Best DIY speaker cable

nc42acc

Member Sponsor
Nov 10, 2015
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North Carolina
#1
For the guys who like to DIY their own speaker cables, who makes the best sounding cable available in bulk to the DIY crowd. Neotech, Furutech, Canare, Mogami, DH Labs or any other brands you have used. Give a brief description of what you like about the choice you make. Thanks.
 
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cjf

Member
Nov 19, 2012
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#2
When you say DIY speaker cable is it safe to assume you mean just terminating an already available Bulk wire of some flavor?

Or

Are you talking about constructing your own cable from individual bare legs of copper wire and then twisting, shielding, jacketing and terminating the whole bundle yourself?

Just to be clear, my definition of a DIY speaker cable would be the later and not the former.
 
Sep 30, 2015
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#4
You won't do better than Neotech. They make the world's best copper and silver for audio. Many high priced well known brands buy their bulk cable, wrap in fancy braiding, and sell for much higher as their own. Dave C and Zenwave audio sells their bulk cable to make your own, or an easier option is their 3004, or new 3004-II. Might be the best value in speaker cable out there.

Here's his DIY parts page. From the purest UPOCC copper to exotic silver/gold blends available.

http://www.zenwaveaudio.com/diy-parts/

Now if you go with Dave's bare wire, you can be creative and braid multiple strands together, maybe use 6 copper and 2 silver/golds etc to make the perfect cable for you're budget/desired sound.

The Neotech 3004 is bulk cable, but all ready to go. Just need to terminate the ends. It's the equivalent of 8 single strands of Dave's copper cable, except has a PVC jacket rather than Teflon.




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DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
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#6
Probably the best way to go is to use the 24g UPOCC copper wire in teflon insulation, the stuff I sell is solid core, not stranded, I'll have to fix that mistake on my site... The Neotech premade cable is pretty good but stranded wire and PVC insulation won't be quite as good. With the 24g wire you need to combine it into whatever finished gauge you want, I'd suggest twisting or braiding to make up a larger gauge wire, then combining 4 runs of that wire using a simple 4-strand braid. If you do this you will end up with close to the best copper cable possible. UPOCC silver or the silver/gold alloy I sell is better but the price gets up there really quick. It's worth it for interconnect cables but maybe not for speaker cables, just depends on what you're going for.

The UPOCC copper litz wire I sell can make for good speaker cable but it's not the best match for some speakers, if it does work for your application it's better than conventional wire. I tend to recommend the litz wire for internal speaker wire, between xo and drivers and as main speaker cable for higher efficiency speakers. It always works with single driver (no crossover) and speakers with 1st order xos. Multi-way lower efficiency speakers can be a bit of a crapshoot.

For lower priced cables I'd look at the surplus mil-spec wire from Apex Jr. In some systems it can be a bit tizzy or splashy due to the silver plating but in other systems it's fine. Speaker cables are much more variable vs IC cables as far as compatibility and performance in different systems as the electrical characteristics differ much more vs what an IC cable sees.

Also, you'd need 32 runs of the 24g wire to make up a 12g speaker cable, half that for 15 gauge... the 12g cable is a LOT of labor to put together!
 

RayDunzl

New Member
Jun 26, 2014
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Tampa
#9
Best enough for me for now... biwire again eventually...

 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
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#10
Try and find some WesternElectric WE16GA.
Good choice if you want a warmer cable. UPOCC copper or mil-spec wire will be more neutral. If you're one of those that goes for a warmer, lush sound than you may love a cable made with WE wire.
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
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#12
Actually, these: http://audience-av.com/cables/ohno.html are so good for the money that I wouldn't waste time building my own, but the OP wanted some DIY suggestions.
Yeah, I'm sure they are great, OCC copper is hard to beat... 99.9% chance it's made by Neotech. I'd stay away from the bayonet style brass bananas though...

DH Labs is also using Neotech cable, they offer some good value as well.
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
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#14
Dave I have a pair of DH Labs Q10 Signature. It is not bad but a little splashy in the upper registers.
Silver plated if I remember right... if that's the case stay away from the mil-spec wire too...

In my biased opinion, wire should be solid-core, non-silver-plated, teflon insulated and no larger than 24g. Then it's all about combining multiple runs in a proper geometry.

Not all Neotech wire/products are "the best" but certain types certainly are... they do make lower budget stuff that is very good but not as good as it could be. Examples of their top end stuff are Wireworld and Siltech's top of the line cables, big $$$...
 
Sep 30, 2015
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#15
Dave I have a pair of DH Labs Q10 Signature. It is not bad but a little splashy in the upper registers.
Yeah my Q10 was ditched once I tried Neotech. However 15 years ago it impressed me at the price point.
 
Jan 2, 2013
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#16
Try and find some WesternElectric WE16GA.
That's what I'm using, it's cheap (but hard to find) and sounds really good in my system. Jim Smith of Get Better Sound recently wrote about his very positive impressions in a recent Quarter Notes newsletter. The 14 gauge is more readily available but haven't heard it.

Many of the people who like this wire seem to be into vintage or vintage sounding modern gear.
 
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nc42acc

Member Sponsor
Nov 10, 2015
556
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16
North Carolina
#17
I had high hopes for the Q10 but they just didn't work out. I don't think all silver plated copper must sound splashy in the treble. I am working with a few different gauges and configurations of wire that are showing some promise. Thanks everyone for all the input.


Yeah my Q10 was ditched once I tried Neotech. However 15 years ago it impressed me at the price point.
 

cjf

Member
Nov 19, 2012
319
1
18
#18
I had high hopes for the Q10 but they just didn't work out. I don't think all silver plated copper must sound splashy in the treble. I am working with a few different gauges and configurations of wire that are showing some promise. Thanks everyone for all the input.
Another good option that I have been using for 2 years now is Mogami 2921. This is a 4 conductor cable wrapped into 1 jacket. Each conductor leg is 14ga. I use mine doubled up for stereo 2 channel which results in roughly 11ga per leg. I find it to be very neutral and fast sounding, especially in the short lengths that I using it in (2ft).

I have also used the Mogami 3104 which is similar to the 2921 but used X 4 12ga conductors. Doubled up results is about 9ga per leg.

Both of these sound similar with a slight edge in bass performance going to the 3104 configuration due to its larger gauge and lower resistance. I believe it even has slightly less inductance and capacitance properties then the 2921 as well.

I've recently purchased a pair of Cardas Neutral Ref cables that I'm awaiting delivery on. Will see if they are any better but I have my doubts despite their even better electrical specs than the Mogami flavors.

Either way you go, don’t skimp on the connectors. Ideally eliminating any use of solder if at all possible IMO
 
Sep 30, 2015
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#19
I had high hopes for the Q10 but they just didn't work out. I don't think all silver plated copper must sound splashy in the treble. I am working with a few different gauges and configurations of wire that are showing some promise. Thanks everyone for all the input.
I hear the UPOCC silver Neotech makes doesn't have the edgy brightness that the cheaper grades have. I'm interested in comparing the 3004-II, with my 3004, since 2 of the 8 copper conductors are silver plated with the UPOCC. Maybe they have the ratio down good with that cable.
 

nc42acc

Member Sponsor
Nov 10, 2015
556
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16
North Carolina
#20
I am with you I think it has something to do with the quality of the copper under the silver plating. Mike where did you find the 3004-II for sale?


I hear the UPOCC silver Neotech makes doesn't have the edgy brightness that the cheaper grades have. I'm interested in comparing the 3004-II, with my 3004, since 2 of the 8 copper conductors are silver plated with the UPOCC. Maybe they have the ratio down good with that cable.
 
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