Cat-5 Speaker Cables

cat5 speaker cable

Braiding 108 individual copper strands together is not my idea of fun, blistering my hands in the process isn’t a bonus either. If you’ve spent enough money on your audio system to even begin to think that the cables are the weak link in the chain, this is the project for you. Chris VenHaus starts with 14 lengths of Cat-5, strips off the jackets, and then braids the twisted pairs three at a time until the whole mess becomes one cable. That’s just one though, you’re going to have to do another one for the negative side. It does take some time, but it will get you out of paying the huge premium on audiophile quality cables and you’ll end up with very competitive sounding cables. I would try this, but my Aiwa shelf system with the masking tape across the changer tray probably wouldn’t benefit that much from an upgrade. Of course if someone makes a DIY braiding machine I’d be all over this.

[thanks sine~language]

Comments

  1. Matty D says:

    Just one question…. Other than looking cool why would you want to strip the original cat5 cable? I mean if you want to keep the noise cancelling properties of the cable just braid jacketed cables together and shrink wrap it! (:

  2. Marcin says:

    I’m sure I saw on an episode of Mythbusters they were using a slow speed powerdrill with an appropriate attachment to braid a cable. The guy was standing about 10 metres back from the drill and the cable was getting braided. Maybe i’m mistaken and it was just being twisted together. It’s been awhile. Still.. it’s got potential!

  3. nullset says:

    Audiophiles that think speaker cables matter are morons. I seriously heard someone once say that the nicer speaker cables were necessary so that “all the frequencies get to the speaker at the same time”.

    –buddy

  4. IMWeasel says:

    What joke and a complete waste of time. Like nullset said “audiophiles that think speaker cables matter are morons.” There is one minor exception to that though, my 200 watt stereo came with extremely cheap thin speaker cables. Like 24 guage wire. If that is what you have it can hurt the sound. But the solution is to go to your local home improvement store and buy a roll of 18 guage lamp cord and wire your speakers with that. It will sound as good as the audiophool stuff and only cost a few dollars.

  5. Tinlad says:

    buddy,

    Speaker cables do make a difference. It’s all about the resistance of the cable and the interconnects. Thinner cables cannot handle high power, and some of the signal is lost due to heating of the cable. OFC is better than regular copper as it has less resistance.

    It does make a difference.

    “All the frequencies get to the speaker at the same time”. That’s hilarious :-P

  6. bill swift says:

    Just a few comments for you guys:
    -Marcin: The drill idea is great! It doesn’t braid the wire, but you get the benefit of twist for noise reduction(very minor) & if you use just enough torque you will have shaped the jacket of the wire into the twist so that shring wrap isn’t necessary. You may want to heat shrink the ends for a cleaner look.
    -Buddy, actually ALL audiophiles think speaker cables matter! Just like the guys that tweak bios & overclock their computers look for every minor enhancement to the speed of the computer a true audiophile will do many little things to make their system sound better. Every part of the system is important to the degree of quality in the OVERALL system. The person who buys a $150,000 pair of Wilson Audio speakers won’t get the sound they expect with either a Radio Shack Realistic amplifier or crappy wires. Remember even the room is part of the system. Did you put an Nvidia 6800 with a Pentium II machine to play Doom 3? If you use a benchmark like that for your audio system you will definitely not see positive results from the test. Good gear + good cables + good room = better sound.

  7. tweaq says:

    i think he meant once you get the right wires, its not gonna make a difference. like the gold plated monster cables, to the cat5’s. but yeah, if you use some crappy broken ass, 30awg wire, thats gonna suck.

  8. peter giblin says:

    This may do it…. then again

    http://www.kidzworld.com/site/p2257.htm

  9. Gary Shell says:

    Ah, but “the bigger is better” wire theory does have diminishing returns. Get too large a guage and then you wind up with a capacitance issue resulting in atttenuated high end. I agree with others here, 18 or 16 guage lamp cord works just fine.

    Gary

  10. carpespasm says:

    lamp chord is about the best speaker cable i’ve seen unless you’re driving a large sub or something, but i found some little hair braiding toy http://www.presentsforyou.com/igtwde.html that looks like it might do the job pretty well. just replace where it says “hairstyle” with “cat-5″. maybe someone would like to make a greasemonkey script to do that?

