When I hesitantly (due to the $500/1.5m price tag) reviewed the SOtM dCBL-CAT7 ethernet cable back in March, I realized the importance of having a high-quality ethernet cable in the chain. Now I have a dCBL-CAT7 running from my modem to my router and two more for my actual source components. I felt the performance justified the price as the sonic improvements were even greater than some high-end interconnects and power cables I’ve tried.
As with all components, the SOtM dCBL-CAT7 isn’t perfect. Aside from its physical unwieldiness, the midrange is slightly recessed and it’s an overall leaner sounding cable. Though possible, it’s atypical for one to tune a system by daisy-chaining multiple interconnects or speaker cables. With an analog signal, this may result in something sonically confusing or veiled.
So what can we do in the digital domain? This is where the SOtM iSO-CAT6 isolator comes in. May Park from SOtM mentioned better sound quality could be obtained by using the iSO-CAT6 isolator in-between two audiophile-grade ethernet cables. The SOtM iSO-CAT6 isolator is a passive and directional device which assists in the taming of EMI/RFI noise that propagates along the cable, even with cables of very short lengths.
The SOtM iSO-CAT6 Special Edition comes with three cables (gray, dark gray, and black) to enable the listener to tune to her liking. The iSO-CAT6 also comes with a generic short cable. I personally would avoid this cable as it sometimes deteriorates the overall sound quality of the cable before it. In other words, if you’re going to use this generic cable, you may as well forego the iSO-CAT6 and stick to a single ethernet cable.
In addition to filtering, the side-benefit of the SOtM iSO-CAT6 grants us the ability to tune our systems in the digital domain. The question is: Does it come at a cost sonically when tuned this way?
In order for the SOtM iSO-CAT6 to shine, you’ll need quality cables on both ends. At a minimum, I would suggest the Supra CAT8 or the SOtM SE black cable. When using the same quality ethernet cables on both ends, the iSO-CAT6 unequivocally provides many SQ improvements:
- Tightens up and rounds out the sound. Without the iSO-CAT6, instruments and voices sound a bit flatter and less delineated.
- More vivid, dynamic, and airy. The music just breathes and opens up more freely into space.
- Enlarges the soundstage a significant amount. Without the iSO-CAT6, the music (surprisingly) sounded more congested and less extended, even with the dCBL-CAT7 cable.
- Tone and timbre improve and maintain their integrity.
- Better resolution of micro-details and dynamics, articulation, and overall realism. The stroke of a bow, the pluck of a guitar, and the attack of a kick drum are made more apparent.
- Imaging, separation, and layering improve substantially.
With quality or identical ethernet cables on both ends, the iSO-CAT6 enhances the qualities of that cable. You’ll get a better sense of grip, definition, and coherence while being bathed in an enormous soundstage. It’s very clean with no artifacts or fuzziness around the edges. You’ll get more of that “the speakers disappear” effect. The only drawback with certain combinations is a leaner sound with a slightly recessed midrange (which could be remedied with other cables/components).
Seasoning Your Sound
At this point, I’ve decided that in order to achieve the highest fidelity, the iSO-CAT6 will have to be an integral part of the audio chain. I thoroughly enjoy the flexibility of tuning with the iSO-CAT6 as you could essentially “blend” the best of two cables. As always, YMMV as the effects of a cable is system dependent. From my experience, even changing out a single power cable could alter the sound completely. However, I feel the relative differences between cables remain true, just perhaps not at the same magnitude. For that reason, I’ve tested these cables across many systems for a more holistic assessment. This included multiple speakers, headphones, routers/modems, the Lumin S1, SOtM sMS-200, and Sonore microRendu.
Quick Tip: The connector on the iSO-CAT6 will easily break the locking tab on the dCBL-CAT7 and perhaps other cables. Just make sure you depress fully before detaching from the iSO-CAT6.
- I prefer a sound with a tilt towards the warmer side of neutral.
- Timbre is non-negotiable for me. Voices and instruments have to sound natural and palpable.
