The $499 Ethernet Cable

It’s not a Friday the 13th prank, this really is a $499 ethernet cable. Yes, the stupid little cord you plug into the back of your computer to get online. These, however, are for audiophiles, a demanding client vector requiring the suspension of all faculties of reason. It contains “high purity copper.” Ahem. After Cat5 or Cat6, copper is just copper. The extra insulation does make it better than a regular ethernet cable, but not by hundreds of dollars.

AK-DL1 [Denon] (Thanks to Stephen!)

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  1. fostina1 says:

    when did monster buy denon. is there a coat hanger test for this too?

  2. evslin says:

    A fool and his money are soon parted.

  3. gqcarrick says:

    You know someone who doesn’t know a thing about computers will see this and probably go buy it. I know if I didn’t buy all the cables and components for my parents they would have no clue if this made a difference or not.

  4. quagmire0 says:

    Hey – I have one of these and you wouldn’t believe how much crisper and clearer Consumerist.com loads up. It’s AMAZING!

  5. sir_pantsalot says:

    Ha Ha. My ethernet cable is bette than your ethernet cable.

    Beyond that this cable is worthless.

  6. quagmire0 says:

    Of course anyone that doesn’t TRULY APPRECIATE high spectrum core performance networking wouldn’t understand. I also own a Neo Geo.

  7. Mr_D says:

    I wish I had the lack of ethics to get into the high-end cable business.

  8. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I don’t see Ethernet, Cat6 or anything on that description. Is it really wired as an ethernet cable or does it just just that 8P8C plug on both ends?

    Because of how you can find compatible cables and jacks pretty much everywhere I’ve used that format for my own electronics projects when I need > 2 and <= 8 conductor cable.

  9. amodlin says:

    I love my Denon AV receivers…but honestly…that’s absurd. Their receivers are well priced but this is just silly.

  10. Nighthawke says:

    Pure adulterated fluff. I never, ever seen outrageous prices outside of what monster cable asked for their junk.
    Cat-5/6 is speced using unshielded pairs, nothing fancy. I agree copper is copper, as long as the quality control is high. I run resistance checks on each pair on my 1000′ boxes before I take it to the checkout counter. If any of the pairs show higher than usual values than the length its cut for, that box goes to the manager for them to deal with it.

    The only time shielded cabling is used if it is in a environment that is heavy with RFI or high EM radiation that can interfere with signal quality. That crap is pricey and usually not worth the cost and the time to buy and make runs with it.

  11. GMFish says:

    I’m not saying it’s worth the price, but this is not intended to be used as a networking cable. It’s intended to be used to connect Denon’s DVD players with their receivers. Like this one here:

    [usa.denon.com]

  12. mythago says:

    Do you or don’t you want to impress everyone with your expensive, tasteful Ethernet cables? Sure, you laugh now, but you’ll be the ones embarassed when that hot babe you bring back to the apartment sees the best you can do is to connect your bangin’ rig with a $10 cable from Radio Shack. Might as well fix your sofa with duct tape while you’re at it, Mr. Smooth.

  13. Jesse says:

    These are designed for the audio enthusiast. I am not one, but some of the features do seem like it would be helpful if you were using this for audio equipment. However, to justify the $499 price tax when the thing probably cost $.49 to make is a more difficult challenge.

  14. billsquared says:

    Apparently they didn’t use “attention to detail” by “empoying” a proofreader in the copy-editing process.

  15. CajunGuy says:

    Not sure if everyone is picking up that these are being sold for audio equipment, not for computers/networking.

    In any event, that explains why they’re trying to sell them for so much. Audiophile equipment seems to be where companies think people will pay out the nose for things that most of us know not to pay more than $1.99 for.

    So, just to recap, these are being sold as high-end AUDIO cables, not network cables. There’s still no excuse for it, but that’s the reasoning.

  16. You Be Illin' says:

    $499 and it still comes with a POS plastic plug with the tab that’s sure to crack and break off.

  17. tedyc03 says:

    Who listens to audio through their ethernet (that’s not being streamed online and sounds crappy anyway)? Anyone? Anyone?

