Speaker wire... Diy?


I am new to this, so please bare with me. I always thought 12 gauge speaker wire, bare on each end, was best. But there is Kimber, Nord, etc, that seem to be incrementally better! Can I buy the components and put together my own $17000 speaker wires? If so, where can they be purchased, and which are good enough to be used? Which terminations are best for sound? Which wire? Length? Guage? 
ddjr
I'm using Western Electric wire and Dueland cables bought off this site for a bit more in price and both sound pretty good to me.
@ddjr Take a look at the following link-
http://image99.net/blog/files/category-002ahelix-speaker-cable.html

It details the wire to buy and the connectors to use

They do not cost $17000 - they just sound as thought they do :-)

They are a little more complicated to build, but try building one using a piece of Romex first. If you like the sound, spring for the wire on the web site

It’s taken me about 4 years to perfect the Helix cables and I have had lots of feedback and suggestions from other DIYers that have tried them.

If you have any questions - just ask - I am happy to help

Enjoy - Steve


Hey Steve, thanks I will! Romex you say? What gauge?
I love it that people think they can equal  at home what takes engineers with decades of experience and 10s of thousands of dollars in testing equipment. If they could only listen to Gen 5 Transparent Audio Reference cable, they would cry.
They’ll probably come pretty close at 1/20th the cost. Go for it. High end cables are a rip off. 
The law of diminishing returns. 
@john421,

Would you please share weblink of wires suggested in your previous post? 

I am also looking to build my own speaker cables. 

Thank you! 
I use Belden telephone trunk line cable. One pc for each terminal. Strip an inch of insulation off each strand, twist together, then solder them together. I used 63/37 but high Ag may be better. You end up with something like 72 insulated strands of 28g (if memory serves me) that are around 8g bundled together. 
Testing revealed no significant increase in Z up to 1MHz. I’ve been using them in my biamped system for years. They’re a fairly large amount of work to build but I think the product is worth the effort. 
The entry level Transparent cables are in your price range and are so much more musical than any of this home brew horse patty DIY stuff!  For the live of music...please at least try some Transparent.  Call Transparent, they will guide you plus your investment is protected for future upgrades and they retain better value than most if you would need to sell.
musicloversaudio writes:
I love it that people think they can equal at home what takes engineers with decades of experience and 10s of thousands of dollars in testing equipment. If they could only listen to Gen 5 Transparent Audio Reference cable, they would cry.


How right you are. The poor noob, he’s being led down the primrose path. Just like all the other poor noobs.

Note the lack of people saying they went out and tried a whole bunch of professionally built product in their price range AND THEN made some DIY that was just as good for less. You will never see any of that because it just doesn’t happen.

The one guy here who admits to doing a lot of DIY cables also admitted (unintentionally!) he can’t even build them to sound the same left to right, and "fixes" his mistakes by replacing them with bought cables. No kidding. Not making this up. And people still think its great. That’s how whack it is.

And yes, as a matter of fact one way I know is I’ve tried it myself. Nothing I ever made came anywhere close to what I could have bought with the same money. Nothing you make ever does. If you stop and think about it for like 5 minutes, but then again maybe not we stopped teaching free market economy, logic, and reasoning long ago.

I had a friend who had to be the King of DIY. This guy has a whole workshop bench area in his basement where he has been making speaker cables, interconnects, and power cords for at least 30 years. Whatever DIY’ers think is the greatest coolest thing, material, geometry, technique, he’s done it. One day he calls up all excited to bring over and show me his Topper, the One Interconnect to Rule Them All. He’s compared it in his system and his sounds just as good. So he brings it over.

Well, that was fast. I mean I actually felt sorry for the poor guy. He did the same comparison in my system and it was obvious even to himself his DIY was nowhere near as good. NO soundstage, NO depth, NO inner detail, on and on, whatever sonic attribute you crave in audio his cable sucked it dry, spit it out and left it rotting in the sun. Then I pulled a dirt cheap cable from out of my old cables drawer. His DIY he had spent 30 years on was blown away by the oldest, cheapest, not even worth it to me to try and sell Synergisitic wire I had just sitting around in a drawer.

But hey, I’m sure the OP will do better. lol! Hey on second thought musicloversaudio you were wrong! lol! I’m not crying, I’m laughing! Whatever. Point is, its a joke.

@ddjr ...

