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Old 11th October 2010, 09:44 PM   #1
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Default Cat 5e speaker cables

Here are some speaker wires I built.

I used Cat 5e wire for the midrange and tweeters.
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Separate the white from non white and strip.
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Rinse and repeat
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Terminate
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Install

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Then I started on the main cables keeping the cat5 sheath intact but again separate all the colors.
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Strip and strip and strip and twist
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Terminate
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Cover and complete.
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Rinse and repeat.
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You'll notice I used simple 12ga wire for the largest drivers in my speakers because it took way to long and my fingers were sore for days.
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Old 19th October 2010, 05:57 AM   #2
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That looks like a ton of work but the result is very professional.
The big question is, can you hear the difference?
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Old 19th October 2010, 08:08 AM   #3
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My understanding of the principles of what makes a "good" speaker wire might be vague, but I know that lan cable does have to meet specific requirements for bandwidth, capacitance, and inductance... and I assume these to be quite low. Making speaker cables out of these couldn't hurt, as long as you use enough individual conductors to keep the resistance (impedance) low.

I have had the idea of doing this myself, although I planned on braiding large flat cables with them.

Probably more trouble than it's worth, which might explain why I haven't done it yet.

Have you heard any audible improvements compared to what you were using?
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Old 19th October 2010, 10:11 AM   #4
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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and if the speaker cables are all shorter than 1m (3'3") then the sore finger problem is much eased.
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Old 19th October 2010, 01:57 PM   #5
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Large flat cables tend to have high capacitance and low inductance. Some amplifiers will oscillate! Others may merely develop an HF peak. You may hear a difference, but it is unlikely to be an improvement.
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Old 20th October 2010, 01:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scratchy View Post
That looks like a ton of work but the result is very professional.
The big question is, can you hear the difference?
I didn't have much alternative to making my own cables with 2 X 8 way connections for each speaker... and there are way too many connections to these speakers for me to have bothered doing an AB comparison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uzernaam View Post
My understanding of the principles of what makes a "good" speaker wire might be vague, but I know that lan cable does have to meet specific requirements for bandwidth, capacitance, and inductance... and I assume these to be quite low. Making speaker cables out of these couldn't hurt, as long as you use enough individual conductors to keep the resistance (impedance) low.

I have had the idea of doing this myself, although I planned on braiding large flat cables with them.

Probably more trouble than it's worth, which might explain why I haven't done it yet.

Have you heard any audible improvements compared to what you were using?
You are right, it could have well been more trouble than it was worth.

If I ever make a pair of these speakers for someone else I will definitely NOT be making cables these cables for them unless they want to pay me some good $ for the time required to build them right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewT View Post
and if the speaker cables are all shorter than 1m (3'3") then the sore finger problem is much eased.
Not so much... The sore fingers were mostly due to the stripping and twisting all the ends for termination. Short cables would still need same terminations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DF96 View Post
Large flat cables tend to have high capacitance and low inductance. Some amplifiers will oscillate! Others may merely develop an HF peak. You may hear a difference, but it is unlikely to be an improvement.
Well..... these aren't very flat.

My speakers are 100% active so unlikely that the cables would present a more difficult load than passive crossovers in most speakers.

I think if I could measure these cables we would find that the capacitance and inductance of these cables is very very low. Here are the /strand specs taken from Category 5 cable - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Capacitance at 800 Hz
52pF/m

Inductance
525nH/m

If you wanted to, you could calculate the likely combined impedance and inductance using formulas here.
Series and parallel circuits - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I also just found this interesting cable shootout that might interest some readers. (the reviewer didn't even terminate the twisted pairs properly but Cat5e seems to score very well on all the objective tests)

DIY Cable Faceoff - Results and Conclusion — Reviews and News from Audioholics

Subjectively, I can tell you I'm certainly happy with them and they sound great to me. The technical bits leave me comfortable that they probably sound just as good as almost any cable you can purchase at any price.
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Old 20th October 2010, 02:06 AM   #7
sturmj is offline sturmj  United States
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I made the super-deluxe version of braided cat-5 speaker cables (see DIY Cat5 Speaker Cables ) It kept me busy for a week, I ended up with impressive looking cables. They work just fine for me, but even the owner of that site states that they are fairly high in capacitance, which may be problematic for some amps. It was time consuming braiding all 27 pairs but nice and functional in the end.
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Old 20th October 2010, 03:17 AM   #8
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After trying fat bundles i worked my way to a pair of single strands...

Click the image to open in full size.

dave
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Old 20th October 2010, 05:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planet10 View Post
After trying fat bundles i worked my way to a pair of single strands...

Click the image to open in full size.

dave
So what gauge wire are you using? Solid core or stranded?

And.... inquiring minds want to know;
Does it sound better than "fat" cables? (ie. I suppose "fat" means something like stranded 12 AWG?

Have you had a chance to compare to a single, larger, solid core wire? Have you had a chance to compare to multiple 24AWG twisted pair solid cores?

cheers,
Josh
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Old 20th October 2010, 06:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sturmj View Post
I made the super-deluxe version of braided cat-5 speaker cables (see DIY Cat5 Speaker Cables ) It kept me busy for a week, I ended up with impressive looking cables. They work just fine for me, but even the owner of that site states that they are fairly high in capacitance, which may be problematic for some amps. It was time consuming braiding all 27 pairs but nice and functional in the end.
Kimber cable is relatively high capacitance as well... and seems to get good reviews. I wonder if the higher capacitance helps keep the high frequencies down a bit and could contribute to a slightly downward sloping frequency response to the high end?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanedesign View Post

I think if I could measure these cables we would find that the capacitance and inductance of these cables is very very low.
I guess the word "low" is very much a relative term and perhaps I should not have used it here.

I was thinking 56pF per strand was extremely low because in my head I was compared to the values required to affect some sort of crossover. (pF is 1 trillionth of a Farrad). Cat 5 has an effective bandwidth of 350Mhz over 100m so it's hard for me to understand how these levels of capacitance could add up to anything of significance.

But please... feel free to speculate here! I have an open mind and I'm listening.

I'm sure other inquiring minds want to know to.
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