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Welcome to my Instructable on how to make your own high end audio interconnects! This guide will take you from start to finish through the process of building your own DIY, braided, multi-strand speaker interconnects like the ones shown above. These can be made in any length and in many different colors and styles, limited only by your imagination.

High end audio cables are big money. Some companies like Nordost and Audioquest sell speaker wire for $500 a pair! And that's only for 1m Cables! If you're like most people you may be asking what is so special about these wires that lets them charge $500?! The answer is simple: nothing! That's right, electrically these $500 speaker cables are no different from a $30 roll of speaker wire from Walmart. They can charge sky-high prices because they claim the geometry and the design of the wires will improve the quality of the sound of your system.

But what if you just want them because they look cool? With the amazing profit margin on these "high-end" speaker wires, companies can afford to put some pretty fancy gold-plated connectors, nylon mesh, colored heat shrink, and fancy designs on these cables. There's no denying they look great and can really bring an attention to detail to your system that you wouldn't otherwise have.

So what is the average educated consumer to do? You want the high end wires because of their amazing looks and designs, but you don't want to be the fool who spends $500 on speaker wires when regular wire will work just fine. The answer is to build your own! It's quite easy and in this how-to I will be walking you through the steps required to build your own 4 conductor braided speaker cables. I will be pointing out some tips I learned along the way so you don't have to make the same mistakes that I did. Enjoy!

Step 1: Make a Plan

The first thing to do before you go to the store or place any orders online is make a plan. You must consider what you want the final product to look like and what things you absolutely need to have. Some important things to keep in mind during this phase are:

- Overall length needed
- Style of cable (braided, twisted, heat shrunk, sleeved etc.)
- Number of strands per cable
- Gauge needed and gauge desired
- Colors
- Type of termination

Length

The overall length of the cable depends on how far your speakers are from your amplifier, for a desktop setup 1m cables should be fine for most situations, for a home theater or a listening room your will need to take specific measurements.

Style

The overall length of the cable is also dependent on the style of cable you wish to have. A braided wire requires longer wires than a twisted cable to end up with the same overall length. If you aren't able to buy large rolls of wire you may want to reconsider trying to make that 6m speaker cable with a tight 4 wire braid. If you're strapped for materials, a simple twisted pair of wires with a Techflex covering will work just a well as a 4 wire braid, and it will use much less raw materials to create.

Wires per cable

The number of wires per cable will directly affect how the final product looks, there are countless ways to weave and braid wires together. Using multiple lengths of thinner wire can allow a cable to be more flexible and still be used in high wattage setups. I personally prefer a 4 wire braid as I believe it looks the best, this is the method I will be demonstrating in this how-to, but as always you're free to use any method of braiding that you can think of! If you're not good at braiding a simple three wire braid of thick wire can be used, this method is easy for anyone to do. Simply only use two of the three conductors.

Gauge

The gauge of the wire is a measure of how thick the wire is. this is the diameter of a solid wire or how many individual copper strands are in a stranded wire. The gauge, length, and material used to make a wire tells us how much current we can put through a wire before it will get too hot and melt the insulation. For a speaker setup generally anything 24AWG or lower is fine. Note that gauge is an inverse scale, meaning that as the value increases the wire diameter gets smaller. For this project I will be using 4, 16AWG wires for each cable, two for the positive side and two for the negative side. This is major overkill, and frankly totally unnecessary, but the thick wires look much nicer than thin wires and they fit perfectly into the paracord. As long as your wires are at maximum 24AWG you should be fine. That means that the wires on the negative and positive side of the cable are at maximum 24AWG. You can use several thin wires and have the same effect, so long as the equivalent gauge is no larger than 24AWG. It should be noted that a general rule is that when two equal gauge wires are used in parallel the equivalent gauge is the gauge of one wire minus three. So the gauge of the cables I will be making is 13AWG equivalent.

EDIT 3/24/15: Many people in the comments have been saying that I'm wrong for recommending 24AWG wire, 24AWG wire is an absolute maximum recommendation. Do not exceed this number when picking a wire gauge. The resistivity of 24 AWG copper wire is 85 ohms per kilometer of wire. Therefore I maintain my statement that 24awg wire is acceptable to use for low power stereos.