  11. nullset says:

    I was referring mostly to the people who switch between ‘normal’ lamp cords and their platinum/gold/alloy of the week $400/ft cables and talk about how much better it sounds.

    Wire Gauge does make a difference, to a point…Moving your amps closer to your speakers will make much more of a difference than ‘upgrading’ to the wires your local best buy drone says are the best.

    I recommend anyone honestly interested in the stuff visit the study hall at http://www.prosoundweb.com

  12. thomas says:

    These can provide a tough load for amplifiers.. I believe they are very capacative?

    So your speaker may sound different (not better!) if your using these cables.

    Probably by an extremely small amount.

    lamp cord hidden under the carpet is definately the best cable for the money. Anything more is for looks or stupidity.

  13. Frank says:
  14. nich says:

    “why would you want to strip the original cat5 cable?”

    Most CAT-5 has an outer insulation of PVC. PVC is a fairly bad dielectric, so you’d want to heatshrink some polyolefin or kynar when you’ve finished braiding.

    “Audiophiles that think speaker cables matter are morons.”

    audiophiles who hear comments like this think it’s a shame more people have never heard music played through a decent system.

    “go to your local home improvement store and buy a roll of 18 guage lamp cord and wire your speakers with that”

    actually lower gauge isn’t as good. and neither is stranded copper. lower gauge and stranded copper can affect capacitance and resistance to a higher degree than using many single strands of solid core copper. hence the whole cat-5 idea. Also with lower gauge you’ll get an affect known as skinning, whereby the signal (when not toward the upper resistance limit of the cable) will travel towards the outside of the cable, this especially being true for higher frequencies. if you think this is bullshit and you can’t hear it on your system, thats fine, but many, many people can hear it on better systems.

    if you can be bothered making cables out of cat-5 (or cat-6) and actually use the right type of cat-6 (solid core copper with no PVC insulation) and actually terminate the things correctly, and you have a system thats worth the trouble, i’d say you’ll hear an equivalent sound to that you’ll get from $1000-2000 speaker cables.

  15. ilikemonkeys says:

    These are nice cables. I’ve used a 6 pair twisted cable for about two years. I’ve put them next to very highend Kimber and they have similar sound characteristics. They do tend to limit the low end, and enhance the highs. The soundstage is very wide and open….they make a great cable for listening to live music.

    People that claim a cable is a cable have no idea what they’re talking about. Speaker cables are extremely important, but it’s not just the cable….you have to pair the cable with the speakers, amp, and source. Saying that one cable is better than another is moot without comparing with similar components.

    This is a fun, cheap and very rewarding DIY project.

    I suggest it to everyone that cares about how their music sounds.

    BILL

  16. ilikemonkeys says:

    “lamp cord hidden under the carpet is definately the best cable for the money. Anything more is for looks or stupidity.”

    I made a copy of this page and will show it to my friends. This is the funniest and most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard or read. But maybe they make your Bloze system sound better?

    Thanks.

    lamp cord….who would have thought?

  17. ryan says:

    it’s illegal to install cables under carpet, walking over it will wear it out over a period of years, and one day you’ll come home and you won’t have a house anymore. if you live on a concrete “foundationed” home, do what i do, if you peel back the carpet against a wall, there is a space where the carpet and matting don’t spread to and the sheetrock doesn’t extend down to, enough space for the phone line to fit into until i bring it up behind my comp and into my DSL router. no one walks over the sheetrock (that whole “two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time” law of physics thingy.) unless you want burnt carpet (at least) in a few years do it right.

    you’ve been warned

  18. ryan says:

    *i meant that walking over the cable will wear out it’s insulation, causing electrical fires unexpectedly

  19. Damien1247 says:

    Diy brainding machine huh? ive known some of the voctech kids where i go to school to use either a drik or orther such thing to braid or rewind motors. jsut an idea that im throwin out there

  20. bob says:

    You all need to do your research before you go mumbling off that all wire is the same. Cause if that were the case then I could use my cat 5 to power my whole computer. When it comes down to it, alot of you just spout off and don’t do any actual research before posting something reasonably smart and correct. I worked for a home installation company for a good bit, and they have numerous types of wires for different levels of buyers. http://www.chesapeakesmarthomes.com incase your interested. And the first guy that posted, you can twist wires by simply closing the end of the drill on the wires and clamping the other end. No attachment necessary.

