Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Where the magic happens...or something...
User avatar
jantonuk
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:52 pm
Location: Fairbanks, AK

Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by jantonuk » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:40 pm

I am looking at a project to build a new studio facility for a six station cluster. A couple of years ago I build two studios using the Radio Systems Studio Hub approach with Millenium analog consoles.

This time I'm thinking of using a completely structured cabling approach. 24 port Cat 6 patch panel between every studio and a central rack. Also patch panels between every rack in the rack room. All equipment to use Studio Hubs dongles. Then interconnect everything with Cat 6 patch cords.

I don't think the station has the budget to purchase all new AOIP consoles like Axia or Wheatstone but I'd like to position them to make a future upgrade easy. I think all Cat 6 RJ45 connections does this.

I'm wondering how crazy all the interconnecting patching will get compared to hard-wiring. Throw in distribution amplifiers and switchers and a possible rat's nest ensues.

I'm thinking of using Ortronics "Mighty-Mo" network racks with 12 inch wide vertical cable management up the sides to dress the patch cords.

I have not used the Studio Hub distribution amplifiers or "matchbox" dongles. I assume they're OK?

Anybody have pictures of a similar project they'd like to share?

regards,

John Antonuk in Fairbanks, AK

TPT
Posts: 613
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: St. Marys, WV

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by TPT » Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:32 pm

Not clear whether you have analog or digital consoles...

If you have analog consoles consider that whatever you plan for today will be changed many times over the life of the studios. I have five studios, in two different buildings, for three small market stations. Three Audioarts R55e's and a pair of Auditronics 2500's.

One location with three studios handles two satellite programmed stations, both doing a lot of live remotes and sports. At the moment we have programs from six different satellite receivers, and can handle two Marti remotes, and two telephone/Skype remotes on each station. There are two backbone 27 pair shielded cables between studios and the rack room (which doubles as a 3rd studio).

So, when I installed the consoles I brought out each input channel to barrier strips (personal preference--I prefer these over punch blocks), and terminated the backbone cables into barrier strips as well--then jumpered over sources as needed. Having all the inputs brought out makes additions and changes easy to do--even in a live studio.

For example...I bought a combination TV/monitor which had an OK digital picture but a terrible analog picture. So, when I got a new TV at home this went into the control room as a computer monitor on a 2nd computer. Came the big storm July 2012--we were up on geni, the local TV was up--but no-one could see them. No power=No cable. They wanted us to carry their newscasts. Cut the end off a stereo RCA phono jumper, spliced in longer wires, tied down to an open input &found the sweet spot for a pair of rabbit ears. We had the news on the air.

So, if you want to use CAT6 (actually, for audio, CAT5 would probably be cheaper), I'd use it primarily between studios, terminated in punch blocks. Then use ordinary shielded wire (e.g. Belden, 8451) for connections in each studio. One problem with Cat5/Cat6 is the bulk stuff is solid wire, which breaks easily, while the stranded stuff (either the CAT5/6 stock used for jumpers, or regular audio wire) is tricky to connect to punch blocks. Nothing more frustrating than to have to track down intermittent connections.

Conelrad
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:43 pm

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by Conelrad » Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:00 am

Quabbin makes single and two-pair cat 5 cable. I have used that in many studio buildouts where one doesn't need 4 pair.

I don't use shielded stuff any longer unless it is on mic circuits.

One studio complex (22 studios) is completely cat 5 unshielded, all balanced 600-Ohm terminated. No noise or crosstalk issues.

Dennis

User avatar
jantonuk
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:52 pm
Location: Fairbanks, AK

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by jantonuk » Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:43 pm

Hi,

At the moment, all analog consoles.

My proposal is to not use any 66 punch blocks but only RJ45 patch panels and purchased patch cords. The purchased patch cords have stranded wire instead of solid.

I've used 66 blocks for years but I want to position this company to move to audio over ip without having to rewire the plant (this is a new studio building being wired for the first time).

The consoles are Radio Systems RS-12's. Old but tried and true. I think I can get the header pin to RJ45 jacks to allow direct connection with patch cords into the consoles (like the newer Millenium consoles have built in)

John

TPT
Posts: 613
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: St. Marys, WV

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by TPT » Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:26 pm

Maybe my brain is on idle (been out driving miles and miles delivering "coats for kids" barrels)...

but if the studios were converted to digital (especially using control surfaces talking to a central switch/controller/ black box) wouldn't a single Cat 6 run between each studio and the switch be all you need?

A Cat 5 patch panel at each end of several runs of Cat 5 (and for audio I still would just use the cheaper CAT5 cable) might work OK--see, for example the Leviton 5G596-U24 which is around $110 and gives you 24 stereo connections (well, actually, 4 lines per jack) but I would still go with a simpler interface between the jack panel and the wiring into the consoles.

