Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

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Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by Purveyor2 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 12:49 pm

I’m fully converted to large format from euro and wonder what folks do for patch cables. I like the idea of the dotcom low profile plugs and small diameter cable. But they’re kind of expensive. Willing to make them myself using squareplug sp400 and Mogami 2314 unless there is a better alternative.

I welcome your thoughts.

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by cornutt » Mon Dec 30, 2019 4:49 pm

My opinion: life is too short to spend a bunch of it making patch cables. If you're short on money but have lots of time, your math might be different, though.
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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by hsosdrum » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:07 pm

I agree 100% with cornutt, and will add that you should also factor in how good you are at soldering. Making 50 or 100 patch cables from scratch will require lots of soldering.

For me, life's too short to spend that much time making cables — I'll gladly trade money for time any day of the week. Time is the only one of life's commodities that you can never recoup once you've spent it.

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by Purveyor2 » Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:10 am

Soldering is not an issue but stripping and prepping all that coaxial certainly gives me pause. I can afford cables but just seems silly to spend $9 ea when I can spend hundreds of dollars in time to build a few exactly how I want. I’ve been DIYing too long. :doh:

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by hamildad » Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:21 am

I make my own cables, I cant see any other reason to. Its cheaper, you get better materials, you are in charge of the quality of soldering, you can repair easily and you can manage size etc exactly how you want it.

I use Switchcraft 280 jacks, and gotham GAC-1 cabling... makes great cables and I use heat shrink to mark out the different lengths...

its a zen experience, and prepping the cables is fairly quick, just make a nice cup of coffee, find some good radio/podcast and just do it for an hour.

I am also in the UK, so we cant order direct from dotcom etc.....
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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by SynthBaron » Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:31 pm

You really need a high wattage iron and flux to heat the connector up properly to a high enough temperature to get the solder to flow and stick to it with 1/4 inch plugs. Which is another investment if you just have a normal one for PC board soldering.

Getting one of those adjustable dual blade coax strippers and setting it up properly...

I haven't made cables in about 15 years, and I could again easily because I still have the tools. But I just buy them now. Monoprice.com ones work just fine.
Last edited by SynthBaron on Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by sduck » Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:59 pm

I am also 100% in the Cornutt camp. Back in the early days of my 5U building, I thought it would be cool to also make my own patch cords for the things. So I bought a mess of cable and jacks, and set out to do so. For me, it takes about 20 minutes to make a really nice patch cord, so I would tack one on at the end of every building session. If I had the time. Which ended up being less and less of the time. Eventually, I had a pretty good collection of well made patch cords, and another slightly smaller collection of less well made ones. And was sick of making them. So now i still have those old ones, but they are supplemented by a good collection of GLS Audio cords, available on amazon in several sizes -
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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by Funch » Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:05 pm

I will make my own 1/4" to euro cables but I purchase everything else from local sources if possible. And never would consider supporting a company that sells on Amazon.

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by Mark11Audio » Tue Dec 31, 2019 2:27 pm

I have a bunch of extra's that bought from Thomann a few years ago... I have since found and bought some Mogami Patch cables and the original Moog Format molded Switchraft Two Footer's... The ones I have extra and could sell dirt cheap are the Sssnake branded.

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See example above link...

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by levelhead3 » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:16 pm

I though I was lucky starting out as I had dozens of shorter patch cables left over from an old TS patchbay setup from years gone by.

And I've historically done all my own soldering for cable maintenance and modification. So I figured I could just make what I needed down the road. But the reality is as has been said prior, time = money.

Dotcom's are heatshrink length labelled, use Mogami cable, and the barrels are sealed to prevent them coming loose, which my old patchbay cables do constantly. I have a lot of them now. Zero out of the box or in-usage failure rate so far. They're a no-brainer for me, especially when they're on holiday sale. :mrgreen:

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by Just me » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:37 pm

I have over 300 patch cables. Life is too short to make them. I got good deals through the for sale section and bought batches of them as people changed formats and sold them off. I even got a pile of Zon Pyle's custom purple cables.
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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by SynthBaron » Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:22 pm

levelhead3 wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:16 pm
and the barrels are sealed to prevent them coming loose, which my old patchbay cables do constantly.
I used superglue, though blue Loctite 242 (even available these days at Walmart) would probably be better if you want to be able to fix them if it breaks.