  21. bob says:

    You all need to do your research before you go mumbling off that all wire is the same. Cause if that were the case then I could use my cat 5 to power my whole computer. When it comes down to it, alot of you just spout off and don’t do any actual research before posting something reasonably smart and correct. I worked for a home installation company for a good bit, and they have numerous types of wires for different levels of buyers. http://www.chesapeakesmarthomes.com incase your interested. And the first guy that posted, you can twist wires by simply closing the end of the drill on the wires and clamping the other end. No attachment necessary.

  22. nate mc says:

    People pay $1000-2000 for speaker cables? I’m in the wrong fucking line of work :P

  23. Aidin says:

    This guy could make good money braiding tourists’ hair on the streets of mexico.

  24. Aidin says:

    This guy could make good money braiding tourists’ hair on the streets of mexico.

  25. EE says:

    It sounds like alot of poeple just don’t know what they are talkling about and they are just parrots repeating what they’ve heard. Go back to basic circuits class and analyze the situation.

    A wire is simple a distributed load that can be modeled as a series connection of many low pass filters. Cables have a characteristic impedance based upon its construction. Their impeadance is roughly proportional to the length of the wire, its diameter, and its material makeup. The larger the diameter the lower the inductance and resistance, ‘L’ and ‘R’. ‘C’, capacitence is related to the average distance between the + and – runs, teh diameter of the cable and the dielectric constant of the material between the two. The structure acts as a low pass filter, and so over long distances, higher frequencies roll off more quickly. Therefore, the characteristic impedance of a cable can be decreased by minimizing the ‘L’ and the ‘C’s in the system. ‘L’s can be reduced by using a larger cable. Braided cables look larger electrically, but they are not perfect. They have larger ‘L’s than a comparable gauge solid cable. ‘C’ can be decreased by decreasing the distance between the + and – leads, by decreasing the dielectric constant of the intervening material, ie. changing what type of insulation is used. ‘R’ is usually insignifigant unless a very small wire is used over a very long distance. Obviously these L’s, R’s and C’s mount over great lengths; so long runs should be also be avoided. There are also many other factors that could affect sound transmission to a speaker, most notably the characteristic impedance of the cable. Maximum power transfer happens when the impedance of the driver matches the characteristic impeadance of the medium and load into which it drives. Therefore an 8 ohm receiver needs to drive into a 8 ohm speaker cable which in turn should drive into a 8 ohm speaker. When the impedances are not matched then power is lost and other potentially harmfull artifacts could be created in the waveform(reflections and steps). Therefore, the wire created in this hack probably has low L’s and high C’s. Not neccessarily good. Also, the characteristic impedance is a complete mystery unless it is measured with a spectrum analyzer or estimated with a calculator. Therefore the probability that it sucks is high. $1000 cables on the other hand are precisely manufactured to reduce distortion to the transmitted waveform at all audible frequencies, and therefore they cost more to produce. I doubt they are worth $1000 though. That price is merely reflecting the insaitable appetite of audiophiles and their willingness to pay outrageous fees for what amounts to a cable that can be produced and sold for much less.

  26. Jackinloadup says:

    so i dont quite understand how this is done. i have a regular cat-5e cable and i wana do this. so do i take off the black outer lining and leave on the other various colored ones. thern just twist them.. or is there a special way to brade them? i would really like to do this

  27. mark says:

    I made my own CAT5-speakercables already a while ago…

    http://geektechnique.org/projects/braidingcat5.html

    I didn’t feel like braiding 4 hours/meter (something I read) so I went for the ‘lazy’ method, just take 3 CAT5-cables per speakercable, braid those, and splitting all negatives to one side and all positive to the other… I myself am also sceptical to speakercables, but first, I think I got higher quality copperwire for the money (oxygenfree and such)(I paid 15 euro for a box of Avaya UTP-cable with something like 200 meters left, that’s even cheaper than lampcord), next, UTP does have this noise-cancelling(or I don’t know how it’s called) which is something I do believe can help keeping the signal clean over a longer distance…

    Well… and? does it sound better? Euhm, hard to say since I never 1-to-1 compared them, but I’m not tempted to spent another dime on speakercable and save my money for some better speakers :-)

  28. Jim Tucker says:

    Dansdata treats this subject here http://www.dansdata.com/danletters079.htm
    as well as many other places. Also, claims that speaker wire “ages” into something “warmer” or other such language are patent garbage. (Ever notice that audiophiles are almost never musicians?)

