Having worked with computers from the time when there were no “commercial” cables (I had to build my own), I understand that the ethernet protocol essentially assures accuracy of the data per se. Hence, I was highly skeptical that an ethernet cable could offer any improvement in the “sound”, especially the final meter from switch to Rossini. Hence, until the last month, I used a “Amazon” cat 6 unshielded cable and enjoyed what I thought was outstanding sound. But having recently noted the marked improvement in my system from the Shunyata Everest, Altaira and interconnect and speaker cables, I was willing to try the Shunyata ethernet cable. Richard at Shunyata kindly provided both a Sigma and Omega ethernet cable(s) for me to audition. Importantly, I listen to classical and some jazz and my system is based on the Rossini feeding a ARC Ref6SE preamp and Rogue Audio Apollo Dark mono amps with Sonus Faber Il Cremonese speakers. My digital music is stored on a Mac Pro and fed to the Rossini via Audirvana software running on the Mac and connected via the ethernet switch (which is also an “Amazon” ).
While I listened to many tracks, I will cite two as they were representative of the results from nearly all others auditioned: Laszlo Marrosi, 3 Dances Roland Szentpali (track 7 of the CD) and Peter Boyer, London Symphony, track 7, Ghost of Troy.
There was more separation, more detail, deeper soundstage (equally wide), with better sustains and attacks, more natural tonal qualities and clearer, more articulate, more resonant bass and for chamber or similar compositions/recordings, the musicians were truly “in the room”, and for orchestral, my seats were around the 10th row, center, with the Shunyata cables. These differences were more apparent with the Omega vs the Sigma cables.
But, this result is contrary to my computer education and since I could not do a “blind” test on myself, I invited the sales manager of a local high end audio store (about 30 years of experience) which does NOT sell Shunyata but it’s competition (Nordost) to be my “blinded” test subject. I only told him there would be three cables “#1, #2 and #3” and asked him at the end to tell me IF he heard any differences, what the difference was and to rank the cables. I did not present the cables in order of cost. Within a minute of listening to the amazon, he said he had “heard enough” and to switch. I then (again, unbeknownst to him) switched to the Omega. He listened through the entire track and even wanted to go into the next track. I then switched to the Sigma and he again wanted to continue to listen. I then asked for his findings: He stated what I have mentioned above as to the attributes of the Shunyata cables and then ranked them precisely in the correct order by price!
So, we know that the 0s and 1s cannot be altered and that the ethernet protocol assures that the 0s and 1s are correct. The Rossini can buffer the input to assure that IF there was a problem, retransmission could occur. Given this, what is happening that the sound is clearly improved and why does changing only the last meter of cable make any difference?
I assume that there must be a means by which “noise” can be introduced in a way that even the Rossini cannot completely filter or block, that this noise does not involve the 0s and 1s per se, and that it is this noise that the Shunyata cables are removing.
But, I am open to other interpretations or explanations.