Leading live sound engineer and audio system designer Dave Rat has collaborated with Sommer Cable, the German manufacturer of cable and connector products, to come up with two brand new products.
Rat's SuperCAT Sound is a premium shielded (U/FTP) CAT5e cable comprised of four twisted conductor pairs – each with their own individual shield and drain wire – which is able to transmit analogue and AES/EBU audio after being terminated directly to tails (4 XLR, 4 DMX, 4 1/4in TRS, 4 Mini Plug, etc.), or Dante, MADI and all other network signals when fitted with standard RJ45/etherCON ends.
Rat is the founder of Rat Sound Systems and SoundTools, and has worked for many well-known artists including the Red Hot Chili Peppers (with whom he toured from February 1991 to January 2017), Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, The Offspring, and Blink 182. His company is a provider of touring sound reinforcement equipment and services to the concert touring industry, based in Camarillo, California.
"After in-depth research of numerous cable manufacturers, we selected Sommer as the manufacturer of our SuperCAT Lite and SuperCAT Sound cables," explained Rat. "Sommer's diverse product line, quality manufacturing and responsive team made them the perfect partner.
"Although it's only rated as CAT5e, it's got an exceptional specification set that actually exceeds most 6 and 7 characteristics,” Rat continued. “Not only that, we wanted it to be extremely durable. You have these big bundles of cables that are running hundreds of feet, getting buried in troughs with barricades going over them or with audiences trampling on them."
Rat's SuperCAT Lite cable features four twisted 26 AWG pairs and is fitted with etherCON connectors that are individually tested for quality and reliability. Surrounded by a rugged polyurethane jacket, the cable is able to withstand extreme temperatures while remaining flexible.
"These cables are in a high impact and usage environment," added Rat. "Typically, the process with data cables is to utilise cheaper cable and carry spares. Having redundancy is obviously important but, why not make a really high quality entertainment grade CAT data cable that will not only carry high speed data and have high speed specs, but also be optimised to carry analogue and other formats."
AMI will follow up with Dave Rat in a one-on-one interview for the next issue of the magazine, during which Rat will summarise his long-term love affair with the Chilis, his fast-evolving touring setup, and reveal what other new products he has in the pipeline. Make sure to look out for Rat’s Q&A in the upcoming September issue of Audio Media International.