Cat5e vs. Cat6 for DIY speaker cables - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 53 Old 07-16-2008, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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A while back I decided to make some DIY Cat5 cables. It turns out that I really like them and want to make some more. I have been searching for some more cable and have been trying to read up on what cable to buy. The cable I currently use is plenum rated Cat5. After some more research I have figured that Cat5e or Cat6 is probably a better way to go for the second round of cables. I am trying to figure out if Cat6 will provide any benefits over Cat5e as speaker cable? I know it has benefits for data, but how much of that will transfer into speaker cables and will it be audible?

Please don't let this thread turn into an argument if Cat5 cables are good or any other arguments about cheap wire vs. high end and so on. Lets keep it to the basis of Cat5 vs. Cat6 for speaker cable.
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post #2 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone...?
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post #3 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 03:45 PM
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Speaker wire is the best for speaker wire.
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post #4 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tokerblue View Post

Speaker wire is the best for speaker wire.

Well if you read the post I stated that this was not about what is best for speaker wire. It was about the difference between Cat5e and Cat6.
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post #5 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 04:48 PM
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Cat6 can provide better "future proofing" over 5e.
Personally... I wouldn't use it for speakers without using baluns (which could be expensive).
http://www.broadbandutopia.com/caandcaco.html

And in defense of the previous poster... your "title" does specifically state, "Cat5e vs. Cat6 for DIY speaker cables". So, IMO, his response was appropriate.
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post #6 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 04:50 PM
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Good luck on your quest for an answer. My post was simply to point out the reason that you've received 50+ views and no response. Cat5 cabling is not popular on the AVS forums for use in speaker wire. There isn't any reason that Cat6 would be any more popular.
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post #7 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Cat6 can provide better "future proofing" over 5e.
Personally... I wouldn't use it for speakers without using baluns (which could be expensive).
http://www.broadbandutopia.com/caandcaco.html

And in defense of the previous poster... your "title" does specifically state, "Cat5e vs. Cat6 for DIY speaker cables". So, IMO, his response was appropriate.

Thanks for the link. The title of the post is comparing the two against each other, not against other cables.
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post #8 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tokerblue View Post

Good luck on your quest for an answer. My post was simply to point out the reason that you've received 50+ views and no response. Cat5 cabling is not popular on the AVS forums for use in speaker wire. There isn't any reason that Cat6 would be any more popular.

This is not meant to be a popularity contest. I have tried different cables and they seem to be what I personally like, which is the most important thing.
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post #9 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 05:58 PM
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That's what's great about asking first. You can get opinions and hopefully make an informed descision.

So... you can use:
Cat3
Cat5
Cat5e
Cat6

IMO, if you're running new cable. Why not use Cat6? Or... run "speaker wire". If you "like" Cat5 and happy with it's performance, then why ask? Do as you please. I'm confused...
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post #10 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 06:05 PM
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I am trying to figure out if Cat6 will provide any benefits over Cat5e as speaker cable?

Zero difference! its strictly a gauge issue here!

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post #11 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by penngray View Post

Zero difference! its strictly a gauge issue here!

The design of Cat5e and Cat6 are different and things such as crosstalk and capacitance come into play. Does that only apply to data. I would assume some of it would transfer over to the speaker cable design.

P.S. are you also on the Emotiva Lounge? I think I have seen your name over there a couple of times.
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post #12 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

That's what's great about asking first. You can get opinions and hopefully make an informed descision.

So... you can use:
Cat3
Cat5
Cat5e
Cat6

IMO, if you're running new cable. Why not use Cat6? Or... run "speaker wire". If you "like" Cat5 and happy with it's performance, then why ask? Do as you please. I'm confused...

I am happy with the Cat5, but I was just wondering if upgrading the wire could still give me some improvement or benefits.
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post #13 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 06:50 PM
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Quote:


The design of Cat5e and Cat6 are different and things such as crosstalk and capacitance come into play. Does that only apply to data. I would assume some of it would transfer over to the speaker cable design.

P.S. are you also on the Emotiva Lounge? I think I have seen your name over there a couple of times.

I do believe it only applies to data but I can not google and find the science behind that short answer

Yes, Im a member of Emotiva, I own their speakers, pre/pro and some amps but I have only posted a couple of times.

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post #14 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 06:56 PM
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Specifically for "speaker wire"... probably not.
Again... if you're adding new wire runs, then use Cat6. No brainer. You said you did the research and see that 5e and 6 is "probably a better way to go". So... IMO, use it.

If you want to "upgrade", use 14 or 12 AWG speaker wire. Also, run Cat6 and RG6 coax to future proof for any additions/applications.

