DIY Cables, Interconnects

slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
It has been something I planned for a long time; I’d like to build my speaker cables. Number one reason is meditation (like modelling, but something I’ll use later on, not just hang from the wall).

I kindly ask for some help. After punching all sorts of words into eBay and making a complete tit out of myself, could you please tell me the names of some parts for cable making? I did find the angled banana connectors, but what’s the name for:

the little trousers/pantaloons that you put at the end of the cable to separate +/- and to finish the “jacket”?

also, what is the name of that jacket? the woven one that you dress your cable with?

is the term heat-mouldable used for the ones that will shrink if you use blow-drier on them

I’d order these parts on eBay (not all is available in my town), but first, I’m having hard time finding them and second, I’d like to be certain that I’ve ordered what I need.

It’s just a couple of words, I hope I’m not wasting too much of your time. I did try to find it myself, but, believe me, when you type snake skin jacket into eBay you get all sorts...

the little trousers/pantaloons that you put at the end of the cable to separate +/- and to finish the “jacket”?
cable pants
https://www.parts-express.com/cat/cable-pants/2120

also, what is the name of that jacket? the woven one that you dress your cable with?

Techflex
https://www.parts-express.com/cat/expandable-braided-sleeving/2193

is the term heat-mouldable used for the ones that will shrink if you use blow-drier on them

Heat Shrink
https://www.parts-express.com/Search.aspx?keyword=heat shrink&sitesearch=true
 
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Field Marshall
the little trousers/pantaloons that you put at the end of the cable to separate +/- and to finish the “jacket”?
cable pants
https://www.parts-express.com/cat/cable-pants/2120

also, what is the name of that jacket? the woven one that you dress your cable with?
Techflex
https://www.parts-express.com/cat/expandable-braided-sleeving/2193

is the term heat-mouldable used for the ones that will shrink if you use blow-drier on them
Heat Shrink
https://www.parts-express.com/Search.aspx?keyword=heat shrink&sitesearch=true
Aaah, thank you... sleeving, yes, found it now, so no jackets/wraps/insulation

Also, thank you very much for the links, bu it'll have to be China/eBay for me. Part express would be very expensive.
 
Ponzio

Ponzio

Audioholic Field Marshall
Aaah, thank you... sleeving, yes, found it now, so no jackets/wraps/insulation

Also, thank you very much for the links, bu it'll have to be China/eBay for me. Part express would be very expensive.
Amazon has all these brands/parts. I'd be leery of eBay and if there are any defects/issues you can return them without pulling chicken's teeth :)
 
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Field Marshall
Amazon has all these brands/parts. I'd be leery of eBay and if there are any defects/issues you can return them without pulling chicken's teeth :)
Thank you. I don't really like Amazon (I don't like eBay either, but it's usually cheaper). With the prices of these parts, if we're talking DIY cables, you can afford to be wrong. I'm buying everything bulk so it's even cheaper and I can make several. If I'm satisfied with the results, my friends have their gifts all set out for them... :D
 
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Field Marshall
So I got this banana plug with this small cylinder inside. I must say I don’t really have much use for the small cylinder. I’m not sure how the manufacturer imagined I’d connect these.
1559290333096.png

Only thing I can think of is to insert the cable in a side hole and use the cylinder to squash it. It doesn't look all that neat in the end and it also renders the bottom hole useless. But if I insert the cable in the bottom hole, the cylinder is in the way. I don't know where to lead the cable.

Maybe I could insert it in the bottom hole and go out the side hole, but only after I insert the cylinder. Then the cable would be tightened between the screw and the cylinder.

I'm not really happy with these. I'm changing them.
 
Ponzio

Ponzio

Audioholic Field Marshall
So I got this banana plug with this small cylinder inside. I must say I don’t really have much use for the small cylinder. I’m not sure how the manufacturer imagined I’d connect these.
View attachment 29677
Only thing I can think of is to insert the cable in a side hole and use the cylinder to squash it. It doesn't look all that neat in the end and it also renders the bottom hole useless. But if I insert the cable in the bottom hole, the cylinder is in the way. I don't know where to lead the cable.