- 35-year-old ears with zero listening impairments.
Here are my overarching impressions of each cable (over the course of a few months) and how they sounded on my systems. I’ve included a few generics that have a similar composition (shielding, conductors, etc) to audiophile ethernet cables:
Wireworld Starlight CAT8
- Pinpoint accurate as far as imaging
- Quiet background
- Wide soundstage
- A bit bright, sibilant, and peaky
- Light on bass
- Tone and timbre is inaccurate
- Might remove music along with the noise to achieve the quieter background
Synergistic Research Active SE CAT6 (silver and black tuning bullets)
- Pitch black background (black)
- Perhaps the largest soundscape of any of the cables here. Super spacious sounding. (silver)
- Decent timbre (silver)
- Forward midrange (both)
- Refinement, control, and tightness (black)
- Soundstage sounds artificially stretched at the cost of density. Bloomy. (silver)
- A tad bright and grainy (black).
- A more free-spirited and looser presentation. Not as well controlled as the other cables. (both)
- Flatter and lower resolution.
Purist Audio Design CAT7
- Very few complaints about this cable. It’s silky smooth and musical.
- Clean sound, very nice blacks, great dynamics, separation, and pinpoint imaging.
- Tight low-end response
- Maybe too laid-back and calm for some listeners. Doesn’t have that sparkle.
- The most neutral and balanced sounding cable of the bunch.
- Tight low-end
- Fluid, open, and transparent
- Fantastic clarity and resolution
- Great focus and control
- Lacks meat on the bones. Comes off a bit lean.
- Thinner textures
- This cable conveys the most realism in music via its layering capabilities, speed, transparency, and extended highs. Just amazing spatial resolution.
- Huge and natural sounding soundstage
- Rich atmosphere akin to a live performance
- Well textured and musical
- Accurate timbre and tone
- Slightly recessed mids
- Lean with a lack of midrange density
- Inflexible cable so difficult to physically chain in some systems
SOtM SE (Black)
- Aside from the dCBL-CAT7, all other cables in this lineup sound flat in comparison to this one.
- Great musicality and clarity.
- Sweet and rich midrange
- Accurate tone and natural timbre
- Fantastic low-end textures
- Proper mass and weight across the board
- Probably my second favorite cable after the dCBL-CAT7.
- Not a lot of air
- Not as detailed
- Some grain and roughness in the mids
SOtM SE (Gray)
- A very articulate, clean, coherent, and resolving cable.
- Delicate, smooth, and well controlled. A bit of a cross between the black and dark gray SE cables.
- In a word: Polite.
- Lack of midrange density
- Very flat sounding versus the other cables
- Sonic smearing with fast transients
SOtM SE (Dark Gray)
- High resolution
- High treble energy without being abrasive
- Roundness in the midrange
- Thin and flat
- Poor delineation
- Constantly elevated sheen across the entire spectrum
SOtM iSO-CAT6 Generic
- Decent timbre and tone
- Fuzzy and flat.
- Lacks dimensional roundness.
- Not very dynamic or engaging.
- Lacks coherence and the imaging is a bit confusing.
- A little bloated and unfocused. Lacks sharpness and delineation.
- Great coherence, separation, and clarity.
- Quiet background
- Nice treble sparkle and a spacious sound.
- Dynamic and very resolving of micro-details.
- Sibilant at times
- Lean with an overall heightened tone
- A bit of smearing in the upper-mids to lower-highs.
- Even the generic SOtM SE cable sounds more tonally correct, just lacks clarity. Vocals don’t sound right.
- Good physical build quality.
- Although one of a sturdier build quality, this cable is problematic for audio. Tone and timbre are way off, thin mids, troubles in the treble.
- A very lean sound without many benefits. Vocals are all flat. Semi-spacious sounding.
- There’s this electronic haze around the mids and treble.
AQVOX Excel High-End CAT7
- I could see this as a polarizing cable. It’s basically a very rich and borderline dark cable. Perhaps great for tuning with the iSO-CAT6 but might be a bit much on its own.
