm wondering. I recall electrons can move at different speeds through different solids. How much an effect would silver have on the speed of electrons vs. copper? And how would that translate into a lag savings?

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Speed of electrons

        In a good conductor electrons travel millimeters per second. A semiconductor has far fewer electrons (or holes) that can move, so given the same current density, the electrons travel much faster. If they want fast electrons, silver is a really bad choice.

        When one electron moves, it leaves behind an excess of positive charge that attracts electrons. The place it arrives at gets an excess negative charge that repels electrons. Although the electrons themselves barely move, regions with extra or missing electrons move fast - like a ripple on a pond moves far more than individual water molecules.

        An excess of charge in one place is a voltage. A change in voltage moves along a pair of wires at the speed of light in the insulator between them. Light travels through popular insulators at between one half and one third the speed of light in vacuum. High frequency traders have already switched to air to reduce latency.

        I can just imagine audiophools listening to their music with vacuum spaced ethernet cables while a pump chugs away to maintain the vacuum.

        1. 's water music

          Re: Speed of electrons

          In a good conductor electrons travel millimeters per second. A semiconductor has far fewer electrons (or holes) that can move, so given the same current density, the electrons travel much faster. If they want fast electrons, silver is a really bad choice.

          IME really fast electrons give a clinical listening experience. You really loose the warmth of slower conducting media. I couldn't believe the difference when I swapped from 1.5 metre silver interconnects to 50 metre cables. The increased propagation delay allowed the pre-amp time to really open up the sound-stage. Honestly I think it even beats liquid nitrogen cooled granite speaker stands I bought last year.

          1. lotus49

            Re: Speed of electrons

            I used to know someone who really talked like this. He has plenty of money so £10k on a pair of speaker cables wasn't that big a deal to him. I pointed out that measuring equipment was not able to discern any difference between his solid silver interconnects and £50 copper cables. He did indeed resort to the audiophile nonsense of talking about "warmth", which, according to him, couldn't be measured. He genuinely believed that there was a difference so, to him, the £10k was worth it.

            Clearly, he was a fuckwit of the first order but he really thought his money was well-spent. Truly, high end (i.e. high price) audio equipment is the alchemy de nos jours.

            1. AlbertH

              Re: Speed of electrons

              You're STILL being suckered at £50 speaker cables. Nice mains twin flex (25 - 50p / metre) works perfectly well as speaker cable - and there is NO measurable difference to the £50 or even £500 cables frequently bought by audiophools.

          2. picturethis

            Re: Speed of electrons

            This reminds me of my youth, (carbon)-dating myself here. Back in the mid-70's during the Citizen's Band radio craze (here in the US) I once had a guy open up his trunk (boot?) and proclaim that he had a stronger mobile signal than anyone else. He made this bold statement because he had 200' feet of coax rolled up in there connected between his rig and the antenna - and at 3db / 100 ft he was getting 6 db of gain (4x) the power. I just said "cool" and walked away... I didn't know where to begin... and even if I had he wouldn't have believed me.

            1. earl grey

              Re: Speed of electrons

              maybe if he had a linear amplifier (which was popular at the time). I still have mine around here somewhere...

              1. Gartal

                Re: Speed of electrons

                No, not in this digital age. a linear amplifier would not do the trick, he wants a massively parallel token ring powered starnet clustercon exuberance extatisising malifluence incredulating widget grumplising wallet deflator, something like the cable being talked about.

            2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Speed of electrons

              are you still using electrons?

              I use positrons for all my interconnects - of course you have to reverse the 1s and 0s

          3. jeffdyer

            Re: Speed of electrons


        2. TheOtherHobbes

          Re: Speed of electrons

          Er - actually...

          Vacuum Reference Cable

          1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

            Re: Speed of electrons

            "Vacuum Reference Cable"

            We have quite a complex compressor and liquid helium to maintain our vacuum. How do they do that in a cable?

        3. Peter Simpson 1

          Re: Speed of electrons

          In a good conductor electrons travel millimeters per second.

          Anyone who had attended one of the late RADM Grace Hopper's lectures knows that electricity travels about a foot in a nanosecond.

          1. John 62

            Re: Speed of electrons

            The electromagnetic wave travels about a foot in a nanosecond, but the electrons themselves don't go nearly so fast.

          2. ew100

            Re: Speed of electrons

            Er, no. The electric field wavefront moves at the speed of light in the medium, the electrons themselves just rattle around a little and drift gently along. If you had relativistic electrons bouncing around in your cable i) your cable probably wouldn't last long and ii) you really wouldn't want to be within a few feet of it!

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Speed of electrons

          But it's the signal speed we're really interested in, not the drift velocity.

        5. Gartal
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Speed of electrons

          Except that Silver is a far better conductor than copper, in fact the best room temperature metallic conductor on the planet. The problem is not conduction or reluctance in copper or silver, it is in the use of silver as contacts. The silver will eventually tarnish unless coated with something meaning that all of those poor little electrons will become neurotic or tied up with ennui because of the presence of oxides. Then your piece of Benjamin Britain conducting Handles Fireworks music will come out as Sid Vicious on banjo with the violin parts played by Doug on the drums.

        6. Fatman

          Re: Speed of electrons

          I can just imagine audiophools listening to their music with vacuum spaced ethernet cables while a pump chugs away to maintain the vacuum while connected to their vacuum tube (i.e. 'valve' for you Brits) amplifier.

          FOOLS and their money are quickly parted!!!

      2. JJSmith1950

        Re: One born every minute

        It doesn't matter if there is minor packet loss, that's why we have error correction. Even a dodgy cable won't affect the output, unless it's so dodgy the error correction is unable to reconstruct the data. In which case you'd hear very obvious nastiness.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One born every minute

        "That's the thing. I know some cables can be so messed up that signals get flip-flopped (1's become 0's and vice versa) or just plain cut off, resulting in signal loss. Just how crappy do the cables have to be to reach that point?"

        Just crappy enough so that the receiver can't distinguish correctly. At that point they generally stop working completely.

        "Another point I'm wondering. I recall electrons can move at different speeds through different solids. How much an effect would silver have on the speed of electrons vs. copper?"

        Not much. Silver, copper and aluminium have Fermi velocities of 1.39, 1.57 and 2.03 million metres per second, respectively.

        And how would that translate into a lag savings?"

        Well it would effect the delay to the start of playback by a tiny amount. After that, it is of no consequence at all.

        1. Annihilator

          Re: One born every minute

          "That's the thing. I know some cables can be so messed up that signals get flip-flopped (1's become 0's and vice versa) or just plain cut off, resulting in signal loss. Just how crappy do the cables have to be to reach that point?"

          Just crappy enough so that the receiver can't distinguish correctly. At that point they generally stop working completely.

          Crappy enough that it wouldn't be able to call itself cat-5/6/7 cable. As the BOFH once put it, "I'd think twice about wiring xmas tree lights off it myself..."

          This is the craziest thing though - between every receiver and NAS is not only the cable, but the same bog-standard ethernet controller that costs 20p/1000 units. It won't be made of silver either.

        2. Charles 9

          Re: One born every minute

          "Not much. Silver, copper and aluminium have Fermi velocities of 1.39, 1.57 and 2.03 million metres per second, respectively."

          Took me a minute to wrap my head around what you were saying (lower Fermi v = less resistance; also found the website where you found this statistic, word for word). Just for the record, I looked up gold's Fermi velocity, and it's actually slightly higher than silver at 1.4e6, but it has the benefit of not being nearly as prone to tarnishing. Still, I see the point. There is a difference, just not as great as it would have to be to be very noticeable.

      4. Valerion

        Re: One born every minute

        Another point I'm wondering. I recall electrons can move at different speeds through different solids. How much an effect would silver have on the speed of electrons vs. copper? And how would that translate into a lag savings?

        I imagine its the same as playing your 78s at 33.

    3. Dave Ross

      Re: One born every minute

      Surely without this amazing cable, some of the 0s might get stuck trying to get through, then the 1s would be backed up and who knows where that might lead!

      1. DropBear

        Re: One born every minute

        I think I'm going to invent and sell a new, kevlar-coated version of this, explaining that the round 0's do just fine on their own, but the kevlar is needed so the more pointy 1's wouldn't keep piercing (and get stuck in) the coating around bends...

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: One born every minute

        " the 1s would be backed up"

        You have to unplug the cable from time to time to empty them out.

        1. launcap Silver badge

          Re: One born every minute

          > You have to unplug the cable from time to time to empty them out.

          Like in the old token-ring days - sometimes a token would get a bit crufty and you had to unplug the cable to let it fall out so that it could be replaced..

      3. Geoff May

        Re: One born every minute

        @Dave Ross

        The 0 has a hole in it so the 1 will just slip through and then you'll end up with the 1 values jumping the queue.

    4. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: One born every minute

      There may be plausible basis for fancy audio cables but that just means it seems reasonable. To the fuckwits that fall for that this is still plausible - but similarly complete and utter bollocks.

    5. Adam 1

      Re: One born every minute

      Well I, for one, am definitely attracted* to these types of cable!

      * with a force proportional to the product of our masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between us.

  4. Sinick

    Anyone who would fall for this load of old bollocks... so damn dense they'd undergo gravitational collapse and become a black hole.

  5. as2003

    The most egregious parts are under the "Dielectric-Bias System", which claims: "All insulation slows down the signal on the conductor inside" and "when insulation is unbiased, it slows down parts of the signal differently, a big problem for very time-sensitive multi-octave audio".

    Ignoring the offensively ignorant implication that audio data is transmitted in analogue form, is there any truth to their assertion?

    1. Number6

      Slowing the signal

      Yes, the dielectric does slow down the propagation of the signal. If you look at coax cables they usually quote a velocity factor that depends on the dielectric in use. 0.66 is typical for cheap coax. PCB material has similar effects on the tracks, fibreglass has a dielectric constant of about 4.2-4.3, which slows the propagation down to about half that of free space (square root of the dielectric constant).

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      On top of that ...

      The dielectric constant changes with frequency (it is called dispersion). This was even a problem with 28800 bit per second modems. The signal for a single bit was spread all over the audio spectrum, and spread out in time between the customer's modem and the exchange. One proposed solution was to send many slow bit streams at the same time - each using a small amount of bandwidth centred on a different frequency. High speed optical links send many bit streams at different frequencies to counter dispersion.

      If you sent an analogue signal over hundreds of kilometres of ethernet cable, dispersion might make a measurable difference. Back in the stone age, that is pretty much how the phone system worked. All the other sources of noise hid the effects of dispersion.

      Some materials have lower dispersion than others, and it is possible to select pairs of materials that cancel out dispersion over a limited frequency range. For ethernet cables, lots of effort goes into reducing cross talk, but I have not seen any mention of dispersion.

      The obvious thing these cables are missing is some carved amber end-caps so the electrons don't fall out while the cable is in the post. Only $1000 each - you know they're worth it.

      1. robjcamb

        Re: On top of that ...

