The Barney cable...
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gerG

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Hi gang! Sorry to go missing, but I took 3 months off work to de-stress, get a tan, and obsess about car acoustics. That last one was unplanned, but man have I learned a lot! Those adventures will show up in another thread at some point.

I did not forget headphones, however. How could I? Somewhere along the way I decided to do yet another mod to the poor tortured cable of my Sen 600s. I was ordering parts from Markertek to build a mess of interconnects for a tri-amped system (also another story) and I noticed that the Canare star quad mic cable came in purple. Cheap enough, so I grabbed 25 ft and an extra 1/4" stereo plug.

I cut the stock cables of the 600s about 1.5 feet from the phones for a leader. This allows flexibility, durability, and room for screw-ups. The star quad has 4 individual wires plus a full braided shield, cotton string packing, and a very flexible jacket. Not sure what the individual wire insulation is, but it is rather hard and slippery (PTFE, maybe?).

I did a simple in line overlap solder joint on each wire with shrink tube over each, shrink over the bundle from the headphone end, and an overlap shrink from the Canare end. Entire joint is about 2 inches long, and very tight. The shield is connected only at the plug end. The shield is very dense in this cable, and requires a bit of patience to unbraid. At the splice end a rotary stripper set to just the right depth takes it off without any fuss.

I used lead free solder (silver/tin blend). Takes a bit of practice and a lot of heat, but the joints come out beautiful. In retrospect I should have used a gold plated butt connector and soldered it in. Less tricky that way. I took the time to separate the copper threads from the kevlar in the Sen cable, then used Jan's technique for burning off the insulation. I kept getting dirty joints if I left the kevlar in. One note on that: the detatchable cable makes doing mods a dream. I didn't have to risk yanking the phones off the workbench at all! For added strain relief I zip tied a RS cord clip to the purple part just below the shrink tubing.

The result of this 2 hour (2 scotch) mod is a set of Sen HD600s with a 25 ft purple cable (hence Barney) a real connector, better ergonomics than the Clou that I owned (briefly) and sound that I can't complain about (and you know what a whiner I am). Unfortunately I can't compare it to the stock cable since mine had a bad connector when I bought them, and began mutating from day one.

Since I had the iron heated up I went ahead and added a locking 1/4" jack to my SAC amp (K-1000 companion). fyi, a Neutrik locking 1/4" jack will fit right in place of one of the existing XLR-4 jacks, with one minor flaw: it has to be rotated about 15 degrees off vertical due to a different bolt pattern. A bit unsightly, but one listen makes that a minor issue. Damn that thing sounds good! Thanks to kwkarth for inspiring the mod.


More adventures ahead!

gerG
 
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post-190329
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RickG

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Glad to have you back, Greg. A Barney (purple) cable for the Senn's? Cool! However, I'm trying to conjure-up a mental picture of that...

 
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Budgie

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"gold plated butt connector" cracked me up.
 
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gerG

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Unfortunately I didn't take any in process photos. Would have been useful, in hindsight.

Attached a low res snapshot. I have to quit being lazy and figure out how to post photos on my unused web space. Unfortunately my camera has high resolution, but mediocre lens quality. Processing the images down too much yields unacceptable results.

The Canare cables are great! They are designed for stage use, so they are very flexible, strong, and they don't mind being stepped on. Perfect for a long phone cable. I think that the sound is on par with the stock cable, which is not bad considering the length difference. Very subjective, since I can't compare.

I would have used the the Canare twin lead cable which I am using in my interconnects (heavier gauge conductors) but I didn't like the idea of running the ground through the shield.

gerG
 
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RickG

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Umm, beautiful Greg. I want some...maybe you could make an extra pair...



 
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Sovkiller

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Yes very nice in fact, at least the color, nice job on the joints too, but how is the sound compared with the stock cable, at least or if you have any other reference like the cardas or equinox, or clou it will be very interesting to read about that is a very cheap mod and if the sounds improve there is not much to loose than the stock cable
 
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gerG

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I am pretty curious about the sound comparison myself. I may have to order a stock cable just to find out.

RickG, thanks for posting the picture. I don't plan on going into the cable fab business at the moment. Seems to be a crowded market space. I also need to get a sound zssessment on this thing before I would inflict one on somebody else.

I forgot to mention that the bulk cable comes in 20 or so different colors. Of course, purple sounds the best!

