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Road Worthy Ethernet Cable

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Bennett Prescott:
If you've read my RSS Digital Snake thread you may recall that I complained about the install-grade ethernet cable they shipped me to use with it, that was basically unusable for more than one setup and take down. I had this in mind when I went to InfoComm a few months ago, and I talked to a number of cable distributors about their flexible ethernet solutions.

Link USA, the US distributor of Eurocable, drop shipped me 150' of their "ETN2" cable. The cable is a CAT-5e spec but has a CAT-6 style spacer to keep the pairs aligned. It's matte black, feels excellent in the hand, and lays out and re-coils easily. It's got a little bit of a memory effect, but only about as much as the mic cable I'm used to working with, and it was fixed by laying the cable out and re-coiling it later. The jacket is durable, I've pulled it around corners and run it over bare ground and certainly stepped on it a few times, but a quick wipe and it's as good as new. Very nice cable, eons better than what I'd been using. MSRP is $111, but you can probably get it from a dealer for around $90.

Charlie Wicks at ProCo Sound in Kalamazoo (Michigan) gave me some nice background information on what it takes to make this kind of cable on the phone, and then promptly sent out 150' of his "ProCat" cable, model PCE-150. This cable is every bit as nice as the stuff that was sent to me by Link USA. The jacket is a dark blue, and the sample I cut open was double-jacketed and a real pain to hack apart, so I've no doubt it'll withstand road use. Also a CAT-5e spec, but Charlie says it "almost meets Cat-6". In any case, you're good to go gigabit over it. I found that this cable had less memory effect than the Eurocable stuff, and of course laid out flat and coiled back up easily. Definitely a good option for your digital snake or networking needs on the road. I accidentally got quoted a 250' cable when I called to ask for pricing this afternoon, however, so my prices don't match up... they said $299.98 MSRP and probably $209 street, but again for a 250' cable so I'll call back tomorrow and post the correct pricing.

Last but not least, Zane Kadro at Four Star Wire and Cable shipped me a 15' length of their My Star Sound line's flexible ethernet cable. Their thing is custom heatshrinking and etching, so they threw on a heatshrink at each end with my company name and phone number on it... pretty cool, and it's free with any cable. The cable's made in the USA and of course has Neutrik Ethercon ends. The cable itself feels a little less durable... I can roll the conductors around inside it and it's slightly smaller in diameter, but it's still very flexible (although since I only have 15' I didn't really get to roll out a bunch of it and then see how easy it is to coil back up). Zane says it's designed for guitarists who connect their pedalboards or guitars with CAT-5 cable, but I could certainly imagine using it for FOH to MON networking or snaking. MSRP for 150 with Ethercon is just $136, with street significantly less than that, and Zane suggests to call him directly and mention this forum if you'd like some, 877-789-1626.

Sorry there aren't any photos, but I couldn't figure out what I'd even put up... I mean, it's cable with ends on it. In any case, Dave Dermont has 'em all out right now with the RSS Digital Snake, so hopefully he'll have something to add.

Tim Padrick:
Horizon has a portable Cat5 as well.  You might want to get a sample.

Bennett Prescott:
I've been trying to get ahold of Belden and Whirlwind, too... I'll see what I can do.

John Horvath: _heavyduty.htm

Phil LaDue:
I wonder if I could run it over with a Humvee?


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