Maybe I could insert it in the bottom hole and go out the side hole, but only after I insert the cylinder. Then the cable would be tightened between the screw and the cylinder.

I'm not really happy with these. I'm changing them.
Yeah that seems to be a bit convoluted. I prefer the Sewell Direct (catalogue # SW-29863-1) Deadbolt banana plugs, which can easily accept a wide varity of gauges, down to 8 gauge.
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
So I got this banana plug with this small cylinder inside. I must say I don’t really have much use for the small cylinder. I’m not sure how the manufacturer imagined I’d connect these.
View attachment 29677
Only thing I can think of is to insert the cable in a side hole and use the cylinder to squash it. It doesn't look all that neat in the end and it also renders the bottom hole useless. But if I insert the cable in the bottom hole, the cylinder is in the way. I don't know where to lead the cable.

Maybe I could insert it in the bottom hole and go out the side hole, but only after I insert the cylinder. Then the cable would be tightened between the screw and the cylinder.

I'm not really happy with these. I'm changing them.
You can insert wire from the bottom, though obviously small AWG and have it crush between the slug and the socket, but it doesn't leave much room for the wire itself. So what you mentioned is how they are typically used, insert wire into the side hole and the slug compresses on the wire. I think the idea was that this would prevent backing out (and also so you don't screw directly onto the wire),but I've found that these tend to come loose over time and I don't use that style anymore.

Not a fan of the deadbolt (copy of Monster) style either, but they're better than the ones pictured. They have one advantage, they sort of prevent two side by side connectors from touching because the barrel is larger than the connector.

I like these:

https://www.amazon.com/KnuKonceptz-eKs-Style-Banana-Plugs/dp/B078WCCHYP/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=KnuKonceptz-eKs-Style-Banana-Plugs&qid=1559334591&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Not quite as tough as a standard banana, but have never had one come loose.
 
Last edited:
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Field Marshall
@j_garcia you're right, they do loosen up without me even touching them. I was at odds witht his, I figured it must be copper wire slowly taking shape and settling down resulting in screws loosening up all by themselves.

I took another set from German Dynavox:
1559375060977.png
Which I like as they have the two side screws inside:
1559375285377.png
These won't loosen on their own but the plastic bit you grab them by, will loosen from plugging/unplugging.
Since I have two systems now and do a lot of combinations and change speakers, I wanted to find something robust and lasting to withstand all the plugging/unplugging. But I don't think either of these will be my choice.

If you asked me what I like, it would be these that get half way covered by heat shrink tube:
1559375828875.png
These don't have any outer screws or covers that might get lose. I don't know how hard the heat shrink gets attached.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
The Monoprice Affinity Banana Plugs I use are somewhat similar to those... dual set screws and a screw-on shield. The shield can loosen, which is silly, but I just give 'em a little twist when I handle them to make certain they stay tight. The right angle version has a slip on cover that you have to put over the wire before attaching the BP itself. (If not, undo it, fix it, re-twist the wires...)

I suppose heat shrinking the insulation on is much more foolproof, but I think if you ever decide to place the wires... it will be a royal PITA.

Banana Plugs are... Meditational. when you sit down with you screwdriver, wire strippers, etc... Its an exercise in patient intention! :)
 
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Field Marshall
Banana Plugs are... Meditational. when you sit down with you screwdriver, wire strippers, etc... Its an exercise in patient intention! :)
Exactly, that's what I started with. I don't really need neat cables, but spending some of my free time making them and later using them is really relaxing.

A lot of these bananas are over-the-top. Just too elaborate, clunky over-sized... If we're talking about the looks (and I know we shouldn't ;) ) I really like the simplicity and neatness of these:
1559467119308.png
Much more than the heftiness of these:
1559467246083.png

but I think if you ever decide to place the wires... it will be a royal PITA.
I'm sorry to say, I don't understand this; "to place the wires" where?
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
I'm sorry to say, I don't understand this; "to place the wires" where?
Ha... phone autocorrected replace to place. FML. *facepalm :)
Just meant if you ever wanted to change the wire, salvaging the plugs would be very arduous with the shrink tubes installed. ;)
 
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Field Marshall
One more thing, I think that having spades on one end and bananas on the other make for the second most versatile cable. My old NAD doesn't take bananas, but most electronics that can take bare wire can also have a spade tightened in the same place. Not all, though. Perhaps one cable that would be even more versatile would be a bare-wire / spade combo, but that's just half terminated.

A funny thing is that the old B&W Matrix 802 speakers have a very narrow hole for the bare wire. You can use a standard banana, but if you go with bare wire, hardly anything lower than 18 gauge.

It's bugging me, I must say. According to tables the impedance of the speakers in question can go lower for short bursts than the cable allows. I don't think it's dangerous in this "direction", but I'm asking myself are speakers doing all they can in those moments when they need to draw on power.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
It has been something I planned for a long time; I’d like to build my speaker cables. Number one reason is meditation (like modelling, but something I’ll use later on, not just hang from the wall).

I kindly ask for some help. After punching all sorts of words into eBay and making a complete tit out of myself, could you please tell me the names of some parts for cable making? I did find the angled banana connectors, but what’s the name for:

the little trousers/pantaloons that you put at the end of the cable to separate +/- and to finish the “jacket”?

also, what is the name of that jacket? the woven one that you dress your cable with?

is the term heat-mouldable used for the ones that will shrink if you use blow-drier on them

I’d order these parts on eBay (not all is available in my town), but first, I’m having hard time finding them and second, I’d like to be certain that I’ve ordered what I need.

It’s just a couple of words, I hope I’m not wasting too much of your time. I did try to find it myself, but, believe me, when you type snake skin jacket into eBay you get all sorts...
I don't know what these are called in Europe, but the vinyl things that separate the + and - are called 'cable pants', the tubing that shrinks is called 'heat shrink tubing' and the mesh is often referred to as 'expandable mesh sleeve'. I have no idea who sells these in your area but if you can find a way to get them from the US, Parts Express is a good source- they have all of this, and more.

One of the reps I buy AV equipment from has speaker cables with a fairly large box attached, containing some super special something that mere mortals should never see or think about. He had asked me to solder some special ends on them, to allow connecting them to his amplifiers and as I was driving, I wondered- "Why would someone who is interested in the cleanest sound, which usually uses the shortest path, want to add extra parts to their cables?". There's no way they don't cause some change (unless the box is empty or the parts aren't actually connected). This applies to banana plugs, too- these are added connections and as such, they should be seen as 'additional points of failure'. Vibration causes them to become loose- yes, it happens frequently. Mostly, they're installed and left for years- banana plugs were originally used in laboratory applications because of frequent changes to thee configuration. Gold plating? Nickel works great and that's what was used on the original plugs. Pretty and shiny doesn't equal better.

Personally, I like satin Nickel.

I also like Planet Waves cable supplies- no soldering and if the connection needs to be re-made, it's a matter of cutting the end slightly shorter and re-connecting.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
One more thing, I think that having spades on one end and bananas on the other make for the second most versatile cable. My old NAD doesn't take bananas, but most electronics that can take bare wire can also have a spade tightened in the same place. Not all, though. Perhaps one cable that would be even more versatile would be a bare-wire / spade combo, but that's just half terminated.

A funny thing is that the old B&W Matrix 802 speakers have a very narrow hole for the bare wire. You can use a standard banana, but if you go with bare wire, hardly anything lower than 18 gauge.

It's bugging me, I must say. According to tables the impedance of the speakers in question can go lower for short bursts than the cable allows. I don't think it's dangerous in this "direction", but I'm asking myself are speakers doing all they can in those moments when they need to draw on power.
The effect of the gauge of the wire is directly proportional to its length- that's why most people who are interested in audio would be gobsmacked by the wiring in most speakers because of the small gauge.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
One more thing, I think that having spades on one end and bananas on the other make for the second most versatile cable. My old NAD doesn't take bananas, but most electronics that can take bare wire can also have a spade tightened in the same place. Not all, though. Perhaps one cable that would be even more versatile would be a bare-wire / spade combo, but that's just half terminated.

