home made silver interconnect cables

I'm planning to make my own interconnect cables and I have on hand 23 awg solid core pure silver wires. The length of the cable I intend to make will be quite short, about 2 feet. I would highly appreciate advise from anyone. My questions are as follows:
1. Since the wires are a bit small, do I use 2 for the signal and another 2 for the ground?
2. Will I get better results if I mix silver with copper wires like 2 silver wires for the signal and 2 copper wires (taken from kimber 4TC) for the ground?

Thank you.
My suggestion is to orient all of the cables so that the signal flows in the same direction. While i have NO background or understanding of metalurgy, i have spoken to others that do, experimented with "break in devices" and read enough to know that there is "something" to how cables settle in and conduct.

By "orientation" of the wire, i'm assuming that you have one long run of solid silver like that taken from a spool. If this is the case, it is quite simple. Think of the signal as starting at the beginning of the wire and then ending at the other end of that same wire. This is how you would want to orient the wires in your interconnects also. I know it is confusing, but let me try to explain.

If the signal originates at the source, travels in one direction to the preamp via the hot and returns in the opposite direction from the preamp to the source, you have made a circuit. As you can see, i made specific point that the signal was travelling in one direction and then the opposite on the return path.

If you cut off one length from the spool to act as your "hot" wire, the next length that you cut should be "flip flopped" or reversed for the ground when building the interconnect. In effect, the wire would be continuing the "flow" that it once had as one continuous long wire. You would form a chain from "beginning to end" for the hot and then on the return trip in the opposite direction the signal would see the wire as being laid out "beginning to end" again. This would make one loop or "cycle" with the cables "crystal structure" oriented in the same direction.

If you can find some way to identify and label which end is which ( call it beginning & end, input & output, A & B, etc..) all of your cables will retain the same "flow pattern" or "crystal structure". This will speed up break-in and minimize listening fatigue.

If you do this, you need to identify your RCA's for each line with A on one end and B on the other. This way, all of the cables will retain the same wiring direction. You can listen with A at the source and B at the preamp and see how you like it for a brief period of time. Then try reversing BOTH cables with B at the source and A at the preamp. One way will probably give you slightly better sound with differences in the soundstage and imaging. Whichever way sounds best is the way that you want to run ALL of the cables made from that spool of wire.

This is a trick that i learned a while ago when playing with solid wire. Stranded is not critical as it is the individual strands may be oriented in different directions, creating kind of a mess. Better invest in a burner if you plan on using a lot of stranded wire for projects. It DOES make a difference.

I would also suggest introducing only ONE stereo pair of cables into a system at a time. It can get way too confusing trying to figure out how they are oriented, which sounds best which way, etc...

Use ONE conductor for each direction. You can experiment with multiple conductor once you get the basics down. I would also suggest spiral wrapping the two conductors, but you obviously have to use some type of insulation between them or they will short out. You did not specificy if the wire was insulated, etc... Don't go crazy in terms of a high quantity of "twists per inch", just do something that is reasonable, easy to work with and repeatable for good consistency.

If someone follows what i'm trying to say in terms of maintaining the "flow" or "orientation" of the wire and can explain it in English better than i did, PLEASE do so. That is, if others find it hard to follow along. Sean
I built 2 pairs of the Chris VenHaus cables mentioned in a variety of places and found what Sean says to be true about the direction of the two conductors. The first pair I built was made with both conductor's "direction" going from one end of the cable to the other (opposite of what Sean suggests) and the other pair with the conductors running in opposite directions. The cables were built pretty much that same (that is, both had my signature sloppy soldering ;-)), and I've found that the second pair produces a far more cohesive sound (e.g. a more solid soundstage) than does the first. Its possible that there are construction differences between the two that might account for this difference in sound, but I've heard others parrot what Sean was saying so I'm guessing that this may well be the difference in my case.

As for the gauge of the wire, the recipe I used recommends very fine wire (32 gauge) and suggests that there is in increase in detail and attack when using this gauge as opposed to something larger like 24-26 gauge. My experience with silver cables is somewhat limited, but I do find that these guys are by far the most accurate and detailed cables I have. That said, I should mention that I'm currently using a combination of HomeGrown Silver and Nordost Blue Heaven cables in the system, and not the home made cables. While the accuracy and detail of my home made cables really does exceed the others, the additional warmth that I get from the HomeGrown/Nordost cables is much nicer to listen to. Nevertheless, its interesting to find that absolute conductor size doesn't necessarily reduce resolution or accuracy as I had always expected.

As a side note, my cables were made with 2 inch double helical twists around teflon tubing (as prescribed by the recipe). I believe the idea was to reduce exposure to RFI/EMI by twisting the wires while keeping the conductors separated as far from each other as possible. Its hard to know if more or less twist would help/degrade the sound quality (or make any difference at all).

Good luck with the cables and I hope they turn out great. While my home made cables didn’t end up in service with my main system (the better of the two pair is in my bedroom system), they were great fun to build and experiment with.

Cheers, Ken
I made some VERY nice cables using the Home Grown silver & copper wire. It's what I believe is called a "balanced, twisted pair" . I twisted together about 20' of the silver & copper wire using a variable speed drill. I paid attention to the direction of the wire coming off of the spools. I tightened one end of both wires into the drill bit chuck while the other ends were socked down into the binding post of one channel of an old amp I had sitting around. I made sure the wires were parallel and pulled fairly tight. I started the drill and SLOWLY began twisting the two wires together until I got a nice tight twist (Notice that when you get done and release the drill chuck, the wire will "snake" around a little bit as some tension is relieved).

I then cut the wisted wire into 4, five foot sections. Again, paying attention to the direction of the wire, I stripped the coating off of the conductors. Using two of the 5'pieces side by side, I twisted together the two silver conductors and soldered them to the hot lead of the phono plug. The two copper leads were likewise then twisted together and soldered to the ground tab on the plug. I then picked one end of my new interconnect as my downstream end and marked it, being consistant with that direction for the other interconnect.

It took me about an hour, with settup & clean-up, to make the pair.

And they sound great!! Cheap too. They look kinda strange but you can put the two wires inside some sort of jacket if the looks and wondering wires bothers you.

You also, like any other silver wire, need to run them in for a good 100 hours or so.

Good luck!
Thank you for the advise everyone. They have been very helpful. What I did was I took out 2 strands from my Kimber 4TC, eached strand replaced by 2 strands of silver cables. My mistake was that I was unable to mark the direction of the cable as Sean and Ken advised because I worked on my cable right after posting the thread because I was excited. It is not finished yet as I still have to solder the rca's.

Nonetheless, there is no need to end this thread. I also have some a few more silver cables to experiment with.