I'm still confused. You ask a question, get recommendations and then seem to criticize any response.

If you do not intend to run new cable and are happy/pleased with what you have, then why ask?
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post #15 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Specifically for "speaker wire"... probably not.
Again... if you're adding new wire runs, then use Cat6. No brainer. You said you did the research and see that 5e and 6 is "probably a better way to go". So... IMO, use it.

If you want to "upgrade", use 14 or 12 AWG speaker wire. Also, run Cat6 and RG6 coax to future proof for any additions/applications.

I'm still confused. You ask a question, get recommendations and then seem to criticize any response.

If you do not intend to run new cable and are happy/pleased with what you have, then why ask?

The only people that I am criticizing are those who are making comments that are irrelevant to the question. To the others, I am questioning only because I am looking for clarification. I have read a lot of things and some have different facts. Just trying to sort it all out thats all.
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post #16 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jlafrenz View Post

I am happy with the Cat5, but I was just wondering if upgrading the wire could still give me some improvement or benefits.


NO
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post #17 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by speco2003 View Post

NO

Can you give reasons as to why there will be no improvement?
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post #18 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlafrenz View Post

The only people that I am criticizing are those who are making comments that are irrelevant to the question. To the others, I am questioning only because I am looking for clarification. I have read a lot of things and some have different facts. Just trying to sort it all out thats all.

The confusion is about carrying audio wave forms as an AC current vs. carrying data at a high bit rate. Audio waveforms aren't affected much by wire capacitance unless there is a whole lot of it. Is Cat 5 or 6 good for speaker wire? Not particularly but it will work since it is, after all, a twisted pair if copper wires. Are the twists likely to create enough inductance to alter the waveforms? Probably not but common sense would tell us not to twist the wires just in case it did. Yes I know, one audio cable company sells a twisted pair calle PBJ. It is a head scratcher. I doubt using CAT 5 or 6 would hurt anything but there are better and cheaper alternatives so why not use them? Is one type of CAT cable less bad than the other? No, not really. That's the answer you were looking for, I think.

The audio industry likes to take electronic phenomena that don't fit audio and use them as marketing tools. A good example with wire is skin effect. Skin effect is meaninful at radio frequencies. It is a factor engineers consider when designing radio transmission lines. But skin effect is meaninless at audio frequencies. Completely meaningless. To use skin effect as tool to market audio wire is specious. Perhaps ridiculous would be better word. Neverthe less it happens all the time in the high end audio business.

Just apply common sense to things audio and you will usually head in the right direction. Common sense would lead you to consider that wire manufactured for transmitting audio to speakers is probably the best solution.
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post #19 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlafrenz View Post

Can you give reasons as to why there will be no improvement?


Sure but as well can you give me reasons cat 5 or 6 is better than regular speaker wire?


First copper is copper. Second as long as you use the correct gauge for your job then that is all you need. There is ZERO magic in any cable, and that includes Cat 5.

Here is some nice tech info for you.



http://www.audioholics.com/education...er-cable-gauge
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post #20 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jlafrenz View Post

Can you give reasons as to why there will be no improvement?

How would he do that? It wouldn't be hard to explain why something happens. Explaining why it doesn't is a little more difficult. It might be something like asking me why I'm not 7 feet tall. I have no idea and no explanation for it.
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post #21 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 07:54 PM
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Primarily... it is not intended to be used as "speaker wire".
The best upgrade is to use 12 or 14 AWG speaker wire.
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post #22 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speco2003 View Post

Sure but as well can you give me reasons cat 5 or 6 is better than regular speaker wire?


First copper is copper. Second as long as you use the correct gauge for your job then that is all you need. There is ZERO magic in any cable, and that includes Cat 5.

Here is some nice tech info for you.



http://www.audioholics.com/education...er-cable-gauge

I did not say that Cat5 cables are better than any other cables out there. They are merely what my ear prefer. I have tested them against other cables and they are what I seemed to like the most. I believe that it is a matter of personal preference for cables.

Here is another audioholics article

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/c...-cable-faceoff
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post #23 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

How would he do that? It wouldn't be hard to explain why something happens. Explaining why it doesn't is a little more difficult. It might be something like asking me why I'm not 7 feet tall. I have no idea and no explanation for it.

Very valid and point taken. I just wondered if there was any data out there that could back up his statement. Not saying that he is wrong. Just wanted to become more educated.
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post #24 of 53 Old 07-17-2008, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlafrenz View Post

I did not say that Cat5 cables are better than any other cables out there. They are merely what my ear prefer. I have tested them against other cables and they are what I seemed to like the most. I believe that it is a matter of personal preference for cables.

