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DIY cable questions

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by guitarjazzman, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    I need a few new cables (XLR - XLR and XLR - TRS) and was thinking about making my own. I have been reading past posts and many people recommend makes of cable such as Mogami and Canare but I live in the UK and cannot find anywhere to buy them from. I am thinking about buying Klotz or Sommer cables with Neutrik connectors and have a few questions...
    Which cable would people suggest - Klotz, Sommer or some other make that I can get in the UK?
    Will I get any better results with quadflex (formerly starquad) cable or should I just use the standard cable? I don't have problems with interference in my studio so I am thinking I don't need the starquad stuff.
    How essential is the solder? I have read recommendations of Kester silver-bearing solder or WBT and to avoid cheap solder. My local electronics shop has silver solder. Is this good enough?
    Any opinions would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Klotz is good stuff. I'm not familiwer with Sommer.

    As for quad v. dual - I prefer dual in most cases. Quad is good for exactly the reason you reference, but over longer distances can actually degrade the signal.

    As for the solder - Kester and WBT are great but expensive. Check the composition of the solder you're looking at - if it's similar (same core, same contents of lead, tin, silver, etc.) than you're probably okay. Make sure that you don't use plumbing solder or solid-core solder.

  3. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    Cheers for the reply. The stuff I'm looking at is 4% silver, 95.5% tin and 0.5% copper. It is lead-free alloy solder containing a non-corrosive flux. One question I forgot to add to my list is to do with flux. Whenever my dad solders, he has a tub of flux that he seems to plaster over everything. Is this needed with flux present in the solder already or is it still good practice to use it?
  4. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Check this out

    They might help.
  5. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    Cheers for the links, very informative! I ordered some cable and connectors today and have worked out that I will make quite a saving and have some great leads... solder skills permitting!
  6. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    Hey, Jeremy - what's your rationale relative to quad degrading the signal over long distances? Purely capacitance? Something else?
  7. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I have not had the same experience with long quad cables degrading the sound. We had a noticeable improvement when we took our Main returns out of the snake years ago. We spooled 2 separate 100ft. quad cables for Mains & Sub Matrix - (and kept the monitor returns in the snake.) The quad cables rejected noise for sure, but there was a nice little bump in definition and clarity.

    A good quality quad will have a higher strand count of OFC copper with more surface area, better skin effect and generally should be a better conductor with better inductance.

    But if you're new to soldering mic cables, quad cables are going to be especially challenging.
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I know Jeremy had an earlier post on his opinions of which cables were easy/hard to work with. Maybe some of the UK people can chime in with similar assessments of cables available on your side of the pond. Better to start out with something easy to work with.

    Update: Here is the post I referred to above.
  9. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    I ordered my cables and connectors from http://www.studiospares.com. I couldn't find many places to buy the stuff from and there certainly didn't seem to be much choice in the UK. It would be helpful if anyone has recommendations for cables over here. I certainly couldn't get hold of the usual suspects that everyone recommends.
  10. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    These guys carry mogami, belden and parts
    Sorry can't convert Euros or do decimals or fractions so no idea what the pricing is like. Yankee boy thru and thru.
  11. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    That top link in jg's post is a great resource. It will take you to Link555's downloadable master class in soldering. Highly recommended reading and extremely well done. It's full of great pictures and should be useful for anyone novice to advanced.
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Primarily due to a few things -
    1 - yes, the capacitance is a significant issue.
    2 - empirical evidence. I've made many 100+ foot quad cables and found the high frequency to be noticably altered
    3 - Using an HP Spectrum Meter (not my own - one used in government labs to evaluate the impact of longer cable runs on naval vessels) I've been able to view the degradation of the higher frequencies over longer runs. Granted, in this case I put an XLR connector on each end of an entire spool (>600')
    4 - Regarding the skin effect - yes the cable is smaller, but there are now two skins per lead. The skin effect is greater on quad cables, not less.

  13. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    That is certainly a good read on soldering. Cables seems like quite a big topic as there is a lot of info on here the deeper I delve! Thanks for all the advice.

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