DIY Speaker cable tutorial guide - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 12-28-2006, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I posted this in audio theory but kensmith brought to my attention that we actually have a DIY subforum for things besides speakers and subs.... so here it is

final product:




My materials/supplies:
-Canare Canare 4S11 star quad
-tech flex 3/8th
-heat shrink 3:1: 1x 3/4, 1x 1/2, and 3x 3/8.
-wire stripper




heatshrink order:
http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage....&WebPage_ID=73

partsexpress has nice, clean, heatshrink in my experience. Be sure to order the amount specified in my supplies list

star quad order:
www.bluejeanscable.com has cheap Canare 4S11 star quad, and they ship pretty damn fast

this is also where i got my locking banana plugs

techflex order:
http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=082-336

TECHFLEX CONSIDERATION:
Theres a crapload of stuff techflex makes.
If you go with the stuff i used, its cheap, and it still looks nice
im gonna experiment with nylon multifilament, and clean cut flame retardant however...

http://www.techflex.com/prod_CCF.asp

http://www.techflex.com/prod_NMN.asp

nylon multifilament = super soft, super professional looking
clean cut flame retardant = nice white tracers, EASY TO CUT, a little bit finer threading/softer than regular techflex.

its up to you to use these.

ANOTHER NOTE: If you plan on making 12' cables, 3/8th techflex will SHORTEN BY A LOT. One spool of 25' 3/8th DID NOT make two 12' cables! I had to buy two spools! I got some 1/2" techflex carbon to see how it fit over the star quad, and it did okay, its a hair bigger, so watch out for lumps and stuff though.

1) Take a ruler or something to measure with, then mark the cable with a black sharpie at 6.5".* Do this at BOTH ends.

*Note: 6.5" is about the MAXIMUM length you can do w/ 6" long heatshrink. You can also do shorter of course:



2) Do this to only one side of the cable for now. Theres about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch of gray rubber around the cable that youll be cutting off. Take a box cutter or something sharp and precise and sort of saw into it at a very slow rate, if you feel it tearing into the tissue like paper around the cable then back off. You should feel it when you are through the gray rubber though, its not very difficult. Also, feel free to bend the cable to open the cuts and make it easier to follow the slice all around the cable. Try to make the cut straight around the whole circumference of the cable, if it isnt, no biggie, gonna be covered up a lot anyways.



3) Tug off the rubber outside

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post #2 of 26 Old 12-28-2006, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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4) Cut all the string and junk, the smaller the scissors the better. We will braid em later...




Then cut the end off of each of the wires, an inch or so is good, anymore and it will be a hassle to fit it into banana plugs and crap:



5) Slide the techflex onto the end that you have NOT cut yet. (This step takes a while)



When youre done it will look like this:



7) Cutting the techflex.
This part is if you made a 6.5" measurement *AT THE BEGINNING*. If you did a 6.5" cut, move the techflex down to 7" if you want to be safe, i would recommend going for 7.5" or 8".



first, run your hand TIGHTLY along the whole length of the wire so you get out all the lumps and crap from the techflex and to make sure its pretty tight against the cable. Then youre gonna cut about here WITH A HEATKNIFE:


if you dont have a heatknife, get a SHARP pair of scissors, cut it at that point, then use a lighter or a torch lighter (ones to start a BBQ), and then burn the frayed edges of the cut techflex with the flame (i use the side of the flame.. if that makes sense). It will melt and bubble quick if you hold the flame there for too long. I would just do it for about half a second... if you need more, do it for another half a second. Your experience may vary.