  18. amodlin says:

    @GMFish: Doesn’t matter, ethernet is ethernet. There’s not going to be signal degredation over the 5 feet of ethernet if you buy DECENT cable (for like $15).

    @Jesse: Audio enthusiast? More like designed for the audio enthusiast with way too much money and no knowledge of wiring.

    @CajunGuy: I understand that’s the reasoning, but it seems almost criminal to try to sell your basic wiring for $500. They did a test with monster HDMI cables and a coat hanger and found “videophiles” could not tell the difference.

  19. headhot says:

    The who point of digital is error and noise mitigation. If the receiver remains locked to the bit stream, you get a perfect signal, regardless of the quality of the cable.

    That being said, if the consumer is too dumb to know this, its their own fault, consider it a idiot tax.

    If your going to make a several hundred dollar purchase on a cable, you owe it to yourself to do some research.

    Caveat Emptor.

  20. apotheosis says:

    DENON. We’ll see your series of tubes, and raise you a catheter.

  21. satoru says:

    Essentially what this is, is a gigabit ethernet cable according to the Denon Link specification. Instead of using HDMI, they’re using cat6 to transfer audio between Denon components. But to me, even if you were to send uncompressed 7.1 PCM over a wire, you wouldn’t need to be in the gigabit range to do this?

    Geeze and you thought those $100 Monster HDMI cables were pure rip offs. At least the HDMI cables were doing video and audio. This is a $500 cable that ONLY does audio between 2 Denon components.

  22. headhot says:

    @Nighthawke:

    Resistance checks wont be very useful unless you get a very high resistance. You’d have to do and impedance check at the operating frequency.

  23. chrisjames says:

    I foresee many wives being jailed for stabbing their husbands in the near future.

  24. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @GMFish:

    I can’t tell for sure, but glancing at the pin-out colors it sure *looks* like it’s for ethernet.

  25. janosha says:

    In for two!

  26. strife1012 says:

    Now does this Cat 7 Cable (so futuristic) help the Display my Bit Torrents on your receiver in 1440p. This thing must be rated in the Google-hertz.

  27. CajunGuy says:

    @amodlin: Oh, I agree that it’s criminal…and a bit stupid if the consumer actually buys them. I was just trying to get the point out that they weren’t being sold for networking purposes, and that they entire reason they’re being sold for so much is simply that they’re “audiophile” cables…as if there’s such a thing for a DIGITAL signal.

  28. Bladefist says:

    So what happens when you plug this into a port, either wall, or router/modem, that doesn’t have the high quality super duper copper? Does it magically make all the copper that is connected to it awesome? Otherwise you get bottled necked right away. LAME

  29. IC18 says:

    The question is. Is there someone out there stupid enough to pay $499 for this cable?

  30. categorically says:

    When that cable shows up at my house in a couple days, I’m going to run it in front of my audio rack so I can show commoners how much money I have.

    You don’t buy that cable and leave it behind gathering dust. You buy it for status.

  31. Veeber says:

    @Applekid: It looks like it’s probably just using the connectors. Unless we take one apart, we won’t know if the wires are hookedup in the right pattern.

  32. GMFish says:

    amodlin: “Doesn’t matter, ethernet is ethernet.”

    Look, I never said it was worth the price. And fact I specifically said the opposite. And I believe in my hears of heart that this is a scam. However, the headline is misleading because it is not sold as an overpriced networking cable. It is sold as an overpriced audio cable.

  33. Concerned_Citizen says:

    @GMFish: It may be for their devices and not for networking, but if their devices are transmitting a digital signal, the crappiest cable would work just fine. So they are still stealing people’s money by lying about the extra quality a 500 dollar cable brings. Digital is either on or off. Working or not working.

  34. backbroken says:

    So I should cancel my order then? Is that what everyone is saying?

  35. HeartBurnKid says:

    Wow, this new cable really makes Gawker more danceable.

  36. sir_eccles says:

    You can actually hear the ones and zeros with this cable!

  37. Bladefist says:

    @backbroken: No No. Just you’ll need to buy a new NIC card, and re-run the whole world with AK-DL1. If thats plausible for you, I say go for it man.

