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Home Theater Hacks by Brett McLaughlin

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Hack #79. Construct Speaker Cables Using CAT 5

Speaker cables are one of the most overlooked items in your system. Building your own cables allows you to get maximum performance at a minimal price.

This all started back in 1995 when I read a letter published in Speaker-Builder extolling the virtues of using Category ("CAT") 5 network cable as high-end speaker cable. I bought a 1,000-foot spool and spent more than a year tinkering around with different configurations to best optimize the use of this cable for high-end audio. After countless hours (and many blisters on my fingers), I found this construction to be the most ideal. In direct side-by-side comparisons I found this cable to be sonically better than the very best in high-end cables, such as Audioquest Midnight and Straightwire Maestros, and even equal to or better in some areas than the Kimber 8TC. The completed cables are shown in Figure 9-14.

Completed CAT 5 speaker cables

Figure 9-14. Completed CAT 5 speaker cables

Materials

All you need for this project is some CAT 5 cable. I recommend either Anixter (http://www.anixter.com) or MECI (http://www.meci.com) as a supply source. You should order 50% more cable than you plan to use. In other words, if you need a 100-foot cable run, order 150 feet of cable.

You'll also need spade connectors or banana connectors (it's a personal preference as to which you like better). You can find some decent spades (Part #091-395, ...

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