DIY cables

I found a diy site that describes how to build the Transparent Audio Reference XL cables. Has any of you tried this and was it successful? It was on the Instructables site. Can you really make a $17,000 cable with a length of 12/4 wire ,a capacitor and a small coil?

Do yourself a favor and check out my system. Don't just look at the pictures. Read the description. DIY turntable. DIY rack. DIY DBA. DIY acoustics. DIY power center. And even the stuff that's not DIY is modded.

Got it? Okay. So I am mega into DIY. Highly experienced, highly skilled- did you look at that turntable?? The subs?? And yet, notice there are no DIY cables. That's because I always and everywhere try things out and go with whatever is the absolute best for the money. If I can do the same or better for the money DIY then its DIY. Nobody nowhere no how gonna match the Miller Carbon for anywhere near what I have into it. Ditto subs, rack, etc.

So if you're following along then you know, "always and everywhere try things out" means I must have tried DIY cables. Yet notice, no DIY cables. Now why do you suppose that is? Take a minute. Study the system. No DIY cables. Hmmm...

My attempts at DIY cables pale in comparison to this one audiophile who had a whole basement lab bench devoted to building DIY cables. Dude had 30 years building DIY cables. Every material, every construction design, every reverse-engineered overpriced (in his eyes) highly regarded cable he could find. 

One day he comes over all excited to show off his masterpiece, the One Cable to rule them all. He copied some megabuck wire and his copy sounded identical (in his system) to his DIY. Finally he is gonna glow in pride and watch me eat crow for doubting him. 

Oh and btw when you start following my posts you'll learn a lot and know this stuff and then be able to concentrate on comparison contrasting as my writing style relating these repetitive stories improves.

So anyway we listen and his DIY is so much flatter, deader, grainier, and all around awfuller that even he has to admit it. Total fail. 

Now here is the kicker. Notice above where I said he couldn't hear the difference? In his system. So now let that one sink in. Got it? The dude had so much awful DIY it had messed up his system to the point he couldn't even tell these obviously different wires apart. Despite the fact this is a guy who for years and probably to this very day regards his system as more "revealing". Even though its incapable of revealing even as huge a difference as this.

So go ahead, drink the Kool aid. DIY cables if you want. Its your money. Your ears. Your life. "I Did It My Way" is popular for a reason. Do they even have a song about the guy who does it the best way, even when it means doing the same as everybody else? Maybe they should.
I'm a fan of DIY cables. I think you can build quality cables if you use high quality raw materials, careful construction including high pressure crimping of connections, and good design. 

That said, building a speaker cable using cheap copper wire and then adding inductance and capacitance and soldering the connections fails on all counts. 
OKAY MC what cables do you use. Are they system specific? 
My setup:
Parasound A21 +
Parasound p5
Magnapan 1.7i w stands
Oppo bdp83
Klipsch r10sw
All bluejean cables

Correct me if I'm wrong but there appears to be a diy braided speaker cable in one or two of your photos?
OKAY MC what cables do you use.

Cryogenically treated 4ga wire comes in the wall and is hard wired into the Medusa along with the dedicated ground and 110V AC that after going through the conditioner goes back into the wall and up and across the ceiling to the projector. These wires are all covered in mesh.

The stock Origin Live tone arm cables coming out of the Conqueror tone arm are retro-modded to add Active Shielding. Ditto the Verus motor umbilical. These are not DIY cables these are adding Active Shielding as a mod after the fact.

Herron to Melody is Synergistic Research Atmosphere Level III Euphoria IC grounded to dedicated system earth ground.

Melody to Khorus speakers is SR Element Copper Tungsten Silver speaker cables with Active Shielding, MPCs modded with caps and diodes by Michael Spallone and hardwired into the Medusa with Audio Consulting isolation transformer and a bunch of top secret magic stuff by me and my Fight Club pal.

There’s another IC that looks like a ribbon, that one I think is Jungson and in the system pics is connected to the Oppo CDP but not pictured is a little adaptor. I usually watch movies off my laptop. For movies the laptop goes on top of the Oppo, the adaptor and the HDMI cable you can see laying there goes in the laptop, and I just move the one IC back and forth between the CDP and the laptop.

The HDMI cable is Cobalt. Its cryo’d. There’s another HDMI cable coming out of the wall, you can see it laying there on the floor just behind the amp. Its abandoned. I had 2 HDMI one for cable one for DVD/laptop.

Power cords are Synergistic Master Coupler going to the Oppo, Synergistic Resolution Reference to the Herron, and 2 Shunyata whatever’s going to the Verus motor controller and the Melody.

