DIY speaker cables

Try1256

Very Special Member
I have always used 12 or 14 gauge speaker wire in my system. I thought I was stepping up when I was able to use banana plugs on both ends. Lately, I have been wanting to try something a little farther up the ladder. As we all know, opinions on high priced cables is all over the place and as much as I wanted to try some nice speaker cables I couldn't bring myself to spend at least a couple of hundred bucks not knowing how much it would enhance my system. I ran across a web site a couple of weeks ago that had a DIY speaker cable article and decided to jump in. We have a store here that sells surplus everything called Skycraft. They have a pretty good wire department so I went down and bought about 90 feet of cat 5 cable and some heat shrink. Place my order at Parts Express for some Techflex and ordered a set of Audioquest Sure Grip 100 banana plugs off of Amazon.

I made 2 - 2 meter cables consisting of 4 runs of cat 5, a total of 32 individually insulated solid copper wires. I had intended to use 48 wires but the banana's wouldn't hold the extra 8 wires each. With the cat 5, Techflex and heat shrink and Banana's I have less than $75 invested. $39 of that is the banana plugs. Took me a couple of hours to put them together.

The first thing I noticed when I plugged them in and fired up the system was the increase in bass response at a fairly low volume. I have Yamaha NS-1000m speakers and the bass sounds good but can be a little light at times. I guess that's why it jumped out at me. The more I listened, the better I liked it. Midrange is much smoother and highs are crisp and transparent. I found that I had the volume quite a bit higher than usual but it didn't sound louder, just more full and open. Soundstage was overall much better as well.

I'm really happy with the result and honestly am a bit surprised the difference was so dramatic. YMMV of course.
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
Nice looking cables you've put together there! Perhaps you've mentioned it before, but what amplifier are you using with the NS-1000m's?

Most of the speaker cables I run nowadays are DIY as they really aren't hard to put together and you get exactly what you want. Curious, now that you've done this little experiment, what do you think caused the changes you are noticing? Overall increase in wire gauge? Different dialectic?

Another fun (and cheap) experiment would be to try a solid core instead of stranded core wire...
 

Try1256

Very Special Member
I am running a Yamaha AX-900u integrated. The 1000's seem to like it. The cat 5 wires are all solid, no stranded. I don't know enough about the technical stuff involved to make any statements on why, I am just glad it sounds better. I have a Morrow PH3 phono cable and I really like it. He uses a similar type of construction for his speaker cables. Multiple small individually insulated solid core wires. I am sure he uses a higher grade type of wire but I guess the principle is the same. The gauge of the 16 wires together is probably about 10. The banana's I bought said they would accept up to 9 gauge and the wire pretty much fills it. Only down side is that they are not very flexible.
 

Catcher10

Senior Member
Nice job....I have always thought about DIY spkr cables......I am not spending big bucks on those. I need about 3-3.5m of cable so is expensive when looking. I currently use cables made by Blue Jeans Cable here in Seattle, which are made from Belden 5000 10AWG with bananas, I really like them very well made and the weld joint they do is nice.

Not sure I can better them going DIY, BJC is very affordable.....and honestly not sure what will change sound wise if I do something different.
 

HypnoToad

Junior Member
Try1256;n42225 said:
The first thing I noticed when I plugged them in and fired up the system was the increase in bass response at a fairly low volume.

Years ago I made some bookshelf speakers out of some Boston Acoustics 6" car speakers with whizzer cones, the guy who sold them to me said to put them in a sealed enclosure, they had hardly any bass at all, I wired them with some thin speaker wire I had. So I experimented and doubled up the wire, the bass improved, I put four in parallel and the bass improved more. So there is something either in the gauge or the number of strands that affects particularly the bass.
 
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