- The sweetest and densest midrange of the bunch. It could be quite addictive at times.
- Lacks reverb definition, shine, clarity
- Transients are difficult to delineate. Strings, plucks, etc are just smeared.
- Chocolate-dipped sound
- Very smooth and melodic.
- Fantastic layering, decent tone and great timbre. Very balanced.
- Decent amount of midrange presence and density.
- Never aggressive sounding, nice textures, just wish it had a bit more warmth.
- Lack of resolution, air, and clarity
- May be too smooth for some. Doesn’t have that sometimes melodic grittiness.
- Could use a bit more meat on the mids.
- Lacks extended treble for a more vivid sound
- Decent amount of detail
- Grain in the mids
- Piano notes don’t have the right mass
- Flat and lacks dynamics
- Just a very generic sound (isn’t great but isn’t horrible).
I’ve consolidated my impressions into this chart. I plan to reference it in the future for tuning purposes.
|Wireworld||Starlight CAT8||$210||Pinpoint Image Accuracy & Detailed|
|Synergistic Research||Active SE CAT6||$550||Soundstage & Forward midrange|
|Purist Audio Design||CAT7||$350||Micro-details & Smoothness|
|SOtM||dCBL-CAT6||$170||Detailed & Neutral|
|SOtM||dCBL-CAT7||$500||Realism & Resolution|
|SOtM||SE (black)||$150||Midrange Density & Musicality|
|SOtM||SE (gray)||$150 (?)||Detailed & Control|
|SOtM||SE (dark gray)||$150 (?)||Resolution & Brightness|
|Certicable||CAT8||$30||Avoid this cable|
|AQVOX||Excel High-End CAT7||$227||Heavy Richness & Warmth|
|Vention||CAT7||$11||Avoid this cable|
Most of the generics didn’t make the cut so it’s good to know audiophile ethernet cables are doing something a little different. If you’d like to know the comparison between each cable, I’ve placed them in the “Raw Notes” section at the end of the post (they’re nearly as long as the review itself).
My Favorite Combinations
Interestingly enough, I’ve found the iSO-CAT6 does a decent job of blending the strengths of the individual cables with a heavier weight on the input cable (labeled “router”). YMMV and it doesn’t hurt to swap cables around for taste. In no particular order:
- SE Black Cable -> iSO-CAT6 -> dCBL-CAT7
- You’ll get the soundstage and realism along with a more forward midrange.
- My current preference. I have two sets of this specific combination: From modem to router and from router to streamer.
- dCBL-CAT7 -> iSO-CAT6 -> dCBL-CAT7
- With an Uptone ISO REGEN in place (to provide some meat on the bones), this combination is quite a treat. It is the most holographic sound I could obtain from any of the permutations. A much more immersive musical experience with unbelievable low-end detail and textures.
- SE Black Cable -> iSO-CAT6 -> SE Black Cable
- Some may prefer this to the Supra CAT8 combos. Really hard to complain about this combo as the iSO-CAT6 mitigates the graininess found when using the SE Black cable on its own. Not as spacious or detailed as the combos with the dCBL-CAT7 but I suspect it provides enough musicality for most palates.
- Supra CAT8 -> iSO-CAT6 -> SE Black Cable
- Amazingly musical combination. The Supra helps smooth out the grain from the black cable.
Supra CAT8 -> iSO-CAT6 -> Supra CAT8
- This combination will provide a more natural and accurate tone and timbre. Without the iSO in place, the Supra CAT8 on its own sounds a bit too excited and lean. Sounds much more coherent and cleaner.
- Supra CAT8 -> iSO-CAT6 -> dCBL-CAT6
- You get all the benefits of the dCBL-CAT6 with an applied smoothness and richness.
- dCBL-CAT7 -> iSO-CAT6 -> Purist Audio Design CAT7
- Smooth, detailed, and musical.