Here is another audioholics article

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/c...-cable-faceoff


Awesome great. If you wish to go to the trouble of using cat 5, 6 or whatever do it. Will you be able to hear better sound wih Cat 6. Yes YOU will. The rest of us poor saps will stick with speaker cable. That table shows that Cat5 tested better in that test.And it was just his opinion, I quote from the page"So, here before you, I give you my opinion on which of these cable is the best" end. Could you or me or the tester pick them out blind?
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post #25 of 53 Old 07-18-2008, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlafrenz View Post

I did not say that Cat5 cables are better than any other cables out there. They are merely what my ear prefer. I have tested them against other cables and they are what I seemed to like the most. I believe that it is a matter of personal preference for cables.

Here is another audioholics article

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/c...-cable-faceoff


Purely a matter of personal preference. Many of us have spent years proving that competently made wires don't affect sound in home audio systems. Bias and preference is the only explanation.
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post #26 of 53 Old 07-18-2008, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlafrenz View Post

I did not say that Cat5 cables are better than any other cables out there. They are merely what my ear prefer. I have tested them against other cables and they are what I seemed to like the most. I believe that it is a matter of personal preference for cables.

Here is another audioholics article

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/c...-cable-faceoff

There are two general ways to make cat5 style speaker cables.

A. Parallel the cables on a per sheath basis, as per the article. This method:

1. Reduces the inductance slightly as a result of splitting the current among several conductors. Since the current is spread out a bit, the reluctance path for the field lines is longer, so the inductance goes down.

2. Increases the capacitance slightly...

B. Parallel the internal twisted pairs. (connect all stripes together, connect all solids together..This method:

1. Causes the inductance to plummet, as the twisted pairs internally are actually twisted differently to reduce crosstalk between pairs. The inductance will be approximately 150 uH / number of pairs which are paralleled.

2. Causes the capacitance to rocket, the value equal to slightly more that the pair capacitance times the number of pairs.

3. The characteristic impedance of the entire cable assembly will be 100 ohms divided by the number of pairs that are paralleled. (I've personally used this to create a 4 ohm transmission line for high speed pulses, it was fantastic for 70 volt pulses with 10 uSec rise times..not an audio application of course...)

Method B can be an issue if the amplifier is hot...high bandwidth, as the capacitance of the cable in conjunction with a load impedance which falls below the line impedance, can easily cause oscillation of the amp...not good.

Resistance of course, will be the same regardless of the construct geometry, and dependent only on the number of wires paralleled.

I believe the cable has insufficient guage, but that's my opinion. I believe the guage difference is probably sufficient to be noticeable...making a cable with adequate guage would probably give ten microfarads per foot

OH, btw..using method B completely detaches the electrical specifications from the geometry, there is no reason to play braiding games. Method A does.



Cheers, John

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post #27 of 53 Old 07-18-2008, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speco2003 View Post

Awesome great. If you wish to go to the trouble of using cat 5, 6 or whatever do it. Will you be able to hear better sound wih Cat 6. Yes YOU will. The rest of us poor saps will stick with speaker cable. That table shows that Cat5 tested better in that test.And it was just his opinion, I quote from the page"So, here before you, I give you my opinion on which of these cable is the best" end. Could you or me or the tester pick them out blind?


Actually, I believe "his opinion" was as defined using the metric weights.

My concern was really the values given to each parametric's weighing function, as I wasn't sure how each weight could be analytically determined.

Cheers, John

ps..was at Shea Stadium Wednesday...awesome performance, but the side fill towers were inadequate for the task. Voice was unintelligable in the upper deck. They needed to double what they hung, and add at least two more cabs to the bottom to point the top cabs more towards the upper.

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post #28 of 53 Old 07-18-2008, 07:43 AM
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I would also question the use of Cat cable for speaker wires. Is it a cost factor? If so, the cost difference wouldn't be very great if you using reasonable lengths of runs. Besides, 12 or 14 gauge speaker wire is readily available, and probably preferable just due to it's greater dimension for carrying audio signals.

http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage....ctGroup_ID=376
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post #29 of 53 Old 07-18-2008, 08:13 AM
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They are merely what my ear prefer. I have tested them against other cables and they are what I seemed to like the most. I believe that it is a matter of personal preference for cables.

Here is another audioholics article

Placebo effects are wonderful in the AV world Also audioholics is not a scientific source at all in my books

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post #30 of 53 Old 07-18-2008, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlafrenz View Post

They are merely what my ear prefer.

Then why are you asking your original question? Get some cat 6 cable and run you own test. Since you apparently can discern the difference in cables, why would you trust anybody else's opinion, let alone make a decision based on some specs that don't translate directly into audio quality.
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