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Old 17th September 2005, 04:29 PM   #1
pjpoes is offline pjpoes  United States
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Default Impressed with new DIY interconnects

Hey Guys, I posted about this little expirement a while back. I was making a bunch of rca interconnects with some wire I had laying around, along with trying some new designs from people I Read about here.

First, my favorite sound so far has come from Braided designs, I am still unsure about these spaced designs, but have not given up, as I was not using particular good parts, and threw them together very quickly.

My favorite thus far is a design that uses a rather lightweight, but still heavy duty RCA connector I had, along with three strands of 28 guage teflon insluated silved coated stranded wire. I honostly was not expecting anything very good to come fromt hese. I had heard that coated stranded wire often didn't sound good, that I probably would not like this, but I gave it a shot. I braided it carefully using a braiding machine for craft work and a jig I rigged up. It kept everything as even as possible. I then threaded farret beads over the braid, two on each end, and held them inplace with some teflon heat shrink. Then I put Techflex over the hole thing, and secured that with some regular poly heatshrink. This suprised me a great deal, the sound is highly resolving. I use it with my digital setup, and it really is the best interconnect I have had there. Previously I have used design's using Mogami cable, Canare Cable, Cardas(My previous Favorite), Kimber PBJ, etc. This really is a startolingly better cable. I didn't notice huge difference between the other cables listed, slightly different flavors really. I threw this one on, after letting it break in over night, put on a cd, and listened. It was one of those things that doesn't hit you at first, you just find yourself enjoying the music more. Right now I have been listening to some John Lee Hooker as I have a gig coming up that will involve playing his style a bit. I dont ever recall liking the quality of these recordings much, but here they sound excellent, very real, very well recorded.

The next design I used was a major disapointment. It was used on my digital rig as well, but is currently being used on my analogue rig, as I am waiting to see if they break in any. Basicly it consists of three strands of 20 guage long grain OFCC copper solid core wire, braided as before. Connected to those plastic bodied rca connects that became so popular, and whose name I am blanking on at the moment. First Tim I ever used them, and the experience has not been great, so I will have to try and reuse them with some different wire and see if they really are so great. Anyway, the difference here over other designs was also quite apprent, but I dont happen to like the change. They sound slow to me, like they can't get out of their own way. They have better bass, but it doesn't seem tighter really, and the midrange and highs seem less apparent and less magical than they do with the other designs I have used.

As I said before, these spaced designs show a great deal of promise, I just have not had great results, and they seem to be more technical problems. When used to go from my turntable to my phonopreamp, they picked up noise, including RFI. When Used to go from my phonopreamp to my preamp, they seemed to hum a little more, my system has a small amount of residual hum I can't get rid of. When used to go from my preamp to my amp, they seemed pretty decent, but nothing that knocked my socks off, not like the very fine guage ones I have made. I have a 30 guage magnet wire experiment going on, but I have broken the wire twice now, I need to be more careful.
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Old 17th September 2005, 05:08 PM   #2
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Hi pjpoes

In order for your observations to have value to a wider audience you need to specify the exact types of wire and connectors. Are all cables you compare sharing the same RCA types? If not you can't make any valid conclusions regarding wire type or geometry. Ideally, you should keep everything the same and have a single variable when comparing. A picture would be nice too.
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Old 17th September 2005, 05:30 PM   #3
pjpoes is offline pjpoes  United States
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Sorry, I meant to say the source of the wire. The 28 guage wire came from Welborne Labs, it was their house wire. The 20 guage is the FIM wire, which I still recomend, I think my problem is geometry and overall design rather than the wire itself, plus being a monocrystal design, I suppose it could take an extended period of time to break in.

trust me you dont have to talk to me about experimental design, its what I do for a living. I work for a facility under a group from Cornell University, and in conjunction with a group from University of Rochest and University of Colorado at Denver. I wont protest to be an expert, but highly educated I am. For a propper expiremtnal objective measure of the differences, you would be correct, however that was not what I was suggesting here. I was simply speaking in overal outcome comparisons. The Outcome of one overall design, to another. I have used most of the rca connectors enough to feel confident in what differences might exist. The only extraneous or confounding variable I introduced for my actual review was the connects used on the FIM. However, in that case, I had kept the geometry constant. Infact, in terms of some sort of experimental comparison, this really was about comparing different wires and RCA connectors using one geometry, the Kimber Braid. Then in a second set of experimental comparisons, I changed the wire type and geometry, but kept the connector constant.

