Duelund DCA 12ga Hookup Wire

Just tried Duelund DCA 12ga on speakers (2 pairs TRUE bi-wiring) and VERY VERY impressed with SQ especially for the price. Now thinking building XLR ICs with either 20ga or 26ga ...

Questions for DIY members:

1. Do I just use 3 runs and solder them to positions 1, 2 and 3 on connectors?
2. Any specially weaving patterns on the wires?
3. Any suggestions using different wire for ground?
4. Any suggestions 20ga or 26ga?
5. Other suggestions?

I use the pure silver, single strand shielded from PartsConnexion:


However, it IS brittle. A few too many twists and it will break. Still, I haven't found anything I felt was cleaner sounding. 


I made a set of balanced interconnects using WE 16ga wire and it sounded "thick" or a little too full to me.  I have since made balanced ICs using Duelund 20ga wire and I like the result.  There are many ways to do things but my suggestions are;
  • Twist a pair of Duelund 20ga wires (that will attach to pins 2 and 3)
  • cover the twisted pair of conductors with spacing material (I use noise-reducing techflex)
  • Place a tinned copper braid shield over the conductors and spacing material
  • Counter-spiral a generic stranded copper ground wire of at least 20ga (I use 18ga for 20ga conductors) outside of the shield
  • Connect the generic ground wire to pins 1 at both ends
  • Connect the shield to pin 1 at the source end only 
  • Cover with techflex and heat shrink the ends
  • I like Vampire XLR connectors for lower cost applications and Furutech 600-series connectors when spending more (my personal cables use the Furutech connectors).  Others have had good luck with Xhadow connectors.
Good luck
That Duelund vintage style and tone wire is just wonderful. I like it better than the Duelund silver as the tone and presentation is spot on for my tastes. Just a far less fussy wire than silver. We want our systems to play all our favorite recordings well, not just the great sounding recordings and the Duelund vintage wire helps us achieve this goal.

I use the Duelund vintage style wire everywhere in my rig. The 12 gauge makes great speaker cable for sure. I assume you twisted your runs?

Well to make a proper xlr cable you use two runs for pins 2 & 3 only. You twist these two runs and place them in a nice braided copper shield. The shield is formed/twisted into a wire at both ends and connected to pin 1.

Be sure you twist the two Duelund wires right up to the point they are soldered to pins 2 and 3. Run that twist as close as possible to the solder point. Also keep the that twisted braided shield that you formed into a wire as short as possible .... just long enough to solder properly onto pin 1.

I prefer the 20 and 16 gauge for ICs and would go no smaller. I like the 16ga better, but that is a subjective thing really. You get a tad more body and weight with the 16ga. 20 gauge also sounds fantastic and should be great on the dac connection. The Duelund wire is not as thick sounding as the Western Electric mentioned above making the use of 16ga very good on the ic.

@mitch2 Build is slightly more complex and if you read on this subject some feel it adds noise and some undesirable SQ issues. Others swear by it. Goodness, like all things in this passion, opinions are in great supply. I have not compared the two builds side by side and this is the only way to know. I will do so shortly.

I would love to hear Ralph of Atmasphere  chime in.


Did you try your build with and without Flexo or the Techflex product you referred to above? I wonder if it dulled or darkened the sound in any way? Thanks.  
Did you try your build with and without Flexo or the Techflex product you referred to above? I wonder if it dulled or darkened the sound in any way?
No, I have not tried it both ways so I couldn't say.  I like the idea of the vibration-damping properties of the special Flexo Noise Reduction wrap and the thickness helps space the braid shield away from the signal conductors, which is generally considered a good thing.  I know there are people who like less complexity so they don't shield their cables, and some who even think the two signal conductors are all that is needed, without even the ground.   Most manufactured cables are shielded and most of those pass ground by connecting the shield at both ends.  The idea of a "floating" shield is to draw any interference back to the source end but since the ground is connected at both ends one could argue it may be just as good to connect the shield to pin 1 at both ends and forego the ground wire.
Thanks @mitch2 .   I agree with your interest in anti vibration damping in cables.  I am solidly in the camp that no shield sounds best and even not using synthetic outer sleeving....just silk or cotton.  I have come to this conclusion by building and testing the two options and listening very carefully over and over. Shielding always seems to darken and generally mess with the natural tone. I will test the Flexo in and out of the same cable.  Interesting product.  

@grannyring .   I'm going to build XLR with 2 16ga runs so can you recommend a braided copper shield and sellers?

