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Using twisted pair as speaker cable?

richardstephens

New Member
I recall seeing an article once on someone using CAT-5 Ethernet as speaker wire by combining it into two pairs of 4 conductor cable. It's for my surround speakers and I have tonns of the stuff.
Opinions?
 

rjenkinsgb

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
It would work, but it seems a bit thin even with four strands combined for each conductor.

I believe each core is 0.5mm diameter, which works out at about 0.2 mm^2 cross sectional area.
That has a resistance of roughly 90 milliohms per metre, each "leg" of the round trip. Two cores in parallel half that, or four in parallel quarter it.

It really depends on the cable length, speaker impedance and power rating of the amp.

I would definitely not use it for more than few feet or on high powered systems!

It's also relatively large diameter for the actual copper content, due to the construction. You can get thinner cable with a lot more copper and lower resistance. It seems like false economy to me, no matter what the length.

Personally, I'd use something more like this as a minimum - my setup is wired with 2.5mm cable...

Or something like this is OK for surround speakers - you can hide it under carpets & flooring. I used that style to set up a system at a relatives house so there is no visible wiring.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Assuming it's only for the surround speakers? then it's likely to be fine, no great quality required, and no bass either (which is where all the power is).
 
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crutschow

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
If that cable already runs to the speaker area, then it's ok to use. but I won't use it otherwise to power speakers.
 

unclejed613

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
there's no reason you can't use it. speakers and amplifiers aren't very picky about cables. i've seen everything from litz wire (similar to the ethernet cable having individually insulated strands) to 8AWG battery cables (a bit of a challenge to connect to common binding posts or spring-clip retainers). i usually use 14AWG zip cord which works just fine.

if i were you i would use two twisted pairs for each "wire". using solids for one wire and stripes for the other wire would be a more complicated operation. so, using the orange and green pairs for one wire, and the brown and blue pairs for the other wire would be simple. another advantage of using ethernet cable, is you can use old (cat-2, cat-3, cat-4) cable that is useless for most networks these days, and is available at bargain-basement prices
 

crutschow

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
If you do use it for speakers, make sure all the paralleled wiring is correct, since most solid-state amplifiers do not like a short on their outputs (i.e resulting in. a zapped output).
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
We used a cat-5 wire when we badly needed a wiring for a speaker, worked just fine.
It would, there's a LOT of snobbery and mis-information about speaker leads. Obviously bigger is better, but for surround speakers it doesn't matter much at all.

However, doing PA (only a few hundred watts), and running a short lead to one speaker, and a long lead to the other - the long one is noticeably quieter, and that's with pretty thick cables. Quick tweak of the balance control cures it though! :D
 

Garrent47

New Member
It would, there's a LOT of snobbery and mis-information about speaker leads. Obviously bigger is better, but for surround speakers it doesn't matter much at all.

However, doing PA (only a few hundred watts), and running a short lead to one speaker, and a long lead to the other - the long one is noticeably quieter, and that's with pretty thick cables. Quick tweak of the balance control cures it though! :D
That explains it.
 

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