Romex you say? What gauge?
!4 or 12 - your choice - but I stress - Romex is just for prototyping - DO NOT use romex wire for long term power cables - it will break if flexed continuously and does not clamp very well in the plugs


Have fun :-)


@lalitk - take a look at this link - these cables are extremely good
http://image99.net/blog/files/category-002ahelix-speaker-cable.html

@musicloveraudio RE:

I love it that people think they can equal at home what takes engineers with decades of experience and 10s of thousands of dollars in testing equipment. If they could only listen to Gen 5 Transparent Audio Reference cable, they would cry.
Yep - at $17000 for speaker cables - it’s the price that made me cry - not the sound quality. But I do agree that TA cables are excellent.

I am not claiming that my Helix cables are as good as Transparent Audio cables - but for the BUDGET CONSIOUS DIYer’s among us, they come a lot closer than many other commercial brands of cables that I have tried. Most of the DIYer’s that have tried them replaced some very highly regarded commercial brands, including Nordost, Cardas, Audioquest, Kimber Kable and a couple of esoteric brand silver cables.

I have spent the last 4-5 years developing the Helix cables and trying different wires, so I agree - it can take a while and a lot of $$$ in wasted wire.

Unfortunately, I do not have the expensive equipment - just my ears AND the ears of those people that decided to take a leap of faith and try the Helix cables and provided feedback pertaining to the different wire types/gauges they had tried.

They have been used on various systems ranging from a $350 mini system, to systems in excess of $70k and in each case I’m told they made a significant improvement.

I have tried all of the wire types listed on the web site. The more expensive wire from Mundorf offers exceptional details, but that is only slightly more detailed than the Duelund wire, which again is only slightly more detailed than the Silver plated Mil-spec wire. It really depends on how crazy you want to get chasing audio nirvana.

DIY is not for everyone - but for those of you that are up for the challenge, Helix cables will offer exceptional performance.

If anyone has any questions just ask - Steve



williewonka writes:
for the BUDGET CONSIOUS


Scroll up and read my post. Pay special attention to how cheap the professionally built cable was. Pay super special attention to how hard this guy worked only to fail at even that low bar.

DIY’ers in other words have it completely backwards. In trying to get more for less they actually get less for more.
I understand Williewonka...you enjoy the challenge.  The issue is that many high end cable companies have offerings that are exceptionally good these days at DIY prices.  My long history with extreme high end gear and cables has given me a bit of perspective regarding this crazy hobby.  You don’t have to spend a fortune to get great sound, but you do need certain items.  Transparent really does address the biggest problems associated with transferring a musical signal.  Their cable Geometry and Network technology actually improves signal transmission and reduces noise.  Most cables do not address these issues or do so ineffectively.  They are one of the few companies that were founded by music loving musicians that put their resources into equipment and research that improves the enjoyment of listening!  They support local symphonies and actually listen to their prototypes on extremely high end Reference equipment.  The best news is that the entry level tiers of Transparent cable outperform most other cables in terms of sheer musicality and naturalness.    
Where's @grannyring when you need him??
Cables interact with the system. There is no guaranteed better. All the various geometries are tone controls. They may sound well in one system/room, no different in another and terrible in a third.

A large reason for the lunacy of the audiophile world is ill educated consumers taking recommendations from ill educated sales persons. Many people have no idea how to assemble a system. That includes most dealers.

NEVER take any recommendation from anyone, anywhere that does not have an identical system, room and TASTE to yours. Only make cable purchases that have OHPNQAMBG - One Hundred Percent No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee.

For examples of how the same cable reacts with different loads and how different cable reacts with the same load see http://ielogical.com/Audio/CableSnakeOil.php. Be sure to read Garen Galeis papers.
That’s why you try before you buy...but start with something good!

Just get some Duelund 12ga wire in the length you need.  Try it bare or for ease of use install some spades or banana connectors.  I use the KLEI banana connectors with excellent results.  Several at our audio club use it and have no desire to spend big bucks on speaker cable. 

Just get some Duelund 12ga
Talk about overpriced low tech. Little different than THHN 12ga @ 50¢/m.
It may sound a little different, but unlikely better.
Ieales is right. Just plain right.

Take, for example, my ESL speakers. They come with a resistor in series with the cable to tune the transformer. So, you might ask, why bother with an ultra-low resistance cable? Answer: you shouldn't. You should lose that resistor and engineer the cables to have the required resistance (and other properties). Good luck with getting that off-the-shelf, but you'll find lots of people who have firm opinions on the 'best' cables for all speaker/amplifier combinations.

