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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I haven't been looking at cables for a while as I undertook several side projects. I did my own DIY computer build. The motherboard was fault, so shortly after did my first computer disassembly, which was more nerve wracking than the build. Also been acquiring vintage turntables, so been a busy bee.

I wanted to go back to producing very good cables. I am looking at making 1.5m audio interconnects for hi-fi. I found this cable, which looks great.

http://www.canford.co.uk/Products/22773/60-1694F-BELDEN-1694F-CABLE-Black

It has double copper braid, so shield coverage should be near total and the shielding should be very good. Also, the capacitance is very low, which I have been told is a very good quality for an audio interconnect.

The diameter is 7mm, and the Neutrik connectors I like go upto 6mm.

http://www.canford.co.uk/Products/44-160-NEUTRIK-NYS373-RCA-PHONO-PLUG-Black

I don't know if I can shave a bit of jacket off, but would imagine this to be a very delicate job.

Are there any brands which cater for bigger cables? I would rather solder than crimp, as I don't have any crimping equipment or experience.
 

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I don't know if I can shave a bit of jacket off, but would imagine this to be a very delicate job.
Yeah, that’s probably not the best idea. The Neutrik's strain relief is a coiled spring, so it may be possible to “unwind” it a bit so that the cable will fit. Alternately, you could dispense with the strain relief all together and the cable would fit through the hole in the barrel. If not, you could drill it out a bit. I could recommend a connector with a larger barrel hole, but since I’m in the States it would probably do you no good.

Is there a single-shield version of this cable available? I think that’s your best bet; it would be thinner. The second shield really isn’t necessary, unless perhaps you live in the shadow of a radio station broadcast tower. If not from Belden, Canare makes a single-shield cable of this type.

http://www.canford.co.uk/Browse/20432.aspx

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Wayne,

It sounds like trimming the jacket is not a good idea, and in a way I'm glad. To make a 2m cable I would 4m this way - 2m for the cable and 2m for the bit I screw up trying to trim the jacket (Chuckle).

I think your suggestion of getting a thinner cable is a great one, and I have seen a Belden cable which would be perfect. I might make an extra set to take down to my hi-fi dealer to see what they think compared to their exotic ones, as they are quiet in the week and use this time to test gear.

They quoted me several hundred dollars for a 2m XLR cable. A cable which even the cheapest example has noise rejection built in by default. Best stop there because I don't want to start trolling.

I need these cables for the turntables I bought ( A vintage Thorens and a Systemdek). Also will upgrade the other freebie cables I have.

I post the details of what I make when I get the cable delivered.
 

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Hi all,

They say the hardest step of any journey is the first one, and I have taken my first step. I ordered my cable today, 50m of Belden 1505F. I have quite a few cables to make, and want some stock cable as the need arises. I can't wait. The cable I have ordered is yellow, and I want it to look smart. I am looking at some expanable sleeving to go over.

I think I prefer soldering, because I have found these to be stronger when I have bought. I have had crimped cables which have come apart. Is there any advantage of using crimped connectors? I may re-evaluate if I have mis-assessed.

Also, for a 6.15mm (1/4 inch) cable, what size cable sleeving should I use? There is 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" and 1" unexpanded. Do I go by the unexpanded diameter, or the expanded diameter?

I can't wait to produce the first cable and to start using. I have acquired two vintage turntables, so I need the extra cables.
 

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With the right connectors, crimping has a theoretical advantage over soldering in that with the cable you're using, 75-ohm impedance is maintained right up to the point of termination (essentially, the same thing functionally as a screw-on F connector). This is only relevant for video connections; with audio it doesn't matter. Even with video, the RCA itself is not a 75-ohm connector, so that's where the signal chain breaks down. Furthermore, I’m told by reliable sources that the input and output impedance of the video circuits in consumer products are not tightly controlled anyway. So in the end, you'll never see a problem with soldered-RCA video cables.

Sorry, can't help you with the expandable sleeving - not my thing. Maybe contact the vendor?

Regards,
Wayne

 

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Discussion Starter #6
I got the cable and plugs today - Belden 1505F and Neutrik NYS373 RCA plugs.

I made my first cable and it worked, but was not pretty inside. If I posted a pic I would get into Wayne's hall of shame.

I went back to Wayne's instructions, and realised I wasn't putting enough spots of solder down in the plug, in readiness for tinned wire.

The other reason I am struggling a bit is because this cable is double braided with two runs of tinned copper braid. When I strip and twist the shield for ground connection, it is wider than my arm. The plugs don't help much because they are quite short, so there is not a lot of distance between signal pin and ground shield.

I have divided the shield in two and cut half away, only connecting the other half. Is this ok? I assume that there is enough contact at the termination for the whole shield to be grounded.

Also, even with half the double shield it is still too thick for comfortable distance from the signal pin. I have spread it out flat, like a brush and tinned it, as opposed to twisting into one strand. Would this have any downside?

Despite the traumas, I am still dead excited. I have made my first two cables, and they seem to work on amp. I have yellow Belden, so it looks pretty professional. I just need to get more comfortable with how it looks on the inside now.

Changing the cable is not an option, and besides, I am happy with it. It looks great and has very low capacitance with great shielding. I just need to work out the best way to get over the fat shield.

Finally, if there is the mildest of short (like one strand touching the ground to signal), would the cable work at all, or do so but badly?

