Audio Cable used for CAT 5 /6?

Help Support GroupDIY:

nielsk

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
Messages
1,582
Location
Megapopulas, Florida
I have a need to run at least six channels of CAT 5 / 6 cable in a snake at least 150'.
As this interface format consists of 4 twisted pairs for transmit and receive signals, is there any reason why good quality twisted pair individually shielded audio snake cable would not work well for this?
From my searching, multichannel CAT 5 /6 cable is difficult to come by and very expensive, and I have ample audio cable.
Terminating to panel mount female RJ45 connectors presents no problem.

Thanks!
 

emrr

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Messages
7,893
Location
NC, USA
Basic Cat5e/6 is cheap, the expensive part is the breakout boxes, which you may not need. I just got a couple 200" CAT6 for DANTE use at about $38/ea. You can spend more like $150 for more robust jacketing from Whirlwind/Markertek/etc.
 

Bo Deadly

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Messages
2,685
Location
New Jersey, USA
I have a need to run at least six channels of CAT 5 / 6 cable in a snake at least 150'.
As this interface format consists of 4 twisted pairs for transmit and receive signals, is there any reason why good quality twisted pair individually shielded audio snake cable would not work well for this?
From my searching, multichannel CAT 5 /6 cable is difficult to come by and very expensive, and I have ample audio cable.
Terminating to panel mount female RJ45 connectors presents no problem.
It's very possible that it will not work. For short runs it would fine. But for long runs the impedance, which is defined by the inductance and capacitance of each conductor, is important as the high frequency data drivers / receivers are designed to work with lines that have a certain impedance.

What is "multichannel CAT 5/6" and why do you think you need something other than conventional Cat 6 cable like you can get from HomeDepot for probably $50 USD.
 

Gold

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2004
Messages
2,765
Location
Brooklyn
If it's analog audio and you want low crosstalk with UTP then you could use Belden Mediatwist. Each pair is in its own little channel and keeps equal geometry between pairs.
 

john12ax7

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
1,946
Location
California, US
If it's analog audio and you want low crosstalk with UTP then you could use Belden Mediatwist. Each pair is in its own little channel and keeps equal geometry between pairs.

Do you know a source for the Belden that has the connectors installed? I've only found the raw cable.
 

Gold

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2004
Messages
2,765
Location
Brooklyn
Do you know a source for the Belden that has the connectors installed? I've only found the raw cable.
I don’t. I have a roll of it. I use it for AES pairs. You need a special strip tool that is the shape of the cable.
 

abbey road d enfer

Well-known member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
13,278
Location
Marcelland
I have a need to run at least six channels of CAT 5 / 6 cable in a snake at least 150'.
As this interface format consists of 4 twisted pairs for transmit and receive signals, is there any reason why good quality twisted pair individually shielded audio snake cable would not work well for this?
From my searching, multichannel CAT 5 /6 cable is difficult to come by and very expensive, and I have ample audio cable.
Terminating to panel mount female RJ45 connectors presents no problem.
Quite funny, it's generally the other way round, someone wants to use CAT5 cable for transmitting audio.
Well, the answer somewaht depends on the nature of the signals.
Ethernet star specifies 100 ohms, token ring specifies 105 or 150, and phone wants 100 or 120.
On average, an audio cable is 110 ohms, that's the reason why the AES3 standard for digital audio has standardized this value.
It shows that audio cable is a probable candidate for your application.
But the proof is in the pudding...
Time to turn on the soldering iron.
 

mody1

New member
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
2
I have a need to run at least six channels of CAT 5 / 6 cable in a snake at least 150'.
As this interface format consists of 4 twisted pairs for transmit and receive signals, is there any reason why good quality twisted pair individually shielded audio snake cable would not work well for this?
From my searching, multichannel CAT 5 /6 cable is difficult to come by and very expensive, and I have ample audio cable.
Terminating to panel mount female RJ45 connectors presents no problem.

Thanks!
format of utp conversion is digital signal and you need cat 5 e cable because this is standard format. cat 6 is only good for higher speed but this is not required , if you would use twisted audio cable for digital transport you get alot of thesame resonator freq peak because of typ winding of pairs and utp cable has 4 different winded pairs so they interference @different frequencies and dont count together 1+1 =2 or 1+0.1 = 1.1
 

kaltavilla

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2017
Messages
7
Cat5 and Cat6 work for high speed data transfer because the electrical relationship between all the pairs is consistently maintained . Each pair has a specific function, and the # of twists per foot, the capacitance between conductors and between pairs is very carefully engineered for minimal loss at the high frequencies needed for data. That said, you could use 4 pairs of audio cable to act as data cable, but why would you? It won't work for long distances and will cost a lot more. If you want to use Cat5/6 to carry audio signals, note that the individual pairs of cat 5/6 are not shielded from each other, so the possibility of crosstalk between pairs is high, and with no shield, your signal is susceptible to EMI and RF noise. If your system requires cat5/6, buy good quality pre-made certified cables at whatever length you need. That way you are guaranteed that they will work. You could buy a decent cat5/6 crimper and ends, and with a little practice, get good at crimping rj45 connectors on, but a lot of times, the transport protocols are very finicky, and unless you maintain perfect distance between pairs when crimping, even though all your wires are in the right location in the connector, it still might not work, especially at longer distances. My advice... if it is shorter lengths, under 50ft, and you need cat6, get premade cat6 cables from monoprice, don't buy the cheapest ones they make, don't buy stupid extra gold plated nonsense cables either. You are thinking too hard. just get what the system asks for.