        I predict disastrous effects with using this cable to transfer encrypted audio files. Given the implied frequency-dependent compensation specific to 'multi-octave audio' and if we assume that with suitable encryption that the signal can be modelled as pseudo-random noise and thus now having a flat power-spectrum density, the feedback loop could become under-damped leading to an inverse collapse of the wave function and destruction of the universe. Do not attempt this under any circumstances.

        And that's a load of pseudo-random waffle. Much like this cable.

  6. OzBob

    Might as well have called it

    a flux capacitor.

  7. Ragequit


    What a value!! At first I thought for sure this was merely a 1-3m cable. But 12m?! That's less than a grand a meter!

    An audiophile would want uncompressed audio and would probably rather spend the money on a really nice DAC.

  8. dan1980

    What's interesting is that AudioQuest's site doesn't appear to list any benefits of using this cable at all.

    Amusingly, they even seem to admit that the cable is pointless:

    For audio applications and protocols, audio over Ethernet offers the virtues of high-speed, low time delay (latency), significant distance capability (328 feet without an active booster or repeater), and extremely low-jitter, bit-perfect communication. Who wouldn’t want all of these things?

    So what improvements to that existing winning package does this cable provide?

    What I find most interesting about any 'improvements' for digital audio streams is that they completely ignore the fact that the music players BUFFER the data! Jitter and latency are low, sure, but more than that - they are IRRELEVANT!

    To be clear, it is entirely possible for the effects of a sub-standard Ethernet cable to be audible in digital music applications and everyone is capable of identifying this - no need for blind tests or careful selection of the music and critical listening. When your cable is borked, you will get drop-outs as the buffer on your music player empties and has to pause for a moment while it is refilled with new data.

    If this happens, the reason is packet loss - probably due to a damaged cable - and this will be accentuated by the length and location (e.g. running parallel with power in a bundle). It is fully possible that a better quality cable will rectify the problem, but really, it just needs to confirm to the published specifications - that's the whole purpose of having different, standard category cables.

    For most home uses, bog-standard CAT5 UTP will suffice for this. Note that I said CAT5, not CAT5e. Use 'e', of course, but my point is that for small runs inside a house between a NAS and a player, which are likely in the same room, regular CAT5 will be plenty good enough.

    If you are getting packet loss due to interference then you can use SFTP/SSTP instead. This is shielded not only on the cable but for each pair as well, which will pretty much eliminate any cross-talk problems along with general interference.

    This can be had for cheap - $15 (AUD) for a 2m cable, up to $35 for a 20m.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      What the fucking fucking fuck are you using for audio equipment that it doesn't have a goddamned buffer. If there is packet loss of even $spectacularly_huge over a 1Gig (let alone 10Gig!) connection, you shouldn't be noticing any issues with your audio. The thing playing the song on the other end should be able to cope with packet loss, congestion and the fucking woo woo crystals that align themselves to make the audiophiles think gold plated penises are the answer to their feelings of crushing, crushing inadequacy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        now now Trevor. It is monday you know!

        Don't you guys realise that this is nowt but the precursor to

        $5000 per metre Gold Plated FDDI Audio Cables that can be tuned ONLY by a Gold Apple Watch App?

        Enjoy Suckers!


        Dr Music's Emporium of High Tech Snake Oil and other wallet lighteners

        {Apple Pay accepted}

      2. dan1980

        Woah dude - chill. (Or not, that's cool, too.)

        I never said that my players didn't have buffers - in fact I specifically said (in caps, no less) that players do have buffers. Wherever did you get the idea that I implied otherwise?

        Packet loss, of the magnitude that might result in drop-outs will be due (again, as specifically said) to a damaged cable.

        I've seen it myself, with my own system at home. We had an old cable that had been kinked and crushed and when it was moved after a furniture reshuffle, we started getting dropouts as the players re-buffered. Replaced the cable and it was good again.

        It was an old CAT5 cable that, knowing me, was probably liberated from some office move or something and thus already old when put in place. It was quite a long cable too - 20m or so - and was running along side the power extension cords. (Like I said - length and location.)

        The players are also 100Mb, placing lossless FLACs and this was the cable joining the music server to the switch and, obviously, it happened most frequently when we were playing different music on different players. The time it happened most noticeably, I was streaming FM (from a USB radio connected to the server) which, so as not to tax the server, was in uncompressed WAV, and I was doing so while other music was playing in the lounge.

        So yes, I can vouch for the fact that, even though players have buffers, a DAMAGED cable (which is what I did say) can result in enough packet loss to cause buffer starvation and thus result in pauses while the players rebuffer.

        The point of my post - or at least that part of my post - was to say that you'll bloody well know when you current cable isn't cutting the mustard and it won't be because the music is lacking "weight" or "detail" or has too much "harshness" or the bass is "loose"; it will be because your music will loose all weight, detail, bass response and stereo imagining, though you will get a complete reduction in harshness and it will be a very 'black' background indeed.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          A *DAMAGED* cable can still do 100Mbit. A *DAMAGED* audio cable can almost always do 10Mbit, unless it's severed. You should be able to get any audio you want down either of those. SO i go back to my comment. WTF are you using?

      3. People's Poet

        I'm using an Akai turntable circa 1982, through a Denon Amp circa 1990 and Gale speakers Circa 2001. No buffers in sight, just the lovely sound of the stylus clicking as it moves across to start the track and the beauty that is known as analog with neither a 1 or 0 in sight.

      4. Stuart Moore

        There is some sound equipment for live mixing bands that uses ethernet - here latency is key (since you don't want any noticable difference between the "live" sound from stage and the stuff that's gone via the speakers) so buffers aren't helpful.

        I believe that at least some use ethernet cable, but a completely different protocol, to make this work.

      5. Anonymous Coward

        @ Trevor_Pott

        Dear Trevor, I feel your pain, and what's worse, I did comment the article with a colleague here at the office who simply *LOVES* to have an opinion in any subject, and as you can imagine, he has the *inquestionable answer/argument/etc* . I did find that he has no clue about how data flows over a cable and the bonus was, yes, the gold platted hdmi cables are the best thing on Earth...I was not sure if I should laugh or cry, the level of stupidity is overwhelming.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: @ Trevor_Pott

          @JahBless: I do have hearing that allows me to hear just slightly outside the range for "normal" people. I can pick up things the average person can't, especially as my hearing doesn't seem to have degraded much with time. But I loathe audiophiles.

          The whole "you just can't hear the X, so you don't understand" is highly unlikely, given the tests that were done on my hearing. The difference is one of not caring. Also: I maintain my ability to Hear Things Real Good by not putting 400 watts of WTF on each ear, cranking the fucker to 11 and blowing my own clothes off.

          If missing the 1111th note in the extra long trill due to a gamma ray impact in your cable is going to completely destroy your ability to appreciate audio, go to a psychiatrist right fucking now.

          There is zero sympathy to be had from me for these "people". They are overcompensating for some missing part of their humanity by attempting to spend their way to the pinnacle of theoretical penis swinging contest that has no practical application. Buying the next gold plated cable will not salve the psychological damage that made them desire that cable in the first place, and it will not advance their position within the ranks of the social groups that ostracized them and helped trigger the most recent round of wasting their paycheques.

          Audiophiles need psychiatric help. They are not well. Not only are they not well, they are not well in such a way that vehemently denying their illness is a core part of their illness and they lash out (many times violently) against those who attempt to intervene. They're like mean drunks, except they get drunk off of hearing (or not hearing) things that are completely in their own mind. It's the worst parts of schizophrenia made manifest in gold plated fuckery and manifested in people who are just barely functional enough to make it through a work day before coming home and going hallucinating a whole bunch.

          What really twists my tit about them is that part of their illness manifests itself in a burning need to make everyone else around them miserable by attempting to ceaselessly convince those people the hallucinations are real. It's not enough that they go home and very loudly go mad, oh no! They must drag each and every one of us down to hell with them!

  9. dan1980

    The idea of more expensive digital cables making an audible difference (beyond fixing cut-outs) seems to be directly based on the idea that more expensive analog cables make an audible difference.

    Now, I don't think analog cables can actually change the sound either (provided they are suitable gauge) but whatever misappropriated and misunderstood scientific concepts are used by the believing audiophiles to explain these magic improvements (in analog cables) are, even if 100% accurate in that case, utterly inapplicable to the digital realm.

    As I said in the similar article on supposed audible improvements from hard drive swaps, the source is the media player, which means that everything backwards of that is the media. This puts these cable swaps in their correct perspective as it makes then on par with CD 'tweaks' like re-recording your commercial CDs onto particular CD-Rs, bevelling the edges and then colouring them in.

    The 'source', being the CD player or the media player, buffers the data and manages error correction so anything designed to reduce the errors ("jitter" caused by improperly scattered light or whatever) is irrelevant unless the player is not handling it properly, in which case your problem is a poor-quality or faulty player.

    And, again, all such errors present as drops.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Now Dan, *you* know that and *I* know that and most of the people who post here know that... but we are not the people at whom these products are aimed.

      We, after all, are conditioned by 'the machine' to be unable to discern such fine musical details as presence, colour, and pace... technical knowledge, even if informed by, say, thirty years in the industry, is no substitute for golden ears.

    2. Olius

      "Now, I don't think analog cables can actually change the sound either (provided they are suitable gauge) "

      Absolutely. You need to try very hard with your cables to break your audio. Sometimes you might even break it by buying massively overpriced "audiophile" cables!

      There are three qualities and only three qualities of a cable that affect its transmission of an AC signal:

      * Resistence

      * Capacitance

      * "Skin effect"

      The resistance, you have covered: Use a decent guage copper for the power you are transmitting and you will have no problems. The resistence at under a few metres is negligable for, say, AWG12-14 carrying, say, 50 watts or so. There is also very VERY little difference in the resistence of copper to silver (or even a copper/aluminium blend) for short-medium length runs. There's some nice graphs around on the net that show us how small this resistance is as the run-length increases on different kinds of wire.

      Capacitance is almost never a problem. When you have a low-impedence amp running speakers over reasonable lengths of typical (cheap) unshielded audio cable, the effect of the small amount of capacitance is very low. It charges and discharges the wire so quickly, any artifacts it creates are well outside human hearing range (and therefore also the range the musician has created). Amusingly, some of these very expensive, shielded (Shielding increases capacitance - you almost never want shielded cable) audio cables have a high enough capacitance that it can affect the audio range in the top end - which a lot of audiophiles perceive as extra "clarity". What they have done is nothing that couldn't be achieved using cheap/standard AWG14 or so cable and a decent EQ.

      "Skin effect" is often cited as a potential audio problem. Again, it is a real problem where the signal is only transmitted best on the "skin" of the conductors - but only - ONLY - if you are running AC in the microwave frequency.

      (With great thanks to Ethan Winer, whose book "The Audio Expert" has recently been invaluable in helping me (hopefully!) understand the actual concepts involved and avoid snake oil)

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Skin effect is present in pretty much any alternating current travelling down a wire, but it's just a description of the fact that AC will travel mostly along the edges of a wire, rather than in the middle.

        I'm not sure how it's supposed to effect listening to music, as there's no way to stop it happening, but I suppose that the resistance of the wire would vary slightly with frequency, so higher frequency signals would have slightly higher resistance. However, this will be the case even in the internal wiring of the audio components, so you'd expect it to be taken into account before it leaves the factory.

