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Old 3rd April 2012, 03:36 AM   #1
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Default repairing/recycling RCA cable

I am a person of modest skills (hence, my nickname here) but also one who'd like to save both money and recycle when possible. I'm not one to claim that cables make a difference, except when there is a short or open in one! Because I tend to buy the el cheapo, it's no surprise that a channel goes dead at times. Rather than toss the cable and buy a new one, my question is this: does anyone have experience in repairing the old cable (replacing the male RCA plugs with the solder types.)

Point: I think the point of failure is usually the molded connector end, therefore the cable itself might have a better life expectancy?

Or similarly, making your own reasonably priced cable? My soldering skills are up to this task (probably). Leaving aside of whether I should use pure gold, silver, or merely silver plated 99.999% OFC wiring, a link to basic assembly technique would be helpful. Thank you!
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Old 3rd April 2012, 04:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldermizer View Post
I am a person of modest skills (hence, my nickname here) but also one who'd like to save both money and recycle when possible. I'm not one to claim that cables make a difference, except when there is a short or open in one! Because I tend to buy the el cheapo, it's no surprise that a channel goes dead at times. Rather than toss the cable and buy a new one, my question is this: does anyone have experience in repairing the old cable (replacing the male RCA plugs with the solder types.)

Point: I think the point of failure is usually the molded connector end, therefore the cable itself might have a better life expectancy?

Or similarly, making your own reasonably priced cable? My soldering skills are up to this task (probably). Leaving aside of whether I should use pure gold, silver, or merely silver plated 99.999% OFC wiring, a link to basic assembly technique would be helpful. Thank you!
It isn't just soldering skill when making cables. The strain relief is a far bigger problem. The closest I've come to matching factory molded connectors is to fill them with hot glue but it's a poor second best and feels pretty bad if you get the hot glue on your skin. Check the prices on Monoprice it you think it's worth ANY time fiddling with cables.

Audio Cables - RCA & 3.5mm

I too use cheapo cables and cannot remember failures in the last MANY years. Some of those cables are 30+ years old.

G
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Old 3rd April 2012, 09:42 AM   #3
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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In most cases the 'strain relief' on a plug is too stiff so actually concentrates the strain, so this is where the cable is likely to break. Putting on a new plug is fairly easy, provided you can solder reliably. The main problem is getting the metal hot enough for the solder to flow well, but without melting all the insulation. It can be cheaper to simply buy another ready-made cable.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 09:57 AM   #4
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I make my own cables, as it is not only cheaper, but more convenient, as I can have the exact length, I really need.
For the cable I use Sommer Onyx cable (a good quality stage cable). Cables for musicians usually offer good mechanical quality and thus the Sommer Onyx is very flexible and has a robust mantle. For connectors I use either the cheapest Neutriks ( NEUTRIK NYS 373-2 Rean Cinchstecker NYS373 Cinch-Stecker rot 853289 | eBay ) or the equivalently cheap Amphenols ( Amphenol ACPR-BLK - Thomann UK Cyberstore ). Both have internal strain relief. The Amphenols are a bit bulky, which can pose a problem, when the connectors on the device are placed very narrow. The Neutriks are slimmer, but they have a very tight "grip" on the device connectors, which may lead to breakage, if the plaugs are connected frequently. The Amphenols are better in this respect.

Ben
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Old 3rd April 2012, 01:57 PM   #5
oshifis is offline oshifis  Hungary
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I also make my own cables. The cable itself is cheap Proel stage microphone cable with two cores and shield. Make sure to connect one core as signal, the other core as ground at both ends to the RCA. The shield should be connected to the ground only at one end (usually at the source). The Proel cable has arrows painted on it, so you can't miss which end goes where.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 03:18 PM   #6
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Repairing cables by replacing the ends is as trivial as solder jobs go. Almost all failures are near the ends of the cable.

ATMO the cheap cables with molded ends aren't really worth that amount of work.

I've been living in the world of pro sound and music electronics so long that I can't imagine sending signal from one place to another without using things like Mogami or Canare cable and Switchcraft or Neutrik connectors. I have some experience with Vampire and Cardas and can recommend their conx if you need something "audiophile approved." Do a conscientious job of building up cables using those ingredients and then forget about cables for like the rest of your life. The Mogami and Canare stuff can live decades with a touring sound company, they should last lifetimes in a hifi.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 03:40 PM   #7
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Hi,

I also build my own cables, using pretty much the same connectors as previously mentioned (Neutrik). But as cable I use the following types of COAX:

RG179 - very thin cable, for short runs
RG59 - standard COAX

I measured the frequency response of these cable with Rohde&Schwarz equipment I have at work (SFQ + FSU with 8MHz wide DVB-T signals and swept CW) and they are pretty much flat up to +/-25MHz, probably limited by the connectors.

Should be good enough for any audio signal, digital (SP/DIF) or analogue, because of the 75Ohm impedance of the COAX and pretty cheap to build.
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Last edited by Mark.Clappers; 3rd April 2012 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 09:34 PM   #8
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Too late (depending upon your advice) -- I just ordered a cheap set of RCA solder type jacks from China.

"flat up to +/-25MHz" ... my hearing doesn't reach quite so high Hey wait a minute !!! Frequencies can be negative??? Who would have guessed?
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Old 4th April 2012, 05:01 AM   #9
oshifis is offline oshifis  Hungary
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Don't worry, nowadays (nearly) everything is made in China
I also find it very funny that in some European countries +/- means ~
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Old 4th April 2012, 07:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oshifis View Post
Don't worry, nowadays (nearly) everything is made in China
I also find it very funny that in some European countries +/- means ~
You're right +/- means ~.


My ears also don't go up to 25MHz , maybe 17KHz but this could be usefull for SP/DIF signals or signals with a very slew rate (thus containing high frequency components).
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