DIY Belden Interconnects

Contributed by Mikey (fellow Echo Loft forumer)

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The following document my impressions and experiences, albeit brief, with the belden 89259 and 89207 diy interconnects. Credit is due to Jon Risch who has undertaken intensive research into belden cables and whose work encouraged me to give these cables a shot .

Jon Risch’s work is a must read and can be found at :

If you’d like to ‘speak’ with Jon, he can be found at Go to the cable section of the asylum. I think he is the moderator of that section. Post a message for his attention. He’s very helpful and forthcoming so you should get a reply to your query.

The recent interest in diy interconnects, speaker cables, power cords, etc is in no small part due to the stratospheric and if I may say, ridiculous prices manufacturers and dealers of branded wires are charging gullible and highly suggestive audiophiles and audio enthusiasts in their quest for the ultimate in sound reproduction. There’s far too much voodoo, snake oil and virgin oil and God knows what else and not enough factual data to support manufacturers’ claims and cable designs, some costing thousands of dollars. For most of us, money is an important consideration and a constraint, which is why we tweak..which to me, is the art of squeezing that last ounce of performance with the least investment, monetarily that is.

To cut to the chase, I have for the last 7 months or so, been using 89259 and 89207 interconnects. I have 3 sets of each which I swap around now and then. Why 3 sets? Because I need 3 sets ;-) (see equipment list) I am not very much technically inclined but if you need facts and specs on these 2 wires, then these are the links. They take you directly to Belden’s web site

89259 - Link to Belden Website
89207 - Link to Belden Website

89259: The belden 89259s were the first interconnects I built. My first batch was built using cheapo rca plugs and common 60/40 solder. Later on, rather better ‘Audio Influx’ rca plugs and solder with silver content was used. These did not sound that great and I found out why after sending an email to Jon. It seems that the quality of the rca plugs and the solder used can make a huge difference to the ultimate sound of 89259. He suggested that I would be better off using Kester solder and Cardas plugs. Cardas plugs are expensive and I had some difficulty getting them. So I opted for the Canare plugs which are really well made, solid and look very nice ( As for solder, I used Kester ‘44’ solder (

The construction is straightforward - ground the shield at both ends and solder the copper core and you’ve got yourself a fine interconnect, costing about $50.00 a pair. Jon Risch has high praise for this cable and rightly so. It has a smooth non fatiguing, ‘warmish’ quality that grows on you. It is not without its limitations though. The smooth, non fatiguing quality comes at the expense of some resolution of fine detail and transparency. It does not exhibit these qualities immediately. I have found that belden cables do not break in easily. They require easily 100 hours and more of burning in before they settle in. before breaking in, the cables sound clinical and harsh. I gave them about 200 hours of breaking in using Sheffield test disc’s burn in tracks with the cd transport programmed to play in a repeat mode. Some folks believe that burning in is a myth and who hold the view that its more like our ears adjusting to the sound rather than the component breaking in. It may be so.

As mentioned above, the sound of the 89259 can best be described as being ‘warm’. There is an obvious high frequency roll off which accounts for the warm character of the cable. This became all the more evident when compared with the 89207s. On some tracks where the cymbals and the high hats are prominent, the 89259 relegated these to the background, giving more emphasis to the mids which is expressive. Bass is not very deep but it is nevertheless possible to make out and follow bass lines. However, this is dependant on the recording too. Some recordings have prominent bass and some others, very thin bass lines. Examples: the Pat Metheny recording (thin) – Etta James, Herbie Hancock (robust). Soundstage depth and width is credible with the sound coming from a plane between the speakers and going fairly deep. Because of the roll off in the high frequency, there is less ‘air’ around instruments and voices and compared to the 89207, less transparent. But all this does not detract from the fact that the cable is highly listenable and enjoyable and it is only when directly compared to the 89207 that its shortcomings become obvious. Whether these are indeed shortcomings or not is really a matter of taste and the kind of kit you have. I think in a bright system, the 89259s would do a great job of smoothing out the rough edges without forsaking the detail. And if you like a slightly laid back relaxed presentation that is non fatiguing, then the 89259 is an excellent choice.

If you look at Jon Risch’s website, there are instructions on making the 89259s better by making a twisted pair using another belden cable, the 1506A or the 89248 or with another length of 89259. Unfortunately the 1506A and the 89248 are not available in Singapore, at least not at SLT. So the only way to make a twisted pair is to use 2 runs of the 89259s. Full instructions are available on Jon Risch’s site. These take more time to make and more effort. They are also more expensive as you need to double up on the wire used and as youre only going to use the copper cores, you need to get braided shield, spacing to fill the gap between the twisted wires and the shield (teflon plumbers tape can be used here), heatshrink. The result – pretty good – certainly an improvement over the regular 89259s – in the region of the bass and the highs – which are slightly extended. but like I said, too much effort. So I gave up after making a pair.

