Cable Building

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Skyline, Sep 30, 2015.

Tags:
  1. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    8,419
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    No "pick and place" (and definitely no optics) for that build!

    Three caps, one inline bead, and three 0 ohm "resistors" (easier than wires or solder-bridges) in a tweezer-handleable form is all that took. If the terminal connection was as an XLR, the entire circuit would fit inside the strain-relief. Does the job though (measure-wise at least).
     
  2. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    8,419
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Finally got this one together today ...

    It's an experimental USB cable ... for which this is the final "functional" prototype. Ignore the egregious amounts of heat shrink, that's simply something there to hold things in place ahead of the cosmetic/build/finish work-ups (next week). That cosmetic work will cleanup up two of the three ends of this cable (yes, three ends to a cable ...), as well as deal more cleanly with the two large "lumps" and, finally, make the thing easier to work with, as this is half an inch think along the flat-side ... and not very conducive to actually routing anywhere ...

    Experimental.jpg

    However, this is a progression of the cable I posted about here, so it has the original features and then adds to, or improves, various aspects of that build:
    • It has a much more interesting (and capable) noise filtering implementation, which is now housed in a small USB-flash-drive enclosure - which is the last big blob towards the DAC/Type-B end of the cable.
    • I added a small ferrite core/clamp as that seems to further drop the measured noise with the new filter.
    • There's an additional heavy-duty braided copper shield, giving three layers of shielding total.
    • That third "end"? That's where bypassing the internal power-lines comes in (allows use of either native USB power, or bypasses that for use with an external ultra-low-noise PSU), as well as the necessary connections to enable active biasing (in this case, not the same thing that AudioQuest's DBS system does) and active shielding.
    Anyway, just a bit of fun ...
     
    landroni likes this.
  3. johnjen

    johnjen Doesn’t want to be here but keeps posting anyways

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    619
    Dislikes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Well Grounded
    This reminds me of one of those complicated builds that sometimes requires taking a step or 2 backwards (undo previous step(s)) to complete that step, in order to get to the next step…,
    kinda situations. |\/|

    Oh yeah, active biasing and shielding is an idea that has been around for a while now and at least as far as I know should be able to 'help'.
    But it seems that the specifics of and in the details in how they are implemented is key to their efficacy.

    JJ :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2016
    Torq likes this.
  4. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    8,419
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Exactly!

    Founds lots of little gotchas in that build. Things as subtle as being able/needing to use smaller diameter braid/shielding for the wire and that having the modules under the sheathing makes it look naff and results in it getting slack in the wrong places. Among several others!

    Think I have those issues all worked out and the next pass should be close to final, in terms of appearance and build practicality.

    "R&D" is fun that way ...
     
  5. johnjen

    johnjen Doesn’t want to be here but keeps posting anyways

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    619
    Dislikes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Well Grounded
    I have always 'enjoyed' the challenge of figuring out the build with as few 'missteps' as possible.
    But the ones that always got me was when the very last step required I had to back track a few steps.

    Speaking of naff, and now that you mentioned it… :)
    I was going to mention the visual similarity between the 'bulges' and what a snake looks like during the digestion process… ;)
    But that's the way of prototypes, aesthetics take a back seat to proof of performance…
    Besides when I close my eyes and get swept up in the music I don't see ANY of the gear, be it pretty, ugly or anywhere in between.

    So how long are you going to let these cables 'settle in' before you evaluate them?

    JJ
     
  6. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    8,419
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Definitely part of the fun ... but in this case I wanted to validate the technical aspects of the build as soon as I could, so I just charged ahead with the raw implementation. Resolving the unanticipated issues I came across while putting it together required parts I didn't have available, and can't get quickly, to resolve.

    It's very ugly! And yes, looks like a snake in the first stages of digestion (a.k.a. just swallowed it's meal for the week .. whole)!

    Multiple fixes are in-progress, including modules/boxes on the wire to allow a totally clean implementation of the noise filtration and EMI/RF suppression, as well as the access to/routing of the power, shield and dielectric connections, and a general slimming down of the overall cable without (changing conductor sizes, shielding or overall geometry).

    Should be an interesting progression from this one to the next one I post, which should be "final" enough where the only thing that might change is the profile of the "modules".

    I did initial testing just to confirm operation and a little A/B with some more "conventional" cables to see if I could discern a difference. The nature of the ADB and AS implementations means that, unlike the DBS system that AudioQuest use, there is no "charge/discharge period" (burn-in) for those elements. But, they'll sit running a signal for a week before I listen via them again to see if I can even hint at a change there.
     
