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Author Topic: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines  (Read 633 times)

Doug Johnson

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Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« on: September 27, 2018, 12:36:39 pm »

I am currently bidding an install were someone has suggested using shielded cat5e for the mic runs.  He is apparently an IT person and has several boxes available to donate to save the church money.  I know in theory it will work and that some are using it (Rat Sound) but, I would like some opinions yea or nay.
Thanks,
DOug
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brian maddox

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2018, 12:59:06 pm »

I am currently bidding an install were someone has suggested using shielded cat5e for the mic runs.  He is apparently an IT person and has several boxes available to donate to save the church money.  I know in theory it will work and that some are using it (Rat Sound) but, I would like some opinions yea or nay.
Thanks,
DOug

I recently did a job where we ran Cat5e all over an arena-sized floor to pickup a bunch [about 30] SM58s.  We used the Sound Tools boxes and breakouts which i believe are sold by RatSound.  Cable runs were easily in excess of 300 feet.  It worked perfectly well.  Clean, quiet, no complaints from the A1 [that would be me].

FWIW, i'm not even sure we used shielded cable for this, although i can find out.

What we could NOT do is apply phantom power.  So that meant no condenser mics or other Phantom Powered Thingys.
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brian maddox
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Doug Johnson

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2018, 03:09:27 pm »

According to the Rat Sound website their CAT system passes phantom so, I would be interested in the reason why you couldn't use phantom.  It may have been because you did use shielded cable?


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brian maddox

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2018, 03:17:15 pm »

According to the Rat Sound website their CAT system passes phantom so, I would be interested in the reason why you couldn't use phantom.  It may have been because you did use shielded cable?

Well, i do know that if you wanted to use Phantom Power with a Cat5e analog snake you would need STP cable, since the DC voltage needs a negative path back home.  That means that the Shield is shared among all 4 channels.  In most use cases that is okay, but it's still a good thing to keep in mind, as depending on what you're doing it can potentially [see what i did there?] cause a ground loop.

I don't know for sure if we used UTP or STP cable, and it wasn't necessary in our situation to use phantom power, so i cannot state with certainty what would or would not have happened.
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brian maddox
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Hal Bissinger/COMSYSTEC

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2018, 12:48:58 am »

It should work fine although I think you will have a problem terminating the shield with XLR connectors. There is only foil- no drain wire. It's made for use with shielded 8 pin connectors and patch panels.

Other than that, I hate seeing data cable used for anything but data or other equipment designed for its use. It's the real mark of a hack when you see it used for thermostats, door bells, speakers and, ahem, microphone wiring- it's not the "universal" low voltage cable. It's always nice to be able to determine the function of a cable by what it is!

-Hal
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Erik Jerde

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2018, 08:15:27 am »

I am currently bidding an install were someone has suggested using shielded cat5e for the mic runs.  He is apparently an IT person and has several boxes available to donate to save the church money.  I know in theory it will work and that some are using it (Rat Sound) but, I would like some opinions yea or nay.
Thanks,
DOug

Will it work?  Yes, if properly deployed.  It may not save money though if it takes more labor to install due to being non-standard or if you have to buy break-in/out boxes if you’re using it as mult.
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Kevin Graf

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2018, 08:15:11 am »

With a Cat5 cable, I would use 3 pairs for mics and both wires of 1 pair for phantom power.
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Rick Earl

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2018, 10:22:47 am »

We do it all the time.

Un-shielded will not pass phantom, but shielded will.  I have started specifying shielded cat 6e in all installs, it is less expensive than 4 twisted pairs and more versatile.   
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2018, 11:01:54 am »

Just make sure to use stranded :)
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Erik Jerde

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2018, 06:35:25 pm »

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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2018, 07:56:36 pm »

Why?

It is much easier to solder stranded without breaking the wires on an xlr jack.

While solid can withstand some twisting it won't wistand a lot.

Stranded is especially important for stage cat5e runs so it doesn't break when coiled and uncoiled regularly.
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Jean-Pierre Coetzee

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2018, 05:42:30 am »

It is much easier to solder stranded without breaking the wires on an xlr jack.

While solid can withstand some twisting it won't wistand a lot.

Stranded is especially important for stage cat5e runs so it doesn't break when coiled and uncoiled regularly.

I can second this. We have solid core CAT for our lighting rigs permanently installed line. Resoldering connectors are a PITA.
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Craig Hauber

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2018, 01:22:28 pm »

I can second this. We have solid core CAT for our lighting rigs permanently installed line. Resoldering connectors are a PITA.
You should punch down to a proper network type jack then use a pigtail made with high quality stranded & flexible to interface with XLR type connectors.
That way you also have the benefit of a proper category network line for any future needs as well as the added bonus of not having to solder ever again up at the ceiling.
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Craig Hauber
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Kevin Graf

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Re: Shielded Cat5e for microphone lines
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2018, 12:15:00 pm »

We do it all the time.
Un-shielded will not pass phantom, but shielded will.  I have started specifying shielded cat 6e in all installs, it is less expensive than 4 twisted pairs and more versatile.
Only if you have 4 mic lines.
Just use 3 pairs for mics and 1 pair (both wires) for phantom power.  I would rather run phantom power thru 2 wires than the light weight Cat6e shield.
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