Adding shielding to existing cables

So I have some interconnects that are picking up all sorts of RFi. I know this for two reasons, one, as I move them around the noisy/buzz sound changes, and two, when I switch them out for shielded interconnects the noise goes away.

so, I bought some tinned copper shielding and some new RCA plugs. I’m going to cut the existing RCA plugs off the existing cable and install the new shielding and new plugs. The thing is the new plugs have a plastic body so there is nowhere to easily connect the shielding to ground.

I was thinking of running a pigtail from the shielding and attachIng an eyelet to ground it to my preamp since there is a grounding lug. Would this work or is there a better way given what I intend to use?

Um, no, my friend.  No...

Just build them with the right construction to begin with. Use Belden balanced wires with foil shield and inexpensive RCA jacks first, see if that fixes your problem. 
I was thinking of running a pigtail from the shielding and attachIng an eyelet to ground it to my preamp since there is a grounding lug. Would this work?

Yes and it is just the kind of low-risk proof of concept test I would try before cutting anything.

or is there a better way given what I intend to use?

Its hard to say what will be better without seeing exactly. Even then... it appears logical to assume shielding the whole length is what’s working. But then sometimes it turns out its the last millimeter of unshielded wire the noise comes in. Sometimes it even turns out its not the shielding at all. The shielded cable is quiet, the non-shielded isn’t, its the obvious conclusion. Only later it turns out it had nothing to do with that, it was just a poor connection at the RCA. Or a bad solder connection within the RCA. (I have had both.) So these things are not always as easy as they seem.

Which is why its best to go the low-risk route. Maybe you get lucky and solve it. Maybe you don’t. Either way you learn something you never even would have had the chance to learn had you jumped straight to cut and solder.

@erik_squires Why “no”?

from what I am able to understand, a shield is typically connected at one end (source end) via the rca metal body or chassis.  Doesn’t the rca plug ground connect to cassis ground?  If that is the case, how is running a ground wire from the shielding to chassis any different?

My "no" was to the extreme level of visually unappealing hackery here.

I mean, sure, add a shield and see where grounding it works best for you if that’s what you want to do.

From a "looks nice" and "doesn’t look like a mad scientists creation" point of view though, if you are going to start cutting off ends, why not just use some nice looking, shielded interconnect cables with new plugs? That may be all you need to stop the noise, and it will look nice and clean.

In other words, you are overthinking the solution already. Start with the normally suggested approach: Use foil shielded interconnects. You can make them yourself inexpensively.

THEN and only then if you still can't get relief start experimenting with novel grounding.

Oh, pro tip:

Building your own cables, use balanced cabled + a shield.

The inner conductors form the center and outer jacket connections.  The foil shield is connected only at the source jacket.
"Pro tip", good one. Tell 'em, pro, about your DIY cable skills. How about the "pro tip" where you discover your "pro cables" you built aren't even within 2dB of each other. 

DYODD OP. Read a few posts from this "pro" who is anything but. Draw your own conclusions.

You have a very nice system...I recommend using a better cables than DIY crap like Belden. I understand the urge of making your own cables but it’s not worth the trouble when you can have cables that not only sound great but also look aesthetically pleasing at the same price of DIY cables.

Look into Audio Envy IC’s, you can thank me later!
To be clear I have an existing Decware cable that sounds great, but is unshielded. I’m not trying to DIY a new cable from scratch. I just want to add shielding to see if that solves my noise problem. 
I have no issues with sliding a shield over the existing cable and grounding it to see if it fixes the issue. If it does then maybe I do a more permanent solution. 

Thanks for clarifying, hope it works out for you. If not, then you have an solid recommendation to try it out that won’t break the bank.
To be clear I have an existing Decware cable that sounds great, but is unshielded. I’m not trying to DIY a new cable from scratch. I just want to add shielding to see if that solves my noise problem.

Right, so .... if you like your cables, don't hack them yet.

Use inexpensive shielded first. That is, use the Belden as a prototype. If you like your results, then you know what direction you want to go in.  The goal here is not sublime purity of essence, but to prove/disprove your ideas of noise elimination. Do it cheaply with cables you don't mind throwing away before you hack things you love.


I use a tinned copper braid shield for DIY ICs, PCs, & speaker cables.  Solder a short round wire to the braid and sneak it through the RCA barrel to ground at the source end only. Cover the braid with tekflex, and seal the tekflex to the RCA barrel with heat shrink tube-- just like many commercial cable manufacturers do it.
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So your cable is picking up noise. I would suggest trying different ways to shield and ground the existing cable without hacking it up. I would then suggest going to your local audio store and trying out different cables first to see if they make any difference.

Happy Listening.
""Pro tip", good one. Tell 'em, pro, about your DIY cable skills. How about the "pro tip" where you discover your "pro cables" you built aren't even within 2dB of each other? "

- Source resistance 500-10K ohms. Load impedance 20K-100K ohms. Cable resistance <<1 ohm. I am curious to how you think an interconnect is going to generate a 2db difference between 2 cables of similar construction?

