Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by Knightshade, Apr 21, 2005.
Anyone played around with shielded CAT6 cable, specifically for speaker cable?
Shielded within the conductors doesn't sound like a great plan to me. Overall shielding perhaps but not on the individual cables or conductors.
Didn't make that very clear did I?
The shielding is between the 8 cables and the outer sheath. There is also an earth wire running the length of the cable and about 4 individual 'string' (for want of a better word) running with the cables.
Hmmm. From a geometry point of view I'd expect it to be worse when braided compared to your current Cat5 stuff as you're seperating the conductors further so generating a higher capacitance. Shielding the cables will also reduce the inductance benefits that the normal Cat5 designs have.
There's only one way to find out but just because it's better for computer networking certainly doesn't mean that it will be better when used in a completely different manner to which it was intended!
Normal CAT5 speaker cable geometry is to use one half of each twisted pair for each direction, so AFAIK the capacitance in question wouldn't change if the pairs themselves were further apart (well, not meaningfully anyway). Not true if you use one cable for out and one for back or some such configuration, but that's only sensible if you aren't worried about high frequencies anyway. Not sure it would make a meaningful difference to inductance either come to that.
So, I wouldn't expect much of a loss (apart from it being harder to use), but not sure why you would use it either
Greg, as you may or may not know, Knightshade is currently using a variant of this design for his speaker cable:
So if I didn't know better he's got the next "upgrade" visible on the horizon. You're right that the differences will be marginal at best (but that is of course the case with all cables anyway ), I however think that assuming that Cat6 will be better as a speaker cable design because it's better networking cable is flawed logic. If I were to try anything it would be to put an overall mylar and foil shield around the cables he already has which is grounded to an earth socket.
Didn't know, but not surprised. I used another of the TNT based designs (6 cable plait - can't remember the posh name), but having got in the mindset of splitting the strands I split the whole lot as well as wiring it for bi-wire - I was burying it a wall & didn't want to discover it should have been different later on
Absolutely agreed. It feels a bit full circle - We started with CAT5 outperforms many expensive speaker cables but is, in fact, dirt cheap. Doesn't follow that more expensive network cable will be any better - but probably no worse, so if you have it sitting round the house anyway, no harm done.
I found subtle differences between various types/quality cat5 cable. As Eviljohn has said not much in it but there none the less. I've never played with Cat6. I just happened to notice it had the shield and it just set me to pondering the possibilities. If you don't try you won't know. Hey ho....
A fair point and we do have to address and discuss it whilst most people probably just watch in a confused way having not attempted the design and build it yourself (DABIY) route yet.
My thinking isn't that shielding is necessarily a bad thing, just that putting into the middle of the cable construction can't be of any benefit.
But, is it really in the middle of the cable? might depend on how you think about the topology. It's actually around the whole of the outside (where you'd expect it to be) - just also around a lump of the middle (where it probably does no harm). It also occurs to be that this might be a good construction to use if you are trying to listen to really high-fi in the middle of an electrically disasterous environment - say if your speaker cables run a kilometer or so across a high hill in a thunderstorm. And, as I think further, I don't remember Knightshade saying where it was to be used, so maybe he is really one step ahead
The entertainment value is priceless......!
Well, the shield in effect will be seperating each channel. Grounded at one end. I shall eagerly await the next lightning storm to test it.
Ah, so I was right . Therefore it seems worth expanding on the thinking of a lighting-proof CAT6 based cable. There is another issue - the shield will protect from the EMI from nearby lighting, but you are running a good ground over a high hill. So, you may get a direct strike, and that would be disasterous - you might lose the shield and then have small pops from future lighting bolts (assuming anything you owned survived the strike - but if you are doing it you might as well do it right).
Therefore, I propose a mod. First strip the outer off your CAT6 cables. Then carefully unwind the foil shield, lay some regular lightning conductor to it (you know the stuff 5mmx40mm copper bar). Then rewind the foil and use some expanding sleeving to cover it up again. Now, stake the lightning conductor enhanced foil shield to a damn great metal stake in the ground, and Bob's your uncle - lightning-strike proof shielded speaker cable. Clearly, the flexibility of the cable will have suffered (try a big vice and a crowbar for routing) - but hey, sometimes you have to put up with minor inconveniences to KNOW you have the best you can have.
