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I agree with Elizabeth that there's no financial advantage in making your own since you're paying the price of the single components rather than what they would cost a commercial maker in bulk.
What makes building them yourself attractive is the enjoyment of doing it and/or having done it. I've made most of my power and interconnect cables and am glad I did, but not because I saved any money.
@captbeaver - Try these - hopefully the last cables you will make/buy
And also Interconnects and speaker cables
A bit more complex than the usual DIY cables, but then these actually perform exccedingly well
Using all Helix cables will elevate your system to a whole new level of performance
I have had great success on systems (and components) of all levels
- a $350 mini systems
- fellow DIYers with systems exceeding $70,000
- and everything in between
I have personally compared them to some TOTL cables from a couple of established brands in a $20k+ and $50k+ system and the Helix sounded better
My own system is a meagre $12k and sound amazingly transparent, with an enormous image that surrounds you and transports you into the venue.
Lofty claims? - perhaps, but here’s a quote from just one fellow DIYer -
All the improvements proved that the Helix cables are the ultimate conductors of the audio signal. They bring out the best of the system.
If you have any questions just ask - I am happy to assist :-)
Cheers - Steve
There’s no financial advantage to making your own power cord if you would have bought an inexpensive commercial power cord. The advantage is not so clear if you would have bought an expensive power cord, however. There are many things to consider regarding the DIYer’s skill and knowledge.
Rule No. 1 - If you’re going to copy something copy something good, not something mediocre.
When you control the mail you control.... information.
IMHO the power cords I have made are on a par with cords that retail at the $350 mark and all in I have under $100 in materials.
Then I moved onto making my own speaker cables and VERY impressed with the results there both in sq and finances.
Next project is interconnects, we will see how that goes but I am confident it will be successful to myself at least.
eBay is a good resource for items like the outer braid and shrinktube to make things look professional.
If you are at all handy and enjoy a project I say go for it. The cable is definitely the lesser part of the cost over the plugs.......
I've spent a lot of $$ on connectors, cable and all the trimmings... what is worse is that I found how I wind them or braid them greatly affects the sound (and often sucked pretty bad... made the sound seem "strained" and heavy if the twists weren't exactly spaced). Say what you want about cables, but I think geometry and termination make a huge difference in the sound. Bottom line, I gave up and run mostly Kimber and some Siltech now. I never had the tools or skill to make a really well finished and good sounding cable. Hope you have better luck!!
@captbeaver - the Helix cables take three skills, other than cutting and stripping wires and using a screw driver...
1. use of a variable speed drill - i.e. at different speeds
2. solder a reasonable joint (but that is only mandatory for the Interconnect cables)
3. Know how to crimp a spade connector onto a wire
Using the heatshrink or expandable sleaving is pretty intuitive, but try a test piece first.
Screw-clamp bananas plugs can replace the soldered Banana connectors on the speaker cables is you prefer
You do not have to solder the spades on the power cables either, that is just my preference. Crimping will suffice
They probably look more complicated than they really are, but you should probably practice winding the spiral and spacing it using an old piece of wire first - I used some old Romex house wire first
With the actual wire identified on my web site holds the Helix spiral shape nicely. Then once the live wire is inserted into the helix spiral, you simply stretch it out evenly to the length of the live wire. If you stretch it too far simply compress the coil and start over
For the power cables, before stretching the neutral and the ground wires I attach the mains plug, because it holds the coils together.
If there is an area on my web site you feel requires more explanation let me know and I may add more pictures or text
Regards - Steve
I made my own simple pc per some direction from Duster at the Cable Asylum. Two meters Oyaide Black Mamba cable and their moderately upscale connectors ~$100 each. Total was a bit more than $400 and judging by the sq I got after a *lengthy* break-in it’s been worth every centavo. Not difficult, but you do need to take care. Have a new set of the Synergistic Blue power cables I really like too but have not A/B’d was the two.
Build these for around $100. My customers tell me they are better than a host of power cables selling for up to $1200. No joke. That has been my experience and I have owned and made a gaggle of power cords using expensive bulk Neotech, Furutech and other silver plated copper wire etc.... This power cord is better. Simple build. Very simple.
This this fantastic wire....
Use these great connectors...
Twist the live and neutral together. Then twist the ground around the other two in the opposite direction. Be sure to cut the ground wire longer, several inches for a 4 foot cord, as you are wrapping it around the other two wires and Losing lenght along the way.
You will not believe how good a power cord this makes.
No need to shield it on analog gear as no shield sounds a little better. You can shield, not a must, on digital gear if you like. Connect the shield to ground at the male wall plug end only...not the female end. Use 1/2 inch copper braid tubing.