BTW, I did twists the 12ga speaker wires.

Yes,  twist the wires on pins 2 and 3.  Just use some nice 1/4 inch copper braid from sellers like Amazon or Parts Connextion etc....

Make sure the braid is pulled up as close as possible to your xlr plug solder connections.  

I have made XLR cables w/o shield and with a counter spiraled ground (larger gauge than conductors) for Pin 1.  Have you tried this method vis-a-vis the shielded option you mentioned above?
Yes I have. Most of my customers want long xlr cables and I think shielding is smart for these.

They can be built as you say with a shield which I have done. I like to use a shield on a properly constructed xlr cable.

This is a pretty good point that Paul of PS Audio made; 

Here's the deal. Balanced XLR type cables, when used properly, have great noise immunity (as he said). They accomplish this noise immunity through something called common mode rejection. Inside the balanced cables are two signal wires (where an RCA style has only one) and a ground. When something hits both signal wires at the same time (like noise and hum might) it can be said that this is a common signal and it will be rejected. Thus the term common mode. Make sense?

The reality is a lot less clear. The common mode rejection rate depends on the receiving and sending piece of equipment. Some products have great common mode rejection (CMR) and others have lousy common mode rejection. For example, PS Audio products have some of the best at about 80dB for our preamplifier. This is unusually high in consumer audio. Typically you might see CMR levels of 30dB, 50dB and so on.

What this means is that unless you are completely sure about the CMR effectiveness of your equipment, you're better off with a shielded version. Further, even if you have something that's as good as ours (and others) shielding the cable removes even more so that when you combine the CMR with the shielding, you get extremely quiet results.

if the cable is well designed, there won't be any negative effects to the shielding.

Hope that helps.

Been playing with very expensive ICs /SCs and gave me idea twist a 26 awg silver wire to my DCA 12ga SC.   Sound is touch more neutral, airy, clarity, smoother less grainy and better timbre.  

Very happy with results so had XLR ICs made with DCA 16ga and 26 awg silver.  Now changes are more enhanced, easily decipher Louie Armstrong lyrics , tighter imaging, more tuneful deep bass ...

Next I combined 3 runs 26awg silver to 12ga SC, been only 2 days but like the results.
I haven't found tipping point where too much silver cause brightness and dryness.  Going to enjoy the changes for a while and next will try adding more silver to ICs.

For the speaker wire how did you add it to the to legs of DC 12?

For the XLRs, which cable went to what pin? 

For SC, twisted to both legs and then twisted both legs together. 

For XLR, twisted to pin 2 and 3.   Using copper braided shield.
This is my first post on AGon so I hope I'm doing it correctly!
Last week I built a set of DCA 16ga XLR interconnects using Switchcraft XLRs. I simply braided the wires from pins 1, 2, and 3 "Kimber Kable" style, using no outer shield. Immediately upon installing between a DirectStream DAC and my Pass Labs 30.8 there was a dramatic improvement in sound quality over a VERY expensive set of Synergistic Research XLR interconnects. I let the new ICs burn-in by streaming internet radio continuously, when not actively listening. After just 48 hours the sound smoothed-out and opened-up dramatically and continues to improve even now. There is extreme realism in how images and instruments are portrayed. Bass definition and impact are indeed impressive. Has anyone tried this method of construction...i.e. weaving/ or braiding the conductors with no shield? Any thoughts or recommendations for improvements are most appreciated.
Good to hear the unshielded, 3 wire braid sounds good.

There are many ways to approach this.

1) you don't need a ground at all.  Can use Pins 2 and 3 only.  Others have tried this; I haven't heard it.

2) Counter-spiral a ground (Pin 1) around a twisted pair for Pins 2 and 3.  Or put the twisted pair in a  teflon or other tube, and counter-spiral the ground outside the tube.

3) Twisted pair with braided shield for Pin 1.

Grannyring has likely tried variations 20 ways from Sunday.  Hopefully he will offer his view.  I recall he likes the braided shield for XLR.

Normally the larger the conductor, the more emphasis is made on the low end and vice-versa for smaller conductor. One has to experiment to fin the synergy, ie what gauge of cable to used between each component to achieve the right tonality.

If you like your tonality use a gauge that is the same as the current cable in each position. If non make your IC with a gauge larger or smaller depending on where you would like to go with  your tonality. The cotton dielectric makes then most difference in SQ, the size of the wires adjust the tonality.