When I was starting my pro audio career in the late 1980’s there was little in the way of cable testers on the market. My first cable tester was a Whirlwind Tester. At the time it seemed really useful but it was pretty limited when compared to what is available now. Here is a list of links to some of the cable testers on the market. You’ll notice that some of the designs appear to be exactly the same cable tester with a different model #. You also note that some of these testers can test a large variety of cables (not just audio).
Recently the market has been flooded with CAT5 shielded snake options based around the Neutrik Ethercon series of connectors which is great for the pro audio industry because it offers us another option for getting multiple channels of audio from point A to B.
Each of these manufacturers state that their CAT based products will support some or all of the following purposes. (analog audio / digital audio / comm / DMX). It could be that technically they’re all fully capable of supporting each one but it could be that you wouldn’t want to try to combine them on the same CAT5 snake. For example, unless I knew that it wouldn’t cause damage, I wouldn’t try to use a single CAT5 snake for analog audio, digital audio, comm and DMX. It might work but it might also let the magic smoke of one or more devices up or down stream.
Each platform has it’s own features related to terminations that might make you choose one over the other. I especially like the options that provide both in and out ethercon / RJ45 connections on the same box so you can daisy chain one box to the next and the next…The Radial Catapult series offers break out boxes with and without transformer isolation. The Whirlwind boxes can be rack mounted using a plate.
I will be choosing one of these platforms to build my next measurement cable package which will reduce the amount of standard audio snakes I have to transport and also the number of long XLR cables I use.
Dave Rat has done some interesting videos related to using CAT cable for AES versus XLR cable and AES specific cable.