Cable Jamboree

Cables! The cause of - and solution to? - so many problems...

Or not? But who really knows, right? AFAIK, cilantro is always delicious, but who the hell am I?

So let’s spend an afternoon making some cables - speaker cables, interconnects, all of it - you bring them home and try them on your own system, and see what you think. Make a different kind next time. The materials are cheap and it's fun - what do you have to lose? Plus, beers. 

If you want a proper lesson in soldering your own interconnects / instrument cables ($60), order below. Just want to stop by, hang out, and DIY some stuff? Send me an email to RSVP,  payment for that is day-of based on what you make. 

I'll have a whole array of DIY supplies (detailed below), and you can create some intricate design you read about on some forum online, or just grab a few feet of generic 16AWG speaker wire and a few banana plugs to replace the oxidized pair as old as the Marantz 1060 and vintage JBL L100s it connects. 

Cost for all this fun and games? You decide.

If you want a proper soldering lesson, that's $60 and will take about 30min, and you can order that below. If you're going to make some cables, I'll have a price list for materials (all pretty much near cost - e.g. $4 for a pair of banana plugs.) Pay what you feel is appropriate for materials and time - e.g. if you stick around for two hours making some fancy silver interconnects, toss in what you think is fair - I think this makes it easier than some sort of "cover charge" or hourly rate, but I do have the cost of the space, extra materials, etc.)

Google "DIY speaker cables" and you're in for a deep, dark rabbit hole... Google "do speaker cables matter" and it's even deeper and darker. 

My take on this: there's a lot of snake-oil peddled in this industry in an attempt to part people from their money, with all sorts of claims about adding air, and space, and blackness, and removing grain, and lifting a veil - and the cables all may do that! - but it's highly system dependent. That's the key. 

So where does that leave us? Make our own, and see what works. I'm not going to (nor am I in any position to) spend $1,400 on cables, but I'll spend an afternoon making some similar ones. Will they be as good? Maybe? Better? Who knows? Or cares for that matter. So long as it's fun to make them, I'll try it. 

Basically (as far as I know, but this is, after all, contentious) you can mess around with three cable properties via different designs - resistance, inductance, and capacitance. Based on the output impedance of your amp and a whole bunch of properties related to your speakers (plus the length of the cable run - longer run, bigger impact), the sound can change - for better, or worse. Thing is, there's no handy chart where you can look up the specs and find the ideal cable for you (now there's an idea....)

I used to be of the Roger Russell get-off-my-lawn school, but now want to try some new designs. I've been using super skinny 24ga Cat5e for my mains for the better part of a year, but it's stranded, and was reading about the benefits of solid copper - so I'll try that. Will I be able to tell? Not sure. But the finished cables will cost like $10. And if Audio Nirvana is that cheap, why not? Then can do the same for interconnects too... I certainly don't lose sleep over this stuff - or get in fights over it on the internet. It's a hobby - and once you have the basic skills, you can make any style you like. 

Here are a few  good  threads  and  sites to get started - and feel free to email me with any questions - happy to help if I can. (This isn't a new idea either - here's a paper written by Nelson Pass almost forty years ago....) There's a lot of contradictory info out there - as some of this is nearing religion - so take it all with a grain of salt. 

Using the below, we can make dozens of different designs for speaker cables and interconnects, whether straight, twisted, braided, etc. 

Jamboree Supplies

  • 16 AWG stranded copper wire
  • 14 AWG solid copper wire
  • 20 AWG solid coper wire
  • CAT5e stranded copper wire
  • Extension cords
  • Bananna Plugs
  • Crimp-on spades
  • Heatshrink
  • Techflex
  • Speaker wire pants
  • Starquad Microphone Cable
  • RCA connectors
  • XLR connectors
  • Shoelaces (for cotton sleeves for interconnects)
  • Silver wire (let me know - I'll get it, but need to know demand...)
  • Teflon tubing
  • Soldering irons, wire cutters, strippers, etc

Location:

TBD - but will be somewhere in the Gowanus part of Brooklyn. Likely in the back room of some bar or retail location. 

  

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