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The TNT Star: DIY speakers cable

[The Star Cable]
[Click for full-size]

[Italian version]

After the esoteric DIY designs by our Thorsten Loesch, here on TNT-Audio, here's something simpler, aimed to the absolute beginners. A speakers cable easy to build and cheap which can be considered the first serious step towards quality connections.
If you think that HiFi cables can't make any difference, or if you think you're not skilled enough to build fancy DIY projects you're the right guy reading the right page :-)

Building your own TNT Star

All that you need is a shielded four twisted conductors electrical cable, exactly like the one I suggested for building our Merlino mains cable, just with an extra conductor (3 for the Merlino, 4 for the Star).
Choose it of a reasonable cross-section, let's say 1.5 mm2 or more.
For the classical pair 3 + 3 meters you'll spend less than 8 $. Pretty cheap stuff. [Star-like connection]
Now you have a 4-poles cable and you should end up with a 2-poles speakers cable, here's the secret: connect the opposite conductors each other following the scheme you can see here. The name Star comes from this star-like connection. No, there's nothing new under the Sun, this is a rather old idea.
And no, no voodoo-since at work here: this cable configuration has been used even by Pioneer in the early days of HiFi cables (early eighties).
Now just mark with a red tape the positive pair and with a black tape the negative one. Be sure to connect THE SAME conductors together at the other end. Since, normally, each conductor has a different color, you can't go wrong.
Now your Star is almost ready to go: just add two ferrite rings at each end of the cable and you're done. So what about the shield? Leave it disconnected at each end.
If you want, for extra shielding, you may try to connect it to the amplifiers end only, to the negative binding posts but this isn't strictly necessary. If you're not sure of what you are going to do, LEAVE THE SHIELD DISCONNECTED AT EACH END.

The Light of the Star

I told you this is the very first step in the field of hi-quality connections for your HiFi system so I'm not claiming the Star will beat any hi-end cable made on Earth, because this is clearly FALSE.
Anyway, believe it or not, the Star does sound better than many plain simple OFC copper cables, up to 10$ per meter. What is amazing in this cable is the bass range, extremely powerful and well extended and so the overall dynamics: sure, this cable can rock!
The soundstage (yes, Virginia, the Star is capable of building a realistic soundstage!) is wide and very deep, a little bit dark, if you know what I mean.
It does not have a razor-sharp high range, it is fairly refined without being edgy or overbright. If a drawback can be found (and it's hard, if you consider the price) is exactly there, in the high range: the highs are there, no roll-off being evident but they are somewhat grainy, they remind me the sound of the Monster Cable Powerline (2 and 3 Plus).
Anyway this cable is a giant step forward over any standard speakers cable, even over many OFC audiophile ones.
Funny as it can be, the Star is now playing into a 6,000 $ HiFi system...and it sounds great! Nobody has been able to detect the cheap cable inside the chain...while it's very easy to detect a stock cable, because it affects the overall performance of any system, even the cheaper ones. The sound is dull and lifeless, no highs, no bass, no soundstage, no dynamics. Not so The Star, which is, by all means, a true serious audiophile cable.


The Star is one of the cheapest and easiest to build cables around. If you still don't believe cables can do a difference to the sound of your system, give the Star a try. Many of our Italian readers have already built it and now they absolutely love it.
One of them has also written an article (with some nice pictures included, too)...go and read it!

© Copyright 1998 Lucio Cadeddu

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