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Addendum: Cotton tubing vs. thin layer Teflon tape




One of the enjoyable things about the design I'm shooting for is that it's not suitable for a commercial build, since it may be too delicate from a heavy duty POV. Like a number of DIY cable builds, it's not important that there is a level of fragility involved for my own use, not unlike the delicate nature of a turntable, and the responsibility of the end user to be extra-careful from a mechanical perspective. Good performance should not necessarily be limited by the danger of mishandling due to the thoughtlessness of a consumer electronics plug & play mentality vs. a DIY build for personal use. Folks must take care in the way they treat their own audio gear, in so many ways. So a DIY build can be as centered on performance as a designer wishes it to be, rather than compromise for the sake of a more robust commercial build for business purposes, which may sacrifice performance for the sake of avoiding customer returns.

In the case of using a very thin layer of PTFE Teflon tape vs. a more bulky cotton tubing as an insulator, I plan to use a single run of PTFE Teflon tape with a half-overlap that will effectively provide 2-layers of tape wrap for each wire, not even as much as the 4-5 wraps used for pipe sealing purposes as intended for PTFE Teflon tape. Even if an exposed gap very unlikely occurs at some point within the short 0.5 meter length, there will be 2-layers of tape around the opposing wire to provide the necessary insulation for a twisted pair. With so little dielectric mass, there should be minimal dielectric absorption involved in the matter, and it will allow the two opposing conductors to be very tightly twisted together without issue due to the material bulk of a fluffy cotton dielectric.

The primary goal of this DIY AES/EBU digital cable project is to allow two solid core conductors to be twisted tightly together, that do not require fillers that add dielectric mass in order to provide a structure that maintains a consistent geometry from end to end, since a medium gauge solid core wire with a minimal mass insulator can provide a very robust geometry vs. a thickly insulated stranded wire conductor tends to provide. This matter may also pertain to the bulky nature of cotton tubing, which is better implemented for analog interconnect cables and speaker wire rather than an AES/EBU digital cable application, IMO. Although the DIY build will not be measured to see if its number falls somewhere between the generous 110 ohm ± 20% (88-132 ohm) range for an AES/EBU digital cable application, in my experience of many that I've built perform much better than the 110 ohm commercial cables I've evaluated, and also tend to sound much better than 75 ohm digital coaxial cables if terminated with an audiophile-quality XLR connector vs. a pro audio XLR connector. Building the perfect twisted pair is the primary goal, in this case.


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