Japanese kumihimo braid for CAT5-cables. - diyAudio
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Old 26th July 2006, 01:57 PM   #1
Bonicon is offline Bonicon  Sweden
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Default Japanese kumihimo braid for CAT5-cables.

Evening all,

I finished a speaker project awhile ago, and now I am in that awkward phase where the speakers are done and I am running out of things to tweak. New ideas are being formed into projects, but funds are low and the girlfriend might not appreciate my getting all involved in a new build, before the dust have even settled from the last one. Soo, what to do? Something low-key and cheap, like cables! I was playing around with some CAT5 awhile ago and made some braided cables that sounded good and looked, well, special. As anyone who has spend hours braiding runs of (twisted pairs of) CAT5, I can attest to the hardships involved - it is very tedious, but has its zen-like moments. I tried a few different set-ups with your vanilla triple and quad-braids. For one particular cable, I even made all pairs have an equal number of twists befpre I started braiding, however, this turned out the worst performer of the bunch. I guess I went to far with the twisting, the pairs became almost stiff, great for braiding as they wouldn't snag as much, but the sound just wasn't there.

I live in Japan and have yet to find a source of CAT5 with teflon jackets - this has become a sort of hunt for the holy grail, I have been through many bins in the Akihabara back-alleys. Last time I picked up some reasonably priced CAT6, of course with the usual PVC-jacket, but this particular cable also have an inner core, separating the pairs. Not quite a "core", think of it as an extruded cross, that is the best explanation I can come up with. I used this one as it were (without extracting the pairs) cut it in 4 lengths and made a standard quad-braid. This was quite a quick job to finish compared to my previous attempts, and it performed real well in my listening tests. That was the end of my CAT5-flagellations for quite some time, but now my idle hands are ready for some more!

By this lengthy introduction, I wanted to turn your attention to the topic of Kumihimo. This is an ancient Japanese braiding-technique that stems from the times of the Samurai - many parts of their armour needed rope for fastening, and Kumihimo could produce ropes that were both strong and beautiful. See some examples here:

http://www.d1.dion.ne.jp/~rie55rie/kumihimo/mihon.htm

Basically, a number of threads are attached to 'bobbins', arranged over a 'marudai' stand. Intricate movements will produce a very complex braid, with numerous patterns and geometries possible. I would like to try out this technique for a CAT5 speakercable, and therefore I made a marudai out of some scrap plywood and a flowerstand I found at the 100yen-shop. I will try a simple braid first, with only 8 separate "strands".

My real question here is, if anybody have thoughts about what types of material could offer any acoustical improvements to the cable, when intervowen with CAT5? I will use the CAT5 for four of the eight strands in this pattern, but that leaves four open strands. For now, the design intent is mostly to produce a cable that will improve the looks (WAF!!) without making the cable perform worse, but I would be glad to receive any suggestions for this project.

If there is some interest in this, I will upload pictures of the equipment and patterns I will be using.

Best regards!
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Old 27th July 2006, 09:46 AM   #2
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Scottish Borders
Hi,
if you space your cables apart with air then you reduce capacitance. As a compliment to reduced capacitance you MUST increase the inductance.

If you interpose a dielectric between the cores you may increase the capacitance and reduce the inductance.

Different amplifiers will react differently (reduced or increased phase margin) to these different braiding procedures/materials.

I would try a simple close wound, low twist, teflon insulated braid as a starter.
Then compare others to this reference, but keep in mind you are testing your amplifier's tolerance to different proportions of capacitance and inductance on the output cables. You are not really testing the cables.

Short cables have inherently less capacitance and less inductance than longer cables.
Placing your amplifiers right at the speaker terminals may give the best sound of all.

There is a web site (or two) that deals with braiding techniques specifically for speaker cables.
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regards Andrew T.
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