As for starting with something good, why? By which criteria are they good? I say start with lamp cord, and make every upgrade prove itself in your system. But if you must spend money for whatever reason, try Goertz cables - they are most nearly neutral (by Maxwell's Equations - but then who cares about the science), and can best withstand long runs.
Had em all Terry9....Goertz as well (not good).  I don’t rely on my inner dialogue or misappropriated technical analysis.  I’ve got 40 years of owning many 5 and 6 figure systems and dozens of cable designs.  Cheap don’t do it.  Many expensive cables fail horribly.  Some rise far above the fray because they are manufactured by music lovers, by people who listen carefully while developing their products.  They don’t falsely believe in theory without testing it’s application.  I speak from experience to the exceptional!  Then again, ignorance can be bliss for some.  A little knowledge and a lack of experience will always prove whatever you want.  Enjoy 😉 
Well, shut my mouth and call me corn pone, it finally happened! Someone didn’t like Goertz cables. It was bound to happen soon or later. Whatever it is, eventually somebody out there will report he didn’t like it. It could be speakers, it could be cables, it could be fuses. It could be the alien. But it’s going to happen. 😛

The expression I’ve got 40 years of experience is almost always a tip off. 🙄
Careful GK...there is also a lot of well educated imbeciles babbling in institutions.  Just because there are a few still lurking about who haven’t been committed yet doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be 😉
Where is the forum for selling on audiogon? I'd like to try some used stuff first
@ddjr - don’t let the "nay-sayers" in this thread put you off trying DIY cables - especially the Helix Cables.

Granted, many DIYer’s fail because they simply opt for the bulk cable with some expensive connectors. Few actually try anything out of "the norm" and as a result the cables do sound mediocre.

Many of the latest developments in cables have all been about cable geometry, i.e. how the live/signal conductor are placed with respect to the other conductors, whether it be braided, ribbon or helix variants. All of which offer better perofrmance than your standard bulk wire from companies like Beldon, Van den Hul etc...

So give it a whirl and see how they perform. If I had listened, I would not be enjoying the superb imaging, clarity, dynamics and realism that my system now conveys.

If you would like to contact me via the Dashboard - Messaging offered by Audiogon please do - I’m always willing to discuss DIY with others of a similar mindset :-)

Regards - Steve



dave_b
Careful GK...there is also a lot of well educated imbeciles babbling in institutions. Just because there are a few still lurking about who haven’t been committed yet doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be 😉

It would have been correct to say, “there are also a lot of well educated imbeciles babbling in institutions.”
Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry and Life Sciences are my strong suit.  Writing with an emphasis on grammar, rather than content, was never an obsession of mine.  Recently, I’ve delved into Cosmology and Quantum Mechanics.  Still looking for your breakthrough results to be published on  the seminal work you’ve done regarding Entanglement and its application to remote audio diagnostics and restoration!
So here is someone who tried various mid level speaker cables ( $2k most expensive) and after purchasing new to me speakers was on the verge of selling them as they just did not sound "right" to my ears.
Not what I expected or other reviews had led me to believe.

A friend loaned me some different copper construction speaker cables and a change was wrought, still not what I expected but led me to believe it was my " higher end " cables not matching well with said speakers.

Talking with a fellow member who now makes cables for a side living, Western Electric was suggested, so two 13ft lengths were purchased from ebay, some nice spades and shrink tube and outer braided sleeving, grand sum maybe $140.

Best sound so far I had heard and this was quite a few months ago and even though the amp has changed since then I still feel these " home brew horse patty DIY stuff" hold their own  very well in my system.

Now I truly have no idea if 5k or 10k cables would trounce them and to be frank I have no intention of finding out, at least not on my dime.

Just my experience, YMMV.
@dave_b 
"there is also a lot of well educated imbeciles babbling in institutions."

Yeah, whatever, Dave. Amazing reasoning. Sure does sound like you know best.
Helix Cables are utter nonsense, as is the verbiage on the web page.

The same current flows in all parts of a circuit. The -ve terminal may remain @ 0v relative to earth ground, but it is positive relative to the +ve terminal over ½ cycle and thus current is flowing out of the -ve terminal re conventional current. Electron flow is in the opposite direction.

They will sound different, maybe better in some systems, but their 'science' is flawed. Good amplifier designers try to avoid additional inductance in the output stage. 

They are simply more inductance, a LOT more - maybe 2000x more than zip cord, in the -ve wire in a sort of transmission line geometry.

