Audio Cable, Wire, Solder – DIY and Ready to Use Cable

The first time you hear music produced from audio equipment you have built or modified yourself, is a satisfying experience. At the beginning of home audio, kits were very popular worldwide. There is a rebirth of interest in kits.

The best way to get started in DIY construction is to buy and build a kit. Kits usually include an instruction manual and all the parts necessary to build the unit. Some kits just provide the instructions, transformers and chassis. You purchase the parts you feel "sound" the best to use in kit construction.

Selecting parts that compliment each other is one of the most fascinating and challenging aspects of audio construction or modification. Audio enthusiasts usually experiment with vintage or "audiophile grade" parts to find the right combination that honors the music.

Top Secret Ear Tool

It is so hard to listen to an amplifier, or a different tube, or parts change and make the right decision. Our ears are wonderful test devices, but our brain seems to just latch on to the positive things it hears. Live Music consists of a wide range of elements that contribute to its “Sound”. I think, long term listening enjoyment is achieved by products that reproduce the sound of all the elements of Music, well. In fact, I think an amplifier that provides good performance in all the elements of Music reproduction, sounds better than an amp that has great dynamics and presence but poor voicing or resolution.

I have been building my own audio amps for years. I was always frustrated by having to listen to a circuit or modification for a really long time before I could decide whether it got me closer to the Music. I chanced on an old audio evaluation tool that was used by an English Hi Fi Magazine in the 1950s. I experimented with it and developed a method that works for me. I think it will work for you too.

When I am developing an amp, listening to a tube or a part. I listen in Mono and compare the change against a baseline. I use a mono test box that blends both channels of the music source. That way I can switch from channel to the other to quickly compare the change. If it sounds better in Mono it will always sound better in Stereo. I use the “Top Secret Ear Tool’ to make sure I evaluate all the elements of Music.

Audio Test Bullseye Graph

How accurately or well this audio product reproduces music in the following categories? Choose a recording that will help you evaluate the following elements of Live Music

DYNAMICS -- The dynamic range, impact and weight of the musical event
DYNAMIC RANGE -- the required range of audible frequencies with the same loudness or output: Perhaps a symphonic selection with wide dynamic and frequency range
WEIGHT -- The authority and feel of a solid and correct bass foundation to the music:
Perhaps an Upright Bass, Kettle Drums, or Organ selection
IMPACT -- The strong concussive forces of live music, mainly in the bass region:
Definitely a Percussion Selection, more drums the better
PRESENCE -- The quality of the realism and vitality of the music
ATTACK -- The initiation and buildup of sound when an instrument is bowed, struck or plucked: Violin, Piano, Plucked Guitar, Xylophone, Solo Clarinet
PACE -- The apparent tempo of the music, tempo is the rate of speed of a musical passage: Select “Tight” bands and Music with varying Tempo, Jazz, Classic Rock
RHYTHM -- The synchronization of the ensemble playing the music
Go Latin, Cuban or Brazilian, Demo Disc Time
COHERENCE -- The imaging, layering, height and ambiance of the musical event
HEIGHT -- A stable and properly sized location of the instruments up and down the sound stage: Classical or Choral, Don’t forget Gospel
IMAGING -- A stable and properly sized location of instruments across the width of the sound stage: Ideally a selection that was recorded with a single microphone
LAYERING -- A stable and properly sized location of the instruments through the sound stage's depth: A good recording with a vocalist centered in front of a symphonic orchestra
AMBIANCE -- The spatial and reverberent cues of the “hall” where the musical event was recorded: Symphonic, String Quartet, Jazz “Live”
RESOLUTION -- The low level detail resolution of instrumental sounds and reverberation decay.
AIR -- The treble sounds delicate, open and unrestricted without any grain or edge
Strings, Triangle, Bells, Flute
FOCUS -- The musical instruments are clearly defined and you can hear the silence between the musical impulses: Accappella, Scat, String Quartets, Jazz
ARTICULATION -- How well an audio component resolves the inner harmonic structure of an instrument:Solo Violin, Piano, Female Voice, Eva Cassidy
VOICING -- The accuracy of the sound and range of the instruments in your perception
TIMBRE -- The full complex harmonic structure of an instrument's voice:
Violin, Woodwind, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Brass
TONAL BALANCE -- proper loudness of the instruments upper and lower frequencies:
Solo Piano, Organ
ACCURACY -- The reproduction of the music without adding any coloration or distortion:
Acoustic Instruments
Methods – One of the most effective ways to evaluate your audio system is to determine how well it reproduces all aspects of music. This evaluation form was developed to help you do that. In order for a product to be a “long term” asset to your enjoyment of music, it needs to reproduce all aspects of music well. It is more important for the evaluation graph to show close to the same point scores for all aspects then to score very high in some and poorly in others. A “well rounded” product provides much better long term enjoyment.

Audio Test Bullseye Graph

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