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Ethernet wire with XLR connectors
Old 27th September 2013
  #31
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I know this is old, but I just stumbled across it. I work in a convention centre, and we send audio over Cat5 all the time. There's two things we use.

The first is an ETS Instasnake, which sends 4 channels of XLR via a single Cat5. You need one at each end, obviously. They sound fine in the context we use them in, but won't pass phantom power; we just use them for getting left/right/mono out of a mixing desk in a conference room and back to the back-of-house racks. I think they make others that do pass phantom, like these: Energy Transformation Systems ETS InstaSnake PA202 Series 4-Channel Phantom Power Compatible CAT5 XLR Audio Baluns Audio Over CAT5 Systems at Markertek.com

The second is an Aviom product, and AN-16 I think. This sends 16 channels of XLR via a single Cat5 and supplies phantom too. These cost a couple of grand, so it's not really a cost-saver.

In any case, you can do it, and it sounds fine for what we use it for. Never done an A/B with an ordinary snake though.
Old 27th September 2013 | Show parent
  #32
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
HI
FWIW cat 5 or 6 will be fine as long as certain potential problems are noted.
ALL signals must be well balanced.
The run of cable must not be near any other higher (signal or power) level cabling.
There must be no concentrated hum fields or sources of HF energy along the route.
Putting the Cat5 in a metal trunking or similar may help considerably with rejection of hum and RF interference.
Telephone exchanges and even broadcast switching centres have been built with miles of unscreened twisted pair wiring so given some care and thought it is possible.
I believe the nominal impedance of Cat 5 is 110 Ohms although this is not relevant to AUDIO usage.
If you have a 'problem', analyse WHAT the problem is, take it from first principles as looking at some of the previous comments some issues could have been averted or minimised.
Matt S
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