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Thinner XLR cable over 13m / Can a noob solder them?

dms

Active Member
Unsure if this counts as speakers/diy... sure someone will kick it between forums if it's an issue.

As part of considering going for active speakers I need to think how I'd do the wiring. My existing trunking is approximately 15mmx10mm of free space and goes through two 90degree turns. I used QED micro in it before so there was a ton of space. Unfortunately due to the way my subsequent trunking was done for my projector it means it would be impossibly to neatly run more trunking alongside the other one. I also ideally need to run a 3mm sub cable through so as to avoid using a wirless sub adaptor.

So I've been looking for "thinner" XLR cables and I can't see any. The usual places like audiovisualonline offer Fisual/Vandamm which is 8mm/6mm diameter and that won't work.

Online I've seen Van Damme do a 4.85mm cable which would be perfect size wise as that would fit 3x XLR and 1x Sub cable in the trunking.


So my questions are

1) For a max 13m run is using this thinner cable really likely to be an issue? There's no point me paying for active speakers and then screwing up the signal they get. The cables would not be running alongside electrical power cables for the vast majority of the run (just start and end would they be near the receiver/speaker power cables).

2) I've never soldered anything in my life though I did watch my father do it as a kid and hold things for him. I do a fair bit of model work so I used to working on small fiddly objects and paying attention.... it wouldn't be that hard to solder the cables myself would it? Is the worse that can happen that I create a short and/or connect the wrong cables to the wrong terminals? Or can the worse screw up the electrical equipment if I connect them up wrong?

//edit
Also, I've seen internally the cable has two lots of one strand, 2 lots of another, and one grounding cable.

Presumably it's a really bad idea to solder up one XLR cable to two heads on both ends so as to reduce the overall thickness of cabling? I'd had to unwind the grounding cable to do that of course.
 
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Dolus

Member

jamieu

Active Member
1) For a max 13m run is using this thinner cable really likely to be an issue? There's no point me paying for active speakers and then screwing up the signal they get. The cables would not be running alongside electrical power cables for the vast majority of the run (just start and end would they be near the receiver/speaker power cables).
I assume — given your talking about XLRs - your connections are balanced, if so you'll probably be fine with the thinner cable. The actual conductors are the same size between the miniature and starcore cables and the electrical shielding offered by the balanced connection should cover you from medium levels of electrical interference. In a professional environment the biggest advantage is likely to be physical ie. the thicker cable is unlikely to get as kinked or bent as the miniature one.

Might be worth dropping VanDamm an email to get their professional option, although given your trunking will only take cable of X thickness it's probably a case of trying it unless they say 'no way'.

Soldering is easy with a bit of practice, get the right sized tip, buy a cheap 'helping hands' tool to hold your conners while soldering, don't overheard the pins (you'll melt the connector). Get your iron hot, get the wire in position, apply heat to the connection 1-2 seconds and then add solder and then remove the iron. You want to make the connection/solder joint in one go, don't keep trying to make it 'better' or else you'll end up with. a 'dry' connection that will be prone to breaking.

Get some old plugs to practice on first as the plastic, even decent Neutrik connectors, have a fairly low melting point.

Also, I've seen internally the cable has two lots of one strand, 2 lots of another, and one grounding cable. Presumably it's a really bad idea to solder up one XLR cable to two heads on both ends so as to reduce the overall thickness of cabling? I'd had to unwind the grounding cable to do that of course.
I wouldn't use Starcore to run two separate signals, the 4 cores are there to add physical robustness rather than for use as a multicore cable, you normally twist two pairs together at each end. If you want to run two separate signals down one cable you need to look at proper multicore cables or else you'll lose the protection of the balanced connection, although personally I'd run two separate cables if you can.

btw. I use the standard VanDamm Starcore cable for my balanced connections and have been very pleases with it so far. In fact I used a cheaper no-brand microphone cable to start with and had no end of issues with interference and buzzing.
 

dms

Active Member
I assume — given your talking about XLRs - your connections are balanced, if so you'll probably be fine with the thinner cable.
Actually... I don't know.

