DIY speaker cables for PA system

Hi, sorry for posting a newbie question...

I'm buying a used portable PA system package (Fender Passport PD-150 - similar to the one shown in this video), but it's missing the two accessory speaker cables.

I've soldered a couple of guitar cables before, so I'm thinking I could buy speaker cable wires and connectors on Amazon and try to make replacement speaker cables for the PA system myself.

So I've found connectors like these and speaker wires like this one. Will these work for the above-mentioned PA system?

I'm assuming TS is the connection type, not TRS, correct?

Is a speaker patch cable soldered the same way as a guitar cable?

I see that the wires have "AWG" ratings, I don't know what this means, but should I go for above certain rating for live sound use?
Perhaps home audio systems use different ratings?

These are probably very basic questions to you, but if anyone would be kind enough to enlighten me, I'd appreciate it! :)
 
The wire's OK, but I MUCH prefer round, neoprene-insulated cable, SO or SJO.

I would NOT TOUCH ¼-phone plugs for speakers, now that Neutrik speakONs have become widely accepted.

There are 3 BIG shortcomings to the Switchcraft-designed ¼-phone plug:

- there is 100% probability that a momentary (read 'anything more than a few microseconds') short will occur within one years' use
- the strain relief (cable clamp) is woefully inadequate
- sooner or later, some well-meaning cable-coiler will drop the end on a concrete floor shattering the phenolic insulator; it will never be reliable after that

If you simply have to use ¼-phone connectors, track down some mil-spec M642/4-1's -- it's the newer-number-equivalent of the former mil-spec PJ-055B. I'm old enough to have some of each still providing reliable service at almost 50 years. They're machined solid brass, molded insulators, have a proper/reliable strain relief, and screw terminals. The one drawback is you have to carry Brasso or equivalent to clean them now and then.

"AWG" is the wire gauge; you'll want to become familiar with that at some point. For now, 14 gauge is fine.

"TRS" is the abbreviation for 'tip, ring, sleeve' -- a 3-circuit connector. Speakers only need 2. More and more line-level stuff, even consumer gear, is using balanced interconnect. That's what the 3rd contact is for.

Cheers
 
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Yes TS - tip/sleeve And AWG is American Wire Gauge, as Rick pointed out

While Speakons are great and reliable, the Passport system does not have them. He needs 1/4 to 1/4 cables. The Passport is a low power system. I don't recall there being room for Speakons on the mixer part and the molded plastic speakers lack same. And unless you have bench experience, taking apart a Passport is not for the novice.

Soldering is soldering, the plug has no idea what the wire connects to.

These are just speakers, so yes, that basic 14ga wire will work. It may not be convenient to use however. The insulation might make it too fat to fit into the plug housing for example. I also would prefer a jacketed cable over the zip cord. Zip cord is fine for permanent or semi-permanent installations, like a home stereo. But zip cord generally sucks (in my view) for cables you will set up and strike over and over. Jacketed cable is round and will coil up nicely for storage, plus it protects the wire better. You can run wheels over it or set a chair leg on it without damage, while zip cord may be damaged by such. I can't say about GHS, but Switchcraft makes a #70 plug, which is the same 1/4" shaft, but the body of the plug is wider with a larger hole. I don't recall the jacks on the speakers being recessed, but if they are, then first look at how wide a plug can be used.

I don't personally think you need 14ga wire, 16 would be fine. This is a light duty portable PA, not a snorting home theater system. Any tiny bit of power lost to cables will not be missed.

And while the concerns listed in the prior post are legitimate, I have cables I have been using for 50 years myself, and I have had very few outright plug failures. Much more common is wires inside breaking and needing a patch.

And just one quick look and I found"

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/acc...MI8Zb68aKx-QIVShTUAR1qpQvxEAQYBCABEgK32PD_BwE

SO you might go to your local music store and see what they have already made. And they will generally have a warranty too.

When I ran my shop, I used to build cables. I bought large orders of wire and connectors often from Rapco/Horizon, but then I found that they sold made up cables for just about the same price as the materials, so I stopped building my own. And they were nice enough that if I wanted some odd combination of ends, they were happy to make them that way. I might have to wait two extra days, but why not, no extra charge.
 
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bungonokami

Member
2022-08-05 11:52 pm
The wire's OK, but I MUCH prefer round, neoprene-insulated cable, SO or SJO.

I would NOT TOUCH ¼-phone plugs for speakers, now that Neutrik speakONs have become widely accepted.

