Bottomline, if the SOtM dCBL-CAT7 is beyond your budget, get the Supra CAT8 cable. I went from nearly dismissing this cable entirely to embracing it in my systems. The dCBL-CAT7 is vastly superior but diminishing returns goes into overdrive ($45 vs $500). The Supra CAT8 ethernet cable is not only a good value but I personally preferred it over cables many times its price. I would say it ties with SOtM dCBL-CAT6 cable depending on whether you want a smoother, fuller sound (Supra) or a more detailed, neutral, and clean sound (SOtM). Both are much flatter sounding versus the dCBL-CAT7 but you’ll get incredible value and fantastic musicality.
Comes to show, you can’t judge a cable by its color. It’s a win for the audiophile community because you don’t have to spend boatloads of money to get great sound. If you’re still using a generic cable, the Supra CAT8 ethernet cable is a low-risk, no-brainer. As far as audiophile-grade components, it’s an extreme rarity as far as price/performance is concerned. I really can’t praise this cable enough.
Here’s what Supra Cables had to say post-review:
While writing, we thought we’d add some info to our cable/-s and to the debate in general. Our driving force is to try to avoid any tuning at all. Any device or cable adding a specific, repeatedly detectable signature is not correct, because it will mask the true signature, i.e. the recording. What is correct is to keep as much of the modern household radiation and fields outside as possible. What is also correct is to acknowledge the well defined Ethernet standards for cable design to maintain maximal signal integrity. What is benign is to have a huge bandwidth headroom, allowing re-sending bit packages and always keep read buffer full. What is also worth mentioning is that there are some brands and models of routers and switches that provides metal housing for sufficient shielding and a quality standard named QoS (Quality of Service) that substantially improves signal integrity and reduces jitter. Now, noise does not affect binary code, does it?… Well we’ve done enough real world tests to identify what you’ve just established in this review; cables really do matter. Keep the signal clean and strong, and the DAC will thank you by converting the bit stream to real music with no signature other then the intended on the recording. If you have any questions to us, you’re most welcome to send a message on our Facebook page “Supra Cables”
UPDATE: A kind message from one of my readers (Thanks Pete!):
Hi, I read your review of the Supra Cat8 Ethernet somewhat skeptically but at the price it seemed worth a try. I initally started with a 0.5M run from my Fios converter to my router. Based on what I heard, I ordered a custom 6M run for router to MacBook Pro. In short, I hear EXACTLY what you described in your review of this cable. The Supra Cat8 has what sounds like PERFECT timbre, is exceptionally smooth and rich with a really good bass foundation and decent detail/imaging. It is not the last word in high frequency energy or transparency but is still far better than the generic CAT6 I was originally using. It made a surprising difference in my digital system (Macbook Pro, PS Audio PWD II mainly with Tidal or JRiver). Dare I say it, it makes digital sound a little more like analogue. Digital still falls beneath vinyl in my system but it is pretty enjoyable at this point. Anyway, you nailed the sound of the Supra Cat8, thanks for the heads up! Now I suppose I should consider replacing my DIY generic data only USB cable?