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Making Audio Cable/ Good Brands? Help!

Hi friends,

I was hoping for some feedback or tips regarding making your own audio cables. I've done soldering before, and i know what to do... what i dont know is this:

where is a good place to buy bulk cable and connectors?
what is a good type/brand/gage?

I'm mostly going to be making balanced cables (TRS to TRS) with the occational XLR in there.

thanks for your thoughts!
ps. Do yall think its good to heat wrap the final soldering joint with a heat gun and tubing? any thoughts of where to get one?


grant Mon, 01/29/2007 - 13:01
A couple standards for cable types include the following:

Mogami model 2549
This stuff is great to solder. The jacket takes heat well and in general seems easy to work with. It's usually about $0.50/foot bullk.

Canare - another sound guy favorite but I haven't used it. Similar price to Mogami. But personally, I'd stay away from the "quad" stuff for your applications.

West Penn or Belden bulk cable will be about $0.10/foot but it is meant for permanent install. It usually has a foil, not braided, shield that won't hold up to normal cable use. I've often used the West Penn stuff and it is just about the easiest cable to solder I've ever used. If you're inclined to believe that cables have a sonic signature, these cables are likely not for you. Mogami and/or Canare are better bets in that case.


Many rave about the Neutrik 1/4" connectors. That's what I use even though I think the Switchcrafts are a little easier to solder.

In my opinion, Neutrik XLRs are hands down winners.

Consider volume discounts on these. For example, Full Compass generally has a significant price break for quantities of ten or more.

zemlin Tue, 01/30/2007 - 13:45
HF loss can only become an issue with very long cable runs. I tested 15' of Canare star-quad with 250' recording pink noise in my studio - no measureable difference in the freq distribution of the two recorded samples.

Still, with short runs the potential benefit of quad cable is minimized, so the extra cost and the little bit of additional trouble in soldering is not justified.

grant Tue, 01/30/2007 - 14:15
Karl, are you saying that you compared a fifteen foot Canare quad cable with a 250 foot Canare quad cable or a fifteen foot Canare quad with a 250 foot non quad cable?

What means of measurement did you employ? What was your margin of error/lowest measurable variance? (You're an electrical engineer, right?)

I'm just interested. Partly, becuase there are times I could use extra RF rejection.


zemlin Tue, 01/16/2007 - 12:43
I like
What are you using the cables for? What length?
I heat shrink, but generally not over the solder. I heat shrink the drain wire to prevent fraying, and I'll usually run a layer or two or three of heat shrink out of the connector to prevent sharp bends in the cable at the connector exit.

My heat gun came from a hobby shop when I was playing with RC airplanes.

Cucco Tue, 01/16/2007 - 19:01
LeroyGodspeed wrote: cool. thanks for the tips!

i'll mostly be using these cables for studio applications... compressors, limiters, reverb and other FX into my board. All balanced...

Most of the lengths would be pretty short... probably never longer than 3 feet.

what is a good gauge?

Gauge is rather immaterial for mic cables. Heck, use CAT 5 if you'd like. (Not quite THAT immaterial, but certainly, any mic cable on the market is high enough gauge.