        1. Olius

          @Phuzz - I couldn't agree more. If all this exotic "technology" put in to "audiophile" cables had any truth in it, you would find manufacturers all over the place using it inside their kit.

        2. Nigel 11

          You fight skin effect by making a cable that's as much skin as possible. Lots of strands of very fine mutually insulated wire bundled together in parallel, rather than a thick solid core wire.

          You can buy loudspeaker cables like this, although I doubt anyone could hear any difference in a proper double-blind test. Where the problem is moving large wattages at a low-ish radio frequency, this approach does actually work (ie, your cable merely gets warm, rather than melting). Co-ax cable works better at higher RF frequency and by the time you arrive at microwaves, you do better with no wire at all.

          1. Olius

            Nigel - you don't need to "fight" the skin effect. Skin effect does not make a difference in the 20-20khz frequency range. You need to pass a much higher frequency through the wire. Any artefacts that higher frequency produces due to any skin effect will also not be in the audio range.

            And there is a much better test than a "double blind test" for this kind of thing. What you do is sample the AC before the wire and after it.. You reverse one of the waves and superimpose it back on the other. If the wire is "perfect", you have performed a successful "null test" - the output wave will be a straight line through 0dB.

            If it doesn't cancel out to zero, you could feed the results through a Fast Fourier Transform, which will tell you the actual frequencies which exist instead of it being null. You may or may not be able to do anything with this information, but it might be interesting.

            If the "noise" you are left with in the null test is more than 40dB below the volume of the music at that instant, it will be an inaudible difference, and a valid pass of this null test.

          2. Peter Simpson 1

            Skin effect, conductor non-linearity, etc

            Total bunk. I use "zip cord", regular 2-conductor, stranded AC line cord, for my speakers. They sound just fine. It's 18AWG with a DC resistance of .04 ohms/meter. 2 meter cables have a series resistance of 1% of the speaker impedance. Skin effect at 20kHz is non-existent. I don't even know what "conductor non-linearity" is, but I bet it's undetectable..

            1. Tom 35

              Re: Skin effect, conductor non-linearity, etc

              I go one up and use 14AWG lamp cord. And to cover another pointless item the insulation resistance for a full 100' roll is off the scale on the 10M ohm range of my DMM.

              File the transmission line impedance with skin effect as real but not measurable at 20 khz.

            2. Jess

              Re: I don't even know what "conductor non-linearity" is, but I bet it's undetectable..

              You're not Nigel Farage are you?

              It means it does not have a linear relationship between current and voltage.

              The time it will be important is when you have a loose connection or a dirty connection. It will cause distortion; harmonic and intermodulation.

              When it is undetectable, you don't have a problem. Given the high dynamic range of human hearing, you don't need much distortion of this type to notice the sound isn't so good.

              Good clean connections solve the problem. (Which would be why gold plated connectors are popular, not because they conduct better, they don't, but because they don't tarnish.)

              1. Olius

                Re: I don't even know what "conductor non-linearity" is, but I bet it's undetectable..


                "It means it does not have a linear relationship between current and voltage."

                Kinda. It means the resistance of the wire changes with temperature. As previously explored, resistance is a real factor that needs thought and fighting. If your cable is plenty thick enough for the signal you are transmitting - if you have left enough "headroom" - then a change in resistance due to temperature of, say, +/- 10% will not make a difference.

                So make your cable thick enough and "non-linearity" won't be a problem for you. On a home system, 14AWG should be plenty - it can carry well above standard "mains power".

                And to answer your other point, shielding /does/ increase capacitance. Look up how to construct a capacitor. You will find that when you put a charge through a conductor that is near another conductor (separated by a small amount of insulator - even air - called the "dielectric") that is earthed, you create a capacitor.

                1. Jess

                  Re: I don't even know what "conductor non-linearity" is, but I bet it's undetectable..

                  > It means the resistance of the wire changes with temperature

                  That is an example, not the only case. (And I would think that the effect would be trivial, with respect to non-linearity, because the change would be related to the average power over the last part of a second, and so be a linear change to high frequencies.)

                  Another commenter posted an example of the type I was concerned about, far clearer than I managed.

                  My concern is the contact between the cable and the equipment. And in my experience this is far more important than the difference between decent cable and fantastic cable.

                  I never disagreed that shielding would cause capacitance. What I stated is that it is a different property.

                  More capacitance does not mean better shielding. Better shielding, *may* mean more capacitance. (example a pair of wires in the centre of a 6 inch copper pipe will be better shielded that a pair with a thin braid close to it, but less capacitance.)

                  But in speaker cables, I can't see capacitance ever being an issue that needs thought. (just like the insulation would only ever be an issue if you decided to use mains cables pulled out of a 1930s house for speaker cable).

                  1. Olius

                    Re: I don't even know what "conductor non-linearity" is, but I bet it's undetectable..

                    lol, I think you're almost wilfully missing my point about capacitance. In a normal, cheap cable it is not an issue. A standard cable has almost no capacitance. This means that artefacts created by that capacitance are very faint and are outside the human hearing range. You should not normally need to worry about capacitance.

                    If you buy a shielded cable, it will have a higher capacitance. A high capacitance may give you artefacts within the human audio range. So ironically, by buying some kind of £10/metre shielded audiophile cable instead of unshielded 14AWG at 50p/metre, you may actually introduce interference and degrade the audio signal. The double irony (as I already mentioned) is that apparently this "interference" attenuates the higher frequencies, which makes audiophiles report more "clarity". They could have saved £hundreds by using "normal" cables and a cheap graphics EQ.

                    Also, if your cable did have much capacitance, the effect of it is to leak to ground frequencies in a certain range. In extreme circumstances, you could short your amp. So beware the shielded audiophile cable.

                    As I said originally, the only things you need to be careful about with the cable are the resistance, capacitance, skin effect and self-inductance. The latter two do not affect sounds below 20kHz so are not something to worry about at all. The capacitance is not an issue unless you are using shielded cable of some kind. And that leaves you with resistance (which can change with temperature). Buy cable which is overrated for what you need and don't worry about it.

                    And I am talking of the wire bit of the cable, not the connectors. The connectors are not the cable. As I said, I solder my cable in to banana-plugs which have an expanding fit. When you talk of cable, you must mean the stuff you buy in fixed lengths that has connectors already fitted - I don't buy that stuff, I buy loose cable.

                    And after reading about how pulling a connector out and pushing it back in every now and again scratches off the corrosion and gives a good connection, and how silver or rhodium plating can peel off if you do that with plated connectors, and how the resistance of copper is only marginally higher than silver (almost immeasurable when we're talking of millimetres of connector), I think I'll be sticking with my nice cheap copper banana plugs :-)

                    1. Olius

                      Re: I don't even know what "conductor non-linearity" is, but I bet it's undetectable..

                      lol at the thumbs-down on my last comment. You don't have to take my word on any of this, go buy Ethan Winer's book "The Audio Expert".

        3. Marcelo Rodrigues

          "Skin effect is present in pretty much any alternating current travelling down a wire, but it's just a description of the fact that AC will travel mostly along the edges of a wire, rather than in the middle.

          I'm not sure how it's supposed to effect listening to music, as there's no way to stop it happening, but I suppose that the resistance of the wire would vary slightly with frequency..."

          Yes. As the frequency increases, the depth of the wire used to transmit eletricity gets shorter. I don't remember the values, but in a 12 gauge cable I doubt it would be relevant before 100kHz.

      2. Jess

        Only 3 qualities?

        > There are three qualities and only three qualities of a cable that affect its transmission of an AC signal:

        That is wrong.

        An obvious omission is shielding.

        Another omission is self-inductance.

        Conductance in the insulator.

        Impedance mismatch between source, destination and transmission line.

        Non-linearity in the conductor. (I believe this one could explain why some systems sound better after they have been used for a few weeks after being plugged up.)

        And that is just off the top of my head.

        However, you seem to be only thinking of speaker cable, and only the final one on my list is really significant.

        Typical high quality domestic speakers are a difficult load for an amplifier, capacitance and inductance to deal with, plus moving cones that need their momentum controlled very quickly.

        The biggest issue is resistance, and the two big issues are the thickness of the cable and the quality of the connections..

        I believe the reason multi-strand cable is usually better, is due to it making a better connection to the plug or post. (as you say, skin effect is a bit irrelevant at audio frequencies)

        I have found that using banana plugs seems better than just the binding posts. (The type where two grub screws clamp down on the cable.) And I got a noticeable improvement with locking banana plugs that splay the pin to make better contact. (Downside is when you have a builder who can't work out how to unlock them.) £8 a pair from Amazon. (Or £80 if you go for rhodium and snake oil plated).

        Good engineering does make a difference to sound, however snake oil is very prevalent.

        For my speakers I purchased 14 awg ofc cable and biwired them, each of those with two cables in parallel. using the locking banana plugs.

        For interconnects I usually go for THX ultra certified cables.

        1. Olius

          Re: Only 3 qualities?


          lol, I mentioned shielding. It increases capacitance.

          One would hope that the insulator does not conduct. Most don't, hence the name. Impedance mismatch is nothing to do with the cable; I was talking only of cable. Non-linearity of the conductor would simply change its resistance, which as explained, is the largest influence of a standard wire on its ability to conduct AC in the human audio range.

          Saying that the non-linearity could explain why systems sound better when "warmed up" is stating an oft-used hypothesis as a conclusion/fact and trying to explain it. Digital systems don't need to warm up. (You may see the "snake oil" version of this hypothesis stated as "You need to run your system for AT LEAST a month to notice the expensive effect, as XXX needs to warm up/break in... oh, by the way, you can't return this rather expensive item after a month, sorry about that..."). But when you think about it, the "linearity" of a cable won't change over time: Electrons aren't massive enough to change the structure of the solid they are passing through, so these supposed "bumps" wouldn't be worn away. And if they were somehow "worn away", the wire would be narrower there and have an even higher resistence, so the sound couldn't possibly "improve" by this process.

          I had to look up "self inductance" and it is a real thing and could have some influence, but I would like to see some figures which show that the amount of voltage induced in a particular piece of wire at *audio frequencies* is of any consequence and isn't, in fact, drowned out by the signal in the wire or drained to ground by the low impedance nature of a typical amp. But sure, it is a function of the wire which I hadn't considered (or heard of). So "4" it is :-)

          1. Jess

            Re: Only 3 qualities?

            I know you mentioned shielding, but it wasn't in your list of 3.

            All insulators conduct. It's just how much they do that determines how good an insulator they are.

            Impedance mismatch (and impedance vs. frequency) has everything to do with the cable. A cable has a characteristic impedance, if it is not terminated correctly you get reflections.

            Non-linearity is not simple resistance change, it is resistance changing against input. (An extreme example being a diode). It will cause distortion; intermodulation etc.

            I was not referring to warming up, systems sounding better a few weeks after being installed. (Not having been switched on 24/7). An effect I noticed in the 80s after any significant change (i.e unplugging) of systems. Not dependent on a change of equipment or configuration. My hypothesis is that is is down to the physical connections bedding in, and becoming more linear resistance.

