DIY Cables

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Watson, Mar 2, 2001.

  1. Jason Watson

    Jason Watson Stunt Coordinator

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    Justin,
    Cables that are "noisy" are picking up RFI or EMI from surrounding sources. These can be from things like nearby florescent lights or even some of your equipment's power cables that may be laying along side your I/Cs. If you want to use coax for I/Cs, but have a noise problem, you can shield them. This can be done by stripping the braided shield out of another larger cable. This would be slipped over the jacket of your coax cable and then connected to the RCA connector at the source end only. You must then ensure that the shield does not contact the shield of other cables by insulating it with heat shrink or for a nicer look,use braided sleeving. I used this technique on some twisted silver wire I/Cs and it worked great! I have to say that noise from your cables may or may not be a problem with your system.
    As far as plenum rated cables go, the rating is for cables run in air ducts and return air that might give off toxic fumes in the event of fire. Teflon and flamearest meet these requirements. Some other jacket materials may as well.
    Good luck with your cables. I really have fun messing with this kind of stuff.
    Jason
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  2. Justin T

    Justin T Agent

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    Hey no problem about posting this as a new reply. This didn't take as long to load up as the other topic. Do you think it would be easier to buy something like Monster Cable by the bulk and not worry about building a shield? Or what would be a great flexible cable to look at in avoiding this problem? Sorry about so many questions, I want to make sure I have all the info I need before I start this project. If it helps you or anyone else reading, I want to build my own cables, incl. S-video if possible, that have locking threaded RCA connectors (crimped desired). To give you an idea, a "reference" cable would be Monster's Interlink 400mkII with WBT locking RCAs. Of course that is WAY to expensive, so the closest/cheapest alternative is what I'm after. Thanks again.
     
  3. Justin T

    Justin T Agent

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    One more thing. What do you think of a cable that has twin conductors with a braided shield or one with a doble braided shield? Canare has those. Just curious.
     
  4. Jason Watson

    Jason Watson Stunt Coordinator

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    Justin,
    I have only built audio cables so far and have not attempted any video cables. The one speaker cable project I completed turned out to be a poor performer. But as far as audio interconnects go, I have built twisted pair,Teflon insulated,18ga.,copper,that sounded great but were unshielded and noisy. I assembled some Audioquest Turquoise that I bought in bulk and terminated with AQ.RCAs(this is a twisted pair with foil shield design)that sound pretty nice.And the mentioned Teflon insulated,20ga.silver, with a braided copper shield. This one is a three conductor design with all conductors individually insulated by teflon,braided and then slipped inside another Teflon tube with the shield over that and then covered by braided nylon sleeving. These sound very good in my system and I intend to build more. They are expensive because of the Teflon and the fact that I used WBT locking RCAs on them. The silver wire was cheap! The only other cable I have built was a sub cable mabe up of RG6 coax with AQ ends. Yes it does pick up hum but as long as I leave the subs crossover set below 120 hz, it removes the hum. I cross the sub over in the processor at 60hz so the sub crossover only removes the hum. I thought about shielding this cable but its kind of long and would be hard to do. I would build up a couple of cables using the design you feel most comfortable with, and try them out. If they sound better than what you are currently using, build the rest. I learned to try before going overboard. Oh yea, all of my cables used solder type RCAs so I don't know about the crimp connectors. They sure seem easy if you are willing to invest in the tools.
    Jason
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  5. Justin T

    Justin T Agent

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    Thanks for your reply Jason.
    I'm assuming that most of the AQ/WBT cables' cost was in the connectors ($35 a piece!) I plan on doing a little at a time as you suggested. I'm curious, the cable that you mentioned that has 3 conductors, where does the 3rd connector come in? Also I plan on buying cable that has Teflon shielding. Did you catch my other post about cable with twin conductors or twin copper braided shielding?
     
  6. Jason Watson

    Jason Watson Stunt Coordinator

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    No problem,I am enjoying the discussion.
    You are right about the WBT connectors being responsible for the high cost of the silver cables. The ones I used were the "midline" locking RCAs and I paid 75.00 for the set of 4. The AQ were not too bad at 5.00 ea. I am sure there are better connectors than the AQ for the money,but they were the best I could find here in town without going all the way up to the WBT. In fact,the Neutrik ProFi connectors for 15.50 per pair, are very nice nice and worth quite a bit more IMO. Others I have seen on the net(but not held in my hand)that look pretty nice are the Dayton(WBT clone)locking RCAs from Parts Express and the Vampire locking RCAs.I am not sure where I saw those.
    The cables I built with the third conductor were done to mimic the geometry of other commercial cables. I think that everything from Audioquest above Turquoise, in the older cables, and Diamondback, for the newer ones,use this "tripple balanced" construction. Several others I have seen do this as well.One conductor supplies the"hot" while two carry the"ground". This type of construction when braided or twisted, is said to further improve noise rejection. Please understand that I don't know enough about electrical properties and theory to trust my own ideas. What I have done is take basic information supplied by respected manufacturers like Audioquest and Kimber, and super sharp DIYers like John Risch, and play around and experiment with them. I have had failures(my cat5 speaker cables and noisy twisted copper ICs) and great successes(my silver ICs and DIY power cords)and have had fun along the way. I have even moved outside some of these design suggestions. For instance, John Risch does not recommend the use of silver in any audio cable,but I found it to be very nice for what I used it for. That is why I say try small projects first and see how they turn out. Mike Vansevers(sp?) warned me on another forum about changing everything at once and I am glad he did.
    As far as the double braided copper shield goes, I don't know. I think it could not hurt when used for interconnects but think I read somewhere that it should be avoided for speaker cables. I have not looked into it enough to understand why though.
    Jason
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