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Cat 5 ethernet as speaker wire?

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  • Cat 5 ethernet as speaker wire?

    Hi,
    I have seen some people braid 8 wire ethernet cable to make speaker cable.
    I was wondering if just splitting one cables 8 wires into 2 4 wire connections would work for 25-20 foot runs?

    Anyone have any thoughts?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Stickboy2k View Post
    Hi,
    I have seen some people braid 8 wire ethernet cable to make speaker cable.
    I was wondering if just splitting one cables 8 wires into 2 4 wire connections would work for 25-20 foot runs?

    Anyone have any thoughts?
    No. Way too capacitave AND inductive. It has been known, too, to really mess with some amps.

    Most guys will say there is no difference bwtween a coat hanger and Cat5 so long asthe gauge is ok, however based on the simple fact that anything WAY outside the middle of the bell (in terms of material, construction, cost, ect) becomes hard to quantify technicaly and qualify sonically, you are best off sticking with the known.

    Stick with good rope braid, or if you want to get fancy, Litz wire is a nice upgrade. Outside there, it becomes anywhere between propellor-head and sheer tomfoolery.
    Facebook Page - Ocean State Acoustics

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    • #3
      The thread is a bit old, but it shows you how I wove mine. Capacitance and inductance can be altered by the way in which they are connected. And I assume the tightness of the weave? A Google search of Polk Cobra audio cables will give you plenty of reading materiel, and maybe a few burning amp horror stories.

      http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...t-too-much-fun


      The way my cables are connected (higher capacitance) and woven (loose weave) vs the tight weave of the Cobra cable, I'd say they may be considerably lower capacitance than the Cobra cables. So far, I've had no problem with any of my amps, nor did the hifi store where they stayed on display for a while, but they were never driving hard loads like ribbons, and they have never been connected to any of the cheap tripath amps laying around here. I can just see one of those cheap little amps going up in smoke. Once the factory smoke gets out, it's hard to put back in.

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      • #4
        Inductance will be low if using the pairs (4x white/striped for -, 4 solid color for +) but then you'll have fairly high capacitance. That said, if using a single run, 20-25 feet should be fine. Keep in mind that it's only a net awg of 18- most people prefer 14 or so (more than 2x as large). If you're worried about capacitance, use each pair as if it were a single conductor and wire them "Star quad" (+ and - rotate as you go around the outer diameter). Usually the pairs will be laid in such a way that they're consistent. But this is not the preferred method due to higher inductance than using each pair with 1+ 1-.

        There are some basic "star quad" assemblies from companies like canare and others that are a good general choice.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by badman View Post
          Inductance will be low if using the pairs (4x white/striped for -, 4 solid color for +) but then you'll have fairly high capacitance. That said, if using a single run, 20-25 feet should be fine. Keep in mind that it's only a net awg of 18- most people prefer 14 or so (more than 2x as large). If you're worried about capacitance, use each pair as if it were a single conductor and wire them "Star quad" (+ and - rotate as you go around the outer diameter). Usually the pairs will be laid in such a way that they're consistent. But this is not the preferred method due to higher inductance than using each pair with 1+ 1-.

          There are some basic "star quad" assemblies from companies like canare and others that are a good general choice.
          I got a question ... I got a question.

          In your first example, wired pairs (solid color + and striped -) are connected with opposing polarity, the capacitance rises, but inductance goes down, so ... the wire will behave like it's a larger gauge than it really is?

          Comment


          • #6
            Only in terms of inductance, but yes. Essentially, the closer two conductors of opposite polarity are to each other, the lower the loop inductance. Larger conductors inherently have lower self-inductance because the conductor occupies a greater portion of the EM field, but conductors of opposite polarity have equal but opposite fields very nearly overlapping, so the conductor itself plays a bigger role (simplified and imprecise language). This relationship is why ribbon cables have very low inductance, the stacked ribbons (stacked like goertz does) have a thin insulator in between the two large plates, so the field interaction takes place in very limited real estate.

