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Taperwood 12th May 2006 12:03 AM

Cat 5 internal wiring, single strand or multiple?
Cat 5 has 8 strands. For internal wiring, is it best to use a single strand for each terminal or four strands for each, or something in between? Or wires of 8 strands each?

What about stripping the outer sheathing off and using the wires loose or keeping it as one 'big' wire except at the ends?

What's the consensus? I see this mentioned a lot, but no one explains exactly how they use it.


lousymusician 12th May 2006 03:47 AM

All of the above have been done, and more variations besides. There's no consensus because audiophiles never seem to agree on anything!

In the pair of BIB's I'm building I'm using all eight strands, 4 colors for +, 4 white for -. For a longer run, I might braid three runs of Cat 5, and then terminate them the same way (12 for +, 12 for -).

Taperwood 12th May 2006 04:24 AM

Thanks. For what it's worth, on the last three projects I have built, I used four strands each, like you. It seemed the simplest and least fussy way to do it.


deiksac 12th May 2006 11:33 AM

I would braid even more, perhaps 24 strands for + and another 24 strands for ground, using braided 3×CAT5 as ls connect sucks, not enough bass, braided cable made from 2×12×0,75 mm2 sounded ways better

Bob Brines 12th May 2006 12:43 PM

You didn't state what drivers you are using, but let's assume that you are using reasonably efficient full-rangers. That means that you max power levels are in the 5 watt range. A 3 ' run of single pair Cat5 gives you about 0.15 ohm for the out and back. Assuming an 8 ohm driver, that gives you a 2% voltage drop in the wiring. Some one else can finish the math, but this is an inaudible drop in SPL. There is no need for more than a single pair of Cat5 for internal wiring in a reasonably high efficiency speaker.

Using the same logic, my 12' speaker cables are 2 pair star wound Cat5. This is probably over-kill, but I've at least done SOMETHING more than just a single run of Cat5. The high count Cat5 cable formulas make no sense except to jack the cable capacitance out of sight.


AndrewT 12th May 2006 01:21 PM

I have seen the CAT5 recommendation. I like it because you have separately insulated cores.

Try adopting different core combinations for the different drivers.

Two or three pairs (.4sqmm/.6sqmm) for the treble driver. Four pairs (.8sqmm) for the midrange driver. Six or eight pairs (1.2sqmm/1.6sqmm) for the bass driver.
For the short runs inside the speaker these should adequately cope with voltage drops and heat generation.

Have you considered using the CAT5 option for the external cables? They are relatively cheap, even if you go for 8pairs upto 3m long and 12pairs for 3m to 6m long. 12 pairs at 6m long per channel comes to 36m of CAT5 or about $10 for stereo. Bi-wiring only adds $5 for the treble units or a total of about $20 to tri-wire at 6m long to each side.

westend 12th May 2006 01:36 PM

I've used single Cat5, four (4) pair per terminal with 85db drivers with success. Length of run was approx. 5'. Has anyone done a Litz wire braid with smallish guage wire?

one1speed 12th May 2006 03:57 PM

I've used Cat 5, just splitting up a single run as stated above, 4 wires per side. When doing this, it's been said it's best to split the solids and stripes to + and -. Each twist inside the outer housing twists at a different rate, so their shielded by design.

I've tried one wire per side, (+ and-) and didn't care for it, no low end. Could work for supertweets though.

However, I'm now using 47 labs OTA with 1 wire per + and -. Has to be about the same gage as Cat 5, strange thing is, this seems to work realy well with plenty of low end. Truly wonderful wire if you can swing it, or find smaller pieces for sale.

Kensai 12th May 2006 05:55 PM

I believe using 4+/4- of 24ga solid core stuff is approximately 15ga effective, right? I don't hear any difference using runs like this as external speaker cable from my nice 10ga runs or the same length. Its "probably" "just fine" to use ;)


Taperwood 12th May 2006 07:18 PM

FYI Bob Brines: Right now, I'm working with a Fostex FE108 Sigma, 92 dB. Given your input, it sounds like any full ranger or two-way would be covered by one 8-strand cable (or more if the builder chooses).

Well, it's a relief to know that just about any combination will work for short runs. So I'm just going to stick with four strands each in the future for full rangers.

one1speed: I just realized, aren't the solids and stripes of each color in the same twist? If so how could they be twisted differently. Now I'm confused. It's almost lunch, so I will go look at some cable and get right back.


ps: I edited my original reply to one1speed.

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