However, lets be real here, when it comes to the subjective review of audio components of any type, double blind testing, counter balanced design, and Constant conditions with no extraneous variables is nearly impossible, and not really all that necassary. We can get an acceptable idea of differences in absolute terms, we may not be able to single out the source, and that may be useful, but all of us probably have enough experience with trying different things to have an idea of what is doing what, and to know that all of the different variable in a design are cumulativly effecting the sound. I have never felt that RCA connects made as big a difference in an interconnects sound as do the wire and geometry itself. The connects I use were sourced from China I believe, are made from brass, are fairly thin and lightweight for the actual connector section, but use a fairly heavy body and screw together section. They probably are not inline with the ultra thin cheap Radioshack connectors, but I have always preffered them for their stronger nature. The other connector I used, and for the first time, and so did not give any comments on sound, as I just dont know yet, was the Eichmen Bullet Plug.
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Old 17th September 2005, 06:26 PM   #4
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20awg is ime too thick for interconnects. Unfortunately the only fim wire i have is even thicker so i can't really make any useful comment. In any case 20awg will take ages to break in under normal conditions and a high power/high voltage break-in source may be in order.

Regarding connectors, you may be right that the particular types you use are similar in quality. I can live with very cheap, lightweight connectors as i know exactly what their shortcomings are. Otoh, some of the Chinese knock-offs are amazingly poisonous sonically and can override even differences in wire type.
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Old 17th September 2005, 07:13 PM   #5
pjpoes is offline pjpoes  United States
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I wont argue with the comment on the connectors, but these were ones that impressed me. They were actually part of a custom order group buy I did many many years ago. Some guy had this idea to decouple the case and mount from the connector itself, and keep the outer ring and inner ring of similar overal material content. He called up and worked with a Chinese manufacturer to make connectors with were similar to ones they already made, while simply isolating the screw mount area from the outer ring connection, through a teflon ring. In this way, they are very light weight at the connector area, similar in style tot he Eichmans and cheap radioshack ones, which I must say, I dont personaly like much. However, they were still a large robust connector that was difficult to break. The other thing that was unique was that they had large amounts of copper in the brass compared to normal, and were gold plated multiple times. THey were still cheap however, and at the time, they were cheaper than the WBT's by enough to justify buying them. I bought like 30 pairs of them for about 50 dollars, and I guess the guy had ordered something like 2500 of them. This was ten years ago, so I would guess not many of these are available anymore.

I wanted to use solid core monocrystal wire, and right now, the only one that I know of is the FIM wire, as I believe the Vampire's long grain is not solid core, maybe it is, I dont remember, but something about it I didn't like, maybe it was the insulation. I know that 20 guage seems to large, but it was all I could get, and my theory was, companies commonly pair up many conductors together to get an aggregate(Sp?) size as large at 14 guage in some cases, one Cardas I believe is 16.5 guage in an interconnect, but is of a Litz design. I thought I might get something useful from this desgin, however, what I got was what you would expect, strong bass, poor mids and highs, so yeah, it didn't work out. I may try again but use a 28 guage center conductor, or possibly pair of conductors, with one of these 20 guage for the ring. I remember hearing that some feel that a thicker ground works better than the same size as the hot, so I may try that, I have some silver cryotreated 28 guage solid wire with a teflon insulation to try this with.
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Old 18th September 2005, 08:00 AM   #6
PauSim is offline PauSim  Portugal
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Hi pjpoe

Hoping not to sound pretentious I´d say you´re on the right track.

Regarding the 20 awg it´s a given assumption that a wire is less conductive in its outer area i.e. surface or skin. It´s also a given assumption that high frequencies tend flow towards this area.
If the wire is too large in diameter, it will sound typically dull. It´s the high frequencies that are responsible for the subjective image focus and soundstage dimensions.
Also because of this, bass instruments may sound slow and with too much oomph, since their percussive elements like the pick sound from a pick-bass guitar and other high frequency harmonics get attenuated.
A common technique in electronic music used when a bass drum gets mudded in the mix is to sample the sound and trigger it one or two octaves above in unison to the original drum sound. It is then levelled to get more or less thud. Electronica may not be everyone´s cup of tea, but I think it illustrates well the phenomenon.

So what we need is to get a thinner surface. The problem with thin wires even for interconnects is that they now become too resistive and so need to be multiplied. That´s why you see aggregate large gauges used in the Cardas´ cables and other manufacturers´ in Litz type configuration. Combining individually insulated thin wires they can achive low loss of high freqs and optimum conductivity.
The increased dielectric area will start to become more of an issue and the geometry gets more critical here IMO. Hence the Nordost designs look like the perfect solution.

In my opinion 24 awg is at the threshold of how thin a single wire for interconnects can be.

As I´m documenting my own designs I can show you a few photos to prove that most of these things were tried and tested.