            Again, REALLY simplified but for all practical purposes in speaker cables, the closer the poles are together, the lower the inductance, and the higher the capacitance. Getting into insulator behavior and whatnot is another can of worms. The effect of well made cables compared to poor ones matters, but diminishing returns do set in pretty hard above a certain standard of quality. Studios usually use twinax cables (shielded twisted pairs) for line-level and star-quad (4 conductors arranged for maximal interaction) for speaker cables, and so long as you use good quality, that's enough that other endeavors are usually a better use of your time and money in improving sonics. Room treatment, speaker placement tweaking, crossovers, driver mountings, and other things can all be more affordable than the high-end cables, and among the high-end cables, most are trash (also frequently true of high end speakers).

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            • #7
              What are the compelling reasons for using Cat5/6 cable for speaker wire?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Millstonemike View Post
                What are the compelling reasons for using Cat5/6 cable for speaker wire?

                Initially I thought the wire once ripped out of the sheathing would be very easy to use. Plus I have tons. But really I am more just curious of the technical feasibility.

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                • #9
                  If you're not using it for anything else, go for it. They're several different ways to go about it, with differing results, and individually weaving those tiny wires makes for a really cool looking cable.

                  Give it a try and let us know what you think.

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                  • #10
                    What are the compelling reasons for using Cat5/6 cable for speaker wire?

                    You can get unmeasurably low inductance with either braided or twisted Litz wire made from 27-32 twisted pairs of Cat5. You'll sleep really well knowing that there will be no inductive attenuation of any 40 kHz signals sent to your speakers.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Roger Hill View Post
                      What are the compelling reasons for using Cat5/6 cable for speaker wire?

                      You can get unmeasurably low inductance with either braided or twisted Litz wire made from 27-32 twisted pairs of Cat5. You'll sleep really well knowing that there will be no inductive attenuation of any 40 kHz signals sent to your speakers.
                      But as I read the thread, the trade off for lower inductance is higher capacitance and vice-versa. Or did I misread it?.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Millstonemike View Post
                        What are the compelling reasons for using Cat5/6 cable for speaker wire?
                        There are none. It was a popular method to get a 'poor man's Litz wire', but since Litz wire has no benefits within the audio frequency pass band it was a goal that didn't deserve being achieved.

                        www.billfitzmaurice.com
                        www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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                        • #13
                          Now, Bill... there you go getting all sciencey and factual again...

                          Of course the benefits of Litz wire has an effect in the audio spectrum! How many thousand feet are we talking? Transmission line effrcts, too, how many miles are we running? ;-) That's just my sarcastic way of agreeing with you...

                          It's just about all about the R, not the L or the C...

                          Most cables do not involve enough inductance to be concerned with, but, some funny techniques can make significant capacitance that might affect a amp that's sensitive to that.

                          Here's a good read from Jim Brown, a guy with his feet in the Audio and RF/Ham Radio worlds, on cabling and these effects. (He's also got some great stuff on grounding and hum, and more, in his Publications section)

                          http://audiosystemsgroup.com/TransLines-LowFreq.pdf
                          Last edited by jonpike; 02-15-2017, 05:38 PM. Reason: link didn't transfer right

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                          • #14
                            Oh, and Stick boy did have a good reason, he's got loads of it.

                            No reason not to, as long as you don't wire huge numbers of pairs in parallel, avoid the high capacitance ways of building up, and you'll stay out of trouble. I don't want to get in the way of DIY fun.

                            Once you get to the equivalent of #12 or #14g wire, you'll be bumping up against diminishing returns for most home sized runs

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                            • #15
                              Needed some six conductor speaker wire for an active tower project. I like finding things, easily available everyday things, that can be repurposed for my needs. Ran across some decent looking solid core 16 and 18 awg bell wire. I think it was around $.10 ft. This is what happens when you add a drill to one end; six conductor speaker wire for ~$.30 ft. Found bulk PET sleeving and heat shrink reasonably priced, but may just go with the PET sleeving for protection.

                              Other than being a little stiff, is there any reason this wouldn't work fine for the purpose, and would twisting work better for cat5, than a braid?

                              Click image for larger version

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                              These, and a pair of Wharfdale bookshelves, make up Boys dorm room system. No issues, and it sounds way better than it should.

                              Food for thought.

                              The Cobra cable is a very tight braid. Cat5 cable woven by hand is a rather loose, irregular weave, could it be our variable process of hand-weaving may not have such a large impact on capacitance?


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