Alright, now slide the techflex on in the middle so its leaving the ends bare
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post #3 of 26 Old 12-28-2006, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
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8) Twist the wires, real simple:



9) NOTE: I used two black pieces of heatshrink, if you want, use a black and a red. I would have, but i didnt think of it until after the first cable was made, and wasnt about to have mismatched cables :P. Slide two 6" long 3/8th heatshrink tubes on the red and white twisted pair of wires, now youre gonna pinch the wire and find out where it goes from the rubber outer wire to bare wire, and youre gonna cut it about 1/8th of an inch from the transition point. Of course after its on the wire just use a heat gun or the torch lighter pictured above to shrink this sucker.. this is what we're aiming for, a little bit of overhang so you cant see any bare wire once you put it in banana plugs or something (you might not care however..):


10) BEFORE YOU DO THIS STEP MAKE NOTE WHICH ONE IS RED AND WHICH ONE IS WHITE. At the Y split in the cables, youre gonna have some showing, you may or may not want to cut about a half an inch of the 1/2" heatshrink tube and cover it up.
o that side

11) Almost there... take the 3/4th heatshrink, and cut a 1.25"-2" long piece out of it, then put half on the techflex side, and half on the y split side, this is what it will probably look like. If the "skirt" of the y split is too short, you'll be seeing white and red wire underneath it, and this is what step 10 was for:


12) Now repeat most of these steps for the other end of your cable that should still be untouched...

13) Enjoy your spiffy lookin cabes
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post #4 of 26 Old 12-29-2006, 12:19 AM
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Will 1/4" techflex fit the Canare 4S11 cables?
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post #5 of 26 Old 12-29-2006, 02:13 AM
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I used the 1/4" on my optical cable which is about 3/8" it will fit, the only draw back is that it will use more techflex material vs. using the 3/8". If you have 1/4 on hand go ahead and use it. but if you have to order, I'd order the 3/8. One more thing, because the techflex is expanding more, you will be able to see the the wire that the techflex is covering up.
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post #6 of 26 Old 12-29-2006, 08:25 AM
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Or, you could go with 4S8 instead of 4S11 and use 1/4" techflex. 4S8 is half the price of 4S11 and results in 13 AWG, which should be plenty for most people.
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post #7 of 26 Old 12-29-2006, 08:13 PM
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I think i'll order the 3/8 instead and maybe 20ft of Canare 4S11. SO what's the point of techflex? Just for looks?
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post #8 of 26 Old 12-30-2006, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SayNoToPistons View Post

I think i'll order the 3/8 instead and maybe 20ft of Canare 4S11. SO what's the point of techflex? Just for looks?

Exactly what I was thinking. That's alot of expense just to put behind something where it won't be seen.
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post #9 of 26 Old 12-30-2006, 01:00 PM
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Yeah, it sums up to about 15+ dollars or so to sleeve a 20ft cable.
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post #10 of 26 Old 01-01-2007, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SayNoToPistons View Post

I think i'll order the 3/8 instead and maybe 20ft of Canare 4S11. SO what's the point of techflex? Just for looks?

mainly, but it is also makes the cable very hard to truly damage.
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post #11 of 26 Old 01-03-2007, 09:33 PM
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I love your cables. Very professional. I am attempting the DIY project based on your instructions and I have a couple of questions.

1. How would your instructions differ if I were to bi-wire the canare cable instead? Such as size of heat shrink tubing, etc...

2. I went to parts express website and noticed the 3:1 tubing doesn't come in your specified measurements? What would you suggest based on mm?

I want to bi-wire the cable? What heat shrink tubing should I order? Also, are each of the wires within the grey jacket 14 gauge? Or is the combination of the wires 14 gauge?
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post #12 of 26 Old 01-04-2007, 02:41 PM
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wburtis,
Go down to the bottom of the Tweak threads and you'll see one titled "Speaker cables are done. " I answer all of your questions about the heat shrink. I should add, use 1/8" for the single 14g wires though. www.Markertek.com and www.cableorganizer.com are good sources for the cable, connectors and heat shrink.
Hope this helps.
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post #13 of 26 Old 01-06-2007, 05:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburtis View Post

I love your cables. Very professional. I am attempting the DIY project based on your instructions and I have a couple of questions.

1. How would your instructions differ if I were to bi-wire the canare cable instead? Such as size of heat shrink tubing, etc...

2. I went to parts express website and noticed the 3:1 tubing doesn't come in your specified measurements? What would you suggest based on mm?

I want to bi-wire the cable? What heat shrink tubing should I order? Also, are each of the wires within the grey jacket 14 gauge? Or is the combination of the wires 14 gauge?

