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Interconnects made of instrument cable - good or not?
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Author:  M. Gregg [ 22 Nov 2020, 06:09 ]
Post subject:  Re: Interconnects made of instrument cable - good or not?


I don't screen interconnects if they are driven from a source. (powered)
And in many cases just use twisted pair.

The only time I use a screen is if its from a transducer. (Tape head, cartridge , or very low level signals)
I never use the screen as a signal conductor and usually use a drain wire connected at one end of the cable wrapping the drain wire around the screen..
This means you need to identify the end connected to the drain wire with something like coloured heat shrink. (directional)
If you do use a screen you need to wrap PTFE pipe tape around the cable to insulate and improve the dielectric strength before wrapping the screen around it so there is a PTFE dielectric layer between the signal and the screen.

In years gone by Audio quest made some good cables until you listened to XLO. ... XQ_WL8jqrM

I have no connection to this link its just for interest.
I tried making silver interconnects with some success using these ideas:
I used cotton piping as the core and constructed in this way.
I just used masking tape at regular intervals to hold the wire in place.
Then covered with PTFE tape and plastic cable braiding<<NB you can get conductive carbon fibre to act as a sort of screen but again it needs only connecting at one end.

I could go on but it will probably bore someone.
I tried lots of different conductors and solders and crimping methods.

You have to look at the triboelectric series and look at the types of insulation ideas used in products like Duelund etc.
This gives ideas about static charge and microphonic effects.
I have also looked at plaiting during construction and using reverse crossing similar to the XLO ideas.
In many cables you will find the ends spot welded to the connectors to avoid solder.

I have seen people try to use carbon fibre conductors as well using parts from pipe heating wire.

M. Gregg

Author:  M. Gregg [ 22 Nov 2020, 08:57 ]
Post subject:  Re: Interconnects made of instrument cable - good or not?

Regarding instrument cable for interconnects,

Only my thoughts YMMV.
It depends on the resolution of the system.
You will hear more cable signature from a passive pre-amp to a power amp than a driven cable from a powered pre-amp.
And if the powered pre-amp has a volume control at the output or not which reduces the drive ability of the preamp.
Because the cable represents the load, ie its capacitive and inductive.
However if the pre-amp creates more problems than not driving the cable then the passive will sound better.

I found that the screened LCOFC is very good with a screen.
And Van Den Hul was very good.
There are some cheap cables that sound very good that maplin sold but you can't get them now.
The guitar cable was a bit of a let down to me but whatever floats your boat.
I never use single core with a shield where the shield becomes one of the conductors.
The idea of the shield is to take any induced noise to ground, but you don't want the signal "mixed" in with it.

NB depending on the system, you might not hear much difference between one and another.
And sometimes its very subtle differences.

Regards the silver plated wire, I have mixed feelings with it.
Firstly you have to accept that there might be a skin effect for it to matter, my experience with PTFE insulated silver plated is that it can sound good.
Where the silver seems to give a lift to the HF and the copper gives bass weight.
But in a resolving system it can sound strange with what seems like the frequency response is no longer flat.
Solid core vs stranded also makes a difference as does cable or strand or the diameter.
I messed about trying putting different sizes of copper or silver in a made up cable and it seemed to change the frequency range.
Now that is strange because I found that simple transformer wire with the insulation worked very well between my speaker terminals and driver.
That was made up as a simple duplex ribbon using masking tape.

There was some interesting information here; ... continues/

So I tried some of the cable as a simple twisted pair and yes it sounds quite good.
NB it takes a while to sound good, OK lets not go there cables don't burn in.
They just seem to :D
I used some of the heavy gauge between my EL84 power amp output Tx to speaker terminals and it sounded very good.
I have no connection with any links or products mentioned.

Off topic but be very, very careful doing anything with power cables in some countries they MUST be double insulated etc.
And regulations apply.

So there is an interesting thought Tin plated cable, based on the old ideas.

M. Gregg

Author:  M. Gregg [ 22 Nov 2020, 09:28 ]
Post subject:  Re: Interconnects made of instrument cable - good or not?

I should add,

That you may find that the different cables are making the system sound better by cutting or increasing selective frequencies.
Ie the cable is correcting the system response.
Now this can be a PITA because the system is also room dependant. :D
You will find that different cables sound better on different systems, ever wonder why?

So you have to ask what is clarity and what is tone if you are talking about improvement.
The big question is what is improvement when its audio related.

Ie a guitar creates sound, and a HIFI reproduces sound, but does it?
Or does a HiFi create sound and try to reproduce an actual event in a different place ie your listening room.
So the HiFi has to create some magical event that fools you into thinking its real.<<thats not reproducing the actual sound.
Its more than that. :D

M. Gregg

Author:  gofar99 [ 22 Nov 2020, 21:49 ]
Post subject:  Re: Interconnects made of instrument cable - good or not?

Hi, I always screen low level signal interconnects as there is a lot of EMI here. A lot of it comes from the wiring in the ceiling for radiant heat.....even when it is turned off as we now use a heat pump. I like Mogami Quad Neglex 2534. It is for balanced microphones and such. I use two conductors for each the hot and signal ground and the shield on one end only. It depends sometimes on the gear it is attached to which end the shielded one should go to. (Source or destination). It works well for me. YMMV

Good listening

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