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DIY 'Silent Connector' cable report

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by King Fan, Nov 8, 2020.

  1. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I figure this is a forum where most folks own a soldering iron and plug guitar cables into amps, though I may be wrong. :)

    Anyway, I've been making a few DIY guitar cables, and when ordering Neutrik plugs, I noticed their 'Silent' connector. Supposed to eliminate the massive transients when you swap guitars without pulling the amp end first or muting the amp. Wanted to make one for a pro guitarist friend, and thought I'd report here for those who haven't tried 'em, or tried building 'em.

    I took no build pics, as you'd need a macro lens and a tripod, and both of my hands and my soldering-stand were fully occupied. But lots of YouTubes show how it works and have DIY tips. I will suggest if you haven't soldered Neutrik connectors, I'd practice on their cheaper standard connectors first (like on the other end of the cable)! But the trimming, stripping and soldering instructions are basically the same.

    upload_2020-11-8_11-5-23.png

    Details: It helps to be fairly OCD on this, down to ±1 millimeter. A drop of liquid flux and careful pretinning help. Oh, and if you use cable like Mogami or Canare with the (black) conductive inner layer, make sure to peel it off the inner (clear) insulating shield -- I shave off a strip with a razor knife, then peel the rest away with a fingernail.

    The next step is testing the conductors conduct -- but not to each other. If you simply meter tip to sleeve, you'll get highly frustrated. Note the 'silent' switch is the (silver) spring-loaded sliding collar on the 'Silent Plug,' and at rest -- out -- it closes the circuit from tip to sleeve. I worked around that by using one of the probes to depress the switch and show the circuit was open.

    IMG_6319.jpg IMG_6320.jpg

    Finally, does the silent plug work? Short answer: Yes! Some mechanical and guitar noise, but no transients. FWIW there are much more elaborate tests and demos on YouTube...

     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
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  2. Kevin Wolfe

    Kevin Wolfe Tele-Meister

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    That’s very cool. The last cords I built were Canare cable withe Neutrik connectors, but not the the silent ones. Looks fairly tedious. image.jpg
     
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  3. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice cable!

    I really like the Neutrik right-angle silent plug, it works well in a regular Tele jack and does what it's supposed to do.

    The last cable I made I took the extra steps of using woven flex sheath and adhesive shrink tube at the ends to secure the flex sheath. I used Mogami for mine, too - it's a fine cable, and shows no sign of wear after 4 years, I have no complaints.
     
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  4. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    I first used an *Amphenol Switchplug* a few years ago. Never noticed it needed any special soldering technique. It is very handy when plugging in or out of the PA system with the acoustic guitars.
     
  5. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    I make all our cables. The neutrik silents are great. Disconnecting piezo acoustics can make big bangs through the PA otherwise. Use them for most instrument connections. The right angle is nice.

    The soldering is the same as standard neutriks.
     
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  6. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    FWIW I found the silent one basically no more tedious to strip/solder than the regular Neutrik...

    Which, to be fair, is *nearly* the same degree of difficulty as standard Switchcraft. But less familiar and a bit more precise in the separation of tip and sleeve.

    Good info. I haven't used right-angle with my Tele much, but I certainly do on my 335.

    Whose flex sheath did you use? How's it look and feel? Also, tell me a bit about your adhesive shrink wrap. I usually use regular shrink, but was out of the nice stuff in the right size.

    Good to know -- I've seen video of Amphenol being soldered that looks like they do have holes in the lugs, which is sorta familiar from Switchcraft and seemed like it'd give you some mechanical attachment. Neutrik just has a big shiny trough for the sleeve and a narrow channel for the tip.

    upload_2020-11-8_15-0-43.jpeg

    I guess I should hunt up threads that compare Neutrik to Amphenol as far as DIY ease. I'm guessing function might be much the same (good) unless one of 'em has a more robust strain relief system.
     
  7. andrewRneumann

    andrewRneumann Tele-Holic

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    So... why does a standard cable pop loudly when removed from the guitar but not when removed from the amp? I have played for 27 years and never bothered to figure this out.
     
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  8. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted

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    The flex sheath is this stuff -

    https://www.redco.com/Flexo-PET-Techflex-Sleeving/

    On the invoice ( I found it! ) the description is "TECPTN0.25UX".

    My technique for threading the cable through the sheath was to compress the sheath to expand its diameter, otherwise it's like one of those finger-grabber toys.

    The adhesive shrink came from Amazon, I *think*, and I believe it was 5/8" with "marine" adhesive inside it. I have a heat gun but a hair dryer would probably work too. The glue melts and then sets, and it hasn't moved at all on either end. I was careful to get the right-angle jack connected and soldered in the direction I wanted before assembling, I didn't want the jack end sticking out sideways from the coiled cable.

    I used 5" pieces of shrink on either end.

    The cable is stiff and beefy, and resists twisting, but coils nice. The transition to either end is basically rigid.


     
  9. Kevin Wolfe

    Kevin Wolfe Tele-Meister

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    I think because the cable is still a live part of the amp circuit. Like the noise you get when you touch the end.
     
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  10. dan40

    dan40 Friend of Leo's

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    Most input jacks have a shunt switch that grounds the grid of the first gain stage when the cable is removed. This basically silences the amp because all signal is sent to ground. When you plug a cable in, the shunt switch is opened and the signal is allowed to travel to the first stage.
     
  11. James Knox

    James Knox Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I’ve been using them and like them. There is a bit of a learning curve for Neutrik jacks. One trick is to heat and dap a drop of solder into the positive pin cup, then go back in a second time with the pre-tinned center wire from the cable. Lay it right in the melted solder.
     
  12. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Good idea, James. I’m also wondering, besides pretinning the plug contacts, if folks have tricks for soldering the fat shield bundle, which sits about ½ mm from that cup.

    A really good micro-vise to hold the work would help. A good adjustable iron. Cutting both leads just the right length. And I’ve taken to soldering the shield first, with it bent out to 90°, then straightening the cable to lay the inner conductor in the cup.

    Still, I remember the first time I did a Switchcraft plug. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
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  13. JIMMY JAZZMAN

    JIMMY JAZZMAN Tele-Holic

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    Good info, when in my teens I had a great shop teacher, Bill Metzger, and believe me, you didn't get an "A"
    until your soldering skills were top notch. King Fan, is on the money, the length of the leads makes all the difference,
    that way there's no "slop" to get in your way to finish the deal. You can actually save a bundle of cash and make
    a better product yourself.
     
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  14. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Good point about saving some money... makes a little extra effort seem worthwhile.
    CBEB031D-DC96-42A7-9719-5CC259C2409E.jpeg
     
  15. James Knox

    James Knox Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Exactly! Each of those items, step by step.
     
  16. James Knox

    James Knox Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Another tip I learned was to cut off the little tab on the “chuck”...

    91AF748F-F94B-49C7-A8B5-9B548DDABF9A.jpeg
     
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  17. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    The Amphenol Switchplug has a slightly different shape but similar solder technique.

    DSCN1474[1].JPG
     
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