Twl sent me a pair of cables which I'm running between my preamp and power amplifiers. They are really, really good. With apologies to Tom, I am pasting the description for building them. This is directly from his email to me.
The recipe is:
1 package of Radio Shack magnet wire, which comes with 3 different spools. 22,26, and 30ga.
The desired length of 1/4" semi-clear polyethylene icemaker tubing.
Package of teflon plumber's tape
Whatever RCA connectors you like. I used Radio Shack gold plated.
Cut your tubing length, and then spiral wrap the 30ga. wire around the tube at about 1 turn per 2 inches. Then spiral wrap the teflon tape over it to cover it up and hold it in place.
Then snake another length of 30ga. wire through the tube till it comes out the other end.
Solder the RCA plugs on with the center conductor to the wire inside the tube, and the spiral wrapped wire to the outer ring connector on the plug.
Break them in and enjoy.
Try it, you'll like it. My thanks to Tom for turning me onto this great performer.
Hey Lugnut that is a great recipe. But for this one credit goes to Chris Venhaus www.venhaus1.com use 1/4" teflon tube instead of the icemaker tube, pack it with cotton and use 32awg silver wire and spiral both wires down the tube instead of one down the center. Wrap one down the tube at 2" intervals then wind the second one opposite it so they do not come closer than 1" length wise and 1/4" verticaly. You will end up with something that looks like a barber pole. Wrap teflon tape around the entire length. Use good quality solder like Cardas or Wonder. And make sure to get some good RCA's like Eichmann Bullet Plugs preferably silver. It will make a world of difference. These are excellent cables. Happy Listening! John
Flavors 1 and 2.
I've got to try the above ... thanks Tom and Lugnut. I made some interconnects from some spare RG-217 MIL RF coax cable (it's silver plated OFC, large diameter, very low loss coax). On my humble ($5k) system they made more improvement in definition and "airyness" than any component upgrade. Cost about $15 per set.
RG217 is absolutely horrible to work with, though, since the double sheathing can cut your fingers to shreds.
Yes, I tried the Chris Ven Haus design. I found some things that I didn't like about it, so I did some changes based on some other ideas I had. So when I got it the way I liked it, I sent a pair to Lugnut, and also to Macrojack. They both liked them.
The Ven Haus design is a good basic starting point.
Awl come on, enough of this "starting point" tease, what's a good ending point? ;)
Actually, a good ending point would be some Purist Dominus or Venustus. I have settled on Sonoran Plateau for the time being. They were the first affordable cable that I found that could beat my DIY. About $1400 for IC and speaker cables. That's not cheap, but they do sound better. But my DIY were only about $35 for both the IC's and the speaker cables.
My DIY recipe is what Lugnut described above.
Lugnut - Thanks for sharing the Twl recipe. I will try homebrewing it (am sourcing teflon tubing now :P ).
Twl - Thank you for your gracious acquiescence to Lugnut's post and sharing feedback.
Did you try experimenting with other guages, especially thinner wire? or with Ag rather than Cu?
Agonanon, I did not try thinner guages of wire, only the 30ga. I did not use silver wire because I don't have any high freq rolloff problems, and don't need any extra "zing" in my response. Silver wire always seems to be "hot" on the high freq.
I'm getting marvellous results from a pair of homebrew interconnects between DAC and amp following Greg Weaver's SST article. The IC I built uses copper magnet wire (0.02 mm^2/~34 AWG), 38mm wide tape (Tesa 4124 clear) with about 30mm spacing between the parallel wires. Using narrower tape than what the original recipe prescribes may be a step in the right direction toward getting an elegant termination - the only difficulty with this design. I would love to hear from anyone who was pleased with flatline / ribbon / tape cable cooking or found, comparatively, other geometries significantly better.
SST recipe http://www.soundstage.com/synergize/synergize021998.htm
mm^2 : AWG
Twl, thanks for the lightning reply - you were so fast, you caught me in the turn! I'll build my first pair of ---'s directly with copper 30ga. (If after lugnut's indiscretion your homebrews become famous, how would you like them to be known in the afterworld?)
Just DIY interconnect cables would be fine with me. No ego to stroke here.
I made some cables per twl's recipe last weekend and they do beat my RG217 cables, by a small, but significant margin.
Since I already had RCA plugs lying around, and PTFE tubing it cost me $4 for the magnet wire. What a bargain.
Thanks for the recipes guys ! Twl .. do you have a good speaker cable recipe ?
Question about this stuff: the only teflon tape I could find is non-adhesive. It's really stretchy and sticks to itself when you stretch it, but it doesn't have any adhesive of its own. I need to keep looking, right? Is this the stuff you've been using?
Have ready to fire: WBT RCA terminators (x8), 25' expandable sheathing, 25' of teflon tubing, heat-shrink to go around, and this questionable teflon tape. All I'm waiting for is the wire (decided to go 32 guage, teflon-insulated silver, on order) and I'm off to the races. All I have yet to iron out is whether to run the signal wire down the center of the tube or wrap it with the ground a la Chris VH design. Anyone tried it both ways?
The non-adhesive PTFE plumbing tape is what I used and because it sticks to itself it worked just fine, and I haven't had any problems with cables unravelling.
And I didn't use any heat shrink tubing, or anything else around the PTFE tape.
However I did cheat and use some double sided tape at intervals along the PTFE tubing in order to help keep the wire in place while I got the tape on. Since the tape is paper it shouldn't affect the sound.
As far as whether to run the wire down the middle or use Chris's design I would say that running it down the middle is:
a) much easier
b) lower inductance (since coils are inductors)
If you do both please let us know how it sounds.