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshow...number=080-620
http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshow...number=080-621
http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshow...number=080-640
http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshow...number=080-650

order 1 of each of these.. got the inches right next to em

if you were to bi wire i would use the smallest heatshrink from parts express (3mm)

im 99% sure each wire is 14 gauge and when combined it effectively becomes 11 gauge if im not mistaken... (it might be 10)
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post #14 of 26 Old 01-06-2007, 05:31 PM
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Thanks. Will a regular hairdryer be enough to shrink those? Or do I need to buy a heat gun?
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post #15 of 26 Old 01-06-2007, 11:03 PM
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^ I had a hard time using a hair drier with heatshrinks. Some are lucky enough to have hair driers with high heat though. I gently use a candle or a lighter on the heatshrink and i use mask tape on the edge of the headshrink where it meets the wires or the techflex so they don't melt.
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post #16 of 26 Old 01-07-2007, 10:41 AM
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Also, what about the issue with the all metal banana plugs? Is that a real issue. I bought some GLS locking bananas, they look just like the ones from bluejeanscable.

Is there anything I can do to prevent possible shorting out scenarios?
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post #17 of 26 Old 01-10-2007, 09:37 AM
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heat guns are truely not that expensive. where are you located? maybe someone on the site can get together with you and you all can build a couple sets of cables.
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post #18 of 26 Old 01-11-2007, 12:39 AM
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Thanks Gotchaforce for posting this, very good instructions, I just put three nice looking cables together yesterday and your tutorial was...priceless, I bi-amp my fronts, so this was really a nice way to go for me, two less cables to deal with...

A quick question, in your opinion, could you run one canare quad off the reciever to the center point of the surround speakers then strip the grey part off, and tech flex or shrink tube the remaining wire to each surround? In my case it would be about 8 feet to each surround. I guess I am kinda itching to build some more speaker cables too, fun and relaxing and I got a heat gun just dying for something to do.

Check out craft stores for heat guns I got one for about 20 bucks.

Thanks.
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post #19 of 26 Old 01-11-2007, 05:48 AM
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Looks sharp. Nice work.

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post #20 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 07:31 PM
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This is great. Thanks for posting. I am making a set right now, very much like the ones you've given the set-by-step for.

Cheers,
Funk

->>>≈<<<-
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post #21 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
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fixed missing images
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post #22 of 26 Old 06-05-2009, 09:21 PM
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Great thread! ( i know i am a few years late

Seeing the pics took me back to my first job in AV where i made a lot of custom cables @ a retail shop. Your project came out as good if not better than most of the custom cables i have seen.

Custom Installation Blog: http://www.wiremunky.com
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post #23 of 26 Old 06-10-2009, 08:03 AM
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Awesome thread. I noticed your link to the list of heatshrinks. There are a ton there.

Which ones specifically would I want if I am using the 3/8 Canare and 3/8 Techflex?

Currently with my ghetto speaker wire I am bi-amped going to all 4 terminals. Wondering if maybe I'll just go back to setting jumpers. What do ya'll think or is this too philosophical of a debate?

Secondly, I plan on doing a fairly long run. (From speakers, going into trim or along wall and back to other side of room. Wondering if I need that much techflex for the stuff that might be hidden or just the jacket going up to the speaker.
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post #24 of 26 Old 07-03-2009, 11:25 AM
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Hi,

Has anyone tried making these cables with MonoPrice 12AWG CL2 Rated 4-Conductor cable? I am thinking its cheaper than the Canare stuff, and its 12AWG. Will two 12AWG wires twisted together fit through your standard Banana plug?

If not the 12AWG, howsabout the 14AWG?

It OFC cable that seems real nice, should do a worthy job in place of the more expensive Canara cable.

Thoughts?

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post #25 of 26 Old 07-21-2009, 10:12 PM
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Thanks for this great guide!! Very helpful!
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post #26 of 26 Old 08-05-2009, 06:48 AM
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What sizes of shrink wrap and techflex would you use for the 4s8 canare cable?
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