Custom Headphone Cable?

zingo
zingo AudiophilePosts: 11,255
edited February 2019 in Headphones
My Fostex Dekoni Blues came with a decent for OEM cable; right angle 1/8 TRS for the ears and straight 1/4 TRS on the amp end.

I’ve looked around a little, but this seems to be an uncommon configuration from all the standard HiFi cable makers. Is building one my only option? I’ve never soldered a 1/8” TRS connection, but I assume a well made connector will be easy enough? Any suggestions for custom cable makers?

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Comments

  • EndersShadow
    EndersShadow Posts: 17,233
    @helipilotdoug can put something together I bet...

    Otherwise I’d contact Cullen and Signal Cable to see if they can.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • zingo
    zingo Audiophile Posts: 11,255
    Thanks and I sent @helipilotdoug a message; thanks!
  • zingo wrote: »
    Thanks and I sent @helipilotdoug a message; thanks!

    PM sent.
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  • zingo
    zingo Audiophile Posts: 11,255
    Doug sent me over some great product ideas he offers, but I was wanting to do this on the REAL cheap.

    I purchased some MIL-Spec silver over copper shielded twisted pair, silver over copper double shielded coax, two different sets of silver RCA plugs, and a few different Neutrik TRS plugs.

    I’ll try a few different combinations with Cardas quad solder and I’ll report back!
  • zingo
    zingo Audiophile Posts: 11,255
    1h1wtch2mc8f.jpeg

    First set of parts
  • zingo
    zingo Audiophile Posts: 11,255
    edited March 2019
    esqtfje9zjtl.jpeg

    Finished the MIL-Spec silver plated copper 22AWG shielded twisted pair headphone cable with Neutrik gold contact metal body plugs (1/4 straight amp end and 1/8 angled headphones end).

    I don’t know if this cable is excellent or the stock Fostex is restrictive, but there is more of everything from the initial listen. The impact and separation is improved, the sound is cleaner, and there is more of a speaker experience/feeling than previously presented.

    Initial negatives are the cable is REAL stiff, and does transfer mechanical noise when it rubs on a hard surface. Neither are awful when most of my listening is sitting and listening at a table, but it is a little annoying. I might try to remove the natural coil from the cable and maybe a cloth sleeve to dampen the mechanical noise; maybe.
  • zingo
    zingo Audiophile Posts: 11,255
    ukwtyc0xa2w1.jpeg

    Finished the jumper cables with the same twisted pair wire soldering the shield to the ground on the source end; plugs are silver Furez.
  • msg
    msg Posts: 6,545
    Nice. I've been interested in trying a headphone cable build, as well.
    Parts list/sources?

    I think @ALL212 mentioned similar in a headphone cable build, re: the rub noise, and used a cloth sheathing that, iirc, Aaron mentioned was a real nuisance to install, but was perhaps worth the effort. Can't remember because I never really pay attention to anything Aaron says.
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  • ALL212
    ALL212 Posts: 1,306
    Say all212 3 times and I’ll pop up and hex your sorry ...!

    Victor came up with a nice cloth cover. I found cotton sleaving from a foreign site a few years ago but it’s a royal pain to slide anything but naked wire through it. I think I used silk on something - hard to work with but dead quiet.

    Shut up Scott ... :p
    Aaron
    Enabler Extraordinaire
  • ALL212
    ALL212 Posts: 1,306
    edited March 2019
    All wire is mogami 2534 so it’s not naked wire inside the wrap.

    corrected...

    cotton, individually wrapped:
    hyjnikeog7wm.jpeg

    silk, individually wrapped:
    ji3bpegdojjo.jpeg

    And the best of the lot but a total hassle to do - cotton, both wires in one sleeve:
    zf4yzk8fha05.jpeg
    Post edited by ALL212 on
    Aaron
    Enabler Extraordinaire
  • zingo
    zingo Audiophile Posts: 11,255
    So far I think my old ICs are better than the new ones I made.

    s54m8mo3i6m0.jpeg
  • msg
    msg Posts: 6,545
    How so?
    Do your new ones sound thin and bright?
    How much time do you have on them?
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  • zingo
    zingo Audiophile Posts: 11,255
    edited March 2019
  • zingo
    zingo Audiophile Posts: 11,255
    edited March 2019
    They do have a little less bass which is okay for these headphones, but they also have less WOW which was the most immediate impression. They also don’t have much time of them, but I don’t think that’s a huge factor.

    I really liked the idea of having the same cable for my headphones as my ICs in the same system, but that may not be a reality. I also have similar MIL-spec coax cable that I’ll try this week for the ICs and maybe that will be a better fit.
  • msg
    msg Posts: 6,545
    Man, I could never see how cable burn-in could make any noticeable difference until I got my first set of nice cables a few years back.

    If you haven't had this experience before, maybe let them roll 24/7 if you can, and see what you think after a couple of weeks. Whenever I introduce something new, it usually sounds bright up top and a bit thin in the lows and mid-lows. Just not very enjoyable; empty. Usually smooths and fills out a bit with some time. I just had this happen again with some Mogami raw SCs.

    I've also found I think I'm becoming a fan of silver, at least to the point where I'd like to try more silver stuff.
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  • zingo
    zingo Audiophile Posts: 11,255
    I do think that cable burn-in has an effect, but not night and day, and I usually don't give a cable more than an hour before I don't expect any more change.

    I think system synergy is far more important on the overall final sound, and also can be much more difficult to get right as a small change may not be easily correctable with another component or cable.

    I think there is a great argument to be made for leaving it if you like it. ;)
  • msg
    msg Posts: 6,545
    I guess that depends on your definition of night and day. I wouldn't use that term, no, but I can say I've experienced going from crunchy and thin sounding to smoother and more filled in. That was the difference between musical enjoyment or just giving the cables away to a strangler.
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  • zingo
    zingo Audiophile Posts: 11,255
    79p27eybpk5q.jpeg

    The next round of MIL-spec silver plated copper wire and plugs. This is a double shield coax with more flexibility than the last cable and a very smooth jacket. I’ll solder on the WBT plugs and see how they sound.
  • zingo
    zingo Audiophile Posts: 11,255
    Silver cables, silver plugs, and silver solder.

    gm0v49q3jowe.jpeg

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  • ALL212
    ALL212 Posts: 1,306
    Just a DIY suggestion - put some electrical tape over the teeth on the gripper. Should the outer insulation get hot you'll have less chance of teeth marks on it afterwards.

    I totally fubared a cable ..that's how I know! Just had to cut some off and start over but I was a tad PO'd after thinking I did a great job.
    Aaron
    Enabler Extraordinaire