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Cabling Journey (Read 552 times)
JBzen
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Cabling Journey
11/16/22 at 12:29:27
 
Decware’s latest offerings of cabling motivated me to up my cabling in the Chariot. I did some research on the different wire being offered for sale on the internet and asked Steve a few questions on suppliers and observed his woes dealing with vendors. Six months later my system has a full DIY compliment of interconnects from the DAC to speakers. I also changed some of the internal wiring to match in some of the equipment with the rest to follow sometime in the future. The result is amazing and reveals some maintenance that needs done on the equipment that is 20 years old. The 6 month journey took many turns and created frustration at times. It is however well worth the effort!

I will detail the speaker wire acquisition, construction, and connection.

Below is the wire first purchased on E-Bay. It was advertised as 8AG which is the total accumulation of the strands summed up. In this configuration it only ended up as 11 gauge using the geometry to upgrade the signal path to the speaker by lowering inductance and capacitance by keeping the plus and minus loops from being parallel. It has 7 strands of OCC silver plated wire of varying gauge encased with Teflon in each of the 16 strands that create the braid. Using two lengths of this item per speaker will give the desired 8AWG for Decware’s amps hooked to Lii Audio’s 10” Crystals. I purchased 7 meters to give the needed length of 10.6 feet in the system using one cable per speaker.



The next picture is the banana ends purchased to terminate the cable. Those are advertised as being gold plated and non metallic. Well, the bodies are non metallic but the prong was not. It readily attracted and stuck to a magnet. A USA NJ supplier sells these and the price is cheap so be aware. I used these anyway knowing full well that this cable will probably end up in the office Zkit1/Tiny Radial system. Thinking that this scheme will only create a 11 gauge wire surfaced suspicions of not really working as well as the ZSTYX clones that are 8 gauge a leg.



It took no time to assemble the cable. The results were inline with my thoughts. The bass was weak and flabby at first and the high end was edgy. This all ironed out over time and became a very good cable. The bass is sublime but weak as compared to the ZSTYX clones with the 10” Crystals in Huijgen’s folded horn cabinet.



Below is the wire ordered for the ultimate cable in my eyes for the Chariot. It advertises as 16AWG. This is misleading and resulted in some other improvements in the final hookup. The wire is actually .9144mm in diameter which translates into 19AWG! The spiral colored thread is actually another silver/copper wire that is .0762mm in diameter. Add those two together and it comes close to the 1mm advertised diameter of the wire. I questioned the vendor about this and they confirmed that it is actually 18 gauge solid core wire and plan on updating the advertisement. It is closer to the actual truth but still only 19 gauge wire with a 40AWG spiral loop.
In the description, it was also referenced that the wire is 91% the speed of light. Hmmm, why is this referenced? Maybe it is a resistance reference, or maybe a superconductor reference? I measured the inductance created by the spiral at .0685mh. A little research found that a superconductor coil shunted will cancel its own inductance. So maybe this is a hint that shunting the spiral will eliminate conductance in the cable. The only way a superconductor can approach zero resistance that a shunted coil would need to cancel inductance is it has to be in a very cold environment-like zero kelvin. I just cut this spiral wire as it exited the jacket after stripping the Teflon from the solid core wire. Also found that using a 16 wire gauge stripping tool it perfectly stripped the cable leaving the 40 gauge spiral with its own jacket intact. This worked for the red spiral cable flawlessly but the black cable did not fare as well. Interesting that the black cable is offered at a reduce cost at this time as compared to the green and red colors. Awe, the language barrier of our Chinese friends still prevails!



Purchasing 60 meters of each color of this wire would provide enough to make 16 strands 11 foot long times 2. At 18 gauge each (so I thought at purchase), the total of 8 strands per leg will create a 9 gauge cable. A bit on the light side but better than 11 gauge, plus the new cable is solid OCC. I read that stranded wire can add its own signature or fuzziness.



It is important to cut each leg at the same length. I made a jig to do just that. The back of 2 molded base boards lying around the shop were used as a guide for cutting. Using clamps, the base board ends were clamped together to the work bench making a straight track for laying the wire. A mark was made for the desired length measured from one end of the assembly. One end of the wire was spotted at the mark and clamped in place. The other end was stretched taunt and cut with a pair of side cutters at the far end of the base board. This wire is stiff with learned bends from handling. Stretching is necessary to ensure uniformity in length of the pieces.



It did not take long to get 18 pieces of each color cut using the jig and clamps. 18 pieces the same length you might ask? Carefully measuring a roll of wire before cutting there was enough left over to add the extra 4 pieces by shortening the 11’ by 2”. This sort of offset the actual 19 gauge wire that was received. Making the final product a hair under 10 gauge not 9! There will be some further moves to improve this short coming later.