Being stuck in my ways, I would pick up cheap CAT5 patch cables, (5 or 6 foot would be a convenient length), cut them in half, terminate 2 pair in spade lugs, & go back to bringing out all the channel inputs to barrier strips.

Then 12 runs of CAT5 brings 24 stereo pairs to the jack panel in each studio. Jack 1 is the Premier Satellite stereo feed, Jack 2 Cumulus satellite, Jack 3 the RPU, Jack 4 the Comrex..you get the idea.
6 CAT5 patch panels at the rack room to feed outputs from a bank of 6X1 DA's into these back bone bundles of cables--at each studio these cut-up CAT5 jumpers into the console input. You want the RPU on channel 1 in the news/talk studio, but on a selector switch in the CHR studio? Just plug and play.

Conelrad
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:43 pm

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by Conelrad » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:18 pm

Krone makes a better 50-pair block than using a 66-. It fits the same mount and footprint as a standard 66-block.

One gets the ability to multiple-punch in (read you can stack up to four 26-ga pairs in the same forks), and there is a normal-thru patch on every pair accessible with their cheap little plug-in test deal.

A krone tool is under $8 on eBay delivered. WAAAAAAY advanced over a standard 66- tool.

Dennis

User avatar
jantonuk
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:52 pm
Location: Fairbanks, AK

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by jantonuk » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:45 pm

Hi,

Yes, when a conversion to AOIP takes place then a 24 count to each studio is overkill, agreed.
I don't think the price of Cat 6 vs. Cat 5 is really much of a consideration.
But the patch panels are probably double $. 6 studios with a patch panel on each end = 12 panels at an extra $250/panel = $3000 more.
Plus say 5 racks each with a panel back to a central patch panel rack = 10 more panels = another $2500 more.
So $5500 worth of future proofing for Cat 6 compatibility.


I do like bringing out all console connections so I never have to open the lid to make changes even when they are on air.
I'm really trying to stay away from any barrier strips and spade lugs. Too labor intensive and not DJ or GM friendly when they want to make changes.
I'm a contract engineer and they could make their own input assignment changes without calling me.

Cat 6 patch cords from Monoprice are really cheap so that's not much of a consideration.

I'm really curious to see somebody who did such a facility all in StudioHub including DA's.

The last engineer that built the current facility did not believe in DA's. He just double-punched everything.
While he did use 66 blocks in a traditional wall backboard setup, he ran the jumpers UNDER the 66 block standoffs. With tiny D-rings crammed full of wires and NO labels on anything it is a total pain it the ass to work on. I really want to clean it up.

I'm intrigued by the idea of doing it all with patch cords.

John

User avatar
BroadcastDoc
Site Admin
Posts: 2723
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:34 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Contact:

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by BroadcastDoc » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:43 am

You'd be surprised what is "overkill" though! I put in 12 runs to each of my studios with the new build (I have AoIP here) and I'm already using 7. Of course, I'm using them to bring in KVM extenders and other things as well, and that's the *ONLY* wiring I brought in. There's nothing but CAT6 in my building. Only way to go, IMHO.
Christopher "Doc" Tarr CSRE, DRB, AMD, CBNE
Help support the Virtual Engineer, use our 1&1 Affiliate link if you need good, cheap hosting.
Virtual Engineer. The Broadcast Engineering discussion forum

User avatar
KPJL FM
Posts: 543
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:28 am
Location: planet Earth, 3rd rock from sun

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by KPJL FM » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:26 am

First of all, if wiring a 6 studio facility, if not going AoIP you should install a router. My rule: after 6 DA's, change to router!

Cat6 is a great idea, but are you connecting as 568B or USOC? It'll make a difference if/when converting to AoIP.

I didn't like Studio Hub when I did a 5 studio Wheatstone AoIP build in 2011. I used RJ45 plugs from Ericsson with 24ga shielded pair stereo cable from Gepco. Way less expensive, saved $6K. Shields were connected at the XLR or TRS ends, the Blades do not have shield points on the RJ45 jacks. Worked great, I took 60+ iron ferrite torroids out the studios only put two back in each studio for the low impedance monitor circuits (headphones, etc.).

If analog, bond shields at the input to each piece of equipment, not the outputs. CMRR is determined at the input stage, so bond for 0 volts close to the input, never bond both in and out. If you bond jumpers correctly, you should be fine with just about any balanced line between studios. Cat6 is typically 100 ohm Z at lower freq's.