            And no. It was an observation that I seek to make an explanation for. As I stated, it is the linearity of the connection between plug and socket that I suspect settles down.

            And who said anything about digital systems? This is analogue, we are discussing.

            Your statement was too sweeping. In different situations, different characteristics have different effects.

            e.g. 100V line PA systems don't have the same issues with wire resistance that an 8 ohm system does,

            1. Olius

              Re: Only 3 qualities?

              Hi Jess,

              Shielding wasn't in my list of 3 because it adds capacitance. Capacitance was in my list of 3.

              Sure, a cable has an impedance, but if you have got your wire guage correct it will be minimal. Impedance is its resistance at different frequencies. But you've got your wire thick enough so its impedance will be negligible compared to that of your speakers. I'm not sure how a wire's internal impedance is related to how it is terminated? Unless you terminate it very very badly and that termination increases resistance/impedance - in which case that isn't the wire's fault.

              Physical connections will change over time, but they will get worse, not better, as the metal surface corrodes and becomes more resistive. If the passing of current through/across any conductor can change that conductor physically (for the better), I'd like to know more about this. Unless, of course, you are running a high enough current across them to fuse them together. If so, I'd like to come round and have a listen to your system - from a safe distance/bunker ;-)

              It is good to have good connections. I solder my wires in to the banana plugs. Pulling them out and back in to sockets every now and again scrapes off any possible rust - but be careful if you have silver or other connects as you might strip that silver off.

              When I mentioned digital, I was referring to a whole system the audio must pass through from HD all the way to speakers (and the snake oil one finds in all parts of this). Apologies for drifting off-topic, we were talking of wire, of course.

              Not sure which statement of mine was too "sweeping". I simply suggested that there are only 3 (now 4) characteristics of wire which can affect its ability to transmit AC in the human hearing range without creating distortion. I still hold this opinion.

              Sure, if you're wiring a 100v PA system, you will have a different set of problems to solve - but they will still come down to understanding how resistance and capacitance affect the sound travelling in the wire and the best way to solve them in a stupidly high power system (i.e. you will have the same problems but possibly different compromises to make as you solve them)

              1. Jess

                Re: Only 3 qualities?

                shielding is the rejection of other signals, it is a different quality to capacitance and can be achieved by star-quad arrangement that wont have the same capacitance issues as a co-axial arrangement.

                Impedance isn't simple resistance, it includes reactance, which is the capactive/inductive part. A transmission line exhibits a characteristic impedance, which is what you would measure on an infinite length of it. It should be terminated with the same impedance, otherwise reflections happen. With audio the the reflections are *probably* negligible (in short cables), but with video and data they are not. (The cables have to have the correct characteristic impedance or you get distortion/data errors).

                My theory of why the connection improves is just the two layers settling into each other under pressure over a few weeks, possibly current flow helps but possibly not. (You can buy contact enhancers, that presumably do the same effect.

                I prefer tight grub screws, as I understand it, this gives effectively a cold weld.

                Your original comment didn't limit it to audio. And I think skin effect would be more trivial that some of the effects I pointed out. There are many other properties that need to be right. (dielectric breakdown of the insulators is one that occurred to me since and another commenter pointed out dispersal - how did I forget that one?)

                I don't disagree with the points you have raised other than the claiming they are the only points. If you limit yourself to certain scenarios they may be.

                Many of the parameters are just 'have to do the job' parameters, in many situations. But not in all.

                There is a big difference between audio interconnects and speaker cables. Your example of a stupidly high power system the insulation of the cable will have to be considered so it doesn't breakdown under high voltages. In interconnects the rejection of interfering signals is very important.

                If you were to qualify the statement - e.g. to the speaker cables of a typical domestic hifi system, then I wouldn't take issue.

                Another thought, the use of one way speakers (either in a full range design or an active crossover system) removes a load of the horrible reactance, meaning the amplifier doesn't need to be so beefy and the cable quality is less important. Hence why if you put a pair of Amstrad midi system speakers on an expensive hifi, they sound quite nice. It rarely works the other way around.

            2. TheVogon

              Re: Only 3 qualities?

              "All insulators conduct."

              How much does a vacuum conduct then?

  10. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I think some of us are taking this way to seriously....

    But then there's hipsters with an extra 10 Grand in their pocket.... They may be out 10 Grand, but they get bragging rights.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: I think some of us are taking this way to seriously....

      This is nothing to do with hipsters.

      1. james 68

        Re: I think some of us are taking this way to seriously....

        The only reason people will buy this cable:

        "I bought this suuuuper expensive cable to stream my audio with when a normal ethernet cable would have done the exact same job for pennies.... isn't that ironic? I am soooo ironic, like the king of irony."

        That seems like hipster twattishness to me.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: I think some of us are taking this way to seriously....

          It sounds to me like you're just really bitter that even hipsters are cooler than you. Either that or you just term anyone you don't like as a "hipster".

          1. james 68

            Re: I think some of us are taking this way to seriously....

            Right, it's not because they're bloody annoying with their false superiority, and grown men dressed like teenage girls with painted on jeans, makeup and costume jewelery? How in the name of all that is holy is that "cool"?

            Face it, when 99% of the normal population think that hipsters are twats then there might just be a good reason for it.

            Shave the dubiously ironic beard my friend, it's leeching electrons from your brain.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Against a dark background

    "Sound appears from a surprisingly black background with unexpected detail and dynamic contrast. "

    That's some frequency shifting that allows one to visualise audio. But to be expected with a cable reverse engineered from a lazy gun. I think however I'll wait until they make a Pro version with blue LEDs. Green just drops the high end frequencies too much for my taste.

    1. adnim

      Re: Against a dark background

      Never heard of synaesthesia?

      An LSD component in the audio signal path really helps with the visualisation of the sound.

  12. jjcoolaus

    I'm an audiophile...

    ...but also not an idiot, so I won't be buying this.

  13. Clive Harris

    HiFi Power cords

    I remember browsing a HiFi magazine a while ago in a dentist's waiting room, and coming across a review of power cords. Having exhausted everything else to write about, they were testing which brand of mains cable gave the best sound quality! Never mind about the tangle of cabling that runs from the socket through the wall cavity to the fusebox, or the ancient infrastructure from there to the substation. This article contended that a careful choice of the 2-3 metres of wire from the socket to the amplifier would make an audible difference, if you spent enough money.

    I was wondering whether to write to them to suggest they should complete the picture by reviewing the various power companies to see which brand of electricity gave the best sound. Nowadays, we have the option to buy "green" electricity. Surely that must sound different.

    1. Neoc

      Re: HiFi Power cords

      Just injecting my $0.02 - if they were reviewing power cords for an ANALOGUE sound system, it might make some sense; power supplies "hum" on various frequencies and shielding said hums from the rest of the analogue circuits is a Good Idea(tm). It's entirely possible that they were testing the cables (being the next physically nearest powered item) to see which introduced the less "noise" into the analogue circuits.

      But then again, I am not an audiophile, so I may have it wrong.

      1. Trygve Henriksen

        Re: HiFi Power cords


        Power supplies in audio equipment are Switch mode, and generally operate at 20KHz or higher.

        Generally, they operate by rectifying the AC, then using a 20KHz oscillator and a PowerFET(fancy transistor) to chop the rectified power up into 20KHz square wave, pushing that through a transformer, and rectifying the(lower voltage) output of the transformer.

        Line noise doesn't get through that...

        And the 20KHz that might get introduced into the system is inaudible anyways.

        (Which is kind of the reason they use those frequencies)

        And any audio equipment that doesn't have a Switch-Mode PSU wasn't worth the $4.99 you paid for it on dx or aliexpress...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: HiFi Power cords

          Switched-mode power supplies in audio equipment? Never! Custom-wound toroids, a full-wave rectifier and some of the biggest capacitors (non-flux, of course) you ever did see are all I'll allow in my rig. My DAC even has an external linear power supply.

          1. Wilseus

            Re: HiFi Power cords

            Switched-mode power supplies in audio equipment? Never!

            Actually, Linn use switch mode power supplies in some of their amps, that's how they can make them so small. They've apparently solved the problems that have previously made such power supplies unsuitable for audio.

            1. AndrewDH

              Re: HiFi Power cords

              Dangerous move adding a reference to Linn in any thread. I have one, and they are very nice Analogue record decks but if real Linn enthusiasts are to be believed the LP12 was the last thing God made before he had his Sunday off.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: HiFi Power cords

                Knew one electronics "cough" engineer "cough" who replaced all the switched PSUs in our labs computers with massive 12V/5V linear supplies - to reduce noise.

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: HiFi Power cords

          Power supplies in audio equipment are Switch mode, and generally operate at 20KHz or higher.

          Then why does every tuner, tape deck, disc player and amplifier that I look into have conventional transformers and smoothing caps?

          Sony had a line of amplifiers that sported SPSUs, in the early 1980's. I've never seen that approach since. Especially amplifiers (except Class A) tend to have power loads that can vary A LOT, and SPSUs tend not to deal all that well with such a load.

        3. Nigel 11

          Re: HiFi Power cords

          Actually switch-mode PSUs run a lot faster than 20kHz these days. The main reason is that the higher the frequency, the more power can be transferred through a smaller mass of (ferrite) transformer core, and then smoothed back to DC using smaller capacitors.The upper limit is approximately where the extra power lost in the power transistors while they are changing state starts to exceed any economic benefit of making the power supply less massive.

          A long time ago I repaired what must have been pretty much the first ever switched-mode power supply (a 20A bench power supply using OC42 - Germanium! - power transistors ) It switched, very audibly, at a few hundred Hz.

          Incidentally, the output of a typical switched mode power supply is very poor for analogue audio use. Digital circuitry such as a computer doesn't care about tens of millivolts of ripple on its power, and just because the oscillator runs at a MHz doesn't mean it can't be (and is) modulated at lower frequencies by (for example) AC line noise.

          1. Clive Harris

            Re: First ever switched-mode power supply

            I can do better than that. Many years ago I came across a valve car radio where the HT was generated by a switch-mode PSU powered by a vibrator (No, not that sort of vibrator! It was a sort of resonant relay device - a bit like an old-fashoned doorbell)

          2. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: HiFi Power cords

            Actually switch-mode PSUs run a lot faster than 20kHz these days. The main reason is that the higher the frequency, the more power can be transferred through a smaller mass of (ferrite) transformer core, and then smoothed back to DC using smaller capacitors.

            Power transferred is, IIRC, muble times core area times frequency, so, yes. Also, ferrite has a lower hysteresis than transformer steel, so less power loss.

            In case one does want to use a SPSU for audio, 50kHz is the very minimum. Otherwise the beat frequencies between the audio signal and the switch frequency can become audible.

      2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: HiFi Power cords

        Hum on an audio power supply says nothing about the input cable and everything about the power supply designer: he doesn't know how to design power supplies.

        We won't even discuss amplifiers which can't reject power supply noise...

    2. Jess

      Re: HiFi Power cords

      There is certainly a difference with a high power amplifier between an old power cable with corrosion on the power plug, and a nice shiney one.