Colors

The colors of the cable will depend on the color wire used and if you decide to sheath the cable in heat shrink, paracord, or Techflex. In this how to I will be using a combination of paracord and heat shrink tubing to make my cable. You may choose any method of coloration, some have even used Teflon tape as a way of turning their entire cable a pristine white color. Originally I was going to use Techflex but ended up deciding against it, the image above shows what Techflex looks like over a twisted pair or paracord sheathed wires. However the cheapest and easiest method is always leaving the wires bare.

Termination

The termination is completely up to you, if you're unsure you can always leave the ends of the wires bare and simply attach them to your system as you would regular speaker wire. I will be using banana plugs in this how to as all of my equipment has 5-way binding posts. If you're unsure of what kind of termination to use, check the wires that are already on your system now and use the same style of termination that is already on them. I personally recommend banana plugs as they are the easiest to work with if you ever have to move your system.

Step 2: Tools

To make the cables I will be demonstrating there are a few basic tools you will need:

- A pair of wire strippers that can accommodate the gauge of wire you are using (16 AWG in this case)
- A good pair of scissors and or wire cutters
- A lighter or heat gun
- A roll of duct tape, or similar strength tape (not pictured)
- A knife or a razor blade
- Tools to connect the terminations you are using (depends on the style of termination) In my case I used a small screwdriver.
- A permanent marker (also not pictured)

And that's it! This project doesn't require any fancy tools, in fact I have done almost all of the construction in my dorm room while at school.

Step 3: Materials

The materials you will need will depend mostly on what you want the final product to look like, I will be using the following materials.

- 72' of paracord in various colors ($8 Walmart)
- 25' of 16 AWG 3 conductor extension cable ($9 Walmart)
- 8 banana plugs ($16 Amazon)
- a large assortment of heat shrink tubing in the color of your choice ($5 Amazon)

Total cost of materials is $38

Some things to note:
Get the cheapest three conductor extension cord with 16 AWG conductors you can find. The cheaper cables are easier to disassemble cleanly. More expensive cables have the outermost layer of insulation tightly formed around the inner conductors, this will be much more difficult to remove. The cheap cables have the wires loosely inside the outer covering.

Go for an assortment of heat shrink tubing when buying as it can be hard to know exactly what size of heat shrink you will need. Also, if you can find it, some brands of heat shrink have a glue on the inside that when heated will stick to the wire as the tube shrinks. This will make a much stronger and more durable connection. Also opt for 3:1 heat shrink instead of 2:1. This ratio is the ratio of un-shunk size to shrunk size, the 3:1 tubing will be tighter when shrunk.

Step 4: Disassemble the Extension Cable

(1) First, grab your extension cable and cut off the plugs on the ends. These can be saved for a future project if you like. Inside the extension cable you will see three 16 AWG wires, these wires will become our speaker cables.

(2) Then use a sharp knife or a razor to slice a few inches lengthwise down the insulation at one end of the cable. Then pull the three conductors out, the outer insulation should just tear cleanly as you pull.

(3) Once the inner wires are free from the outer casing, you'll notice that the inner wires are loosely twisted together. Fold this in half and cut it, this should leave you with 6x 12.5' conductors.

(4) Now untwist the wires from each other and separate them by color.

(5) Now bearing in mind that each finished cable will use 4 wires, determine how many wires you will need to make the amount of cables you wish to end up with in the end. You'll notice that as it stands there aren't enough conductors to complete two cables, that's perfectly alright. Since I will be making two cables, I will need 8 conductors total, so I folded the black and white wires in half and cut them. You should now be left with 8x 6.25' wires, 4 white and 4 black, along with 2x 12.5' green wires.

I will be saving the green wires for another project in the future so I did not cut them in half, but if you did you could make three speaker cables from just one extension cable.

Step 5: Prep the Paracord

Now we must turn our attention to the paracord, the specific type of paracord I will be using in this Instructable is called paracord 550. This means that it's rated to 550Lbs, which is quite impressive in itself.

(1) Look at the ends of the paracord, you'll see that the end have been fused already to prevent fraying, using a pair of scissors, cut off the fusing from both ends of the paracord. It's very important to cut both ends or else this next step will not work.

