As we all know, in a hi-fi system worthy of the name, the cables are all very important. The massive influx of streaming has also brought the subtle Ethernet connection to the fore. The manufacturers have quickly seized the subject with very diverse proposals in price as well as in performance. Among all these, we could test the Shawline of the British manufacturer Chord Company.
Chord Co, as we are used to calling it, is a clever manu- facturer who first made a name for itself with its intelligent proposals for users of Naim Audio electronics. And one thing leading to another, it has been able to offer a wide range at very competitive prices. The Shawline is particularly attractive in terms of quality/price ratio. The Shawline Ethernet is truly designed and assem bled for streaming digital audio files through your home network. These cables are built to exacting standards and rigorously tested at the Chord Co.
Under the flexible red jacket, silver-plated OFC copper conductors are used, shielded in pairs with mylar foil. They are then insulated with FEP (or fluorinated ethylene propylene), a material similar to PTFE, also known by the trade name Teflon. The individual conductors are silver soldered to the 24-karat gold-plated contacts of the connectors. The body of the connectors is molded and shielded with a zine cover. The shielding and protection of the transferred sigals is guaranteed by the proprietary Array technology, which we have already discussed in our issue 41
Installation is made easy by the flexibility of the cable. We used different copies of the Shawline Ethernet between our box and our Silent Angel Bonn N8 switch, but also between the switch and the NAS and the network drive.
We generally use Ethernet cords from the Audioquest catalog, mainly Carbon and Vodka, but also an Absolue Creations model. The arrival of the Shawline in the system has resulted in a good overall sound consistency. The first thing that surprises is the vigorous way in which the melodic follow-up is expressed. The sound unfolds with great vigor and the sometimes-impulsive side of the music is very well rendered. The dynamic range is excellent without, however, favoring an extroverted listening of the music. The bass is firm and well structured. The treble is precise and well defined. Between these two registers, the medium constitutes a natural link and operates a transition without accident. The sound is soft, smooth and bright without being brilliant.
Here is a cable which knows how to put forward a good degree of musical communication while scrupulously respecting the sound criteria and without ever favoring one register rather than another. In a word, it is the balance that prevails here, and it is really what we are looking for. An excellent Ethernet cable that we recommend, especially at the reasonable price it is offered at.