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Thread: DIY RCA interconnects with locking RCA plugs

  1. #1

    Default DIY RCA interconnects with locking RCA plugs

    I made some custom RCA interconnects for my system as I could not find ideal cables for less than $1000. I really like how they came out. Check out the gallery for full step by step instructions and many pictures... I had a fun time making them!

    Comments and suggestions always welcome!

    Step by step instructions

    My Home Theater (including full equipment list, pictures, and room build gallery): Home Theater web page

  2. #2

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    Excellent, it is quite satisfying and enjoyable making your own cables, that's how I started and gradually gained the confidence to try other projects. You work neatly which is good to see, well done.
    Regards,
    Paul

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ps68 View Post
    Excellent, it is quite satisfying and enjoyable making your own cables, that's how I started and gradually gained the confidence to try other projects. You work neatly which is good to see, well done.
    Regards,
    Paul
    I know what you mean. I think the next project will be custom power cables. That will take some more planning!
    My Home Theater (including full equipment list, pictures, and room build gallery): Home Theater web page

  4. #4
    MLO owner/operator TomDac's Avatar
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    Wow. Very cool! they look nice.
    Tom D'Acquisto
    MartinLoganOwners.com owner/operator
    ML Owner since 1988 (Sequels, reQuests, and now Summits!)
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    ick HERE to see my system.


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  5. #5
    Senior Member tsv_1's Avatar
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    Impressive step-by-step documentation... and they look beautiful!

    So how do they compair sonically to other cables you've tried in that system? Any obviouse differences? If so, can you describe? Also, did you use a high silver-content solder? The solder contact between terminator and cable can be a weak point.

    Really great post! Thanks for sharing.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsv_1 View Post
    Impressive step-by-step documentation... and they look beautiful!

    So how do they compair sonically to other cables you've tried in that system? Any obviouse differences? If so, can you describe? Also, did you use a high silver-content solder? The solder contact between terminator and cable can be a weak point.

    Really great post! Thanks for sharing.
    Thanks for the great comments TomDac and tsv_1.

    To answer your question I just finished the project yesterday, but I did get a couple of hours of listening time in them today on a couple of records that I recently listened to on the older setup. It's always difficult to make an exact approximation of audible changes but I think there is more soundstage and precision. The greatest improvement I noticed was clarity. This was most prominent when I was listening to the song "The Friends of Mr. Cairo" on the Jon and Vangelis CD (I got that CD from the music recommendation part of this site). There are some areas in the song where it's slightly difficult to understand the lyrics and that has greatly improved, also, the subtle sound effects are more clear and audible. As for the solder, I got an electronics grade thin solder (the thin type allowed me to really control how I was placing the solder and didn't have any of those big nasty "globs". I was also able to impregnate the ground mesh wire with the solder as it ate the solder up almost like paper would water and then I just attached it to the housing). It would be interesting to make the same cable and just change the solder to see what effect it had on the sound. Luckily, the locking RCA plugs had nice and large contact points so it was easy to solder both the signal wire to connecting pin and the ground to the body. I hope that these good connections will help.

    tsv_1, do you have specific recommendations of solder type, or where I could buy it. I had a lot of fun making these cables and plan to do more. After noticing the improvement from my preamp to my amp, I now want to make more for the connections to my other components. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if a friend or two will ask me to make a set for them. I really think these cables can compete with ones on the market for over 500 or even 1000 dollars and it costs me less than $100 for a pair.
    My Home Theater (including full equipment list, pictures, and room build gallery): Home Theater web page

  7. #7
    Senior Member tsv_1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invenio View Post
    Thanks for the great comments TomDac and tsv_1.

