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Old 18th December 2012, 10:38 PM   #21
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Hey Kevin

Thanks for the recommendation. I'm located in California. Looks like I should finish my profile information...

Tom's XLR cable design look interesting and I'm also confused with the hundreds of IC options and the extreme range of pricing. My latest thoughts are going with either Zebra, Blue Jeans or just make them myself. My soldering skills are limited though so I may go the easy way out unless the sonic payoff is significant with Tom's design.

Any other thoughts?
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Old 18th December 2012, 11:19 PM   #22
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For pre-built cables, think:

MonoPrice
BlueJeans
Markertek
Redco

For DIY cables use:

Canare, Belden or Mogami cables.
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Old 19th December 2012, 04:08 AM   #23
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Bill,

You can use off-the-shelf cable as suggested above, but you will get better sonic results with OCC copper/teflon and the geometry I described. The ready cable is adequate for studio/pro use, nothing special. The OCC stuff really is superb.

Neotech chassis wire and Vampire XLR's are available from Parts Connexion or Sonic Craft. Keep in mind you need to buy enough wire for both plus and minus signals, plus add 10% or so for the twist. The ground wire is not critical for balanced cable because it does not carry signal. You can get decent wire at any hardware store or building supply. For the signal, you want solid core, but stranded is okay for the ground. You do not need or want shielding.

Teflon tubing is available from many sources, even McMaster-Carr. You could also use ploypropylene, but NOT vinyl (PVC).

Cotton tubing is a little harder to come by. I got mine on eBay from someone in Hong Kong, but I had to buy a bigger spool than I needed. Price was low and delivery fast enough. There might be domestic suppliers if you search hard enough. If you can't find it, I'll sell you some of my excess.

I use Cardas tri-eutectic solder, available from Parts Connexion, possibly others. There are lots of good solders available. Look for one with some silver content. I would avoid places like Radio Shack.

Soldering XLR IC's is a good place to practice because there's a lot of room to work. You'll need to secure the plugs somehow while soldering. A vise is handy, or just tape them to the work surface. Vampire connectors are pretty robust, but the plastic can melt if you get the pins too hot. If you really botch it up (everyone does, at first), just buy another connector, trim the wire, and start over.

Let us know how it turns out.

Peace,
Tom E
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Old 19th December 2012, 04:52 AM   #24
jtl is offline jtl  United States
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Use Neutrik connectors with anyone's star quad. Anyone's. I suggest Canare's, I've used it several times with great results, particularly Canare Corp.: Star Quad Series: Star Quad Microphone cable(L-4E6S / L-4E5C). Foil & braid is superior to foil. Ground the shield on both ends, it's up to your device to lift or not by convention. Considering that these cables are typically accustomed to carrying millivolt-level microphone signals, using them for line level audio is quite undemanding.
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Old 19th December 2012, 09:29 AM   #25
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Anyone familiar with Kimber Kable MST-CU for IC conductors? It looks similar to what Tom was using for his home brew XLR ICs:
25 awg w/ Two Clear/ One White braided solid-core, Hyper-pure-Cu, pure V-Teflon dielectric

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 19th December 2012, 09:40 AM   #26
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madisonears
The ready cable is adequate for studio/pro use, nothing special.
I must be misunderstanding you, as you appear to say that domestic stereo requires better cables than studio or professional applications. You then appear to favour a DIY cable design which is likely to be worse than a standard cable from any competent manufacturer in terms of interference pickup (no shield), triboelectricity (teflon) etc.? Now it can't be that you prefer hearing music with added RFI and cable microphony, because that would be silly. Fortunately, domestic cables are usually short so poor design and construction does less harm than it would in a professional situation.
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Old 19th December 2012, 12:51 PM   #27
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Old 21st December 2012, 12:19 AM   #28
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"DF96" in post #26 definitely understands the cable situation. While "merlinm3" cable photo (in post #25) is of a very poor design and implementation.

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see:

http://www.audiosystemsgroup.com/Shi...uced_Noise.pdf
http://www.audiosystemsgroup.com/SCIN-2.pdf
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Last edited by Speedskater; 21st December 2012 at 12:26 AM. Reason: added links
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Old 21st December 2012, 12:22 AM   #29
jtl is offline jtl  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
"DF96" in post #26 definitely understands the cable situation. While "merlinm3" cable photo is of a very poor design and implementation.
Indeed. Where's the shield!?
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Old 21st December 2012, 01:08 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtl View Post
Indeed. Where's the shield!?
It's a poorer design than no shield at all! A CAT5 cable works very well as a balanced interconnect without a shield.
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