Question to @grannyring -- when I go to your link I only see one 12 AWG wire. Do I need to order three to cover positive, neutral, and ground? Sorry for the stupid question, but I'm actually thinking of giving this a go. Also, what's your take on your recommended connectors versus Wattgate or other competitive products? Thanks!
I make my own power and speaker cables, but I can’t be bothered with soldering so interconnects I buy. Of course I spent years and barrelfulls of money chasing the perfect boutique cables, but after my audiophilia nervosa disappeared some years ago I no longer hear those significant differences I used to hear.
These days, rationality restored, my choice for power cables is Supra LoRad for their excellent shielding, and speaker cable from German manufacturer Sommer Cable.
I got the ends from Parts Express and the cable from Lowes. I used Carol Cable Extension Cord which UL approved. During assembly I tried various size conductors: 10,12,14 and 16 awg. I ended up with 12 awg for my amps 14 & 16 for everything else. That took place years ago and all my gear has changed, some devices many times and never considered any cord changes. I never considered wire that is not UL approved for purpose.
I have been using these Viborg connectors on my power cords.
Cable is secret sauce that I obtain from my employ as an industrial electrician, cant say any more.......
I bought some of that wire to try for power cords when it was released and forgot about it. You just reminded me of it. I'll give it a try. How many twists do you do (i.e. how many per inch or per foot)? Is it just slightly twisted, or as much as you can, or somewhere in the middle?
I made two power chords, one for my amp and one for my pre-amp. Used Belden 83803 wire I think, and some nice connectors from Parts Express. The only thing I have to compare to are the stock ones McIntosh provided. The Belden wire I used is kind of pricey but looks like it’s very well shielded, although it’s very stiff.
The twist on the Duelund is about every 2 inches and falls naturally. Just a natural comfortable twist should give you this. Do this....
- be sure to twist the ground in the opposite direction of the twisted live and neural pair. The ground will end up being twisted about every 3-4 inches as is sort of rests naturally down the length of the twisted pair.
- be sure to cut the ground several inches longer to accommodate the twist.
- be sure the print on each of the wires reads from wall plug to iec plug.
I've had good results building my own power cords. Most of my store bought cord were JPS Labs. I use a 8 gauge wire solid core copper, stranded copper and solid core silver depending on sound I'm looking for. Solid core has big bass and more detail and stranded is smoother. I copied the way JPS did it with vibration control. I put the wire in some durable tubing, hot glue one end and fill it with brass powder bought off the internet( you can use any material you want, metal sandblasting material will work) I then take a palm sander and run it up and down the tubing to pack it very tight. I use either brass or chorion blocks( stuff counter tops are made of) and drill holes in them and use them as clamps at both ends of cable sometimes also in the middle. I put a sleeve over clamp (behind plug)made from metal tubing or pvc to hide clamp and shrink wrap. I use heavy duty screws because I tighten down really hard, cheap ones will break.
" Solid core has big bass and more detail and stranded is smoother.."
Nope, wrong obdervations. A solid wire will deliver the signal in one piece while a stranded wire will deliver separated & distorted signals from every conductor. This kills the timing & speed and makes the sound "smoother", less dynamic, reduced 3D a.s.o.
8awg is a capable size (110V?) even at the secondary site, would perform wery good if used as speakercables too. Better than any(!) commercially made speakercable unless they are solid core and thicker.
Guess I flunked. I use a lot of Duelund stranded and tinned copper wire in cotton for ICs, speaker cables, USB and DC cables. No markings on this Duelund wire. The newer 600v 12 gauge bulk wire for power cords has printing on it. Heck if I have detected a difference in sound in any of Duelund wire in one direction or the other.
Gets complicated as break in also plays a role.
Just because there are no arrrows 🔜 doesn’t mean a wire or cable isn’t directional. They’re all directional.
Hey, granny, from somewhere in cyberspace,
“Duelund VSF Capacitors are indeed great, but what most uses don’t realize is they are very much directional. In one direction they will sound disjointed, rough, strangely unmusical less involving, the frequency curve does not sound flat and lacking the usual lovery fullness in the lower midrange. I must say i could not stand them in the wrong orientation, they can go from magnificent to ordinary just by flipping the cap around. What is amazing is that no one seems to have even fingered this out, so much for these supposed experts who tell us what to buy regarding internal components. Even resistors (most if not all), are directional and that direction change does not mean it sounds bad, just different.”
Stranded wire is not necessarily directional, only if all the strands are controlled during manufacture to be in the same direction. Without knowing for sure I’d guess the strands probably are all in the same direction. But if they were in random directions, not all the same, that would certainly explanation n why there’s no difference in direction. Audioquest controls all their cables and cords for directionality, including stranded cables and cords. I suspect Duelund is unaware of wire directionality.