Cat 5 speaker cable..

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by John Wes, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. John Wes

    John Wes Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm getting ready to try the Chris VenHaus Cat 5 speaker cable. According to his site, in the end after all the braiding, this is around a 10 gage wire....

    I was wondering if anyone has tried this...

    Also..what does the diy group think of these plugs?

    (Admin note - Active auction links deleted per forum guidelines.)

    Overkill for banana plugs? Would spades be better?

    Solder or crimp?


    I got one heck of a deal on Beldon Cat 5...18 cents a foot after shipping but I had to get a thousand foot reel.....I'll be making a post in the classifieds, very soon...
     
  2. Ryan T

    Ryan T Second Unit

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    I made 2 6' CAT 5 speaker cables. I believe they made a difference. Some other people that have made them said they couldn't tell but i could. I did direct instant A/B testing between 12 Ga, 16 Ga and the cat 5. The cat 5 sounded the cleanest. It seemed to make the treble a little less grainy and more focused and the bass was a bit tighter. The 16 Ga actually came in second. It had a cleaner midbass that the 12 Ga which seemed to sound a bit more muddy by comparison. Although i did notice a difference it wasn't a big one. Those are just the things i noticed when i was doing some really critical listening. I say if you have the time (and dexterity) to do it go for it. I'm currently using 14 Ga wire or my mains cause the 5' long cat5 speaker cables are too short :/. Since i sold my separates system i probably dont have enough power to use CAT 5 anyway. My current receiver is a lower powered H/K so i don't think i will build another set of cables. They would probably cause my receiver to explode [​IMG].


    Ryan
     
  3. John Wes

    John Wes Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry about that link, Mr. Admin.....My bad...Please accept this as my apology. [​IMG]
    How about a link to a couple of the pics? Please feel free to just delete this post if it's not allowed.

    http://www.38.vg/ADP/ad1003c.JPG

    http://www.38.vg/ADP/ad1003e.JPG


    Ryan, thanks for your response. I'm curious though, why would a 10 gage be harder on your reciever, unless you factoring in a difference in omhs between them?
     
  4. Mark gas

    Mark gas Second Unit

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    Is the cat 5 cable better to use as speaker wire? Does it have to do with the twists or is it the thickness?
     
  5. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    While I have no idea what actually makes Cat5 speaker wires sound better, they are different from regular wire because the braided cable has a very low inductance, and the thin wires (supposedly made from very pure copper) don't have a problem with skin effect at audio frequencies. Good Cat5 also uses Teflon insulation.

    The large braided wires may be problematic for a receiver because they have an unusually large capacitance, it could cause a poorly designed amplifier to oscillate. I personally never had a problem with it, though long runs of the big Cat5 wires did sound bad with my old amplifier.
     
  6. Sebastian

    Sebastian Second Unit

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    where the link to Chris VenHaus web site?
     
  7. Owen Bartley

    Owen Bartley Second Unit

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    OK, now the wheels are turning and I'm eager to jump on for another project.

    John, please keep us updated on the progress of your cables (pics too if you can!), I'd really like to give these a try if they sound good. I've got access to lots of CAT-5 since my father's company just did a bunch of rewiring, so it seems like a good time to give it a shot.
     
  8. Ryan T

    Ryan T Second Unit

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    its a fun project but beware it takes long time and the work is very tough on the fingers [​IMG]. I think mine took me about 7 hours per cable. And i had to tape my index fingers cause the skin was getting worn down to nothing (ouch).



    Ryan
     
  9. John Wes

    John Wes Stunt Coordinator

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    Owen..no problem! Keep in mind that the cat5 you use should probably meet certain specs...dunno just how good this Beldon is but it's what was recommended on that site...My guess has to do with the quality of the copper and it's using teflon over plain soft plastic for the insulators..

    Sebastian....here's the link to Mr. VenHaus's site.

    http://www.venhaus1.com/diycatfivecables.html

    Check out his silver interconnects. [​IMG]


    Nobody's weighed in on using spades vs banana's or them connectors I posted above. Anyone? I think I'll go with bananas first as it makes it faster for hookups for blind listening tests...


    Sidenote..the spool of wire was here when I got home tonight. There is no way I'm gonna use a thousand feet....but man what a deal. Just in case anyone is interested..
     
  10. Owen Bartley

    Owen Bartley Second Unit

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    Hey guys, thanks for the encouragement. John - I'll race you! [​IMG] Just kidding. But I think I'll have a piece of test cable coming in tonight and I have some spare bananas around so I'll give it a shot. I'll try to post some pics this weekend.

    Oh, and as far as I've read, Belden is a very high quality provider, it seems to be the choice for a lot of people. I'm just going to try with the free stuff I have available. Worst case scenario is it keeps my entertained making them for a few hours and sounds like junk and I plug in my old wires.
     