  7. johnjen

    johnjen Doesn’t want to be here but keeps posting anyways

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    619
    Dislikes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Well Grounded
    One observation I have repeatedly made is how the SQ shifts and changes thru time, especially during the first few hours of operation.
    In the vast number of cases after ≈1-1.5hr of operation and up to ≈12hrs (max) there can be a strong hint/indication of what the cable or device or change… will bring to the party so to speak.

    IOW after ≈1.5 hrs you should start to hear SQ shifts, ASSUMING you have had the headphones de jure on your head and listening for at least 1/2 hr.
    Then for the next few hrs of listening the SQ should give you a fairly decent indication of if the changes being brought about are 'Better', or not.
    And in many cases how and what these changes are can also be delineated.

    Just another tool that can ofttimes be quite handy.

    JJ
     
  8. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    8,419
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    So, still on the "USB" train for a bit ... with a slight diversion and a little re-thinking ... well, "we" (I) get to a much better place. And as I am, ever more intimately (and seriously*), flirting with the idea of starting an audio-centric enterprise*, I decided to simplify things a bit.

    I've long "joked"** that wet-string is probably a better way to connect a source to a DAC than your typical USB cable/interface, so I'm adopting that ("Wet String") formally as the moniker (or "brand" ... if things go in that direction) for these particular cables ...

    So this would be what I would call "Wet String":

    Wet-String.jpg

    It uses cabling/geometry that took a fair bit of time to settle on, but that still fully meets the USB specs (based on it's geometry and composition), and still keeps the DATA and POWER lines separate. Both lines are double-shielded and correctly grounded. There is EMI/RF suppression on the POWER connections; the DATA lines are completely unmolested.

    If you were using something like the Schiit Wyrd or Teddy Pardo USB PSU then building/using a cable of this nature would help maximize the benefits they offer by keeping the DATA and POWER lines those units already separate (and treat appropriately) separate all the way up to the DAC.

    This is a somewhat fiddly pain-in-the-arse to put together (not "technically" complicated in any way, just, well, fiddly).

    Then, in light of my previous cable-post (a.k.a. "cosmetic abortion") I figured I'd build another, more specialist, variant of the same sort of thing ... which would be this:

    Wet-String-Shock.jpg

    I would call this something along the lines of: "Wet String: Shock" (for reasons that are unlikely to become clear at the moment***), and it is a variation of the previous cable, that provides and, indeed, requires (in most cases) and external PSU to supply an isolated +5v feed to the USB POWER lines. Something like that iFi iPower 5v or the Teddy Pardo USB PSU would be ideal here, though you could also use a regulated and filtered battery supply. The POWER lines are much larger gauge (lower resistance) than standard USB power connections.

    Anyway, if you want more details let me know. Otherwise, they're relatively straightforward, if fiddly, USB cable builds and quite doable as "first" cable builds if you're patient.

    --

    *It is only my enjoyment of the community here that keeps me equivocating on whether to start offering some things, by no mean just cables, commercially.
    **It's progressively less of a joke!
    ***Who said this?!
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
  9. pedalhead

    pedalhead Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,174
    Dislikes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    Made my first headphone cable this evening with a hardwire of my HD800. Bit rough around the edges here & there but definitely a good learning experience.

    DSC_1982.jpg
    DSC_1978.jpg

    DSC_1977.jpg
     
    zonto, BrettMatthews, JoelT and 6 others like this.
  10. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2016
    Likes Received:
    5,163
    Dislikes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    London, UK
    That's looking pretty good, @pedalhead! The hefty y-splitter makes it looks serious too. Now you just need to knock up a short XLR to SE 1/4 inch jack adaptor to go with it, and you'll have a headphone for all seasons!
     
  11. pedalhead

    pedalhead Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,174
    Dislikes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    ha yep, although I do have a nice XLR > 1/4" adapter in a similar style (Forza Audio). Not that I ripped off their design for my headphone cable, nooooo.
     
  12. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    8,419
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Very nice!

    What did you use to sheath the cables?

    Texturally it looks like #550 paracord, but it also looks a bit thicker.
     
  13. pedalhead

    pedalhead Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,174
    Dislikes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    Thanks mate. Despite looking pretty in the pictures, it's not up to your standards yet. Eg I messed up some of the winding between the splitter and right cup so will need to do that over again sometime.