      I'm not convinced there is much between an nice clean kettle lead, and an expensive audiophile power cable though. Anywhere other than the power amplifier, I've not heard a difference.

  14. julianh72

    It's nice to see that they offer Finance, so even schmucks who don't have $10,000 to spare can still afford one.

    (And it includes free delivery in the UK.)

    1. dan1980

      Mein Gott.

      That is effectively taking out a loan to buy a CAT6 cable.

      That is predatory. I mean - you are selling something that does nothing to someone without the money to actually pay for it.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Mein Volks Gott.

        VW dealer here is advertising new VWs on finance with $10,000 cash back - to people who need the money.

        The ad literally says; "if you need $10,000, whatever you need the money for, come in and buy a new VW and walk away with $10,000" Presumably they need the $10K to get their head examined !

  15. MooJohn

    Directional ethernet cable

    From the item's description:

    "All audio cables are directional. The correct direction is determined by listening to every batch of metal conductors used in every AudioQuest audio cable. Arrows are clearly marked on the connectors to ensure superior sound quality. For best results have the arrow pointing in the direction of the flow of music."

    This is comedic genius! Now data cables have a direction of flow *and* sound better in one orientation! What if the cables go down hill, or in a loop - will that distort the sound?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Directional ethernet cable

      If you tie it in a knot it will not only slow the sound down, but it might create a feedback loop.

    2. Mpeler
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Directional ethernet cable

      And for 100,000, they have a, erm, turntable to make sure your house is pointed in the right direction...

      Paris, because she's turned a few houses in her time...

  16. Barry Rueger

    WAT HiFi

    My source for audio geek nonsense!

    ““The damn things do lower noise, increase dynamics, remove haze, and open up the top octaves. Once you listen to their effects, even a skeptic like me has to admit that it is hard to take them back out of the system. Music sounds more like music with the Cable Elevators in place. I recommend them strongly, especially given their price!”

    1. Annihilator

      Re: WAT HiFi

      An even better review (manufacturer even quotes them on the website...):

      Amazing quote:

      "I wish I knew why but I don't. I'm not even going to hazard a guess beyond suggesting that the construction of these cables must affect the way in which data is transmitted. My sneaking suspicion is it has something to do with time. "

    2. Shades

      Re: WAT HiFi

      @Barry Rueger: Thanks a bucking funch! I followed the link and found it amusing... then I made the mistake of following a link on that page, specifically:

      I now find myself inexplicably raging at my laptops screen due to the complete and utter infuriating and unmitigated garbage that these people are spouting! So now I'd just like to let you know if you had of been on my Christmas card list, had I had a Christmas card list, you would now be struck of the Christmas card list I don't have! ;)

      1. Gartal

        Re: WAT HiFi

        Fuck, I read that shit too. And about a dozen articles on 6moons. There are two things to say. Firstly like the man who sells Rolex watches, they are not selling time pieces, they are selling kudos and snob value. If you already have everything, including penicillin and you have a fortune 10 income then why wouldn't you buy these bloody things? You have nothing else to spend your money on and as anyone today can have an education or two toilets in their home you have to find something to display your financial if nothing else superiority. Point 2. When is a 0 not a 0? When it is an analogue signal. the IEEE standard which describes Ethernet over copper wire is the product of some people who routinely engage in rocket science. They decide what the required purity of the copper is, what the required guage of the wire is, the characteristics of the insulator, the twists which will reduce NEXT and FEXT all so that a Falling voltage edge is a 0 and a rising a 1. That is it. We are talking about a digital component and not an analogue one. any analogue happens after the DAC and if you feed the sound to your speakers through a bowl of cornflakes then it may sound somewhat different to sending it through Monster Cable. But any conductor which meets the requirements of the relevant IEEE standard is going to deposit 0's and 1's at the other end.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £20 for the cable, £9980 for the placebo effect.

  18. DerekCurrie

    Guaranteed: Silver Tarnishes. Oh Noz.

    If it's digital, the data either gets through to your device or it doesn't. Any standard Cat 5 or Cat 6 Ethernet cable is going to do a brilliant job getting the data through to your device.

    So what's all the clap-trap for? It's for people who are never going to comprehend what digital data means. The left behind. The technophobic. The new suckers.

    I remember this exact sort of consumer abuse from the likes of Monster® Products ad nauseam and their outrageously priced HDMI cables at $100 a pop, bringing digital data to your digital TV just as accurately as any other HDMI cable, like that one for $9 or less available on the Internet.

    'Abuse Thy Customer' continues to be the spirit of the biznizz age. I greatly admire all companies that kick that spirit out of their company cultures and insists upon treating their customers as collaborators and valued assets. I also admire any customer who kicks abusive companies out of their lives.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Guaranteed: Silver Tarnishes. Oh Noz.

      HDMI cables

      I don't buy the cheapest.

      I buy well constructed good values ones, which are still a lot cheaper than Monster. And not much more than the cheapest.

    2. Mpeler

      Re: Guaranteed: Silver Tarnishes. Oh Noz.

      The ones who will buy this steaming pile of $#!t are the iFools ...

      Rodrigues had a great cartoon - floor-to-ceiling-sized speaker, guy asks "Why'd you buy it"?

      Other guy says "because it was there"...

      True as ever, a fool and his money are soon parted.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great, a dedicated-purpose Ethernet cable

    Purely for Music.

    Does this require the use of an AudioQuest-specific protocol to run over the Ethernet MAC?

    I'll bet they require that you use their Ethernet chipset hooked up to one of their southbridges and CPUs, running their specially tweaked OS to get the "optimum" sound reproduction. Ohh, and don't you DARE think about using a third-party Ethernet switch!

  20. Hubert Thrunge Jr.

    Have I overslept?

    I thought it was February, not April.

  21. KBeee

    Audio Quest Woo Cables

    You're all missing the point. Audio Quest cables bring joy to the World!

    Well, not the cables themselves, but the "reviews" are wonderful to cheer up a gloomy Monday morning.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Too Cheap

    I am worried someone might try these cables on a Dell - and invalidate their warranty.

  23. LoopyChew

    "reduces non-linear time delays to a minimum"

    Non-linear time delays? You mean cheap ethernet cables have TIME TRAVEL capability and these guys are charging us $10K to get RID of that?!

  24. Stef 4

    How long before the government buys a few kilometers of these cables to install in schools to ensure that the children only receive 'clean' sound?

  25. jake Silver badge

    As we've been saying since at least the 1960s ...

    ... An Audiophule and their money are soon parted.

    1. BongoJoe

      Re: As we've been saying since at least the 1960s ...

      In the 90s a few of us found a HiFi magazine which reviewed a pair of speakers. The did cost a few hundred quid, I'll grant. The review was glowing, the various sonic tests in the lab and that gubbins showed them to be almost perfect.

      I said "So that's the end of the HiFi business then, is it?"

      My mate replied, "Just wait."

  26. BogMonster

    You can pair this with your $1650 USD HDMI cable you bought from them.

    Readers commenting on this are having way too much fun taking the piss, their comments are worth a read.

  27. robjcamb

    Two idiots are required here. One to make the cable and believe in it's virtues enough to try and flog it, and another to believe them.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge


      One idiot customer, and one cynical and rather smart provider.

      Which is no doubt excellent business ethics, but I'm sure Churchill's observation applies: "We've already established what you are, Madam. We're just trying to agree a price."

      1. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: Nope...

        A provider who has, presumably, moved to HiFi from the health food industry.

  28. skratbag

    Awesome however

    if I'm going to be sucked into paying $$$$ for something worth $, I at least expect their spelling to be perfect. " Insulation is also a commodoty that slows down a signal so AQ have featured their Dielectric-Bias System (DBS); a self-generated stable electrostatic field which reduces energy storage and non-linear time delays to a minimum."


    1. hplasm

      Re: Awesome however

      It is related to the word 'commode'...

  29. Inflex

    Of course it's 99.999% bunk, but there's a reason to be thankful for these things. It's an attempt to try and drain some money out of those who have more than they know what to do with. They have the money, they want to spend it on something, so this sort of thing is invented precisely to do that and attempt to get some more cash greasing the economy.

    Next step, adamantium lock tabs on the RJ connector, since those damned things always break.

  30. Infernoz Bronze badge

    What utter, scummy, con artist, rip-off nonsense

    Cat-6 Ethernet cables use twisted pair cable with balanced drivers and receivers specifically to drastically reduce noise and attenuation, so the wasted use of extra specially treated Silver is utterly pointless. TCP is designed to tolerate delays and data corruption using packet windowing (buffering) and acks, of which most will occur in equipment and possibly outside the premises!

    I could buy proper, very high quality Cat-6 cables within a single figure percentage of that price and buy several Kg of Investment Grade Pure Silver for that much currency!

  31. jzlondon

    Not the point

    This stuff - like all high end "audiophile" stuff - is a veblen good. The only thing that matters is that other people know you can afford it.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    I would buy them only for "tabs that are virtually unbreakable"

    Really tired of those people in the server room who can't handle a cable without breaking the tabs...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I would buy them only for "tabs that are virtually unbreakable"

      No, surely you want tabs that are really unbreakable.

    2. Mpeler

      Re: I would buy them only for "tabs that are virtually unbreakable"

      Ahhh, but they only work on the VMs, not on the server itself (aka REAL HARDWARE)...

      AManFromMars should have an opinion on this... probably well-versed in the benefits of an Oxygen-free environent...

  33. BongoJoe


    Now, there's something wrong here for a start.

  34. Alan Sharkey

    Umm - my Logitech Touch uses wireless to get to the router. Can I buy a shielded wireless connection to match the cable? I've got a spare $10,500 sitting under my matress - so no issues on the cost.

    [Now, where's that smiley face]


  35. adnim

    Regarding this article

    I prefer my water to have grapes or hops in it.

    It's only Monday but nonsense like this makes me want to start my Fridays early.

  36. Callam McMillan

    Take a leaf from the BOFH. Convince the boss to put some of these in your data centre, then actually install some posh(ish) looking cables and the difference becomes the expenses (beer) fund!

    The funny thing is, they do look quite cool, and that would justify me spending perhaps £2 on a cable instead of the 99p a normal cat 6 cable costs on eBay!

  37. WraithCadmus

    I think I'm in the wrong game

    brb, spray-painting a load of usb cables.

  38. MJI Silver badge

    Cable quality


    Needs to be robust, immune to interference, and not colour the sound. Gold plating on the ends does help a little in maintaining a good contact.


    Optical - Needs to be robust, not kink, and make sure enough light gets through to not lose any data. Gold plating is stupid.

    Wires - Needs to be robust, and not leak RF.

    So for any interconnect the most important things are, robustness so they don't get damaged, and interference proof so your analogue interconnects don't pick up strange signals and the digital interconnects don't broadcast them..

    1. Mage

      Re: Cable quality

      Gold on a non-gold socket = degradation.

      Copper and Silver conduct better.

      Regular daily use: Brass to brass is best.

      Use once or very rarely: Tin to tin is best as it forms a gas tight connection under pressure.

