My DIY spiffy looking speaker cable guide..

Discussion in 'DIY' started by gotchaforce, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. gotchaforce

    gotchaforce New Member

    I posted this in audio theory but kensmith brought to my attention that we actually have a DIY subforum for things besides speakers and subs.... so here it is ;)

    final product:

    My materials/supplies:
    -Canare Canare 4S11 star quad
    -tech flex 3/8th
    -heat shrink 3:1: 1x 3/4, 1x 1/2, and 3x 3/8.
    -wire stripper


    heatshrink order:

    partsexpress has nice, clean, heatshrink in my experience. Be sure to order the amount specified in my supplies list

    star quad order: has cheap Canare 4S11 star quad, and they ship pretty damn fast

    this is also where i got my locking banana plugs

    techflex order:

    Theres a crapload of stuff techflex makes.
    If you go with the stuff i used, its cheap, and it still looks nice
    im gonna experiment with nylon multifilament, and clean cut flame retardant however...

    nylon multifilament = super soft, super professional looking
    clean cut flame retardant = nice white tracers, EASY TO CUT, a little bit finer threading/softer than regular techflex.

    its up to you to use these.

    ANOTHER NOTE: If you plan on making 12' cables, 3/8th techflex will SHORTEN BY A LOT. One spool of 25' 3/8th DID NOT make two 12' cables! I had to buy two spools! I got some 1/2" techflex carbon to see how it fit over the star quad, and it did okay, its a hair bigger, so watch out for lumps and stuff though.

    1) Take a ruler or something to measure with, then mark the cable with a black sharpie at 6.5".* Do this at BOTH ends.

    *Note: 6.5" is about the MAXIMUM length you can do w/ 6" long heatshrink. You can also do shorter of course:


    2) Do this to only one side of the cable for now. Theres about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch of gray rubber around the cable that youll be cutting off. Take a box cutter or something sharp and precise and sort of saw into it at a very slow rate, if you feel it tearing into the tissue like paper around the cable then back off. You should feel it when you are through the gray rubber though, its not very difficult. Also, feel free to bend the cable to open the cuts and make it easier to follow the slice all around the cable. Try to make the cut straight around the whole circumference of the cable, if it isnt, no biggie, gonna be covered up a lot anyways.


    3) Tug off the rubber outside


    4) Cut all the string and junk, the smaller the scissors the better. We will braid em later...


    Then cut the end off of each of the wires, an inch or so is good, anymore and it will be a hassle to fit it into banana plugs and crap:


    5) Slide the techflex onto the end that you have NOT cut yet. (This step takes a while)


    When youre done it will look like this:

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2009
  2. gotchaforce

    gotchaforce New Member

    7) Cutting the techflex.
    This part is if you made a 6.5" measurement *AT THE BEGINNING*. If you did a 6.5" cut, move the techflex down to 7" if you want to be safe, i would recommend going for 7.5" or 8".


    first, run your hand TIGHTLY along the whole length of the wire so you get out all the lumps and crap from the techflex and to make sure its pretty tight against the cable. Then youre gonna cut about here WITH A HEATKNIFE:

    if you dont have a heatknife, get a SHARP pair of scissors, cut it at that point, then use a lighter or a torch lighter (ones to start a BBQ), and then burn the frayed edges of the cut techflex with the flame (i use the side of the flame.. if that makes sense). It will melt and bubble quick if you hold the flame there for too long. I would just do it for about half a second... if you need more, do it for another half a second. Your experience may vary.

    Alright, now slide the techflex on in the middle so its leaving the ends bare
    8) Twist the wires, real simple:

    9) NOTE: I used two black pieces of heatshrink, if you want, use a black and a red. I would have, but i didnt think of it until after the first cable was made, and wasnt about to have mismatched cables :p. Slide two 6" long 3/8th heatshrink tubes on the red and white twisted pair of wires, now youre gonna pinch the wire and find out where it goes from the rubber outer wire to bare wire, and youre gonna cut it about 1/8th of an inch from the transition point. Of course after its on the wire just use a heat gun or the torch lighter pictured above to shrink this sucker.. this is what we're aiming for, a little bit of overhang so you cant see any bare wire once you put it in banana plugs or something (you might not care however..):

    10) BEFORE YOU DO THIS STEP MAKE NOTE WHICH ONE IS RED AND WHICH ONE IS WHITE. At the Y split in the cables, youre gonna have some showing, you may or may not want to cut about a half an inch of the 1/2" heatshrink tube and cover it up.
    [​IMG]o that side

    11) Almost there... take the 3/4th heatshrink, and cut a 1.25"-2" long piece out of it, then put half on the techflex side, and half on the y split side, this is what it will probably look like. If the "skirt" of the y split is too short, you'll be seeing white and red wire underneath it, and this is what step 10 was for:

    12) Now repeat most of these steps for the other end of your cable that should still be untouched...

