Good Balanced Cables?

ecc83

Well-known member
Found some Neutrik TRS plugs (NP3C - which are discontinued) and am not seeing how this strain relief is supposed to work with the plug.
Something doesn't look right for some reason - the part seems too short to cover the connection.
Their site is no help to me (what the heck is a 'plugfinger'?)
I have some of those. I think the operation will be obvious when you have hands on.

Dave.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Found some Neutrik TRS plugs (NP3C - which are discontinued) and am not seeing how this strain relief is supposed to work with the plug.
Something doesn't look right for some reason - the part seems too short to cover the connection.
Their site is no help to me (what the heck is a 'plugfinger'?)
Here is a picture of the NP3C in black. The plastic piece after the cap, is the strain relief. When you assemble it and tighten the cap, it compresses the fingers of the strain relief. The cable here is Mogami High Flex Multicore which is the relative same size as 9451.

quarter.jpg
 

bmg

Member
Thanks; I assume that would be flipped to cover the open part in the plug?
Or does it sit underneath and cradle the curve?
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Thanks; I assume that would be flipped to cover the open part in the plug?
Or does it sit underneath and cradle the curve?
Yup, rotate 180 degrees and it helps prevents conductors from shorting against the body and it also locks the strain relief so when you tighten the cap, it compresses the fingers.

Unlike Dave, I really hate cheap connectors. Rean would be the cheapest I'd ever use but sometimes there are Switchcraft options pretty close in price. These Neutrik are really well built though a little odd with soldering the shield. I like to tin the inside edge with solder in advance of soldering the + & - cables to the tip and ring. I also like to tin the wires and shield first as well. Then solder shield last.
 

bmg

Member
One thing I can say: the braiding on this Canare cable can be quite the job to unfurl.
Is there a trick to it?
 

Folkcafe

Active member
One thing I can say: the braiding on this Canare cable can be quite the job to unfurl.
Is there a trick to it?
I compress it like a monkey trap and then use a seal pick to unfurl it. That is with the star quad. With two conductor Mogami, I do the same sort of compressing but split a hole in the braid close to the sheath with the pick and pull the two conductors through the hole. This leaves the braid sort of together to just twist and tin. Even the small Mogami multicore braid is a bit of a pain.

Now you see why Dave was suggesting foil shielded cable with a drain wire. Super simple.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
"Unlike Dave, I really hate cheap connectors." Bit harsh friend? I do not like, nor suggest CHEAP components but the essence of good engineering is that parts are fit for purpose but not over specified in terms of weight or cost.

To me there is no point in having a rake of jack plus sat behind a rack for years* costing two or three times as much as something that, from and audio and engineering point of view. does the job just as well. Of course, if someone wants to take pride in the fact that their rig has 64+ top end plugs in it and they can afford the outlay, that is their business and good luck to them.

Your last sentence illustrates my point. There are those that will not believe that a 3mm 'cheap' foil screened cable is absolutely as good for audio purposes as a chunky, expensive braided mic cable but physics tells us it is.

*When I had my very modest 'studio' setup in a spare bedroom I had a lot of cables running to and from a 4 track tape machine, mixers and AIs and such. Once a year I had all the jack plugs out, scrubbed them with a plastic scouring pad and then wiped them with a cloth moistened with just a trace of WD-40. I also did a before and after 'silent' noise floor test and usually gained 3-4dB of quietnessness!

Dave.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
"Unlike Dave, I really hate cheap connectors." Bit harsh friend? I do not like, nor suggest CHEAP components but the essence of good engineering is that parts are fit for purpose but not over specified in terms of weight or cost.

To me there is no point in having a rake of jack plus sat behind a rack for years* costing two or three times as much as something that, from and audio and engineering point of view. does the job just as well. Of course, if someone wants to take pride in the fact that their rig has 64+ top end plugs in it and they can afford the outlay, that is their business and good luck to them.

Your last sentence illustrates my point. There are those that will not believe that a 3mm 'cheap' foil screened cable is absolutely as good for audio purposes as a chunky, expensive braided mic cable but physics tells us it is.

*When I had my very modest 'studio' setup in a spare bedroom I had a lot of cables running to and from a 4 track tape machine, mixers and AIs and such. Once a year I had all the jack plugs out, scrubbed them with a plastic scouring pad and then wiped them with a cloth moistened with just a trace of WD-40. I also did a before and after 'silent' noise floor test and usually gained 3-4dB of quietnessness!

