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Yet another DIY cable build approach.

Posted 19th June 2010 at 03:12 PM by aptquark
Updated 19th June 2010 at 11:15 PM by aptquark

Lets start by examining a few popular connectors available for the DIY enthusiast.

Here is one of Home Grown Audio's rhodium plated silver connectors. Very simple morphology. Some may find these "cheap" looking. Well...they are designed with simplicity in mind, and the cost is very reasonable. Acoustically, I really like the sound. High frequency extension is great, though with very resolving equipment, a tad to "bright". Still, a great buy. As far a durability goes, they are quite tough. But, with the stress testing that I do, after completing the cable, there is a tendency for the crimped-on negative portion to disassociate from the head. Keep in mind that I apply way more tension than would be encountered under normal operating circumstances. Overall, a very nice, inexpensive connector.

Next shown is the Audio Note RCA connector. This is a very well built RCA. Acoustically, a little more tamed in the upper frequencies compared to the HGA. Functionally, I like it. Only downside is that the diameter of the cable needs to be quite small in order to fit into the approximately 1/4 inch opening. A set screw allows for securing the cable from twisting.

Next is the Eichmann Bullet connector. One of my favorites. From a technical standpoint, it is very well designed. The plastic housing avoids introducing unwanted interference from the environment, as well as reducing any resonance stemming from within the component. Minimal contact points for the positive and ground help to further its design goals. As I have discussed in my thread...there are some drawbacks to its physical design, but with care, they can be avoided. A set screw helps keep the cable from twisting freely.

Next up is the WBT connectors. Beautiful, meticulously designed, and acoustically excellent. Both high and low frequency extension is smooth and well defined. Notice the arrow in the pic. It's pointing to a broken tab. Fortunately, the other tab is substantial enough to hold the pieces from separating...but care is needed to not put too much pressure on these tabs when one is trying to take the components apart. Very costly RCA's. Similar principles in design technologically like the Eichmanns. Headhsell is made out of aluminum I believe.

Break for now.

Quick word about soldering. It is absolutely imperative that you make sure the conductor makes contact with the metal before soldering. This is not as easy as one might think. A floating wire in solder is by no means a good enough connection. I use WBT solder which is 4% silver content. If I could cold weld the connection...I would do it. As shown in the pic, I have managed direct contact throughout the entire positive well. The only duty the solder should have is to anchor the conductor...that's it.

Next up is the Neutrik connectors. The thing I like about these RCA's is their spring loaded ground headshell contacts. The reasoning behind this according to Neutrik is that when engaged onto the jack, the headshell is brought forward, thus providing a direct and strictly coaxial electrical connection from the socket via the shell to the cable shield. I like that idea. Very well made, durable, and not too expensive. Nicely designed contact points for the conductors. They can accommodate a pretty large diameter cable. Acoustically, I find they tame the higher frequencies a little too much. Bass extension on the other hand is excellent. The composition is machined brass.

Next is the Cardas connectors. Expensive, though not anywhere near the WBT's price. They are rhodium plated silver RCA's. Simple design. Acoustically, I love these. They handle the entire frequency range very well. No set screw, so you have to secure the cable with adhesive heatshrink onto the body if you don't want any accidental breakage. You can see a pic of this on my thread.

Next up are the DHLabs RCA's. Price vs. performance...they beat all the aforementioned connectors. Made entirely of copper. Very well made and nicely thought out morphology. These are the 'lock tight" design. There is a set screw to hold the cable in place. Acoustically I find them just as good as the Cardas and WBT's.
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