    13) Enjoy your spiffy lookin cabes
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2009
  3. Tripqzon

    Tripqzon Super Member

    Excellent tutorial. Someday I would like try making my own cables and tutorials like yours make it more enticing.

  4. Wardsweb

    Wardsweb Behind The Curtain Staff Member Admin

    KUDOS to you sir. That is an excellent tutorial and even better cables. You sure get a lot of bang for you buck with DIY. I did almost the same pair except I used dual runs of Belden cable for a bi-wire setup. I even used the same Techflex. :thmbsp:
  5. gotchaforce

    gotchaforce New Member

    yep a 10' pair of these will cost you a measely $50... chump change in the audio world :smoke:

    next im thinking about trying something with the home depot extension cord speaker cable... :D
  6. gychang

    gychang Active Member

    any luck on the homedepot project?, like to duplicate it if positive.

  7. djcslice

    djcslice Active Member

    i use 12ga outdoor heavy duty extention cable for my speaker wiring. It is heavy, well made, and the coating is flexable rubber instead of the stiffer, plastic coating. I bought it from northern tool for fairly cheap.
  8. Clarence

    Clarence Super Member

    Something interesting to say.

  9. celticguitar

    celticguitar Too Loud? Oh Well

    Wow nice Job I wish I had noticed your post before I put mine up It kinda answered some of my questions posted there.
  10. stuartk

    stuartk Super Member

    Be really careful when using bare metal plugs or binding posts on speakers. A power amp can put out enough juice to shock you. This can be hazardous if you have little kids around the house.

    I also don't like bare metal because it's much easier to cause a short across them and some power amps don't like a dead short at all. :)
  11. VinylRob

    VinylRob Vinylphile

    Great job, thanks for the resource listings.

    Happy Listening! :beatnik:
  12. Andyman

    Andyman Scroungus Stereophilus Subscriber

    I've yet to try it, but Kegger tells me that the Home Depot low voltage lighting cable is quite a bargain and worth checking out.
  13. Doc Brown

    Doc Brown Active Member

    I used 12ga. outdoor low voltage lighting cable at the Fest. Nice heavy stuff. Hardware store liquidation, 12.00 for 100 ft. Made the cables real long because I was unsure of the set-up. Forgot to cut hem down at the show. Ran 30ft. plus speaker leads. Couldn't have been optimal.

    Doesn't look anywhere near as nice as these cables. I need to make some. Nice tutorial, Thanks.
  14. Kahuna

    Kahuna Member

    Tagged. :D (For future reference). :thmbsp:
  15. Elfasto

    Elfasto Super Member

    Excellent tech write-up, Excellent cables. The outer wrapping was a beautiful touch.
  16. Musicalme

    Musicalme Relearning my trade

    Sort of makes the million dollar speaker cable scam look a little silly now doesnt it?
  17. DanTheMan

    DanTheMan New Member

    I would recommend for you next project to grab some AudioQuest type four wire. It's the same geometry as the Canare(starquad), but it uses solid conductors. You should be able to find it from $2-2.5/ft. It would be interesting for me to hear your impressions of solid vs. stranded wire in cables. Everytime I've done a solid vs stranded comaprison, the solid won easily. StarQuad is an excellent geometry for speaker cable BTW, and those look great and I'm sure the sound matches.

  18. groovemaster

    groovemaster Well-Known Member

    Fantastic Job:thmbsp: Canare is great cable.:D
  19. Miwo

    Miwo New Member

    Speaking of solid core cables, a much cheaper alternative is to use solid core Cat5 with Teflon insulation, ie Belden 1585A. If you look on Ebay, you can get that stuff for about $.10-$.20 cents a foot. There are several Cat5 recipes involving different braid quantities, etc.

    Instead of going braid crazy with Cat5, I opted to go with 20guage Solidcore Silver Plated Copper w/ Teflon. It sells for about $10-$20 for 50feet on Ebay. Doubling up should give you ~18guage, etc. The seller navships is a reliable source for a lot of teflon wire and many people use it for audio interconnects & speaker wire. I havn't had the chance to build them yet, but I plan on doing my own listening test to see if I can tell any difference between the various types of cables I have laying around (Belden Cat5, Milspec 20guage solid teflon, Canare 4s11, Partsexpress 14gauage stranded, monoprice 12guage stranded).
  20. DanTheMan

    DanTheMan New Member

    let us now how that goes Miwo. They should sound really good for sure. I think doubling up should put you closer to 17AWG--even better!

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