The one with the Eichmanns is a 20 awg solid silver/cotton/heatshrink/nautic rope twisted pair. I guess they sound the way you described.
The clear one is a 24 awg solid silver/Teflon/Teflon and sounds much, much better.
The one with the same RCAs Cerious uses is a flawed design. I made it so bulky I realized it wouldn´t leave room for the other pair to fit in the respective connector. #$%& I use it as digital cable.
I have many other different designs that I can post as soon as I take the shots.

Quote:
I may try again but use a 28 guage center conductor, or possibly pair of conductors, with one of these 20 guage for the ring. I remember hearing that some feel that a thicker ground works better than the same size as the hot
I read about that too. That´s one reason why a PBJ sounds good.
Try that 20 awg in the ground path. Maybe you´re onto something. Please keep us informed.

As analog_sa suggested, it´s best to refrain a litlle and try one thing at a time.
It´s tough, but I certainly agree it´s the best way to know exactly how a certain material or geometry sounds.
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Old 18th September 2005, 05:24 PM   #7
pjpoes is offline pjpoes  United States
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please tell me more about the 24 guage teflon teflon ones. What is the geometry, just twisted pair? Why Teflon Teflon, you mean you placed the silver into teflon, or it was teflon coated silver, twisted them together, and then placed that twisted pair into a larger teflon sheath? Yours all look very nice, mine are currently more inline with the PBJ design in that they are not encased in any way, but left just as the braid. I was just experimenting and didn't want to wasite the tech flex, though I do want to try sheilding these design's with a braid or the metalized mylar techflex at some point.
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Old 18th September 2005, 05:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by PauSim
So what we need is to get a thinner surface. The problem with thin wires even for interconnects is that they now become too resistive and so need to be multiplied.
Too resistive? How so?

Let's consider a 2 meter run of small, 30 gauge copper wire. Here we're talking just under an ohm per leg, for a total of just under 2 ohms for the whole cable.

Given that the typical output impedance of source components and preamps ranges from about 100 ohms to upwards of 1,000 ohms, and they are typically driving loads that range from about 10k ohms to upwards of 100k ohms, what difference is a couple of ohms going to make?

se
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Old 18th September 2005, 11:50 PM   #9
PauSim is offline PauSim  Portugal
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Quote:
Originally posted by pjpoes
please tell me more about the 24 guage teflon teflon ones. What is the geometry, just twisted pair? Why Teflon Teflon, you mean you placed the silver into teflon, or it was teflon coated silver, twisted them together, and then placed that twisted pair into a larger teflon sheath? Yours all look very nice, mine are currently more inline with the PBJ design in that they are not encased in any way, but left just as the braid. I was just experimenting and didn't want to wasite the tech flex, though I do want to try sheilding these design's with a braid or the metalized mylar techflex at some point.
Thanks for the compliment pjpoes. It´s always good when other fellow DIYers like our own work.

The 24 gauge one consists of 2 twisted pure silver wires. Each wire goes into a Teflon tube, and then both go inside another Teflon tube. I purchased the materials separately.

I also try to avoid wasting techflex or nautic rope. Except for aestethic reasons I use them to protect fragile single strands or cotton insulation.

Any link for the mylar techflex you intend to use?
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Old 19th September 2005, 02:02 AM   #10
PauSim is offline PauSim  Portugal
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Eddy


Too resistive? How so?
[...] What difference is a couple of ohms going to make?

se


An audible one?

While I was out at work I kept thinking about that as an issue that needed to be cleared. Thanks for raising the doubt.

For the skin-effect phenomenon and the audible attenuation it causes to high-frequencies I insisted it was a "given assumption". That is, a theory from Professor Malcolm Hawksford that, although AFAIK it´s still about to be proven, is accepted as the better one to date ( correct me if I´m wrong here) . About the wire resistance bit, I forgot to add the disclaimer that it is based
IMO, since what is the given assumption in interconnect design is that resistance is not as important as geometry and dielectric used, and is mostly associated with loudspeaker cable design instead ( this also an assumption that raises some debate).

If the resistance high frequencies encounter while traveling to the surface of a 20 awg when faced against the 30 gauge one is high enough to cause a difference, surely won´t the added couple of Ohms make an audible one too? In perceived dynamics and overall volume?
I once ABed two similar interconnects using the same materials and configuration except for the gauges used (30 and 24 single strands) and the thicker wire was louder than the other. A subtle, but audible difference NTL...

Steve, I´ve read many of your posts here and in AA and I admire your knowledge and work.
If there are other data that clearly show that I´m wrong and hearing things, post them right away. They may be useful for further experiences. However, if they won´t convince me, we should stop debating and try to get along, OK?.
At least in pjpoes´thread which is intended to show our DIY designs. Hard facts atract cable naysayers

BTW, any chance of sharing the source of the nice wooden barrels?

Cheers
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