Who uses home brew cables?


Seems to me these days that the easiest thing for the audio hobbyist to cobble up as a DIY project are cables! whether interconnects, speaker cables or power cables. Who's gone down that road?

I've done it- right now I have several home made ICs in my system. Cables I've used range from Klotz, DH Labs and Neotech; connectors have been either Neutrik or Vampire. These days, my choice of connector is Vampire for RCA and Neutrik for balanced. If I get adventurous I cover my creation with Techflex.

I've even made an 8 inch set of jumpers decked out in nice bananas and Techflex. The wire- Lowes stranded 8 awg. The results far surpass the stock jumper bars that came with my speakers. I doubt that whole project cost me $20!

I find the Cardas solder easy to work with. A Hakko soldering station helps too.
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I recommend "Take Five Audio.com" in Canada. Mr Gene Every, the boss there has made several excellent cables for me using Neotech. He has supplied me with countless "bits and pieces" for my DIY projects. Have a look at his website..
I've been making my own for many years

I prefer WBT 4% Silver Solder - it's a great performer, especially on delicate tone arm wires.

Best RCA's I've used to date are the Harmony Plug products from KLE Innovations - the Pure Harmony is fantastic at conveying extremely fine details - it also extends the bass and the dynamics are very fast.

Best wire I've used to date for ICis 24 gauge solid silver in Teflon tube and then braided. Braiding acts against RFI and eliminates induced cable noise. With the Pure Harmony RCS's on the ends the results are extremely detailed, dynamic and very spacious

I made my own power cables using the internal conductors from bulk Furutech cables - I remove the outer sleeve and screen and then braid the three conductors. I've found that crimping small plated copper spades to the ends of then wire improves dynamics. I use Sonar Quest silver plated copper IEC/mains connectors from eBay.

Alas, my DIY is now limited to power cables ever since I tried the Essence gZero6 Interconnects and speaker cables - they perform much better than anything I've made or tried to date.

I found trying different cable architectures very enlightening and getting the right one makes a huge difference to performance. For now, braiding is the easiest to execute for a DIYer and provides the very good performance.

That's about it - I've had some great performers and saved a bundle over the years, i.e. compared to what I could have paid for some of the boutique brands, many of which do not live up to their hype

Regards
I think you can get pretty good analog performance using your own work on cables, but the 75-ohm digital thing is a lot trickier. I didn't think cable quality matters that much, and for analog I still don't, but the improvement when I went to a higher quality industry-made digital cable for my DAC was unmistakable. Now I'm stuck wondering just how much more $$$ do I need to spend on digital cable before I hit diminishing returns. It's always something......
I think you can get pretty good analog performance using your own work on cables, but the 75-ohm digital thing is a lot trickier. I didn't think cable quality matters that much, and for analog I still don't, but the improvement when I went to a higher quality industry-made digital cable for my DAC was unmistakable. Now I'm stuck wondering just how much more $$$ do I need to spend on digital cable before I hit diminishing returns. It's always something......
Not this week HO HO!!!
It's true that wires are the easiest thing for one to make themselves. Almost anyone can do it, and if it works even half decently might even be profitable to sell. All that it requires to work is a circuit. And its probably reasonable to expect that most any decent quality ones will compete. There is even a pretty decent chance that if things are built well around them that they might win a few games against even some of the heavy (ie costly) competition.

Its hard to make a wire that flat out does not work. Most all the rest requires a good amount of specialized knowledge and skill.
Wire build and configuration is going to make a huge difference, the problem as transparency goes up the need for shielding gets bigger, then shielding colors the sound. A large segment of the audiophile world works with coloration and the synergy obtained in one particular system. The closer you get to neutral i/c's and speaker cables the less tricky it is to have cables that work well with all systems. That is my definition of neutral. You are not going to get anywhere near ultimate performance with cheap wire conductors, oxygen free and exotic alloy does make a difference and so does cryo treating any given cable.
I make my own cables. I use teflon silver plated oxygen free copper in various gages depending on the application. With ic they are sheilded.....with speaker wire or hook up they are unsheilded. I have few unsheilded and they work with 2.5 volt signals but for low level signals...e.g they need to be shielded or I get emi and fm interference. I've used a variety of rca....lately I've been using rhodium plated wbt type with carbon sleeves. They sound good and look nice. The wire is all military surplus that I buy from a vendor on ebay. In my system they have sounded better than any cable I've tried from manufactures. Admittedly I don't have the cash to buy or try uber expensive cables but those that can be had for 500 or less have been bettered or equaled by what I make.

I also make my own mic cables, too. I use neutrix xlr....they are the best and are the only ones that are truly road worthy.
I have made a simple power cord that worked well as well as the "White Lighting Moonshine"speaker cables I believe they where called,that worked pretty well.Would like to make some IC's with silver but I find it expensive.
Wire, materials, geometry and connectors are four things DIY cables have in common with manufactured cables. After making cables for my own use for the past 15 years, and comparing with pretty good and somewhat expensive manufactured cables, I believe you can do well wrt SQ by building your own but.....probably not on your first or second attempt. You can get close to the sound of some high priced offerings by using the high quality, bulk cables available and terminating them with first rate connectors - a good bang for the buck option but not inexpensive.
I find the Cardas solder easy to work with. A Hakko soldering station helps too.
I agree with you on both counts and would add that a hydraulic crimper is also a good tool to have for SCs.
John421 - I have just finished (today) re-working my silver cables and as a result they now perform better and cost less - the new version cost around $110 for a 3ft pair - but they perform as good as some very expensive boutique brands

Parts List
- 1/10" dia Teflon tube - 6 ft
- 6 ft of CAT6 wire
- 1/4" heatshrink tube - 1 ft
- 1/2" Heatshrink tube - 1 ft
- 6ft of 24guage solid Silver wire
- 8ft of nylon stretch nylon cable sleeve (ptional)
- set of 4 Copper/Silver/Pure Harmony RCA's

How to:
- strip the sleeve off the CAT6 cable and obtain ONE conductor (there are 4 twisted pairs inside)
- wind conductor around Teflon tube with about 1/4" spacing between winds - this is the neutral wire - trim any excess.
- secure conductor on Teflon tube with 4 pieces of 1/4" heatshrink - on ends and equally spaced down cable
- insert the CAT6 wrapped Teflon tube into cable sleeve and secure with 1/2" heatshrink
- you may need to add a couple of layers of heatshrink on the ends to act as a strain reflief for the RCA.
- insert silver wire into Teflon tube
- attach RCA's

The choice of RCA is yours, but the Harmony line is an excellent performer and is priced as follows:
- Copper Harmony - $60 for 4
- Silver Harmony - $90 for 4
- Pure Harmony - $120 for 4

I've used this design with the Silver Harmony and Pure Harmony, which has a slight edge over the Silver Harmony.

For a lower budget version - use a second piece of CAT6 for the centre conductor instead of the silver - you'll be very surprised at how good it is. This version would probably cost around $75 for a 3ft pair

It took me around 2 hours to build 1 set

Nice little project for a winter evening :-)
As an addendum to the post above - I have now tried this design for a power cable with excellent results

I used a high quality copper wire for the live conductor and two pieces of romex for the Ground and Neutral conductors.

The ground and neutral conductors were first wound around a wooden dowel in a spiral configuration. Being romex they held the spiral shape - but were quite flexible

I then inserted the live conductor down the centre of the two preformed ground/neutral conductors, attached the mains/IEC connectors and viola!

The improvements were across the board - everything got better.

You might want to add some heat-shrink around each conductor and an expandable outer nylon sleeve for better protection of the conductors

Try it :-)