Getting that one past the wife may be a problem.... I can see routing under carpet could be an issue too. Gotta have it mate!
Knightshae stop it right now.
My wife has not forgiven me for the amount of time taken to make up the CAT5 stuff, if she saw me buying this CAT6 stuff (cause you gave a good review) she would file for divorce.
For those who are interested. As you know I made up some shielded Cat6 cable. Basically 4 runs per speaker. Initial thoughts weren't too bad bit grainy missing a certain sparkle. Kept them in over the bank holiday and I guess I got used to it. Anyway I switched back to my six strand CAT5 yesterday evening and I realised just what I'd done!
CAT6 (Atleast the configuration I used) was lacking slightly - not much, but slightly in the bass department. High's were slightly grainier as well, again not by much. Where it really fell over was in the midrange! This just sounded flat, lifeless. In fact it sounded just like some QED silver anniversary cable I had lying around! (Sorry - Pet hate of mine!)
I knew it wasn't perfect but I didn't realise quite how bad it was.
Might be usefull to know if anyone's getting if anyones thinking of going down the Cat6 route and using a 4 cable design - don't bother, stick with 6x cat5.
You're quite safe gerbilly......
Thank god for that!
John predicted correctly.
Eviljohn. Do I hear the murmurings of an "I told you so' Knight?
Pride, of course, comes before a fall.......
Anyone wanna buy some CAT6 Cable????
Nah, I'd have been just as happy if the Cat6 had been better. I'm more interested in considering why there's a difference which I think I covered in my earlier posts. You'll also remember that I'm something of a cable sceptic so naturally have to take your report with a grain of salt.
Knightshade, sounds to me that your optimum CSA of copper seems to be : 6xCAT5s. Ive experimented in tha past with a few different types of CAT5 from PVC, LSZH Polyefelin & Teflon Plenum, Solid Multistrand, FFRC method and opposing polarity Colout Code method, All I can say is that no-one stood out as being different. I quickly settled on the 3xCAT5 opposing polarity CC mode, 4+ made no difference. Ive read a few cable believers telling me that CAT5 is : crap, Belden is best, Teflon is best, PVC is crap, multistrand is crap, and Im prepared to see that CAT6 blows away CAT5 but Im glad you have heard the light as it were.
For cheap homebrew cabling it cannot be beaten, never mind what many audiophiles say.
FWIW I have been using Van Damme Highly acclaimed (even cable fiends are liking this stuff just now) Blue Series of speaker cables from Maplins recently due to SWMBO problems (ie cant run CAT5 behind some radiators in my new listening room) and guess what sounds as good as 3xCAT5 to these ears. Im not into CAT5 blowing expensive cables TBH it clearly does for a few listeners, but as a benchmark level of what other cable believing audiophiles think its up there with the Van Damme stuff to these ears which BTW is identical to this £11 a metre Pro-AC loudspeaker cable :
PS Im with EvilJ on the scepticism side too.
CJROSS and EVILJOHN,
It would've been nice if it worked. The cables marginally easier to work with than Cat5, slightly thicker gauge as well.
I think one of the main problems the hi fi world faces is the mindset that if it costs thousands it must be good. I know I used to be guilty of that.
Glad to see the scepticism still going strong. That's what makes this forum interesting there's usually a nice balance of opinions.
Indeed that's very much the case. In this instance I think it's more to do with the thinking that because the wire type is better for networking it will be better as a speaker cable which doesn't seem to be the case and certainly isn't all of the time. Fortunately the converse is often true where things designed for other uses can be transferred over to the hifi world, obvious examples being Cat5 cable, squash balls and the BFD.
How are you getting on with your new DAC by the way KS?
Slowly John, slowly, from the initial rush I've hit more than a few snags. Sourcing quality components being the major stumbling block. I've had to go abroad for virtually every component! A bit disappointing really as it would be nice to use British manufacturers but I've found two major problems with them. 1. Their components are usually of poor quality and 'matched pairs' of resistors and capacitors sometimes don't come close. 2. (and this is the most annoying thing) they aren't interested!
What happened to service and quality in this Country...?
Election day rant over.....
CJ glad to see someone else has found Van Damme cables. I also have the 4 core 4mm cable for my fronts in my home cinema, and also the 2.5mm 2 core for my centre speaker and there is no doubting it is excellent. A superior cable to QED SA at a fraction of the cost, and so flexible and easy to work with.
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