    Ok so here’s the letter/answer:

    More magic wire

    Hi there, I was wondering, can braided/twisted mains cables like this or this make any difference to sound or picture quality with home cinema gear? Can they have any benefits if connected to a PC?

    Andy

    Answer:
    No, they’re useless.

    Some people swear that fancy power cables work miracles, but some people also think that Elvis is alive, Keanu Reeves is a good actor, and squirting coffee up your bottom will cure cancer.

    Fancy power cables are just one of many magic snake oil products created to milk more cash out of the more lunatic kind of audiophile. Some of the fancy power leads may have electrical properties significantly different from those of ordinary $2 leads, but those properties do not and can not have any effect on anything, unless the mains supply is very, very weird and/or the equipment power supply is very badly engineered. Needless to say, nutty audiophiles tend to use gear with power supplies that NASA would consider over-engineered, so the whole concept of super-special power cables to go with them is completely detached from reality.

    And, in any case, there’s nothing the fancy leads can possibly do that a plain lead made from heavy gauge cable with, possibly, a couple of filter components built into its plug (total parts cost: $US10, tops) wouldn’t do.

    Oh well. At least they’re cheaper than the audiophile line conditioners. All that money, and all you get is a 600VA dual conversion UPS in which someone forgot to install a battery.

  29. Jim Tucker says:

    Actually, even more relevant is Dan’s second letter here:
    http://www.dansdata.com/danletters106b.htm

    It’s a classic, and should be recommended to anyone considering becoming an audiophile. Life is short, enjoy the music now.

  30. Aaron says:

    k, i went to a Mobile audio and electronics school (cars) and cables do matter, but when you butchure a cable and braid it you lose alot of quality. the reason why they are wound tightly together is to keep oxygen out and to pass mor current. the more you seperate the cables the less power can be passed threw them.

  31. larry says:

    nich is right educate your self on cable construction and you will see that the higher $$$ cables are just manufactured to very demanding tolerances . you could spend hours learning the discipline of engineering cables to work well with a system, but ask yourself the overkill question and hey if it sounds good to you and you like it who cares about the BS

  32. Alex says:

    NO MORE CAT-5!!!!, just hate the freaking cable, it tangles up so fast and its so hard to move around!!! i worked with it (not funny) for a summer.

  33. JesseG2 says:

    It is very very important to make sure you always combine like-colored wires in each circuit because speakers are supposed to be a generally AC type of load, and with un-like wires connected in parallel, due to the resistance of the copper, there is more voltage at one end then the other. Sort of like a thermocouple junction, this creates an electron difference. If the colors are not the same, more electrons will flow in one direction then the other, and the coils in your speakers may slowly become square and lose low-end response.

    -Jesse

    PS: One should also always run the two wires to a given speaker as far from each other as possible to reduce local-geo-magnetic-decoupling.

  34. Chav3z says:

    “hence the whole cat-5 idea. Also with lower gauge you’ll get an affect known as skinning, whereby the signal (when not toward the upper resistance limit of the cable) will travel towards the outside of the cable, this especially being true for higher frequencies.”

    Uh all electrons travel on the surface of metal not through the metal, less strands != better

  35. Chav3z says:

    “hence the whole cat-5 idea. Also with lower gauge you’ll get an affect known as skinning, whereby the signal (when not toward the upper resistance limit of the cable) will travel towards the outside of the cable, this especially being true for higher frequencies.”

    Uh all electrons travel on the surface of metal not through the metal, less strands != better

  36. Matt says:

    Just to dispell a few myths….
    QUOTE”the more you seperate the cables the less power can be passed threw them.” –aaron ENDQUOTE
    SP. separate, through
    Really, take a look at this then.
    http://www.eltodo.cz/Webova_prezentace/1_Elektromontaze_a_ridici_systemy/2_Energetika/2_Venkovni_elektricka_vedeni/Stozary_800.jpg
    Hmm.
    And not all electrons travel on the surface!.
    DC signals are equal all over. There is a formula for skin depth so you can calculate it.

