DIY high-end speaker cable

With only a few € use of materials

Time required: about 30 minutes … 4 hours depending on how well insulation from the wires can be removed.

High-end speaker cables do not have to be expensive. You can assemble a very good cable from relatively low-cost ribbon cable that achieves technical parameters surpassing even the most high-end cables. [1]

In my case I used a cable in which the wires were already twisted together in pairs. This reduces the very low inductance even more.

The cable reel I bought for only a few € at ebay.

Advantages of these cables Disadvantages
Excellent electrical values:
  • very low induction
  • very low ohmic resistance

inexpensive
well laying, even under a carpet (but not shatter-proof!)

Withstand voltage is not so high, therefore not suitable for high powers

Fabrication is time-consuming (about 2 hours)

Technical data of the cable

Here is an estimation because lack of high-resolution measurement technique.

Type of ribbon cable: Hitachi 20048 from Cable Hitachi Manchester

Property Value per lead Value in parallel
(n leads)
Value with n = 34 Comparative data
of Professional cable H*S
Number of leads 34 × AWG 7/40 2×3 strands of Teflon
Material Copper, tin plated OFC copper 2 × 2,85 mm2
Isolation PVC PU
Resistance 0,6 mOhm/m divides by n/2 ~0,037 mOhm/m 14,2 mOhm/m
Inductance 0,6 µH/m
(Estimated)
divides by n ~18 nH/m 164 nH/m
Capacity 41 pF/m multiplies by n 1,4 nF/m 466,0 pF/m
Umax 150 V 150 V
Imax ? multiplies by n/2
Price about 20 Euros 304 Euro per 2 m

Suggestions for improvement:

Step-by-step guide

So the finished cables will look like.
1.
Cut the cable approximately 5 mm above a welded segment.
This allows better separating of the strands.
2.
Fix the penultimate segment with a good adhesive tape (Tesa), make 2 wraps.
This prevents further fanning of the cable.
3.
Separate all cores from each other.
4.
To get a small inductance, you have to collect neighboring cores alternately to the later + - and - pole.
I bought a cable in which each second wire had white color. This simplified the task of sorting. All white wires are easily bent back. Later they will form the - pole.
5.
The white wires were bound to a braid and the end was fixed with tape (later removed).
I sorted the colored wires by color so it looks nicer. For the electrical characteristics of the finished cable this is irrelevant.
6.
Now we got a white braid for the later - pole and a colorful braid for the + pole.

7.
All wires must now be stripped at the free end. Please test first if you have a suitable stripping tool, as with some cables the cores quickly crack.

In my case the cable was so sensitive that I had to melt the envelope with the candle flame method. This is best done as follows:

  • Hold two wires into the candle flame until the insulation melts or gets black
  • Quickly take the cores out of the flame and immediately use your thumbs nail to gently push down the isolation, as far as it goes easily
  • If the insulation gets hard, before you can pull it down completely, you can expose it to the flame again

Warning:
During the melting of a PVC wrapping toxic chlorine fumes are released. The candle flame method should be performed outdoors only!

8.
Rebuild the braid if necessary. The free strands are twisted together and soldered together only at the end.
Cutting off the end with a sharp forceps (shown at the white wire).
9.
Electrical check of the cable. Check passage between the ends of the same color, and also that no short circuit exists between the two strands.
10.
The twisted ends are now halfway bent, so that the end comes to lie in the range that will be protected by the shrink hose later.
11.
Done and also visually appealing – a tail.

And this is the end result

Links to similar projects

Südwest-LS on krishu.de, he advises not to use wire but cable with solid copper core.

Literature

[1] "Effects of Cable, Loudspeaker, and Amplifier Interactions", J. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 39, No. 6, June 1991
The cheapest cable - 36 pole normal flat ribbon cable, interconnected as above - hit several high-end cables in the electrical values.

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