The permutations are endless. I’ll update this page as I find more combinations but feel free to “sonically season” and experiment for yourself.
The SOtM iSO-CAT6 SE ($350+) is not only an Ethernet filter that works, it also provides flexibility when tuning your digital system. I would suspect it helps even in home theater applications. Whether you’re looking to adjust resolution, soundstage, shine, low-end heft, harshness, etc the iSO-CAT6 might just be the easiest and cost-effective remedy. Depending on the cables used, the differences could range from very noticeable to dramatic. When using the same high-quality cable on both ends, I’ve only heard improvements: tightness and control, a larger soundstage, fantastic layering, precise imaging, and better clarity and air across the board. This level of transparency comes at the cost of a thinner sound for some cables but I feel it could be easily tuned with analog cables or USB conditioners (like the Uptone ISO REGEN).
It’s apparent that even with short runs of Ethernet cable, there’s still noise on the wire and you don’t get complete galvanic isolation. Given the filtering performance and newfound tuning ability, I feel the SOtM iSO-CAT6 should be a part of every digital audio system. Any of the Special Edition cables could be purchased individually but the black cable could be selected from the drop-down. I feel the black cable sits at the sweet spot on the price/performance curve. I personally have a black cable + iSO-CAT6 + dCBL-CAT7 at the modem/router and another set with a second dCBL-CAT7 between my Roon server + sMS-200 modified Ethernet switch. Having two black cables flattens out the sound, hence the second dCBL-CAT7 at the switch. I guess the modified switch is another tuning device 😉
If you’re using a streamer, there’s no doubt you’ll elevate your system with this combination. In summary, once you hear what this SOtM iSO-CAT6 isolator could do for your digital music, you won’t be returning it.
Raw Notes (unorganized)
Frank Sinatra – Come Fly With Me (192/24)
- Post AQVOX
- Sounds muffled and muted vs a straight CAT7 cable without the iSO. Something doesn’t sound right with the AQVOX. CAT7 by itself is so much livelier.
- Post dCBL-CAT7
- So much realism, a more realistically sized image, better dynamics and a more balanced sound.
- Amazing sense of depth and space, a ton of air
- CAT7 w/o iSO
- Still alive but the image shrinks by almost half and the sound isn’t as coherent and balanced. Wouldn’t notice without A/B.
- Much flatter and less “alive” and dynamic.
- Timbre still good.
- Less roundness in the instrumentation lacks dimensionality vs having the iSO + CAT7 there.
Bassaku Suzuki / Bach Collegium Japan Orchestra – Bach: Cantatas, Vol. 43: Unser Mund sei voll Lachens – Cantatas 57, 110, 151 – Aria “Ich wünschte mir den Tod, den Tod” (192/24)
- With just the CAT7, you really don’t get an expansive sound, sounds a bit constricted.
- With the iSO-CAT7, the music opens up, you could clearly hear all the actors in the music, and realize that without the iSO-CAT6, the music was a bit congested and less extended.
- At first, I thought maybe the iSO was artificially extending the soundstage but tonality and timbre were still exquisite. That said…a much wider soundstage with the iSO.
- vs Supra CAT8
- You’re trading soundstage and resolution for warmth and texture. Basically more meat on the bones. The Supra CAT8 sounds right to my ears but the “expansiveness” of the space is noticeably smaller.
- Supra CAT8 is much more melodic and musical but definitely flatter and not as detailed. Grayer background as well.
Marianne Thorsen – Mozart: Violin Concertos – Allegro (192/24)
- This is where the + iSO-CAT6/CAT7 shines. You hear every swing of the bow on the violins. With the Supra CAT8, it’s more of a warm blur. Very musical but even I, who doesn’t really listen to classical, wanted more detail out of the violins.
Mahler – Symphony 6 – San Francisco Symphony, Michael Wilson Thomas D1 – Movement 2 (DSD64)
- With the additional dCBl-CAT7, a much more involved and detailed sound. Much greater depth and resolution. Just lacks a bit of warmth. Leaner tone.