      Gold should only be used in specialist applications. Never on domestic audio / video/ data / rf

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Cable quality

        Tin - that is interesting, but all the phonos are gold plated on my amp. I thought that was why the cables were plated as well.

        My interconnects were cheap enough but not cheap, just good value.

        Most inputs are digital anyway, TOSLink or SPDIF

  39. EuKiwi

    I once had a cable...

    ... with which I was experiencing terrible throughput - approx 100Mbit instead of what I usually achieved, which was circa 750Mbit on average.

    Upon investigation, I discovered that it had been heavily, but lovingly, gnawed upon by Snowy, our rabbit. The damage was so extreme that some of the pairs had wires that were completely severed - yet it still worked even if slowly.

    And even with THIS cable, I certainly didn't notice any reduction in sound fidelity...

    A fool and his money, etc. etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I once had a cable...

      "And even with THIS [100Mbit] cable, I certainly didn't notice any reduction in sound fidelity..."

      Hardly surprising, given that even uncompressed CD audio (1.4 Mbps) plus overheads isn't going to come close to 100 Mbps. Unless there was something massively wrong with the buffering, it shouldn't have had any effect anyway.

      Which shows how stupid these audiophile Ethernet cables are.

  40. GettinSadda

    Simple antidote to all this...

    Spend some time looking into recording studios. They don't use any of this rubbish and they make the stuff you are listening to. That means that a) people that really know what they are doing don't buy into this, and b) if not having this stuff ruins the music... it was already ruined before you bought it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Simple antidote to all this...

      True enough, although clients / execs then demand the music is mastered to death, with the resultant dynamic range of a few dB at best :-(

      Then there's the whole 44.1/96/192KHz sampling rate debate.

      Add in the you need 24bit files for "higher resolution" (yes that should be larger potential dynamic range) and there's plenty of scope for audio nonsense in the studio.

      I wonder if they also sell real time MP3->FLAC converters?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No rhodium?

    At that price they could probably plate the silver with rhodium to prevent the inevitable air corrosion forming silver sulphides.

    In the 1960s we used to drool over surplus radio components plated with it. They always looked so factory fresh.


    "An electrical contact material due to its low electrical resistance, low and stable contact resistance, and high corrosion resistance."

    "In 2007, rhodium cost approximately eight times more than gold, 450 times more than silver, and 27,250 times more than copper by weight. In 2008, the price briefly rose above $10,000 per ounce ($350,000 per kilogram)."***

    ***The price then dropped back considerably after 2008

  42. Ashton Black

    I was going to whinge about this article, it being obvious bunk and all that, but I've actually enjoyed reading the reviews on various sites, so not a complete waste of time. Some of them are poetry of piss taking!

  43. Fihart

    Costly analogue cables mostly nonsense too.

    I've tried lots of home-build fancy interconnects and merely concluded that if they made any difference at all it was just that, a difference -- slight and hard to say when it was better or worse. Sometimes more treble, but usually modern systems are too trebly already.

    All I can confirm is that shorter, thicker, speaker cables are a better idea. Put simply, at the other extreme, very thin cables would heat up and waste power you wanted driving your speakers.

    Thin cable would also reduce the dynamic braking effect on the drive coil (known as damping factor) which would, theoretically, make the bass less controlled. Of course this is proportional to the length of the cable. Inside loudspeakers, most manufacturers use surprisingly thin cables because of the short runs involved.

    1. Jess

      Re: which would, theoretically, make the bass less controlled

      not just theoretically, very noticeably.

  44. Captain TickTock

    And would you like

    ... an extended warranty with that...?

  45. theOtherJT Silver badge

    Any lawyers in?

    At what point does selling something like this become fraud?

    It's an ethernet cable. It has to be an ethernet cable, or it wouldn't work. At what point does describing it as a Magical Flying Unicorn that will solve all your audio woes with the Power of Rainbows* become legally actionable misrepresentation?

    *Because that makes as much sense as what they've _actually_ marketed it as doing.

    1. DropBear

      Re: Any lawyers in?

      Did you never wonder why scammers concentrate on areas that are hard or downright impossible to quantify and measure...? A trial might prove that such a cable is no better or worse at measurable characteristics than a "merely" proper cheap one, but can anyone ever prove it's not "enriching" and "opening" the sound...? We know it doesn't, but it's not like we can prove that by tests...

      1. theOtherJT Silver badge

        Re: Any lawyers in?

        I reckon you could. Some of the claims made here are provably false, so at the very least it's false advertising. The cable _isn't_ directional, and you could prove that at the network layer. The same bit-stream is going to be delivered at either end no matter which way around the cable is.

        You might be able to get away with saying "This particular woo woo makes music sound better!" because the claim is so vague as to be impossible to prove, but if you're saying "This particular woo woo makes music sound better because it does X" you better be able to prove that it DOES do X, and any half way competent networking engineer would be able to testify in court that it absolutely bloody doesn't.

        1. M_W

          Re: Any lawyers in?

          Totally agree with you. I thought the same thing - this seems to me to be fraud. After all, they can't prove scientifically it provides anything that a £40 CAT6a cable wouldn't. It's a snake oil device.

          There's scientific evaluation that could be done to prove that the input to the cable and the output matches a similar reference £40 10M Lindy CAT6a ethernet cable, for example. Connecting it to a Fluke Tester (DTX Cable Certifier) and doing the same suite of tests with both ethernet cables would probably be enough to prove beyond reasonable doubt that technically the cables would be identical from a signal passed point of view.

          They may not be the same mechanically, but that's not what is at stake.

          Being LAN cables, which helps as it's standards based, and assuming the tests match and they're both up to standard, and you're not getting collisions or retransmissions, there's no argument about the cable influencing the reproduced sound as it's pretty much technically impossible for it to do so.

          I'm not sure subjective emotional representations would suffice in the courts?

          So, by the same token, if that is legal, why can't I sell a TV I buy from an OEM for £350 and stuck a special sticker on it for £9000 and say 'It's got better emotional pace in the image?' and try and sell that to suckers?

        2. Annihilator

          Re: Any lawyers in?

          "The cable _isn't_ directional, and you could prove that at the network layer"

          Ah, but the devil is in the detail. What they're saying in the full blurb is that they test each cable individually at point of manufacturer and identify the best way round to plug it in. They naturally work both ways, but they'll figure out which way round encourages a finer flow of unicorn p1ss through the cable. Your definition of "finer" may vary.

          They can probably demonstrate that two of the twisted pairs are of marginally better quality than the other two pairs, and thus the two better ones should be used for the tx between NAS and router/DAC/unicorn-stable.

          All nonsense of course, but we're down the rabbit hole here anyway....

      2. Gartal

        Re: Any lawyers in?

        Isn't this what non Intelligent Design folks call God in the Gaps?

      3. Pookietoo

        Re: it's not like we can prove that

        We don't have to prove it doesn't - they have to prove it does.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A few months ago a guy in a HiFi shop showed me a cable catalog featuring 14 metre speaker cables for £150,000. They did look pretty and had silver conductors. I didn't note down the supplier as it was a little outside my budget (may have been audioquest). The alternatives from Maplin seem to work OK and I can spend the change on a McLaren MP4-12C.

  47. AndrewDH

    This is just a development on the great HDMI cable con where people will try to convince you that a £100 hand fettled by elves HDMI cable produces a vastly superior picture when compared with a cheap £2 alternative.

    In this case the Elves must be using Mithril rather than the much less precious Silver hence the almost 100X price hike.

    Actually the whole Mithril concept could have legs, mythical materials at mythical prices with mythical benefits.

    1. Frederick Tennant

      This has been going on for years

      I agree with you, I worked in a Hifi shop during the 89's and although cables did make a small difference it took me several years to notice the difference, but what I heard did not justify the price of these cables. I suppose thats why they use exotic materials to cover up the snake oil lol. I remember a article from a hifi magazine tellting me that you should "sex" a cable by hanging it in your room for a week before installing them. I did wonder how many fools that actually did that.

      1. Annihilator

        Re: This has been going on for years

        " I worked in a Hifi shop during the 89's"

        1689, 1789, 1889 and 1989? Any earlier? The re-training you must have went through each time would have been extreme! :)

        1. Mpeler

          Re: This has been going on for years, 1689, 1789, 1889 and 1989?

          "The first ten million years were the worst, and the second ten million years: they were the worst too. The third ten million I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline."

          - Marvin the paranoid android (aka Douglas Adams)

  48. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Hmmm, gotta buy some

    Before they are all sold out. Should do wonders to my internets, they've been a bit wobbly recently and the colours are off...

  49. Lionel Baden

    Finally !!!!

    I have been looking for the right sort of cable for my Audio NAS


  50. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    I've seen these

    Now available at your local RadioShack store.

    1. Rabbit80

      Re: I've seen these

      You could probably swap one of these for your local RadioShack store...

  51. Herby

    Note to self (and other commenters):

    We are all in the wrong business. As the saying goes, find a need and fill it. There must be another thing that "improves" something in audio.

    The sad thing is that they will probably play tunes with MP3 compression and not even notice the difference. Oh, the MP3 player will probably have a (noisy) vacuum tube (valve) in its pre-amp to add more "warmth".

    1. gerryg


      xkcd reference

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just... wow

    If you click on High Speed Ethernet:

    «Supports speeds of up to 100 Gbps over 100m.»

    I missed the announcement of 100Gbps Ethernet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just... wow

      As I said earlier, you need their special Ethernet MACs to make proper use of the cable. Theirs apparently able to perform at that speed.

      How else would you enjoy your 20Mbps bitrate MP3s?

  53. Unicornpiss

    Wow, just wow

    What do you bet the build quality on these is abysmal as well? Our facilities dept. used to buy "premium" AV cables for our conference rooms--they were about $50-$80 each. And they failed very frequently. Switching to plain old used monitor cables completely eliminated this problem.

    Maybe when they were speaking of "unidirectional" cables they were talking about the flow of money from your wallet to the vendor.

  54. bigphil9009

    This is brilliant!

    This is great, for the simple reason that it allows one to justify _any_ other expense.

    "Yes, love, I did just spend £5,000 on a new bicycle, but look! I could have spent even more on some stupid cables - this bike has loads of cables on it - it's good value!"

  55. tony2heads


    You throw away all audio quality by using MP3 (rather than FLAC) and then worry about transmission of packets to (often crappy ) D/A converters

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF

      "...nobody can hear the difference between a 320kbps CBR audio file and the CD."

      "Set B was the MP3, yet for those who picked A or B, most thought A sounded inferior!"

      "Few listeners can distinguish between “average” and “best” MP3 samples"

      "The results of experiments conducted in this study showed that, in all listening conditions, music samples compressed by lossy compression codecs proved undistinguishable from original uncompressed samples for bit rates of approx. 96–128 kbps."

      "Differences in files at 128 kbit/s and higher cannot be noticed within the majority of listeners"

      1. Charles 9

        Re: WTF

        But remember, we're talking audiophiles. These are people who can supposedly detect a single low-order bit flip in a 74-minute CD recording on a jet plane and be able to use that to identify exactly when the disc was pressed.

