Headphone Cables/Builds w/ Pictures - DIY

mods
cables
diy

#9

I posted a brief description of what the “Phase Reversal Trick” is, and where it might be beneficial, in another thread, here.

And then I have something more akin to a tutorial for doing it, including software configuration (for OS X/macOS at least, I never got around to writing it up for Windows - though the principals are the same) and step-by-step instructions for building the necessary cable here.


#10

I would love this. I’m currently in the midst of sourcing better options. Prices on connectors vary SO MUCH in this hobby!


#11

That would be fabulous! If anyone needs solder advice, i hold a solder inspection card and 30 years of experience


#12

I’ve been looking to do a balanced cable but I was unsure which viablue splitter to get. Is this the SC-4/2 or just the SC-2?


#13

That’s the SC-2


#14

I have created a parts thread here where you can go and share your experience with sourcing parts!


#15

Some very cool builds here, with neat aesthetics!

Here are a few more of my progressively more involved builds:

This is dual 3-pin XLR to Focal Utopia cable, built originally to connect an iFi Pro iCAN to the Utopia. It was one of the first cables I did where instead of using a typical flat or round, four or eight wire, braid (sheathed or unsheathed), I actually wound my own geometry … which is a very fiddly to do properly (I’ll come back to that):

Then I wound up building a bunch of similar cables for Audeze, Abyss and HD800 (as well as another for the Utopia) with a slightly different aesthetic … just so they were all the same:

And then the same fundamental geometry, topology and wire, but a neater, lighter, build terminating in a 1/4" (6.35mm) TRS connector:

Again, these cables are cryogenically processed (largely because I can) and then undergo electron-beam-irradiation to improve flexibility and reduce microphonics.


The actual geometry of these cables is what I’d describe as an “interleaved dual-helix”. It’s fiddly to do, and requires spacers as well as the actual conductors, and an outer retaining wrap to maintain that geometry as part of the build. That’s then covered with a high-density copper matrix shield and sheathed to keep it all together.

Some more advanced stuff to follow in a bit …


#16

Hi,
What are the Canz third from the left (or second from the right). The ones In the middle.
Just curious.


#17

Cardas headphone cable…
I move it between different Canz .
Definitely makes a difference. Significant improvement.
This is 5ft (only) I was able to get jacketed with bare ends for only $115 (seriously) wth Rhodidium mini plug.
He’s retired now, so I can’t get more.
I know the ones with sennheiser plugs at 6” are $400.
Wow. (And you have to send them away) usually 6ft bare ends sell for $180. 5ft or less is all I need for a hand held mobile DAC/amp.


#18

Was wondering if most or any of us use…
Quad Eutectic solder. (Sn, Pb, Cu, Ag)

Yeah, I was told I had to change my solder. So I did…

http://www.cardas.com/solder.php


#19

Sure, though it depends on what I’m actually building and precisely what materials are involved.


#20

Ok, good, cuz I was using pluming solder for years.
Ugh.


#21

Yeah … I wouldn’t do that …

But in general rosin-cored 60/40 or 63/37 Sn-Pb solder is going to be fine.

With some materials you need to use a more aggressive flux and use higher temperatures than the raw solder itself actually requires. Copper and gold (plate) are easy enough to solder with the standard stuff/temperatures. But when you start using rhodium plating or Te-Cu then you have to pay more attention and generally use different flux and higher temperatures to get things to wet and flow properly and avoid bad joints.


#22

I love to tinker and have been thinking about getting into cables, so having a guide to start with would be incredibly useful to those in my boat!


#23

Since I have a bunch of amplifiers and sources, all with different connections, as well as myriad headphones, none of which seem to share the same connector type, I wound up putting together a fully modular headphone cable system.

