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Review and (unofficial) measurements of Thomann SSSnake Cat Snake 3FB and 3MC (Analog cable snake over Category 5/6/7 cable)

kipman725

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I send AES over 30m of normal CAT5-E cable and have never had issues with it. I also used some normal cheap XLR connectors. My reasoning as pointed out above was that 110ohm is close enough to 100ohm and that the connectors are electricaly short. I have used it with:
X32 -> Symetrix DIGIO
Some ebay I2S AES board -> Symetrix DIGIO
 

LTig

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If I were to place a turntable (RIAA output) 33 ft away from active speakers, would this type of connect be suitable, or is it overkill?
No, at least not for MM pickups. Those need cables with low capacitance, meaning 1m or shorter. It could work for MC pickups but I'm not sure whether the shielding is good enough because the signal is amplified by 60 dB at 1 kHz and 80 dB at 20 Hz.
 

Grooved

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Wiring for the Thomann SSSnake brand may be found here.

Phantom power may also be sent if you use a foilded/shiedled Cat 5/6/7 cable (the phantom power will use the shield)
DMX signal may also be transmitted.
I suppose that AES/EBU digital audio may also be sent using those extenders.
I didn't check any of those though.

The website page says audio, and DMX also, but in the data sheet, I saw :
Intended use: This device is used to split DMX data in Ethernet format into XLR format. Any other use or use under other operating conditions is considered to be improper and may result in personal injury or property damage.

So it appears to be a DMX splitter, and not supposed to be used for analog audio signals. The results of your test look even more impressive ;)
 
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pseudoid

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I had high hopes for HDBaseT
"HDBaseT [circa 2010] is the global standard for the transmission of ultra-high-definition video & audio, Ethernet, controls, USB and up to 100W of power over a single, long-distance, cable."
From <https://hdbaset.org/what-is-hdbaset/>
I don't know what became of this 'standard' which did not get market traction << imo
NOTE: Backup a bit. HDBaseT is not over a LAN. It uses cat5e/6 cables but you do not hook HDBaseT into your existing network. HDBaseT has its own dedicated cat5e/6 line and at the sink, the same HDMI audio and video signal emerges as went into the HDBaseT encoder.
Pasted somewhere from <http://www.avsforum.com/forum/>
Now, we have AES-67, which mostly solves 4 channels max per each dedicated cat5/6/7.
I also have high hopes for Dante-type interfaces to improve their performance as there is talk of AVoIP in the pipelines.
 
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Rja4000

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Thank you, @Rja4000,

I was expecting to see an appreciable insertion-loss with the 30meter Cat5E you show in your graphs.
:oops:
As you can see on the SINAD measurements, level at the ADC input (labeled "Peal level" on the graphs) changed from -0.72dBFS for direct connection to -0.78dBFS for insertion of 30m UTP cable.
And down to -0.95dBFS for 4 x 30m chained.

So each "cable" insertion gives around -0.06dB level loss in my case.
 
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Rja4000

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Out of curiosity, was any testing done using a crossover cable to see if that affected signal phase?

Look at the pinout:
20220505_074702.jpg


And look at what a cross cable would do
0_eEOqkkQKBcuUTPbk.png

Pin 1, XLR Channel 1 pin 3 would become Pin 3, or XLR channel 2 pin 3.
While Pin 2, XLR Channel 1 pin 2, would be connected to Pin 6, or XLR Channel 2 pin 2.

So the phase remains for this pair.

And so on.

If I'm not wrong, 2 pairs will see a phase inversion while the other 2 will remain non inverted.
Channel order will be changed, of course.

Note that since the above pinout is proprietary, you'll have to do the same mental exercise for any other brand's connector.
 
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Rja4000

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So it appears to be a DMX splitter, and not supposed to be used for analog audio signals.
Yes
But on the device itself, it's described as "DMX AES/EBU Analog"
Most people are using this for Analog balanced audio, I think.
 

ichonderoga

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The more you know. Thanks :)
 

Berwhale

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I have no clue.
That's a pre-built CM 26AWGx4P UTP Cat5e 30m cable.

Thanks, if it's a pre-made patch cable, it will have stranded conductors.
 
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Rja4000

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Just to test the limits:
SINAD @15Vrms (+26dBu)
Direct
SINAD_26dBu_Direct.png


Through "Cable"

SINAD_26dBu_Cat.png


Comment:
This is really pushing the system to the limits.

I selected the highest output range on the RME ADI-2 Pro fs R: +24dBu
And then pushed the output by another 2dB
(You may do that with the RME without overloading. 15Vrms undistorted output with +12V DC power supply :) )

As the E1DA ADC is limited to 22dBu max, I added @jan.didden's Linear Audio Autoranger II (2019 edition) in the loop, after the "cable", to decrease level by 6dB.
All those reasons explain why SINAD here is lower by a few dBs.

Still, the "cable" is not altering the signal.
 
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pseudoid

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So each "cable" insertion gives around -0.06dB level loss in my case.
Thank you.
I am glad I did not bet on my original "hint" about expecting a higher insertion loss from a 30meter @ 24/26awg cable (any cable).
I think AWG tables show 4R(ohms) resistance, for one-way trip (of a balanced line) total.
 
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Rja4000

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AES Jitter test
From: RME ADI-2 Pro fs R
To: RME UCX II
Measured with Virtins Multi-Instrument 3.9.5
Source signal: J-Test from Multi-Instrument
(I get the exact same result from REW's own J-Test signal)

Direct
Jitter_DIrect.png


Through "cable"
(30m UTP)
Jitter_Cat.Png


Comments
This test is purely in digital domain
The first 250Hz component is at -142dBFS, or -139dB if compared to the signal main component.
So, as close as can be from perfect, in both cases.

Note that one may transfer up to 8 channels with one such "cable" in digital format, since each AES connection is stereo.
While it's limited to 4 channels in analog.
 
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KSTR

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Great thread, thank you!
Comments
This test is purely in digital domain
The first Jitter component is at -142dBFS, or -139dB if compared to the signal main component.
So, as close as can be from perfect, in both cases.
Isn't that whole test sort of futile because the signal does not even leave the digital domain? Well, aside of general digital data transmission integrity, that is, unless the cable is flipping bits no error can ever develop.

As for any effects on cables on analog signals, I think the only regime where we might(!) be able to find something is the ultra-low level domain, like MC signals. Obviously, the hard part is then to avoid side effects (like shield balancing currents) giving false results.
 
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Rja4000

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Isn't that whole test sort of futile because the signal does not even leave the digital domain?
Well, I just needed a test to check if the AES/EBU connection works or not with this "cable".
I think it does the job, doesn't it ?

If you have a better idea, you're welcome, though.

As for any effects on cables on analog signals, I think the only regime where we might(!) be able to find something is the ultra-low level domain, like MC signals. Obviously, the hard part is then to avoid side effects (like shield balancing currents) giving false results.

That's coming :)
 
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