(2) You will notice a few strands of nylon thread in the core of the paracord, this is what gives the paracord it's strength, but it is also in the way of where we want to put our wire. Simply pull this nylon core out of the paracord, it's not held in place by anything and should easily slide right out. You can save this if you'd like, as it is very strong and will make an excellent rope. Or you could recycle it.

(3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 for all of the colors of paracord that you will be using.

(4) When complete you should be left with a huge ball of nylon core and an equally large ball of colored paracord outer shells. This is what we want to save for the next step.

Step 6: Sleeve the Wires

Now it is time to cover out wires with the paracord we prepped earlier. However it's not as simple as just sliding the paracord over the wire.

The issue with attempting to just slide the paracord onto the wire is that the inner copper strands of the wire will inevitably catch on the woven nylon of the paracord. This is because as you are inching the paracord down the length of the wire it will also inch the wire's outer insulation down the inner conductor a bit too. This will cause the inner copper wire strands to poke out and catch on the paracord, making sliding it over the wire impossible.

The fix involves a lighter or some other source of heat. Warm up the end of the wire until it begins to melt, then roll the melted end of the wire between your fingers or on the table to form a rounded end. This will prevent the wire from catching on the paracord and make sliding the paracord over it much easier.

Slide the paracord over all the pieces of wire you will be using. Try to use lighter colored paracord on lighter colored wires and darker colored paracord on darker colored wires, this will make the colors appear more vibrant. In my case I put the silver paracord on the white wire I have, and the orange and black paracord on the black wire I have.

Make sure to leave a half inch of wire showing on one end, wrap a small piece of tape around this end. The tape will hold the paracord on the wire while we are braiding the strands later.

Step 7: Braid the Wires

There are tons of different ways you could weave your cables together, unfortunately I am not good with complex braiding techniques, so I opted for a very simple 4 strand braid.

Tape the 4 sleeved wires to the table as shown in the first image and begin to braid. If you are unsure how to braid the wires, you can check out this video by YouTuber OfDreamsAndSeams. Of course this isn't the only way to braid 4 wires, you're always free to use whatever method you'd like!

Some things to note:
- Do not pull the braid too tight, this will drastically shorten the final length of the wire. However if you have the resources available a tight braid looks much cleaner and nicer than a loose one in my opinion.
- Be prepared to have to restart a braid if it doesn't look right. I practiced on some spare wires and I still had to restart one of my braids because I skipped a step by accident. If you're going to invest this much effort into something a simple as a speaker wire, you might as well make it perfect :)
- Put several pieces of duct tape down to hold the wires to the table you're working on. It's quite annoying to have to re-tape the wires because they detached from the table mid-braid.

Once the wires have been completely braided all of the way down, un-braid the first and last 5" of cable and twist the like-colored wires together. The cable is now braided and close to complete!

Step 8: Adding Terminations

Now gather your terminations, your almost completed speaker wires, and any tools required to connect your terminations. I will be adding banana plugs, and the type of banana plugs I will be using only require a small flat-head screwdriver to attach.

(1) First twist the ends of your wires so the matching colors are twisted together like picture 2. Make sure they are as tight as you would like them to be in the finished product.

(2) Then measure 5' from the where the wires split and mark the paracord with a marker. This is how long the leads will be on the end of the cable. Use your wire cutters or scissors to cut the wires here.

(3) Now eyeball about how much wire will be consumed by the banana plug, mark the paracord at this spot. then put some heat shrink tubing so it covers this spot and shrink it down. Don't heat it up too much you want this to be a loose shrink.

(4) Now, using your knife cut through the paracord, and heat shrink tubing like in the 8th image. be careful to not cut through the insulation of the wire, go slowly and carefully when making these cuts. If done correctly, the paracord should be neatly tucked under the heat shrink tubing. Remove the excess paracord form the end of the wire.

(5) Now slide a medium sized piece of heat shrink over both of the wires, do not shrink this yet. Then slide the already shrunk heat shrink tubing down the length of the wire an inch or so to make room to attach the terminals. Strip the ends of the wires and twist them together.

(6) Slide on the outer casing of your terminals as far down as it will go. Then attach the rest of your terminal to the bare twisted wires. Mine simply required that I tighten down a small grub screw to hold the wires in place. Then screw your terminals together, making sure all the connections are tight and secure. It will be difficult to fix any issues once the cables are completed so double check everything now.

