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Who makes their own cables?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by SuperDuck, Dec 7, 2002.

  1. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Today in my electronics class we were wiring circuit boards, and working with soldering irons. While we were on the topic, I asked my teacher if making my own cables would be hard, and his response was something along the lines of "hell no". I looked inside a cable, and sure enough, a monkey could solder that.

    I found some Switchcraft phone plugs at DigiKey, but I am at a loss as to what cable to buy. Radio Shack has some "Instrumentation cable" that looks like it's shielded (at least from the cheap picture on their site), but at the price they are selling it for, it almost seems TOO cheap, you know? Then again, maybe I'm just new at this and don't realize that $.14/foot is normal. Does anyone who makes their own cables have a good source for the cable? Or a better one for the plugs?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I make all of my own balanced cables, and a few instrument cables. You're right. It is easy. Caution, though; NEVER use Radio Shack components or cable. You defeat the purpose of making your own cables: QUALITY. The Switchcraft plugs are fine, Neutrik are better. Use either Canare or Belden audio cable (do a Google search). Just get the right number of conductors and a braided shield.

    For unbalanced cables (like instrument cables) you can get single-conductor shielded cable, and run the conductor to the tip and the braided shield to the sleeve. I use two-conductor shielded cable for my balance cables. All of the above is for instrument cables or patch cables. Speaker cables need heavy gauge, 16 is wimpy, 14 is OK, 12 is preferred, and 8 RULES! Shielding is less critical on speaker cables. NEVER mix'n'match speaker cables and instrument cables.

    BTW, the $.14 a foot probably isn't the right stuff. I think the good stuff is about $.60 a foot. It turns out, by the time you pay retail for the plugs, cable, shrink tubing, etc., you haven't really saved much money. The manufacturers buy the stuff in gargantuan quantities, and pay much less for it than, yes, even I do.

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  3. The stuff from Radio Shack is fine. I use the australian version of RS (Dick Smith Electronics). I have used their 2 core shielded proffessional mic cable for years with no problems, no noise as well.

    If you wish to make speaker cables, use 2 core mains cable. It has this paper/cotton insulation and is amazing for speakers. I kid you not. I use that cable now and will never look back. This is the type of stuff you could find bundles of at a construction site. Or if u have a old extension cord... cut the ends off. SSHHH dont tell mum.

    So too i buy the ends from Dick Smiths and have no worries what so ever. No signal loss etc. I am a audiophile and sound is everything. People often argue with me "but i spent $10 on this XLR connector" yeah i bet.... and yet they say my leads are great.. :rolleyes:


  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Decent quality cable and Neutriks. It's easy and it's up there with any "boutique" cable.
  5. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I make and repair all cables for my bass rig and my PA. I use Neutrik or Switchcraft for mic and guitar cables, and any high quality and thick mic cable. Don't use the super flexible and soft variety, they just break or develop kinks or internal short-cuts. It really pays off in the long run, I keep replacing cheaper cables and connectors as they break one by one at gigs. Soon all cheap stuff will have died though.

    For my pedals I just recently switched to George L's cables and connectors. I can't honestly say I notice much of a sonic difference (the cables are very short after all), but they are so easy to make and reconfigure that the steep price is worth it.
  6. iplaybass


    Feb 13, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Wait... I was under the impression that speaker cables weren't supposed to be shielded because of heat issues?:confused:
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  8. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Thanks for the tips everybody. :)
  9. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    I do my own speaker and instrument cables. I had some Neutrik/Speakon cable hanging around and I made quite a few of those Speakon-Speakon and Speakon-1/4 inch...Do all of my bass repais, too. Learn to do your own stuff so that you can fix your own problems.
  10. i plan on making my own patch cables (1/4" jack) and speaker cables (6 ft, speakon to 1/4"), i see neutrik for connectors, does anyone have preferred brand for cable so that I could buy say 50 feet and then just make a bunch of cables?
  11. bassackwards

    bassackwards Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    I use George L's. They're good , but I don't swear by 'em or anything. I'm still open to other options.
  12. Hmmm. It may be different in the States. Here we have a place called Dick Smith Electronics. They do have some radio shack stuff (unlike Tandy *shudders*), but the rest is the Dick Smith Australian made gear. Its very good. And hasnt failed me yet.


  13. I made all my own cables for my bass rigs and PA for five years. I recently discovered EWI, www.ewiusa.net They are an excellant company with excellant products. I just got four guitar cables 20' for $20!! Every thing they have is great and CHEAP! Unless it is a very specail style cable I am never soldering again!
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Tandy owns Radio Shack.
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Belden or Canare.
  16. Whirlwind and horizon make great speaker cables too. If you want cheap connectors call 1-800-HLDALIS and get a catalog. The best deals I could find.
  17. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I have a couple of custom cables with Neutrik jacks and Canare cable from someone on TBL who was making them for pretty cheap.

    The quality is outstanding, and you can really tell how cheap most jacks are compared to the heavy duty Neutrik jacks. All of the cables are right-angled on one end, and straight on the other.

    I honestly don't notice much, if any, sound difference between this and the George Ls I've got, but the sheer indestructibility of these cables more than justifies getting them--not that I'm terribly hard on my cables. They just feel so much more substantial, and give me great peace of mind live.

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