  11. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    The dreaded skin effect [​IMG]
     
  12. John Wes

    John Wes Stunt Coordinator

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    [​IMG]
     
  13. Ryan T

    Ryan T Second Unit

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    hehe ^[​IMG]
     
  14. Adam Demuth

    Adam Demuth Agent

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    From rom what I've read/heard CAT5 (e for that matter) is regular old copper, it does not need to be OF or any standard of purity to be CAT5/CAT5e. But, IIRC, all CAT5 must be teflon insulated.
     
  15. Owen Bartley

    Owen Bartley Second Unit

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    Ta Daaaa!

    OK, so they're really nothing special. But I was very eager to start a project. I read a few of the usual pages and decided to stick with the theory that having a + and - wire wound together (in the twisted pairs) would create a shielding effect, and I figured I could ignore the tightly twisted vs. loosley twisted differences, since its a relatively short run.

    So I ended up separating the pairs and taking one from each pair for a negative signal (the white wires) and one for the positive (the coloured). I twisted them all together into the two leads, and terminated with some banana plugs.

    check my cables here.

    I haven't tried the cable yet, but I will this weekend.

    John, how are yours going?
     
  16. Joe Hsu

    Joe Hsu Supporting Actor

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    looking good, but I'm curious...is that blue sleeving that you put over the braided cabling? At first, it looked like you didn't even braid anything, and just used straight CAT5. Just confused is all.

    Other than that, for those of you trying this out, with hundreds of feet left over, would you be interested in selling off some of the excess to recoup costs? I'd be interested in trying these cables out too
     
  17. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Nick So
    How many strands d'yall think you'd need to make a decent quality Cat5 cable?

    Are belden Cat5 cables especially good, or will some less-high quality stuff from Home Depot work fine as well? How do you tell if they're teflon coated or otherwise?
     
  18. John Wes

    John Wes Stunt Coordinator

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    Owen...Mine are braided and the ends all stripped and waiting for new banana's. Also I ordered some chrome tech flex from parts express to dress them up. I have shrink tubing already for dressing the final product. I'm curious......Your cable hooked up that way must be a very short run. Do them strands even add up to 18 gauge wire? I've heard you can get away with very small gauge if your using silver, but how does it sound?

    I hope to start listening to mine by friday.

    Joe...I have tons left and at a killer price compared to anything I could find on the net and local...

    I paid 18 cents a foot and not quite 2 cents a foot for shipping..So how's 20 cents a foot shipped sound? PM me and we'll get it set up.

    NickSo...For the formula I used..you need 14 lengths of cat5 cut around 50 percent more than what you need...so it works out to 54 pairs of wires.....

    On another fourm, someone gave me a link to a different way of making them. You don't braid them by hand, but make a tool to twist them. The different layers are wound differently from the previous layer. I'll compare them with braided sometime in the future..

    Here's the link for the tool and the guide for making them..

    http://members.tripod.com/beyond_gom...entandjig.htm?

    Nick...for VanHaus..you'd need 54 pairs..for the other style listed in the link above..it would depend on what gauge you wanted.
     
  19. Owen Bartley

    Owen Bartley Second Unit

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    Joe/John

    I wanted to see how things would work without braiding a ton of wires, (I wanted a project, not a career! [​IMG] ) so this is the fast attempt at it. I actually hadn't thought about the final gauge of the cable, but it is pretty small... ah well, I'll try them out and most likely just revert back to a heavier gauge speaker cable, but it was fun to try. I'll let you know this weekend.
     
  20. John Wes

    John Wes Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok I'm done and here's my thoughts.....


    The connectors...well after looking closely at them, they are the same one's that Orange County Speakers sells...The locking type. I don't really like them. Lucky for me, we use a copper sleeve at work that fits a 10 gage wire, and is thick enough that when crimped down, the screws engage it. Otherwise the screws won't tighten down enough. I suppose one could use a butt connector and strip the plastic off or just solider. I also soldered the end anyway.

    The braid took forever to do and looks pretty cool. I'll post some links to pictures if anyone is interested in seeing what they look like.

    On to sound....Ok..I keep hearing you need to break them in first. I'll buy that speakers need broken in....amps, preamps, but wire? Oh man......

    However...and keep in mind this isn't blind listening tests...I think that the highs and mids...just seem smoother. Is it night and day like most of the things I hear about them. No..... however if I only use one cable and sit in front of the two speakers, one at a time..I can tell after a bit of listening, which one is using the cat5 cable.

    If I were to buy banana plugs right now..I'd get the cheaper model from Orange County Speakers....the locking connectors look pretty cool but do you really need them? I will say that the idea is sound. That part works like a champ and my guess is one gets tons of surface area to the connection. As well as a very tight connection.


    Again, I got such a good deal on 1000 feet of Belden's Cat5 recomend by Chris VanHaus..that if anyone is interested...I'll sell it shipped..to you at 20 cents a foot. I'm not making anything and your saving a bundle. PM me if your interested.
     

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