  38. That looks like a $499 challenge to my cable-chewing cat.

  39. m1k3g says:

    Hey – ‘signal direction markings’ what a cool feature. I always wanted to know which direction my data was flowing…

    Hmmm… lets see – it that data flowing in or out?? I just can’t tell with my cheap cables. Makes it so difficult to tell whether I’m sending an email or receiving one from someone else…

  40. johnva says:

    @headhot: Exactly. Since it’s “digital” according to them, any signal loss should be taken care of by error correcting codes or error detecting codes with retransmission. This is pure ripoff BS, in my opinion, regardless of whether it’s for audio or not. I think it’s bordering on fraud for them to say it will “bring out all the nuances in digital audio reproduction”. That might be true if we were talking about an analog signal over speaker wire or something, but it’s absolutely not if it’s digital. Either the digital signal gets through intact, or it doesn’t.

  41. rekoil says:

    @Veeber: And if you spend $30 on a crimper, a few feet of Cat6 from Home Depot, and a bag of RJ45 cable ends, you can pin it out yourself to match Denon’s spec.

  42. CaptZ says:

    Looking at the diagram they have on the site, the pin outs ARE the same as a ethernet cable. What would be the point of reinventing the wheel, that would require thought to make that extra $497 on this cable….

    [www.usa.denon.com]

  43. @johnva: “error correcting codes or error detecting codes with retransmission”

    I totally worked on litigation over patents for this. I think I’m still scarred. It did score me a date with a hot engineering grad student, though, since I was the only non-engineer he’d ever met who knew wtf he was talking about when he talked about his area of study.

  44. banmojo says:

    If PT Barnum was still alive, he’d be giving audiophile shows town-to-town :^))

  45. ShortBus says:

    Here is an exploded diagram from the vendor’s site: [www.usa.denon.com]

    As you can see by the wire colors, it’s cabled using the 568-B standard. And looking closely at the connectors, I don’t think it’s crimped as a crossover either. Ergo, this is your standard $2 Ethernet patch cable.

  46. CaptZ says:

    I emailed them to ask how they sleep at night selling crap like this and if they were taking lessons from Monster….I will let you know the response.

    Thanks ShortBus….I already said that.

  47. Happy13178 says:

    Denon is a great brand for audio components, no doubt at all. Its harder (not impossible) to compare them with Monster for that reason….Denon has a long history of having good product lines. Some of their products are more expensive because the product is Denon…no surprise there, since some names do command a premium over others. But this is absurd, regardless of what you’re connecting with it. DVD players, network connections, etc, will all work just fine with a decent quality Cat6, or Cat5e on the high side, but neither will run you $500. Now, if they were selling it for $20 or so, depending on the run, that would be acceptable, and they would still be profiting off of it by a good margin.

  48. haoshufu says:

    Their cable has the signal direction marking because their copper only conducts one way. If you reverse the cable direction, you get no connections. No?

  49. battra92 says:

    Wow …

    So how short of a run does it have to be before we can’t “hear the difference.”

    http://www.monoprice.com FTW!

  50. digitalgimpus says:

    Hmm, not available on BestBuy yet… I’m sure it will be there shortly though. Available with a GeekSquad installation package.

  51. RChris173 says:

    This is similar to Best Buy’s outrageous prices on USB cables…they range from $30 to $40…I’d rather go to a Wal*Mart and get a Belkin cable for $10.

  52. SBR249 says:

    Wow, I mean I heard copper prices are high right now but this is unbelievable.

    Maybe this is just a test? Many times, online retailers will test a new product page before launch and put a ridiculously high price on it so people will know it’s not actually for sale. If that was the purpose, then I’d say the test failed miserably.

  53. tape says:

    what is left out from that description is that the cable is 4,000 miles long.

  54. Squeegoth says:

    I CAN HEAR THE INTERNETS FROM HERE.

    IT IS AMAZING.

  55. Manok says:

    This is something my father would buy and brag about it nonstop.

  56. Trai_Dep says:

    Who says that copywriters don’t have a sense of humor?
    The man who wrote that arrows printed on the shielding helps the electrons inside the copper wiring find their way should get a RAISE!

