September 12, 2016
 by Paul McGowan

In yesterday’s post we asked what your favorite tweaks are. Some great answers are rolling in.

Copper Magazine, Issue 15, launched this morning and in it we begin a new series called Make It Yourself. This is an exciting direction for Copper to take and we have one of our newest team members to thank.

Darren Myer is an engineer who formerly worked for Classé Audio and B&W, but now has joined our own engineering group. Darren’s passionate about high-end audio and wanted to contribute to our growing community of readers.

His first project is how to build an excellent set of XLR audio cables for $50. You can jump directly to the article here or just glance at it as you’re thumbing through the latest issue.

I love this kind of community engagement. Not because I believe there are thousands of eager DIY waiting for the next project. No, I believe very few people will actually build a set of these excellent sounding cables. Instead, I think it helps ground our industry.

In an age of cables, speakers, amps and others that are sometimes so expensive as to be shocking, it’s healthy to remember our roots.

Thanks Darren.

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9 comments on “DIY”

  1. I was told soldering is compared to cold welding and crimping only the last best solution for connecting cables to plugs and sockets. And most strange that only the quality of the wire is mentioned and not the quality of the plug- socket combination and it’s importance for sound quality.

    1. In the BOM, it is the make and model of the XLR connectors, which together with Switchcraft are the most known. One need anything for this project, except the brand of soldering, it can be any of your liking.

    2. as the really good ones are laser welded (among other measures), this overcomes most DIY capabilities
      I understood Paul’s post as a contribution to the memorial of the roots and a solution for the small wallet

  2. I use Mogami Gold Studio cable that I purchased from Sweetwater. It’s is made of the 2534 neglex quad cable mentioned in the DIY cable article and professionally tipped. It costs under $40 for a 3′ pair and around $80 for a 25′ pair. That is a pretty good price, and seems like it would be tough me to justify my time.

    I would love to DIY a preamp kit, or learn how to replace different parts myself. I have this cheap Chinese DAC off EBAY that a friend of mine modified. He is an audio engineer that designs, makes and markets his own fantastic preamps, amps, etc. He simply replaced the power supply capacitors and a few other components for about $200 (including his labor), transforming it to a fantastic DAC. I’m in awe of the talent of good engineers.

    I can’t design a circuit, because I’m not an audio engineer, but I can assemble kits and solder. Even before this article, I was think of getting the Transcendent Audio Ground Grid preamp kit. It’s simple, is tube based, would allow me to learn about circuits, experiment with different components and only costs around $500. I won’t get to the point of creating my own circuits, but I’m hoping it demystifies some of the gap in understanding that exists for me now.

    I suppose I should just listen and be happy….its just not in me to stay at that level. Lol.

  3. Paul,

    I’ve mentioned this a couple of months ago when we were discussing another aspect of audio.

    I at least wanted to get rid of the preamp that whas used in the main stereo in my living room because my DAC can perfectly drive the power-amps.
    But I also wanted to continue to listen to my old vinyl records.
    So what to do?
    I have thought a lot about it.
    It is true that this thoughts took the most time of the project.
    In the end I’ve decided to build an A/D converter.
    Because of the high flexibility it offers I use an FPGA as the main ingredient of the ADC.
    In addition, I could thereby realize different equalization curves and level adjustments to different pickup cartridges outputs.
    After the layout was clear, I have given the gerber files to a company that manufactures motherboards and received the finished part-boards back.
    It was a lot of work – especially the programming, but – last but not least, the effort has paid off.
    The preamplifier stands now in the shelf with the other devices that have accumulated over the years.
    By DIY I got exactly what I wanted.


  4. I took my first steps into the High End by making up interconnects with Mogami (Star Quad? and GS-6 guitar ampifier cable?) This stuff is usually available at pro audio shops and guitar shops where you can also pick up decent RCA and balanced connectors. I liked to go
    with locking RCAs, and still prefer locking connectors.

  5. I never got into XLR cables because the lengths I use in my system are short and XLRs would be of questionable benefit and the sound is so satisfying that I have been reluctant to spend money on good XLRs which can be quite expensive. For around $ 50 it is well worth trying so now I will have something new to keep me out of mischief. Thanks to the gentleman for his DIY instructions. Great post. Thanks. Regards.

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