(7) Slide the small heat shrink tubing and the paracord up until it meets the base of the terminal. Then slide the medium sized piece of heat shrink up and shrink it. It should look like picture 16 when completed.

(8) Now slide a large piece of heat shrink tubing over the entire assembly like image 17. I used an entire piece of heat shrink and shrunk it around the body of the banana plug and the wires going into it. Doing it this way will add some strain relief to the cables. Make sure the tubing is completely shrunk all the way. After it is completed it should look like the 18th image.

(9) Repeat these steps for all 8 of the terminals. I recommend twisting the wires together again while the final piece of heat shrink is still hot, this will allow it to hold the twisted shape better.

Some tips:
-Make sure your blade is sharp it will reduce the risk of accidentally cutting through the insulation.
-go slow and be careful, if you mess up and cut a wire you will have to shorten the other terminal on that end of the cable too to keep it even.
-try to use a heat gun if you have access to one, the lighter can be a bit difficult to use without melting the paracord or burning the heat shrink.
-Use the smallest pieces of heat shrink that will comfortably slide over the wires for each step, this will make the termination stronger and less likely to break with time.

Step 9: Testing and Troubleshooting!

As always you should always test the integrity of your connections using a multimeter, before you attach them to your valuable stereo system.

(1) Set the meter to diode test mode and check the continuity of all of the wires. Make sure to check that there are no shorts between the negative and positive wires for each cable.

(2) Set the multimeter to resistance mode and check the resistance of each cable. The resistance values should be very low, if you see a value that is anything above 1 ohm that is cause for concern and means that there is a bad connection somewhere. Double check your terminals, if your terminals appear properly connected move onto step (2b).

(2b) If your terminals look ok remove them and check the resistance of the wires you are using. If the resistance of the wires is still high, that means you might have a bad conductor. Try to narrow down which wire it is by using your meter. Unfortunately there is no easy fix for this situation as it will require you to un-braid the entire cable and replace the bad wire. If the wires check out alright move onto step (2c).

(2c) If the wires test good this only leaves the terminals as possible culprits. Some times cheaply made terminals and connectors can have an oxide layer that would prevent a good connection. This is not usually an issue with solder-on terminals but with compression terminals (like banana plugs) this can cause real issues. Take your terminals and clean them with some isopropyl alcohol. This will help remove the oxidation layer, if that doesn't work a solvent like DeOxit should be your best bet at easily removing oxidation. If all else fails use some sandpaper to clean the surface and solder the wires in. This will make removing the banana plugs harder but it will ensure a perfect electrical connection.

(3) If your wires test good it's time to hook them up to your system and test them out! Attach the positive and negative terminals to their appropriate points and fire up some tunes! If your cables don't work well refer to the procedure listed in steps (2b) and (2c).

Step 10: Final Thoughts

Congratulations! If you've reached this point you now know how to make your own beautiful set of high quality, and durable speaker wires. The cables I described how to build in this tutorial are good for at least a thousand watts of power, and if properly built should last through many years of abuse.

The colors and style of your cables can be easily modified to match your existing decor, allowing the cables on your stereo to blend in with your room or stand out from the surroundings.

One possible use for these cables is a Bi-amp setup. A bi-amp setup is where two independent amplifiers are used to drive one speaker. One amp takes care of the low frequencies and one amp takes care of the high frequencies. By attaching 4 independent banana plugs to each end of each cable you can run only one cable to connect both amplifiers to each speaker, instead of running two lengths of speaker wire.

As always I cannot stress enough that these cables will not change the sound of your stereo, these are meant for decorative purposes only. These cables are great if you move your system around a lot or if your speaker wires are blatantly visible. This same method of construction can be scaled up or down to create wires for many different applications. Using thin flexible wires will allow you to make custom headphone cables for headphones with removable wires. Or using more wires per cable will allow you to make your own wires for PA systems or systems that deliver thousands of watts of power. This simple design is cheap and will allow you to make whatever custom cables you want for much less than it would cost to buy them.



I hope you have enjoyed my Instructable, this is my first post in many many years and I would love to hear your feedback! This has been entered in the DIY Audio & Music Contest so make sure to give me a vote :P Thanks!

