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Make your own Speakon-Speakon cables?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by cassius987, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    (I searched but found no threads specifically about this.)

    Are there any tricks to making your own speaker cables with 12 gauge wire and double speakon ends for connecting amps and cabinets, that aren't already covered when explaining how to make an instrument cable properly?

    Do you have any favorite parts or supplies for making said cables?
  2. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    subbed, and very interested in the answers.
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009

    no soldering required, just strip back the wires, slip into the holes, tighten the screws, then close up the housing.

    the whole idea is that those things can be field-replaced. they mostly can, except that it's hard to tell which spot is "+1" or "-1" in a dark club.
  4. TinIndian

    TinIndian Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    Micco Florida
    Definately an easy cable to build. I bought my first one, but about 2 weeks ago I bought a couple of Speakon connectors from Mouser Electronics for about 3.50 ea. From there it's just pick some good 2 conductor wire (I used 14 AWG) strip the ends, plug the wires in and tighten the screws.

    Doesn't get any easier. I'll never pay big bucks for another one of those.
  5. Ricnroll


    Dec 30, 2010
    Vancouver, B.C.
  6. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    thanks for the advice and links, guys.
    one quick question (don't wish to hijack the thread):
    do the female neutrik connectors use the same set screw method for speaker wire retention?

    i want to do this conversion of the back of my mesa walkabout scout cab.
  7. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Do you need a special tool to strip wire that big? Wire only needs to be a 2-conductor/shield, or a simple conductor/shield?
  8. groovaholic

    groovaholic The louder the better. Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Normal wire strippers will typically accomodate 12 ga wire, and you only need 2 conductors; hot & cold.

    I typically tin (melt solder into) my stripped wire ends, remove the metal sleeves from inside the plugs, use the weakest Loctite to secure the screws, then tighten the screws directly into my (tinned) wire.

    I also prefer the NL4 connectors in case I need a cable that will let me bridge a power amp...
  9. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    You do NOT use shielded wire for speakers.
    1. It is not needed - speakers don't pick up any hum
    2. Shielded wire is usually not large enough gauge.

    Just get some round AC extension cord type wire at Home Depot. 12 GA. can handle anything, but 14 is OK if it is not too long. I use round because it coils up better than the flat stuff, and it usually has some extra strands inside to make it more flexible.

    You just need some standard wire strippers.
  10. Very easy to make Speakon cables. There are many places on Ebay that sell the connectors. You can get the cable at Home Depot. It is call SJ cord and you want size 14/2. It is sold by the foot on rolls so you can get just what you need. It has a flexible rubberized outer covering and fits perfectly in to the Speakon connectors.

    Here is what it looks like: SJ 14/2 from Allied Wire & Cable
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I use the 13 g. cable found here: Parts-Express.com sells Speakers, Replacement Speakers, Speaker Building Parts plus HDMI Cables, Home Audio and Video, Pro Audio and Commercial Sound. We offer services for Speaker Reconing, Speaker Refoaming, Speaker Repair. Great selection of Elect. The 13 g. is the largest which will comfortably fit a standard Speakon connector...IMO. They also offer the connectors and the customer service is fairly decent. Mouser Electronics - Electronic Component Distributor is also a good choice.

    There's no need to tin the stranded wire ends. The clamp-down connectors are designed to spread and crimp. You may Loctite the screws if desired but it's not a necessity.

  12. hotrodjohn

    hotrodjohn Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2009
    If i wanted to make a biamp cable, say for a GK amp/cabinet system, would that require a 14 gauge/4 wire cable? Anybody know where is a good place to get that type of cable? Thanks.
  13. etoncrow

    etoncrow (aka Greg Harman, the curmudgeon with a conundrum)

    Excerpted from audiophile.net


    Speakon Explained:

    Common late model amplifiers and speaker cabinets are equipped with “Speakon” connectors. Typically one of two types of “Speakon” panel jacks are used on these newer amplifiers and speaker cabinets:

    1) NL2MP
    2) NL4MP

    NL2 connectors explained:

    The NL2MP panel jack is much less common than the NL4 type of panel jacks. The NL2 and NL4 panel jacks can look very similar. The NL2MP is a male gender panel jack with only two contacts in the jack. Genuine Neutrik NL2MP jacks are identified with white lettering with the model number “NL2” as shown here:

    Only Speakon NL2FC cord-ends will function with NL2MP panel jacks. If your equipment is equipped with NL2 panel jacks then your cord must be equipped with NL2 cord ends since NL4 cord ends will not insert into NL2 panel jacks. Genuine Neutrik NL2FC cord ends are identified by the white printing stating “NL2FC” on the grey release ring as shown here:


    The NL2FC is a female gender cord-end and just like the NL2MP jack, is equipped with only two contact points. The NL2FC cord-end will insert into a NL4MP panel jack, and will pass signal on the two 1+ and 1- contact points. The NL4FC end will not insert into a NL2MP panel jack.

