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DIY HD800 Cables - Help!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hey all - I just purchased some HD800's, but am wanting to build a different cable to try and tone down the highs a bit. Knowing that the factory cables contain silver wire, I know that I should use copper. However, I have absolutely no experience in building cables like this. I am however, very handy, and with a little direction I am confident I am up to the task.

 

However, I need a place to start. Does anyone have a recommendation on a supplier for the right kind of wire, connectors, and a reference on how to solder everything up correctly? If so, I would really appreciate the help!

 

I should also probably mention that I would like to keep the cost of the cable to under $100 (so the Furutech connectors are out I believe...)


Edited by subsonic1050 - 1/14/14 at 8:40pm
post #2 of 13
You could go with all copper. Consider some quad microphone wire. You do raise the hd-800 connectors run about $50 fort a pair,, right? Then add n your cable, some jacket material, a TRS connector, solder and an iron and you will easily break your budget and most likely end up closer to $150. Have you checked with btg audio? They are a member of the trade here.

I am all for day, but maybe build a lesser cost cable to practice without the pricey ends at first. Or, have one of the cable companies build one and you wold not have to worry. You have a $1400 pair of headphones, and you want to feed them with regular gas, but they need premium.
post #3 of 13

The materials that the cable are made of have nothing to do with how these sound. Or any other headphone for that matter. 

 

Have you considered building a 120-ohm cable? 

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

I already have a decent soldering iron - the cost was just for the materials to make the cable itself. If I end up going slightly over budget that is OK. 

 

Your comment about regular gas is curious - the entire reason why I want to make my own cables is to end up with BETTER cables. If you are saying this is unattainable for less than $100, then that is fine. 

 

What I am really looking for is specific links to places carrying good quality wire of the type and stranding desirable for this type of cable, recommendations on specific connectors, and a link to a tutorial showing the entire process (how to braid, make the Y split, where the connectors get soldered, etc.)

 

Also, other specifics - such as what conductor to use (I suggested copper, but I could be wrong about that), type of solder to use, soldering temperatures for that particular solder type, etc. would be helpful!


Edited by subsonic1050 - 1/14/14 at 9:26pm
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

nikongod -  you suggest that the conductor choice makes no difference in the audio. I would be completely open to that theory, as it has always seemed to me that the cable merely presents a path for the electrons to travel. However, that seems to fly in the face of nearly everything I have read. Clearly some cables are better than others - so what makes the difference then? Is it merely the gauge of the conductor, the quality of the soldering connections and connectors - or what?

 

Also, I have not considered building a 120 ohm cable - as I have no idea what that means or how I would construct one that way. I know that ohms are a unit of resistance, and I would suspect that 120 ohms is low resistance (I would assume resistance would be bad) - but is it 120 ohms per foot, per meter, etc.? I would also assume you achieve the proper resistance with a certain conductor type at of a particular gauge - however much, much clarification would really help!

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by subsonic1050 View Post
 

nikongod -  you suggest that the conductor choice makes no difference in the audio. I would be completely open to that theory, as it has always seemed to me that the cable merely presents a path for the electrons to travel. However, that seems to fly in the face of nearly everything I have read. Clearly some cables are better than others - so what makes the difference then? Is it merely the gauge of the conductor, the quality of the soldering connections and connectors - or what?

 

Also, I have not considered building a 120 ohm cable - as I have no idea what that means or how I would construct one that way. I know that ohms are a unit of resistance, and I would suspect that 120 ohms is low resistance (I would assume resistance would be bad) - but is it 120 ohms per foot, per meter, etc.? I would also assume you achieve the proper resistance with a certain conductor type at of a particular gauge - however much, much clarification would really help!

 

Everything you have read? Any peer reviewed papers? They kind of gave up on beating the dead horse a while back, but their conclusion that conductor material has no effect (provided it can not become magnetized {steel}) stands. LCR do have effects, in certain situations, and this is actually one. Thankfully adding resistance is cheap. 

 

For a 120 ohm cable, it is just a pair of resistors in a short adapter dongle. 

Output impedance does have an effect on the sound of these headphones, it tends to smooth out the highs a bit. I like the effect and it is cheap to experiment with. 