        Much like with drink aficionados. I swear there are people that can tell the different between five minute old coffee and six minute old coffee...

  56. Zog_but_not_the_first

    Don't be so harsh

    I bet these cables minimise quantum entanglement. Or maximise it. Whichever will make you open your wallet faster.

  57. Kingfisher

    Is it April 1st already?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's *always* April the First in the audiophile world.

  58. Geoff Heaton

    My view on these types of cables has always been "Unless you have won the lottery, by the time you can afford them, your ears/eyes will be so old that you will be unable to appreciate any possible increase in sound/picture quality."

  59. Matthew 17

    similar to improving the sound of your MP3's by using a different hard drive

    They've spent all this money on the cable and only reached Cat6a, for £10 I could have bought a Cat7 cable!

    In your face Audio Quest!

  60. Jess

    Unidirectional Cables do exist.

    If you do a star quad arrangement with a shield, that is only connected at one end, for example. The shield is then connected at the destination end.

    However, for any cable with physical symmetry I have yet to be convinced there is any way for it to be directional.

    1. Jess

      Re: Unidirectional Cables do exist.

      Someone with no concept of star earthing appears to have down voted me.

  61. Hoe


    Get me 2!

    I've been thinking about this for years, I mean I can only listen to my crap quality lose-full MP3's at the moment through a standard CAT 5e.

    Now I can spend £7,000 on a cable to listen to the same crap quality music it's sure to make it good?!

    LOL, LOL, LOL!

    I am usually against the death penalty, but GREED or STUPIDITY like this it suddenly sounds quite inviting.

  62. unwarranted triumphalism

    Nice story...

    Except that no one has actually made any such claim. Better luck with the audiophile-bashing next time.

    I know that you'll (probably) get something right eventually, even if it's just by chance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice story...

      Err... you did click on the AudioQuest link in the article? You'll find that all the claims stated in the article are taken directly from their website.

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Re: Nice story...

        I never visit AudioQuest's website, my Ethernet cable is not of sufficient quality.

  63. thesykes

    Not so bad

    These things are a bargain once you claim your 1.5% cashback from Quidco....

  64. Paul Garrish

    Not the whole story

    Surely, you need to have it professionally burnt in before it will give it's best....

    1. Gartal

      Re: Not the whole story

      Now I understand. what you have to do when you buy a cable is push a lot of electrons through it very quickly so that you replace the ones that came it with from the factory. Once you get the old electrons out and the new ones in that have been strained, crafted and modulated through the wiring in your house, the cable will sound `at home'.

  65. Andrew Jones 2

    I'm tempted to report this company - because the science they use in the Audio world is bad enough - but how they could possibly claim Ethernet is directional, is beyond me - regardless of what data it is that's travelling down the cable - an ack needs to be sent back for every packet - making it bi-directional? Surely this falls foul of the trade descriptions act?!

    1. Vic

      how they could possibly claim Ethernet is directional, is beyond me - regardless of what data it is that's travelling down the cable - an ack needs to be sent back for every packet - making it bi-directional?

      Each pair only sends data in one direction - that's why it's full-duplex; you have a separate pair for each direction of travel.

      That said - current flow in each pair is *still* bi-directional...


      1. Andrew Jones 2

        Interesting to note that once people started talking about legal action here - the page on the AudioQuest very quickly started returning 404 for the product :) Says a lot about their faith in being able to stand behind their claims......

    2. Annihilator

      I've commented on this one earlier, but their full blurb claims that they test each manufactured cable in both configurations to identify the optimal one. There's bound to be some quality difference that they can point to a report on in terms of measuring signal-to-noise ratio, even if it was random variation in the test itself..

      All hokum, but measurable hokum in that specific claim... Bear in mind that even most analogue audio interconnects claim to have a specific direction they should be connected in, they've got form for this sort of claim.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    .... Surely this will be available in PC World / Currys in the coming weeks....

    You'll find it next to the 35quid Fibre cable for connecting your Amp to your TV!! (The 7.99 one loses too much signal!!)

  67. gerryg

    Casting the first stone n'all

    Yeah, yeah, we can all do the science and engineering because we're all so clever. And some of us might just be a little bit jealous that others have got so much spare wonga.

    I think it was a chap called Douglas Self writing in Wireless World, goodness knows how many years ago, that the only occasion he managed to detect a difference in sound quality was when he inserted a rusty nail into the signal path

    But is there anyone here who hasn't used a gold plated connector "just in case"?

    Or not engaged in cargo culture "just in case" Or not bought a more expensive product (paint? after-shave? a car?) "just in case"?

    1. Loyal Commenter

      Re: Casting the first stone n'all

      I don't know about you, but if I'm maintaining code that falls foul of 'cargo cult' programming, I tend to remove the offending code, refactor it so it is properly documented, and then ensure it is properly tested to prove it still does what it is supposed to without the voodoo.

    2. Kiwi

      Re: Casting the first stone n'all

      But is there anyone here who hasn't used a gold plated connector "just in case"?

      Or not engaged in cargo culture "just in case" Or not bought a more expensive product (paint? after-shave? a car?) "just in case"?

      Yes,. I can say that. I have not purchased products based on being more expensive, I buy based on doing what I need at an acceptable price/quality level - I'd rather buy D-Link than Cisco for example, because the D-link does wha I need. I don't shave, my only car was given to me and I spend as little on it as possible (I do look for things that will last but I know that cheap doesn't always mean nasty and expensive doesn't always mean good). Paint, I put my money and effort into the prep work. Purchasing is done with "NZ Made" being a very significant part of the equation (ie if it ain't made here, I ain't using it).

      And I haven't done any of the "cargo culture" in programming that I can recall (althought I have only known of the term for maybe 5 minutes :) )

      Oh, and if I do have any gold audio connectors, it's because they're on cables I found or was given, not one on a cable I purchased. Unless my phone's headset has them, in which case I did not deliberately purchase them. The phone had features I wanted at a price that suited me, the headset is still in the box.

    3. DiViDeD

      Re: Just In Case?

      No, never did. I buy my after shave and colognes from Chemist Warehouse (3 for $15 AND you get to smell em before you choose which 3), my HDMI cables, batteries and printer cartridges come from the Hot Dollar shop (@ $2.50 for 10 LR43s you really can't go wrong) and my current car is a $30,000 Great Wall, bought partly because of the trim (leather) and gadget (reversing camera, bluetooth, auto headlights and wipers, front and rear foglights, electric seat adjustment, touch screen console, dvd playback with 5.1 sound and the rest) level, and partly because I could run three of the buggers into the ground in 9 years and it would STILL cost me less than one X5 with similar spec (also it actually goes offroad in the Aussie fashion, which the X5 doesn't).

      I also, according to a friend in the ad industry, have the brand awareness of a concussed wasp, which I rather took as a compliment.

      Incidentally, when I was in the Uk, I ran a Quad 44/404 into Rogers LS 3/5a's over parallel lengths of single core, copper, fabric insulated, electric fence conductor - 1/8 inch, filed down at the ends to fit the terminals.

  68. Tom Womack

    So is there anything you could use these for?

    Oxygen-free-copper cabling designed for the audiophool market turned out to be just what you needed to make practical proton precession magnetometers, and the process accidentally removed radioactive impurities so OFC shielding is used in a lot of sensitive particle physics work; there may still be some weird quantum-physics application in which extremely smooth silver cylinders are useful, though you'd feel a bit silly getting this cable and then dissolving the insulation to get to the silver.

  69. Frederick Tennant

    Audoquest and their snake oil

    I love Audioquest, they have been around since the 80s doing their stuff at Hifi shows around the world, I love the sound their cables make from their Chicago range of cables for my amp turntable Aspen for the speakers and evergreen for my trusty iPod. So now I can enjoy music via NAS using Forest cables, I have to keep the same colour throughout my system......God wheres the toilet paper. God I can talk crap. but if it was not for Audioquest what would you recognise the fools in this world?

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Audoquest and their snake oil

      I have a pair of Audioquest interconnects. But I only paid 20 or 30 quid for them long time ago.

      Now, I realise, I could have paid x100 more, if I knew. I feel cheated!

  70. Peter 53


    Our beloved HMG doesn't worry about such minor details as evidence*, so what's everyone getting so worked up about?

    * eg, see:

  71. The Dark Lord

    Why all the hate?

    Audio cables are just like any other piece of recreational equipment. People spend money on what they want to, and if they perceive a benefit, then they win.

    All the commentards in this thread are doing is revealing their own prejudice and intolerance. Your recreational passion is my "snake oil" or "evidence that you're a gullible idiot who deserves their fate."

    Think it through:

    - Famous Grouse vs Glenmorangie whisky

    - Ford Mondeo vs BMW 5 series

    - Primark vs Hugo Boss

    - EasyJet vs British Airways

    Each of them gets the job done, but which would you prefer?

    In all walks of life there are opportunities for people to express a value preference on the quality vs cost spectrum. Where this is in the arena of recreational pursuits, it's a personal choice.

    You may not agree with paying £10k for an ethernet cable to improve sound quality. But in the scenario of the seller, the buyer and one pointing out the "folly", it's that third party who's being a dick.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why all the hate?

      "But in the scenario of the seller, the buyer and one pointing out the "folly", it's that third party who's being a dick."

      Perhaps you should read the story of The Emperor's New Clothes. IIRC, it's the Emperor who is the "dick", not the child pointing out his foolishness.

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Why all the hate?

      "You may not agree with paying £10k for an ethernet cable to improve sound quality"

      You seem to have missed the point that it _can not_ improve the sound quality over a standard ethernet cable.

      All your other examples do actually convey some difference for the money, either build quality, quality of service, or even just aesthetic appeal. But people are being sold these on the basis that they make a qualitative difference to sound quality, not just that they look nice!

  72. TitterYeNot

    Dear Sir...

    Good day to you, I hope you are well and in good grace.

    I am an african prince who has had the good fortune to find myself in the posesion of meny fine Cat-6 Ethernet Audio Cables, but unfortunately I have been imprisoned by my bad enemys and cannot ship them out of my country without your good help...


    On a more serious note, what is this crap about ethernet audio cables?

    Anyone with a discerning ear knows that token-ring is far superior in dealing with n-dimensional frequency flutter, unless installed by a total idiot who doesn't know how to fine-tune the the token or stop it falling out of the end of the cable when they haven't terminated it properly...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      We're selling photo USB cables! only $7500 each!

      Are you downloading photos true plain old USB cables from your camera? Our unidirectional (after all, you just need to dowload photos, right?) USB cables will deliver outstanding resolution and color, ensuring all the pixel arrives at the same time to your PC with no loss or jitter while travelling on the cable, which could led to less-than-perfect resolution and color alterations. Shadows details will be greatly improved, while more details in the hghlights will be sublty discernible.

      Also our cables ensure all the conductor section is used to download images thanks to our FoolInsulate tehcnology, which will greatly decrease the vignetting you see in images because non-linear dissipation across the conductor section, and loss of edge details.

      Our special "Chroma Optimizer" (which requires batteries lasting one week you need to buy from us at $99.99 a piece) will use quantum chromodynamics active insulator to correct for chromatic aberration due to quarks loss in conventional cables.