Handing this wire so far gave some serious doubt on its ability to be braided. It is stiff and tangles very easily in a bunch. No very braid friendly by nature. Another jig was in order to combat this. The pic below shows how this was tackled in a very elegant way using some scrap oak with drilled holes inline. There was not much bother to make these pretty just functional.



The long oak board with holes is clamped to a stand on one end of the bench. The wires are inserted in the holes as shown and bent to hold in place. Again it is important to keep all the wires the same bent length.



The other 2 blocks of oak with holes are placed loosely at the other end of the extended workbench to fit the full length of the wires on a flat surface. This will make it easier to handle the wires for braiding keeping all in order.



This is where it became difficult for me and most of the reason it took a month to complete from receiving the wire to, at this time, 32 hours of music burn-in. An even number braid is relatively easy to complete but the repetitive steps must be exactly followed for a well defined product. This can easily be found on YouTube and I will not bother to explain the steps. The pic below shows one of the steps of braiding a round braid. Using the jig with holes one single wire weave is completed with one color then returned to the that same color side and insert on the far end of the opposing open hole of the starting hole in that color group of wires. Alternate this process between colors until there are no more inline holes available.  Then the whole group of each set of wires needs reset one by one to the original starting position. Repeat. Sound simple? It is really simple but a well managed set up in this manner can lead to disaster if not strictly paying attention to all the moves. One little slip up will require undoing the braids to hopefully fix. Sometimes a total start over is needed. Yea there was a few walk away moments over a week's time!



Can you see the mishap below? This one forced me to start over.




Using a flat surface it is easy to work the stiff wires to form a nice even braid. My braided loops for the 18 wire set ended up to be a count of 81 over 10’ 10”. It is good to factor in about 7% shrinkage to the completed braid length if there is a certain finish length desired. Mine ended up about 10’ 4”. This can vary by the tightness of the braid.  Also work to keep both cables with the same number of loops. Keeping tightness the same would be a good idea but mine varied. IF this was done again a ruler tacked under the entire length of the braid would help to accomplish even spaced loops.



The finish cables waiting for installation.



Remember my desired wire gauge was not obtained by miss information? This problem got me thinking of ordering more wire and making a 24 braid cable. Not really wanting to go that route and already thinking of the resistance created by inferior connectors, I decided to shorten the cable length to the driver by 29%, eliminate the cheap banana connectors, and remove one set of speaker terminals. This meant feeding a direct connection to the driver in a folded horn enclosure and replacing the speaker terminals on the amp that would not fit 10 gauge wires under the compression nut. The pic below shows how this thought was tackled with two 64 cent plumbing caps, plywood, acorn nuts, and flat plate steel.



The horn wall’s plug being installed.



Wire installed on Lii’s Crystal 10” driver. These drivers have a strong fiberglass board that mounts the compression terminals which was welcomed when the driver was removed to do the hack. I could not remember what was used. It has been almost two years since these were deployed in the Chariot.



The cable is exiting the other side of the plug.



The other end of the cable connected to a SE84 with the speaker terminals taken from the Crystals cabinet installed.



The cable as it exits the horn.



The last time listening with the new cables at 28 hours burn in, the bass is far better then the first hour. The highs are brilliant. The analytic presence has become mellow. Right from the start it was noticed that space around instruments is owned by that instrument. The instrument resonates with a deep soundstage of its own. For instance Maracas can be follow with the motion of being played while precise reproduction of the beads striking the inner shell can be heard. Congas much the same with flesh striking the head pinpointed while it blooms resonating throughout the stage.

There seems to be an issue that I was aware of being enhanced with the new wires, vocals while better has this trail of hash at times. It seems to get better as the wires burn in but it just may be time for a new DAC or recap the true and tried.

John    
















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AMC CD8b>XO3>Cambridge CXN2>ZDAC>ZBIT>braided silver/occ> Zrock2>CSP2+>SE84 milflex copper 25th>9AWG silver/copper braid>lii Crystal 10 in Huijgen cabinets. Ortofon 2M Bronze>JVC QL-F4>ZP3>Isolation-AC filtering-Room treatment. Otari MX5050B2.
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Mannytheseacow
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Re: Cabling Journey
Reply #1 - 11/16/22 at 17:26:20
 
Very cool, John.  Thanks for sharing that.

I had a similar experience with the silver coated teflon jacket wire from eBay...  8ga they say?  Hardly.  But it's still an improvement over what I had and a tolerable substitute until the new Decware cables are available in something besides 3m.