- with the iSO-CAT6 you get much better separation but lose out on warmth.
Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out – Blue Rondo a la Turk (DSD64)
- I like the timbre of having just one dCBL-CAT7 and probably willing to trade the resolution and separation for it.
- With the Supra, instruments sounded narrow and brighter. Didn’t sound right. The timbre of the AQVOX was better but the sound was pancake flat.
- It really comes down to using the dCBL-CAT7 by itself or tacking on an ISO + CAT7.
At this point my findings:
- I think what the iSO-CAT6 changes in the sound is a wider soundstage, better resolution, pinpoint imaging, much better layering, and better separation.
- Without the CAT7 it sounds fine and I enjoyed the timbre more.
- The CAT7s have a much more realistic dimensional sound with instrumentation, projection, and air than the other cables.
- The iSO combo does sound a bit lean for my tastes so the trade-offs with timbre might not be worth it for some.
- Classical listeners will enjoy the iSO combo more for its spacious and high resolution sound.
- iSO combo sounds “heightened” and thinner. I enjoy without the iSO for vocals.
- With the iSO, you get more grip and everything else. Only thing you use a bit of meat but you get a big speaker sound. the sound is like 2x taller and wider.
- with the ISO, the music is much better defined, everything is better delineated, much cleaner sounding, no artifacts, no fuzziness at all.
- Lower noise floor, tightness to the sound.
- Most noticeable difference, when pairing the iSO-CAT6 + dCBL-CAT7 with the SOtM sMS-200, is in the upper treble, in form of a denser image. There is an added sense of blacker background and effortlessness, most likely reflecting improved decay. When replacing the regular CAT6 LAN cable with the dCBL-CAT6 soundstage gets more three-dimensional, gaining depth and instrument separation, while the overall tonal balance shifts slightly towards a brighter presentation. This reminded me of what the SR ethernet cable did but without it sounding artificial.
- Each of these cables has flaws but the beauty of the iSO-CAT6 is that you could blend to essentially get the best of both worlds.
- With SR on router and WW to sMS vs generic cable on router
- Bigger image, better imaging, better separation, more detailed.
- Loses a bit of timbre, brighter tone.
- With the SR directly to the SMS, sounded more natural but fuzzy and not well delineated
dCBL-CAT6 vs SR
- The SR was brighter on the router, the CAT6 smooths it out and make it more coherent and smooth.
- SR was borderline bright
- CAT6 had tighter low-end and better control overall. Fluid comes to mind.
Norah Jones – Don’t know why
- with dCBL-CAT6 on router
- SR vs CAT7
- at first blush the SR has amazing blacks but a tad bright with shrills at some point.
- The CAT7 just sounds right.
- SR sounds a bit processed and artificial
CAT7 vs Purist Audio CAT7
- PA actually sounds quite smooth and nice. Nice tight bass.
- CAT7 definitely has more meat on the bones. More warmth and better timbre.
- PA has a cleaner sound, very nice blacks, great dynamics, and separation. Pinpoint imaging.
- CAT7 bass isn’t as tight but the whole song just sounds better and more natural. more artistic intent.
- PA a tiny bit sterile. I think the black took away some details.
- CAT7 is more forward, has more meat, slightly less black
- PA more laid back, precise.
- CAT7 lets her hair down. Very euphoric, rich, and lush. Sounds more like music.
- CAT7 has the best timbre and tone for sure. PA has deeper and tighter bass.
- PA has this pristine and clean quality about the sound. Very…pure. Some might like it with tubes.
- the PA has more pinpoint accuracy, her voice is more towards the center. Better separation of instruments.
- CAT7 is just a richer and fuller presentation. smears the edges a bit.
- Reminds me of Nordost vs Danacable.
CAT7 vs WW
- WW has pinpoint accuracy but doesn’t have proper timber/tone.
- WW has a blacker background for sure. Wider soundstage.
