DIY Balanced Cables

I just finishing a pair of Balanced Cables for connecting an Ayre QB-9 to an AX7e. I tried to follow Jadem6's recommendations on his 2006 thread "DIY Interconnects Review".

The cables consist of 2 feet of cotton insulated solid copper wire (from HomeGrown Audio). The active leads (2 and 3) use 3 strands of 28 gauge. The ground is on one strand of 22 gauge. I used Neutrik Connectors. The wires are stitched by sewing machine on to a 1.5 inch wide cotton band the spacing is about 5/8" with the return in the middle. The three stands are lightly twisted but not braided. There is a small bit of electrical tape securing the cotton band to the connectors. I am not concerned about fragility. I will put pictures on my system page.

I would like to try some different configurations and wire when I have the chance but would like feedback about the following things.

1. Should the wires for the signal be left untwised, or braided rather than loosely twisted?

2. All the wires run parallel. I have found this to be a problem with speaker wires but jadem6's article is pretty emphatic that straight is better. In fact, I tried a version of my magnet wire speaker wires parallel and it sounded awful (veiled, thin). They are long wires though and carrying much more current.

3. What about a Litz configuration?

If these work well, I might try Gold wire but have heard negative things about silver and silver coated copper wire. Haven't heard them yet as my speakers are in the shop being upgraded. So as soon as I get them back, I will try them. i don't have much to compare too right now though.

thanks for any feedback (except really inappropriate negative stuff)
Drew, when you ran your magnet wires parallel, were there in close proximity/touching each other or spaced apart?

I ran them about 1 1/2" apart spaced by small blocks of wood every foot or so. They spacing remained pretty even and they were off the floor and away from most other wires and electronics. My speaker cables are 12' long due to the setup in my room.

The difference was not subtle.
Its not a good idea to leave the signal wires untwisted and parallel. They should contact each other uniformely and not be allowed to contact only areas where they happen to touch. Signal tranmsission should be continuous. Lightly twisting themis a no-no also. A true litz config would have the wires twisted uniformely and rather tight. Also, spacing between the pos and neg wires should not necessarily be very far appart. More than 1/4 inch is not needed. You are talking about interconnects correct? Not speaker wires?
If using a twisted configuration, 3-4 turns per foot is ideal. More or less can be detrimental actually. Braiding is a good way, probably the best in this situation. True Litz would also involve a conductor moving from the very center of the signal to the very outside, thus a 3 strand braid is closer to litz style than even numbered strands or twisting. My opinion is to try the braiding, it seems to have the lowest noise floor and best soundstage in my system. Of course, all systems are different!
Yep, I am talking about balanced interconnects, I only mentioned my experience with speaker wires as an aside.

As a starting point, I am following the recipe proposed by Jadem6 mentioned in my original post.

The feedback I am getting seems to agree to the following that Litz braiding is preferred to running connectors parallel.

I guess the big question I want to resolve (as soon as I get my EOS HD's back!!!) is: should the feeds be single strand or multiple strand.

So the next step is to try to build a single strand parallel version and compare to a single strand Litz version. Then I might try some silver plated copper wire. I'm not feeling ready to invest in gold wire at this time.

Thanks for the feedback so far and I am open to any new opinions too.

So I went ahead and made up a pair of magnet wire, single strand balanced interconnects. I braided the three wires with a round braid, about 2 braids per inch. The wire is one 26 awg on the signal paths and a 22 awg on the return.

Since I don't have my GMA's, I used my PSB Mini's (stolen from my small room setup) and did back and forth comparisons with the other pair of interconnects. These are the one's pictured, 3 strands of 26 awg cotton insulated copper per signal path and one 22 on the return.

Even with the PSB's (these actually sound pretty good), I could clearly tell a difference preferring the braided set hands down. I was surprised because I wanted to prefer the set I spent so much time and energy making. The braided pair was more transparent, timbre was richer, sound stage more pronounced. They sounded faster and less smeared, better in every way I could discern.

I think my next experiment will be to take the cotton insulated pair apart, reduce them to single wire and braid them to see how they sound.

(Of course what I really want to do is figure out how to make DIY liquid polymer wires.)
Some follow up - finally got a chance to compare some interconnects with my EOS HD's. It is very easy to hear just about any change with these speakers. While Roy was working on them for me, he recommended I try the Audio Magic Liquid Polymer interconnects.

So, I bought a pair of the Sorcerers thinking I would resell them if they did not compare favorably to my DIY cotton insulated set (braided into litz configuration). It did not take me long to hear that there was not a comparison. Clearly the liquid polymer technology provides a very neutral and musical presentation. The ringing and lack of clarity of the copper wire was immediately transparent. The real test for me is that I put them in my system and then forget about them. Also, I can't seem to stop listening.

Anyway - I have some nice 2ft balanced interconnects available for a song if anyone wants them.