There's an embarassingly crappy no-name IC going to the Dayton sub amps. Then from one sub amp to the Talon Roc sub is another Jungson IC.

There’s 2 cheesy looking ElectraGlide Fat Boys going straight into the Dayton amps. One has "Cryo" written on it. That’s a vestige of way back when I was DYODD on cryo I had a few things done keeping one stock to compare. But those are Electraglide not DIY.

The power cords are at this point the weakest of all. Except I just wrapped them and everything else with some top secret magic stuff I can’t tell anyone about that elevated their performance well into kilo-buck thin air. But I did not say this. I was not here. (Yes Guild Navigator speak. Deal with it.)

Correct me if I’m wrong but there appears to be a diy braided speaker cable in one or two of your photos?

That’s the complete list. Where on the list, where in the system description do you see any mention of Miller Cables. Because I am rather proud of the stuff I build. When it works. When it doesn’t, you won’t see it. Which is why its not there. If I posted pics of all my failures.... DIY cables would be in there. Utter waste of time. It was the Active Shielding mods, that’s what you thought was DIY?
Oh crap! Looking at my system pics I just realized there is one supposedly DIY cable in there. Which I totally forgot about because I didn't make it. I bought the sub used and the seller included a long gray rubber power cord which you can see going along the wall in one of the pics. He told me this was made custom for him by someone, I forget, pretty sure he said it was Cardas wire or something. Anyway he was really proud and pleased to be including this wonderful sounding DIY power cord. So of course the first thing I did was hook it up and compare. Well of course it was nowhere near as good as anything else I have and only maybe very slightly better than a factory freebie rubber POC. Which being 2-3x as long I guess you could say its better in that respect. Whatever. Point is the one thing that is DIY actually makes my point that DIY sucks. Fortunately subs are very insensitive to things like that so there it is and there it stays.
@audiomaze - take a look at these...

The perform great, having exceptional dynamics, clarity and details and an enormous image..

I use them throughout my entire system and it has never sounded so good

They are a little more expensive than the 'normal" DIY cables, but then - you get what you pay for

If you have any questions just ask

Regards - Steve
@audiomaze - the interconnects share a similar geometry to the anticables interconnects, but they are not Anticables

I developed the same geometry based on my own thoughts about how to overcome cable design issues several years ago (2012 I think). I guess great minds think alike :-)

It was not until I had developed power cables (in 2015) that I became aware of the similarities between my own Helix geometry cables and the Anticables IC’s. My last adaption was to develop speaker cables using the same geometry

My Interconnects...
- If you look at Anticables pictures of higher end IC’s you will see multiple signal wires - I only ever use a single wire.
- the signal wire I use is audiophile grade from Duelund(stranded tinned copper) or Mundorf (solid silver+gold) 
- the neutral wire is twice the gauge of the signal wire and made from silver plated cryo’d Mil-spec wire
- I now use cotton sleeve only over the signal wire
- I use a ratio of 3:1 Signal wire : Neutral wire

Since I have never owned or used Anticables IC’s I am unable comment as to their similarity or effectiveness.

I have applied the "Helix" geometry to speaker cables and power cables.

Anticables does not employ the Helix geometry on any of their power cables or speaker cables.

A lot of research has gone inot what is the best wire to use, by myself and others who has built them - what is posted on the website is the cumulative effort/knowledge of many people across the globe

Hoper that answers your question - Steve

I found a diy site that describes how to build the Transparent Audio Reference XL cables. Has any of you tried this and was it successful? It was on the Instructables site. Can you really make a $17,000 cable with a length of 12/4 wire ,a capacitor and a small coil?

I found the same site and quite a few more tips on a good cable build.

If you have the skills, (and they are by no means some long lost art that only a few have figured out). OK soldering skills, a decent MM, good cable, (doesn't have to be some 100.00 a foot cable) 1-5.00 USD.
Your call on that one. You can use foreign or domestic cable, BOTH are perfect, if they have the same standards as the US, (none of them do),
BUT they all say they do. I USE US made Cable. Simple. I'm NOT an expert STEREO cable builder. Or whatever they are called, SMCB (Senior, Master,Cable, Builder) LOL, Crack me up. But I've built a lot of cables through the years. 

The one you are referencing, I built, cooked and listened to, 
3 meter 12/4
4.25 meter 10/2 (17 footer, no inductor)


Sound great and are well worth the effort. WHY? You did it.

I'll have to post some of the project through the years, the TT in the ol,
56 Crown Vic with the retract roof, and a Mcintosh tubes amp stereo system with REVERB. hee hee, Cool one. 

