Digital Cables

Supra CAT8 Ethernet Cable Review – An Amazing Spotify and Tidal Experience

Conclusion

Contents

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

The Supra CAT8 ethernet cables could be purchased directly from Ebay, Madisound, or email at: zendada@w-link.net.

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?

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Jay Luong

Mr. Audio Bacon himself. An open-minded electrical engineer and software developer by trade. I have an obsession with the enjoyment of all things media - specifically in the realm of music and film. So much heart and soul (and money) go into the creation of this artistry. My aim is to find out which products get me closer to what the musicians and directors intended.

View Comments

  • Hey there Jay,

    Seems like you're site is becoming my number one source for audio news :)

    I will soon setup my odroid c1+ running Volumio via Ethernet to stream Tidal and this cable will be my first choice.

    Due to the restrictions of my home I will need to use ethernet over powerlines.
    I was thinking of using 2 wire to Fibre converters (the second would act as Fibre to wire) before connecting the odroid with this Swedish beauty.
    I hope to eliminate stray currents from the power lines.
    Any thought or tips on that?

    Keep up the good work!

    Cheers

    • That would be an interesting experiment, although from experience with powerline ethernet adapters, depending on the quality of your lines, the signal might've already been compromised heavily before it comes out the other powerline adapter. Fibre converters are also prone to jitter and have their own sound. Worth a try though. Once you're done testing with the adapters, take your setup over to your router area and listen there. If the delta is acceptable, you have something good :)

      • I'll let you know how it works out.

        Might be a while, since this weekend Im gonna build my first speaker :)

        BTW thanks for your urban dictionary reference... Pervert :D

  • Thank you for pointing this one out. I had just seen an add for a 3 meters Supra CAT6 cable. After reading this immediately bought it. It's just between my NAS and switch. But I can hear a positive difference. For the CAT cable between switch and microRendu I already had a pair of Telegärtner connecters waiting. I've decided on Viablue cable.

  • Supra cables of all types are well worth an audition in your system. Used their speaker cable for many years, having bought it straight from Tommy Jenving himself! Will definitely be buying Supra Cat8 cables for my system Ethernet connections.

  • Hi Gents,

    First of all, thanks for the positive response to our Cat8 Ethernet cable. We appreciate the fact that technology is not dead yet and that spending resources on performance rather than outer appearance still is first priority to you. It has to have an outer shell, why we made it as plain as we Swedes perhaps are. That is our burden of proof; how can we be so darn in-expensive?

    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"

    • Hi Supra Team Sweden, regarding "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."

      Which routers and switches can you recommend that offer the best signal integrity and lowest jitter?

      Many thanks

      • Hi, Sean!

        Sorry for not answering until now. Did not see your question until today, I'm afraid. There are numerous products available that will do a better job compared to the "standard" housed in plastics. Brands like D-Link, Netgear and TP-Link offers good products. Myself. I use TP-Link as switch; http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/details/TL-SG105.html. This one is cheap in Sweden, but does the job without any comments or remarks. However, if possible, replace the power supply to a better, low noise version. One gets however far by simply using the supplied power source and wind some of the thin cable through a ferrite core (3-4 laps, or more). By doing this the high frequency noise from the switcher is suppressed substantially and have very immediate and audible impact in sound quality. There is a meaning among the industry and enthusiasts, that some Ethernet and USB cables display more high note (treble) resolution. This is a quite interesting opinion. When I personally (I'm a real hifi-geek) and we at Supra really "blue-print" a cable according to the respective digital interface spec and when I made the huge revision of screening and filtering RFI (both wire- and airborne) in my rig, the result was lowered overall high note energy. So I'm not quite sure that the openness and airiness in digital playback always are in the recordings. I suspect that this sibilance may fully or partly derive from RFI, but masks very nicely and is perceived to be part of the sound. When I replaced every single Ethernet cable, also the one's that did not transmit music files to not allow RFI entering through any backdoor, the immediate reaction from me was, "where's the treble"? I had to reset my preferences a bit and start listening again. Now, listening with a new mind-set the treble was far cleaner, thus lower in level/energy, but carrying much more micro-dynamics and sound stage information. A cymbal sounded just the right amount of metal, I could instantly separate a Paiste from a Zildjan from my titanium domes. Now, a couple of months after doing this easy and not very costly revision, I have far better detail, can determine the great difference between the recordings ambition of high note energy. Some recordings especially modern pop music, show up a very obvious treble energy, while other productions is far more subtle. Prior to my revision, the level of high note energy did not change as much as today. Sorry for making this a novel, but I find this discussion highly interesting. Feel free to contact us on your journey. Use the mail address "stefan@jenving.se". I am and we are highly interested in getting updates on the progress.