    NL4 connectors explained:

    The NL4 type panel jacks look very similar to the NL2 type panel jack. Also, the NL4 type cord-ends look very similar to the NL2 type cord-end. It is easy to mistake one for the other. The genuine Neutrik NL4 panel jack is not as easy to positively identify as the NL2 panel jacks. There is a variety of common NL4 type panels jacks, which are:

    1) NL4MP: small square mounting flange style with solder or spade connector termination points
    2) NL4MP-ST: small square mounting flange style with set-screw termination points
    3) NL4MPR: large round mounting flange style with solder or spade connection termination points

    The common NL4 type panel jacks are shown here:

    Audiopile Pro Audio - Speakon / Powercon

    The following inscriptions are located on the surface of the genuine Neutrik NL4 panel jacks:

    1) Neutrik: This is raised lettering located on the surface of the inner-most ring. Note: the NL2 panel jack is also labeled in this same exact manner.
    2) Liechtenstein: This is embossed in the lower left corner of the panel jack. Note: the NL2 panel jack is also labeled in this same exact manner.
    3) The NL4 panel jack has no other front surface lettering except the Neutrik logo in the upper right hand corner. If the Speakon panel jack is black in color, and IS NOT labeled with the white NL2 label, then it’s most likely an NL4 panel jack. If in-doubt, check your owner’s manual or contact the manufacture.

    In my experience, most modern amplifiers and speaker cabinets which are equipped with Speakon jacks, are equipped with the NL4 type Speakon jacks. The NL4 type Speakon jacks are equipped with 4 (four) ea. contact points, as opposed to the NL2 type Speakon jacks which are only equipped with 2 contact points. The NL4 type Speakon connector is capable of passing 2 different speaker signals; where-as the NL2 type Speakon connector is only capable of passing 1 single speaker’s signal. Many of the NL4 panel jacks mounted on modern amplifiers and speaker cabinets only utilize 2 of the 4 contact points. I believe the NL4 jacks are used because the cost is similar to the NL2 jacks, and the NL4 jack will accept either the NL2 or NL4 cord-ends.

    The contact points on the NL4 connectors are labeled on the connector in various locations depending on the model of the NL4 connector, and can be difficult to read because the labeling is fairly small, and could be partially obscured by set-screws, but the labeling is as follows:

    1) 1+
    2) 1-
    3) 2+
    4) 2-

    If the amplifier or speaker cabinet is equipped with NL4 jacks, and if only 2 of the 4 contact points are being used, generally it’s Pins 1+ and 1-. HOWEVER: This is not how all are wired. There is no “standard” for wiring NL4 connectors, although some configurations are more common than others. If the panel jack in the amplifier is wired for bridge/mono output, it’s possible that Pins 1+ and 2+ are being used. Many amplifiers have one (or more) of the Speakon jacks wired with both channels of the amplifier wired to the jack, which is generally intended for bi-amping purposes. If this is the case, channel 1 of the amplifier might be wired to pins 1+ and 1- of the jack, and channel 2 of the amplifier might be wired to pins 2+ and 2- of the jack. In virtually all cases, NL2 Speakon connectors are all wired the same; however, NL4 Speakon connectors could be wired in any of one of 16 (sixteen) different configurations on either the amplifier or the speaker cabinet. Just guessing what the wiring scheme would result in a 1 (one) in 256 (two hundred fifty six) chance of the amplifier wiring matching the speaker wiring.

    If your amplifier and speaker cabinet are equipped with NL2 type Speakon jacks, then you will need an NL2 type speaker cable to hook them up. Generally all NL2 Speakon jacks and NL2 Speakon cable are wired the same and fully compatible.

    If either your amplifier or speaker cabinet are equipped with NL4 type Speakon jacks, it's naive to assume the wiring scheme. To construct a proper cable, the panel jacks must be positively identified as being NL4 type and the pin-out configuration of both the amplifier NL4 jacks and speaker NL4 jacks must be known.
  14. If I remeber correctly they don't. Speakon female terminals use a blade coupling system. You need to put metric terminals to the ends of the wire.
    like this one:
  15. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    I am only planning on making the cables a couple of feet long each. Is 14 gauge wire okay, or should I make sure to use 12?
  16. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
  17. RH434


    Aug 25, 2008
    Boiling Springs, PA

    The gauge of the wire depends on the length and the wattage. For anything over 6 feet or 500 watts, I'd go 12GA. For less, 14GA should be fine.

    These are just examples based on my personal experience. Your mileage may vary. :D
  18. Ricnroll


    Dec 30, 2010
    Vancouver, B.C.
  19. Ricnroll


    Dec 30, 2010
    Vancouver, B.C.
  20. Is the cost the issue with such short cables? Go 12 now, it's cheaper than going to 12 later.