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Electrical properties of wire for DIY cable

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Apologies if this has already been posted. I had a quick look but couldn't fin exactly what was looking for.

My background is from DIY HiFi and although I have built/modded several HiFi units this is my first headphone DIY project.

So, the stock cable for my AKG K450's has broken and I thought, why not make my own replacement?

I have managed to track down a supplier for the funny looking jack for the headphone end and will likely use a fairly compact jack plug for the other end. I dont want anything too chunky for fear of breaking the iPod jack socket. I am guessing I also need to keep capacitance down.

So, my question is what properties should I be looking for in a wire for use in this situation. My best guess is low resistance and capacitance as I will be driving the headphones from my iPod Classic but I would be grateful for some input on this.

I have had good results using the following for HiFi interconnects but fear it may be too thick for this purpose: http://www.hificollective.co.uk/catalog/amtrans-gold-plated-twisted-pair-04mm-with-sleeving-p-9103.html

Can anyone give a more educated guess? I'm looking for quantifiable scientific reasoning behind electronic properties of particular cables or qualities I should be looking for in a cable. If that is possible?!

Thanks in advance
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
No response after 31 views so let's widen scope for response - does anyone have any opinion based on previous experience?

Thanks again
post #3 of 6
Originally Posted by georgeeasten View Post

No response after 31 views so let's widen scope for response - does anyone have any opinion based on previous experience?
Thanks again

I think you haven't gotten responses because cable/wire questions have been asked hundreds of times (and answered as many), and as far as what properties of a cable translate to audible differences, that becomes a very cloudy issue and has resulted in the equivalent of audio holy wars in the past.  


For headphone cables, just about anything that reliably conducts electricity will work.  I am not a sound science/engineering guy, but I have made quite a number of cables out of different materials an geometries.  The only consistent things that have come up to pass along to you  are ergonomic - use stranded wire (as finely stranded as you can), as solid wire will be stiff, carry mechanical noise, and will most likely break on you at some point.  Use something from 28-22awg, with 26 and 24 being the most popular.  I'd avoid teflon coated wire (especially mil spec) as it makes the wire stiffer and more prone to mechanical noise.  If you want to go audiophile, there are many metallurgic and geometry options that are quite easy to find using the search (check out the DIY cable gallery).  As for the electrical properties of the various wires, including inductance and capacitance, it doesn't seem to matter since headphone cables are typically short and the power levels are really low.

post #4 of 6

i'd like to ask a strange question

right now i'm looking at moon audio cables and seeing the prices i wonder


what if i use a really thick cable which before the headphones turns into a thinner one (yes soldered) - thus it will isolate from mechanical noise and the thin part will be short resulting in low impedance (ignoring comfort issues because they are quite subjective)


what means that about the crystals bla bla bla


could you explain briefly because i don't want to go into a deeeeeeep research

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response, Flagler.

Having undertaken further research it certainly seems to be the case that since the cable length is short in my case (relatively speaking), capacitance is going to have a minimal impact (if any). The same would apply to inductance and resistance.

I must admit I hadn't thought about your point regarding transfer of mechanical noise. This is something that annoys me so would like to tackle if at all possible. A nice soft cable perhaps with additional cotton outer for further cushioning.

Thanks again

More research!...
post #6 of 6

the super flexible commercial cables are much lighter gage than 28 - often so thin, weak, that they are wraped loosely around a polyester/nylon - even Kevlar strength member - itself very high denier yarn


smooth low surface energy plastic sheath then avoids the catching, rubbing of braid/cloth/tech-flex mesh

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