When I crack this I'll post some pics to say thanks to all the dudes who have helped me on this journey (Not least Wayne)
 

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The other reason I am struggling a bit is because this cable is double braided with two runs of tinned copper braid.

I have divided the shield in two and cut half away, only connecting the other half. Is this ok? I assume that there is enough contact at the termination for the whole shield to be grounded.
It’s fine. I’ve been known to trim the shield too. :)

The plugs don't help much because they are quite short, so there is not a lot of distance between signal pin and ground shield.
The nature of the beast, I’m afraid (i.e., in general, many of not most RCAs). The Neutrik has plenty of room, really. The cable’s jacket only has to reach the end of the “ground connection pad,” not ride up on it like RCAs with a traditional cable clamp. And the shield can be a pretty small nub, actually, just enough to touch the ground pad. The shield can be even shorter than what I pictured in the article.




In the end, as long as there is any kind of space between the shield connection and center pin, you’re good. Once it’s soldered, it’s not going anywhere.

Also, even with half the double shield it is still too thick for comfortable distance from the signal pin. I have spread it out flat, like a brush and tinned it, as opposed to twisting into one strand. Would this have any downside?
Nope. Whatever works for you. What you might try is merely twisting enough shield to do the job, and trimming out all the rest. Hopefully you have some good flush-cutters. What you also might try is stretching the jacket to cover the cut shield strands, as I discussed in the “Odds and ends” section of the article.

Finally, if there is the mildest of short (like one strand touching the ground to signal), would the cable work at all, or do so but badly?
No such thing as a “mild short.” Just a single strand between the center pin and ground will get you a short.

When I crack this I'll post some pics to say thanks to all the dudes who have helped me on this journey (Not least Wayne)
Happy the article helped. :T If I might inquire, how did you find it – poking around on our site, using a search engine, or what? If the latter, what words did you use to search? Just curious...

Regards,
Wayne

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Wayne, Hi all,


Sorry for not responding sooner. I have made a lot of progress and wanted to share.

Wayne, the words I used to search on google were solder guide diy cables.

I have done it and ended one journey. Thanks to Wayne for patience and kindness.

I ordered 90m of Belden 1505F and 80 Neutrik connectors, red, back and clear heatshrink. The Clear stuff is great, and I used thin strips used to bind the cable pairs every foot or so.

I put solder blobs on the connectors, for the soon to arrive tinned wires. One departure I made from the guide was to only do this for the shield. I soldered the shield and then pushed the signal wire deep into the cup. The shape of the cup kept the wire there by natural tension. I then used solder and hot tip to pour molten solder into the cup. I did this because room is tight and this seemed less prone to hand tremor.

You can see what I mean here: -



You can see the tinned signal wire held by tension in the central cup.



Once this was done, I got this: -





and on completion the finished cable looked like this: -





Hopefully I can add value from this point.

Neutrik have changed RCA design. The spring relief is gone and a new rubber gland has been added.



This initially proved a nightmare. This new plug does not accept cables around 6mm in its unaltered state. I got a call from a tech support desk and you need to tear a strip off the cable chuck clamp. It perforated and will pull off. See the strip half detatched at the thicker end, below. If you don't do this, a 6mm cable won't fit.





If it still tight, get some scissors and trim another 1mm off the perforated end.



Here is what a finished cable looks like with the new design Neutrik plug below. To me the new design plug looks more professional. I can't find any 3:1 red and blach heatshrink in UK, only 2:1. This means I didn't put shrink wrap over the plus for final touch.




The cables sound great. Treble is so clear and sharp it could shatter into glass. I have used all 90m, and ordered another 60m for inventory.


I would like to try some multi core litz cable with braided copper shield and low capacitance for audio interconnect. Could anyone recommend a cable? A big brand would be better, so I can get in UK.
 

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Nice job!

Curious about the changes in the Neutrik connector – I ordered some from Markertek just a few weeks ago for a DIY component video cable project, and I got the ones with the spring strain reliefs.

I would like to try some multi core litz cable with braided copper shield and low capacitance for audio interconnect. Could anyone recommend a cable?
I’d be surprised if you can find some. Multicore cable is typically used in studio installations and live sound applications. Not much use for litz cabling there...

Regards,
Wayne

 

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Thanks for the kind comment. I found soldering the central signal pin very difficult due to hand shake and small area to work on. My adaption to recommended method was the only way I could do with repeated confidence. I made a lot of these in the end and replaced all my equipment leads.

It's a shame about Litz wire being less common. I was hoping for a good cable recipe to try out. I don't want to go into all the business about high class audiophile cables, but I often hear these super eared people complain about the skin effect. I know that one counter remedy to skin effect if litz configuration. I wanted to make some as a audio experiment for curiosity. I am not over fussed about cable tuning, so it was just to pass an evening with the soldering iron.

I found this, and wondered if I could use as an audio interconnect. I also read some theory about Litz speaker cable, and wondered if this cable linked below could be used, or is better suited for that purpose.

http://www.canford.co.uk/Products/20526/34-108-CANFORD-BSU-CABLE-8-core-BBC-PSF82

On the subject on the new Neutrik connectors, I am sure they are coming. When I placed my first order, I got some old black and red, and some new black and red. It was a real pain in the rear, and the seller changed them over.

The new are great, once you realise you have to tear off the strip from the clamp. No more sliding springs over tight 6.2mm cable. I also think they look customer made, as the rubber gland seals itself around the cable. If I could get some 3:1 shrink, they could look like a off the shelf cable.
 
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