    To answer your question I just finished the project yesterday, but I did get a couple of hours of listening time in them today on a couple of records that I recently listened to on the older setup. It's always difficult to make an exact approximation of audible changes but I think there is more soundstage and precision. The greatest improvement I noticed was clarity. This was most prominent when I was listening to the song "The Friends of Mr. Cairo" on the Jon and Vangelis CD (I got that CD from the music recommendation part of this site). There are some areas in the song where it's slightly difficult to understand the lyrics and that has greatly improved, also, the subtle sound effects are more clear and audible. As for the solder, I got an electronics grade thin solder (the thin type allowed me to really control how I was placing the solder and didn't have any of those big nasty "globs". I was also able to impregnate the ground mesh wire with the solder as it ate the solder up almost like paper would water and then I just attached it to the housing). It would be interesting to make the same cable and just change the solder to see what effect it had on the sound. Luckily, the locking RCA plugs had nice and large contact points so it was easy to solder both the signal wire to connecting pin and the ground to the body. I hope that these good connections will help.

    tsv_1, do you have specific recommendations of solder type, or where I could buy it. I had a lot of fun making these cables and plan to do more. After noticing the improvement from my preamp to my amp, I now want to make more for the connections to my other components. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if a friend or two will ask me to make a set for them. I really think these cables can compete with ones on the market for over 500 or even 1000 dollars and it costs me less than $100 for a pair.
    Hey... I just noticed you're way down south in NH Hope you're not getting too blodgeoned by the caucus tumult.

    I'm a big proponent of silver in my interconnects. I dismiss the stigma that "silver is bright". While some earilier attemps to use silver by certain cable companies resulted in subpar products, there are other companies who have taken full advantage of silver's excellence wrt audio connectivity. I know you didn't ask me about my opinion on this subject, but I just couldn't help myself

    Here's the solder I like when I'm trying not to burn myself in the "lab" It ain't cheap, but neither is an excellent scotch. You get what you pay for.

    I would also recommend to you (and anyone else reading this) this stuff. I've applied it to all my system contact points (IEC receptacles, RCA plugs, XLR male connectors, and speaker terminals). Great stuff if a tad unruly (apply cautiously are suffer the horrors of silver paste on any/all surfaces in close proximity).

    Cheers

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsv_1 View Post
    Hey... I just noticed you're way down south in NH Hope you're not getting too blodgeoned by the caucus tumult.

    I'm a big proponent of silver in my interconnects. I dismiss the stigma that "silver is bright". While some earilier attemps to use silver by certain cable companies resulted in subpar products, there are other companies who have taken full advantage of silver's excellence wrt audio connectivity. I know you didn't ask me about my opinion on this subject, but I just couldn't help myself

    Here's the solder I like when I'm trying not to burn myself in the "lab" It ain't cheap, but neither is an excellent scotch. You get what you pay for.

    I would also recommend to you (and anyone else reading this) this stuff. I've applied it to all my system contact points (IEC receptacles, RCA plugs, XLR male connectors, and speaker terminals). Great stuff if a tad unruly (apply cautiously are suffer the horrors of silver paste on any/all surfaces in close proximity).

    Cheers
    I have heard many people say silver is too bright, but at the same time I hear it can be more detailed if done well. I would love to try and make some silver interconnects in the future. I have seen DIY instructions where they take silver strands from the local jewerly shop and put them in a teflon tube. I don't think they really sell ready made cables that are widely available (or at least I have not been able to find them).

    I checked out the solder. Definitely looks of high quality. I wish they sold a smaller amount as spending nearly 100 bucks for solder when I know I will only use 1/4 during my entire lifetime is a shame. Still a worthwhile consideration if I continue to make cables. I wouldn't be surprised if a friend of mine will ask me to make some cables for him.

    I also looked at that silver "goop". Looks interesting. I would like to try that out. The only thing that scares me is that I'll probably make a huge mess! Does it come off with a simple cloth if I get to zealous?

    As for the political stuff.... I just retreat into my listening room.... put on a good album... and it seems like all the troubles of the world disappear.
    My Home Theater (including full equipment list, pictures, and room build gallery): Home Theater web page

  9. #9
    Senior Member tsv_1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invenio View Post
    I have heard many people say silver is too bright, but at the same time I hear it can be more detailed if done well. I would love to try and make some silver interconnects in the future. I have seen DIY instructions where they take silver strands from the local jewerly shop and put them in a teflon tube. I don't think they really sell ready made cables that are widely available (or at least I have not been able to find them).

