Cable Building

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

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  1. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

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    Any recommendations for 2.5mm TRRS connectors or pigtails? I would prefer cheap and easy to use, but options for these seem limited

    Edit:
    Fairly sure I've scattered the entire Internet by now. Not including the cheap eBay stuff, options look to be and eidolic connector for about $11 or moon audio's own for $5, may be the winner
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  2. Xen

    Xen Friend

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  3. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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  4. Jeb

    Jeb Friend

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    Just completed my first cable. Overall I would say I have a new-level of respect for people who do this for a living or semi-pro. It's good fun but quite fiddly and time-consuming when doing it for the first time.

    This one was done with:

    4 x 8' of 26AWG wire (from Toxic Cables) - £50
    Viablue SC-2 Splitter - £6
    Sennheiser connectors - £12
    Neutrik NP3X 1/4" jack - £4
    Type 95 Paracord - 25' Brown/Black: £6

    Total: £78


    All in all, a nice exercise. Need to improve tightness & uniformity of braid.


    [​IMG]
     
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  5. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

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    What's the best way to build a speaker tap cable for the HE-6?

    My receiver (and I assume most speaker amps?) have 5 way binding posts, so would I just want to use banana plugs? Or those fork things? Sorry I'm quite speaker illiterate. Also is 21awg canare wire thick enough? (my current headphone cable is made of the same)

    Any reason why I couldn't have all four leads come together into a female 4-pin XLR, that way I could just plug in my various Hifiman 4-pin XLR cables?
     
  6. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    If you have a normal solid state amp/receiver, you can do exactly what you are planning. I think some tube amps might need one of those Hifiman adapter boxes. I have made numerous 4-pin XLR adapters that lead to bare wire, bananas, spades, what have you. With the 5 way binding posts, you literally have 5 ways, with bananas probably being the easiest to plug and unplug. With spades, you have to plan orientation to make sure they don't hit each other and short out your receiver. Any wire that you would use for your headphones will be fine. Post pictures when you finish!
     
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  7. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

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    Thanks, I'll give it a try. I have everything in house except the banana plugs anyway leftover from other made cables. Just worried that once I make these and try on my modern receiver I may be headed down a crazy path...

    Also, I made a 4-pin XLR to 2.5mm balanced using the 2-way pigtail recommended by @Xen above, worked great and very easy! Although holy crap why is the AK 2.5mm balanced pinout so insane!?
     
  8. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    Another person looking for a speaker taps cable (with solid state amp) for HE-6 here, anyone here build them for a fair price? Please PM me, thanks!
     
  9. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

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    @PTS Hifiman does make an official one, but it's a little pricey http://www.moon-audio.com/hifiman-he-adapter.html

    Any custom cable maker should be able to make you one for much less than that, I would think. With just a standard quad wire it cost me under 20 in parts. This would be a great project to learn soldering and cable making if you've ever been curious, as 4-pin XLR is the easiest connector to work with and you really don't even need to solder the banana plugs if you get the twist to close ones.
     
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  10. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    Okay, so I purchased a cable from Impact Audio Cables. You can see a pic to something very close to what I got in the attachment.

    I'm thinking I might make an extension cable for this as my first cable project. Does that sound reasonable? It doesn't have to match perfectly (I certainly won't try a braided cable as my first attempt), but I would like something with a similar sleeve material.

    Can someone give me recommendations for supplies? Specific wire and sleeve suggestions would be awesome.
     

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  11. No_One411

    No_One411 Fired by Jude

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    Use Mogami or Canare starquad. Cheap, flexible, and easy to work with.

    Won't need to use sleeving unless you really want to spend the time braiding and sleeving. Just need to add the associated male/female plugs.

    Easiest way to get started by buying your preferred length and re-terminating the ends for practice.
     
  12. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    Sleeving is micro paracord: http://www.paracordplanet.com/paracord/95-paracord/ This should fit most wires. For actual wire, you can buy some Mogami or Canare quad microphone cable, strip it down and braid up the wire. I like Mogami 2893 which is high quality, flexible and 26awg. If you don't want to do that kind of work, BTG Audio sells Mogami wire by the foot (though it is much more expensive this way).

    EDIT: Whoops, you don't want to braid. Stick with the Mogami 2893 cable and sleeve it with nylon multifilament. Not sure if the larger paracords will fit over the Mogami.
     
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  13. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    Any guides/tutorials on stripping and braiding the wire so I can go with paracord?
     
  14. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

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    To strip Canare Star Quad, I first slice the outer rubber jacket with a box cutter, about ten inches at a time and peel it away. This leaves you with the silver shielding on the outside. It's kindof like a Chinese finger trap, if you push one of the ends in (grabbing with pliers) you should able to get it to come off in one long go. That will leave you with the four individual wires that are kindof twisted around eachother with some string. That's just the simple but annoying matter of unwinding, and there you are, four individual wires.

