Zu Event Ethernet cable [Mk.II Series Rev-A] is a precision, unfiltered baseband/line code specific Ethernet patch cable designed for interconnecting and maximizing interface performance of digital audio equipment transmitting digitized audio over ethernet.
Its design and quality assurances yield the least possible propagation delay, dead on impedance characteristics, zero inter-channel cross-talk and near perfect immunity to static and magnetic interferences allowing for the highest possible fidelity of audio transmission over Ethernet.
In sonic evaluation where did our Zu Event Ethernet Mk.II stack up? Top of list. How was it perceived as better? Generally:
Music was more relaxed, information and instrument color was easier to hear but treble and attack was not emphasized. Still, presence was more vivid in a natural way, and bass was both clearer and had better weight.
How big was the difference compared to that experienced in loudspeaker cables? Roughly a quarter the impact. Test basics listed in download.
Talking cable tech is tough, especially when the driving force is the electromagnetic qualities and E&M is really hard to talk about without being highly technical. What we are familiar talking about in the audio cable world is materials, so…. Data pairs feature pure U.S. refined and drawn solid-core silver wire made to our specifications. Quality is pure silver (6N, monocrystalline, solid core, perfect surface…) and is insulated in virgin clear Teflon®. Cable fabrication is done completely in-house at Zu ensuring twist ratios, layout, directionality, and that our dynamic impedance characteristic specifications are realized with every run—segueing nicely back into the electromagnetic. As mentioned it’s the E&M performance of the cable that is special and it’s here we pay critical attention; primarily the impedance dynamics between data pairs and also data sets and ground. Sure there are differences between Zu Event Ethernet and the competition in material pallet and metallurgy, but the main differences really are in the E&M design and these are easily seen in measures, as well as tear-down (the layout and cross-section of this cable are quite different from all others). Will it make your digital audio over Ethernet sound better? We think it does, in most stereo systems anyway, but we make it easy for you to know for yourself with our hassle-free 60-day 100% money back guarantee. Try, compare, listen, just don’t let your cat piss on it.
Digital audio is proving to be as nuanced and finicky as analog, some would say even more so. Digital audio over Ethernet is just as tricky as digital audio over other I/O technologies (FireWire, USB, S/PDif, AES3, WiFi…) and things you wouldn’t think would make a difference to observed fidelity often do. Even so there are a few basics we have found essential to good design and fidelity; exceeding bandwidth spec’s with minimum group-delay and maximum inter-channel and environment RF immunity so long as shielding does not hinder significantly the target bridge measures—true for digitized audio, true for analog audio.
We would like to thank Archie Simons for his commitment and help with the Ethernet cable projects, his comparisons and feedback were invaluable.
Materials & Measures
Conductor: Pure solid-core monocrystalline silver data pairs.
Insulator: Pure virgin clear Teflon® insulating data pairs.
Dielectric: Teflon®, air, graphite, Dacron.
Shielding/HM-RF: fine-strand silver plated copper high-magnitude EM/RF shielding over each data pair.
Grounding: connector housing source and load.
Sheathing: braided heavy gauge monofilament nylon.
Propagation Delay: 4.3nS/m
Capacitance Parallel: 33pF/m
Maximum voltage all conductors: 150V
Z 1/2: 100Ω
Z 3/6: 100Ω
Z 4/5: 95Ω
Z 7/8: 95Ω
Impedance Characteristic Breakdown
Z 1/2: 130Ω
Z 3/6: 130Ω
Z 4/5: 120Ω
Z 7/8: 120Ω
DCr 1,2,3,6: 0.82Ω/m
DCr 4,5,7,8: 0.75Ω/m
DCr loop 1,2,3,6: 1.64Ω/m
DCr loop 4,5,7,8: 1.49Ω/m
Capacitance (Cp) Signal Pairs
Cp 1/2: 33pF/m
Cp 3/6: 33pF/m
Cp 4/5: 38pF/m
Cp 7/8: 38pF/m
Capacitances (Cp) to Ground
Cp 1,2,3,6/ground: 58pF/m
Cp 4,5,7,8/ground: 104pF/m
Sonic Testing Notes
Evaluation of audible performance was done in two independent locations: Napa, California and Scottsdale, Arizona. Observers were: Archie Simons, Sean Casey and Igor Khandros. Tests were done over the course of several months. Essential gear used for these evaluations as well as competitors are noted below. Was there differences in sound between the cables? Yes. Did the data reflect listeners were coming to similar conclusions in tone and sound? Yes. Weighting: How big was the difference compared to differences in loudspeaker cables? Roughly a quarter the impact. Compared to the differences loudspeakers make? Slight.
Digital audio over Ethernet electronics used in the fidelity evaluations included:
Antipodes DX streamer/storage
Devialet 160 DAC/integrated amplifier
Devialet 200 DAC/integrated amplifier
Devialet 400 DAC/integrated amplifier
DarTZeel LHC-208 integrated streaming/DAC amplifier
Ethernet Cables Under Test
Zu Event Ethernet Mk.II Rev-A Ethernet cable
AudioQuest Diamond RJ/E Ethernet cable
TotalDac Ethernet/Filter Ethernet cable
Cerro Cat 6 Plenum Ethernet cable terminated by Zu
Purest Audio Cat.7 Ethernet ethernet cable
Zu Experience loudspeakers (beta-4, beta-5)
Zu Definition loudspeakers
Pass Labs 60.8 amplifiers
Pass Labs XP30 preamplifier
DarTZeel LHC-208 integrated amplifier
Devlialet 400 integrated amplifier
RND 5060 line mixer/switcher console