  57. Imakeholesinu says:

    It should read “This copper was the same copper used from stolen pipes from historic houses which causes you to hear radio transmissions from the past!”

    To the poor sap who buys this, darwin was right.

  58. chenry says:

    Oh boy, I can’t wait for my high-density etc yadda yadda yadda ethernet cablemabob! $500 WOO!

  59. sburnap42 says:

    Check out some of the other “great” products they sell. A $60 iPod cable! A $200 HDMI cable! An $80 serial cable! Lots of awesome products for people who don’t understand what “digital” means!

  60. MisterE says:

    ummmn – wireless?

  61. Bix says:

    Go look at what Monoprice charges for 5 foot networking cables and then get very sad that you missed this opportunity for yourself.

  62. donkeyjote says:

    In other news, Congress has been investigating passing a so called stupid tax law, allowing the Federal Government to collect and audit from companies who have levied their own stupid tax without government approval…

  63. Denon has to start doing work for the DoD. There, no one would bat and eyelash at $500 for this.

  64. This is an audio cable, not an ethernet cable, though it could be used as one.

    DenonLink is a special proprietary audio transmission system that seeks to prevent real life phenomena like jitter from digital audio. Since Cat 5 is used, the possibility of inter/intra pair skew is realistic (though maybe not in significant amounts over such as short cable).

    This cabe is made to run between a CD player and AV Receiver, as little as 3 feet apart. The price is BS, but for such an application, a very low quality cable could conceivably cause problems.

    And no, I’m not a “fancy cables” believer – just somebody who knows how it works.

  65. ClankBoomSteam says:

    The instant you pay $499 for an ethernet cable, you have officially crossed into ‘Conspicuous spender’ territory. Oh, and also ‘clueless dipshit’ territory.

    Anyone who buys one of these deserves whatever they get.

  66. Ubik2501 says:

    This ethernet cable really expands the soundstage of my streaming Kanye West MP3s, and adds warmth and clarity to my internet porn. It’s almost as good as the $400 non-vibrational power switch on my bakelite computer case.

    (I know this cable is intended as an audio hookup, but audiophile jokes are too good to resist.)

  67. johnva says:

    @InfiniTrent: Their protocol is very poorly designed if it requires such a high signal quality out of the cable that a “normal” decent-quality cable won’t cut it. I agree that you could get problems if you used a cable that couldn’t maintain decent signal at all.

    It doesn’t matter AT ALL what it’s carrying as long as the digital signal gets through uncorrupted (after accounting for error correcting). Digital data is digital data. If using a cheaper (but still good-quality) cable causes their protocol to fail, maybe they should look at their protocol.

  68. riverstyxxx says:

    Call their number and ask if they have any Empoyment opportunities.

  69. @johnva: I understand how it works – one difference in audio and Ethernet is that when a packet is lost in the Ethernet world, it can be re-sent. In audio, once data is lost, it’s lost, and there is an immediate negative sonic impact. So for an audio application cable tolerances are much tighter.

    However, in my opinion/experience, even a decent Cat 5 cable could function fine as a DenonLink cable. I’m sure that most custom installers who sell Denon just terminate their own Cat 5 for DenonLink.

    Theoretically, it could matter, but I think it would take a very good set of speakers, and a very good set of ears to matter at all.

    The only reason I took issue at all with what this post is saying is that they’re missing the entire point of this cable’s existence (made obvious by the fact that Ben called it an Ethernet cable).

    But I do agree that if you buy this cable, you got ripped off. It does look nice though.

  70. @Khue:

    /wrists

    Eh?

    Again, I’m not defending this cable’s price, just saying that in this application, not every cable is equal. And unless you’ve got a good reason I’m wrong (no, “digital is digital” doesn’t count), then maybe you ought to hold off on the critiques, hm?

  71. jaypee68 says:

    My favorite feature of this cable is…

    “Signal directional markings are provided for optimal signal transfer.”

    WTF?! The data doesn’t know which way to go unless you show it? LOL

  72. I’ve used shitty self built network cables in excess of 350′for critical applications with zero problems. A digital signal is a digital signal. If the data is making it thorugh then you’re done.

