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View Full Version : How long can a phono cable be before sound quality is seriously effected?



autopilot
2006-09-17, 12:52
I want to run a cable from my PC in my home office to my mini system in the bedroom, so that i can run softsqueeze and control it with my PDA or PSP.

The cable would need to be 10-15 meters long. Would using a phono cable be a bad idea? If so, what would be a better solution? (and no, i can't afford another squeezebox!).

Cheers.

funkstar
2006-09-17, 12:57
you should be Ok with that, provided the cable isn't complete garbage to start with :)

here is a pretty decent video/show of how to make your own high quality AV cables:
http://revision3.com/systm/avcabling/

If it is a bedroom system, is fidelity that important? I know it isn't for me, i just listen to streamed radio as an alarm clock etc.

autopilot
2006-09-17, 13:39
Sound quality is important, is a fair good system (see sig).

What about those wireless things, like a wireless phono cable - any one use one of those or have a link to more info? I dont mind spending a bit of cash, but not a lot.

tommypeters
2006-09-17, 13:44
I don't think a 10-15 meter long cable would be a problem, if it's not too thin (would give too much resistance) and not made so it has unnecessary capacitance (usually because of bad design or bad use of materials).

pfarrell
2006-09-17, 13:57
autopilot wrote:
> I want to run a cable from my PC in my home office to my mini system in
> the bedroom, so that i can run softsqueeze and control it with my PDA
> or PSP.
>
> The cable would need to be 10-15 meters long. Would using a phono cable
> be a bad idea? If so, what would be a better solution? (and no, i can't
> afford another squeezebox!).

Depends how much you care about sound.

Or your definition of 'seriously effected'

Ten meters is a long way for an unbalanced conductor. You would be much
better off with balanced. You would, of course, need two devices to
convert unbalanced to balanced, and they would cost about the same as a
second SqueezeBox

Some folks have suggested it would be OK with quality wire, but even
reasonably priced wire, say the Kimber Cable PBJ, is about $50 a meter.
So depending on your defintions, a used SB2 would be much much cheaper
and better sounding.

So rather than arguing about the number of angels dancing on this pin,
just get some cable and try it. It only has to make you happy.

--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

Mark Lanctot
2006-09-17, 15:55
What about those wireless things, like a wireless phono cable - any one use one of those or have a link to more info? I dont mind spending a bit of cash, but not a lot.

Personally I'm not one for expensive audio cables, but 10-15 m is not at all inconsiderable. My cheapie cables sound just fine, but the longest one (subwoofer cable) has picked up 60 Hz electrical hum in the past, which is audible. It's only ~2 m long. I had to play around with placement to make sure it was crossing all power cables at 90 degrees. At 10-15 m you run a really good chance of picking up EMI, be it from AC power or something else.

Those wireless audio senders are univerally noted for poor audio quality. You'd do much better even with poorly shielded phono cables.

They are working on digital wireless audio senders which should be immune to EMI but these are poorly available and initial versions use 2.4 GHz, which would interfere with your Squeezebox quite nicely. I remember seeing reference to 5 GHz future versions which may work well.

aubuti
2006-09-20, 08:02
Ten meters is a long way for an unbalanced conductor. You would be much better off with balanced. You would, of course, need two devices to convert unbalanced to balanced, and they would cost about the same as a second SqueezeBox

Pat, I take your point on the relative costs, but do you have any specific recommendations for balun devices? I'm thinking about using my existing cat5e wiring to get line-level audio to the other side of the house. A Google search turned up devices by ETS and Intelix that seem to fit the bill, for about US$70-80 each. Any opinions on these or other brands? Thanks.

SuperQ
2006-09-20, 08:29
I want to run a cable from my PC in my home office to my mini system in the bedroom, so that i can run softsqueeze and control it with my PDA or PSP.

The cable would need to be 10-15 meters long. Would using a phono cable be a bad idea? If so, what would be a better solution? (and no, i can't afford another squeezebox!).

