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Old 28th October 2010, 06:59 PM   #1
paean is offline paean  Canada
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Default Old power cables make good audio cables?

Hi guys,
I know how selective some people can be when it comes to their audio cables, but I'm curious about whether anyone has had success turning 3-wire power cables into audio cables. Seems like they are plentiful, made of ~18awg copper wire and possibly even shielded.

I have an M-Audio Firewire Solo that I use with my Macbook Pro when it's docked. I could clip the ends of a standard PC power cable, solder a 1/4" TRS on each end and we're in business.

Before I go ahead and do it, I'd like to hear if others have done the same, and whether it was worth doing.

Last edited by paean; 28th October 2010 at 07:19 PM. Reason: "jack" to "TRS"
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Old 28th October 2010, 07:06 PM   #2
SY is offline SY  United States
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This has been discussed extensively here- you might want to use the "Search" function.

I've had great luck with Home Depot orange outdoor extension cable- 12x3, doubling up one of the leads (doesn't matter which).
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Old 28th October 2010, 07:16 PM   #3
paean is offline paean  Canada
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I've used the search function with much success over the last few years, but in the above case I came up empty. "power cable to audio cable" produces lacklustre results because of the nature of generic search words that are used in virtually every post in this forum.

Thank you for your comment about the outdoor extension cable.
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Old 28th October 2010, 07:26 PM   #4
SY is offline SY  United States
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Try "mains cable speaker" perhaps? "Home Depot" will probably just link you to my posts.
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Old 28th October 2010, 09:51 PM   #5
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Naim's standard cable supplied for use between pre- and power amps is a UK-sourced mains flex cable, with apropriate DIN to XLR terminations. It works very well.
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Old 29th October 2010, 12:12 AM   #6
Minion is offline Minion  Canada
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Ive uses old 2 conductor power cables as speaker cables and I have used 3 conductor power cables as Mic cables and both worked just fine .......
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Old 29th October 2010, 01:51 AM   #7
paean is offline paean  Canada
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Thanks for the replies. I found a heavy duty server power supply cable. They sometimes come with separate EU and North American power cables, but we have no use for the UK ones. I have soldered some TRS ends on it. I'll test it tomorrow. If nothing else, its gauge is larger and its shielding stiffer than my expensive rcas.

Last edited by paean; 29th October 2010 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 29th October 2010, 04:02 AM   #8
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Default SO3-10 Power cord for speakers

I've got 100's of feet of SO3 460 V 10 ga extra flexible power cord from the dumpster of the factory where I worked. Sounds great but is hard to solder to banana plugs with less than 130 watt iron. I can hear the difference on my reference LP (high Steinway grand piano) between 10' of this or 20' of 16ga zip cord. SO cord has about 90 wires, so it is really flexible. My reference cord has crimped Thomas & Betts spade lugs, but it is hard to get them to stick under the binder terminal plastic ring- In future I'm changing to dual banana plugs like the pros that just sold me a dead PA amp.
I don't know what 10 ga AWG wire is in millimeters, but if it helps, it is rated 3 in a conduit for 30 amps.
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Last edited by indianajo; 29th October 2010 at 04:06 AM.
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Old 29th October 2010, 04:31 AM   #9
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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I like the green and blue stripe extension cord from Lowes. Works great as speaker cable and looks so much fancier than that orange stuff SY likes.
I've used it at shows and people thought it was high dollar ultra cable.

Have not tried the shielded power cable.

indianajo - I'll bet that 10 gauge extra flex IS hard to solder! You'd just about have to break out the torch.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 09:21 AM   #10
Francec is offline Francec  Australia
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I use appliance power leads (7 to 10 amp) - brown, blue and green/yellow - to wire the power supplies to PCBs in amps and pre-amps.

I strip the grey outer sheath, put the three wires in a drill chuck and twist them with the drill while having someone hold the other end still. With a really tight twist, they are perfect for internal wiring (cheap too).


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