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Author Topic: Cat5 Cue Question  (Read 5332 times)

jyurek

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Cat5 Cue Question
« on: February 10, 2006, 09:46:20 AM »

I've been using an ethernet cable based cue system for a couple of months now- and while its been working great- one thing I never consisdered when purchasing it is how clumsy the cable can be.

The supplied (standard Cat5 ethernet) cable is rather stiff so its both annoying to store (wrap neatly) and set-up so it isn't an eyesore when you've got multiple boxes going...

I'm wondering if any of you know of a manufacturer that makes a more agreeable cat5 cable for this purpose?

Thanks!

garret

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2006, 10:34:22 AM »

Sounds like you're working with a solid-core cable.   Try a stranded cat5 cable... they're much lighter weight and more pliable.  We just wired up a new server room (my day job) and the difference between the solid core stuff and the stranded was night and day.  

The stranded cabling we got was from Anixter.com.  High quality (we tested every run with a gigabit tester and all of the cables passed easily) and a good price too.  Solid core will perform a little better, but if you buy quality stranded 5e stuff, you probably won't notice the difference.

Our invoice says:
 MM07-AX6-08
 COMPU-LINK M88DE7F608
 STRANDED LEV 6 CAT 5E
 ORANGE

-Garret
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jyurek

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2006, 11:55:08 AM »

Thanks Garret- I'll definitely check out the stranded stuff.

Jeff

Nid

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2006, 12:08:49 PM »

Hi! Also note that comm quality also depends on the total length so if you need to have several meters (more than 15) then perhaps you shouldn't replace with something more flexible but less reliable (prone to EMI). Especially if there are long cable runs along high current lines (which is something that should have been avoided in the first place). By the way is the cable that you are currently using shielded (STP) or unshielded (UTP)? If it is STP then it is surely stiff but less prone to EMI by far. Maybe you should consider taking an advice by the manufacturer of your system before proceeding to any cable replacement. Mind if you tell us which cue system you got? I believe that in most such systems bad quality comm means more latency due to more data transmit/receive errors (and of course not worse sound quality). Don't panic. In most cases it's in the range of microseconds...

Sorry if I am not answering to your question. Just reminding some things that you should have in mind. But to be honest I don't think that a more flexible cable will solve your problems as a matter of looking neat and tidy in the studio (it's in a studio right?).Maybe you should consider building some permanent installations (under the floor for instance) around the room and at commonly used points with female connectors. Then you can use small expansion cables according to each session's needs. For such installations always use STP (it won't bother you if is under the floor) and light UTP as expansion cables. Now, if you use it as a portable system then it's another story, you should follow what garretg said and perhaps use some kind of reel for storage.Hope this helps!

Regards! Nid
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jyurek

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2006, 02:37:49 PM »

Thanks for the reply Nid-

I'm sorry if I was unclear in my original post but the ethernet cable in question is not carrying data- its carrying audio (and power) to "self-mix" style headphone boxes in my live room. More specifically, the problem is between the panel and the boxes where the cat5 stuff has proven a pain to wrap at the end of sessions. It's also difficult to keep neat (especially because each box requires 2 cables) when multiple boxes get daisy-chained.

Jeff

Mike O

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2006, 02:27:29 PM »

jyurek wrote on Fri, 10 February 2006 19:37

Thanks for the reply Nid-

I'm sorry if I was unclear in my original post but the ethernet cable in question is not carrying data- its carrying audio (and power) to "self-mix" style headphone boxes in my live room. More specifically, the problem is between the panel and the boxes where the cat5 stuff has proven a pain to wrap at the end of sessions. It's also difficult to keep neat (especially because each box requires 2 cables) when multiple boxes get daisy-chained.

Jeff


Just curious; what ethernet based cue system are you using that carries audio (as opposed to digital signal)? Axiom for example takes the signal uses a box with A/D converters > CAT5 > box for individual cue mix.

So in Axiom's case the CAT5 is "data".
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jyurek

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2006, 02:19:41 PM »

The unit I have is a Furman HDS-6 and HR-6 ( http://www.furmansound.com/products/pro/hdphn/system2/system 2_1.php).

It uses two ethernet cables to carry 4 mono and 1 stereo audio signals (it also gets power through ethernet).