  73. Zagroseckt says:

    i make custom cables any one wana buy one of my Sp1013expD600Z90′s there only 300$usd+S/H

  74. johnva says:

    @InfiniTrent: Actually, it depends on the details of how their protocol handles data corruption, and the relative level of signal loss that is occurring on two different cables. Ethernet handles signal loss using retransmission, you’re right. But there are other possibilities, such as strong error correcting codes. Then a digital protocol can handle up to a certain level of corruption with no retransmission. For example, when we communicate with deep space probes, corruption is inevitable and we can’t just retransmit. So they use these error-correcting codes instead (basically, a lot of redundant information is sent so that the errors can be mathematically “fixed”).

    This is why I said that they need to fix their protocol if it can’t work with the level of signal loss present in a normal cable.

  75. RudeandRude says:

    @mythago: I’m not sure what is funnier…these Denon cables or the fact that you think you can get cables for $10 at Radio Shack. :)

  76. bohemian says:

    Reasons the Denon ethernet cable is far superior to your every day ethernet cable.
    1. The end boots are shiny.
    2. It has a fabric cord cover just like an old toaster.
    3. It has arrows, those must make the data go faster.
    4. It is a really cool shade of blue and could be matched with your girlfriends Coach bag or Blahniks.

  77. bohemian says:

    @InfiniTrent: They use a similar set up with newer pro audio PA systems and sound boards. Poor musicians all over the world are using home made or cheap off the shelf ethernet for the digital audio. I really doubt the human ear is going to hear a difference unless the cable being used has gone bad in some way.

  78. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    You should see all the BS things they can sell to audiophiles by saying stuff like “Our capacitors are farm raised in oxygen rich atmospheres and wrapped in the finest gold titanium leaf by celibate Tibetan monks which causes the atomic polarities to cancel out the inherent dissonance caused by interstitial harmonics, resulting in fuller dynamic tone reproduction.”

    There’s a sucker born every minute.

    [www.tech-diy.com]

  79. TechnoDestructo says:

    So when will we see 20,000 dollar jewel-encrusted cables?

  80. Meathamper says:

    The new Denon AK-DL1: crafted by Michaelangelo, with exquisitely designed wires. Contains 100% premium platinum and copper wiring inside. No Internet user should be without one.

  81. @Grrrrrrrrr: AKA: BOSE.

  82. er320s says:

    Check out Amazon! it has price:$500.99 + Free Shipping
    [www.amazon.com]

    And there are 13 reviews, and somebody actually bought it!

  83. RvLeshrac says:

    Much in the way that this is a “special class” of cable and, as has been said, audio cabling is a “special class” of usage, “Audiophiles” are a “special class” of idiot.

    They are willing to believe ANYTHING if you say it leads to “better sound quality,” and *very* small numbers of them are willing to actually test anything properly. They regularly cling to pseudoscientific nonsense in advertisements.

    Unfortunately, the reason they *try* to sell these cables for $499 is because they *will* sell them by the truckload. Audiophiles will claim that they hear an amazing difference, that the highs sound higher and the lows sound lower, and they will all continue to ship their money off purely so they can tell other audiophiles that they’re using the items in question.

    No other class of consumer is fooled so often and so easily by so obvious a method of fraud.

  84. stands2reason says:

    Blessed be to the CRC for protecting my packets and keeping those 0′s and 1′s in place.

  85. RetailGuy83 says:

    @jaypee68: I can’t believe I’m going to admit I even know this, but the direction markings actually can make a difference in quality. The leading side has the mylar sheath connected to a ground wire and it is lifted at the terminal end. This creates a better shield.

    Ok, I am in no way shilling for this product. If you buy it you deserve to be without your $500. And I think I just threw up on myself in disgust.

  86. BBF_BBF says:

    @RetailGuy83: Honestly it doesn’t matter which side is grounded, so the directionality really means nothing. The key is only one side is grounded to prevent ground loops. Honestly with ethernet twisted pair, the signal is differentially sent on each conductor of the pair, so any induced noise will cancel it self out upon reconstitution on the receiving end, thus reducing the need for a shield.