        Best regards,

        • Do you Wind the Ferrit to the ethernetcable or the power cable off the Switch? What Kind off powersuply do you recommend für my d link Switch
          Thank you
          Johannes

      • Jumping in again about routers, I found this interesting. Needs however an optional power supply. Metal housing. QoS. And a higher grade power readiness thanks to the PoE capability.

        Best regards,

        • Hi,

          I have now changed all my Ethernet-cables to Supra with better sound quality as a result. I also got the the mentioned Edgerouter X. It is powered with the PoE-adapter that came with the Ubiquiti Networks UniFi AP AC Lite at the moment. What LPS have you had success with? Could a iFi iPower maybe be a alternative?

  • Hi Jay,

    I have the Ultra stack just like you. I already run Supra Cat8 from the modded switch to the modded sMS-200, and I agree with your assessment of its merits.

    I was intrigued by your recommendation of putting the Supra cables way upstream. But there are logistical challenges. Going upstream of the modded switch, these are the segments I have:

    * Roon Core server (bridged) to modded switch: 25ft of generic Cat 6a
    * Wall Outlet to Roon Core: 10ft generic Cat 6a
    * In-wall wiring to outlet at router location: ~50ft of generic Cat 5e
    * Router to wall outlet: 10ft generic Cat 6a
    * Modem to Router: 3ft generic Cat 6a
    * NAS to Router: 3ft generic Cat 6a

    Following your recommendation, I think you're suggesting I replace these segments with Supra:
    * Modem to Router: 3ft generic Supra Cat 8
    * NAS to Router: 3ft generic Supra Cat 8

    Is this what you'd recommend?

  • I've just replaced my cheap cat7 cable from my switch to my steamer with this Supra cat8 and I'm delighted with the results. A hard edge that I was hearing has been reduced and I now have a smoother more detailed sound. I'm very new to streaming and I wounded if I'd reap any benefits from running a dedicated cat8 from my switch back to my router? At the moment, due to hifi location in my office, my system shares a cat7 from router to first switch which feeds computer, Tv, stb, bluray etc, cat7 from first switch to second switch for streamer only, supra cat8 from second switch to streamer. If I stand to make gains from running a 20m supra cat8 straight back to my router from my streamer switch, I'll put an order in tonight! Most of my listening at the moment is via Tidal HIFI. Nas will be added at some point in the future. I'm keen to hear your thoughts.

  • Hi,
    Routers, switches... Is there any advantage to introducing these in the signal path? I have a 10m run of Supra going from a dedicated Intel Gigabit CT PCI-E Network Adapter on my PC directly to my streamer. The adapter is bridged with my router for internet access. FWIW router is powered by an iFi wall wart. I'm still evaluating sound characteristics vs shielded BJC with floating ground and some generic Cat-6 (Monoprice I think). I had to remove the metal jacket on the Supra because it was introducing a hum. But I'm not blaming the Supra for that as I also had to lift the ground on on my DAC's power cord for a similar problem.
    Anyhow, for now I can say that the Supra is a well built, well packaged, nice looking cable with obvious attention to detail. I need to do some more testing to see how I rate its sound.
    I'm currently using a newly acquired Raspberry Pi based DigiOne player as a streamer. For the money I'm quite impressed with the SQ of this little thing. I prefer it to the well reviewed sMS-200.

    • Introducing a clocked switch into the signal path did improve sound quality quite a bit (I'm referring to the SOtM trifecta). I've tested with and without and it's clearly an audible difference. More clarity, coherence, grip, and quieter. I do have a DigiOne on hand which I'll be testing very soon.

  • I was wondering if Jay or Supra Team Sweden has a DIY guide for connecting the Supra cat8 connectors onto the cable. Otherwise I'll be on the lookout for the Telegärtner connectors. I have the Supra Ply 3.4 in my set and would like to add Supra cat 8.

  • These are very helpful information on cat8 ethernet cable. I am totally unaware of it. Cat8 ethenet cable is a great product for high speed internet benefits from running a dedicated cat8 from my home network. Thanks for sharing..!! Visit: https://bit.ly/2BiJwty

  • UPRA Cat 8 is one stage ahead by giving a future-confirmation link supporting up to 40GBASE-T over a solitary link. It is in reverse perfect with standard Cat 6A. Supra Cat 8 is ended with a change of the broadly utilized RJ45 to have the capacity to help the outrageous execution that Supra's link gives.

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