Dave.
Apologies in advance. Second time in just a few posts I've been admonished for being unkind. Perhaps I am due another 10 year hiatus from the forum. With all that is going on with the forum these days, I have just tried to focus on the tech stuff.

Mine is an opinion born out throughout the years. The worst phrase one can hear about a project is, "value engineered" with all deference to "good engineering". I value my time and appreciate quality components. While these days, most of what I do is digital via IP such as Dante, 10 and 12G data and SDI cabling and patching, I've terminated countless AV connections over the years. Even in permanent install, I won't specify low-cost connectors. Labor costs dwarf the cost of cable and connectors because I live in a world where everyone's time is billed by the hour. These days, in a number of AV installation projects, once you add engineering, documentation, project management and installation man hours, you can exceed the cost of equipment and materials. It is why we are doing Teams and Zoom rooms by the dozens for clients in order to spread the ancillary labor costs across a standard build.

I always suggest people take into account their time, as it has tremendous value. People talk about "killing time" but the number one thing that is killing us, is time.

Be well,
 

ecc83

Well-known member
No apology needed Folkcafe, you write as you know as do I. I understand and respect your considerable experience but I always take most members of HR forum to be keen but non-technical and, more importantly, having no 'professional' aspirations nor perhaps long term ones. They also usually have to mind the pennies, as do I.
I too deplore "value engineering" if I have the same understanding as you of the term. I can illustrate that from an area where I think I can claim some expertise? Valve amplifiers and specifically guitar valve amplifiers.
The small signal stages in such amps will commonly use a Triode valve such as the 12AX7 (aka ECC83!) The typical 100k load for the valve will need a rating of about 0.1W and so to save a penny on thousands of amps some mnfrs fit a 0.25W component. Now, there is absolutely no fault scenario where a 12AX7 will burn out a 0.25W resistor...BUT if some experimenting clod of a guitarist fits a 12AU7 the R WILL burn out. It behoves us then to stand against the bean counters and fit a 1/2W load R.

Sometimes the consequences of a resistor going O/C are so catastrophic that we must seriously overrate the component. One such is the cathode bias resistor in valve amps. If this fails O/C the cap across it will have full HT on it and will fail, spewing electrolyte around the chassis. The cap may even short and thus endanger the expensive OP transformer. Although the dissipation of such a resistor in say a 30W amp rarely exceeds 1.5W a hefty 10W wirewound should be fitted.

Dave.
 

bmg

Member
Yes - very tough going with this braid.
I tried the 'hole' method, but am not able to relax the braid enough without damaging it - a lot of practice, I guess.

One question: Neutirk suggests a 14mm length for the end with the TRS plug:
Screen Shot 2022-08-14 at 1.13.06 PM.jpg
Isn't this a bit short?
This makes it very hard to join the colors together.
Maybe join them when longer, then cut to length?

(I know it becomes a 'feel' thing after a while, but I'm trying to go by their specs.)
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
When you come across a poor connector, very obvious things give it away. Soldering is the first. The plastic the pin is sitting in gets soft and the pin 'melts' out. Very common on DIN plugs - the things you still find in MIDI connections. If you have solder 'bucket' connections, you apply the iron to the pin and fill, quickly, the hole with solder. Then you tin the end of the conductor. Re-heat the pin, the solder melts and you insert the wire. Hold still for a few seconds and a decent joint. Neutriks were really difficult to melt, even if you used too big a soldering iron - which is very common.

Cable clamping is really vital. All of us at some point disconnect with a heave - jacks especially, but sometimes the female chassis XLRs don't have the lock fitting, or it's broken and heaving, or tripping really yanks the connector. Worst in my opinion are the plugs - especially the cheap ¼" jacks where the clamp in the 'U' shape end of the ground that you squeeze closed with pliers. They might be OK on thin cable, but 6mm cable is rarely clamped properly. The ones with a little chuck inside and a screw on pinch fitting are by far the best. The Neutrik jacks are tough and solid and plenty of solder area. even the latest Chinese ones are good at all these things.

If they look tough they probably are!
 