    As for capacitance, look up the equation for capacitance, it is inversely proportional to the square of the separation!

    While I am unlikely to try this I do belive that cables make a difference, thin el cheapo cable is ok for some people. 6AMP mains cable (similar to the lamp cable mentioned elsewhere) will be a vast improvement. The extra mile can be attained with better cables. I use a homebrew cable which is a multicore 60AMP power cable (very good quality for the price). Its thick (lower overall impedance) and multicore (better for transmitting HF). The surface area of the cable improves transmission since higher frequencies only travel along the surface (like a wave in water of varying depth) the depth to which they penetrate is called the skin-depth and can be calculated. Important factors to consider are cable length (try and keep it equal on both channels and short is generally preferred) and impedance (lower is generally better, especially inductive impedance) The interesting thing about speaker cabling is how low impedance the system is: don’t worry too much about noise from external sources unless your installing your hifi in an MRI room.

    I would comment that power cable quality is probably not going to be of much impact since if you believe that the last two meters of optimally shielded OFC mains lead is going to prevent noise when your house is wired with bog standard electrical wiring you are mistaken. Frankly it should be treated as a bad supply and the equipment should have sufficient power supply filtering to handle most impurities in the signal (partly fcc regs in the US).
    My Valve amp has very minimal power supply filtering (due to its age) and the occasional pop can be heard if something switches a large load elsewhere in the building, although, this is uncommon.
    Anyway, hope this helps clear a few things up.

  37. Lincoln says:

    http://www.axiomaudio.com/archives/cable.html
    The Axiom Audio site is very informative and has decades of research behind it.

  38. Matt Bennett says:

    I think this is a great idea- what it is is a cheap form of “Litz” wire- specifically designed to minimize skin effect.
    As to the poster who mentioned impedance matching- that’s a great idea, but only really matters when the signal’s frequency components have a wavelength on the order of the length of the wire. For audio frequencies, short of 1000’s of feet of wire, speaker cables will be “electrically short” and AC impedance really doesn’t matter.

  39. Tweekgeek says:

    You guys have no idea what you are taking about. It

  40. Andrew says:

    So many myths – how can intelligent people still be so ignorant? You guys all did high school physics right?

    EE – There is a difference between quoting theory and actually understanding it. I’ve never seen an 8 ohm amplifier, nor an 8 ohm speaker cable, you can be sure that there would be lots of power ‘wasted’ in the amplifier and cable if they each had an impedance of 8 ohms. Series capacitance has a high pass effect.

    Anyway, here are the basics of a modern hi-fi system:

    A modern hi-fi amplifier has a very low output impedance (high damping factor) and is designed to be used with speaker wire with low resistance. I generally recommend less than 0.3 ohm with a ‘8 ohm nominal’ speaker and less than 0.15 ohm with a ‘4 ohm nominal’ speaker.

    Now a speakers impedance is not purely dc resistance, nor is it a flat 8 ohms over 20hz-20khz. It varies (read: rises from its nominal impedance) over its frequency range due to the combined effect of capacitance/inductance/resistance of the drivers, particularly the resonant frequency impedance peak. The resulting frequency response can be flat even when the impedance curve is not. A crossover network can/will also alter this load. Once the speaker is hooked up to an amplifier, the output impedance of the amplifier and the resistance of the speaker wire is now in series with the speaker. This means that the resulting impedance curve and therefore sound from the speaker will be different. It makes things much simpler for both the amplifier and speaker designers to use an amplifier with a low output impedance so the speaker will potentially (provided all of the other specifications are acceptable) sound the same regardless of the amplifier used.

    There have been a few mentions of the ‘skin effect’. The skin effect occurs at high frequencies. Forunately for us, hi-fi audio only requires up to around 18-20khz or so (If you wish to challenge this point, you have better done your hearing physiology and psychology research….) therefore we can safely ignore the skin effect. What about braiding for noise cancellation? Again, we are talking about very low impedance cables that only need to cover 20hz-20khz, so we can safely ignore that too.

