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Seeking advice configuring XLR interconnects
Seeking advice configuring XLR interconnects
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Old 19th June 2011, 08:07 PM   #11
madisonears is online now madisonears  United States
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Glad that my advice might help you.

Some people like silver; I sure don't, except as a speaker wire for woofers only. The OCC copper is very pure. The music will simply flow from your speakers, limpid and alive with realistic space and depth. Tonality is perfect, with no edge or artificial emphasis.

You don't ever want a ground to be the limiting factor in any design.

The standard Vampire connectors are very high quality--no need to get crazy expensive ones.

Line level signal is very low power, so you don't need a large conductor. Multiple conductors can create multiple problems. Why spend more than you need to? It will not improve performance. My XLR's are ten feet long, and 24ga is plenty big. Music is very dynamic.

To make any length cable with this recipe, you'll need about 20% more wire than the finished length, times two, of course. You can always shorten if you buy a little too much, but it's a real drag to do all the work and find your cable is a bit too short because you didn't buy an extra few inches of wire.

Have fun!

Tom E
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Old 23rd June 2011, 11:34 AM   #12
gmphadte is offline gmphadte  India
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There is a nice pdf about interconnecting audio on Rane Corp site.
Just for your info.

Gajanan Phadte
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Old 23rd June 2011, 04:20 PM   #13
dinck is offline dinck  Netherlands
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Thank you, Gajanan, I had already found the site and the pfs's even when I was still considering the 5-conductor cable. There's a lot of stuff about theories and principles. From a practical point of view it still left some questions unanswered, i.e. the influence of braiding the conductors in respect to RF rejection and interaction, whether or not to use multiple conductors per channel, the need for shielding amongst others.

Tom E's info didn't contradict anything I had learnt so far, but most importantly he shared his insights based on his own experimentation and basicaly showed me the way to go. I realy like his no-nonsense approach and the resulting simplicity, now there is a design I can easily copy. Tom had the same goal I have, making a nice sounding cable while not spending a fortune on off-the-shelf interconnects, and his description of 'auraly good' appeals to me.

I know a true DIY guy wouldn't resist experimenting himself, I just guess I'm not that kind of guy. Earlier on I have already explained mysef on this matter.

For now I'll just order the materials and start the project in the near future. As it is finished I will of course post my experiences, both with the actual making of the interconnect and regarding the sound aspects. My reference point of the latter being the unbalanced interconnect I am using right now.

Kind regards to all ye contributers and so long....

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Old 24th June 2011, 02:54 AM   #14
KBK is offline KBK  Canada
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I agree on the quality of the vampire connectors. Very good for the money.

The other thing is to take the 5 conductor set apart, and make a proper cable with one signal and return, but with large spacing between them, with minimal twists. Ie, wrap each leg in damping material (cotton, silk,etc) then wind them when spaced fairly far apart.

This is not computer signals, this is audio, and this is not studio audio so no coupling is needed between send and return. That coupling is actually detrimental, but is only necessary for hum purposes. Which you would not be encountering in home audio. So don't ruin a good chance to make a good cable by winding the send and return together too tightly. Make a fairly fat (triple cotton/silk skins on each strand) then wind loosely (no more then 3 turns per foot) and do a small gauge single wire ground (no more than 3 turns per foot). No shielding, that is detrimental to field development -.Which is a field change complex LCR Delta that happening a good 50k-100k times a second in the cable assembly proper.

Buy the graphite impregnated nylon skin from Tech Flex for an outer skin (it is conductive to a halfway point, which is 'just right')...and you've got a great sounding cable from those litz strands you have.
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." - Carl Sagan. Sometimes the claims aren't extraordinary. Sometimes the weakness of men's minds are the culprit. Mass mentality has nothing to do with obviousness or truths.

