Reviewers: Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: PS Audio PWT; Dr. Feickert Blackbird MKII/DFA 1o5/Zu DL-103; Phasure XX-PC;
DAC: Phasure NOS1 DAC; T+A DAC8 [loaner]; Mytek Brooklyn [loaner]
Streaming sources: XXHighEnd; iTunes; Devialet AIR; La Rosita Beta; Qobuz Desktop, Tidal Desktop; Sound Galleries SGM 2015 [loaner];
Preamp/integrated/power: Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); dual Devialet D-Premier; PTP Audio Blok 20; Hypex Ncore 1200 based monoblocks; Trafomatic Kaivalya; Trafomatic Reference One; Trafomatic Reference Phono One; Music First Passive Magnetic;
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Arcadian Audio Pnoe; Podium Sound One; WLM Sub 12; Sounddeco Alpha F3; dual Zu Submisson MKII; Soltanus Virtuoso ESL; Taket Bat-Pure super tweeters; Dutch & Dutch 8c [in for review]
Cables: complete loom of ASI LiveLine cables; full loom of Crystal Cable cables; full loom of Nanotec Golden Strada; Audiomica Pearl Consequence interconnect; Audiomica Pebble Consequence;
Power line conditioning: PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III; IsoTek Evo 3 Syncro; AudioMica Allbit Consequence
Equipment racks: Solid Tech and ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Indispensable accessories: Furutech DeMag; ClearAudio Double Matrix; Franc Audio Ceramic Disc Classic; Shakti Stones;; Kemp polarity checker; Akiko Audio Corelli
Online Music purveyors:,,, 
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size: ca. 14.50 x 7.50m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls, wooden flooring upstairs, ca 7 x 5m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls and concrete floor downstairs.
Review component retail price: €2'500

Living with various streamers connected to the Internet to stream content from providers like Qobuz and Tidal, we have solid experience with Ethernet wire. Digital signals arrive at our digs over a telephone line. With everyone using 3/ 4G mobile networks today, copper land lines no longer are as busy as they were a decade ago. In rural areas like ours, glass-fibre networks are still the future unlike in bigger cities where glass is more efficient than copper for installation and maintenance both. For now then, we are still quite happy with the stability, bandwidth and reliability of our VDSL installation. The digital signal from our subscription providers enters our router via said copper line to set up wireless Ethernet aka WiFi. With the help of a 100Mbit hub, the router also becomes the base for several segments of wired connections. Our TV set-top boxes use separate cables. So does our digital audio setup. Despite the digital age, cables thus remain of utmost importance to us. We enhance our streaming video enjoyment with high-quality HDMI cables. With those there's far less grain and colours are far more natural. We did some experiments between running CAT5 and CAT5e Ethernet cables from router to hub, then from hub to streamer. The first cable is 1 metre, the second 15 metres. Both types are so-called UTP or Unshielded Twisted Pairs using 4 pairs of 2 conductors. CAT5 is rated up to 100Mbit/s, CAT5e can handle up to 1'000. Our provider guarantees up to 80Mbit/s for downloads. That's plenty for .flac streaming. Such Tidal data vary from a few hundred Kbps density to 1.2Mbps for RedBook CD quality. Their high-res is only slightly higher.

In our experiments with cable types, CAT5e outperformed CAT5 in tonality and staging. The e-type had more foundation in the lower frequencies and more micro detail for better stability of the virtual stage with more depth and width. We've lived happily with that for a long time. Then came Karol with his StavEssence Eloquence and boy how persuasive his cable proved to be. In the home, Ethernet is comparable to 115/230V power. Before the AC signal arrives, it has traveled through miles and miles of power cables thick and thin and has been transformed several times. After this long journey during which the 50 or 60Hz signal gets bombarded by EM noise, it might present as fairly clean at the wall socket. Still, music lovers have noticed that the final metre to our precious equipment can make a lot of difference. High-frequency pollution in a power cable only travels a short distance. Mother Nature takes care of the attenuation. If high frequencies wanted to travel long distances over wires, intermediate amplification boosters would be needed. With this natural high-frequency roll-off, we needn't worry about noise entering our power line 100 miles away from our home. By the time it reaches us, that noise is gone. We should worry about noise injected close to our audio gear. If at that point we introduce a noise-canceling power cable, we can hear the difference. Mind you, much of the gear in our audio racks is its own source of unwanted noise.

