Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

DIY Speaker Cables on the Cheap

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by Rich_S, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's

    Dec 29, 2006
    Potsdam, NY
    I wanted to share the speakers cables I just made for my little PA. They're nothing fancy, just solid, heavy-duty cables that will get the power to the speakers, not break, and last a long time.

    For my purposes, I needed #16 AWG, 2-conductor cable. #16 is plenty for most low-to-mid-power amps, running reasonable lengths. My little Yamaha EM100 is only 50 watts/channel, but these cables will still work fine if I ever upgrade to a bigger power amp, say 200-300 watts per side. That's all my speakers can take anyway.

    My big discovery was a 100-foot 16/2 extension cord for sale at Lowes. It's designed for garden tools like hedge trimmers and electric edgers that don't need a third, grounding conductor. As outdoor extension cords go, this one's kinds cheesy, but its plenty tough for part-time PA use. The best part: it was only $18.95. Cut off the ends, and you have 100 feet of heavy-duty speaker cable for 19 cents a foot. By comparison, 16/2 lamp cord is 35 or 40 cents a foot. Added bonus: this cord is day glow green, so there's no mistaking which cables are yours.

    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013

  2. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's

    Dec 29, 2006
    Potsdam, NY
    This cable is slightly too fat for normal Switchcraft 1/4" plugs. I had a lot if them in the parts drawer and tried them, but forcing their bidies iver the cable was a chore, and I worried about the long-term durability if such a tight fit. In keeping with the low-budget theme, I decided to try some GLS large-body 1/4" connectors from Orange County Speaker. These are Chinese knockoffs of Switchcraft plugs; and they have the all-important fiberglass insulator rather than the meltable black plastic found in many cheapo 1/4" plugs. If these GLS plugs have a drawback, it's that their ground connection/strain relief seems to be lighter-gauge metal than real Switchcraft plugs, so the crimp over the cable jacket may not be as sturdy. Orange County sells a 10-pack of these plugs for 25 bucks, so after hacking up my extension cord, I had five speaker cables for under $50. I added a small tie wrap around the cable and "sleeve" connection to help reinforce the wimpy strain relief; there's plenty of room inside the jack's body for the head of the tie wrap.

    I made two 10', two 30', and a 20'. Since mine is a compact PA, it will usually be used at one side if the stage. I figure a 10' and a 30' will be good to reach the near and far sides, and made a spare for each. The remainder made an extra 20-footer, but I might get some more connectors and turn it into a few shorter cables for guitar cabs or whatever.

    Overall, I'm really happy with the results. I got five high-quality cables for dirt cheap, and they look badass.

  3. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 15, 2006
    Santa Fe, NM
    I've been making my own cables for years now.
    IMO....Redco Audio (NO affiliation)....have the lowest prices I've seen on quality cables and connectors.

  4. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

    Nov 13, 2011
    nice! speaker cables really are pretty basic and making your own can be fun. TubeDepot has a great, quick video showing how to make a twisted cable with some of their 18AWG wire. i recently started ordering wire from them and i really like the stuff they have (their aerospace-grade Tefzel wire is awesome!)

  5. Jimclarke100

    Jimclarke100 Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 8, 2009
    Horsham, UK
    Already there - my speaker cables are made from the power lead from a defunct garden strimmer. Mine are bright orange.....

  6. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's

    Dec 29, 2006
    Potsdam, NY
    Those Neutriks look nice, and are actually a bit cheaper than the GLS I bought, but the shipping would kill the whole project.

  7. SamClemons

    SamClemons Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 23, 2011
    Jasper, TN
    Fairly often you can buy a lot of old switchcraft plugs on ebay at a good buy. Better than most of the plugs you can buy now.

  8. kleuck

    kleuck Tele-Holic

    Oct 16, 2010
    I suppose you can find the Neutriks locally, i'm from Europe so i buy them from Thomann.

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