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Which shielded cable for internal amp wiring?
Which shielded cable for internal amp wiring?
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Old 28th August 2019, 04:16 AM   #1
tcpip is offline tcpip  India
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Default Which shielded cable for internal amp wiring?

Which shielded cable would you use for signals inside your amp or preamp chassis? Do you have a specific brand and model?

I'm looking for cables which are easy to work with for a semi-competent DIYer (me) and have excellent shielding.

I know that the Sound Of Cables is a big, hot topic, and I don't want to get into that debate. I will read all your opinions, and I hope you'll forgive me if I will quietly accept those which I can understand, given my (limited) knowledge. Therefore, for instance, I will select pure copper conductors over silver, in cables. I will ignore skin effect claims, and will happily work with solid-core or stranded conductors, depending on which are more easy to work with, break less easily, get soldered and desoldered more easily, etc. I will avoid cables which have capacitance or inductance which are too high for audio (do these things matter in the lengths of inches we need inside a chassis?) To give you an idea of my preferences: I blindly and happily buy cables made by Blue Jeans Cables and look no further.

I'm looking for two-core+shield type of cables, I guess. The better the shielding, the more I'd like it. Why two-core+shield and not coax? It is because I prefer to run signal ground separate from shield. I feel that shield is often more noisy than the signal ground, if I keep them separate. I have had remarkable success with long runs of unamplified mic output running through 2-core+shield cables, because I kept the signal ground separate from the shield.

Blue Jeans happily tells you which 2-core+shield cable they think are great for audio, for their XLR cables. But then, I would think those would be for external use, with thick outer jackets and mechanical protection. What version of those are available for internal wiring?

I searched for cable choices discussions on this site, and read those which I could find, but nothing is addressing the issue I'm asking. They're either asking about how to connect the shield, or getting into areas which I cannot understand.

Which cables do you use?

When I look at the Digikey catalog, I am seeing some 2-conductor cables which specify "1 pair twisted" and others which don't. I'd always pick the twisted over the untwisted -- is there any reason to do otherwise? I know twisting increases capacitance, but will it matter for lengths of a foot with circuits which are not at the hairy edge of unstable? Are the ones which don't specify "twisted" really untwisted? These are some of my doubts.

Last edited by tcpip; 28th August 2019 at 04:46 AM.
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Old 28th August 2019, 04:38 AM   #2
wiseoldtech is offline wiseoldtech  United States
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I use a flexible shielded cable for internal chassis runs.
Nothing special - ordinary cable like the type used for phono connections - and cut the RCA plugs off.
If preference of a 2 conductor plus shield, then the "balanced" microphone cable is good.
Internal chassis wiring is short enough to not be bothered with all that "capacitance" stuff.
As for anchoring the shields, I basically connect the one end towards a star ground near the power supply.
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Old 28th August 2019, 04:50 AM   #3
DRONE7 is offline DRONE7  New Zealand
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Mogami Neglex 2534
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Old 28th August 2019, 04:51 AM   #4
tcpip is offline tcpip  India
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiseoldtech View Post
I use a flexible shielded cable for internal chassis runs.
Nothing special - ordinary cable like the type used for phono connections - and cut the RCA plugs off.
If preference of a 2 conductor plus shield, then the "balanced" microphone cable is good.
Internal chassis wiring is short enough to not be bothered with all that "capacitance" stuff.
As for anchoring the shields, I basically connect the one end towards a star ground near the power supply.
Yes, everything you've said makes sense. I was just hoping to know if there are cable models which are everything you said, plus lighter and thinner insulation in the outermost jacket, so that they are easier to bend and work with. For instance, the Belden 1800F has a bending radius of 2.5", which is a pain for internal-chassis wiring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRONE7 View Post
Mogami Neglex 2534
This too seems to be an excellent star-quad cable, like the Canare 4E6S which Blue Jeans recommends. But won't it too be thick and stiff for internal wiring and tight bends?
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Old 28th August 2019, 05:42 AM   #5
sthcoaster is offline sthcoaster  United Kingdom
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Which shielded cable for internal amp wiring?
Mini coaxial cable?
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Old 28th August 2019, 05:45 AM   #6
tcpip is offline tcpip  India
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sthcoaster View Post
Mini coaxial cable?
I was hoping for 2-core+shield, not coax, which is 1-core+shield.
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Old 28th August 2019, 05:55 AM   #7
Oystein is offline Oystein  Netherlands
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If you are looking for line level signals (like in a pre-amp) most audio brands use coax type cables from RCA terminals to PCB's and so on.
Or when not coax they use unscreened twisted pair.

Or are you looking at balanced (XLR) signals ?
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Old 28th August 2019, 06:59 AM   #8
tcpip is offline tcpip  India
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I'm looking at unbalanced signals, actually. I agree that it's more "normal" to use simple coax for such wiring; I'm just trying to be more careful.

I must admit, I'm trying to be more ambitious than what most DIY amp builders here seem to be doing: I'm trying to build an integrated amp. So I'll have the mess of wiring which an integrated amp contains, and I'll also have the high current rectifiers and power supply lines of 150W/ch power amps. So I'm more nervous about shielding than I'd be for a preamp.

Someday, I also want to add a DAC to my amp, and have just one input selector to select from a few analog and a few digital inputs. Even more fear at that time, about HF polluting my analog signals.
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Old 28th August 2019, 07:51 AM   #9
Oystein is offline Oystein  Netherlands
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"Cable dressing" gets important in such designs.

Which means guide the low level cables away from the high voltage/current circuits / cables.
Going for paired signal cables with grounded shield is what you normally see in industrial installations with control and power wires in the same cabinet.

Search the internet for interior pictures of modern integrated amps to get an idea how the "professional designers" do such arrangements.

For example see this revieuw on 6moons.com:
RSA-777EX
Here you get a top quality integratd amp with power cables all the way to one side of the chassis, line-level at the other side (mounted high) and speaker cable mounted low to extend the space between the different levels as much as possible.
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Old 28th August 2019, 09:46 AM   #10
tcpip is offline tcpip  India
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Yes, this is the kind of stuff I'm forcing myself to note. I am familiar with cable dressing; we used to use the term often in the context of structured Ethernet cabling back in the day when companies had on-premise data centres with core switches and edge switches and what-not. I'm now aware that with audio, all those rules may be the difference between mid-fi and real excellence. Thanks for pointing out the example.
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