Can I run audio through my Cat-5?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Philip Hamm, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I want to run line level audio (out of a CD player) through some Cat-5. Think this will work OK?
     
  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Hey Phil, I never tried it but seeing as it looks like you're going to, post back your impressions.
     
  4. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Considering that the end result will be the cheapest single-point stereo speakers that I can possibly buy, I don't think that my results will be especially useful. I may even get some plugs at Rat Shack and soldier up my own wires that run line level directly through the cable.
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Philip,

    I get the impression from the link that they recommend this only as a last resort. What are you trying to do here? Make “alternative” or esoteric interconnects? Send the signal long-distance?

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  6. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

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    I used some spare CAT5 cable to make a long RCA run...hardly ideal, but it works...all it is is a 24 gauge solid copper cable with a plastic insulator.

    The Best Buy here uses similar wire as speaker wire for all their demo setups, only it's a single pair wire, stranded, and probably 22 or 20 gauge (nothing lower). Again, it works.
     
  7. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I have some single source stereo speakers hooked up in my house, they go to a central location in the basement. I also have Cat-5 in many rooms. In the family room, I've got a stereo. What I want to do is send the line level signal out of the stereo, to the central location where it gets hooked to an amp (actually an older receiver), then to the single point stereo speakers. The object of all of this is through-the-house music for dinner parties and such, with the music selection controlled from a central location (each SPS speaker has a volume control in the wall nearby for local volume throughout). Quality is almost meaningless, the SPS speakers are the cheapest I could possibly buy. I'll probably pull out my soldiering gun and make connectors myself and see how it works, then buy those adapters if need be.
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Philip,

    Good chance it will work fine. The twisting of the individual pairs is so fine it may well do as good a job of rejecting EMI as a standard shielded cable.

    Most Cat-5 is four-pair, right? You could get a stereo signal down a single cable, using two of the pairs for each channel. The way to do it would be to keep each twisted pair as a complete “set;” that is, carrying both the signal (+) and (-). So use say, the solid colored leads as (+) and the white as (-). Make sense?

    A few caveats:
    • Since the cable is not shielded, I’d make sure to keep it away from any electrical lines.
    • This is very tiny wire, so it might be tricky to work with and not damage it.
    • I imagine that the insulating plastic on the individual conductors has near zero hear resistance, so you may find soldering a challenge. I’d for sure use a low-watt iron for circuit boards – 10-15 watts max.
    • Again, since the wire is so tiny, you may experience greater signal loss than with something more substantial. But that’s what we have volume controls for, right? [​IMG]
    If you find that this doesn’t fly for some reason, you can always use RG-59 or –6 coaxial. However, if you want to solder RCA’s on it, you’ll need to use the right cable and connectors. Let me know if it gets to that.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  9. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    I run audio just fine through my Cat5 cables [​IMG]
    I know, not what you meant, but I couldn't help myself.
     
  10. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Follow-up. I used Wayne's suggestion, soldiering R/L from a standard audio cable to the pairs on my Cat-5e on each side, and it works fine.
     

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