I guess I'll have to dig out my TurnTable project and get it up and running again, Yes I made 5 TT on an old  NON CNC lathe with the help of an old World Master Machinist (Jack Marchio). That was 46 years ago. They were machined from Marine 5052 18" and 8" round billet.
Each TT had 6 alu, lead disk pucks holders, underhung on the main platter. It wound up weighing 47 lbs without  lead weight added, silk bags of lead shot. LOL imported SILK bags, they make all the difference, (sure they do) hee hee

The problem back then motors?, They were a big problem, the cost to run a platter that size was BIG $$$$. Still is, but nothing like then. 

All of us young machinist/mechanics were gonna make our tone arms too, so we did. A guy in Elk Grove Ca (MicroTrac), made them for all the western AM FM Stations. Wonderful tone arms, 10-20" in length. MM or MC. He helped us, while my boss at the time, was repairing and building all of this guys TT platters Sparta, Russco, QRK, Fairchild, Roberts ect.
We also poured a 1" thick silicone deadening mat  (underside drive hub) upon request (VERY expensive at the time) He was a Broadcast TurnTable distributor. His (50 year old aged) Apitong compound pulley, counterweight Tonearms were legendary. (if you can find one)The guy had this crazy idea for an air/argon/co2 suspension platter, that worked and was QUIET. I got that here somewhere.

Yes I made LA -TEE-DA, modified, la-tee-da, quack quack quack.

The fact of the matter is, most  folks DON'T have the money for High dollar cables. SIMPLE. BAD cable is everywhere. So is good, better, BEST and TBOA, (The Best Of All). The ones you can afford and are willing to listen to. My ears are pretty good, actually very good, according to the Doctor that performed my exit physical.
The systems I tried them in and on , all good, not perfect, not the best, but good (what most of us common folk have) well known gear / combos. Mcintosh, Pass, VTL, GR research, AR, Tannoy, JBL, VMPS, Martin Logans, and of course DIY Modular cabinet design (stack and test).
My SAT ideas, ARE MANY, 25 plus combos so far..

The problem with "CABLES", everyone has a better one, or AS GOOD AS, or the "they don't make a difference", crowd. One thing for sure, you can spend 75-150.00 USD and find out. There is always ONE cable, above all others, RIGHT? Probably is,  but what does that cable cost, and or matter, IF YOU or me can't afford it. I mean I'm not gonna sell the OTHER KIDNEY, TOO.  LOL    NO TO THE NAYSAYERS.

I've had a FEW 25,000.00 >< cable sets brought over. Man oh man, sound great, sound different, sound EXPENSIVE. NONE have been BETTER, NONE. Worse yes, oh yea, but none better. Every one took at least a week or so to settle in. The cables I normally use, 45 min after a swap as long as I don't move it too much. Pure copper 4/8 bottoms, pure # 12/2 silver USAF surplus cable for the mids and highs, in multiplanar builds. The cables were cooked for 3 then 4 then 5 days total, and have 200+ hours in a round speaker setup 350hz< and 350hz >. After the first 100, VERY NICE cables, I added a 1.0 15 watt resistor inline -3db or so to the UHF.

500.00 USD in good house wiring upgrades, (Brother use to be the BA for the Local 302 Electricians Union) So the upgrades to my house wiring, came at a substantial discount. Knob and Tube. 1935 build.

Build the cables and pass on your good fortune..

I just want to listen and see  millercarbon's setup, I bet I would be in HEAVEN, literally. I built "THE ROOM" 33 years ago and JUST now am able to finally set it up (RETIRED) properly, according to my muddled, master, 40 year old plan..

I heard a system in Aspen one time at a job site.
The only system I've ever longed for. Kevin Costner or some want to be look alike for sure. ALL HANDBUILT, cabinets, All Seas speakers. Krell pyramid amps and gear, all one of a kind. 4+ MILLION, the AssHat on the job site (KC look alike) said. Biggest jerk of ALL TIME...and one of the worst jobs of all time too. Fractured rock, nightmare!!!

I can afford mine. yup yup. all paid for. yup yup..

BTW, tough to come up with resistor in the second network, I had to use three values. I built 6 pairs of the lower networks within .5%, and added an attenuator (if needed) to the networks + side of the cable.
Easy Peasy mate.


I`ve diyed perfect (nothing less) audiocables since the 90`s.

Right. I believe this guy. Totally.
How many new cable manufacturers have there been over the past 20 years? How did all those people start out? 

I'm not saying they beat all the cables I've never tried in my system, but I made vh audio's silver interconnects and really like them ( Pictures available in my system. Better than the old MITs they replaced, and better than my previous diy attempt using duelund tinned copper.