- The WW is really bright, sibilance. Very detailed, not very involving. A bit pitchy.
- WW Timbre is way off.
- Tight but light bass on the WW.
PA vs WW
- PA is much more natural sounding. WW seems to remove some low-end details.
- PA is more controlled. Very tight bass, very good control.
- PA not really much to complain about.
- WW = Shrill
PA vs SR
- SR has a much bigger and forward sound.
- SR more spacious sounding.
- PA is more natural sounding, perhaps a bit more resolution.
- SR comes off a bit grainy and bright sometimes.
- PA is more controlled while the SR seems to be a free spirit at times.
- SR doesn’t sound balanced. midrange forward, big sound, lacks a bit of control and resolution vs the PA.
- SR vocals have a lot of the sound field, but seems a little stretched. Everything sounds a little stretched. At times flat and fatiguing.
WW vs SR
- WW is more controlled, timbre is way off as the vocals and piano don’t sound accurate.
- Biggest drawback of the WW is the tone/timbre.
- Sounds like the WW removes some music with the noise. This could be due to the SR being plugged into my MC-6.
- Even without it powered on, the SR has a similar tone, maybe less bright.
- SR has a artificially large image everything is expanded. Doesn’t sound right but it sounds spacious.
Jazz at Pawnshop – Barbados
PA vs CAT7
- PA sometimes sounds too clean, timbre isn’t quite there.
- With the CAT7 you get this rich atmosphere, like a real live performance.
- Drums have more weight and presence.
- Saxaphone sounds more realistic.
- PR has extended highs for sure.
Marian Hill – Down
- Her voice just fades in from black on the PA. Pianos actually do sound pretty natural.
- CAT7 definitely not as clean, PA delineates better. PA has a very clean and detailed sound. More than the CAT7.
- On the CAT7 is just slightly more fuzzy, lush, and warmer.
- CAT7 pretty much sounds like it’s on tubes.
Sara Bareilles – Live – Come Round Soon
- CAT7 is just the most natural sounding cable. Doesn’t sound impeded at all.
- PA you could hear all the different parts of the song, detailed, but sterile.
WW vs CAT7
- WW is bad. Flat, lacks tonal density, inaccurate timbre, bright. Lacks textures.
PA vs CAT7
- CAT7 has more density, more texture, tighter and more defined bass.
- PA is musical and more laid-back.
- CAT7 offers much more clarity, a blacker background, more musicality, and most of all texture. Much tighter bass and more refined sound.
- PA has more smearing between low-end and midrange
- CAT7 much more sparkle, PA is calmer.
CAT7 vs Supra
- Supra is definitely warmer with a grayer background
- CAT7 has a much wider soundstage and better separation. A lot more sparkle.
- Supra has more low-end weight and presence.
- Supra has superb timbre. CAT7 isn’t bad but on the leaner/brighter side.
CAT7 vs CAT6
- CAT6 has a beautiful sound, a calmer sound vs CAT7 but still very sparkle
- CAT6 is definitely flatter, sounds like it hits a wall. Low-end isn’t as defined as even the Supra.
- CAT6 is more detailed than the Supra.
Supra vs CAT6
- Supra has much more texture and meat around the bones than the CAT6.
- CAT6 is more detailed and provides more micro dynamics.
- Supra just has this warmth that gives the music more life.
Supra vs PA
- Supra just more meat on bones and sounds more musical
PA vs CAT6
- CAT6 just has more sparkle, authority, and control.
- PA tries to sound like the CAT6 but comes off too laid-back and calm.
- Both sound a bit flat vs Supra and CAT7
- has the widest and large image but it sounds stretched out and flat. lacks texture
- lacks tonal density
- timber isn’t bad, just stretched
- artificially extended
- more refined and brighter than silver.
- tighter and blacker
- overly bright and tinny at times
SR (black) vs CAT7
- CAT7 has a more natural tone. SR is overly energetic to my ears.
- SR is tinny, flatter and lower resolution. CAT7 has better delineation of mids and lows. The bass portions of tracks are better defined on the CAT7.
