What is CL-2? (or CL-rated?)?
I'm doing some research on audio cables, and I keep coming across the term "CL-2", or "CL-rated". I also tend to stumble upon the term "category 1/2". I can kinda see that CL-2 and CL-rated are related terms, but I don't know if that "category 1/2" applies to audio cables or snakes.
- JASLv 51 decade agoFavorite Answer
CL as well as CM and CATV rated cable is fairly common cabling that is constructed to comply with the (U.S.) National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements, published by the National Fire Protection Association, for various types of specialized or non-branch circuit in-wall (or plenum) cabling installations. (For more detailed information please see the resources listed below.) Depending on your specific installation, as well as your local electrical codes, you may be required to comply with all applicable code requirements, including the Articles of the National Electrical Code, any time you are installing non-branch circuit cabling, such as A/V and communications cabling, inside walls or (air) plenums. Even if your local code enforcement authorities do not require you to comply with the NEC it’s usually a good idea to do so anyhow in an effort to minimize the risk of any potential hazards.
High performance twisted-pair cable, including HDMI cabling, is often rated in the form of individual performance categories, i.e., Category 1, Category 2, Category 3, (Cat 1, Cat 2, Cat 3,) etc. A performance category corresponds to a set of minimum required performance specifications contained within a specific cabling standard from one of the respective standards organizations such as the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), HDMI Licensing, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and others. Cabling that is legitimately certified and/or marked for a specific performance ‘Category’ has been designed and pre-tested to meet or exceed the minimum performance specifications of that performance category after installation/termination.
As mentioned above HDMI cabling, not unlike twisted-pair cabling, is also classified into performance-rated categories, e.g., Category 1 or Category 2. Category 1 cables are “standard” HDMI cables tested to perform at speeds of 75 MHz and Category 2 cables are “high-speed” HDMI cables tested to perform at speeds of 340 MHz.
Unlike the NEC safety classifications that apply to non-branch circuit cabling (including audio cabling) for installation in walls or plenums I am not aware of any cabling standard for audio-only applications that uses individual standardized performance ‘categories’ in the same manner as twisted-pair or HDMI cabling.
######## RESOURCES ########
Understanding In-wall Speaker, Video and Audio Cable Ratings
Understanding NEC Circuit Classifications
Guide to Low-Voltage and Limited-Energy Systems
Categories (1 thru 5e) of UTP Network Cable (ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B)
Wikipedia: Copper cable certification
Wikipedia: Structured cabling
What’s a “Certified” HDMI Cable?
######## ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ########
Can I use UTP cables instead of COAX for cable TV?
Twisted-pair Ethernet: Copper Cabling for High Performance Networking
Standards Reference Guide
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De-Mystifying Cabling Specifications from 5e to 7a
- Grumpy MacLv 71 decade ago
This means in-wall rated because the insulation is fire-resistant.
The cable is the same, but the insulation has proven to not melt and act like a fuse to help spread a fire.
It is fire code to use this type of wire for in-wall runs in many cities.