Cheers.

If your mini system supported digital input, you could run a long RG-6 coax (cable TV) cable from the PC. This would be much better than running a long un-balanced audio cable.

Patrick Dowling
2006-09-20, 08:51
Just thinking out loud - Couldn't you get two rca Y cables to split the left and right channels to two outputs one to the local stereo and the other to a cat5e cable, wiring the appropriate rca connectors to both ends the cat5e cable. With exception of signal degradation i.e noise are there any other risks?

I did run into Gefen which sells products for doing this but by the time you do this you've almost purchased another SquuezeBox.

http://www.gefen.com/kvm/product.jsp?prod_id=2301
http://www.gefen.com/kvm/product.jsp?prod_id=2570

Pat


On Wed, 20 Sep 2006 08:02:46 -0700, aubuti <aubuti.2efuyb1158764701 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
> Pat Farrell;136978 Wrote:
>> Ten meters is a long way for an unbalanced conductor. You would be much
>> better off with balanced. You would, of course, need two devices to
>> convert unbalanced to balanced, and they would cost about the same as a
>> second SqueezeBox
>>
> Pat, I take your point on the relative costs, but do you have any
> specific recommendations for balun devices? I'm thinking about using my
> existing cat5e wiring to get line-level audio to the other side of the
> house. A Google search turned up devices by ETS and Intelix that seem
> to fit the bill, for about US$70-80 each. Any opinions on these or
> other brands? Thanks.
>
>
> --
> aubuti
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------

badbob
2006-09-20, 10:37
For those lengths, I would use digital audio. Can you send digital audio from one room to the other? (digital out source and DAC required)

TiredLegs
2006-09-20, 14:09
Pat, I take your point on the relative costs, but do you have any specific recommendations for balun devices? I'm thinking about using my existing cat5e wiring to get line-level audio to the other side of the house. A Google search turned up devices by ETS and Intelix that seem to fit the bill, for about US$70-80 each. Any opinions on these or other brands? Thanks.
I'm using a pair of Intelix A2 baluns to get music from my living room to my kitchen through CAT5e cabling. The sound quality is indistinguishable from the source, at least with the mid-fi system I've got in the kitchen. However, be careful to choose baluns that cover the full frequency range. The Intelix A2s are spec'ed for 10 to 50K Hz (+/- 3dB). Many of the other audio baluns I looked into only went down to 60 Hz.

By the way, if you use Cat5 for baluns, you must use dedicated cable, as they cannot share a cable with any Ethernet or active networking devices (routers, bridges, switches, etc.) When I pulled Cat5 cable into the kitchen, I intentionally added an extra line for this purpose.

aubuti
2006-09-20, 18:52
By the way, if you use Cat5 for baluns, you must use dedicated cable, as they cannot share a cable with any Ethernet or active networking devices (routers, bridges, switches, etc.) When I pulled Cat5 cable into the kitchen, I intentionally added an extra line for this purpose.
Thanks for the advice, and especially this last bit of information that I hadn't been aware of.

aubuti
2006-09-22, 10:43
@TiredLegs (or anyone else who knows): I have a question re the cat5 to connect baluns. At present the two rooms I am thinking of connecting have RJ-45 wall jacks that lead to the same ethernet switch in the basement. Would I be okay if I just disconnected the two relevant cables from the switch, and then connected them directly using a simple coupler (ie, a female-female RJ-45 jack)? So the path would look something like this:

SB (or amp line out) -> balun -> short Cat5 patch cord -> wall jack -> Cat5 in wall -> RJ-45 coupler -> Cat5 in wall -> wall jack -> patch cord -> balun -> amp line-in

It's not that complicated, but I count 6 RJ-45 plugs and 4 jacks (including the coupler but not the baluns), and wonder if that will cause any problem with sound quality. It's all fairly new Cat5e cable and connectors, and the total run is well under 30m. Thanks!