    It is indeed paracord 550, from here... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121284985318
     
    Torq likes this.
  14. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    Likes Received:
    4,193
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    NOVA
    Home Page:
    Awaiting TH-X00 Ebony: Moon Audio Black Dragon, Furutech 4-Pin XLR, eBay splitter.

    [​IMG]
     
    colorsquid, Torq and fraggler like this.
  15. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,424
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Nice work! Would you mind sharing a link for that splitter?
     
  16. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    Likes Received:
    4,193
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    NOVA
    Home Page:
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  17. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    8,419
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Another day ... another build ... or prototype ... I guess ...

    Quad-Interleaved-Helix.jpg

    Cosmetics aside, this is the best "conventional"* HD-6XX cable I know** how to build.; I did this in anticipation of both the Schiit Jotunheim and the iFi Pro iCAN amplifiers and with a color-scheme intended to compliment the, presumed, pending-inrush of Massdrop HD-6XX.

    Cardas connectors on the headphone end. Neutrik on the amplifier end. I've done all the testing I care to on connectors. The Eidolic stuff doesn't, as far as I can tell, sound any different to the Neutrik or Furutech parts ... and is much more of a pain in the arse to a) buy and b) apply. So, sod that ... and I went with the super-easy-to-use (and comparatively cheap) Neutriks.

    Yes, I need to figure out a better 2:1 split at the amplifier end. That'll probably wind up being another, inverted, splitter like the one at the headphone-end of the cable.

    Wiring is high-purity OCC copper in a hand-wound custom configuration that I'd describe as a "complex, interleaved, dual-quad-helix". Did I say the Eidolic parts were a pain in the arse to deal with? This winding/topology, makes that look trivial. It's double-shielded, non-microphonic, suppresses RFI/MI and is surprisingly flexible (you could do a 3-foot run and not have issues), and is not available in cereal boxes.

    *Without active dielectric biasing, active shielding, or other "clever" (and not-necesasrily-useful) shenanigans.
    **Using engineering rationale, listening tests, and measurements, as opposed to assembling random "super" components and hoping for the best.
     
  18. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    Likes Received:
    4,193
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    NOVA
    Home Page:
    I think you're exactly right, the only reason to use Eidolic is with the male XLRs, if you're running a large cable. The body/boot has a much bigger opening and doesn't have the rubber strain relief like Neutrik. downside with the Furu XLR (the "cheap" ones) is they rely on that shitty coiled-wire strain relief. Luckily a Neutrik strain relief screws right on the Furu body.
     
    Torq likes this.
  19. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    8,419
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Yes, the Eidolic's are nice for that - though I've only found 4-pin options there. The higher-end Switchcraft SLR stuff is good for fat wiring as well ... though actually assembling the buggers once you have everything soldered up is a bit of a swine.
     
  20. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    8,419
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Probably my last "simple" cable post for a bit (as opposed to exotic, active stuff and/or build-instructions). It's a refinement of the previously posted HD-650 cable, with the entry and exit splitters figured out (as best as I can come up with without custom fabrication, which is the next step, I guess), but this time built for the Utopia (in honor of/necessitated by, my 2nd pair).

    It's the same shielded, dual-quad-helix internal configuration as the HD-650 cable (it's tempting to leave that configuration exposed, and individually sheath the wires for "pretties", but doing so does the sound absolutely no favors ... which even I am surprised about), still high-purity long-grain (OCC) copper but with slightly bigger gauge conductors and the wire and connectors have been cryogenically treated*.

    Utopia-Dual-Quad-Helix.jpg

    This cable scores over the, already excellent (if fucking annoying), stock (single-ended), Utopia cable in three important ways:
    • It's has decidedly more "purple" going on (sort of a "mauve alert" kind of thing).
    • It's slightly shorter (6 FEET shorter ... so keep the stock cable if you like to listen from the next time-zone from your amplifier).
    • It uses cryogenically treated wiring and connectors*
    On a more serious note, momentarily at least, the LEMO connectors that Focal chose are bloody marvelous and a joy to work with. That is, once you've figure out how they go together properly ... and how to order them (strain-reliefs are optional, SEPARATE, parts!). Not many other connector types are accompanied by a 185 page configuration/application/spec and usage manual.

    Anyway, back to listening ...

    (*The principal benefit of which appears to be legitimately being able to claim "it uses cryogenically treated wiring and connectors"**)
    (**I kid, mostly ... under an STM/EM you can see changes in crystal boundaries from before/after cryo-treating; whether that's audible is another matter).
     
    Codgedodger, yotacowboy, Dino and 2 others like this.

Share This Page