There are 3 BIG shortcomings to the Switchcraft-designed ¼-phone plug:

- there is 100% probability that a momentary (read 'anything more than a few microseconds') short will occur within one years' use
- the strain relief (cable clamp) is woefully inadequate
- sooner or later, some well-meaning cable-coiler will drop the end on a concrete floor shattering the phenolic insulator; it will never be reliable after that

If you simply have to use ¼-phone connectors, track down some mil-spec M642/4-1's -- it's the newer-number-equivalent of the former mil-spec PJ-055B. I'm old enough to have some of each still providing reliable service at almost 50 years. They're machined solid brass, molded insulators, have a proper/reliable strain relief, and screw terminals. The one drawback is you have to carry Brasso or equivalent to clean them now and then.

"AWG" is the wire gauge; you'll want to become familiar with that at some point. For now, 14 gauge is fine.

"TRS" is the abbreviation for 'tip, ring, sleeve' -- a 3-circuit connector. Speakers only need 2. More and more line-level stuff, even consumer gear, is using balanced interconnect. That's what the 3rd contact is for.

Cheers
Thank you for educating me! I appreciate walking me through these different connector types. With the model names and numbers you mentioned, I can do my own research to further my knowledge. I see those circular Neutrik connectors used more on speakers they use on bigger live stages. I guess they have to use cheaper parts options when they design inexpensive portable PA systems. Now I see why the AWG numbers are smaller for bigger cables. Good to know TS is what I need. The less complicated, the less room for error for novice soldering.
 

bungonokami

Member
2022-08-05 11:52 pm
Yes TS - tip/sleeve And AWG is American Wire Gauge, as Rick pointed out

While Speakons are great and reliable, the Passport system does not have them. He needs 1/4 to 1/4 cables. The Passport is a low power system. I don't recall there being room for Speakons on the mixer part and the molded plastic speakers lack same. And unless you have bench experience, taking apart a Passport is not for the novice.

Soldering is soldering, the plug has no idea what the wire connects to.

These are just speakers, so yes, that basic 14ga wire will work. It may not be convenient to use however. The insulation might make it too fat to fit into the plug housing for example. I also would prefer a jacketed cable over the zip cord. Zip cord is fine for permanent or semi-permanent installations, like a home stereo. But zip cord generally sucks (in my view) for cables you will set up and strike over and over. Jacketed cable is round and will coil up nicely for storage, plus it protects the wire better. You can run wheels over it or set a chair leg on it without damage, while zip cord may be damaged by such. I can't say about GHS, but Switchcraft makes a #70 plug, which is the same 1/4" shaft, but the body of the plug is wider with a larger hole. I don't recall the jacks on the speakers being recessed, but if they are, then first look at how wide a plug can be used.

I don't personally think you need 14ga wire, 16 would be fine. This is a light duty portable PA, not a snorting home theater system. Any tiny bit of power lost to cables will not be missed.

And while the concerns listed in the prior post are legitimate, I have cables I have been using for 50 years myself, and I have had very few outright plug failures. Much more common is wires inside breaking and needing a patch.

And just one quick look and I found"

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/musicians-gear-16-gauge-speaker-cable-black-25-feet-2-pack/582057000000000?cntry=US&cur=USD&utm_content=582057000000000--Musician's+Gear+16+Gauge+Speaker+Cable+Black+25+Feet+2-Pack&source=3WWRWXGS&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8Zb68aKx-QIVShTUAR1qpQvxEAQYBCABEgK32PD_BwE

SO you might go to your local music store and see what they have already made. And they will generally have a warranty too.

When I ran my shop, I used to build cables. I bought large orders of wire and connectors often from Rapco/Horizon, but then I found that they sold made up cables for just about the same price as the materials, so I stopped building my own. And they were nice enough that if I wanted some odd combination of ends, they were happy to make them that way. I might have to wait two extra days, but why not, no extra charge.
That's wonderful, you ran an audio equipment shop, then I know your advice is coming from years of professional experience. Interesting, one of my friends had a side hustle buying Mogami wire in bulk rolls and making custom cables for buddy musicians, but come to think of it, that was many years ago. It's probably not that viable these days, like you say. Since all I'm looking for is amplification for a small restaurant etc. for background type of live music, I'll first try 16 AWG. Thank you for the link for those speaker cables. I might just buy those as well... but my idea was to come up with replacement speaker cables compact enough to fit into the small compartment on the backside of the Passport mixer unit. But you always have to improvise when shopping for used gears. Anyway, I surely appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experience!
 
You may want to use TRS plugs anyway because with an open Ring connection, shorting tip and sleave is not as likely. If you have the choice, use plastic jacks and not metal. This not only isolates the sleave from metal chassis, but also avoids shorting as they are inserted / removed, but the contact can still sit between the tip and sleave on TS plugs. https://www.parts-express.com/Rean-NYS2122-1-4-Mono-Jack-Switched-092-120