There are “core” cables which can be any length and simply connect a “headphone adapter” to an “amplifier adapter”. In general I just leave the amplifier adapters connected to the relevant amplifier and the headphone adapters to the relevant cans. Which in addition to being very flexible, helps avoid wear and tear on those connections:

Those cover the Abyss AB-1266 Phi, Audeze LCD, HD800, Utopia and HD6XX/Fostex TH900 Mk2*. I’ve built others for the Focal Elear, Sony MDR-Z1R (funny screw-on connectors, much like Sony’s microphone cables), Mr. Speakers Aeon and Ether C and so on.

And then the most common amplifier connections I use:

Both my Woo WA234 MONO Mk2 and the iFi Audio Pro iCAN can use dual 3-pin XLRs, which is the first adapter, and then we have the standard 1/4" TRS, 4-pin XLR and the less common 4.4mm TRRRS “Pentaconn” connector used by Sony and Sennheiser.


In doing this, I also decided to apply everything I knew/experienced from an engineering perspective, in building those cables. So these are all-out designs, with very pure, long-chain, OFC, wiring in a complex geometry, with ultra-low impedance and capacitance, heavy copper-matrix shielding, all cryogenically and EBI treated.

As well as enabling dielectric biasing and active shielding.

The modular nature of them means I can do things like put a “Phase Reversal” adapter in the middle or turn an HD6XX cable into a TH900 Mk2 cable (same connector, but both reverse polarity), very easily.


Even with the excellent cables that ship, as standard, with the Audeze LCD-4 and JPS Labs Abyss AB-1266 Phi, I’ve found mine to be more enjoyable to listen to, as well as being more resolving, and wanted them for all my cans/amps.


Focal Utopia Open-Back Headphones - Official Thread
#24

This is exactly the cable set up I’ve been wanting to build, I really like the design and functionality of this style of cables. Once I have some other projects complete I’ll start diving more into the cable making.


#25

Thanks Torq, I’ll have to take a look when I get my work station sorted and am feeling industrious!


#26

Greetings!

Have not ventured into making DIY cables…yet! Curiously though, I’m having thoughts about changing cables on my modded HE-6. Broke 'em in new with the WireWorld Silver Eclipse 7 headphone cable. Thick & stiff but acclimated.

I’m starting to view my speaker cables - A23 Auditorium - with temptation and a sense of adventure. Of course, I wouldn’t dare butcher or mutilate my speaker cables! But I can imagine retrofitting the ‘6’ for banana plugs so I could simply swap the speaker cables in at will. I’d still want to use the cables between my Shindo Lab monaural amps and speakers.

Thoughts anyone?


#27

I believe in cable differences. I had a stock (cheap) USB cable running from my computer to my DAC. With nothing to compare it to it sounded fine. But then I ordered an audiophilleo 2 (which I’ve since sold) and the upgraded Wireworld USB cable (which is still in my system) and have been totally convinced since then that cables carry their own sonic identity. The Wireworld cable blackened the background which improved clarity. It also widened the sound stage and improved voice and instrument separation. I use a Wywire Red Series balanced cable with my HE-6 over Hifiman’s stock XLR cable. The Wywire cable turned the etchiness of the HE-6’s treble into a mellow sweetness. The WyWires cable also brought the mid section out more and increased its clarity, air and focus. Yes, cables make a difference. It’s just finding the cable that brings out the sonic differences that are pleasing to each individual listener. There are so many to choose from.


#28

I need a decent 1/4"-> 4pin balanced adapter which seems to be available from various online outlets.
One less common is a double 4pin balanced “splitter” to connect two balanced cans to one amp for various quick comparisons. I haven’t seen any readily available so will have to find someone who makes custom adapters.

I did stained glass work so am familiar with flux/solder/tinning etc and the work was often very precise. I just never bought the right soldering iron for cable work.

The iron for stained glass is a 100 cut Weller and it seems a lighter duty iron or gun is preferable for electronics.

I just don’t know if I’m going to get around to building another work station with different tools after selling the glass gear. Stained glass is very labour intensive and hard on your hands with all the cutting and grinding. Arthritis and fingertip cuts got the better of me after awhile.