The 89259s can also be used to make a digital interconnect and as speaker wires. Full instructions again will be found at the above site. I am using the 89259 as a digital interconnect and am quite pleased with its performance especially given its price. As for speaker cables, I have not got around to this. It would require more time and expenditure (especially to make a biwire set), but it will certainly be a project that I would want to undertake sometime in the future {not too soon though ;-) }. 89207

The 89207s have their own sonic character. But first, lets talk about its construction. Not as straightforward as the 89259s as it’s a twisted cable using tinned copper and a copper core. This cable is also highly recommended by Jon Risch as the best twisted cable available from belden. Back to construction. I built mine in a ‘telescopic’ fasion, ie, at the source/output end, I grounded the shield braid and the tinned copper core to the ground. The copper core obviously became the ‘hot’ wire, soldered using Kester solder. At the other end of the wire, the input end of it, the braided shield was insulated from the ground. Only the tinned copper core was grounded and of course the copper core soldered. There are more ways than one to insulate the braided shield from the ground connection at the input end. I took the easy way out by cutting off the shield an inch away from the plug and then dressing it up with some teflon plumber’s tape and heatshrink. If you do a neat job, it looks nice ;-) the wire has a distinct ‘home brew’ look about it and I find it quite endearing to the eyes..the cable is bronze coloured compared to the all black 89259..but who cares about what it looks like unless you’ve got your kit turned the other way around with the wires all exposed..

How does it sound like? Different from the 89259 for sure – in respect of the mids and the highs. After burning in for about 200 hours or so using the burn in track on a repeat mode , the first impression was a sound that was open, clear, extended at the top end and with lots of air. You actually get to hear more of the recording and the room in which it was recorded. Instruments snap into focus. Where the cymbals and the high hats were part of the background with the 89259, with the 89207, they became an integral part of the music. The mids were more forward but not unpleasantly so. It gave vocals and instruments a more ‘live’ feel. What impressed me was the transparency of the cable..very open with the sound extending beyond the speakers. But the transparency came at a cost – an extended high end – not too harsh or unpleasant, at least in my sytem, but it can get a bit etched I think in some systems. But then, you get to hear everything that is on the cd in explicit detail. Not a good thing some might say as it can be fatiguing. Maybe so. Which is why I have 3 sets of the 89259s and 3 sets of the 89207s.I find myself swapping wires after a month or so with each type. I have found that the wires do not work well when mixed so if im using the 89259s, then it’s the 89259s all the way. However, I have noticed that lately ive been using the 89207s for quite a while – maybe my ears are getting used to them. Or im just lazy to get up and swap cables.

The different sonic characters of the 2 wires are all the more apparent when using a revealing headphone system like the Sennheiser HD 600s and the Musical Fidelity X-Cans. Freed from the constraints of the room and how it affects the sound, headphone listening confirmed my impressions when listening through the speakers. With the 89259s, the sound was a bit closed in. however, it was nevertheless, highly enjoyable, warm, and non fatiguing. With the 89207s however, the constraints of the headphone were not obvious. However, the top end became all too apparent as well. The difference was akin to listening to a musical performance taking place some distance away (89259) and being on the front row in the concert hall, or right up on the stage (89207).

In my humble opinion, both cables are excellent especially considering their price. They easily rival the expensive branded cables and you can customise the length you need. In my case, I have a pair of 1 meter interconnects and 2 pairs of 0.75 meter interconnects. and then there is the satisfaction of diy work. With a bright system or if youre after a warmish laid back sound, you might want to look at the 89259. If you prefer immediacy and presence, then the 89207. With these cables, I think my cable buying days are over. I cannot imagine spending hundreds of dollars on what’s available in the market – the most expensive component of a cable is not the wire itself..but’s time consuming work..and then there’s advertising and marketing costs..these account for a massive part of a cable’s price. With diy, you get performance and satisfaction less the crazy prices. As for soldering, I will let you in on something…..i only learned how to solder just so that I could make these cables. So its not that tough.

That’s it folks. Sorry for the length. I tend to get very ‘ loh so’ at times ;-)



My modest equipment:

CAL Delta transport / MSB Link DAC / Musical Fidelity X10d / ME 240 intergrated amplifier / Musical Fidelity X-Cans headphone amplifier / Sennheiser HD 600 headphones / Castle Tay standmounted speakers (biwired) / Belden 89259 digital interconnect / Belden 89207 interconnects throughout / Audioquest Indigo speaker cables.

Accessories/tweaks used

Vibrapods, Audioquest sorbothane feet, Ferrite rings, Statmat II, Audioprism Blacklight, Uniposca green pen, Bedini cd clarifier [ yes yes does work;-) ], Caig anti static spray..used on label side of cds, Caig pro gold 100, Granite slabs and cement bricks as equipment supports and dampers, Atacama se24 speaker stands. No fancy power cords or distribution blocks..planning to ‘diy’ these soon..

Music used

Chesky’s Ultimate Demonstration Disc / Patricia Barber – Companion / Laura Fygi –Bewitched / Etta James – Life, Love and the Blues / Pat Metheny Group – We Live Here / Herbie Hancock – The New Standard / Bach – Violin Concertos – Naxos 8.550194 / Malcolm Arnold – Overtures – Reference Recordings PR48cd

Source for materials

For wires and plugs – LHS Marketing – Sim Lim Tower
Kester ‘44’ solder – plenty of shops in SLT selling this
Plumbers teflon tape – any hardware shop- also available at SLT
Solder gun – SLT
Heatshrink – from LHS – you just want to buy about a foot or so..which should be enough for 3 pairs as only the plugs and a bit of the wire extending out of the plugs have to be covered. Buy a foot of red and a foot of black heatshrink..that way you can colour code the positive from the negative. If you don’t have a heatgun, try borrowing one. No point buying just for this one off job. In the alternative, use a powerful hairdryer, which is what I did.