CAT 5 cable for speakers....

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gary PT, Jun 26, 2002.

  1. Gary PT

    Gary PT Agent

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    I've had good results with DIY interconnects using the best quality 75 ohm cable I could find and gold plated terminations. Definite sonic improvement over "stock" interconnects. But never tried the CAT 5 speaker cable thing discussed in the link below. What's some thoughts and personal experiences on the results of using this cable?
    here's the link: http://www.venhaus1.com/diycatfivecables.html
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    A cute website mixing accurate information with heresay, mythology, and beliefs. Nonetheless, there's no reason why this cable won't work. There's also no reason why this cable will sound any different than commercially available 12 gauge copper. Drawbacks as I see them are as follows:
    1) Cost: website estimates ~$39 in wire costs for a pair with a net 6 foot lengths. Six feet of 12 gauge is maybe $0.35/foot or so giving $4.20...9 times more expensive.
    2) A bit of labor is involved. Says it took him a weekend. What's your time worth?
    3) Very inflexible
    4) Rather ugly looking, but that's my opinion. You can always dress it up, make it look presentable.
    Maybe, just maybe, if the particular speaker you're driving presents a bizarre impedance load i.e. has significant drops at say 10kHz or so, then maybe, just maybe the low inductance of this cable might, just might, be beneficial to you. Of course, I'm assuming that given these particular situations, that you've got an amplifier capable of driving such speakers and that the high capacitance of the cable isn't an issue with respect to the amplifier. The thing is, our hearing becomes less sensitive to differences in dB as the freqency of the sound increases. Maximum sensitivity of the ear, is about 0.25 dB in the area 1-5kHz. And of course our hearing tends to get a bit worse as we get older in the high frequency areas.
    Hey look, you want to make it, it's not a terrible expense and sight more reasonable in price than say buying high-end such as Alpha-Goertz cable. For some of us, sometimes CAT5 is laying around and its free for the taking. You get the benefit of pride of having made it yourself. Hell if you want a flat cable, you could go out and buy computer ribbon cable and make something similar. All the odd number strands are wired together, etc. Now you can lay it under your rug [​IMG]
    Of course, I'd expect, that after having made the CAT-5 wire, you'd take the time to conduct a proper test vs what you had used originally...level matched and all that, right [​IMG] After all, the test would take less time to conduct than making the cable. To me I'd want to know if what I made sounded better because it did, or has to sound better because of all that time spent making, researching, etc.
     
  3. TylerN

    TylerN Stunt Coordinator

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    I built my cat5 speaker cables about 6 months ago and really enjoy them. Before these i had a pair of monster cable MCX-IS biwire, they were around 200 bux for the set.

    After building the cat5 did alot of AB testing (not blind mind you but i was skeptical of the cat5 in the first place) and always prefered the cat5. I noticed improved clarity and smoothness in the highs and bass was cleaned up, tighter. With the monster cables the highs were so harsh i turned down the treble. i turn the tone circuit off with the cat5. I switched back to and old set of 'lamp cord' cables and noticed a big difference. Needless to say i got my 200 bux back (in the form of a credit) at my stereo store...

    Its also just nice knowing what kind quality cable you have (cat5e is great copper) and how well the connectors are attached, what type of connectors, etc. It took me about 10 days to make them, about 2 hours a night of braiding..

    I think the looks of them are nice. I seperated the pairs into colors and made them look a bit better - blue/green on one side and orange/brown on the other. They are a conversation peice for my buddies that notice anyway... i could always heatshrink the whole thing though too.

    I'm running a kenwood sovereign receiver with paradigm studio 60 mains (bi-wired).

    CAT5E is cheap, why not try it? I got a 1000 foot box of it for 40 bux at my local electrical supply house. I had enough to make the cables, entirely network my new house and i still have probably 500 feet left.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well Tyler, I hope you found someone to take those Monster's off your hand. Life is full of little lessons, some are free, some we pay for. Then we go on. While a bit time consuming, that was a sensible plan you undertook and wiring your home yourself, no doubt you saved a bundle. Good job!
     
  5. Gary PT

    Gary PT Agent

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    It sounds too intriguing to not try...I've also seen an easier to try "recipe" using just the 3 CAT cables braided together and the strands seperated on each end. I think I'll try that first, and do an A/B for the fun of it.
     
  6. Ken Garrison

    Ken Garrison Supporting Actor

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    Hell, I use copper telephone wire to run an audio/video signal from the directv system in my living room to my bedroom. I use 1 wire for right, 1 for left, 1 for video, and 1 for a common ground. Hey, works pretty good. I used to run the signal through the cabling in the house, but only got mono audio in my bedroom. The way I do it now is a WHOLE LOT better.
     
  7. Jeffrey Chin

    Jeffrey Chin Second Unit

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    might as well use lamp cord then
    general rule of thumb is you get what you pay for

    to each his own
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Actually not a bad idea Jeff but then he wouldn't be able to investigate the effect of low inductance and high capacitance.
     
  9. TylerN

    TylerN Stunt Coordinator

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    Get what you pay for, sure... The properties alone of CAT5e high speed cable make it an excellent alternative to lamp cord. Highly pure copper, Teflon dielectric.. minimal skin effect. What's lampcord? Stranded tin in plastic?
    I guess the only way to find out is to replace my computer network's cable with lamp cord. I wonder if i'll acheive gigabit throughput.... [​IMG]
     
  10. Dan Cabral

    Dan Cabral Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently finished making a cable similar to TNT-Audio's FFRC.
    I chose to follow that design because, basically, I was lazy. [​IMG]
    In all seriousness, it's much less work than the VenHaus design, and I used it as sort of a way to "get my feet wet" in making DIY cables. I found it to be a good learning experience with positive results, and not as costly or time consuming as the VenHaus cables.
    I didn't buy the best cable in the world, but it worked okay. General Cable brand CAT5e at Home Depot for $49.97/1000'. The main difference between this cable and the better cables is that the copper is insulated with polyolefin instead of teflon. Should I get serious about putting together a really good cable, I'll likely splurge for the teflon coated-copper CAT5e.
     

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