Has any one tried building interconnects with the Cat 5 cables ?
There is a lot of info available on the net on Cat 5 speaker cables but no leads on interconnects.
I and a friend of mine have built cat 5 interconnects - braiding the 4 sets of wires and terminating the same with RCA connectors. The sound seems to have improved in the areas of instrument separation, bass extention and openness, but is not as smooth when compared to our reference, the vdh D102 IIIs.
Please let me know your views.
I've not tried interconnects with Cat 5, but in the near future will be building some interconnects using 30ga fine silver wire with teflon insulation. The last of my materials should arrive later this week. I ended up using 3 vendors: Myron Toback for silver wire ($25 for 220ft of 30ga wire), McMaster-Carr for teflon insulation ($6 per 100ft of 28ga), and Home Grown Audio for RCA termination ($14/set of 4). Final cost is less than $20 for a 1 meter pair.
There are two configurations I want to experiment with: One is using a single wire for each conductor, or using multiple wires for each conductor. Most of what I have come across argues for small gauga silver wire, teflon insulation, and an "air core" widing around another tube. Should be interesting to compare them to my Monster's... It will be a little while before I get the time to do this - hopefully not too long!
If you are looking for a good source for Cat 5 wire, try Radio Shack #910-1603. Its Belden 1583A Plenum (teflon) wire, they are having a sale for $0.25/ft - not a bad price!
Cat 5 interconnect
Thinking about this a little bit more, I'd be curious to hear your impressions of your 8-strand woven Cat 5 interconnect vs. a more minimalist design like the Kimber Kable 'hero' interconnect which only has 3 strands woven together. Do you have any of the Cat 5 left over for a quick experiment?
I've built two sets of interconnects using one pair of cat5 wire, teflon tape, a foil shield, and the locking RCAs from parts express. I varied the design a bit on the second one to put more separation between the shield and the conductor in order to reduce leakage capacitance.
It's funny, but I'm also using the VDH D102mIIIs as a reference. Overall, the cat5 cables are very transparent, but they seem bright and a little harse compared the the VDHs. For $20/pair or so, they are certainly a better deal than most budget cables. However, some of the more refined cables I've heard have them beat.
cat 5 interconnects
Dear Jon T,
I find your feedback absolutely correct.
There are a couple of points though that came up on longer auditioning-
1. When connected from the DAC to the amplifier (Musical Fidelity X-ACT and X-A1 in my case), the sound becomed too bright. I don't know whether there is a problem of my preamp overloading, but with the D102 IIIs, its lot smoother and musical.
2. The output from the cable is much higher than the D102 IIIs.
3. The tonality of the cable is a lot different from the D102s. Changing between the cables, and using a piano CD and a real piano as a reference, the vdh d102 IIIs sound more like the original than the cat 5 interconnects.
I agree that price-wise the cat 5 is hard to beat, but I now prefer my reference d102 IIIs.
CAT5 was "designed" to minimize capacitance and inductance. The twist for minimal ind. and the dielectric insulation for minimal cap.
Have you tied just using a pair of wires? Try not to disturb the twists specially at the ends. I've seen some network cable installers that strip the cables back about a foot and untwist the ends! Bad!
I've used them for speaker wires but I haven't tried them for interconnects.
Another thing for RCA connectors. Canare makes TRUE 75Ohm RCA connectors. This would be great for digital audio, close enough to 110 Ohm.
Hope this helps!
DIY Silver Interconnects
Just a note to update you on my new DIY Silver Interconnects. I have finally completed enough ICs to connect my CD player to the Preamp, the Preamp the to Dolby Digital Decoder and the DD to the Amps (Pfew!). I used the recipe from Chris VenHaus.
The Results: I don't have the VDH D102mIIIs that others are comparing ICs to, and have never made ICs from CAT5. I have compared them to Monster 550i and 950i (which are TONS better than stock ICs that ship with components!). The primary difference I notice is MUCH clearer and much more treble. My CD player has 2 analog outputs, so I was able to run the Silvers and the Monsters into different inputs and switch back and forth between them. The difference is VERY easy to pick out. I haven't noticed huge differences in imaging or soundstaging, but I've recently switched to longer, lower quality speaker cables (from Tara's to 12 ga zip cord) to accomodate moving my equipment to a nearby closet away from my baby boy. I suspect better quality speaker cables will reveal even more benefits to the Silvers.
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