We stream .flac files using the ethernet-over-internet protocol. Their signal source could be anywhere in the world: the cloud. A cloud is a conglomerate of countless computers located in countless data centres around the globe. Think of the immense Amazon or Google clouds. In their data centres, computers do not even have casings. Instead tens of thousand of bare motherboards sit in thousands of racks being cooled by immense climate control systems. Once in a while a Segway'd operator with a bunch of new motherboards swaps out defective ones. Broken ones are tossed for recycling. So... our streaming signal has traveled the world before it reaches us. The Ethernet protocol is packet-based. That plus a hefty error-check mechanism ensure that no data are lost. We won't bother you with the nitty gritty of packet-switching networks. We just say that with Ethernet packets, the integrity of the embedded data—the payload— is guaranteed. Thus the data broadcast at the source is 100% identical to the data received at the final destination. Why ever bother with cables, let alone expensive cables?

Go back to the power line example. We've seen how the last yard matters already with a base signal of just 50-60Hz. Now consider Ethernet speeds. For 100Mbit networks, it's up to 80MHz. That 80MHz is almost the frequency at which a 1-metre cable of any sort makes an ideal antenna according to the formula F(MHz) = 300.000.000 (m/s) / length of the antenna in meters * 4. Thus 300.000.000 / 1 *4 = 75MHz; pretty close. If we can filter that signal—which is noise to the rest of our gear—so it won't radiate freely, we end up with a cleaner overall sound. Would this be so with the StavEssence Eloquence? It arrived after Srajan's USB cable review of the preceding three pages, in the now familiar luxury box complete with wood wax and instruction leaflet. The cable comes in 1-meter length only and like its USB siblings is fitted with a complex outer braid where red is the predominant color. At both ends the cable terminates in black oak bodies which house quality Telegärtner plugs. Like the USB variant, these wooden housings want lots of space. Also, this cable is stiff but has a natural flex to it. Contrary to standard CAT5 and 5e cables, Karol designed his to use only two pairs of wires; just the necessary ones [see contacts in next photo - Ed.].

As we run a single line from the downstairs hub to our current Sound Galleries SGM 2015 streamer before the Polish cable arrived, we had to make some adjustments to fit it in. By simply adding another hub close to the SGM 2015, we now could use the final metre of Ethernet Eloquence. First we listened to the setup with the additional hub and a 1-metre CAT5e patch cord. Once familiar with the sound—exactly the same as without the second hub—we introduced the thick stiff newcomer. The SGM offered enough room to accommodate the oversized wooden connector and the separate ground clip easily connected to its chassis. Now the question. Do you believe in instant gratification? We do; now. Call us gullible, naive believers or plain nuts. In our system, this cable opened up every single component. Music did not sound like this before. Our full set was the SGM 2015 running HQPlayer with 8xDSD resampling into a T+A DAC8. From there it was Music First Passive One with custom attenuation transformers, Trafomatic Kaivalya EL84 tube monos, Avantgarde Duo Omega horns with additional Taket Bat-Pure super tweeters and two Zu Submission MkII subwoofers.

To make sure that we weren't deluding ourselves, we swapped the CAT5e back in and listened to the same Diab Quintet Seagull Tango tracks. With the generic cable, the diatonic accordion was far less palpable or present. The violin smoothed out while with the Eloquence, the friction of the wax-coated bow hairs was audible. Without it, brass percussion was less brassy and the double bass smaller and less woody. So quickly back it was to the braided version to explore music for hours. When this first listening day came to a close, we dimmed the lights and lowered the volume. This caused no loss in sound quality. The deep bass was still present, dynamics remained convincing and the illusionary stage was still as wide, deep and high. Leonard Cohen, always great for late nights, sang his final You Want it Darker whose parlando bloomed in true holographic 3D as though we should walk around the late bard. Melanie de Bisasio, another not-so-happy camper but wonderful musician, came to us for a private concert with No Deal – live size drum kit and all. We could rave on but let us simply conclude that this cable is a must for the serious user of high-end streaming sources who runs matching processing equipment. Karol deserves an award just for swimming against the stream of popular preconceptions which state, with utmost conviction no less, that due to their packet delivery and error-correction protocol, Ethernet cables couldn't possibly make a difference. We beg to differ. CAT5e sounds better than CAT5 and this Eloquence is a whole different ball game.

Stavessence website