You need to make a snake? Contact a cable assembly house, like Clark Wire and Cable, in Illinois, they can make a snake for you, put it all under techflex, terminate the ends and test with a proper network tester to guarantee it will perform to cat 5 or cat 6 specs.

To do it yourself buy a roll of cat 6, cat 6 versions of RJ45 connectors (NOT the EZ45's that poke the cable through the front of the connector, they rarely work at high speeds), and a crimper made specifically for cat 6, and get yourself a little cat5/6 continuity tester, that way you can be sure all wires at both end are in the right spot in the connector and passing signal. This won't test with actual data but if you are somewhat careful when crimping it should be good enough. you are not sending data through this assembly at 10Gb/sec, so the cable doesn't need to be perfect.
 
Last edited:

abbey road d enfer

Well-known member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
13,278
Location
Marcelland
format of utp conversion is digital signal and you need cat 5 e cable because this is standard format. cat 6 is only good for higher speed but this is not required , if you would use twisted audio cable for digital transport you get alot of thesame resonator freq peak because of typ winding of pairs and utp cable has 4 different winded pairs so they interference @different frequencies and dont count together 1+1 =2 or 1+0.1 = 1.1
Typical audio cables have separate shield for each pair, so interference between pairs is negligible to start with.
 

abbey road d enfer

Well-known member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
13,278
Location
Marcelland
Cat5 and Cat6 work for high speed data transfer because the electrical relationship between all the pairs is consistently maintained . Each pair has a specific function, and the # of twists per foot, the capacitance between conductors and between pairs is very carefully engineered for minimal loss at the high frequencies needed for data. That said, you could use 4 pairs of audio cable to act as data cable, but why would you? It won't work for long distances and will cost a lot more.
The OP says he already has the audio cables. Using them would cost less than buying any kind of CAT5 cable.
 

nielsk

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
Messages
1,582
Location
Megapopulas, Florida
Thanks for all the replies!
I have run & terminated literally thousands of feet of CAT 5 / 6 cable in the past and it has to be about the worst cable to deal with. Running multiple lines through conduit pulls or field deployment is torture. I have found a few "snake" type multichannel products ( see Clark CNS6C5 Cat5 Snake Cable)
but they are very expensive and look to me like individually shielded twisted pairs, hence my wondering is decent Audio cable would work.
This is running for proprietary multichannel digital audio over CAT 5 / 6 in a HEAR cue system.
Fiber is not an option in this case (too bad, I love fiber!)
I know these are other better ways to do this but despite my suggestions that is not going to happen so I should probably contact the manufacturer and consult with them.
 

Bo Deadly

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Messages
2,685
Location
New Jersey, USA
That snake with a jacket looks like it's for non-permanent installations. If you're running it through conduit or if it's for some kind of permanent installation, can you not just make a bundle of conventional CAT 5/6, attach it to the end of a fish tape, pull it through and then terminate?
 

FIX

Paul Wolff
Joined
May 5, 2021
Messages
67
Location
Nashville
Remember that the key to using CAT cable for audio is common mode rejection or CMMR. Since CAT cable is designed to be a twisted pair balanced data stream cable, it is good for rejecting outside interference. The higher you go with the CAT level (6 VS 5) the better the twist is and the better the ability to reject is. Having a shield is a plus for any application. The cable used for FOH to stage is good for either audio or digital.

Dave Rat has a whole like and a lot of good information on this.
 

moamps

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Messages
1,872
Location
Croatia, HR
I have one experience from about 10 years ago with using audio multicore for network connection.
Usually in my set of audio cables I also had a few CAT 6 S/FTP 20-30 meter long cables and 4xXLR-RJ45 patch cables in case of an emergency when it is necessary to quickly make a longer audio connection at an event. This time the young talent needed a network connection on stage for his laptop but his WIFI card did not work so he could not connect to the existing WIFI access network. Setting up a network cable was not possible because the show was already running, so I connected two free audio channels on an existing multicore to a network switcher on my side and an equal patch cable on its side (10/100Mbps works with two network pairs). The network connection worked that way but only at 10Mbps, and the gig went well. But I would never do that again.
 

boji

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
2,134
Location
Maryland, USA
+1 on Paul's suggestion, Rat Sound etherCON. Expensive, but good. Sometimes used spools can be found on reverb/ebay.

Supercat (Violet jacket) is what I'm using for data, though not nearly at the frequency of OP's D/A system.
TP's keep position via rubberized injection molding.

How many pairs are used for the Hear system? Perhaps re-terminating HDMI cables would do the do?

Running multiple lines through conduit pulls or field deployment is torture.
"We just finished the drywall, come run some cable for us?" 😒😑
 
Last edited:

kaltavilla

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2017
Messages
7
The OP says he already has the audio cables. Using them would cost less than buying any kind of CAT5 cable.
But audio cable really doesn't work as a data cable. He needs it to work. The best analogy I can think of is speaker cable. You could use two stretched out coat hangers wrapped in electrical tape as speaker wire, and it would work, barley. But would you?
 
Last edited:

abbey road d enfer

Well-known member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
13,278
Location
Marcelland
But audio cable really doesn't work as a data cable.
Really? What is AES/EBU? Isn't it data?
The best analogy I can think of is speaker cable. You could use two stretched out coat hangers wrapped in electrical cable as speaker wire, and it would work, barley. But would you?
I would use it if I had no speaker cable and enough coat hangers.
When I was on tour in a very poor island, I was short on mic cables; I used standard 2-core electric cable, which was all that was available, and used it for the loudest mics.
Of course, I wouldn't do it for permanent use.
 

Latest posts

Top