Just in case you don't have a xmtr nearby, bond anyway. LED bulbs are as noisy as AM's and cell phone/two-ways can be just as bad.
Trim to fit, paint to match, tune for minimum smoke.

TPT
Posts: 613
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: St. Marys, WV

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by TPT » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:28 pm

Yes. Even without a nearby transmitter there can be "RF"like problems. Today there are cell phones & similar devices. I can remember some 35 years ago fighting a copier with a heating unit that was getting into some audio circuits. It would generate a broad based pulse periodically when it switched on--luckily most of the energy went into the AC line where it could be filtered out. Still, had to play with some lines going into a nearby production studio.

Both CAT5 and CAT6 use twisted pairs that are relatively immune to such sources on noise (including AC hum--that's how you can run telephone lines on electric poles) but you still have to watch shielding and grounding on both ends of the runs.

User avatar
jantonuk
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:52 pm
Location: Fairbanks, AK

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by jantonuk » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:18 pm

Chris,
I'd be interested in seeing pictures of the patching and racks at your new facility.
And... do you know of anybody using the StudioHub system for an analog facility? Again, with pictures..

KPJL FM,
T568B
Yes, I always bond at the input not the output.
What didn't you like about StudioHub in your Wheatstone install?

regards,
John

User avatar
KPJL FM
Posts: 543
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:28 am
Location: planet Earth, 3rd rock from sun

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by KPJL FM » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:06 am

jantonuk wrote:Chris,
I'd be interested in seeing pictures of the patching and racks at your new facility.
And... do you know of anybody using the StudioHub system for an analog facility? Again, with pictures..

KPJL FM,
T568B
Yes, I always bond at the input not the output.
What didn't you like about StudioHub in your Wheatstone install?

regards,
John
I wanted the shield going all the way to the source or destination device. Then there was the cost for the hub dongles, and having those dongles hanging everywhere in the racks. Using that cable and RJ45's, wiring is straight into the blades.
Trim to fit, paint to match, tune for minimum smoke.

User avatar
radiowave911
Posts: 133
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:41 pm
Location: Middletown, PA
Contact:

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by radiowave911 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:57 pm

When we moved the school radio station into a new building, we were able to wire it with mostly Cat6 SFTP. A local manufaturer of such cable and panels donated most of it, so cost was not an issue.

We also upgraded to an AOIP system, Axia's. We also took delivery of a couple of the first Millenium digital consoles tha thad Axia nodes built-in. I still have some single pair shielded belden running around the station, however just about everything is on RJ-45 connections now. As a network guy, that suits me just fine :) We are using the studio hub pucks to connect to the various devices in the studios that are not tied into the audio network.

Did this about 5? years ago and it has worked great ever since!
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

http://www.wmssfm.com
http://www.sbe41.org
http://halloweenhauntings.org

Baylink
Posts: 438
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:21 pm

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by Baylink » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:13 pm

TPT wrote:There are two backbone 27 pair shielded cables between studios and the rack room (which doubles as a 3rd studio).
Was that a typo for 25-pair? I've never seen 27-pair.
One problem with Cat5/Cat6 is the bulk stuff is solid wire, which breaks easily, while the stranded stuff (either the CAT5/6 stock used for jumpers, or regular audio wire) is tricky to connect to punch blocks. Nothing more frustrating than to have to track down intermittent connections.
It has always been my understanding that you cannot terminate stranded wire in IDC connectors at all; on the 8p8c modular plug, they make different ones, constructed differently, for stranded cable and colored grey.

The solid/stranded interface is definitely the troublesome bit there; other than that I don't know how UTP will handle incident RF if the transmitter is on-site; how well all your devices maintain pair-balance becomes critical there.

TPT
Posts: 613
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: St. Marys, WV

Re: Let's use Cat 6 to build a new station!

Post by TPT » Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:04 pm

27 pair--Belden cable, each pair individually shielded. We built the station in 1983, got the cable used from a friend. Combined studio/transmitter site, with 17 KW --bottom bay of a 4 bay about 175' above the studio building. We put chicken wire in the walls (connected to ground). Later, when we killed the old key system & went with a system that didn't need a PBX, we used Cat-5 for the 4 line phones. No RF problems with the phones.

Just installed a network feed from the main building into the transmitter building. We have a 15 pair shielded pulled through plastic pipe underground between the buildings. Rather than try to pull CAT5 through the conduit I just used 4 pairs of that existing cable for the network connection.(Yes, I know, only really need 2 pair). Just soldered the Cat-5 to spade lugs on each end, put in jacks & used short jumpers into the switch at the studio, & into the backup Nautel now on the air. Seems to work, I can pull up the transmitter on the network. New NV-10/LT coming in January.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest