Welcome to my Instructable on how you can make your own personal high quality audio interconnects! This guidebook is going to take you from start to eat through the method of creating your very own DIY, braided, multi strand speaker interconnects as the people shown above. These may be turned in any length and in a variety of styles and types, limited just by the creativity of yours.
Higher end sound cables are lots of money. Several companies as Audioquest and Nordost sell speaker wire for $500 a pair! And that is just for 1m Cables! If you are like many folks you might be to ask what’s very extraordinary about these electrical wires which allows them charge $500?! The solution is actually simple: nothing! That is right, electrically these $500 speaker cables are actually no different from a thirty dolars roll of speaker wire from Walmart. They may charge sky high rates since they claim the look and also the geometry of the cables will better the quality of the sounds of the program of yours.
But imagine if you simply wish them since they look awesome? With the incredible profit margin on these “high end” speaker wires, businesses are able to manage to place some very fancy gold plated connectors, nylon mesh, colored heat shrink, and fancy layouts on these cables. There is absolutely no questioning they look good and also could truly take an attention to detail to the program of yours you would not otherwise have.
So what’s the typical educated customer to do? You’d like the high quality wires due to their incredible looks and models, though you do not wish to be the fool that spends $500 on speaker wires when regular wire will do the job just great. The solution is building your personal! It is very easy and in this how to I’ll be walking you through the actions needed to construct your own personal four conductor braided speaker cables. I’ll be pointing out some suggestions I discovered in the process so that you do not need to create the same errors that I did. Enjoy!
Step one: Make a scheme The very first thing to complete before you visit the retailer or maybe place any orders online is actually create a program. You have to consider what you would like the last product to are like as well as what issues you definitely have to have. Some essential items to have in your mind during this particular stage are:
– Overall length needed – Style of cable (braided, heat shrunk, twisted, sleeved etc.)
– Number of strands per cable
– Gauge needed and gauge desired
– Type of termination
The general length of the cable is determined by the distance your speakers come from the amplifier of yours, for a desktop computer setup 1m cables must be good for many cases, for a home theater or maybe a listening area your will have to take particular measurements.
The general length of the cable is determined by the design and style of cable you want to have. A braided wire requires longer wires than a twisted cable to wind up with the exact same entire length. In the event you are not in a position to purchase huge rolls of wire you might wish to reconsider attempting to create that 6m speaker cable with a small four wire braid. If you are strapped for materials, an easy twisted pair of cables with a Techflex covering will move only a well as a four wire braid, and it’ll make use of less raw materials to produce.
Wires per cable
The amount of wires per cable will have an effect on exactly how the last product appears, you will find countless ways to weave and braid wires together. Using several measures of thinner wire is able to let a cable to be adaptable and still be utilized in increased wattage setups. I actually choose a four wire braid as I feel it appears the very best, this’s the technique I’ll be demonstrating in this how to, but as always you are no cost to use some technique of braiding that you are able to think of! In the event that you are not great at braiding an easy 3 wire braid of heavy wire may be consumed, this strategy is simple for everyone to do. Just just use 2 of the 3 conductors.
The gauge of the wire is actually a degree of how heavy the wire is. this’s the diameter of a good wire or even just how many individual copper strands are actually in a stranded wire. The gauge, length, as well as substance used to create a cable shows us exactly how much present we are able to place through a wire before it is going to get way too hot and melt the insulation. For a speaker setup generally anything 24AWG or perhaps lower is actually fine. Remember that gauge is actually an inverse scale, meaning that as the value increases the wire diameter gets smaller. For this project I’ll be using four, 16AWG cables for every cable, 2 for the good side and 2 for the bad aspect. This’s major overkill, and frankly entirely not needed, though the thick cables look a lot nicer compared to thin wires and they fit well into the paracord. As long as the wires are at optimum 24AWG you ought to be good. Which suggests that the cables on the positive and negative aspect of the cable are actually at optimum 24AWG. You are able to make use of several thin cables and also have the exact same impact, as long as the equivalent gauge is no bigger than 24AWG. It must be mentioned that a common rule is the fact that when 2 equal gauge wires are actually utilized in parallel the equivalent gauge is actually the gauge of one wire minus 3. So the gauge of the wires I’ll be making is actually 13AWG equivalent.
EDIT 3/24/15: Lots of people in the comments have been thinking I am completely wrong for recommending 24AWG wire, 24AWG wire is actually a total maximum recommendation. Don’t go over the number when selecting a wire gauge. The resistivity of twenty four AWG copper wire is actually eighty five ohms per kilometer of wire. So I maintain the statement of mine that 24awg wire is appropriate to use for lower power stereos.
The styles of the cable will rely on the color wire used and in case you choose to sheath the cable in heat shrink, paracord, and Techflex. In this how to I’ll be making use of a mix of paracord and heat shrink tubing to create the cable of mine. You might pick some technique of coloration, some have also used Teflon tape as a method of transforming their entire cable a perfect white color. Initially I was going to use Techflex but ended up deciding against it, the picture above shows what Techflex is like over a twisted pair or maybe paracord sheathed wires. However the easiest and cheapest strategy is definitely leaving the electrical wires bare.
The termination is totally up for you, in case you are uncertain you are able to usually leave the ends of the cables bare and just connect these to the program of yours as you’d normal speaker wire. I’ll be utilizing banana plugs in this how you can as many of my gear has 5 way binding posts. In case you are uncertain of what sort of termination to use, check out the cables which are actually on the program of yours today and make use of the exact same form of termination that’s currently on them. I really suggest banana plugs as they’re the simplest to work with in case you actually need to move the system of yours
Step two: Tools
In order to help make the cables I’ll be demonstrating presently there are a few fundamental resources you’ll need:
– A pair of wire strippers which can easily accommodate the gauge of wire you’re utilizing (sixteen AWG in this particular case)
– A great pair of scissors and or perhaps wire cutters
– A light or even heat gun
– A roll of duct tape, or perhaps related strength tape (not pictured)
– A knife or perhaps a razor blade – Tools to link the terminations you’re utilizing (depends on the design and style of termination) In the case of mine I being used a little screwdriver.
– A permanent marker (also not pictured)
And that is it! This particular project does not involve some fancy tools, actually I’ve completed just about all of the building in the dorm room of mine while at school.
Step three: Materials The supplies you are going to need will depend mostly on everything you would like the last product to are like, I’ll be making use of the following substances.
– 72′ of paracord in colors that are several (eight dolars Walmart)
– 25′ of sixteen AWG three conductor extension cable (nine dolars Walmart)
– eight banana plugs (sixteen dolars Amazon)
– a big assortment of heat shrink tubing in the color of the decision of yours (five dolars Amazon)
Total price of supplies is thirty eight dolars
A number of issues to note: Get the most affordable 3 conductor extension cord with sixteen AWG conductors you are able to locate. The cheaper wires are actually easier to disassemble cleanly. Much more expensive cables have the topmost part of insulation tightly created around the internal conductors, it will be a lot harder to eliminate. The cheap cables have the cables loosely inside the external covering.
Go for an assortment of heat shrink tubing when purchasing as it may be very difficult to understand precisely what size of heat shrink you’ll have. In addition, in case you are able to discover it, a number of brands of heat shrink have a glue on the interior that when heated will stick to the wire as the tubing shrinks. This makes a much stronger and much more sturdy connection. In addition, choose 3:1 heat shrink rather than 2:1. That ratio is actually the ratio of un shunk size to shrunk size, the 3:1 tubing is going to be tighter when shrunk.
Step four: Disassemble the Extension Cable (one) First, grab your extension cable and cut off the plugs on the ends. These may be protected for a later task in case you wish. Inside the extension cable you are going to see 3 sixteen AWG wires, these wires can be our speaker cables.
(2) Then make use of a sharp knife or maybe a razor to slice a couple of inches lengthwise down the insulation at one end of the cable. Then pull the 3 conductors out, the exterior insulation should have just tear cleanly as you pull.
(3) Once the internal wires are actually completely free from the external casing, you will discover that the inner wires are loosely twisted together. Fold this in half and then slice it, this could leave you with 6x 12.5′ conductors.
(4) Now untwist the cables from each separate and other them by color.
(5) Now bearing in your mind that each finished cable is going to use four wires, figure out how many wires you’ll have to create the quantity of cables you want to end up getting in the end. You will discover that as it appears there are not sufficient conductors to finish 2 wires, that is absolutely okay. Because I’ll be making 2 wires, I am going to need eight conductors total, therefore I folded the white and black wires in half and slice them. You need to and now be left with 8x 6.25′ wires, four white and four dark, along with 2x 12.5′ green wires.
I’ll be saving the green wires for an additional task in the future so I didn’t cut them in half, but in case you did you can make 3 speaker cables from only one extension cable.
Step five: Prep the Paracord Now we have to turn the awareness of ours to the paracord, the particular kind of paracord I’ll be making use of in this particular Instructable is actually known as paracord 550. What this means is it is rated to 550Lbs, and that is very remarkable in itself.
(1) Look at the ends of the paracord, you will notice that the end were fused already to avoid fraying, utilizing a pair of scissors, cut off the fusing from both ends of the paracord. It is really critical to cut both ends or perhaps else this next step won’t perform.
(2) You are going to notice a couple of locks of nylon thread in the center of the paracord, this’s what provides the paracord it is strength, though it’s too in the way of the place we wish to throw the wire of ours. Just pull this nylon core from the paracord, it is not held in place by almost anything and should simply slide right out. You are able to save this in case you would want, as it’s really solid and can make a great rope. Or maybe you can reuse it.
(3) Repeat steps one and two for every one of the styles of paracord that you’ll be using.
(4) When complete you must be left with an enormous ball of nylon center along with an equally big ball of colored paracord outer shells. This’s what we wish to save for the new step.
Step six: Sleeve the Wires Now it’s some time to cover out cables with the paracord we prepped earlier. The way it is not as easy as merely sliding the paracord over the wire.
The issue with trying to simply slide the paracord onto the wire would be that the internal copper strands of the wire will inevitably catch on the woven nylon of the paracord. This’s because as you’re inching the paracord down the length of the wire it’ll also inch the wire’s outer insulation down the internal conductor a little too. This will likely result in the internal copper wire strands to poke out and catch on the paracord, making sliding it over the wire impossible.
The repair requires a light or perhaps a few any other tool of heat. Warm up the conclusion of the wire until it starts to melt, then roll the melted conclusion of the wire between the fingers of yours and on the table to develop a rounded end. It will stop the cable from catching on the paracord and make sliding the paracord over it easier.
Slide the paracord over all the parts of wire you’ll be using. Make an effort using lighter colored paracord on darker colored paracord and lighter colored wires on darker colored wires, it will make the colors seem to be much more attractive. In the case of mine I put the silver paracord on the white wire I’ve, and black paracord and the yellow on the black colored wire I’ve.
Be sure to leave a half inch of wire showing on one end, wrap a little portion of tape around this particular tail end. The tape is going to hold the paracord on the wire while we’re braiding the strands later.
You’ll find loads of simple ways which are various that you can weave your cables together, unfortunately I’m not great with complex braiding methods, therefore I opted for an extremely easy four strand braid.
Tape the four sleeved wires to the table as shown in the initial picture and then start to braid. If you’re not sure just how to braid the cables, you are able to take a look at this particular video by YouTuber OfDreamsAndSeams. Needless to say this is not the one solution to braid four wires, you are always no cost to work with any technique you would want!
A number of issues to note: – Don’t pull the braid overly limited, this will considerably shorten the last length of the wire. However in case you’ve the resources offered a small braid looks much cleaner and nicer than a loose one in the opinion of mine.
– Be ready to have to restart a braid if it does not look right. I practiced on many spare cables and I still had to restart only one of the braids of mine since I skipped a step by accident. When you are likely to commit this very much effort into something an easy as a speaker wire, you may as well make it perfect 🙂
– Put a few parts of duct tape down to hold the cables to the table you are doing. It is very irritating to have to re tape the electrical wires since they detached from the table mid braid.
After the cables have been totally braided all of the manner in which down, un braid the last and first 5″ of cable and twist the like colored cables together. The cable is currently braided and close to
Step eight: Adding Terminations Now gather the terminations of yours, your almost completed speaker wires, and any tools needed to link your terminations. I’ll be introducing banana plugs, and the kind of banana plugs I’ll be using only need a little flat head screwdriver to attach.
(1) First twist the ends of the cables of yours so the matching colors are actually twisted together love image two. Make certain they’re as scarce as you’d want them to have the finished product.
(2) Then measure 5′ from the exactly where the wires split and also mark the paracord with a marker. This’s exactly how long the leads are going to be on the conclusion of the cable. Use your line cutters or maybe scissors to cut the cables here.
(3) Now eyeball about just how much cable is going to be absorbed by the banana plug, mark the paracord at this spot. then place some heat shrink tubing so this spot is covered by it and also shrink it down. Do not heat it up way too much you would like this to become a loose shrink.
(4) Now, using your knife cut through heat, and the paracord shrink tubing like in the 8th image. be very careful to not cut through the insulation of the wire, go very slowly and very carefully when making these cuts. If done properly, the paracord must be nicely tucked under the heat shrink tubing. Eliminate the extra paracord type the conclusion of the wire.
(5) Now slide a medium sized portion of heat shrink over each of the cables, don’t shrink this just yet. And then slide the already shrunk heat shrink tubing down the length of the wire an inch or perhaps so to make space to connect the terminals. Remove the ends of the cables and twist them together.
(6) Slide on the external casing of the terminals of yours as much down as it’ll go. And then connect the majority of the terminal to the blank twisted wires. Mine simply necessary that I tighten down a little grub screw to hold the cables in place. Next , screw your terminals together, making sure all of the connections are actually secure and tight. It is going to be tough to deal with some problems as soon as the cables are actually completed so double check everything right now.
(7) Slide the small heat shrink tubing and the paracord up until it meets the base of the terminal. And then slide the medium sized portion of heat shrink up and shrink it. It must be as picture sixteen when carried out.
(8) Now slide a huge portion of heat shrink tubing over the whole assembly as image seventeen. I utilized a whole portion of heat shrink and shrunk it around the entire body of the banana plug and the wires going into it. Getting this done this right way is going to add some stress relief to the wires. Be sure the tubing is completely shrunk most of the way. After it’s finished it must are like the 18th image.
(9) Repeat these measures for those eight of the terminals. I suggest twisting the wires together once more while the last portion of heat shrink is still warm, it will permit it to hold the twisted shape much better.
Some tips: Make absolutely sure your blade is clear it is going to reduce the chance of unintentionally cutting through the insulating material.
-go slow and be cautious, in case you mess up and cut a wire you are going to have to shorten the other terminal on that end of the cable also to help keep it a lot.
-try to make use of a heat gun in case you’ve access to one, the light is often a little challenging to operate without melting the paracord or even burning the heat shrink.
-Use probably the smallest parts of heat shrink that will comfortably slide over the cables for every phase, this can make the termination much stronger and much less prone to break with some time.
Step nine: Testing and Troubleshooting!
As always you need to constantly evaluate the integrity of the connections with a multimeter, before you connect them to your precious stereo system.
(1 the meter was Set by) to diode test mode as well as examine the continuity of all the cables. Be sure to check out that there aren’t any shorts between the positive and negative cables for every cable.
(2 the multimeter was Set by) to resistance mode as well as examine the opposition of each cable. The resistance prizes ought to be really low, in case you visit a value which is something above one ohm that’s because for worry and means that there’s a terrible link somewhere. Double check the terminals of yours, in case your terminals appear properly connected move onto step (2b).
(2b) If the terminals look ok eliminate them and examine the opposition of the cables you’re consuming. If the opposition of the wires is still substantial, which means you may have an undesirable conductor. Make an effort to narrow down which wire it’s by using the meter of yours. Sadly there’s no easy fix for this particular scenario as it is going to require one to un braid the overall cable and then change the negative wire. If the wires check out ok move onto step (2c).
(2c) If the wires test really good this merely leaves the terminals as potential culprits. Some times cheaply made connectors and terminals are able to get an oxide level which would stop a great connection. This’s not generally a problem with solder on terminals but with compression terminals (like banana plugs) this could cause problems that are actual . Take the terminals of yours and clean them with a bit of isopropyl alcohol. This helps get rid of the oxidation layer, if it does not work a solvent like DeOxit must be the best choice of yours at easily removing oxidation. If all else fails make use of a bit of sandpaper to thoroughly clean the surface area and solder the cables in. This can help make removing the banana plugs harder though it is going to ensure a great electrical connection.
(3) If the wires test great it is some time to connect them up to your test and also program them out! Connect the negative and positive terminals to their appropriate points and fire up some tunes! If your wires do not work nicely relate to the procedure listed in steps (2b) and (2c).
Step ten: Final Thoughts Congratulations! If perhaps you have arrived at this point you now understand how to make the own gorgeous set of yours of quality that is high, and long-lasting speaker wires. The cables I described exactly how to create in this particular tutorial are great for no less than a 1000 watts of power, of course, if properly constructed should keep going through years of abuse.
The colors and color of the cables of yours can be modified to complement your current design, allowing the cables on the stereo to blend in with the bedroom of yours or even stand out from the surroundings.
One likely use for these wires is a Bi amp setup. A bi amp setup is exactly where 2 independent amplifiers are being used to generate a single speaker. One amp takes proper care of the low frequencies and one amp takes care of the top frequencies. By attaching four independent banana plugs to each and every end of every cable you are able to manage just one cable to link both amplifiers to each and every speaker, rather than running 2 lengths of speaker wire.
As always I can’t stress enough that these cables won’t replace the sounds of the stereo of yours, these’re intended for decorative purposes only. These wires are excellent in case you move your program around a lot or perhaps in case your speaker wires are blatantly obvious. This very same technique of construction may be scaled up or perhaps down to produce electrical wires for numerous different uses. Using thin flexible wires are going to allow you to generate customized headphone cables for headset with removable wires. or maybe making use of additional wires per cable will enable you to create your own personal cables for PA systems or even solutions that provide a huge number of watts of energy. That basic style is cheap and can enable you to come up with any custom cables you would like for a lot less than it will cost you to purchase them.