Last edited by KBK; 24th June 2011 at 02:59 AM.
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Old 26th July 2011, 04:10 PM   #15
digilog5 is offline digilog5  United States
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Few months ago I did a 1.5 m set of XLRs using 24awg teflon insulated OCC silver terminated with Vampire XLRs. This was my first endeavor into DIY cables and followed the recommendations from member madisonears and J. Risch. I used the following:
-1/16 ID 1/8 OD PTFE hollow tube as core
-Spiral 2x24 awg teflon OCC silver (Neotech silver) at a rate of one revolution/2 inches
-Mummy wrapped the twisted pair with Teflon tape (two times)
-Sliped this into a bigger 5/16 ID 3/8 OD FEP Tube
-1/4 ID tinned copper braid as shield outside the big tube
-24 awg occ copper (thats what i had then) as ground wire wrapped outside the braid
-Vampyre large OD XLRs (cryo'd) from TakeFive.
-WBT silver solder.

Braid and ground were connected at the source XLR end. Ground was also connected at the amp end. This was perhaps the most difficult part since the braid I chose was simply too much. I could not make a complete pigtail from it and solder it to the XLR.
This was a test bed for me, in order to test my capability in building something longer later. My dad needed a 4.0 m long xlr silver ic for the amp (that is why i used a shield) so we did this as a weekend project.
Overall it turned out to be a nice cable. I checked it against the old Taralabs Master Gen2 XLR and it was fairly comparable even with no burn in. However I felt that it was slightly dark at the top, possibly due to the shield having an effect.

If length is short I agree with other, skip the shielding. Will be much much easier to terminate. I think I will end up with longer speaker cables and building my own unshielded 1.0m XLRs instead.
Next time I will use the least amount of dielectric, possibly foamed teflon insulation or cotton and no shield for short cables.

good luck!
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Old 27th July 2011, 09:02 PM   #16
mickeymoose is offline mickeymoose  Canada
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1 meter. E
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Old 27th July 2011, 09:29 PM   #17
ChrisA is offline ChrisA  United States
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Originally Posted by dinck View Post
Hello Indianajo,

I appreciate your comment but am afraid you misread my intention. The cable I am considering is a five-conductor braid, each conductor consists of silver litz and is teflon coated.
You are using the wrong cable.

If this is in fact a balanced signal, like the kind that is common in pro audio gear (and not so common on home audio) then the cable you want has a shielded outer cover and a twisted pair of conductors inside. The pair goes between the + and - pins on the XLR and the shield is grounded both ends. Don't worry about ground isolation that happens inside the equipment many times by using a transformer.

If the signal is not balanced and mostly with consummer audio it is not balanced even if XLR connectors are used then the convention s different. The signal goes thethe + pin, signal ground the - pin and the chassis ground conects to only one one the ground pins.

Back to the cable. If the signal is balanced what matters is that the + and - conductors are in fact twisted and that there is an braided sheild. If you have that the cable will work if you don't the results will be poor. Assuming yo have the above then if you like you can opay for magic metals and exotic insulation as they wil mostly do no harm but don't even think about such details as litz wire until you have the basics covered: a twisted pair inside a shield that is grounded.
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Old 27th July 2011, 10:03 PM   #18
Pano is online now Pano  United States
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Seeking advice configuring XLR interconnects
Why not just do it right? Buy some Canare, Belden or Mogami microphone cable and whatever XLRs strike your fancy. You need only the 2 conductor + shield type. For line level under 100M forget the Star Quad 4 conductor stuff.

Connect the shield only at the end that has the better ground connection. That's all there is to it. No magic, no exotics, just high quality pro cable that works. And works well.
Take the Speaker Voltage Test!
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Old 18th December 2012, 10:19 PM   #19
merlinm3 is offline merlinm3  United States
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Default Recommended suppliers for DIY XLR Interconnects

Tom - could you provide a list of online supplier(s) you recommend to purchase the cable and connectors? Also what do you prefer for solder?

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Old 18th December 2012, 10:29 PM   #20
Speedskater is offline Speedskater  United States
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Bill, what country are you located in?

Two good US suppliers:

Markertek | Audio and Video Equipment | Professional Broadcast Studio Equipment

Professional Recording Equipment Accessories: Shop Our Selection of Audio Equipment Accessories, Custom Engraved Panels and Custom Audio Cables - Redco Audio Professional Audio Equipment Accessories
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