At least I know what materials are going into the cables, and that no-one's going to beat my diy cables' silver purity no matter how much they charge. Not a bad place to start.

1,999 posts
02-24-2020 12:37pm
@audiomaze - take a look at these...

The perform great, having exceptional dynamics, clarity and details and an enormous image..

Wow, the direction of the wind makes a difference. CCW vs CW. Once again silver clad over copper in the construction, BRIGHT? SIZZLE?
What type of speaker system are you using, round, planar, electrostatic?
I just can't handle the ear bleeding HF that silver cladding on anything causes. Man oh Man, same with a lot of single hard dome speaker setups. Couple that with this type of cable, COTTON TIME, for me.

The planar/ribbon systems I use or have used, they will boil your ears
using this type of anything, IC, PC, Speaker any and all connects. But a LOT of people I met at shows an such, just love that type of SUPER bright reproduction. I'll pass!  How was it recorded, what was the intent? I like Line Source speakers for the most part, most other people like Point Source speakers. Haya different folks, ay?

The network SPEAKER cables I built are sounding better all the time..
About 260 hours or so now, go for it, well worth it..

@oldhvymec - RE:...

Once again silver clad over copper in the construction, BRIGHT? SIZZLE?

Silver cladding is NOT the problem, niether is solid silver - it’s the type of insulation and the cable geometry that causes the ear-bleading distortions you are hearing.

The right geometry and insulation having a low dielectric constant allows the HF details through with clarity, smoothness and amazingly fine detail.

But - just for people that prefer the sound of copper I do include a Duelund Tinned Copper version of the Helix Interconnect and the speaker cables and power cables only use Duelund Tinned Copper.

As for MY speakers - Gershman Audio Sonograms - they have conventional drivers.

But that’s just my opinion - and BTW, one shared by a couple of people that have actually used my cables on their Maggies and reported great results

As the old saying goes - The Proof of the pudding is in the eating - not the speculation based on one’s experience with OTHER cables that just happen to use silver cladding - they are very different cables

The other thing with DIY - you are free to use whatever wire you like - it's the geometry and insulation that is important here!

So until you try them...….
Regards - Steve

Silver cladding is NOT the problem, niether is solid silver - it’s the type of insulation and the cable geometry that causes the ear-bleading distortions you are hearing.

I've yet to hear a pure silver SC or MC cable I couldn't deal with, same with pure copper. Like I said some people love that bright, sound and call it good. I can walk up on a clad system and tell it most of the time. I've heard a few XLR cables I actually liked. But speaker cable, I'll pass. I haven't heard them all that's for sure. Same with most hard dome tweets.
I'm a LS kind of guy. A single BOILING, tweet just makes me walk away.

As for the insulations, dielectrics I've been tinkering, BIG difference, for sure, BUT clad wire, not for me. When you say Tinned Copper, what is tinned copper? The terminal ends are tinned? I'm not following. Conductors are currently my main focus. BUT Cotton, silk, teflon, hollow tubes of silicone, I'm tinkering, interesting results too. VERY interesting... SILK skirts, certain types of cotton NOT BATTING, TEXAS brown cotton
lot and lots of different kinds of cotton, YUP!!!
Currently, mercury in a solder sealed glass tube with pigtails either end
Interesting sound, tungsten, on the way.

Yea I like DIY, keeps me kinda out of trouble, read my amp meltdown issue. CABLES. LOL


2,011 posts

I read through a lot of the information you offered. Interesting indeed.
I read your ears follow a pretty common pattern of most folks.  That is the problem, mine don't. When I was tested for over 40 years for occupational hearing loss, HF sensitivity was an actual issue for me. I tested over 18kh in my mid 30s, at retirement, with my exit, still above 16kh at 65 years then. To be candid I really wasn't trying to ace the test, I wanted to leave... Enough testing...

They  had a theory and finally an answer. The bones in my ears were deformed. The same defect that made my ears VERY sensitive, left 3 of my cousins deaf from birth, theirs being to a greater degree. 
I met a guy at a clinic at Stanford that was being treated for the same thing. A trial with these inserts that really helped. He could hear above 24 kh. He was a music guy to.. wrote reviews for something in the audio field.  He was in his mid 30s also. Lived with cotton in his ears...Believe me when I say it's a curse and a blessing, or a blessing and a curse.. 

I'd love to give the builds a go... I get an hour a day from the old that's it.. May be the perfect combo now. Thanks for your information and sharing.  Best results on your future formulas...

I'll keep an eye out..