We test all sorts of things at Alpha Audio. Your editor also a lot in the area of network connectivity. Think cables, network interfaces, converters from copper to fiber, switches, et cetera. However, we’ve never looked at network plugs – connectors. Yes: very nerdy. But useful for the DIY’er. Because you can be sure that there is a difference in quality!
At Alpha Audio, we’re heavily involved in the networking side of streaming. We did some pretty deep research on switches and fiber optic solutions. The results were extremely interesting and also explains why there is an audible difference in switches and using fiber. The problem with a network is not the data transmission. The problem is in common mode noise.
Let’s get back to the cables… A cable consists of a few parts:
- The outer jacket (to keep things together)
- Eventual shielding (to prevent RFI / EMI getting in (and out))
- The conductors (to transfer the signal)
- Connectors / plugs (to make the connection)
Now we have already looked at all kinds of things. But no plugs yet. And there is a big difference in those. Both in type of connector, price and ease of installation. We look at ten connectors. Oh well… one fell through during the test: the standard connectors that are for sale at the Gamma (Walmart / stores like that)… they just did not fit :-).
The quick way: watch the video!