making your own cables

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by silent_nick, Mar 27, 2003.

  1. silent_nick

    silent_nick Guest

    I was speaking with a friend yesterday and he mentioned that he's been making his own cables recently. Does anyone have any experience doing this? How easy is it? How cost-effective?

  2. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    If you know how to solder and make up cable ends it is very easy and very cost effective. Plus you can build exactly what you need from parts. I made about 50% of the cables in my studio. I keep a parts bin with various connector types and some basic cable stock to make up anything I need on a moments notice.

    On the other hand, if you are not good at soldering then making your own cables can be VERY costly, interms of down time and lost business.
  3. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Jan 27, 2002
    Same here

    I've been making my own cables since the days I was starting out playing guitar; it may seem difficult the first times, but as you keep at it it becomes easy and can be very cost effective: I buy 100m reels of good quality brand cable (so that I can get a substantial cut in price compared to the premade cable), and several blisters of the connectors I need, then assemble the cables as I need them: it just takes the time to prepare/strip the cable and solder it + time of soldering gun warm up.

    Right now I'm planning a major recabling of my control room soo....

  4. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Yeah, I do the same thing, but make sure as gerax points out that you buy high-quality components, use a high-quality flux-based solder, etc.

    If you are not sure what you are doing, you can make a mess of things! Make sure you know where each lead needs to go (ex: the shield on a mic cable goes to pin#1 of the xlr connector).

    Also, make sure you don't melt any of the plastic shield on one of the wires that will cause a short.

    All in all, if you are careful, and have a bit of practice with a soldering iron, it is truly a great way to go! I am with gerax right now in that I am re-wiring my studio to a new mixing desk, so I am in the process of making a lot of new is a bit of a pain, but in the long run, they are exactly the right length for my needs, and therefore things are more tidy, plus, I saved a boatload of money! I buy connectors on Ebay, and can get 10-pack bags of Neutrik gold-plated xlr connectors for under US$25 (that is less than $2.50 an end!).

    For some GREAT information on how to wire your cables, go here (this article shows which wire goes to which lead for lots of cable types):

    They (Rane) have tons of technical bulletins that you might find useful, including:

    Good luck!
  5. EdWray

    EdWray Active Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Which wire is best for mike cables?
  6. Macaroni

    Macaroni Guest

    I get all my stuff from Electronic City in Burbank, CA...

    They make custom cables (Silver Express line) with Mogami cable and Neutrik connectors. Every bit as good as Monster and way cheaper. Plus you can buy cable and parts and lots of other stuff.
  7. pacoaveleyra

    pacoaveleyra Guest

    Im agree, with macaroni. Neutrik Rules, but I prefer Gotham cable or Belden. As Gerax says, the first cables are tough, but when you get a little practice is very easy and also therapeutic, I enjoy a lot making cables, and you can also make wathever you want.

  8. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Jan 27, 2002
    Hi guys

    Not only making your cables will make you save money in the long (but even short) run, but in cases like mine and Doublehelix, doing the cabling of your studio yourself will give you a complete and thorough understanding of how the signal flows around in your facility, not to mention troubleshooting: try to find a defective cable in a studio wired by some other person at 3 am when you are ready to close a mix and suddenly a channel disppears on your desk, and you open up the patch panel and find a rats nest of cables going all directions...don't know you, but I've found myself in similar situations for too long in my assistant days, so now, time permitting (and size of the project permitting) I do my cabling so I'm sure of the things running in y studio.


    L.G. :)
  9. silent_nick

    silent_nick Guest

    What type of cable do you use for this? Would Home Depot be a good place to buy it? What gauge?

  10. Macaroni

    Macaroni Guest

    Hey Nick...

    If you're in LA, just go to Electronic City in Burbank.

  11. ironsheik

    ironsheik Guest

    I've been making all my own cables since I built my little studio. It's fun in a nerdy way (but what isn't in a studio?)

    I would like to add that Camel Traders out of NY have the coolest staff and great prices too. I am not affiliated with them in any way but I think they generally have much better prices and service than big places like mouser or digikey.
  12. tucker

    tucker Guest

    where can the actual cable be bought and how much is it? What should I watch out for quality wise? Also, what kind of discounts is there for buying a lot of this stuff!

    thanks guys. I need to cable up my very small, but getting upgraded, studio.
  13. silent_nick

    silent_nick Guest

    I was checking out and I was doing a search. I chose "audio cable" and "Belden". A bunch of things came up. Which would be the selection I'd want for making mic cables? They list prices, but no length. Is the price listed per foot of cable.

    What all would I need to buy? I know I need cable (obviously) and 2 XLR connectors (male and female). Anything else? (Besides a soldering iron).

  14. jg

    jg Guest

    Making your own cables is a wise move.
    Before I started making my own I was replacing junk cables every couple months.

    I buy most my cable supplies from Pacific Radio Electronics (
    Easy online ordering & fast shipment.

    I use only Neutrik connectors for everything from RCA to XLR, but my primary connection is the 1/4" balanced.
    For bulk cable I really like the Mogami (MAR2552) & Canare (2TS).
    To make snakes I use the Mogami or Canare stuff as well.

    It is a little bit of an investment upfront to get your supplies, but you will end up with far superior cable than anything you'll buy at Radio Shack or Guitar Center.
    And, you can customize all your lengths, color code & if any cables go bad down the line, they are most always repairable.
    Versus the disposable HOSA junk.

    Make sure you practice good soldering technique & test all your cable for shorts (to be safe).

    I find a mini-vise (you can buy from any hardware or electronics store), small scissors & a metal or plastic pointy type thing (to seperate shielding) helps a lot too.
    In my case I use a metal dental scraper tool.

    I am in the midst of making another batch of cables right now to wire up my console.
    Only 28 more connections to go!!!

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