Another hindsight thought: I would slide a piece of expanding loom material over the joint prior to the outer shrink tubing. That would make the joint almost indestructible. I did keep the cotton cord intact for that purpose, but it could be stronger. I also forgot to mention that I potted the internal joints with liquid electrical tape. No freaking shorts allowed!

I will see what I can do about a sound comparison. In the mean time I am pondering that annoying coil cord on my DT250-250s at work, and the mini plugs in my Corda...
Whadaya think, yellow for the Beyers?

gerG
 
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mlchang

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When you say a rotary stripper was used to strip the braid off one side, is that similar to a coaxial stripper. I had a hell of a time stripping off the braiding. Since I think this cable would make a good interconnect, plus I *need* some other headphone cables I was thinking a rotary stripper would be nice. Anyway, nice cable. I hope my replacement cable for a dead set of headphones turns out nice as well. I figured if I'm making a replacement, might as well make it nice for practice.
 
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gerG

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Hi mlchang. Yes, a coaxial stripper is what I had in mind. The little cheap ones from RS work fine. Get one with adjustable blades and set the blade depth to just touch the braid. One revolution will go through the outer sheath, and several more will work through the shielding without touching the important stuff underneath. It is a huge timesaver, as the braiding in the Canare cable is very dense and tight. I would recommend their 2 conductor cable for interconnects. I just made up several sets, and used the twisted pair to carry signal and ground. That allows the shield to be connected at only one end, which is why I was cutting one end away. Important to eliminate stray whiskers which always seem to find ground.

I wasn't kidding about the butt connectors. There are very small ones available which make end to end soldering (or even crimping) much easier.

For interconnects, the different color options are nice for color coding coming out of an active x-over. I use red for sub output, orange for low, and blue for high. I am sure that you can imagine what happens when you accidentally hook the subwoofer signal to the input of the tweeter amp. Some of those UFO pictures that get posted are actually tweeter domes that have been launched in this manner.

Have fun!

gerG
 
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AAA

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Hey, I love your cable.
However, is it possible to find aftermarket connectors to replace the plugs that connect to the headphone? So that I can have a new cable but keep the old one in one peice also.
 
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ray4jc

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i think bright green would make a nice color......

ray
 
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mlchang

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Quote:

Originally posted by Greg Freeman
I would recommend their 2 conductor cable for interconnects. I just made up several sets, and used the twisted pair to carry signal and ground. That allows the shield to be connected at only one end, which is why I was cutting one end away. Important to eliminate stray whiskers which always seem to find ground.


Well, someone (on this forum, maybe Orpheus) explained to me that the beauty of the star quad design was its immunity to outside interference which is understandably important in microphone applications.

Thus if you were to use one twisted pair for signal and the other for return and then the keep the braid as shield you would have the best EMI/RFI interference rejection. This makes sense to me, though I know nothing about physics really. I think he also stated that if you take apart the twisted pairs and use one blue for signal and the white paired strand for ground, you're actually defeating the purpose of the star quad design. Personally, I don't think it is that big of deal and wonder whether my ears would hear the difference. I'm also building my replacement headphone cable out of convenience and splitting up the twisted pairs. I believe that Orpheus (I'm pretty sure that's who it was now) suggested that the ideal headphone cable made from star quad would use a separate cable for EACH side. I'm not sure how I would ever solder that onto a plug or heatshrink it and make it look nice though.

Michael
 
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gerG

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Hi AAA. I haven't seen a replacement plug for the Sen cably/can interface. Not for lack of looking, either. Possum was also trying to track them down. Todd from Headroom eluded to the possibility of someone producing these plugs aftermarket, but I didn't get the name out of him. The stock cable makes for a nice leader, and keeps from transfering mechanical loads through the plugs (one of my main complaints about some of the aftermarket cables out there).

mlchang, I believe that the Star-quad noise resistance is relevant to balanced signals, which most headphone amps aren't. In addition, phone cables are high level, and are far less susceptible to rf noise than mics. In any case, it sounds pretty good! A real gonzo version of this mod would be to use a pair of the heavier gauge 2 conductor cables. Probably better sound, but a real pain in the butt.

Ray, green would obviously degrade the midrange due to the coherent diffraction of the chlorophyl interface. Of course a tube amp would offset that


I think that I am having fun, but I know that my ears are!

gerG
 
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