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  • Building RCA cables

    I'm looking to build some RCA cables to go the various components for my desktop setup. This will consist of an external DAC (Firestone Spitfire), headphone amp (Firestone Cute Beyond), Adcom GFA-535, and probably a small pre-amp in the future (Firestone Tube head).

    Many of these cables will be very short runs; DAC to headphone amp for example so it seems like making the cables would be the best option. I was looking at these Neutriks plugs but I am open to other suggestions. Also what should I use for cabling?

  • #2
    Re: Building RCA cables

    I've built my own cables several times.
    I prefer dual conductor (balanced) shielded microphone cable. I use both of the conductors, but connect the shield at only one end. And I slip on a ferrite over the cable too. You can get high quality gold plated RCA connectors just about anywhere. In times past, I have even recycled some Monster Cables, cut off the connectors from the original cables.

    I'll make them real short for connections between stacked components and real long when I have amps that are farther away.
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      Re: Building RCA cables

      If you want to pay 19 a pair for the plugs alone consider this seller. www.bluejeanscable.com he will make custom length. very good quality many color choices. I like belden 1694a cables 10 color choices. 1 foot pair is 25 bucks 2 dollars a foot for longer. he ships cheap and fast. I have 30 or more pairs 0 fail rate.

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      • #4
        Re: Building RCA cables

        I was hoping I would have a fast answer for you by linking to an old post but I cannot find it:(. So if anybody remembers a post that had a link to an article that suggested the use of a certain Belkin (mic?) cable along w/ crimp on RCA's please post it. The down side was that it required a set of $50-$80 crimpers. I liked the idea because the whole concept centered on the ability to build custom lengths of very high quality RCA's. It was something I have been meaning to invest in for some time but never ahd the desire turn in to a need (yet...).

        Aaron D
        Thanks,
        Aaron

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        • #5
          Re: Building RCA cables

          These Dayton locking type plugs are decent if you don't mind soldering.

          C

          Curt's Speaker Design Works

          "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
          - Aristotle

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          • #6
            Re: Building RCA cables

            Zaph used to have an article on his website about making high quality RCA cables cheaply. All thats left now in the archive is this:

            High Performance DIY Interconnects - formerly the most popular page on this web site. It had to come down because it's mere existance made people think that I placed a lot of importance on interconnects. I don't, and people need to realize that the weakest link in a system is always going to be the loudspeaker. Most people, if blindfolded, could not tell the difference between Rat Shack interconnects and ridiculously priced esoteric interconnects. That's probably why so many "cable experts" object to double blind testing. The performance of cables can be broken down into R, L, C, and in some cases RF shielding. That's it. "Cable experts" crack me up when they try to make it more complicated than that. The parts were available at MCM.
            Anyways, it uses these connectors for $2.49 each (search for the matching silver one):



            http://www.mcmelectronics.com/produc...P066R-/50-2135

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            • #7
              Re: Building RCA cables

              You can get just about anything in the way of wire and terminals for many of the popular diy cable formulas from DiyCable. Good service from someone knowledgable and willing to stand behind his products.
              Highly recommended.

              Link: www.diyCable.com

              Best Regards,
              TerryO

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              • #8
                Re: Building RCA cables

                Originally posted by Operandi View Post
                I'm looking to build some RCA cables to go the various components for my desktop setup. This will consist of an external DAC (Firestone Spitfire), headphone amp (Firestone Cute Beyond), Adcom GFA-535, and probably a small pre-amp in the future (Firestone Tube head).

                Many of these cables will be very short runs; DAC to headphone amp for example so it seems like making the cables would be the best option. I was looking at these Neutriks plugs but I am open to other suggestions. Also what should I use for cabling?
                I have also used www.bluejeanscable.com before and highly recommend them. That said, if you want to DIY them, here is a website that walks you through their process:



                Best regards, Andy.

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                • #9
                  Re: Building RCA cables

                  I've used these cheap connectors many times with good results.




                  With this cable.



                  If you use this type of cable be sure to strip away that black inner insulation, it's conductive.
                  "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Thomas A. Edison

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                  • #10
                    Re: Building RCA cables

                    Originally posted by andykriech View Post
                    I have also used www.bluejeanscable.com before and highly recommend them. That said, if you want to DIY them, here is a website that walks you through their process:



                    Best regards, Andy.
                    Andy, I am not sure of the difference btw RCA cables for video vs audio use, the article seems to concentrate in video apps. It does mention results w/ audio used though.

                    I really wish someone remembered that link I alluded to above. It was "Belden" not "Belkin" like I said previously. IIRC it used Canare RCA's possible the crimp versions of the ones mentioned in Andy's link.

                    Aaron
                    Thanks,
                    Aaron

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Building RCA cables

                      Thanks for all the tips, that guide looks pretty nice, thanks Andy.

                      I originally thought I would throw some connectors on my order to get it over $90 for free shipping but I just remembered there will also most likely be a Reckhorn active crossover in the mix so all those Neutriks would end up being pretty expensive. I think I'll look for something a bit cheaper, but I'm not sure I like the looks of cheaper stuff on PE.

                      I don't really put a lot of stock in premium connectors making a big audible if any difference but since the DAC, and headphone amp are on the desk the cables and connectors will be pretty visable and I wanted something nice, perhaps that sounds silly to some. This desktop setup will be my reference system for a good while, so I might as well have good cables. My goals is 2.5 way version of Roman's Microbe SEs (RS28A) in a curved Translam cabinet.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Building RCA cables

                        Good $2 connectors that are easy to rework whenever your system changes and requires longer/shorter cables makes good sense to me.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Building RCA cables

                          Originally posted by curt_c View Post
                          These Dayton locking type plugs are decent if you don't mind soldering.

                          C

                          I can second Curt's recommendation for these locking RCA plugs. I have built many cables using these on one end and Neutrik XLR connectors on the other to connect my pro gear to home audio equipment. Dayton also sells some nice microphone cable (AE also recommended this stuff) and here is a link to the type I use: part number 100-282 microphone cable with 95% shield.

                          I also recommend some shrink tubing for where the wire enters the plug housing.

                          As long as you can solder things together, you can easily make high quality interconnects of exactly the length you need, when you need them.

                          -Charlie
                          Charlie's Audio Pages: http://audio.claub.net

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                          • #14
                            Re: Building RCA cables

                            You might also take a look at http://www.homegrownaudio.com. They offer kits at several price points including individually sheathed multi-strand silver cabling. I've purchased from them a couple of times and found their products to be of high quality.

                            Steve

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                            • #15
                              Re: Building RCA cables

                              Originally posted by moose404 View Post

                              Anyways, it uses these connectors for $2.49 each (search for the matching silver one):

                              These MCM RCA cons look very similar to these (at a much lower price):
                              http://www.audiometallurgy.com/vampi...tors-pai4.html

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