Cable Building

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

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  1. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Too much posting, not enough reading

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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
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  2. willsw

    willsw MOT: 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
  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 Too much posting, not enough reading

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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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  6. Pillars

    Pillars Acquaintance

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    There's more to it than just a wire though.. the Nucleotide is insanely flexible which leaves the cable feeling so velvet like. It's really, really nice :) Also, I believe 8 strands is 4 too many.

    In addition, the mic wire never flattens out perfectly for a flawless weave. With a straight wire purchase it'll turn out more tidy. Just my experience, anyways.
     
  7. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    My dad wanted a new set of speaker cables for one of his systems. Per his preferences I ended up using 12AWG silver plated copper in a teflon dialectric. It's a biwired pair, so I've got four spades for the speaker terminals on each run and two spades on the amp end. It was a basic 4-way round braid, but it was kind of painful; my hands felt like the might fall off after two ten foot runs. Compared to most wire that I use, this 12AWG wire is significantly stiffer, especially since most of my applications have been >= 20AWG interconnects.

    I wish I'd taken photos before he installed them, but he did that while I was at work yesterday. If they'd have been for me, I'd likely have used a different color scheme, but at least the braid turned out even. Thanks again @Torq for helping my source the sheathing tool. The teflon jacket moves almost too freely within the paracord and was all too willing to slip back several feet the few times the tool separated from the wire.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Too much posting, not enough reading

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    Last night I finished braiding the 16 strand cable! Only one, very minor "dropped stitch" in one of the thinner wires. Overall, it came out great! I still need to decide on the "Y" (naked, Viablue, Bead, something else) and solder the connectors. One question I had when I started this was about flexibility. Now that it's done, I feel it's plenty flexible for daily use. I am a little worried the insulation will dry out a little, get stiffer, and crack, but only time will tell.

    Also, Lesson learned: final cable is 7.5' long and too about 21 to 22 feet. I way overbought. I have enough cable to 3 more 16 strand cables!

    The full story is on my web page.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
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  9. Xen

    Xen Friend

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    You are one crazy cable guy! Kudos!
     
  10. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    Judging by the blob of solder on the ring connection (right channel) if you are using the screw on body it will short the right channel to ground as soon as the screw on body goes back on the plug.
    Don't use so much solder.

    JJ
     
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  11. e.schell

    e.schell Almost "Made"

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    Looking for a little bit of help figuring out how to custom build a a break out cable for a Lynx E22 in order to go straight from the card to a female bnc that i can connect my usual cable to...right now im using the stock break out which only has a 3 pin xlr male for digital out but has an adapter that converts that to rca/bnc. From the Lynx manual it tells me which pins on the female hd-15 are Digital Out Hot (pin 9) and Digital Out Cold (pin 15), not exactly sure what to make of that yet. And inside the xlr female to rca/bnc adapter cable from lynx there are short jumper wires going from xlr pin 1 to what looks like some sort of grounf, it is not a number lead and another jumper wire from xlr pin 1 to xlr pin 3.

    I simply want to go from the female hd-15 on the card end to a female bnc for the digital output. If anyone has any helpful info please let me know...feel free to PM.

    Here a pics of both ends of the adapter cable that attaches to the 3 pin xlr male digital out from the stock break out cable.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Too much posting, not enough reading

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    Done! 16 strand cable for Utopia complete. I even documented the process here.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    @e.schell
    This seems to be a fairly standard pin numbering scheme for the chassis side of the 15-pin DIN in the 3 row VGA style:
    [​IMG]
    If you look really closely, you can see the pin numbering here:
    [​IMG]
    It does appear to follow the standard layout. I'm not sure how I'd go about designing the strain relief, but you'd by one of these connectors and connect just the pins circled below:
    [​IMG]
    Connect red to the center conductor for your BNC and blue to the shield.

    Of course if I'm wrong, someone please correct me.
     
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  14. e.schell

    e.schell Almost "Made"

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    Thank you!
     
  15. e.schell

    e.schell Almost "Made"

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    Thank you!

    But the specific pin outs for the card are pin 9 is digital out hot, pin 15 digital out cold pin 6 is ground. Here is the Pin outs from the manual... I weasn't sure what the difference would be for digital out hot and digital out cold...

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    Okay, I see where I went wrong. Without the full list I just got confused. For a BNC coaxial connection, you'd just use hot and ground (so just pins 6 and 9). That would be the far right of the middle row and the second from the left on that same row (circled in red on the photo in my previous post). Now, what I'm not sure about is whether anything would mess with the characteristic impedance.
     
  17. e.schell

    e.schell Almost "Made"

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    That's sort of what i was wondering when i was thinking about the little jumper wires that were inside the xlr connector on the adapter cable...could that had something to do with impedance?
     
  18. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    I think that's just a not too unusual way to wire a balanced to SE cable: pin 3 to pin 1 ties the negative phase (which will be digital cold in this case) to ground, while pin 1 to that other thing ( the "ground lug") connects the chassis to pin 1 (which should be connected directly to the chassis anyway but probably isn't in most gear).

    As I understand it, pin 3 to pin 1 may or may not be ok depending on what the XLR is plugged into. It needs to be able to drive a short circuit which pro gear often can, but leaving the negative phase unconnected seems safer. So yeah pins 6 and 9 to shield and tip seem good.
     
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  19. e.schell

    e.schell Almost "Made"

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    Thanks for the help. Worked like a charm...I now have a break out cable for my Lynx E22 with a super short cable with female bnc that i can hook my Oyaide DB-510 to.

    Much appreciated!
     
  20. bxh

    bxh Friend

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    I finally got around to building a nice long cable today, picked out some Mogami 2893, Neutrik 4-pin, and some Furutech HD6x0 connectors.

    I appreciate a well constructed, simple cable with no frills, which is difficult to find now.

    [​IMG]
     
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