A funny thing is that the old B&W Matrix 802 speakers have a very narrow hole for the bare wire. You can use a standard banana, but if you go with bare wire, hardly anything lower than 18 gauge.

It's bugging me, I must say. According to tables the impedance of the speakers in question can go lower for short bursts than the cable allows. I don't think it's dangerous in this "direction", but I'm asking myself are speakers doing all they can in those moments when they need to draw on power.
Why I like making my own cables is choice of connector as well as custom length. Now that I think about it I've never purchased a pre-made speaker cable, my grandfather the EE and ex pro-sound guy taught me about using lamp cord a long time ago. I've been making my own interconnects now too. Like highfigh said about the wire gauge....
 
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Field Marshall
I don't know what these are called in Europe, but the vinyl things that separate the + and - are called 'cable pants', the tubing that shrinks is called 'heat shrink tubing' and the mesh is often referred to as 'expandable mesh sleeve'.
Better late than never!;) Thank you for the answers but @slipperybidness replied already.


I have no idea who sells these in your area but if you can find a way to get them from the US, Parts Express is a good source- they have all of this, and more.
Nope, US is still not the way to go for me. It would never be a good buy. It is impossible to get it here and do better than I would do locally. Especially after all we've learned about cables not really matter all that much. I bought 25 meters (75feet) of 1,5mm copper speaker cable (equivalent to Monoprice), gauge 15? :)D:D:D I know, I know... In Europe speaker cables are not rated by the US gauge system but in millimeters crosscut).

You usually have: 0,5; 0,75; 1,5; then 2,5 for some reason skipping right over 2mm, and then 4mm crosscut surface. So, 0,75mm would be almost exactly between 18 and 20 AWG. I gave 20$ for 75feet. I could do better, but I was just too lazy to drive to the other part of the city to do 2-3 bucks better. The last time I got 30feet (10 meters) of AWG 13 ( :D ), 2,5mm for 8$.

Anyway, back to the topic; using bare wire on the 802 Matrix, and even 18AWG would be very hard to cram inside. If you opt for 20AWG, you'll have 4 ohm at 3m and your speakers sometime dip below 4. Maybe I still don't have a firm grasp of this, but it seems to me that 20AWG could present a bottle neck between your amp and your speakers.
 
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Field Marshall
People who are not willing to spend a crazy amount of money on cables but want cables that look like giant snakes or pretty double helixes.
I felt all flushed with fever, embarrassed by the crowd
I felt he'd found my letters and read each one out loud
I prayed that he would finish, but he just kept right on
Strumming my pain with his fingers
Singing my…
:D

Honestly, I make them rather for the same reason someone makes model airplanes. It's relaxing. Yesterday my Lady thought me how to braid them ;)

When I pull the snake-skin protective tubing over them, the braiding will show some texture from beneath. I like the way that looks. Surprisingly, the braiding made the more flexible If I manage to make them good and to my satisfaction, I'll use them as a present for my friends and my brother for their equipment.

Handmade gifts have a sort of added value.
 
Sealman

Sealman

Junior Audioholic
Here are some cables I made a month or so ago. Just monoprice cl2 14 ga with some tech flex sleeves and cable pants finished off with sewell banana plugs and some heat shrink tubing with adhesive inside. I think I only spent 25.00 or so since I already had the cable and banana plugs.

The purple wires are some ancient leftover rockford fosgate car audio cables that were oxidizing pretty badly inside and were hooked up to my front 3 speakers.

Needless to say my speakers now sound less oxidized!!:cool:
 

Attachments

killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Field Marshall
Here are some cables I made a month or so ago. Just monoprice cl2 14 ga with some tech flex sleeves and cable pants finished off with sewell banana plugs and some heat shrink tubing with adhesive inside. I think I only spent 25.00 or so since I already had the cable and banana plugs.

The purple wires are some ancient leftover rockford fosgate car audio cables that were oxidizing pretty badly inside and were hooked up to my front 3 speakers.

Needless to say my speakers now sound less oxidized!!:cool:
These look very good. Is this a pic before you've finished them or you need bare wire at one end?

And yes, less oxidized music is where it's all at!:D:D unless you like acid jazz, then you need them oxidized.
 

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