    Next we have to consider the capacitance and inductance of the speaker cable. The reality is the inductance and particularly the capacitance are insignificantly small with real-world speaker cables. Remember, we are talking about 20hz-20khz here. This has been measured thousands of times by many people. If the inductance or capacitance is significant, then its obvious you aren’t using speaker cable. ;)
    More importantly, people do not hear the difference in a double blind listening test. (A proper abx test with a statistically significant number of trials enables you to control all other variables, so you can scientifically verify whether the cables actually sound different to real people or not. Unfortunately, most people simply do straight A/B comparisons and its quite possible that the differences are imagined instead of real.)

    So all speaker cables sound the same then? No, there is still one last factor to consider – the dc resistance of the cable. It is important to make sure the resistance of the cable isn’t too high – this means that if you require a long cable run then you will need to use a thick gauge wire. A general rule of thumb is for the cable resistance to be less than 0.3 ohm with a ‘8 ohm nominal’ speaker and less than 0.15 ohm with a ‘4 ohm nominal’ speaker. That way the resulting effects of the series resistance of the cable on the phase and frequency response of the speaker will be insignificant.

    “every little thing makes a difference”. Sure it does. But a human isn’t going to be able to hear the difference.

    Of course, if you don’t believe me then you can always conduct your own double blind listening test. (straight A to B comparisons do not work as they are not placebo controlled)

    Hmm, an ABX comparator might be a good hackaday project for someone…

    For most people, I would recommend purchasing simple cheap low resistance cable. I’d only bother braiding cat 5 if I had tons of it laying around and I had no other use for it.

  41. Tweekgeek says:

    What Andrew says is mostly true. A big variable to look at is your speakers and amps. If your speakers are not “EXTREMELY LINEAR” than you wont be able to tell the difference. I personally CAN TELL THE DIFERENCE. But, unless you have studio grade reference speakers and studio grade reference amps”like i posted in comment 39″ than no you wont be able to tell the difference. Really unless you have speakers like this http://www.digitalp.com/ and amps like this
    http://www.wavelengthaudio.com/Nap.html than it is a non-issue. To quote Andrew “I would recommend purchasing simple cheap low resistance cables”.un-quote:)

    P.S What does Andrew do any way???

  42. jesseg2 says:

    Tweekgeek,

    You mention “I personally CAN TELL THE DIFERENCE.”

    I am interested to know what two things between which you can tell the difference, and how you deteremined that you can tell the difference. (In other words, was it double-blind, or at least single blind, or did you know which item was being observed at each instant during the test?)

    I’m not saying that I doubt your ability to hear the difference — I’m just interested in the specifics!

    (I know some things one can hear and they know it, even without any blind test. For example, I (And those of you who don’t listen to your music tooloud) can hear the sound a computer makes when working hard. Like when I’m sending a big email attachment, I can hear my computer’s internal NON-variable speed fans speed up a little bit as it UUEncodes the multi-megabyte attachment. Then when that’s done, my computers fans slow down, and our mail server, which is in same room (Also with non variable speed fans), gets the message and un-encodes it and virus scans it — causing the servers fans pick up a little. It’s only a change in rpm of a franction of a percent I’m sure, but it’s noticable. (These are older machines without variable speed fans. What happens is the CPU draws a heavier load causing the duty cycle of the switching power-suply to go higher. Because the 5 or 3.3/2.x/1.x core voltages are usually the regulated output, so the 12v tends to rise durring heavy 5V/etc. loading, causing the 12v fans to speed up a little.)

    Of course, newer power supplies and CPU fans are variable speed and are controlled based on temperature level, but those change speed drasticly.)

    Thanks,

    -Jesse

  43. tweekgeek says:

    Let me start of with the room dimensions 30x20x12ft. The two speakers are 12ft apart I started out using theses http://www.acousticzen.com/absolute_speaker_LG_photo.html
    cables this is what I will use as reference ($400ft). First I measured the resistance of the AcousticZen cables they have a resistance of 0.3Ohms. the CAT5 cables are 0.15 Ohms the Cat5 cables have slightly less resistance. When it comes to the ear test I did a double-blind test to

  44. jesseg2 says:

    Thinkgeek,

    Thanks! Exactly the info I wanted.