And I am curious how you got any of that from what I said?

The fact of the matter is it was Eric Squires himself who told us all he had built these DIY interconnects, that they didn’t sound right, and that he then measured and found they were 2dB off. So don’t ask me. Ask Mr "Pro Tip" himself.

Reading comprehension. It is one thing to be able to sound out the words. Quite another to comprehend their meaning. As you so beautifully illustrate.
@millercarbon is not only a creepy online stalker but he is my biographer.

He’s referring to a learning experience I had with DIY cables. Yes, I broke something using single stranded pure silver interconnects. I shared the experience with others about what to be careful of.

In this particular thread, Miller failed in any meaningful way to address my suggestion, but instead has to go way back to remember something I said he can use against me.

The suggestion I made is a good one. I know this because I made my own cables and did the research. I also made a mistake here and there. That’s proof of experience.

@dgarretson knows his stuff.

All I want to suggest is, maybe don't hack your favorite ICs as your first one? :)
Sometimes I feel I’m being misunderstood or people aren’t reading through completely. No offense to anyone. 
I’m not going to hack up my cable (yet). I’m going install a shielding with pigtail I can ground to a source. I just wanted to know if that would work. 
I have other cables with shielding that stops the same noise I’m picking up from the other unshielded cables. 
That being said the cable I like is one of my least expensive by some margin so, if I ultimately hack it up, it won’t be the worst thing in the world;)
Yep.  That would work.

You will be adding some capacitance, be interesting if this changes the quality of your cables. :)
Eric and MC, the Fighting Corbetts. Gentlemen, remember, Marquis of Queenbury rules. No pinching, gouging, biting or hair pulling. Now shake ‘ands and come out a-fightin’ 😬 May the best grounded cable solution win! Just kidding. You guys are both great 👍 

@lalitk "DIY crap like Belden" Guess this guy doesn't know much about Belden, been around longer than he's been alive & make more than just a few cables. Belden 8412 with Switchcraft 3502ABAU gold plated plugs, you go ahead & push your expensive cables meanwhile I'll make my own & use them everywhere with zero noise, maybe do some research before bashing something you have zero experience with.
Pro tip:
@ millercarbon - my company designed, built and installed recording studio signal cabling.

Gear is always connected EXACTLY as Eric stated. Only exception are phantom powered microphones.

Take it easy...should have done your homework. My so called expensive cable is only $148 for a 3 foot pair. Maybe you should order one, audition in your system and then report your feedback.

Throughout my audio journey, I made quite a few cables...Belden, Monster, DH Labs, Duelund, Furutech and many more.
So I tried tinned copper shielding with a ground wire but that did not accomplish much.

so I just went for it. I got some WTB connector, silk tubing, copper tape and reused the tinned copper braided shielding. I cut the RCA I liked up and made my own. 
Construction was pretty much as follows:

wire connected to interconnect, silk tubing, copper tape around silk grounded to WTB connector, tinned copper braiding, with another layer of copper tape around that, and finally a plastic mesh cover. 
As far as I can tell, the sound Is the same, but without all the noise. So I’m going to call it a success. 
Kudos to your DIY spirit!!

Thanks for letting me know what happened.

How is the sound, do you feel like you lost any treble or mids??
While we have to keep memory of sound and psychoacoustics into effect, from what I can tell there has been no loss of sound quality. 

Not to muddy the water but I'm considering the following advice from DIY blogger, Steve Reese. Steve has compelling ideas for making one's own speaker wires, ICs and power cables.

Any thoughts, anyone, on Steve's reasoning?

@scroydon - Steve Reeve aka Williewonka responding...

The responses you may get could be quite varied, some positive and some stating that my ideas and approach to cable design is absurd.

Some may state the cables do not work as well as they thought, but fail to mention they DID NOT use the wires and the connectors identified on the web site.

Some may cast dispersions as to my being an "agent" for KLE Innovations, because of the products I use/promote/audition on the site

I try not to get involved in debating the various opinions, but I will offer assistance to anyone wishing to build the Helix cables.

Several Agon’ers have elected to try them and are extremely happy with them - I just hope some of them catch this thread and post their positive feedback, but on reflection, I would not blame them for staying out this one either :-)

If you are of the mind that silver wires are harsh, I can recommend very good copper wires to replace them

If you have any questions, please contact me at the email address on the website - I am here to assist

Regards - Steve :-)

before I knew about your praise for KLE connectors I stumbled upon them and Duelund wires and made myself a set of interconnects. I was quite pleased when I plugged them in and listened. I now want to make an XLR set with Duelund wires, can this be done with the helix method?

