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To make, or buy RCA line cables...
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Old 12th January 2016, 09:47 PM   #1
Skree is offline Skree  United Kingdom
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Default To make, or buy RCA line cables...

First off i'd like to say that i don't want to bring the great cable debate to this haven of sensibility

I'm looking to connect my Aune X1S DAC's line out to my Topping TP-60's line in. The topping is eventually going to be quite modified. I have this problem where it drives me absolutely crazy if i have something and feel like i may be missing out, but i don't know enough science to be able to definitively answer this myself (give a man a fish...)

I am a DIYer through and through but i'm also lazy if it makes no difference and like to think i have got value for money. With this in mind, i am having trouble choosing to buy or build, because my DIY would use more expensive parts

There are ebay sellers selling RCA line cables using what looks like the cheapest Neutrik Rean RCAs and Van Damme tour grade XKE starquad classic cables for £14 a pair,delivered in the 25-30cm lengths i need.

My DIY would probably use the same cable(or VD session grade lo-cap coax), but some MS Audio Star Line plugs which appear to be copies of the Eichmann Bullet connectors, in rhodium plated tellurium copper, and cost about £17/pair but would require me to make them (and i'd want some better solder than the crap I have here now) so probably about £20/pair or £25/pair with the session grade cable

My question is, is it worth doing the DIY route? Will it actually make an audible difference?
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Old 13th January 2016, 04:40 AM   #2
AlexQS is offline AlexQS  United States
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I learned from spark plugs that iridium and platinum are actually less conductive than copper (I suspect the same of rhodium) Reason we use it is because it's very very hard and will have better longevity in the hot cylinder block environment.

That aside, copper is the standard that the conductivity of other metals are measured against. Silver is 105%, but everything else that I know of, including Gold is less conductive than copper. Gold is a darn good compromise though, because it is very close to copper, but will resist corrosion (oxidation), and after some months or years in a hi fi environment, the gold may be more conductive than a copper plug of the same age.

I know that wasn't your question,... I really like the Neutrik Profi connectors, they're like $15 or $20 USD per pair. They "look" like they sound as good as anything else I've ever seen! I once owned a pair of Nordost ($$$) cables -I swear they sounded good, but that was decades ago, and today looking back I think phychoaccoustically they sounded good because I believed it.

A few years ago I bought some nice (looking, but not most expensive) 12AWG oxygen free copper cable, some good looking inexpensive gold plated spades, good Cardas solder, pretty cable sheath, shrink tube, and made some speaker cables. They sounded okay, but I doubted my soldering abilities at the time (should I have used flux?). I put an ohm meter on them a few days later, and I got a barely a decimal (blinking back n forth on meter) point less resistance than some lamp cord that I compared them to. Honestly I was shocked that I could even measure a difference! But since then they sound better to me.

I like to make cables, cause I can make em look pretty without spending hundreds of dollars. I no longer measure them. I just like to believe they sound better.

If you have confidence in your solder skills, make some. If you doubt you could make them as well as someone else, then buy them. I'm really trying to stay out if the cable debate here, but I encourage you to go with what You Believe In. Make up your mind, then don't look back, and never doubt your decision.

Last edited by AlexQS; 13th January 2016 at 04:48 AM. Reason: Fixed typo
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Old 13th January 2016, 07:18 AM   #3
Skree is offline Skree  United Kingdom
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Yeah i use 40 amp dc automotive wire as speaker cable, soldered into cheap ebay china 'nanas.. it's my experience making them that puts me off making the rca leads a bit. Am a bit of a butcher when soldering the heavier stuff (i do component legs fine) and worry about melting the plastic on RCA plugs... and it was cheaper to do that because the cable was a free offcut

my diys in this case would be more expensive
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Old 13th January 2016, 02:47 PM   #4
Skree is offline Skree  United Kingdom
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I know rhodium is less conductive than copper and gold, not sure about "hard gold" but (i could be wrong on this, my experience is with DC power electronics) but I think the electricity will follow the path of least resistance IE straight down the copper then out through the microns thickness of rhodium rather than along it. The superior oxidisation resistance and mechanical toughness of the rhodium plate is, i think, worth it considering the short distances involved.

Captain Indecision here is zeroing in on a decision!!!

MS Audio 'Star Line' RCA M x4 (Rhodium plated copper) £15.80
Quad eutectic LMP 4% silver solder - it's cheap enough if you only want a little bit and it has to be better than the wanhungelou brand 60:40 crap I have. This short length will be enough for these cables and the other bits of work i have in mind (eventually) £4.50
Van Damme 268-900-055 silver series session grade lo-cap 55 coax x1m £7.50
Some funky bootlaces I bought in my happy goth phase (many years ago!) but never used £0

The total cost of £27.80 is, i think, very reasonable considering the cost of buying decent RCA M-M leads and this is probably much overkill but there is no kill like overkill and i might as well do it properly because i'll be using these until they break beyond repair.

Last edited by Skree; 13th January 2016 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 13th January 2016, 03:39 PM   #5
Lojzek is offline Lojzek  Croatia
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Originally Posted by Skree View Post
My question is, is it worth doing the DIY route? Will it actually make an audible difference?
It's worth making your own if it makes you feel happy. To build a decent
pair of RCA cables might cost easily 10-15 € in parts and I don't have to
tell you that you would need a good hour of worktime assuming you have
all it takes to fabricate one.

Audible differences? Would an average family car, just by installing
improved spark plug cables, become any faster?

I have built my own out of a C209 microphone cable (tasker.com)
and some generic RCA jacks.
Good opportunities usually come disguised as hard work, so most of the people don't recognize these.
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Old 13th January 2016, 04:02 PM   #6
Skree is offline Skree  United Kingdom
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Yes. It makes me happy. I can quote science to myself endlessly justifying the purchase. Just like red cars are always faster. As i've said elsewhere, i'm trying to get the absolute best out of what I feel is a well chosen setup in a bid to make it sound like thousands of euros to my ear instead of a few hundred
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Old 18th January 2016, 04:22 PM   #7
Speedskater is offline Speedskater  United States
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A 'Star-Quad' cable is for balanced interconnects in high interference places. Places like live shows and the cables need to be near theater lights.
For RCA interconnects use a coax with a heavy braided shield.
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Old 19th January 2016, 01:56 PM   #8
sonidos is offline sonidos  United States
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To make, or buy RCA line cables...
I used Kimber Kable interconnects for years and was happy. But after reading up on some of the threads, I ditched them for making my own in a quick and simple fashion.

I ended up purchasing Belden coax cable and Belden RCA compression connectors(all my equipment is unbalanced). I already had the tools for running video coax around the house, so in rapid fashion, I created several RCA interconnect pairs and I've been very, very pleased with the results.
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Old 19th January 2016, 02:00 PM   #9
Zen Mod is offline Zen Mod  Serbia
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To make, or buy RCA line cables...
buy The SuperCables CookBook

then make your own
my Papa is smarter than your Nelson !
clean thread; Cook Book;PSM LS Cook Book;Baby DiyA ;Mighty ZM's Bloggg;Papatreasure;Papa...© by Mighty ZM
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Old 20th January 2016, 06:41 AM   #10
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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Look around this site...
Belden - Sending All The Right Signals
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