Folkcafe

Active member
No apology needed Folkcafe, you write as you know as do I. I understand and respect your considerable experience but I always take most members of HR forum to be keen but non-technical and, more importantly, having no 'professional' aspirations nor perhaps long term ones. They also usually have to mind the pennies, as do I.
I too deplore "value engineering" if I have the same understanding as you of the term. I can illustrate that from an area where I think I can claim some expertise? Valve amplifiers and specifically guitar valve amplifiers.
The small signal stages in such amps will commonly use a Triode valve such as the 12AX7 (aka ECC83!) The typical 100k load for the valve will need a rating of about 0.1W and so to save a penny on thousands of amps some mnfrs fit a 0.25W component. Now, there is absolutely no fault scenario where a 12AX7 will burn out a 0.25W resistor...BUT if some experimenting clod of a guitarist fits a 12AU7 the R WILL burn out. It behoves us then to stand against the bean counters and fit a 1/2W load R.

Sometimes the consequences of a resistor going O/C are so catastrophic that we must seriously overrate the component. One such is the cathode bias resistor in valve amps. If this fails O/C the cap across it will have full HT on it and will fail, spewing electrolyte around the chassis. The cap may even short and thus endanger the expensive OP transformer. Although the dissipation of such a resistor in say a 30W amp rarely exceeds 1.5W a hefty 10W wirewound should be fitted.

Dave.
I had made two pretty factual statements in about a 12 hour period and one was deemed "mean" and another harsh. I stated simply that "I hate cheap connectors" and based on your suggestion, you fall somewhere outside of my statement. Not sure what exactly was harsh. Rob highlights some of the reasons but one other is things like the tip falling off a cheap TRS.

The other statement was simply summarizing though pretty close to quoting someone, saying I got is working but it still doesn't work and indicating that I wasn't sure what that means. In the old days, one could be a bit playful with other community members. Things have changed.

I've worked for a few manufacturers over the years and ran a electronic repair company that did warranty work for practically every major consumer electronics brand at the time. What you described typically happens later in a model's life span and is called "cost reduced". There will be generation references in the service manuals with different part numbers and even totally different board assemblies. Very common in power supplies with a number of products. I've seen millions spent in warranty cost to a company due to simple things like a cap that is right on the edge of voltage rating or a transformer that is just barely sized and so when the product is pushed, the thermal fuse inside burns out and you have to replace the entire transformer.
 

bmg

Member
Just finished making the first of the cables, and it was an experience with the star quad.
After measuring everything according to their recommendations, I decided to do it by eye, which was much easier.
(Speaking of eyes, you never realize how bad yours are until you do work like this.)

The XLR's were a breeze compared to the TRS ends - a very tight space to work in, at least for me.
One question I have is concerning the ring connector - is this supposed to be soldered from above, or do you attach the wire from underneath?
(The latter is easier, but the lug is curved to have the latter make more sense, but seems very close to the tip lug to me.)

Screen Shot 2022-08-19 at 4.39.12 PM.jpg
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
It is very close and often a problem, so the common solution is to slide a bit of heat shrink onto the tip conductor, then before you solder the little ring tag, slide it down over the centre solder connection. When you solder the tag, and the iron touches the heat shrink, which it always does when I solder, it shrinks preventing a possible short. The ring doesn’t the need separately insulating as the tip heads shrink does the job.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Just finished making the first of the cables, and it was an experience with the star quad.
After measuring everything according to their recommendations, I decided to do it by eye, which was much easier.
(Speaking of eyes, you never realize how bad yours are until you do work like this.)

The XLR's were a breeze compared to the TRS ends - a very tight space to work in, at least for me.
One question I have is concerning the ring connector - is this supposed to be soldered from above, or do you attach the wire from underneath?
(The latter is easier, but the lug is curved to have the latter make more sense, but seems very close to the tip lug to me.)

View attachment 120597
I solder the shield on the inside just at the outside edge. I will flow some solder on this part first before doing the + and -, doing the shield last. You tend to start getting good at it just about at the point where you are done.
 

bmg

Member
I think a lot of my trouble was because I cut the wires so very short, as per their directions.
Some videos I saw have the wires much longer, then a twist of the connector when done, to shorten them.

It all comes down to a balance between good structural integrity and none, I guess.
 
Top