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Old 27th Jul 2020, 1:02 pm   #1
Uncle Bulgaria
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Default Recommended cable for DIY audio interconnects?

This is a perennial problem of mine: as there aren't shops where one can finger all the types of cable, and online places often require purchase of a 100m reel, it's hard to get the right kind of cable for all those interconnects that need making up for audio.

I've found some 4-core individually screened cable at CPC (again a reel) which I understand is good for DIN, I assume tying all the screens together. At 4.5mm OD it will probably sit nicely in the rubber boots on the ends of the DIN plugs I have, so justifying the 30 for the reel might not be too hard.

What do people use for phono cables? Something that's flexible but not too tiny - a bit like the satisfying heft of a good guitar cable. When things are on display it's nice to pay some attention to the look of the cables, and I find the screened stereo stuff is often too thin for the strain relief springs on metal phono plugs and looks silly. I'd be interested to know the model number of a reliable cable at engineering rather than audiophile prices for this kind of application.

The one I've been pleased with was when I threaded some thinner cable through the outer sheath of an old rope which had come up nicely in the washing machine. Finished off with heatshrink it had a similar heft to the phono plugs and sets off the record player nicely.
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Old 27th Jul 2020, 1:08 pm   #2
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Recommended cable for DIY audio interconnects?

What about ripping apart some old SCART leads? The flat type 'peel' easily into separate, or paired/quadrupled bundles.

I've currently got several lengths of such repurposed cable doing duty as a 5-pin-DIN-plug-to-4-RCA-phono-plugs breakout cable.
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Old 27th Jul 2020, 2:07 pm   #3
GrimJosef
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Default Re: Recommended cable for DIY audio interconnects?

A lot of pro audio people use Van Damme instrument cable. The standard gauge stuff is here https://cpc.farnell.com/van-damme/26...00m/dp/CB02322 (also available in other colours). It's not dirt cheap, but then it's not dirt quality either. It is low-noise when flexed and robust enough for bands to use on stage. There is a smaller diameter version too.

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 27th Jul 2020, 2:29 pm   #4
Uncle Bulgaria
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Default Re: Recommended cable for DIY audio interconnects?

Thanks both! G6Tanuki - have you got a picture of your cables so I can see how you've dealt with peeling apart the bundles? How did you manage the split between the RCAs so the whole thing didn't unravel back to the DIN strain relief?

GrimJosef - for this Van Damme (Jean-Claude, I hope!) is the practice to do left and right as discrete cables, or do they do a stereo version?
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Old 27th Jul 2020, 2:50 pm   #5
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Default Re: Recommended cable for DIY audio interconnects?

I've always made my own cables up as discrete L and R. But Van Damme do do a figure-of-eight version (they call it 'shotgun') http://www.van-damme.com/vandamme_pr...nnect-cable/.#

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Old 27th Jul 2020, 3:01 pm   #6
merlinmaxwell
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Default Re: Recommended cable for DIY audio interconnects?

RG58 works well and I always have a few offcuts lying about. Usually I use the "free" cables sent with stuff, more than good enough for everything except, maybe, record pickup inputs. CPC/Farnell do some cables with a chunky look, https://uk.farnell.com/w/c/cable-wir...2&sort=P_PRICE
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Old 27th Jul 2020, 3:08 pm   #7
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Default Re: Recommended cable for DIY audio interconnects?

If you keep your eyes skinned, the poundshops do very occasionally have quite decent cables (I've found 2, 3 and even 4 metre ones in the past) - usually don't have the plugs/connectors you need on the end, but easy enough to replace them with the ones you do need. They can be a very cheap source of co-ax.

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Old 27th Jul 2020, 4:16 pm   #8
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Recommended cable for DIY audio interconnects?

The SCART cables I used were the flat 'ribbon' type - you just peel the cores-you-want from the ones-you-don't, and end up with 2 pairs of something that looks like a thin version of the old flat-twin flex used for table lamps etc in the 50s and 60s. The slight ridge down the side where the other cores were peeled away is hardly noticeable.

At the RCA end, to keep the L+R cables from unpeeling further I just used a short length of adhesive-lined heatshrink. This is rather convenient because I was able to use yellow for the 'input' pair and red for the 'output'.
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Old 31st Jul 2020, 8:06 am   #9
Craig Sawyers
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Default Re: Recommended cable for DIY audio interconnects?

I've used van Damme in various flavours and diameters for different applications.

As an example, I phoned up NPL and asked what they used during voltage calibration, expecting something esoteric like mil spec goretex cable. They said "Van Damme", one that uses unplated copper conductors. The only thing they do is buy regular tin plated spade connectors from RS or Farnell and then chemically strip the plating off so they get a crimped copper/copper junction and avoid thermocouple voltages.

I've used the thinner stuff for phono leads, although I'm currently using Cardas (a good deal more expensive at 10.50 a foot). Two twisted pairs inside an overall braid shield. Great for moving coil, but probably too high capacitance for moving magnet at 140pF/m.

SME use Van den Hul https://www.vandenhul.com/product/d-...-halogen-free/ which is 75pF per meter and works for both MM and MC. It is not cheap.

At the other end of the scale, but exceptional value is https://www.canford.co.uk/CANFORD-MS...TOR-TWIN-CABLE at 82p per metre. Or https://www.canford.co.uk/MOGAMI-LAVALIER-MIC-CABLE at about a quid a metre.

If you have a dead mouse, the connecting cable makes a good interconnect for phono for zero cost.

Craig
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Old 31st Jul 2020, 8:25 am   #10
dglcomp
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Default Re: Recommended cable for DIY audio interconnects?

What about cable designed for 5 pin DMX, though it would probably be one shield for all cores.
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Old 31st Jul 2020, 12:10 pm   #11
G6ONEDave
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Default Re: Recommended cable for DIY audio interconnects?

Various suppliers such as CPC do a 'fig screened cable', in various qualities although you are back to buying a 50m or 100m drum. Posts 6 and 7 are methods that I use, I am perhaps a bit more fortunate in that I still have a lot of my stock from when I had a consumer goods repair shop many years back. The screened cable is something that I always keep when scrapping a defunct piece of kit.
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Old 31st Jul 2020, 12:11 pm   #12
Uncle Bulgaria
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Default Re: Recommended cable for DIY audio interconnects?

I had a CPC order open, so I added a reel of the four-core individually shielded stuff to see how that works for 5-pin DIN. I'm not sure I'll get through 100m, unless I go hard on other German equipment in the next few years, but the per m price I could find meant getting 10m was basically the same as buying a 100m reel! It's pretty flexible, and I thought the individual shields would make it easy to split off a couple (maybe doubled-up cores) for DIN-phono. I've got some solid Amphenol RCA plugs too, so will look into some of the microphone/instrument cable options for RCA-RCA cables. Some really good tips here.

Craig - you may have mentioned that elsewhere, as I've used that titbit about mouse cable when I re-wired my Lenco tonearm!
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