Need DIY HD800 cable advice
Apr 23, 2013 at 1:56 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

atomiccow

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Me and a friend are planning to go to balanced setups soon with either the HDVD800 or BHA-1. To save money and partially for kicks, we plan to DIY the HD800 balanced cables. What we're not sure about is the HD800 connectors which all seem to be different in some way. We're planning to buy Moon Audio HD800 connectors because they're the cheapest. The description says they fit up to 26 awg wire but we've seen cables with up to 18 awg wire that hook up to, seemingly, the same connectors. Meanwhile the stock HD800 cables I've read contain only 32 awg wire. So the question is, for those who've done it, what is a good gauge we can fit in Moon Audio connectors. Also I'm guessing the listed 26 awg support means it can fit 2x 26 awg conductors inside with some room left for the cable jacket and shielding and not that it can fit only a cable where total diameter with outer jacket is 26 awg.
 
Also, can anyone confirm the construction of the stock HD800 cable? I've read it uses silver coated, copper cable. We want to get bulk wire that is at least as good as the stock cable but we're not searching for upgrade cable necessarily as I am skeptical of the benefits of multi-hundred dollar cables. We only need to re-terminate the phones in balanced. We're looking at generic OFC shielded, twisted pair cables right now like Canare or Mogami microphone wire which is not silver coated. If this is vastly inferior to the HD800 stock cable, we could choose a more expensive bulk wire. We would prefer jacketed and twisted, dual conductor wire so we don't have to split the jacket and shielding for the L/R channels.
 
Also, it'd be great if someone could recommend a nice Y splitter that's not too bulky but good quality.
 
Apr 23, 2013 at 2:01 AM Post #2 of 14

AlanHell

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marked
 
Apr 23, 2013 at 2:39 PM Post #3 of 14

FraGGleR

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Most of the HD800 connectors you see have a different entry point from the Moon-Audio ones (simpler, wider nut at the base instead of something that inserts into the body).  The ones you are looking at are probably the hardest to work with since it really limits what you can stick in there.  There won't be much room for anything that has a thick dialectric.  Anything in the cable like shielding, cotton, outside jacket, etc. will have to stop short of the entry point.  For the 18awg wires, most likely the full 18awg is not attached to the pins.  There simply isn't room.  More likely it has been pared down to something manageable and then inserted into the body.  There is a wider bodied connector that some vendors are using, but not available for DIY at the moment.  18awg would still take quite some skill to manage.  Nothing wrong at all with 26awg.  Headphone cables, particularly for something like the HD800 require very little power and don't need huge gauge wires.  Sennheiser wouldn't limit their headphones by putting a cable on that was too small in gauge.  The replacements are like $200 so they obviously believe the cable they built is better than some standard mic cable.  BTW, I'd spend a couple extra bucks and get the style that is sold at ALO and others.  The connectors are already a b!tch to work with so you might as well get one with an easier opening.
 
Personally, if you aren't trying to improve anything with your DIY efforts, I'd just reterminate the stock cable.  You can make an adapter with the 1/4" you cut off.
 
If you still want to go ahead with it, the mini starquad from Mogami would be an easy cable to use.  26awg high quality copper wires, color coded to make termination easy to keep track of.  Spiral shield (not really necessary for a headphone cable).  At the Y split, you can just use some heatshrink. Otherwise the Viablue splitter you see everywhere works if you want to dress things up. There are wooden splitters available from Yew Audio.  No shield from Y split up to the HD800 connectors.  Just twist and maybe cover with some nylon multifilament or some thin wall heatshrink.
 
This was typed really fast so if something didn't make sense or I missed something, let me know.
 
Apr 23, 2013 at 5:57 PM Post #4 of 14

AlanHell

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Quote:
 
Personally, if you aren't trying to improve anything with your DIY efforts, I'd just reterminate the stock cable.  You can make an adapter with the 1/4" you cut off.
 
 
This was typed really fast so if something didn't make sense or I missed something, let me know.

It is the first time we did this cabling thing, not gonna risk the good sennheiser stock cable. We are trying for a easy way out, but something below $80 bucks on the cable is reasonable for us. (~8 feet or 2.5 meter)
 
Is there any good easy to work on sub $50 HD800 connetors you recommended for new DIYs?
 
Also, what kind of soldering you recommended? I heard some one says 6:3:1 is pretty good.
 
Thanks again.
 
Apr 23, 2013 at 6:53 PM Post #5 of 14

FraGGleR

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Quote:
It is the first time we did this cabling thing, not gonna risk the good sennheiser stock cable. We are trying for a easy way out, but something below $80 bucks on the cable is reasonable for us. (~8 feet or 2.5 meter)
 
Is there any good easy to work on sub $50 HD800 connetors you recommended for new DIYs?
 