<p>I dig the wire cover idea. I didn't have any paracord so I used an old boot lace I had saved. I made this patch cable as part of a project documented <a rel="nofollow">here</a>.</p>
<p>That looks really cool! I actually just ready your submission! Boot laces actually sound like a great alternative to paracord! </p>
<p>Did something similar but took a different direction. See pics below. Materials: half inch net jacket (spool), 12AWG oxygen free copper speaker wire (Radio Shack, excellent cable and cheap), speaker wire &quot;boots&quot; from a seller on Amazon, and gold plated 90 degree banana clips with a compression screw fitting. I bi-wired the speaker as shown in the third pic, so that's 2 sets of wires going into the net jacket. Really pleased with the results and the cable is a beast. </p>
<p>Hey I really like the look of the speaker wire inside those sleeves, you don't happen to have a link to it do you? a search for &quot;oxygen free&quot; on Radioshack's site yields no hits. I'd love to use some of it in my next project!</p>
The wire is on sale, it's radio shacks premium brand. Auvio 12awg. http://www.radioshack.com/auvio-50-ft-12awg-speaker-cable/2780463.html#.VP-FgMUifa8<br><br><br>The net jacket is available online from a few different vendors. You can get different patterns also, not just black. Technically it's called PET expandable jacket.http://www.amazon.com/PET-Expandable-Braided-Sleeving-Color/dp/B00BM80FKY, but you can Google for more. Also don't forget the right size shrink tube. It needs to be huge if you're bi-wiring with this cable. 1&quot; or so.
<p>Wow that stuff looks nice and think I'll have to pick some up next time I'm near a Radioshack. I really like how your cables turned out they're very clean !</p>
I just found materials to copy the look and function of the high end stuff like you did. Better hurry on that radio shack wire, they're going out of business.
<p>I know! It's sad really, though it's still available online so I might place an order as they're are no Radioshacks anywhere near me anymore :(</p>
<p>Wow that looks spectacular </p>
<p>just fyi, twisting the cable like that will actually degrade the audio quality of a long speaker wire, and can cause your amplifier to oscillate badly. long wires are already great inductors, by introducing excessive capacitance, you create a LC circuit which is not usually &quot;tuned&quot; to a frequency you actually want to listen to.</p>
<p>for this same reason you are mentioning, you do not want to stick caps across audio cables as a filter- use inductance instead. I am not sure how much capacitance you need to cause trouble, but it would vary with any higher frequency noise around to pick up. Do you know if there are any &quot;rules of thumb&quot; for where capacitance becomes a problem? </p>
I was going to mention something about that too! But I do respect the fact that this is for looks. Next round use copper braid ground around each cable and a flexible clear shrink tubing and you will have a beautiful and clean sounding creation!
<p>Have you measured some parameters of your cables? What about the DC rezistance, parallel capacitance or series inductance? Than you can see how good your cables are. One of mine craft</p>
<p>At audio frequencies capacitance and inductance of a cable would have to be pretty large to make any significant difference. </p>
<p>The only thing I am capable of measuring is DC resistance, the capacitance I could probably calculate and get a ballpark number but it wold be something ridiculously small as there are several millimeters of space between the wires. Inductance again, would be absurdly small and have almost no effect that one could notice. That being said those cables you've made are very nice looking!</p>
<p>Separate note: When making your speaker wires, you absolutely need to make left and right channel cables the same length within an inch or so. This is true even if one speaker is right next to the receiver and the other is across the room. Any significant difference in length will generate 'phase' differences in the audio you hear which would be noticeable to a discerning ear.</p>
<p>Audio is 20HZ - 20KHZ. An electrical audio frequency wave length on a cable is 15,000,000 meters at the low end to 15,000 meters at the high end. To notice any significant phase difference would take a REALLY long cable. At higher radio frequencies it is a different story. </p>
<p>This is a joke, right? The speed of propagation of an electric signal through wire is close to the speed of light. At that velocity, do you really think a few inches (or even several yards) is going to make a difference?</p>
In a word, yes. I taught electronics for the Air Force and worked with mid-to high-end audio/video equipment after getting out of the service.<br>Like I said, most people won't notice, but a discerning ear can well hear something out of 'phase' if the difference in length is too much. It has as much to do with the combined impedance of the line as it does with the actual resistance of the wires themselves. That is one more reason why heavier wires do have an effect on sound quality--though as I said before, there is such a thing as going grossly overboard.