    In short, your ohm meter tells you the difference, and your sound pressure level meter tells you the difference. And you can even hear the difference!

    By double-blind, you mean that somebody other then yourself was switching between the two cables, and you were listening — but neither of you knew which cable was switched in at any given moment, but you could still determine by listening which cable was being used at any given moment. Right? How many “tests” did you perform, and how many times were you correct? (This info is what gives real meaning to the issue.)

    Of course, since one cable had more resistance, it may have been easy to determine which cable was being used based just on the loudness — which would sort of spoil any efforts to have the test blind.

    I don’t think any of us would dispute the fact that a wire with less resistance has less resistance and less loss of power. But loss of power really isn’t the issue here. If you want less power loss and less resistance, get fatter wires, do shorter runs, or super cool your wires.

    The real question is “Can anyone hear the difference between your acoustic zen cables and the cat5, even if they were of equal resistance.”

    Now I _know_ that there IS a difference in the sound based on whether you use cat5 or a zen, which could be detected with the correct instruments. But whether anyone can actually hear the difference in _quality_ (with no difference in quantity) between cat-5 and a zen
    in a true double-blind study would be of quite some interest to me. (And a few others, I suspect!)

    When you said “300mz” you must have meant 300hz ?

    Also, you mentenioned the audio cables for reference as ($400ft) — $400 a foot?

    From what I can tell, the picture and text above show/describe more of a litz wire scheme.

    Why would it not be better to use the natively twisted cat5 pairs as the speaker + and -?
    The pairs are already twisted, which cancels out interference, and allows for very high frequencies (Ghz!) to travel down the wire.

    That might sound even better. Since the twisted wires are so close together, the magnetic field would be much smaller and much less, and the cables would have much less inductance as a result.

    Thanks again!

    -Jesse

  45. tweekgeek says:

    It depends in what you listen to every day. If you listen to lamp cord day in day out the ability hear the frequencies will decries. It will take a lot of intense listening to even be back to the way you were before the lamp cord. Your question about the twisted wire vs. the braded I

  46. ben says:

    To anyone who is interested in the technical specifications of different wire and why the braided cat5 works noticeably better than others, and wants numbers and not just opinions, go here: http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/setup/interconnects/DIYSpeakerCablesp1.html . To the rest of you, shut up. Please and thank you. Your unfounded or loosely founded arguments are trite and irrelevant, especially if this is not in your realm of knowledge and you just read something on the internet, or can’t notice a difference when you hook up your $30 dollar loudspeakers to your radioshack amplifier with lamp wire and braided cat5. Thank you and goodnight
    -ben

  47. Italian stallion AKA master of the universe says:

    to all of you morons and douch suckers out there who thinks that they are the gods of all things audio Im going to have to knock you down to the level that you should be looked at

    now for the guy who actually did this props to you for actually being a nut and trying something and for going through all the trouble of braiding it by hand

    and for all you other “people” (i use that term loosely)you really are just spewing useless info and rumors you pulled out of your stretched out non-virgin anus’ (YES IM CALLING YOU GAY!)

    length, gauge, and etc. of speaker cables all dependes on how much power you have being pushed out of your amp. because if you have alot of power e.g. 1000w then it is recomended that you have something pretty hefty to handle the wattage but on the other hand if you have some pansy little amp that is say 5w then you probably need something small say under 20gauge

    Oh and for the IDIOT that said to keep your + and – wires far apart due to electro-magnetism whatever your an idiot because the so called magnetic field that is supposedly created is not even enough to do anything and even if it was thats why you have insulated and shielded wires so that doesnt happen.

    so my final thought on this is it was a noble effort but pointless, sorry

    oh and most of you people just need to go out and take a class or read a book(or 10) on basic electronics and audio systems before you go and blab your mouth like you re the MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE (there is only one and its ME not YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  48. Terry Kull says:
  49. Andy says:

    http://www.schachtspindle.com/help/rope_machine.htm

    example of an age old device used to make rope. While not a true braid the end product works great (atleast with hemp roap, CAT-5 cableing might be a bit different)

  50. “Capacitance” in a wire? Well all those EE classes were a long time ago, but I don’t ever remember hearing about the magical “capacitance” of large stringy pieces of copper. Resistance yeah, capacitance? Sounds like a duck to me…

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