- biggest diff between black and silver bullt is refinement vs bloom. the silver has a more natural timbre but the sound really just sounds stretched, so missing a bit of texture and sparkle and energy.
- CAT7 kinda has the best of both.
dCBL-CAT6 vs Supra
- CAT6 has more clarity and resolution but sounds much leaner than the Supra.
- You hear more of the music with the CAT6 but the Supra sounds tonally right.
- Supra you’ll get more meat to the bones and textures across instruments.
- Supra more musical.
- CAT6 sounds more open and better separation
- Supra has more depth and euphoric. I could imagine people with more analytical gear preferring this over the CAT6.
- CAT6 does provide a lot more transparency and resolution of details. Really needs some help in the warmth dept though.
- Supra is the most musical cable so far. It sounds right but miss out on some shine and sparkle and clarity/sharpness/resolution.
Supra vs CAT7
- The CAT7 just breathes life into the music, a lot more spacious and much better separation and clarity.
- Supra sounds a bit closed-in comparison.
- CAT7 does lack that warmth but for the black background and amazing resolution, I think most would prefer the CAT7 (and just pair it with a warmer amp).
- CAT7 you could hear all of the music very very clearly. This is without being clinical. Supra some of the details are missing.
- CAT7 is more energetic and holographic.
- Supra is more down to earth and has a much more lush, rich, and warm tone.
- Quite honesty, I think it’s a choice between these two, depending on your system.
- CAT7 has more of that eerie realism although a tad bright than it should be for a more natural timbre.
- Supra sounds great but doesn’t offer as good as dynamics, air, and clarity as the CAT7. Overall, I must admit it sound have a more accurate timbre due to it’s warmer presentation. When switching over to the CAT7, everything opens up, you get an amazing amount of micro details and extension. much blacker background and just overall a more spacious sound. I would prefer this with a warmer amp in the chain as I don’t think you would be able to extract more detail out of the Supra regardless of what you use after the sMS-200the source. The CAT7 offers the utmost transparency that cannot be denied. The only shortcoming is its every so slightly brightness that gives cymbals and other instruments a very slightly more tinny sound. I will say if you have a very resolving USB cable like the Clarity Cable USB, the CAT7 might be overwhelming.
- The timbre has to be right and the only ones that presented this in this line up were the Purist Audio, SOtM, and Supra cables.
- Sounds best with iSO-CAT6 on modem. Sounds warmer than actually having the supra there. Supra a bit too grainy and bright.
- Having the supra near the Lumin S1 and the Supra takes over. The dCBL-CAT7 at the modem seems to have little effect.
- Keeping the dCBL-CAT7 at the Lumin S1, the difference in sound from dCBL-CAT6 vs Supra is huge. dCBL-CAT6 is much smoother.
- Best combo is supra -> iso -> black cable. (amazing musicality, much better than the 2nd best combo)
- 2nd best is supra -> iso -> supra (not a huge difference but you do get more of natural tone with more accurate timbre. without the iso, the supra sounds a bit excited and lean). The isoCat6 brings it more down to earth. It does sound better.
- 3rd best is supra to sms-200 (This sounds better than using the iso with the stock cable)
- Using a shitty cable…the iSO-CAT6 can’t save it. Super flat and horrible.
- As a sanity check, I took them to another system and got another set of ears
On the BRIX
- CAT7 is the most musical and has the largest image
- AQVOX is a smeared mess, really rich sounding
- Supra CAT8 sounds pretty close to the CAT7 in this case a bit warmer and flatter and not as well controlled.
- Expand the Supra CAT8, tighten up the sound, add some layering, and you have the dCBL-CAT7.
- Smells like teen spirit
- Supra CAT8 has more bloaty bass below 150, a bit more smeared.
- CAT7 is super clean and tight.
- AQVOX lacks control and resolution. Bass is wooly and wet.
- If you want goosebumps, get the dCBL-CAT7