Cat 5 for speaker wire

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bob Y., Jan 23, 2002.

  1. Bob Y.

    Bob Y. Auditioning

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    Just Curious...

    Has any one ever tried using category 5 network cable for speaker wire? How well did it work? Does anybody recommened or condemn doing this?

    Bob Y.
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Cat 5 comes in different varieties. I tried one and it was OK, you could do worse. If you wanted something inexpensive that works decent, I have found that Belden 83030 is not bad. You can get it at Belden (www.belden.com) distributors such as Newark (www.newark.com) It is about $46 for a 100 ft. spool and if you want to make it look good you can get netting for it. It depends on what your goal is.
     
  3. Bob Y.

    Bob Y. Auditioning

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    Here's the cable I can get real cheap.
    Belden 1752A
    How would you use this, i.e. tie all pairs together and use seperate cables for each pole, use solids for pos and stripes for neg, or tie 2 sets of pairs together for each pole????[​IMG]
    Thanks for any response.
     
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    The website listed did not respond. I looked at my Newark catalog and it is $237.95 for a 1000 ft. spool. It is 5% less generally when you order online so a price of $0.20 or less would be a good price. I would not tear apart the twisted pairs. I would use 2 of the twisted pairs for positive and 2 of them for negative. If you had speakers that would benefit from biwiring, you could also try that.
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    isn't cat5 wire pretty thin gauge? i can't imagine it's more than 18g at best? not sure...
    i wouldn't use it to wire my system...that's for sure.
    go to home depot...you can get good 12g wire for about .35 a foot.
    after all...you're wiring a music system, not your pc! [​IMG]
     
  6. Bill_Weinreich

    Bill_Weinreich Second Unit

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    Although I have not tried myself but check out www.geocities.com/venhaus1/diycatfivecables.html
    Cant figure out hot to add link properly. May have to type in manually. The site is there.
     
  7. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    The size of the wire gauge is not the only factor to be considered and the combining of several thinner gauges is also a factor to consider. Big is not he only factor to consider. The Home Depot 12 gauge is not terrible either. I have worked with it and I would bet that the Belden 83030 mentioned in my initial response which is 16 gauge will sound much better in many systems. I have used them both. My brother's system now has some of both in it, with the Home Depot stuff on the rear since he also thought bigger was always better until it was heard with his own ears.
     
  8. Scott Riel

    Scott Riel Auditioning

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    [​IMG] Hello all... my first post so I'm typing slow.
    I am coming in from high end audio and can say you won't find better cable for the price than Cat 5,
    with caveats;
    1) Must be plenum (teflon) hard to find in requested lengths. Usually expensive. Do not use standard pvc covered.
    Rat Shack now sells it.
    2) IMHO solid copper sounds cleaner than stranded. It is all in the details. Stranded sounds lost and wooly.
    3) Cat 5 is 24 gauge you'll need at least four lengths per speaker per polarity.
    4) Best if braided after taking off outer shell(revealing 8 strands double braided).
    5) Sound? smooth organic highs, eliminates brightness, though bass is not as good as $800 plus wire(ex. Harm Tech)
    Example? Usually use in my audio system, replaced my braided plain braided Monster-whatever off my HK 25(always blame the HK for mediocre sound)and WOW different system. Deep, wide, focused, tamed and detailed. I was shocked the the HK sounded so good through Tannoy dmt 10's... Gentlemen cheap and worth the effort. Spend your dough on DVD's and electronics.
    BTW, braid just like hair til you get the gauge you require.
    Details?
    audioasylum.com search Cat 5 in the cable section.
    Scott Riel
     
  9. LarrySkelly

    LarrySkelly Stunt Coordinator

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    I made CAT 5 bi-wired cables using Chris Venhaus's recipe. It took about 30 hours to braid them, honestly. They sound good but due to their length they are a difficult cable to push a signal through. I think once I have an amp that can handle them they will sound much better.

    Each cable consists of 27 twisted pairs, as follows:

    - Take a piece of CAT-5 and separate into its 4 twisted pairs. Get lots of these twisted pairs.

    - Braid 3 twisted pairs together. Make 9 of these sets of 3.

    - Braid together 3 of the sets of 3.

    - Braid together 3 of the sets of sets of 3.

    At each end, separate out all of the plain coloured wires of the CAT-5 pairs, and all the the striped wires. These become the two leads. The 27 pairs equate to approx. 8 gauge.

    Do it all again for the other speaker. And do again times two if you bi-wire.

    I biwire, used 27 pairs for the bass segment and 9 pairs for the high end segment. Two pairs of these, about 13 feet long each, is a lot of braiding let me tell ya.

    The braiding has a number of beneficial effects, such as the minimization of noise and EMI. However it adds capacitance, which is why I said that I'll only know how good they sound when I drive them with a good amp, something better than my receiver.

    I've A-B'd them with 12 gauge copper and I hear more depth in the soundstage.

    Check the cable asylum over at the audio asyluum. Jon Risch is the authority on CAT-5 and many other cabling questions and spends a huge amount of time helping lots of people out with cabling issues.

    Larry
     

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