<p>The speed of light (which is also roughly the speed at which electrons travel through a conductor) is around 300,000,000 meters/second. At that speed a 100 kHz signal has a wavelength of about 3,000 meters, half of which is 1,500 meters - or the difference in length the cables would need to be to be fully out of phase. Since you mentioned inches, that's almost 60,000 inches.</p><p>A 1 inch difference in cable length would cause a phase difference of only 0.0017 %, which is far far below what a human could perceive. As the frequencies get smaller, that difference also gets smaller. Granted, because of frequency modulation issues the actual effective differences are a bit less extreme, but nowhere even remotely near perceptible in the range of inches. With extremely high frequencies and precision needed in data transfer, this can be a larger issue (such as with ethernet or hdmi) but still allows quite a large allowance in distance differentials.</p><p>However, there is an even simpler way to look at the problem - comparing the phase differences transmitted to the speakers to the phase differences caused once the sound leaves the speakers and travels through the air to your ears.</p><p>Why this is important is the speed of sound is roughly 340 m/s or a little over 880,000 times slower than light.</p><p>Basically, with all that in mind, to experience the same difference in phase caused by a signal traveling the speed of light through 1 inch of cable (the distance mentioned in your post as significant) the resultant sound waves from the speakers would only need to travel 0.0000011 inches or 28 nanometers through the air. </p><p>So, to sum up, if you are concerned about differences in cable lengths in inches, you had better also be insuring that the differences in speaker distance from your ears are equivalent in the nanometer range. Good luck with that.</p>
<p>Read again what I said. While I did mention keeping the length within one inch for best balance, I did not say it was critical. In fact, I used the words, &quot;One inch or so&quot;. </p><p>Your argument, too, ignores other aspects of the signal beyond pure conductance. Yes, I do agree that electrical propagation operates at near (not exactly) the speed of light through a wire, you flat ignore the fact that there will be impedance factors that change as the difference between wire lengths grows. At very low frequencies they won't matter all that much but as they rise they become more important. There's a reason why twisted pair used to be so important for telephone wire as it tended to hang relatively closely to conventional AC transmission lines and would often be routed near lower-voltage AC wires in home installations. That 60-hz hum would get picked up by the phone.</p><p>And that's the other problem with your argument; you're so focused on internal factors that you're missing external factors that will affect audio sound quality--but again that also goes outside of the current 'equal length' argument.</p>
<p>First, I want to be clear I am not trying to start an argument - I just find this subject highly interesting. When I read your original post, I had some doubts and decided to verify my suspicions. Once I did, the results were so striking and fascinating that I decided to post them in case anyone else found it as interesting as I did.</p><p>I stand by those findings -- they are backed by basic science, math and logic - at least when referring to the original subject matter: audio signal phase offsets caused by differentials in cable lengths. I would love to consider any counter arguments, as long they are backed by verifiable evidence.</p><p>However, your response dropped the phase differential argument for a separate and completely unrelated issue: Signal degradation.</p><p>It is true that the quality of an audio signal may be influenced by many factors including cable length, but also shielding, interference, conductivity, impedance, and a variety of external environmental factors. Even so, for most people's situations and with even inexpensive generic audio cables, those above mentioned factors almost never make a perceivable quality difference -- a ten foot cable will not be measurably different than a ten foot two inch cable, a straight pair will sound the same as a braid, and expensive cable shielding isn't necessary. Unless your audio setup is in an extreme environment, the cables are run over unusually long distances, or your conductors are of exceptionally poor quality (don't run nichrome wire for audio signals) those factors can be essentially ignored.</p><p>Returning all that to the the original discussion about the importance of matching cable lengths: Even assuming a situation where those issues did noticeably affect signal quality, they would only influence each cable independently -- in other words, signal degradation in one channel won't affect the others. Therefore, when considering cables spanning large enough distances to affect signal quality, matching cable lengths only makes sense if the goal is for each channel to sound equally bad rather than ensuring each carries the highest quality signal possible.</p><p>Therefore, rather than ensuring all cables are of equivalent length, a much better rule would be to keep every cable as short as possible, even if that means a variety of widely differing lengths.</p>