I've contemplated hard wiring them from the amp to the speakers, just haven't done it yet.

I remember back when I used Belden 9497 and experienced the difference between a single run and braiding three runs.  Even cheap cables have their purpose.  It's always great to use them to compare the differences.
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JBzen
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Re: Cabling Journey
Reply #2 - 11/17/22 at 10:21:27
 
Your welcome Mannytheseacow.

I have listened at the 45 hour mark. Sitting in the Chariot became more intimate with vocalist and music 🎶 The improvement is astonishing.  It is like the first time I was turned in the direction of music in my life. The night with my cousin as a teenager that turned to a life long search of elusive holographic sound Smiley

I still have not bypassed the fuses. I may not. It is that good!

John
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Cambridge CXN2>ZDAC>ZBIT>braided silver/occ> Zrock2>CSP2+>SE84 milflex copper 25th>9AWG silver/copper braid>lii Crystal 10 in Huijgen cabinets. Ortofon 2M Bronze>JVC QL-F4>ZP3>Isolation-AC filtering-Room treatment. Otari MX5050B2.
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Sean
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Re: Cabling Journey
Reply #3 - 11/17/22 at 17:12:52
 
John, that's a great piece of work you've done there. Looks great! Not sure I would have the same calm "walk away" moments, usually something suffers the wrath of my frustration! I'm getting better, I usually have a an old piece of plywood I can throw a hammer at.

Mannytheseacow: Quote:
I remember back when I used Belden 9497 and experienced the difference between a single run and braiding three runs.  Even cheap cables have their purpose.  It's always great to use them to compare the differences.


Sorry to hijack, I'm currently running Belden 9497, just single orange and black from my UFO to my speakers. Previously, I just used whatever I had here from years of mid fi and lower systems. I chose the 9497 as it came up in searches as a great wire for low powered SET amps. Over the past week or or two I've seen multiple mentions of using thicker wires. With kids and holidays coming up, a significant purchase of wire isn't going to happen. However, the Belden is cheap enough I'm wondering if I would benefit from doubling or even tripling my runs. My room setup isn't great, I need to have my rack off to the side of the room, so my runs are longer than what most use. Currently my setup is the best sounding stereo I've ever had. If you recall, was there a worthy benefit of running multiple runs?
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Mannytheseacow
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Re: Cabling Journey
Reply #4 - 11/17/22 at 17:47:09
 
Sean, how long of cables are you running?  I'd have to measure my 9497 triple braid, I recall that they're fairly short, but you're welcome to try them out for a while if you want.  I'm not currently using them and they are very well burned in.  IMO A/B'ing burned in cables is priceless.
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Sean
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Re: Cabling Journey
Reply #5 - 11/17/22 at 19:21:19
 
Appreciate the offer, but the long run is 18' and the short run is 9'. Trust me the difference in the runs is something that drive me nuts, but for now it is what it is. It's only $1.49 a foot so my thinking was to get 30' and try a double run, two orange and two black per binding post. If that gains an improvement great, if not, I can use it elsewhere to replace some cheap-o wires.
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Mannytheseacow
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Re: Cabling Journey
Reply #6 - 11/18/22 at 04:50:14
 
@Sean- sorry I didn’t really answer your question. Yes, after using the triple  braid 9497 for about a year I went back to the single and was astounded at how dull and lifeless what I once thought a great cable was.

@John- with so many eBay vendors selling the seemingly same product was there any particular reason you chose to go with the one you did?
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Restored FM-3, AT SL1200, DIY Pass Pearl II, Cambridge CXN V2, DIY Zkit 1 with 25th mods, DSR3 interconnects, DIY Lii F15 OB's
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JBzen
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Re: Cabling Journey
Reply #7 - 11/18/22 at 12:10:37
 
Manny, that vendor for the wire answered my questions satisfactory and in a timely manner. Be aware that the Chinese have different holidays and seem to shut down completely during those days. So be patient.

Sean, good to see you back in the swing of things. I would highly recommend keeping the speaker wire the same lenght. Do not think harmonics is just restricted in air space. It is also in the hidden mysterious world of electon flow. Sort of like playing one channel in a large room(long wire) and the other in a small room(short wire). Unity of music gets messed up before it transfers to the speaker cone.

