ssabripo's DIY Speaker cables Tutorial (cat5e based): Audiophile wires on the cheap! - diyAudio
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Old 26th October 2006, 02:31 PM   #1
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Default ssabripo's DIY Speaker cables Tutorial (cat5e based): Audiophile wires on the cheap!

Ok guys, sorry for the delay, but here it is Finally: Cat5e based Speaker cables - a cheap and high quality alternative to boutique high dollar speaker wires!
Click the image to open in full size. (click to enlarge)

Hope you enjoy it, and let me know if there are any questions. As an alternative, you can read more about different braid types and wires to use at this Audioholics Article.

Materials/Tools:

some of the tools you will need:
1) Cat5e cable (you'll need 4x# of ft per cable)
2) GLS Audio Locking Banana Plugs (you can get them cheaper on ebay or here! )
3) Wire Stripper and cutter
4) TechFlex 1" shell (http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshow...number=082-444)
5) Techflex 3/8" sleeves (http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshow...number=082-332)
6) scissors
7) 19mm HeatShrink and Heat gun
8) 1" heatshrink
Click the image to open in full size. (click to enlarge)


Construction:

Step1
Cut the desired length of Cat5e cable you will be using; in this example, I have used a 10ft length per cable, and cut 4 x 10ft per side for a total of 80ft. I suggest you cut all the lengths at once. To help you with the process of braiding, it may be a very good idea to spend a few minutes and try to stretch the cable so it doesn't tangle as easy when you are braiding.

Step2
Once cut, you will need to tape up each end of two sets of wire with electrical tape or something to distinguish them so you can tell them apart when you are done braiding; each pair will be your positive and negative connection.

Step3
Braiding! It's not that hard, and you are certainly welcome to try different patterns if you like. I found the woven "jamaican" pattern to give me the tightest yet flexible enough pattern to handle this cable, and plus, two of the conductors act as cores to minimize noise.
Click the image to open in full size.
Basically you start with all 4 wires aligned, and you can tape them to a door knob, or anywhere were you can start working on the braid...give yourself about 8" of non-braid ends. The pattern goes left outer mostwire over to the right, then right outer overtop, and continue that patter so that each wire gets a turn, as shown above. When you are done, your braid should look like this;
Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.

Step4
Now that we are done with the Braid, and we have taped each end, we need to put the outer (major) techflex on. Measure the length of your braided cable, and cut the appropriate length up to where the braids start/finish minus 1". Slide the cable into the flex, and tape up the end of it with electrical wire (very LITTLE, just enough to hold it in place). Cut a 5" section of 1" heatshrink and with the heat gun put it on with the exception of the last 1"!! do NOT heatshrink the end yet (see step 5)


Step5
Cut the 3/8" techflex to about 3" and slide down each pair of wires at the ends, and insert beneath the nonheaated portion of the heatshrink in step 4:
Click the image to open in full size.
Once you have this portion inserted, then proceed to finish heating the rest of the heatshrink...this will hold both techflex portions together:
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 26th October 2006, 02:32 PM   #2
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Default part 2

Step6
Strip the outer jacket of the Cat5e cable, and leave about a 2" section:
Click the image to open in full size.
Then with a 22awg wire stripper, proceed to strip of the inner wires...all of them:
Click the image to open in full size.
Before continuing onto step 7, make sure you cut about 2" of the smaller 19mm heatshrink, and slide it down each wire pair BEFORE you goto step 7, or you will be sorry!

Step7
The GLS plugs are very solid quality, 24K plated gold, and have two screws that you will need a very small flathead screwdriver to loosen up with:
Click the image to open in full size.
Once you have stripped the wires in step 6, proceed to twist them together as tight as you can, and then bend them backwards to give you double coverage inside the GLS plugs; you can measure by eye and strip off the ends. Once you have it, with slight force, push the wires into the plug, and tighten the screws. Make sure you have the locking outer in the bottom of the wire!!! I myself forgot this once, and had the take it apart and redo! When you are done, it should look like:
Click the image to open in full size.

Step8
We are almost there! Once you tighten the screws on the plug, take a pull and make sure they are nice and tight in there. If so, then screw the outer metal jacket into position, pull the 19mm heatshrink back on top of the plug, and go ahead and finalize the heatshrink:
Click the image to open in full size.

So there you have it folks....you have now made yourself cables that have better and cleaner transfer than ANY Monster(crap), or even Audioquest wires Bedrock Speaker Cable. I've played with this cable against my old IXOS XHS806 gamma cables with Silver foot, and frankly, they were just better specially at reference levels.
Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.
My neighbor has the Monster Z4 cables ($300 a pop), and when I walked over there to try it out, he was shocked at how my DIY cat5 cables were just as "pretty" and cleaner overall at very high volulmes.....He even asked me to put his on ebay!!! LOL....but I just dont have time for it.

Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.
Hope this helps some of you, and enjoy!! Word of advice: in my experience, speaker cables do NOT improve your sound, but they surely PREVENT it from deteriorating! Don't go building these speakers thinking that it will make your Polks sound like B&Ws because it wont....but it will help your Polks NOT sound like computer speakers if you dont use good cables.

ps- more pics found at http://community.webshots.com/user/ssabripo (link in my sig)
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