    2. Marcelo Rodrigues

      Re: Dear Sir...

      "Anyone with a discerning ear knows that token-ring is far superior in dealing with n-dimensional frequency flutter..."

      I don't know. In my experience, the deterministic nature of token ring takes out much of the analog stage of the music... In order to listen properly one must keep pinging the router - from another device. This way we reintroduce some soul on the signal, with the slight variations in time - due to the ping on the switch.

    3. Graham Lockley

      Re: Dear Sir...

      Token ring is only superior for certain types of music, Wagner for example......

  73. Frederick Tennant

    I think this says it all

    Audioquest testing cables using a £1.50 adapter check this out, at 1:18 into this video the engineer is checking a hdmi cable by plugging into a cheap adapter, wow they missed that one.

  74. Squeezer

    100Gb/s Ethernet? -- Old hat, we're already working on 400Gb/s...

  75. OffBeatMammal

    a simple solution....

    * suspend these people over a swimming pool full of hungry sharks

    * ask them to tell the difference between their $10k product and a $10 version from Tandy

    * eliminate them if they get it wrong...

  76. IGnatius T Foobar

    This is like "monster" cable

    Spending $10,000 on an ethernet patch is ridiculous, but so is buying "monster" speaker cable at 10x the cost of regular stranded copper. A fool and is money are soon parted.

  77. wolfetone Silver badge

    Dragons Den Moment

    I'm going to do the exact same thing and undercut them by 50%.

    I like idiots, they give me money.

  78. jason 7

    No Hi -Fi company makes it's own cables.

    Cable making is big, dirty industrial work. You cant run a cable maker without having to run several KM of wire at a time so that £500 a meter cable ain't costing anywhere near 10p a meter to make in the first place.

    I would speculate that 99.99% of all wire that goes into Hi-Fi cables was originally specced for Boeing or CAT scanners at next to £nothing a meter.

    All you need is a reasonable (thicker than bell-wire) gauge, reasonable quality copper and keep it as short as you can.

  79. CountZer0

    Won't anyone THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

    Now feeding your kids will be tricky! Unless you bought the Denon version & trousered the $2000 change for food!

    Only $8000...what were they thinking of? Audioquest is such a ripoff. £=$ too i'll wager...

  80. Alex Walsh

    Wonder what the What HiFi review will be like

    Based on the stuff quoted in Wat Hifi I bet they'd love it!

  81. theloon

    first call will be to Audio Quest, next will likely be Trading Standards, they love this stuff.

    As someone that works for a major networking vendor on the engineering side, I'm first going to call Audio Quest and ask them some simple engineering questions concerning their solution, how it relates to ethernet protocols, transmission, framing. Next some about IP etc..and finally some basic questions about NASs and media players let see what they say.

    The likely outcome is that I will next call trading standards ...

    but lets see how Audio Quest respond first....

    Will keep you posted during the week. :)

  82. CountZer0

    Won't anyone THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

    Unless you buy the MUCH CHEAPER DENON ALTERNATIVE ...

    THEN you can feed the kids with the $2000 change...unless its £=$ exchange rate. again.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Semiconductor sulphides

    Silver exposed to air tarnishes with silver sulphide - that is why a plating of rhodium is used when the tarnish must be avoided for appearance or conductivity. Many metallic sulphides are semiconductors - is silver sulphide one? The last thing you want is an unplanned non-linear device acting like a diode.

    1. Jess

      Re: Semiconductor sulphides

      The thing that gets me about plated plugs (especially gold) is the whole thing is plated, not just the areas that make contact. (I know sometimes plating the whole thing would be easier, but sometimes a separate part is needlessly plated.)

  84. hi_robb

    Feck me it's...

    Schrödinger's cable!

    You'll never be sure if it sounds any better than the cheap one it replaced until you look at how much you've spent on it!

  85. Florida1920
    Paris Hilton

    It's more than you think

    The price is actually $10,500 US. Before I order, my questions are,

    * Do I need two for stereo?

    * My iPod doesn't have an RJ-45 thingy. How do I jack it in?

  86. talk_is_cheap

    Well they have pulled that page

    How about a 20M HDMI cable for just £8,000.

  87. herman Silver badge

    If this cable advert succeeds in opening up one person's wallet, then it was all worth the effort...

  88. Just call me ^God

    re-hashed snake oil

    It's been done before... (read the reviews - Hilarious!!)

  89. Analog Guy

    Recovery Clock Jitter

    There actually are cases where data clock recovery PLL circuits are so poorly designed that jitter in the recovered clock signals can introduced audible distortion in the playback, as the output D/A clock will not be very good. This was the case in a lot of early CD players, and was responsible for kicking off the $1,000 digital interconnect cable frenzy in the early years. This is not much of a problem in modern equipment, though, as most integrated circuit designers are VERY aware of this type of clock jitter problem.

    You can't blame somebody for trying, though :-)

  90. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    In a gold rush, be the one selling shovels.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just Audio made better, either!

    I just piped Windows 10 down this hot slim beauty, and I got Ubuntu out the other end. Result! And well worth the $10k I dropped.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not just Audio made better, either!

      My Gentoo installs are coming down pre-compiled now I have this plugged into the intertubes.

      .. and calling themselves Arch ...

  92. vang0gh

    How absurd! Best Buy only charges half that for a patch cord.

  93. Clive Harris

    They seem to have withdrawn the ad

    I just checked a few minutes ago and got a 404 error for that page. Either they've withdrawn it, or their server has crashed from the deluge of customers trying to order one.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Electrons do not even exist

    What we call electrons are just space time banging against matter. This cable is essential to ensure that the space time continuum is not distorted while streaming beats.

  95. Hans 1

    On sale now for 599.00

    >"I'd sum up these differences as more. You get an increasingly large sound picture as you move up the line, greater differentiation between sonic elements, and a greater sense of clarity. Again, these changes are not subtle or slight. I did not have to do any sort of special listening to special tracks, put on a lab coat, or comb my thinning hair in a particular manner. All I had to do was sit and listen and the changes I've described were readily apparent."


    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: On sale now for 599.00

      This one is just 75cm long, the 10k one was 12 meters.

      Now that all possible jokes have been exchanged on the subject I can actually try to explain what is going on here...

      In the good old days, HiFi magazines and retailers advised buyers to spend about 10% of the total system cost on cables and interconnects. I am pretty certain that the advice remains more or less unchanged for the "digital" era.

      Now, if you are selling a $100k multi-room system to a nouveau riche customer (to plug his iPod in), you MUST offer him cables that are expensive enough for him to feel satisfied. If you don't, he will think you are withholding something from him or, worse, dissing him and taking him for a fool.

      He is not a fool - he has read the advice, he knows the cables must cost 10% or they are no good. So, you have to have a product that will placate the guy or risk a drive-by shooting incident.

  96. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    I haven't seen such a frenzied discussion about Hi-Fi since "The Great Gold Sticker on the Mains Plug" debacle of 1988!

    At least these leads are aimed at absolute idiots with more money than sense, my elderly neighbour bought a replacement tv and was hassled by a salesman into buying a scart lead (that they didn't need) for £110 ... the git

  97. s. pam

    I'm sure all the UK.Gov / NHS Consulting firms...

    Are already ordering them by the container ship load.

    Or at least billing for same whilst using a £0.50 one!

  98. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    Just out of curiosity

    what IS the Reg record for most commented story? Shirley this one ought to be a contender, eh?

  99. Hi Wreck

    At that price...

    The connectors should be gold, not silver. Gold doesn't rust like silver does.

  100. Andy 30

    Compression is the answer

    Take all the air out of the 0's and turn the 1's through 90 degrees. You would then transmit ...---... instead of 000111000. It will go round the bends quicker too as it will be more streamlined therefore you will be able to hear more music, quicker. Simples really

  101. Asylum Sam

    Looks like...

    it's either been pulled or has sold out. Still, I was happy to see that they have a 'vodka standard' of cables, once I'm appointed global overseer, they'll be the ones for me!

    {wonders if he could slip 50 meters or so through the company IT budget,,, for the good of the company, obviously}

    1. Soruk

      Re: Looks like...

      75cm for £599 here

      and 8m here for £4739 -

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        This page fully explains the hard science:

        I think I'll just quote the source, as I can't really add any more:

        What is DBS?

        AudioQuest’s founder and chief designer, William Low, explains the Dielectric-Bias System: “DBS puts all of a cable’s dielectric into a comparatively high voltage DC field ... continuously from the time the cable is terminated. The exceptionally simple design uses a wire down the middle of the cable, which is simply an extension of a battery’s cathode. This wire is attached to negative (-) of a DBS battery pack, and nothing else. It is not in the signal path and has no interaction with the signal. Depending on the model of interconnect (analog or digital) or speaker cable, an existing foil “shield” is used as the DBS anode by connecting it to positive (+) of the DBS battery pack. A battery terminal, anode or cathode, has no current waiting to pour out, as does the earth relative to a negatively charged cloud. A battery is a chemical reaction waiting to happen. Both poles of the battery have to be connected to each other in order to initiate this reaction. The point is that since the anode and cathode of a DBS battery pack are never connected, there is no current flow, only a potential across the dielectric (insulation) in-between the DBS field elements.”

        This is so good, I've purchased two instead of paying the mortgage for 6 months: one for my kettle and one to wear as a belt. I'll let you all know how I get on.

        1. DiViDeD

          Re: Science

          I had all my dielectric stuck in a field once. Took weeks for the swelling to go down.

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            Re: Science

            Isn't it a description of a capacitor? And what will happen if a rat takes a bite of the cable?

  102. DiViDeD


    Surely any TRUE audiophoole is listening only to uncompressed FLAC files encoded at 1430khz and then lovingly transferred to gold plated vinyl disc using cables handcrafted from only the finest unicorn horn?

    And on a valve amp, natch.

  103. Adrian Tawse

    More than stupid

    There are stupid people, grossly stupid people, and then there are HI buffs. These people are way beyond ordinary levels of stupidity, they are hyper stupid. Some years ago I read an article in What HiFi. This was a review of speaker cables. The introduction stated quite clearly that the sole function of a speaker cable was to transport current from the amp to the speaker with as little interference as possible. To this end the sole requirement was low resistance.

    Second in the roundup was a cable that had two cores in parallel, one thicker than the other. It was claimed that the thinner of the two would transfer the high frequencies while the thicker would handle lower frequencies. The top scorer had just one thin core, obviously of higher resistance tan a thicker core. The review raved about the "Crisp Tonality" of the cable. All it was doing was introducing a bass cut with its higher resistance. The price for this piece of tat? An unbelievable £1000. There are the stupid, the grossly stupid and, alone in the category of hyper stupid are HiFi buffs.

  104. Shovel

    Since sound travels faster over water, then electricity must travel faster through water. Let's sell $2000000 'Water-Net Wire" for the ultimate, zero delay, crystal-clear mp3 experience. Call them H2 Oh! Wires.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Except copper is solid, and sound travels fastest through a solid.

  105. SFCable

    Hum on an audio power supply says nothing about the input cable and everything about the power supply designer:

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