John
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Cambridge CXN2>ZDAC>ZBIT>braided silver/occ> Zrock2>CSP2+>SE84 milflex copper 25th>9AWG silver/copper braid>lii Crystal 10 in Huijgen cabinets. Ortofon 2M Bronze>JVC QL-F4>ZP3>Isolation-AC filtering-Room treatment. Otari MX5050B2.
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JBzen
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Re: Cabling Journey
Reply #8 - 11/19/22 at 03:22:22
 
The one and only Murphy paid me a visit today. He had a good time twisting my drawers this morning for a few hours. I must have done something wrong for this nut busting torture. I’ll explain….

Yesterday was Karen’s my sweeties birthday. I got up early to prepare some of her favorite sauce. When I make sauce it is a 8 hour affair of solid kitchen work and then some to leave a spotless kitchen for her return. The SE84 was turned on first thing to continue the burn in of the new wires. At this point it had about 50 hours and really starting to shine. The sauce was made, some chores completed, and Karen was elated of my attention to her on her day.

I made it to the Chariot that evening to have a listen. The sound was so visceral. It just placed a big smile on my face with repeated wow, wow, wow! Never sounded better. Turned it off and called it a very good day.

Woke up very early around 1am today made coffee and return to the Charoit to check if that maybe it was all a dream. Nope still sounding great and improving. Actually fell back asleep listening to a play list until 6AM. Let it run while preparing to finish plans of a final gift to get her car inspected on my tab. About 62 hours now and the bass it starting to firm up nicely. Still have not replaced the fuses with the copper barrels.

The car passed with no problem, ran some chores, and returned her car with the good news. Was able to get back to business and play some good familiar tracks listening to music all over again like never heard before. Sat down with some Lorenna McKennitt. Something was amiss! Things were not right. Something went south. It all sounded like a hot mess. Sound stage shrunk. Instruments were blended together. Detail was flimsy. It was snowing outside maybe the power is acting up with increased capacitance on the lines. Maybe my ears need cleaned. Did I not get enough sleep? What the F*ck happened? My SE84 was sounding like the crappy whole house system. Figures, I almost got 70 hours of a evolving piece of art and bang!

I just got up and shut it down and went for a ride to the local flea boutique and looked over some vendors with CDs. Found a couple. This cleared my head and got me thinking straight. You know snow and power lines, clean ears, tiredness!?! Right, get a grip John!

The thought came to mind that a tube or two might need replaced. Pulled all the tubes to write a list for replacements. This was about the time it was noticed that the original output tubes in the ZKIT1 are installed in the SE84.  Damn those should have been replaced. I ordered replacements a couple of months ago. A quick look in my stash produced the two that was ordered. Now feeling confident after installing the tubes, power was applied and wa-la all is splendid.

By the way it was Karen’s 69th birthday. I need to be a better person with her. See is a treasure!

John
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Cambridge CXN2>ZDAC>ZBIT>braided silver/occ> Zrock2>CSP2+>SE84 milflex copper 25th>9AWG silver/copper braid>lii Crystal 10 in Huijgen cabinets. Ortofon 2M Bronze>JVC QL-F4>ZP3>Isolation-AC filtering-Room treatment. Otari MX5050B2.
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Carlsbad
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Re: Cabling Journey
Reply #9 - 11/19/22 at 22:15:57
 
Love DIY  

One quick note.  I've seen the leaves of those inexpensive banana plugs loosen up and you'll have cousin Murphy visit again.  I've soldered them together before but a better answer is to use the BFA style plugs.  that is all I use now.  I've made my own woven cables but am not patient enough to post photos on a 3rd party server.  

Here is a link to the BFA plugs:  https://www.ebay.com/itm/385039858940?var=652921682635
I like the silver ones.
Jerry

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JBzen
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Re: Cabling Journey
Reply #10 - 11/20/22 at 10:04:53
 
Hi Jerry!

Those BFA plugs for low mass and mechanical connection look good.

Got an idea rolling in my head of eliminating the connector bridge all together using mutiable solid singular material conductors in a guick connect mechanical device. No solder, no questionable plated connectors, no electrolytic barriers. Just an extremely tight mechanical binding of the same solid material. Something to float around in the old noodle for salvation of DIY woes Cool

BTW, that old speaker cable above with inferior banana plugs that was replaced by the new cable is now installed on the office ZKIT1/Tiny Radial system. The steel prongs lost most of the springyness to the point that led me to inserting the prong in the compression side of the speaker connector and tighten!

Cheers!

John
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Cambridge CXN2>ZDAC>ZBIT>braided silver/occ> Zrock2>CSP2+>SE84 milflex copper 25th>9AWG silver/copper braid>lii Crystal 10 in Huijgen cabinets. Ortofon 2M Bronze>JVC QL-F4>ZP3>Isolation-AC filtering-Room treatment. Otari MX5050B2.
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