Jeff

arconaut

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2006, 04:59:29 PM »

The Furman system (and also the Hear Technologies) not only pass analog audio through cat-5, but also DC. I have found the cat-5 to be an incredibly crappy connector to use for this purpose, but much to my chagrin it seems to be gaining in popularity. Once those little plastic tabs pop off the connector, bad things start to happen, especially if you have headphone plugged in. The power gets intermittent and loud pops go to the cans, distortion, single-endedness, etc. El yucko!

Also, while I'm pooping on the Furman system, the mic-stand mounts they supply, with the velcro, are very unreliable. I actually disassembled the mixers and drilled holes in the bottom of them (and you do have to take the entire thing apart to do it) so that I could put tie wraps through the mixers to more permanantly affix the mixers to the mounts.

This is not as trivial as it seems, because it is easy for the mixers to take a spill. If they land the wrong way and bend the shaft of the pots, again, bad things start to happen.

Not a fan of the Furman system, can you tell? The Aviom seems very cool, but only drives one pair of headphones, and each mixer requires a power supply - but then, it is more than just a cue system.

Noah

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garret

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2006, 09:50:08 PM »

RJ45 connectors are really not designed for heavy use... it's suprising, really that pro audio companies have chosen standard ethernet cables for that reason alone.

In a network install, you typically set up the cabling and forget about it... you don't plug/unplug very often, and when you do (like laptop computers) the tabs on the connectors break before long.

Buying a crimping tool and replacing the connectors is possible, but tricky.  If you're going to get anywhere near the original cable quality, you need to be well practiced at it, and/or have a cat5 cable tester on-hand.  Crosstalk is the biggest problem, and it's almost entirely due to the last 1/4" where the twists have to be undone to get the inner wires to line up so you can crimp the RJ45.

I did about 250 of those a few months back, and even at my best hit rate, I was still failing the near-end-crosstalk test on about 20% of cables.

For that same reason, any cables you buy should be tested & certified, and bought from someone reputable.

-Garret
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ajcamlet

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2006, 01:56:24 PM »

i have and use the Furman system as well.  I have found the Female connectors on the boxes themeselves to be the culprit of a lot or problems, (specifically losing the four independant channles- but not the stereo mix) not the actual cables, or male ends.  

arconaut

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2006, 01:59:25 PM »

Agreed. Those little pins pull out or get bent out of shape after a number of disconnecting/reconnectings. I try to leave the system as setup as possible.

One thing about the Furman system, it is really cheap, I mean, inexpensive.

Noah
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Dave Soukup

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2006, 02:06:20 PM »

Why not create custom cables...RJ45 to 9pin Dsub..that way you don' have to remove the RJ45 from the furman remote. Less wear and tear. I don't see why it shouldn't work. I have RJ45 to 9pin's for connecting to switch and routers. Works well.
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arconaut

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2006, 07:27:30 PM »


I have thought of swapping out to a 9-pin d-sub in the past. The Furman actually only seems to need nine connections, but using 2 cat-5 cables to do so. (IE the 2nd cable only really NEEDS to be there to accommodate one cable carrying audio).

I think the answer to the question is another question - how much time do you have on your hands?  Smile

Noah
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ajcamlet

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2006, 01:14:11 PM »

also its pretty cramped in the boxes, is it not?

Dave Soukup

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2006, 03:02:25 PM »

How about a 1 foot extention cable, so you plug the rj45 jack into the furman, then your actual cable into the dsub. Then you shouldn't have to remove the cables from the remote. Just a suggestion, I don't actualy own one myself so I am not quite sure how they are constructed.
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arconaut

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2006, 07:41:18 PM »


It is cramped in the boxes - but if you soldered cable to the board in lieu of the female cat-5 jack, you'd have some room to move.

Noah
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arconaut

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2006, 04:36:09 PM »

Hey,

I just wanted to clarify a statement I made about the Aviom system - each mixer does need its own power supply, which can either be a dedicated power supply or can come out of a unit which supplies power to eight mixers (but they cannot be daisy chained). Also, the mixers can drive headphones or a wedge, so that's pretty cool I suppose.


Noah

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Tidewater

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Re: Cat5 Cue Question
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2006, 06:02:02 AM »

My thought is to buy Cat-5 that is paired with a 20-22g audio wire, and use something to affix the audio wire as a support, and keep fresh ends, and a terminating tool handy.


M

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