    For Canare Star quad, which is 21awg per wire I believe, I've had better luck with 275 paracord than 95 http://www.paracordplanet.com/paracord/275-paracord/ but maybe I'm not as good, or the smaller size of Mogami makes 95 more feasible

    However, you can fit all four stripped (but still entwined) Canare wires into 550, as well as the whole of Mogami (w2799 for me), including jacket, into a 550 size, which makes for a really simple job http://www.paracordplanet.com/paracord/550-nylon-paracord/

    A dab of white glue on the end, and letting it dry, helps prevent snagging and sliding the wire through the paracord slowly but surely
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  15. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    None that I know of specifically. I can get you started:

    Stripping the Mogami is pretty simple. Use a sharp blade to carefully slice (don't go too deep!) the Mogami cable's outer sheath. It has a copper spiral sheath that you can just unwind from around the cotton damping and the wires. Once that is all exposed, it is simple to untwist the wires. Run the wires along a desk edge to straighten out some of the waviness.

    The paracord takes some preparation, too. Snip off an end to expose the single stranded core that you need to pull out. Measure out about 110-115% the length you need and snip the other end to free up the inner core. I would take a flame briefly to the ends to keep them from fraying. Carefully pull out the core - you may have to pull it just a few inches then smooth out the paracord. Kind of like a reverse inch-worm movement. When you feed your wire into the paracord sheath, make sure you have a clean cut on the Mogami so that there are no stray copper wires that could snag. Feeding the wire takes a lot of patience - just inching it in carefully a half inch or so at a time, again, like an inch worm. It is slow going. Don't rush, for the best results. If you need to trim the paracord, always remember to melt the end a little to keep it from fraying.

    Before braiding, I usually solder the wires to the connector so that I only need to secure the connector. Just a couple tips for soldering. Pre-in your wire ends so that they don't splay when you are trying to solder them to the solder tabs of your connector. I like to pre-tin the tabs as well. I use a liquid flux that does a spectacular job. It is a safety flux that is used for foil craft works. Some solders have enough rosin flux that it might not be necessary to find the safety flux. There are also pastes available. Not necessary, just makes it easier. Use only enough heat to get secure connection. Too much and you risk melting your wire dialetric or the material in the connector used to separate the tabs. Too little and you won't get a secure solder connection. It might take a few tries to get it right. Secure your connector in a vise or just tape it to a secure surface that you can pull on.

    Now you are ready to braid! The best way I can describe braiding for a 4 wire round braid is "Over 2, over 1, under 2, under 1." It is something you can say to yourself as you braid to keep things straight. To go into more detail, spread out your wires separately so that you can keep track of them. Take the wire farthest on the left and move it over the next two strands to its right (Over 2). Then take the the right most wire and move it over the one to its left (the one you just moved) (Over 1). Now take the left most wire and move it under the two to its right (under 2). Then take the right most wire and move it under the one to its left (under 1). It might take a few tries to get the hang of manipulating the wires and keeping track of them as you go. You will likely need to untangle the non-braided ends of your wires every few turns. Once you get going, every couple inches, I would run your hands along the braid to make sure you are keeping it straight and even. I usually keep it under mild tension to help with the straightness and evenness. Once you get to the end, I usually use some teflon tape as a quick way to keep my strands together. Tape can also work. At this point, you can solder your other end. Don't forget to put the connector bodies onto the cable before you solder the wires! I can't tell you how many times I forgot to do that throughout the years. Also the heatshrink if you are using it to add further strain relief.

    I think I covered most of it. You are welcome to ask any other questions as you get along in the process.

    Good luck, have fun, and post pictures!

    EDIT: This guy has a pretty good site for building cables: https://robrobinette.com/BalancedCable.htm
    EDIT 2: Poochzag described the inching of sleeving better. Chinese finger trap is a great way to describe it.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  16. logscool

    logscool Friend

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    If you are just pulling the wires out Mogami will be easier since it's shield is just spiral copper as opposed to the woven/braided shield of the Canare that has been described as Chinese finger trap like.
     
  17. uncola

    uncola Friend

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  18. Armaegis

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  19. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

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    Any suggestions for a type of cable to make RCA interconnects?

    For best shielding should I use one intended for unbalanced with a center wire and sheath, like this Mogmi w2528? http://www.redco.com/Mogami-W2528-Dual-Unbalanced-Cable.html

    Or is it okay to simply use a Canare Star Quad cable and just split it out at the end to R+ Rground and L+ Lground? Or rather use one whole cable for 1 channel (2 wires +, 2 ground)?

    Just looking for something cost effective with good shielding, I make my own headphone cables so figured I'd make some nicer RCA's since they're now a more important part of my setup
     
  20. uncola

    uncola Friend

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    that mogami w2528 looks perfect for a 2 channel rca cable. building cheap rcas is good practice soldering but I've realized unless I use fancy wire and connectors that excite me, I'd rather just get bluejeanscable lc-1 or audioquest evergreen off amazon so I can use my prime :p

    if you want good shielding you can use a coaxial wire with double braided shield like belden 1505f, supposedly double braided has the best hum rejection. star quad balanced mic cables are good too, the spiral is good for noise reduction, usually foil for rfi and one braid or served shield for hum/emi but do you really want to split the audio signal in two and spiral it around or do you want it to travel down a straight pipe like in coaxial cable? I know wanky audiophiles prefer the latter because star quad introduces time smear etc and other unproveable bullshit. I'm not sure I believe in that but it's easy to use coaxial so I've started doing that
    http://www.parts-express.com/belden...source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=pla

    sorry for the ramble! hope my perspective helps
     
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