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Old 11-23-2004, 11:36 PM   #1
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Default Is is possible to use CAT-5E for low-level cable?

Just had a wild idea, and if I get enough positive input on this I may try it. I figure with CAT-5E, you can have 4 channels running through it, its lighter, more resistant to stray noise, and easier to run than RCA, but would require some soldering to make correct terminals. All in all, I think it would be a cool idea, but want any opinions on it.
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Old 11-24-2004, 12:06 AM   #2
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What is CAT-5E??
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Old 11-24-2004, 12:37 AM   #3
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Sorry....its a grade of network cable...cat5 is the norm now, 5e has better shielding and more twists per inch to reject noise better.
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Old 11-24-2004, 07:27 AM   #4
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Sandrock:
The conductors in a Cat 5E cable are 26 gauge wire and not conducive to carrying the current that will drive a speaker. You can experiment with the cable but I am sure you will find that the soldering will be difficult at best and the transmission of low and high frequencies will suffer. I would stick with 16 gauge or higher wiring.
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Old 11-24-2004, 10:48 PM   #5
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You can, but I don't think you'll get the results that your looking for.

If I can keep cat6 specs and cat5e specs straight....I don't think 5e has any sheilding, just a expansion of the difference in twist rates that cat5 used.

Those twist rates are to differentiate the signal between the pairs of cables, at a data rate of of 100 -350Mhz.....audio is MUCH lower, in the lower Khz range, so the twist rate is not going to help crosstalk at all.

Couple that with the small wire gauge, and I think your just going to have alot of interference problems.


BUT...Cat5e is so cheap...give it a whirl. You might consider grounding one or two of the pairs to reduce noise, and running signals through the other pairs. (Only ground one end to avoid gound loop signal problems.)

Post your results.
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Old 11-24-2004, 11:45 PM   #6
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for line level you would likely have an issue.,. i have however used it for speaker wire in a pinch (it doesnt require shilding) i use 2 pair for red and 2 pair for black.... actually worked pretty well
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Old 11-29-2004, 03:02 PM   #7
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I've been making these cables for people for several years now. They solder very easy, as they are copper, and are very cheap to construct. Here are the scenarios:

1a- if you're an audiophile, short runs carrying up to 7 channels should stay withing 6 feet.

1b- if you're not an audiophile, it'* possible to make runs carrying up to 7 channels up to 50 feet with minimal cross talk (static, distortion, etc.).

1c- It'* possible to run video and audio through the same cable. Runs over 30 feet start experiencing minimal video distortion, reguardless of audio pairs incorporated into a cable. Keep 1a and 1b in mind if you're running audio with video.

1d- if you're only running one pair through a cat-5, 5e, or 6, it'* excellent. Long runs will require shielded cable (50+ feet).

2a- if you're using cat-5 or 5e or 6 in a car, make sure it is shielded. It'* only a couple more cents a foot.

2b- most runs in a car aren't long enough to introduce much crosstalk.

2c- if the cable is used for bass only, there isn't much to worry about.

General notes:

A- use shielded cable whenever possible, especially if you're only implementing one pair. That will assure quality on long runs.

B- I NEVER use this small of cable for direct speaker connection - low-level signals ONLY.
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