Also, what kind of soldering you recommended? I heard some one says 6:3:1 is pretty good.
 
Thanks again.

To be honest, I don't recommend any HD800 plug for new DIYs :)  I would get some extra wire and simple connectors to practice on before doing the HD800 plugs.  
 
I use Cardas Quad Eutectic solder for everything.  I like it's low melting point and how easily it flows.  
 
As for an easier to use plug under $50, I am not sure there is one right now.  The Moon-Audio ones are the only sub-$50 I see and they are probably the most restricting to use.  I believe at some point Toxic Cables will be selling the wide-bodied ones to DIYers, but I haven't seen it posted to eBay or his website yet.   You could try PM'ing him here or through eBay to see if he has them available.
 
For your budget, I think something like Mogami 2893 is a good cable to try.  Almost anything else "better" is going to be more costly.   
 
Apr 23, 2013 at 8:31 PM Post #6 of 14

AlanHell

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Quote:
As for an easier to use plug under $50, I am not sure there is one right now.  The Moon-Audio ones are the only sub-$50 I see and they are probably the most restricting to use.  I believe at some point Toxic Cables will be selling the wide-bodied ones to DIYers, but I haven't seen it posted to eBay or his website yet.   You could try PM'ing him here or through eBay to see if he has them available.

Well, I think toxic is selling HD800 connectors, I guess what you mean is that they are not "wide-bodied" ones.
The thing about the cable is that, as long as it is not an downgrade one (in terms of resistance and ripple noise resistance), we will be happy enough. None of use believe the wire can do much magic in terms of sound compare to an HDVD800 balance setup upgrade.
 
There is a small question about the 2893 cable. It has all 4 channel already twisted for us, meaning we have to cut the shield for making the Y split to the headphone connections.
 
Our initial though will be 2 2-pair cable and we twist it after the Y splitter ourselves. Which one is easier? cut the cable in half or twist the cable into one on the plug side? And if we choose to twist the cable, how hard to get it to the perfect ratio? Is the capacitance going to be a issue if our differential pair is not perfect?
 
 
P.S.
I use to solder 603 surface mount resistors for my last job on an PCB, so I am ok of handling very small wires. (I hope.)
But I do feel a huge lack of experience in these Hifi DIY stuff. Mainly on finding the right material.
 
Your information helps a lot here.
 
Apr 23, 2013 at 10:03 PM Post #8 of 14

FraGGleR

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Well, I think toxic is selling HD800 connectors, I guess what you mean is that they are not "wide-bodied" ones.
The thing about the cable is that, as long as it is not an downgrade one (in terms of resistance and ripple noise resistance), we will be happy enough. None of use believe the wire can do much magic in terms of sound compare to an HDVD800 balance setup upgrade.

There is a small question about the 2893 cable. It has all 4 channel already twisted for us, meaning we have to cut the shield for making the Y split to the headphone connections.

Our initial though will be 2 2-pair cable and we twist it after the Y splitter ourselves. Which one is easier? cut the cable in half or twist the cable into one on the plug side? And if we choose to twist the cable, how hard to get it to the perfect ratio? Is the capacitance going to be a issue if our differential pair is not perfect?


P.S.
I use to solder 603 surface mount resistors for my last job on an PCB, so I am ok of handling very small wires. (I hope.)
But I do feel a huge lack of experience in these Hifi DIY stuff. Mainly on finding the right material.

Your information helps a lot here.


I feel like two shielded cables could be unnecessarily bulky. But that is a personal preference. Capacitance shouldnt be an issue in a headphone cable. Shielding isnt necessary and even the stock cable is only shielded to the y split. To be honest premade cable is pretty cheap. You could try both ways and save the termination last.

Just make sure whatever you decide that you post pictures of your creations back here or in the DIY cable gallery.
 
Apr 24, 2013 at 8:46 PM Post #9 of 14

AlanHell

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Quote:
I feel like two shielded cables could be unnecessarily bulky. But that is a personal preference. Capacitance shouldnt be an issue in a headphone cable. Shielding isnt necessary and even the stock cable is only shielded to the y split. To be honest premade cable is pretty cheap. You could try both ways and save the termination last.

Just make sure whatever you decide that you post pictures of your creations back here or in the DIY cable gallery.

 
Well,If we actually did a good job.
Not gonna put our self into shame for a bad looking cable.
 
In the end, we are going to achieve functional objectives before make is look cool.......
Well, the cooler the jacks and sleeve is, the more expensive they are, so~~~~~
Guess most of the money will be on the cable itself as well as connectors.
 
