Cat 5 cables, your experience

I have a HT that I am upgrading. Have B&W 602 in front and 303 in rear-6ch. Will install a Sherborn 5/1500 and a processor TBD-any recs for a good used..will us 1802 for now.
Want to update the cables (have generic 12g stranded)
How do the CAT 5's sound. Just got some. Was thinking of brading 3 double runs and using as bi-wire.
Apreciate your help
My experience is with two different sets of cables built to Chris VH's specs ( look in the Cable Asylum ) and a set of "cheater" Cat 5's that i and my brother built. Chris' design uses 27 pairs ( 54 conductors ) and is quite labor intensive to build. The "cheaters" that we built consisted of 12 pairs ( 24 conductors ) and were far easier to build.

One thing that is common to both of these designs is that they take forever to break in. I would highly suggest letting them play 24 hours a day if at all possible, even if it is at low level. Simply leave your system on the tuner and let it play as background music.

Chris' cable has phenomenal low end to it. Mids are pretty good with no major complaints or compliments sticking out of my mind at this point in time. My biggest problem with these is that the highs can be somewhat splashy and ill-defined for a LONG time. They are not smooth in my opinion and it takes a LONG time for that to change. I don't know if it is due to smearing relating to phase problems or from all of the bending / kinking that takes place in the braiding process. Even after a long period of use, they were still not my cup of tea on the top end.

The "cheater" cables were very similar in presentation but lacked the authoritative bottom end. This is probably due to the reduction in gauge ( 10 gauge vs about 14 gauge ).

Keep in mind that these are strictly opinions and findings that my Brother and i share. I know MANY others that have had different results and REALLY like these cables. If you've got some cable lying around, it IS worth a try just for the experience. Sean
I tried a friends in my setup (the full blown CAT 5's) and $3/ft Kimber Kable 4VS sounded quite a bit better as far as balance and general musical enjoyment goes. The 5's exhibited a compressed, uneven quality (lot's of bass, but also lacking detail in this area), somewhat recessed mids, blurred transients on piano and percussive instruments and generally raspy HF's compared to the Kimber Kable (which is no jewel in this area either). This was in an Audion 300B SET tube based system with Reynaud Twin's and a CAL/Bel Canto 1.0 DAC combo for the source. Perhaps this was system related or due to poor construction, but all that I can say based on these auditions is that the designs are not my cup of tea. On the other hand many people seem to love them in their setups, so go figure.
Dekay, you bring up a good point. When you start getting into DIY cables like Chris' CAT 5 design, you are not only comparing the design of that cable but the overall construction and quality of parts used.

I purchased both sets of these that i have from different individuals. Not only do they have different brands of connectors on them, they look different in terms of braiding and measure differently in terms of impedance. As such, this could account for much of the variances in system compatability and personal preference that one reads about with these cables. Sean
I braded up a short section to use on my Center. Set it up as a bi-wire. Sound improvement is there, but minimal.

Maybe try some solid core Magnet Wire (from Radio Shack) on the short/front speaker runs (26 guage is my favorite and it comes with three guages on a roll for $3.99)? You could try the larger guage as well (some like it). If you do this I find it to work better in single runs (don't twist it as in other designs, to start - you can always try this later). There is more info on Magnet Wire in the Cable Forum. If it does work in your setup there is high quality Magnet Wire from other sources (such as Michael Percy) and it is still inexpensive.