Hi Steve.
You left out how your practical research is supported by PS Audio research and other "mad scientists" (respectful and admirable context used here) and endorsements of other fellow DIYer who simply wonder and tinker leading to improvements in audio, many theory on induction and capacitance found thanks to great minds at Bell, Westinghouse, RCA, and Western Electric, and other's, many who’s research is lost on those who think they are smarter and don’t value the vast knowledge of past great minds.

Oh, well.

From imagination comes opportunities.

"What’s in your wall."
@last_lemming - yes - I have a photo of an XLR cable that another DIYer had made. However - he used wooden beads to center the signal wires in the helix coil.

However - I think this may be a simpler method...
- make the helix coil for the neutral conductor as per my web site
- for each of the two signal conductors simply place each wire inside a piece of 1/8" cotton sleeve
- gently twist the two wires together (clockwise direction) - one complete twist every 3-4 inches
- place the signal conductor assembly inside helix coil
- Add the XLR connectors

My thoughts are - that using the cotton insulation will prove to be more effective, since the two signal wires will not be "pinched" together where they go through the wooden beads.

My latest RCA wires use the signal wire inside 1/8" cotton sleeve and they worked better than the version using small wooden beads I had tried previously.

While I have found the Duelund wire to be very good, I do prefer solid silver for the signal wires - they are more dynamic with better clarity, detailing and imaging

From that perspective I have recently become aware of this solid silver wire from VH Audio - I would use the 21 gauge version for IC's

The AirLok insulation has Dielectric Constant around that of Cotton/oil.

I have tried the 18 guage wire on a power cable for my source components and it was stunning, so I am thinking of using it for a pair of IC's to see how it compares to Mumdorf Silver/gold wire I currently use

Keep us posted on how they turn out

Regards - Steve
@scroydon - Thanks for that update on the other "mad scientists". I don’t feel so isolated :-)

I was not actually aware of the contribution from PS Audio and all the other great minds in the companies you mention - but I am not surprised that it gets lost with the glut of information AND more importantly MIS-information available on the web today

Most of my "knowledge" came from tinkering, the tinkering of other DIYer’s around the globe and Keith Louie Eichman, who got me started on all of this with his cable topology.

Once I got into the geometry of cables I started looking at what was out there from companies like Kimber Kable, Cardas, AntiCables Gutwire and most recently Inakustik.

The latest revelation has been the impact of Dielectric Content of the insulation on wires and thanks to companies like VH Audio there is a broader selection of great wires (copper and silver both with AirLok insulation) to choose from. Chris, of VH Audio is also a well known DIYer that I have a lot of respect for and he makes some very good cables.

Bur sometimes it does seems those with the "loudest voice" wins the day.

However it is refreshing to see some pretty clever cable designs coming to market of late.- i.e. for those audiophiles that prefer NOT to dabble in DIY

Regards - Steve

Tell a lie long enough and loud enough and it will become "the truth."

"Mass opinion is the work of the Devil."

BTW. Cardas has a nice article on audio cables:

Just stumbled across John Darko’s recent vlog on experts vs neophyte view points that has relevance to this thread. Maybe.

Are you a "conspiracy theorist in an audio world?"

What's in your wallet?
Any time I've tried shielded and non shielded varieties of even the same cable....shielded always sounds "closed in" in comparison.
I have ditched mega-dollar cables in my system for williewonka DIY Helix design cables and love them; I can tell you from listening and evaluating over 20+ brands of cables with some retailing for $5K, this DIY Helix beats them all with a build cost of $200...

All of my signal cables are the DIY Helix Typology and Steve has offered the audiophile community a world-class cable at an entry level price which is quite amazing IMHO.

No need to knock it if you haven’t tried it and for $200...

It's a pretty bad idea.
If you don't want to buy a new RCA shielded cable, and you wanna have some fun the only advice I would give you is to paint the whole cables and connectors with a mix of white glue and tourmaline powder.
Just remember that the process will be irreversible.
But honestly, I would opt for a new shielded RCA cable.
“Rest assured, if there is snake oil in these products, it sure looks like physics to me. All the data is measured and real.”
-Galen Gareis, Senior Product Project Engineer for Belden Wire and Cable

As John Darko recommends, I'll listen to the experts first before I lean on my own understanding!

Steve, you mention "skin effect" in the following page on Helix structure for speaker wire or ICs.
I have read that skin effect is a component of AC current, not DC. How is it a challenge here?
... you mention "skin effect" in the following page on Helix structure for speaker wire or ICs.I have read that skin effect is a component of AC current, not DC. How is it a challenge here?
An audio signal is AC.
OK, I’ll say it again. The voltage and current in a DC or AC circuit do not (rpt not) have frequency as a component or characteristic. The alternating frequency is not the same thing as frequency of the signal traveling through wire.
Thanks guys. I guess I need to find an audio primer. Is there an Audio For Dummies?🤔

I was under the mistaken belief that speaker terminals and whatnot labelled positive and negative meant DC. 😶

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