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Discussion Starter #1
I've been thinking about making some DIY speaker cables for my speakers lately, and stumbled across a link to these Ferrite Cores at Monoprice. Since looking around a little more, I've also seen them called Ferrite Beads and various other things. They usually seem to appear on things like USB and HDMI cables, and are supposed to provide some RF shielding I think.

Would there be any advantage to having these on speaker cables, or is there no way they would be picking up the type of interference these are meant to reduce? Even with potential runs near power wires or sources?
 

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Speaker cables, regardless of what pricing cable vendors will tell you, are very unlikely to pick up AUDIBLE interference. Sure they pick up interference, but the signal being sent over the cables, post amplifier, is so much louder than any interference that you won't ever be able to hear it. My opinion, of course...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Marshall. So would they be more valuable to add to signal wires before amplification? Like RCA interconnects? If there's definitely no negative effect, I might still clip one on, depending on what the rest of the cable components end up looking like.

I've just discovered these ViaBlue TS2 banana plugs, which I like quite a bit, and they are carried by one of our sponsors (RAM). I like the split tube plugs for the increased contact they make, but they are tough to find, especially for a reasonable price.

 

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There shouldn't be a negative effect (unless you count spending money with no performance increase), but there likely won't be a positive audible one either.

Same with banana plugs. I like plugs (using monoprice) for neatness, but the fact is, the best connection is bare wire, likely followed by spades, then banana plugs. Once again, one will likely sound as good as the next, but there are less opportunities for failure with bare wire.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I could do spades, I've seen some very nice cables terminated that way. I guess there's really no need for any though, since I'm not likely to move anything around very often, so I can just stick to my bare wire for now, until I really get restless for another project.

Thanks again Marshall.
 

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I could do spades, I've seen some very nice cables terminated that way. I guess there's really no need for any though, since I'm not likely to move anything around very often, so I can just stick to my bare wire for now...
One thing to keep in mind with bare wire is that you need to be careful that you don't have stray wire shorting between terminals.

And don't tin the ends either, since solder cold flows.

That's why I just use spades for most connectors, with bananas when the plugs are too close together for spades (like in the back of a receiver or some faceplates).
 

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Goldenbear: can you expand on what "cold flow" means and why you wouldn't want to tin the ends of a bare wire connection?

Thanks,
Marshall
 

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What happens is the solder will creep under constant pressure, and eventually the connection will become loose.

The bottom line is that if you tin the ends, you'll have to check and re-tighten the speaker terminals over time.

On a sort of related note, if you're concerned with getting the maximum contact area, stay away from locking banana plugs. The ones I've seen generally have three fingers that push apart to give you a tight connection. But what that means is you only have contact at three points. Not even three pad, or lines... three points. Still adequate, obviously, or the plugs wouldn't work at all, but not great. Most non-locking banana plugs I've seen have more "fingers", so you generally have five or more contact points (sometimes lines).

Spades, on the other hand, have a much larger surface contact area.

Again, only important if you're concerned about getting the maximum possible contact area at your connection points.
 

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have tried with ferrite cores on the power cable coming from the PSU into a cheap studio DA converter.

The high resolution ADAM S3A monitors revealed some change in the mids sort of a bit of a more compressed quality.


Read somewhere that the distance from the plug is crucial to the end-result.
 

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I'm not sure how it's possible that ferrite cores applied to the power cable of a DA converter could produce any perceptible change in audio quality. Can someone please explain the science to me?
 

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It couldn't unless it was a really "dirty" mains signal and the internal power supply filtering was almost non existent.
Ferrite will only block RF signals, and if they were affecting the DA converter in any way, then you would be hearing anomalies across the whole audio spectrum.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
On a sort of related note, if you're concerned with getting the maximum contact area, stay away from locking banana plugs.
I am generally not a fan of locking plugs, although I do have a few locking RCAs in my system right now, I wouldn't be too upset to replace them.