<p>Heh, I was hoping for someone to do the math...</p><p>Now for personal experience: I don't hear any damn difference. I have an acoustically treated controlroom, and a trained ear. Then I measured one speaker using different cables and a calibrated measurement mic. No difference at all!</p>
Ok, but what about the non-audiophile who uses a one-meter cable for one speaker and ten meters for the other? Sure, there's still not going to be a whole lot of phase differential, but a long time ago I used to be one of those dummies and as an electronics technician I ran into a lot of dummies like that. And as I said, the impedance of the cable changes with every inch of length. It is quite possible, when adding the speaker itself into the circuit, to take the channel impedance outside of the 4-ohm/8-ohm maximum demanded by the amplifier.
<p>Not a joke. Audio wavelengths are short enough on the top end to cause phasing problems with more than a couple inches discrepancy in the cable length. This can also be caused be speaker placement in the room/distance of each speaker from the listener. Most people will never notice either problem, however. It all depends on the level of &quot;perfection&quot; you want. If you're wiring a home stereo in a room with couches, chairs, and other items that can reflect or absorb sound, you probably wont notice any difference even with several yards difference in cable length. If you're wiring a professional recording control room, you'll want those cables and speaker placement as exact as possible.</p>
<p>&quot;audio wavelength&quot; would matter if you were pumping air through the cables. But you're not. The electrical signals propagate through the cables at about 1 foot per nanosecond. So a one inch difference in an electrical cable amounts to 83 picoseconds of delay. Assuming sound propagates through air at about 1000 feet per second, 83ps translates to (assuming I did the math correctly) 0.0006 degrees of audio phase difference at 20 kHz.</p>
Great insructable! In my teenage years I outdid all my friends by using a set of Jumper Cables as speaker cables, yup I was that cool. <br><br>I want to share the results of my own cable experiment I completed several years ago. <br><br>While working for a big box electronics store I took advantage of my access I had to the equipment in the store, testing the claims of superior sound by using cables from the high end cable manufacturers. In the sound room I connected three identical systems at the same time. <br><br>On the first system I connected each component using the least expensive cables I could find (I would never recommend this, because the wires can and do occasionally short out and damage the equipment they are connected to). <br><br>I used middle price/quality cables to connect the components on the second system. <br><br>For the last system I used the highest price/quality cables I had access to. I invited several coworkers into the room one at a time, played the same audio and music clips on each set up. <br><br>The result?<br><br> It was easy to hear the sound difference between the inexpensive cables when compared to the middle and high price/quality cables. It was harder to hear the difference when comparing the middle with the high range, sometime coworkers even reported the systems set up with the middle range cables as sounding the best.
<p>The one aspect of cheap cables that I have noticed is a problem is the connectors (assuming they are using the same gauge wire, which cheap cables also skimp on). Poorly made connectors, and poorly crimped / soldered connections can affect signals through a cable, especially as they are moved around, plugged, unplugged, etc. </p>
<p>That's interesting, personally I've only ever listened to regular cables and some mid range cables while at best buy. I couldn't hear the difference personally. I know some cables have inductors and capacitors in them, I totally agree that those could change the sound. When talking about straight run cables (like the ones I made here) as long as they are well made they should all sound the same. I'm an EE student and they teach us that all wires are the same, but if it works for you and you like high end cables then go for it! Glad you enjoyed the Isntructable!</p>
<p>Hmmm... it's a little worrisome that you have been taught that all wires are the same... I am a EE and I was taught that all wires are NOT the same... Perhaps for basic circuits wiring is inconsequential... but for more complex circuits, the wires and traces can definitely have an effect... I was in the audio industry for years and worked on many many systems from basic to audiophile...My experience (including an organized blind A-B test mentioned in another comment) is that cabling can definitely make a difference in a stereo system, though the law of diminishing returns kicks in very quickly once you get into higher gauge pure copper cabling.</p>
<p>All wires operate the same way, it's true that gauge, lengths and material effect things to a certain extent, but as long as the connections are solid and the wires aren't too resistive, they should all behave the same. I'm only a student, but I don't believe that cables can have an audible effect</p>