 

For how to build one, find instructions on building an Etymotic P-S cable (P to S) and just replace the resistors with 120 ohms. The total cost should be quite low - Less than $10 if you use cheap plugs and carbon resistors and probably still less than $20 if you use Neutrik plugs and metal film resistors. I would personally go for neutrik plugs and carbon resistors. 

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

No - I haven't read any peer reviewed journals on the subject, and I expect that very, very few people have. I get my fill of peer-reviewed journals from my profession! All I have read on the subject is what I have seen here on the forums, people claiming that certain cables make their headphones sound a certain way.

 

Your high resistance cable is extremely intriguing to me. So basically, it is just a short headphone extension cable with a few resistors in it? What wattage resistors should I use? Whatever the max rating per channel for the headphones or amp I have?


Edited by subsonic1050 - 1/15/14 at 9:03am
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by subsonic1050 View Post

 

Your high resistance cable is extremely intriguing to me. So basically, it is just a short headphone extension cable with a few resistors in it? What wattage resistors should I use? Whatever the max rating per channel for the headphones or amp I have?

 

Yep its really simple to build. 

 

These resistors dissipate extremely little power (maybe a few miliwatts), so pretty much any power rating will work. 

Most people fit the resistors into one of the plug bodies.

1/8W or 1/4W from most MFR's should fit most plugs with some planning. 

1/4W military resistors are physically larger than civilian resistors, so be careful here. 

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your help nikongod - a few final questions - what is a resistor plug body? Is it a mount that you can easily swap resistors in and out of? I did some quick searches online and came up with nothing. In lieu of that, I could just solder the resistors directly to the wires for the left and right channels - correct? Does the manufacturer of the resistor make any difference? I have seen a few people now mention manufacturers like Vishay - but I am not sure if that makes any difference or if I can just buy the cheap ones off of ebay.

post #10 of 13

The resistors fit into the body of the plug. Just normal plugs, with a bit of free space in them. 

Yes, just solder the resistors to the wires. 

You need to plan carefully so that everything fits together neatly, but that is part of the fun! 

 

There are differences between resistors in certain applications - mostly low noise or ultra high precision stuff. I really doubt they will be apparent in this sort of circuit, it rarely matters at all! Filling the wholllllle audiophile thing with incredibly over-specified resistors sure does look impressive though*. Vishay is a popular MFR of nicer resistors. As long as you stay away from the cheapest stuff available (and even that will probably work well here), and don't go too crazy with the physical dimensions of the resistors, you should be fine. 

 

I would avoid ebay for resistors, the markups on components are crazy and the ebay sellers are known for selling fakes. That sucks. You should be able to buy everything from one reputable source. Mouser, Allied, Newark, Digikey, etc. 

On the note of good things on ebay: There are a few pretty nice sellers on ebay for "surplus" and "short spools" of wire. 

 

 

 

 

*The ironic skeptic in me asks why they didn't select the correct resistor for each location. Since these resistors are each doing different things in this device surely it makes sense that each resistor should be from a different brand or product line.... They don't like to hear that question. 

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

First, let me just say thank you again for all of your help - I am really learning a lot here. I thought that all my questions would be answered in that last post, but I still had a few more after reading your reply. The "plug" you refer to - I thought you were referring to a separate plug made specifically to put resistors in. Are you talking about inside the body of the headphone plug (such as 1/4" headphone plug) body? I assume there is enough room in the body to accommodate them?

 

Also - would you happen to know the ebay usernames of the sellers that sell the quality wire? Or, a link to a specific type of wire that would be good for this application.

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by subsonic1050 View Post
 

Are you talking about inside the body of the headphone plug (such as 1/4" headphone plug) body? I assume there is enough room in the body to accommodate them?

 

Also - would you happen to know the ebay usernames of the sellers that sell the quality wire? Or, a link to a specific type of wire that would be good for this application.

 

Yes, either the male or female end depending on which connectors and resistors you get. It does not matter where the resistors are, just that there is physical room. 

 

For Ebay wire, try navships. 

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Well I got everything I needed, and soldered my cable up. It definitely works - I notice a fairly significant decrease in the harshness of the highs (also a drop in the volume, which I would imagine is expected) - unfortunately it is STILL too harsh for my liking!


Edited by subsonic1050 - 1/25/14 at 1:35pm
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