$10,000 Ethernet Cable Claims Earth-Shattering Advancement In Audio Fidelity, If You’re Stupid Enough To Buy It
There are few markets that are quite as loaded-up with snake oil products as audio / video. I am sure that by me simply saying that, you immediately thought of "Monster", one of the most infamous offenders. But believe it or not, there are some vendors that push the envelope so far that Monster's $100 HDMI cables look like a bargain by comparison.
Take AudioQuest's high-end Ethernet cable, for example. Called "Diamond", AudioQuest is promising the world with this $10,500 USD cable, and if you for some reason believe that an Ethernet cable is completely irrelevant for audio, you might want to listen to what the company has to say.
AudioQuest's Diamond RJ/E is a directional Ethernet cable made with the same hallmark materials, philosophy, care and attention that is applied to all their interconnects, whether it's an entry level introduction to hi-fi or a died-in-the-wool music connoisseur. Another upgrade with Diamond is a complete plug redesign, opting for an ultra-performance RJ45 connector made from silver with tabs that are virtually unbreakable. The plug comes with added strain relief and firmly lock into place ensuring no critical data is lost.
It's too bad AudioQuest limits itself to just audio, because descriptions like that would prove a welcome sight in other markets. Just imagine how tempting it would be to own 100% solid paper clips made with uncompromising materials that take a no-nonsense approach to holding paper together.
There are a bunch of promises made here, but the one that stands out most to me is the "Directional" aspect. This isn't just mentioned once, but is all over the place. The cable even comes complete with arrows to make certain that the data will flow in the right direction. I guess that we can just ignore the fact that Ethernet cables are bi-directional; the same on both ends. If that wasn't the case, data couldn't be written back to the network device; it could just be read from it.
Also interesting is the promise of 100 Gbps speeds over 100 meters, a spec that's currently impossible in a retail product. Not that it'd matter anyway - a 5 minute 24-bit / 44Hz track could be loaded at the source in its entirety within half a second on a standard 1 Gbps connection.
These selling-points make me wish I could see just how many of these cables have been sold, and also whether or not that particular feature had helped push the sale.
Since this story broke over the wire, its etailer has pulled the listing. But, thanks to the magic of caching, you're able to peruse the page in all of its glory via the Web Archive. Though the company still has a 10 foot version available on Amazon for only $2,194.75. You need to get your head checked first, if you're interested, of course.
I am sure it doesn't need to be said, but AudioQuest's super-expensive Diamond cable would make no difference whatsoever in a setup. Bits are bits, after all. Once those bits reach their destination, they're the same regardless of the cable being used. Also, it's not as though music streams in real-time over a network; audio players constantly buffer the currently-playing track to prevent skipping in the event of network interruption. To reiterate, when we're dealing with digital bits, the cable doesn't matter as long as it works.
But facts like that don't matter to everyone. Read this excerpt from a professional review:
The perceived differences between the Vodka, Diamond, Cinnamon, and Cat. 5 cable are plainly apparent and easy to hear. 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. I would classify these changes as being better in each case.
There's a reason these things sell.
Update: If you're interested, AudioQuest makes a 16 meter braided HDMI cable for only $13,499.75. (The reviews are priceless though) What a steal!
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