<p>Before putting it in the para chord wrap the cable in aluminum foil, so you isolate the noise.</p>
<p>For speaker connectors I would recommend jumbo banana jacks. The female of these is 1/4&quot; i.d. Advantages are lower initial resistance, lower resistance over long term usage, much more sturdy. Just plain more cool. </p><p><a href="http://www.newark.com/johnson/108-0760-001/banana-jack-40a-solder/dp/39F894" rel="nofollow">http://www.newark.com/johnson/108-0760-001/banana-...</a></p><p>As for wire gauge, higher gauges have higher inductance. I don't know if this is enough inductance to effect the loading of the amp or the sound quality at audio frequencies.</p>
<p>LesB, it's unlikely to have a major influence except in the case of excessive wire length. The main reason to go for thicker wire is the heat dissipation when transmitting a lot of power. The moment you start worrying about what'll mostly likely be nanohenry differences (over normal distances) you might want to skip town and setup shop in a frictionless vacuum at 0.1 kelvin.</p>
<p>I am here just to say most excellent post !!! I love paracord an have sleeved wire in it be for.</p><p>The only thing I &quot;could &quot; say is to buy a good roll of speaker and split it down the middle.</p><p>cheap extension cord is not the way to go.</p><p>In and audio format good connections is more importent </p>
<p>I could do that but truth be told the wire is almost identical, the best option would be to use lamp cord, but lamp cord and speaker wire aren't round when split and would look weird under the paracord. thanks for the comment though glad you enjoyed it! :)</p>
<p>The audio voodoo is strong in this comment section.</p>
<p>Why go to all that work? Twisted-pair 16-ga wire is all that's needed and you certainly don't need to braid it. In fact, you don't even need twisted-pair; just get some 16-ga twin-lead lamp cord with real copper wire and you're good. Thinner 20-ga wire works, but starts getting too fragile even with multi-strand wiring.</p><p>That is, unless you just want it to LOOK like the high-dollar junk.</p>
<p>This was more of a form over fucntion project, I wanted to make a set of cables that look (and perform lol) the same as the expensive ones.</p>
<p>You could wrap the lamp cord in a paracord sleeve to make it look better. In fact that may be a good product - you could sell it as a custom audiophile cable and get a nice return from the suckers who want kimber kables.</p>
A way to simplify (and even make it cheaper) would be to use colored cord or even that vinyl crafting material called &quot;Gimp&quot; and weave that over existing cables. Would have no effect on the electrical aspect but would actually look neater and less 'ragged' than the example you show. You could still use the heat shrink to tie down the ends, making it look more professional.
<p>I'd go up to 12 ga. - readily available as appliance cord, and it's cheap. I just wanted to add that not only you don't need twisted pair - it's going to be detrimental so don't use twisted pair. Just good old 12 ga. lamp cord, (I agree with high-quality O2-free) </p>
<p>it dose not look like you put shielding around the cable. i live in a house with alot of electrical interference and cable shielding has a huge impact on audio and video quality.</p>
<p>That would be your RCA's and low voltage interconnects then, speakers operate at voltages that are too high to be susceptible to EM interference unless it's a VERY large field. The amount of EM interference required to induce enough current to cause a speaker to make any noise would be enough to magnetize anything ferrous in your house.</p>
but you ends looks like 3.5mm audio jacks. witch seems impractical for pushing a few thousand watts. then again a audio file probably dose not care as much about spl as i do. im a sql guy, the middle ground between quality and power is what i like.(also pic upload is a test, and this sub is only a temp till i can get some 18's)
Those are banana plugs not 3.5mm jacks, bananas are capable of enormous amounts of power.
<p>Ifoss, Beautifully said!! I sold high end and mid end stereos back in the 80s. We sold our fair share of special wire. My opinion is this wire will not do much good without the back up of special gear. Hooking your ipod up to a bose surround and using $1200 Kimber Kable would be a waist of money. The only way to appreciate the difference in speaker cable is to have a high end turntable like a Linn with maybe a Grado cartridge, $10,000 Macintosh tube pre and main amps, and B&amp;W 800 series speakers. Not to mention having awesome ears to hear all of this. Your system is only going to sound as good as the weakest link. God I miss being around real HiFi equipment. </p>
<p>Nice high end collection but, If you really owned a McIntosh, I would think you would be able to spell it correctly </p>
<p>No, I'm afraid I don't own any of this. Just remembering the systems we used to sell, new and used. Thank you for correcting my mistake, it must have made your day! LOL! Plus Apple lawyers might take offense at my spelling error as well. </p>
<p>LOL its not the Apple people that take offence :)</p>

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