    I checked out the solder. Definitely looks of high quality. I wish they sold a smaller amount as spending nearly 100 bucks for solder when I know I will only use 1/4 during my entire lifetime is a shame. Still a worthwhile consideration if I continue to make cables. I wouldn't be surprised if a friend of mine will ask me to make some cables for him.

    I also looked at that silver "goop". Looks interesting. I would like to try that out. The only thing that scares me is that I'll probably make a huge mess! Does it come off with a simple cloth if I get to zealous?

    As for the political stuff.... I just retreat into my listening room.... put on a good album... and it seems like all the troubles of the world disappear.
    There are a few reasonably priced teflon-sheathed-pure-silver-strand-interconnect vendors out there. I buy from these guys and love their products. and hey... I just notices they use the same WBT solder I mentioned to you. I honestly did not notice that before, but good to see they are like-minded in their preferences.

    And the silver goop does not permanently stain... wipes up (and/or washes out) without too much toil and trouble.

    Cheers

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsv_1 View Post
    There are a few reasonably priced teflon-sheathed-pure-silver-strand-interconnect vendors out there. I buy from these guys and love their products. and hey... I just notices they use the same WBT solder I mentioned to you. I honestly did not notice that before, but good to see they are like-minded in their preferences.

    And the silver goop does not permanently stain... wipes up (and/or washes out) without too much toil and trouble.

    Cheers
    Looks like they make some very nice cables. Do they sell the cable alone without the plugs? I couldn't find it on their site, and if so, how much per foot. Their higher end silver w/ shielding looks really cool!
    My Home Theater (including full equipment list, pictures, and room build gallery): Home Theater web page

  11. #11
    Senior Member tsv_1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invenio View Post
    Looks like they make some very nice cables. Do they sell the cable alone without the plugs? I couldn't find it on their site, and if so, how much per foot. Their higher end silver w/ shielding looks really cool!
    I've not asked if the sell unterminated lengths - you'd need to check with them. I did have some conversations with them about speaker cable using the same basic construct and they said they'd be happy to fabricate whatever I wanted, so I imagine they would be similarly flexible with you.

    Cheers

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsv_1 View Post
    I've not asked if the sell unterminated lengths - you'd need to check with them. I did have some conversations with them about speaker cable using the same basic construct and they said they'd be happy to fabricate whatever I wanted, so I imagine they would be similarly flexible with you.

    Cheers
    I may give them a call as it would be pretty interesting to make some silver cables.
    My Home Theater (including full equipment list, pictures, and room build gallery): Home Theater web page

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsv_1 View Post
    Hey... I just noticed you're way down south in NH Hope you're not getting too blodgeoned by the caucus tumult.

    I'm a big proponent of silver in my interconnects. I dismiss the stigma that "silver is bright". While some earilier attemps to use silver by certain cable companies resulted in subpar products, there are other companies who have taken full advantage of silver's excellence wrt audio connectivity. I know you didn't ask me about my opinion on this subject, but I just couldn't help myself

    Here's the solder I like when I'm trying not to burn myself in the "lab" It ain't cheap, but neither is an excellent scotch. You get what you pay for.

    I would also recommend to you (and anyone else reading this) this stuff. I've applied it to all my system contact points (IEC receptacles, RCA plugs, XLR male connectors, and speaker terminals). Great stuff if a tad unruly (apply cautiously are suffer the horrors of silver paste on any/all surfaces in close proximity).

    Cheers
    I just ordered some of the WBT silver solder as you suggested. Hopefully it will get here by next week and I plan on making a 2nd set of my cable but this time will use it for interconnects between my components and preamp. I will try to report on any audible differences once all done and after some listening time.
    My Home Theater (including full equipment list, pictures, and room build gallery): Home Theater web page

  14. #14

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    I got the WBT solder and I decided to make a 2nd set of cable to connect my CD player to the preamp. This was a shorter 2 ft cable.

    My Home Theater (including full equipment list, pictures, and room build gallery): Home Theater web page

  15. #15
    Senior Member tsv_1's Avatar
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    You should be proud, those are more attractive than most anything on the market... and given the materials used, I would guess at least as good sounding. Great job! Has your friend ordered a pair of "Invenio Scotch Bonnets" yet? (tagline... the hottest ICs on the planet! )

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