May 24, 2013 at 7:17 PM Post #10 of 14

AlanHell

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Quote:
I feel like two shielded cables could be unnecessarily bulky. But that is a personal preference. Capacitance shouldnt be an issue in a headphone cable. Shielding isnt necessary and even the stock cable is only shielded to the y split. To be honest premade cable is pretty cheap. You could try both ways and save the termination last.

Just make sure whatever you decide that you post pictures of your creations back here or in the DIY cable gallery.

It took a while for everything been shipped, but I finally finished my first cable DIY.
Not sure it is good enough to go into ur DIY sections, so I will just post some pics here~~~~



 
I know it is a mess, but I did my best~~~~~
 
Jun 5, 2013 at 8:18 PM Post #11 of 14

hedphonz

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Quote:
It took a while for everything been shipped, but I finally finished my first cable DIY.
Not sure it is good enough to go into ur DIY sections, so I will just post some pics here~~~~
 
 
 
 
I know it is a mess, but I did my best~~~~~

 
how is that cable working out for you and which connectors did you end up buying ?
 
im looking to make a couple of my own and need all the advice i can get :)
 
Jun 6, 2013 at 12:14 PM Post #12 of 14

AlanHell

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how is that cable working out for you and which connectors did you end up buying ?

im looking to make a couple of my own and need all the advice i can get :)

I use everything from neutrik since they are cheap(about 5 bucks for all types). Personally, I terminated it with 4-pin xlr since it is very easy to make inter-connectors out of it. you can do 4-pin to every thing you want.

As for cable, I find two dual conductor wire is much easier to work with compare to single 4-conductor wires. For a dual conductor wire, you just need two sets of same length and join them with a heat shrink to form a y-split. Then after the y-split, you can just simply twist them and put some sleeves on.

The cable comes with different materials, silver, silver painted copper.With copper, they have occ and ofc. The occ is a better copper but good ofc is just as good. silver is kind of two expensive to justifies the performance.

With wire types, Solid core wire is much harder than multi-strap wires. Shield wire is much stiffer than un-shield ones. I you have single ended connector types, buy all means, go for the un-shield wires since there is no chasis ground for you to put anyway. Otherwise, the best quaily will come from shield multi-strap wires. You want it soft, and you also want it to be resistant to noise.

with different headphones, they are different wirings, but they are all simple. If you cannot find the schematics,I can help on that later.
 
Jun 10, 2013 at 8:18 AM Post #13 of 14

hedphonz

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I use everything from neutrik since they are cheap(about 5 bucks for all types). Personally, I terminated it with 4-pin xlr since it is very easy to make inter-connectors out of it. you can do 4-pin to every thing you want.

As for cable, I find two dual conductor wire is much easier to work with compare to single 4-conductor wires. For a dual conductor wire, you just need two sets of same length and join them with a heat shrink to form a y-split. Then after the y-split, you can just simply twist them and put some sleeves on.

The cable comes with different materials, silver, silver painted copper.With copper, they have occ and ofc. The occ is a better copper but good ofc is just as good. silver is kind of two expensive to justifies the performance.

With wire types, Solid core wire is much harder than multi-strap wires. Shield wire is much stiffer than un-shield ones. I you have single ended connector types, buy all means, go for the un-shield wires since there is no chasis ground for you to put anyway. Otherwise, the best quaily will come from shield multi-strap wires. You want it soft, and you also want it to be resistant to noise.

with different headphones, they are different wirings, but they are all simple. If you cannot find the schematics,I can help on that later.

thanks for that info Alan 
 
interesting to note the 2 wire rather than the 4 wire - seems a lot simpler 
 
im only going to make balanced cables for the HD800 - i want to try a good quality copper and also a silver - just for comparisons sake really - i think i need the copper as the hd800 is a bit bright and copper is supposed to warm it up a bit.
 
can i trouble you to name a few specific cable choices ? Would be a great help
 
cheers
 
Jun 10, 2013 at 3:23 PM Post #14 of 14

AlanHell

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Well, depends on how good the copper you wanna it to be, for me, a Mogami will be good cable already, but for many ppl, it is not.
There are some reasonably priced wire on ebay sold by toxic cable, you can go to their store to find more info on the product.
If you go with extreme, you can try Double Helix, ALO, Moon audio and Cardas.
 
If you got the cable from toxic, they are not shielded and they only come with single wire. They can be harder to work with since you have to twisted four wire into good looking from.
If you think it is too hard to work with a 3M long twist, I think the easy way is to just put them into tight sleeves and hide it.
 
Well, good luck on your cable making.
 
P.S.
If you got the connector from moon audio, plz, make sure it is no more than 26 AWG, other wise you will have a hard time to fit the wires into the pin.
 

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