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by tardishead » Wed Jan 01, 2020 5:37 am

Does anybody have any links for good quality 1/4" patch cables in UK?
I have built some in the past but I'm not inclined to do that again because of time constraints.
Studiospares used to sell these Klotz patch cables which are awesome - I have about 40 of them but they are since discontinued.
I was considering the HOSA patch cords 8 pack but they look a bit cheap and nasty. Would prefer something m ore heavy duty

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by Synthbuilder » Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:54 am

I make my own. That way I can make them any length and use a decent make of plug. Plus they all look and handle the same - which I rather like. Sadly, the company that made the wonderfully rubbery cable no longer sells the stuff and I used my last bit just before the holidays. Damn.

Tony

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by whitewulfe » Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:24 pm

Analog Craftsman makes some nice looking cables, out of high quality parts too. They're rather nice looking too, but I do have to admit I rather like orange, so I'm kind of biased...

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by Purveyor2 » Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:03 pm

Against all logic I just bought the materials, want them how I want them dammit :sb:

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by tardishead » Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:39 am

Synthbuilder wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:54 am
I make my own. That way I can make them any length and use a decent make of plug. Plus they all look and handle the same - which I rather like. Sadly, the company that made the wonderfully rubbery cable no longer sells the stuff and I used my last bit just before the holidays. Damn.

Tony
Can anybody recommend what jack plugs and "wonderfully rubbery cable" to use. After a lot of looking for ready made patch cables I think the best way is to build myself

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by Synthbuilder » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:23 am

tardishead wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:39 am
Can anybody recommend what jack plugs and "wonderfully rubbery cable" to use. After a lot of looking for ready made patch cables I think the best way is to build myself.
The plugs I use are by Neutrik - although they are from the old Rean range:

https://www.rapidonline.com/neutrik-ag- ... ug-20-2183

Other places may well be cheaper as Rapid's prices have gone up of late.

The cable I used is sadly long gone. I need to find some more.

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by Analog Prophet » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:50 am

After had miscellanies patch cables I ordered a number of color coded (by length) patch cables (Doepfer) that will arrive tomorrow, I hope. Also ordered a small thing that will help me big time with the cables; a cable holder: https://www.thomann.de/gb/erica_synths_ ... _300mm.htm
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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by hamildad » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:13 am

tardishead wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:39 am
Can anybody recommend what jack plugs and "wonderfully rubbery cable" to use. After a lot of looking for ready made patch cables I think the best way is to build myself
hamildad wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:21 am
I use Switchcraft 280 jacks, and gotham GAC-1 cabling... makes great cables and I use heat shrink to mark out the different lengths...
if you have a good idea of the cabling you need, I can probably supply from the massive drum I bought from Gotham....

PM me if interested.
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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by KSS » Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:40 pm

When you DIY, you can make passive attenuating cables -with two resistors- and simple diode OR cables. These can add greatly to the variety and ease of patching.

Fixing a high wattage soldering iron vertically or horizontally above your work area can greatly reduce the time needed to make cables. Allow to bring the parts to the soldering iron with two hands.

A well adjusted cable stripper designed for coax is a godsend.

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by synthetic » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:32 am

Dotcom uses Mogami? They don’t mention it on their site.

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by levelhead3 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:51 am

yep! 2524. surprised me too.

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by SynthBaron » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:12 pm

synthetic wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:32 am
Dotcom uses Mogami? They don’t mention it on their site.
Probably not to alienate past purchasers. Like they didn't mention when they started using Switchcraft enclosed jacks instead of the cheap Chinese open frame garbage they started out with.

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Re: Patch cables. To DIY or just buy?

Post by levelhead3 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:53 pm

SynthBaron wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:12 pm
synthetic wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:32 am
Dotcom uses Mogami? They don’t mention it on their site.
Probably not to alienate past purchasers. Like they didn't mention when they started using Switchcraft enclosed jacks instead of the cheap Chinese open frame garbage they started out with.
can't knock a company that quietly progresses upward in quality though. more commonly it seems like it's the other way around, right? :)

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