I'll be running from pre-outs for L/C/R on my Yamaha 3070 with RCA connects to a XLR adaptor. That will clearly be unbalanced. My plan is to then plug that into a DCX 2496 to perform corrections and run the XLR out from that along the ducting.

I have assumed but don't have a real clue that unbalanced->DCX will be fine over a very short run (25 or 50cm) and that the signal the DCX outputs will be balanced.

Might be worth dropping VanDamm an email to get their professional option, although given your trunking will only take cable of X thickness it's probably a case of trying it unless they say 'no way'.
Yes, I think that's where I'm stuck. But I'd rather try it with £100 ish of cabling plus the cost of a soldering iron than buy the speakers (i.e. get them on loan first) and realise the signal is no good.

Soldering is easy with a bit of practice, get the right sized tip, buy a cheap 'helping hands' tool to hold your conners while soldering, don't overheard the pins (you'll melt the connector). Get your iron hot, get the wire in position, apply heat to the connection 1-2 seconds and then add solder and then remove the iron. You want to make the connection/solder joint in one go, don't keep trying to make it 'better' or else you'll end up with. a 'dry' connection that will be prone to breaking.

Get some old plugs to practice on first as the plastic, even decent Neutrik connectors, have a fairly low melting point.
Practice is a very good idea. The Neutrik connectors are £2.80 ish Not the end of the world.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
The Van-Damme cable is excellent and from the sounds of it, you will be using it balanced from the output of your processor to the speakers, so no issues there. The only thing you might need to do would be to tweak the levels into the processor as the unbalanced signal will be quieter than a balanced signal, but that will be all.

When making up the plugs, get some heat shrink tubing to slide over both the outer sheath as it enters the XLR plug and the individual soldered cores as well. Reason for this is it gives it more mechanical strength and will prevent the cable clamp from damaging the cable.

Soldering is easy, but get the basics right. Use old fashioned 60/40 lead and tin solder rather than the newer stuff, as it has a lower melting point and is much easier to work with. - https://cpc.farnell.com/duratool/d01682/solder-wire-sn60-pb40-0-7mm-500g/dp/SD01536?mckv=s_dc|pcrid|383890474746|kword||match|b|plid||slid||product||pgrid|82103978847|ptaid|dsa-818588633909|&CMP=KNC-GUK-CPC-KEYWORDLESS&gclid=Cj0KCQiAno_uBRC1ARIsAB496IWN514YLQHs820SnPMrO4LHu-p1LW0JpVE2O4iZeKWJZ16-GzFto8AaAhC8EALw_wcB Or you can get smaller rolls if required. Heat up the iron and give it a good coating of solder before wiping it on a damp sponge to clean off the excess.

Strip back the cable with a cable stripper or carefully with a knife and twist the wires tightly. Tin each wire with some solder and fill the "buckets" on the connectors as well. A good lump of blu-tac holds the connector still while you solder it. Before you solder the wire on, make sure you have put the connector housing and heat shrink onto the cable. Then, it's just a case of positioning the wire and touching the joint with the iron. This will melt the already applied solder and the joint will be good, Slide over the heatshrink and either use a hot air gun or the soldering iron to heat it up until it shrinks over the joint. Do the same with the heatshrink on the outside of the cable and screw on the connector housing.
 

dms

Active Member
Oh well call me a chicken but I was determined to know if the 13m(XLR->XLR)+1m(RCA->XLR) run would work ok with Van Damm 4.85mm cable. I ordered the cables made up from an outfit which isn't too far out of my way (well I needed the exercise).


It's not scientific measurement but I notice no different in music (Queen) played with the 6m RCA->XLR I had vs this 14m run. There is no interference I can hear either.

I'm still going to see if I can't squeeze 6mm cables in the ducting but 4.85mm is thin enough I could use it for the sub's too.
 

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