Cable Building

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Skyline, Sep 30, 2015.

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  1. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    @Roarke, timely! I just started putting together a Google Sheet of wire.
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pXSXIVBJXhb5fqysBTHQ5q3SHQ3d8B6kAHv8yQIWSTY/edit?usp=sharing

    I've made a number of cables. Alex of Audio Zenith claimed to be able to hear the difference between some of them, but I, my son, and my friends cannot. I think it takes a very trained and sensitive ear to tell the difference. I hears two cables once that I thought were different, but I could not be sure. Also, different doesn't mean better.

    Braided is supposed to help with EMI rejection. Probably doesn't matter unless you live next to a radio or TV antenna, or a HAM operator. Braiding individually sleeved paracord does look nice. I've done 4 and 8 strand wires braided bare (just insolation) and individually sleeved. Also, a tight braid with paracord might allow for more cable noise, so you might want to start with a loose braid.

    if I were you, I would start with mogami W2799 and extract the conductors. It's not fun, but not too difficult with an exacto knife and patience. Basic 60/40 leaded solder is also fine.

    There is a really extensive thread on Head-Fi for making cables.
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/676402/diy-cable-questions-and-comments-thread/
    Don't read the whole thread, unless you are a masochist.
    here a decent post of what you might need
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/676402/diy-cable-questions-and-comments-thread/5070#post_12488946

    At some point I will create google site to show off all the DIY stuff I've done. Mostly headphone stands and cables. For interconnects, I've given up and just get monoprice premium stuff. For headphone cables, unless you really know what you are listening for, good quality wire is fine, heck, even good.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017 at 11:22 PM
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  2. willsw

    willsw Rando who works for Linear Tube Audio!

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    After a fairly extensive USB thingy listening day and deciding that the separately powered USB cable was almost as effective as any more active device, I'd like to make a few of my own to test and lend to people who like new toys to listen to. The problem is that so far I haven't gotten it to work.

    I'm using a standard USB cable so that the signal wires have the proper impedance, and severing the power line at both ends. I'm re-terminating both ends, so there's nothing attached to the power pin at all, and attaching the ground and shield to the ground pin of the computer side, and then on the DAC side I don't ground the shield and just have the ground wire attached, as well as the ground wire from a separate cable that is only power and ground. Thinking initially that the problem was on the power side, I shorted the data pins where I plugged into a USB wall charger (I have a 5V wall wart in the mail to use on a final version). When I plug into a hub with a charging port, and then plug into the DAC, the port lights up to acknowledge that the port is active. This makes me think the problem is actually on the signal side. There is a tiny chance that the ground wire isn't making perfect contact on the computer side because of the big twisted shield it's mixed in with, but it's definitely making some kind of contact.

    Does anyone know what the proper wiring for this would be? I would tear it open again, but I've already done that enough tonight and would rather just know the right way.

    Edit: I found a 5V 2A wall wart and tried again. Works fine. Either it was an issue with the chargers–I read that if it's not properly sensing a device it will only give minimal current–or I had made some tiny mistake soldering the signal end that was shorting or something.

    Now I have an audiophile USB cable and one less outlet on my power strip. Great.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017 at 8:56 PM
  3. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    Thank you! The cables were connected fine, but possibly bad soldering or something? In any case, I should update that I got in both a new set of Mogami 2534 and also a set of 2549 to compare against the 3080. I ran each of them in my system for a couple of weeks, but didn't hyper-analyse it, just let myself see what stuck out. I thought they were all identical, and all sounded great, below about 6-7khz. Above:

    3080: too much going on above 10khz in a manner which seemed hard to EQ away.
    2549: top octave is less present and better integrated into rest of spectrum. More pleasant and listenable as a result.
    2534: less still above 10khz, but seems slightly less smooth as well.

    In the end I would be perfectly happy with either the 2534 or the 2549 and if I wasn't comparing them directly I doubt I would feel either was wanting. But in the end the 2549 felt slightly more open and clear and also smoother, so I am going with that. I didn't have any RFI issues, but I'm not near any radio masts or anything.

    Yep, that's what I did! Even though my speakers are transformer balanced, connecting grounds with the DAC seems to deteriorate the sound quality. Even the ground lift switch on my speakers didn't cure it completely, but lifting pin 1 did so.
     
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  4. Pillars

    Pillars Acquaintance

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    I've been told proper weave helps with EMI. It's also very simple to weave and the satisfaction of a really nice looking cable comes with it :)

    Wires make little difference to me on my dynamic cans. More so on my planars. I've heard audible though not huge differences. Just choose a nice flexible and quality wire. I like Nucleotide and Norne's offerings. I also have quite a few Canare cables that have done just fine.
     
  5. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    Well, the Nucleotide V3 24 AWG is $1.99/foot. The Mogami W2799 is $0.18/foot. Gotham GAC-4/1 (96 strand, 24AWG) is $0.16 (plus shipping, and getting the on-sale stuff). While there is a law of dimishing returns in audio, the difference in cost is considerable. For an 8 strand 6 foot cable, the Nucleotide is $95.52. Using mogami it is $8.64. If you are like me and you end up building 6 or 7 cables, the cost can be pretty significant. Certainly practice with mogami, and then decide if you want to go with more expensive wire.
     
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