I did decide that I wanted bananas for the connections from my receiver to the wall plate for distribution, which is a tight space, and only needs about 3 feet of cable. I ended up ordering some Nakamichi BFA style (I have also seen them called Z plug) plugs from eBay which are the same concept as the more expensive, although nicer looking, ViaBlue plugs I posted previously. These were a good deal and I like the fact that they increase the contact area over standard bananas. Also, it makes moving things around infinitely easier than unscrewing 14 little terminals.

I just did a quick connection for now, but I'll post pics when I eventualy get around to cleaning them up and making nicer cables out of them.
 

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What happens is the solder will creep under constant pressure, and eventually the connection will become loose.

The bottom line is that if you tin the ends, you'll have to check and re-tighten the speaker terminals over time.

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I might not recommend tinning the entire stripped portion of the cable, but if you just tin the tips to keep the strands in place (after twisting of course), you can then use the connector to compress the untinned portion and not have to worry about squeezing the solder. I actually think you'll get more surface area on the contact this way too (without making connection to the solder).

I prefer to connect to the copper directly rather than introduce another contact point by using a connector.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I'm trying to dress up my cables a little, so this is the first test. Carbon techflex and heatshrink, nothing too fancy, but I like it. This is one of the 6 (SR, SL, SB, Buttkicker, Zone 2 L & R) that connect the receiver to the wall plate for distribution. I'll do something similar for the connections on the other end from the wall to the speakers, but this was the priority for now.

 

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Looks like a nice neat job! Any strain relief near the connectors?
 

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I might not recommend tinning the entire stripped portion of the cable, but if you just tin the tips to keep the strands in place (after twisting of course), you can then use the connector to compress the untinned portion and not have to worry about squeezing the solder. I actually think you'll get more surface area on the contact this way too (without making connection to the solder).

I prefer to connect to the copper directly rather than introduce another contact point by using a connector.
That's true, tinning just the tips would work. However, I've found most people don't know proper soldering technique to begin with (note how even some "instructional" video out there shows how to "solder" by melting the solder directly with the soldering iron). Also, the wire strands wick the solder pretty quickly, so most people may not even realize they've got solder in part of the wire past the tip.

Just figured it's safer to warn people to not try it to begin with. That, and I was lazy and didn't want to get into all this detail :p
 

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That's true, tinning just the tips would work. However, I've found most people don't know proper soldering technique to begin with (note how even some "instructional" video out there shows how to "solder" by melting the solder directly with the soldering iron). Also, the wire strands wick the solder pretty quickly, so most people may not even realize they've got solder in part of the wire past the tip.

Just figured it's safer to warn people to not try it to begin with. That, and I was lazy and didn't want to get into all this detail :p
Well, this is a first for me: I agree 100% with absolutely everything you just said!:rofl:
Didn't think of the wicking issue myself, good call.
Although I have to say, as a fairly experienced solderer (is that a word?) working mainly in an electornics lab, I often melt the solder directly with the iron even thogh I know I shouldn't. Experience tells you how to make it work properly, and with that knowledge, sometimes it does work better/faster. Especially when you're forced to use an iron that's underpowered for the job at hand, the increased contact area you get from the molten solder can aid the heat transfer from the iron to the work just enough to get the job done...
But like I said, it's the years of experience that tells you when and if so how you can get away with shortcuts. Not recommended for beginners.:nono::nerd:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Looks like a nice neat job! Any strain relief near the connectors?
No, no strain relief, but I think they should be alright. The heat shrink stiffens up the single cables, so they can't bend sharply, and as long as I unplog them by gripping the actual connector, I think they'll be OK.
 

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I personally solder/tin all of my speaker connections; I always make sure to use a wire brush to get any flux off after tinning the connection (ex. the ends I put in binding posts on my amp). The 'wicking' effect is helpful in my opinion because it basically turns the soldered end into a solid core wire for ~.5" which I have found helps reduce strain where the insulation starts (since the insulated wire is usually more rigid than the bare wire, the bare wire typically would break before the part within the insulation: wicking solder inside the insulation for ~.5" helps alleviate the stress and keeps wires from breaking)

tinning the tips also keeps the exposed copper from tarnishing over time :)
 
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