How to build a 5-5 Pin, 180 degree DIN cable?

Recently, I would like to build a 5-5 pin 180-degree cable for my CD player and pre-amp.
However, I need clarification on the specifications. I have very good XLR and RCA cables with independent ground cables and shield and would like to cut the plugs and use the cables only.
Is it right to use a shield and ground cable, say from the XLR cable, with the positive and negative conductors as two channels, then ground cable and shield together to be ground, soldering in the ground pin?
Or is it better to use a shielded RCA cable with the positive and negative conductors as two channels, and the shield and ground cable are together as the ground conductor, soldering in the ground pin?
Should the ground cables (shield + independent ground) be soldered to both DIN plugs or only the CD or pre-amp sides?

Buy it from your Naim dealer. It will be cheaper than breaking what you have with an error. Will probably sound better, too.

That is my dos centavos.


The back panel of the 282 has an exact pin diagram telling you what the wiring configuration is.

You just get some good Mogami cable, DIN plugs and get soldering following the digram on the amp. it’s that simple.

Of course soldering itself takes practice. Soldering leads is totally different from solding speaker cables.

I would add that if using a shielded cable, for Naim, common the shield with ground at the source end and leave the shield unterminated at the amp end. But if the source is not Naim, do the opposite; shield common to ground at amp end, unterminated at source. And mark the direction of the cable.

Thanks for your explanation. But why the ground end is different when the source is or is not Naim? Are there still companies build source with DIN?

Naim ground the signal at the source. Most ground it at the amp. So you ideally want a shield to also only be grounded at the same end.

If you open the plugs on most expensive interconnects, you’ll see shield grounded at one end only; the amp end.

Of course, unshielded is another way to go. It’s not necessarily worse.

DIN is still common on pro gear.

Thanks for your explanation

Especially with Naim starting to use balanced or quasi-balanced connections (and I don’t know exactly what conventions they are following on those) I would very strongly advise someone with your level of knowledge not to embark on making up your own cables. Just because it’s a simple soldering job does not make it something you should do. In some arrangements where there’s a balanced OUT and a single IN you could have the OUTput driving itself into a short which, even if it doesn’t cause damage, is not a great idea. Short of damaging the equipment (which I stress is perfectly possible if the outputs don’t detect their load) there is what is known as “The Pin 1 problem” which is basically a mis-design of the XLR right at the beginning. It should have had 2 pins and a grounded shell but they put in 3 pins, so offering two options for ground and complicating things no end. Basically, unless you know how things are done inside, and why, you probably won’t get the optimum S/N ratio, even if you manage to avoid getting hum. Look up “The Pin 1 problem” and if you see an article by Bill Whitlock of Jensen transformers, read it. That will appraise you of quite how tricky these Ground situations can be. Finally, though the chances are better with an interconnect than they are with a speaker cable, it’s very likely your new cable won’t end up being that great, especially if you are relying on another manufacturer’s say-so rather than actual electrical specs. Nice looking plugs and sheathing are usually uncorrelated with good sound and the chances are that a £25 cable from Chord is going to sound better.

Incidentally, by mentioning both RCA and XLRs you haven’t made it very easy for anyone to grasp what exactly it is you mean to do. Although I’m pretty certain I read that Naim was using a load balancing output on some of its gear, I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention to it. Although I know what they generally look like, I don’t know what their exact implementation is and I would want to ask some questions if I were putting together a cable, just to be safe. Since I’m fairly sure you don’t know what those outputs even look like, it’s probably not a good idea to be designing connections for them - even if they are bulletproof.

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But this how people learn new things. By doing things they haven’t done before. And it’s not a power cable that could damage kit.

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I don’t think he’s just rustling up a pair of RCA to RCAs. If he’s going from a balanced source to an unbalanced i/p then one side of that balanced output could be driving itself into ground. If that’s an op amp, that might sometimes break them; not often, I grant you, but it’s not the way most op amps want to live their life. :slight_smile:

I may have yet to express this above. I want to use an XLR cable (without heads) to make a 5-5 pin DIN cable. The (+) and (-) conductors are used as channel 1 and channel 2. The ground conductor is used as the ground. Now, the shield should be soldered to the source or the amp side. It should work in this way.

I have no idea how to help you. Just copy whatever Naim does, but I think you may have a problem even there. I seem to remember each channel’s signal wire having its own shielding and there then being an external shield for the whole lot (which may or may not want to be connected at both ends) - at least that was so on a Chord cable as I remember talking to them about it. There isn’t a definitive answer because, ultimately, star grounding doesn’t sort out the ground problem. Sometimes DC resistance of the shield is the key element, sometimes it’s the quality of the shielding or the mutual capacitance that needs to be kept low, and this is why it’s better to go with the manufacturer’s own ICs. Even if they are not geniuses, they are likely to have tried more things and have a more complete picture than you’ll ever manage.

PS. There is no such thing as XLR cable. It’s probably better to be more descriptive of the cable as the XLR bit made things more confusing. Also, on a single channel’s balanced (including XLRs) connection you have a Hot and a Cold connection rather than a (+) and (-).

Understand. But there is a independent ground cable which are connected both sides in Hiline or Superlumina 5-5 pin DIN cables, right? Just the shields may connected to the ground in source side, right? I think this part is important to me.

Besides, I think the Hot and Cold conductors in XLR are with the same specification, so I think they can be used as channel 1 and channel 2

Yes, you can make a two channel single-ended cable out of a single channel balanced cable. As for what Naim do with their Superlumina cables, I don’t know - and if I did I probably wouldn’t think it right to tell you, especially on their platform!

I assume that " independent ground cable" is a drain wire and they aren’t usually a great idea as they unbalance the shielding, but then nor are they really meant to be used as a Gnd to Gnd connection either. Because a balanced connection is so much closer to ideal than any RCA to RCA connection (which are miles away from being ideal) you can’t at all infer that a good sounding balanced cable will make a good sounding single ended cable. I’m not even sure you’re starting with the right format raw cable and I think I’ve given enough of my time to this topic. My advice is that it’s very unlikely to sound good, assuming we’re out of the territory of it doing damage - which I’m not convinced we are given your novice status. Just connect it up and if you get a ton of hum (turn the volume down) then you’ll know one end of the shield probably needs disconnecting. Experiment to find which end is better (and then experiment which way round the cable should go). I think it’s cheeky to ask for much more advice than this.

Thanks for your help. I have got a structural drawing of Hi-line from my friend.

Cool. But I think you’ll need both your balanced cables to begin making that as each channel is basically a shielded twisted pair of Litz cable. I have to say I’m super surprised they’re using Litz wire as I tend to hate the stuff and in the past we’ve tended to broadly agree on what works. It looks as though it may be some kind of precursor to a proper fully balanced cable setup (which, let’s guess, is going to be even more expensive :slight_smile: ) and there would be grounds to hope that if it sounds good single ended then it might sound good as a balanced cable - though, as I mentioned, that doesn’t work in the other direction. Good luck and let us know how it sounds. A shielded twisted pair is not a bad place to start but you’ll have to get the twisting identical on both channels. It may be worth visiting the TNT website just for some immersion in what is involved in cable making. I haven’t had much luck getting good results from ideas of theirs that I’ve tried (so don’t tend to follow their theories) but there are some tips in there that could be useful, like using TV cable if you need a shield since you can pull out the white extruded plastic part from the centre of it - and the ~1mm unenamelled centre conductor can be useful for things like bus bars in power supplies or beefing up PCB tracks that are going to take high currents.