Scroll down to  Amplifier Output L and R in the middle of http://ielogical.com/Audio/CableSnakeOil.php and see what adding a few µH does. Image what 5mH will do!!!





dave_b
Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry and Life Sciences are my strong suit. Writing with an emphasis on grammar, rather than content, was never an obsession of mine. Recently, I’ve delved into Cosmology and Quantum Mechanics. Still looking for your breakthrough results to be published on the seminal work you’ve done regarding Entanglement and its application to remote audio diagnostics and restoration!

>>>>>Why on Earth would I submit anything to a science community caught up in its own hubris and backwards thinking? Geez, the Chinese are way ahead of the US in quantum teleportation. Wake up and smell the coffee! ☕️ Keep dabbling, though, that seems to be your strong suit.
Post removed 
Audiogon...where experience means nothing.  Happy delusional trails!!
So, we’ve got some smart dudes here with differing opinions. I think that’s really cool because that’s how I learn. Now I want to open up a new can of worms that I’m really intrigued about but don’t have an informed opinion. Is there any advantage to solid core wire as opposed to stranded? I’ve seen seemingly valid arguments on both sides, but I haven’t seen anything definitive one way or the other. What say you?
Not to beat a dead horse, but I have had recent experience with solid core cables as well. I know experience doesn’t matter but...what the heck! Solid core (Anticables Reference séries and Audioquest Water) offer some wonderful properties. Clarity, reduced distortion, speed and impact (rhythm, pace and dynamics). System dependency will either put these in the must have category or in the too much detail camp. Comparatively, the Transparent cables embué the sound with more solidity, dynamic contrast, extremely low noise floor, a rounded well fleshed out midrange, pure natural highs and bass that is extremely physical.
Interestingly those two examples - Anti Cables and Audioquest Water - are both prime examples of cables that are controlled for directionality during manufacture. Thus, I would caution that their sonic superiority might well be due to their correct directionality, not the fact they’re solid core. 
And this just goes to show how it all can mean nothing as completely system and hearing dependent.

I also tried solid core Anticables and they rendered the music lifeless and supremely bass heavy and not in a good way, more a muddied way. Kept them 29 days with no signs of improvement and returned them for full refund.

Does that mean they are bad or will sound that way for everybody?

Of course not!

Just did not work for me in my system at the time.

My Western Electric cables in use right now are tinned copper strands.

Might sound awful in YOUR system though...….
Audiogon...where experience means nothing.  Happy delusional trails!!
Dave, you may like a particular cable in your system in your room on your program. Fair enough. But I could come over with my program and be underwhelmed. Ditto you here.

I have bins of cables in the garage. Every so often I swap out a set. All have varying strengths depending on the program AND associated equipment.

I recently pulled my Transparents in favor of some old Monster and Hitachi StarQuad when I changed bottlerockets from 36w stereo to 125w monoblocks and Kimber BiFocal XL.

My experience is only worth a sou on my system in my room and my program at that moment in time. I would never presume to recommend anything based on my experience, other than to recommend ignoring all advice and listen for yourself.

I almost never make system changes in the summer months as I listen more in the winter. The colder weather and dryer air affect the sound dramatically relative to the summer.

@soix Solid is far less flexible, hard to route and will eventually break if flexed enough. If you like the sound and are willing to put up with it, go for it.
GK has a bit of a point, of course many of the cables I’ve used are directional.  Anticables characteristics (not saying preferable) are do largely in part to having almost zero shielding as well.  Did I not say in my system?  Overall however, we can make some judgements when used with various equipment and different environments.  As usual though, all IMHO
I think you probably mean insulation, not shielding. But, you’re right, there are many variables involved, thus making it rather difficult to prove solid core vs stranded. Purity of metal, type of metal, type of dielectric material, break in, shielded vs non shielded, directionality, geometry, cryogenically treated or not, etc.

It’s what I chose to believe. - Dr. Elizabeth. Shaw in Prometheus
Awe man...now I have to like you GK!!  Prometheus quote 😝. Alien fan perhaps?
I’m full of them. 
Just bought a Kimber cable on eBay for $10! I'll try it out. But the helix cable looks interesting
Probably a forgery;(
I’m full of them.
  I REALLY had to bite my tongue there...…..

Kimber cable at $10? Would be shocked if it was genuine, no offense..... 
Tons of Audioquest forgeries as well!

dave_b
GK has a bit of a point, of course many of the cables I’ve used are directional.

But not any of the stranded ones, yes?
It looks like I got a bite on that “I’m full of them” line. They’re bitin’ today! 
My MIT’s and Transparent cables are directional...even some old M series Monster cables I have are directional.  
Sure, of course, wire is directional.  The sound is really a lot different if you accidentally install them in the wrong direction.