DIY Speaker Cables

February 25, 2013

Parts Express – WBT Audio Connectors

When it comes to DIY cables, speaker cables are as easy as it gets. With a few simple tools, some affordable parts and a little free time you can get professional looking results. Bi-wire cables, center channel cables, even long run surround cables are all simple to make and even better, extremely affordable. The video talks about making 4 conductor bi-wire cables, and the walkthrough describes the process for traditional 2 conductor cables. For the most part bust construction processes are the same, just with different parts. While this won’t make your speakers sound any better, it is an easy and cheap way to boost the aesthetics of otherwise ugly speaker wire.


The product links in this article are affiliate links to, but you can find the same parts on eBay or PartsExpress.


Tools you will need:

  •  Small Flat Head Screwdriver
  • Measuring Tape
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Lighter or Hairdryer or Heat Gun

Parts you will need:

Amazon,com, Parts Express and eBay (seller furryletters has great sleeving) are good places to find parts.


DIY Speaker Cable Supplies


Step 1: Choose a Cable Size, sleeving size, heatshrink size and cable pant size

excel icon   You can use this chart as a reference depending on the resistance (ohms) of your speakers and the length of the cable run. Each item

Now that you have gathered all of your materials, it is time to gather a few simple tools.  I recommend the following:
    •  Small Flat Head Screwdriver
    • Measuring Tape
    • Ruler
    • Scissors
    • Lighter or Hairdryer or Heat Gun


Step 2: Measure and Cut

If you are not sure what length cable you will need, run a piece of string from your stereo to your speaker following the route you plan to run the speaker cable. Add a foot or two depending on the overall length, and then measure the length of the string.

Once you measure out the length required, cut your speaker cable to the length you have calculated. Now measure the length of one cable pant, and the inside length of the connector (for example in a banana plug the length of the cable that will be inside the banana plug).

Take the number and double it.

Now cut your sleeving at a length of the speaker cable minus the calculation from the pants and banana plug. Add an inch to be safe.

Click the picture below for more details.

DIY Speaker Cable Measurment


 Step 3: Slide on the Sleeving

speaker cable sleeving

Now that you have most of your components measured out, it is time to slide on the sleeving. If you used the chart from step 2 you should have no problem getting it over the cable.

Use a slinky like motion to push the sleeving over the cable.

Slide about 4 or 5 inches at a time, allow it to bunch up and then push the bunch further down the cable.

For longer cables this may take some time, be patient and just keep repeating the slinky motion.

If you need to you can apply some scotch tape to the ends of the speaker cable in a cone like shape, this will help the cable slide through the sleeving without getting snagged.



Step 4: Apply the Heatshrink


speaker cable heatshrink















speaker cable heatshrink










Now that you have the sleeving on you may have noticed the ends are starting to fray, no need to worry.

Take your heatshrink (again step 2 has size recommendations) and cut off two half inch long pieces. You won’t be seeing this heatshrink in the end, so don’t fret if its not exactly half of an inch long, or if its not cut perfectly straight.

Take the heatshrink and slide it over the end of the sleeving, if the sleeving is too frayed you can use a piece of scotch tape to temporarily hold down the fray, simply wrap the tape around the end of the sleeving, slide the heatshrink over the tape and remove the scotch tape.

Don’t leave the tape as the next step might cause it to burn.

Once the heatshrink is positioned to cover the fraying ends of the sleeving, use a lighter, heatgun or hairdryer to shrink the heatshrink. Be careful not to burn the heatshrink or the sleeving around it.


 Step 5: Slide on the cable pants


The heatshrink you applied in step 5 should make for a smooth installation of the speaker pants. Measure the length of the speaker cable from the end of the heatshrink to the end of the cable. It should be the length of the cable pants + the useable length of your connector + a little extra.

Take scissors or an exacto knive and make a circular cut around the speaker cable sheath. Remove the sheath and cut off any cotton fiber that may have been used in the cable construction.

trimmed speaker cable


You will now slide on the cable pants.

If the individual legs of the pants have a hard time sliding over the speaker cable conductors, apply a small amount of dish soap to the speaker cable to aid in the process.

Once the cable pants are on you will want to slide them as far down as they can go, and then back up about 1/4″. This will give you some room for error in the next step.

speaker cable pants

Don’t trim the speaker cables just yet, read the next step before exposing the bare copper!!



Step 6: Install the connector

With the sleeving, heatshrink and cable pants already on your cable you are almost done. The last step is to apply your choice of connector. You can choose between banana plugs, spades or pins. No matter which connector you choose, the steps are the same.

Depending on your connector you may need to slide the decorative cover over the cable pants prior to the following steps.

1.) Unscrew the set screws.
2.) Slide the speaker cable with the covering still on into the connector.
3.) Mark the cable as close to the connector as possible.
4.) Using the mark made in step 3 strip the sheath off the individual conductor.
5.) Slide off the protective sheath, and then slide the bare wire back into the connector. (Try not to touch the bare wire with your bare fingers as the oil will not help the copper).
6.) Tighten the set screws completly making sure they line up over the bare wire.
7.) Depending on your connector setup, screw on the decorative cover.

banana plugson





There is no limit to the creativity you can use when making you cables. You can add a piece of heatshrink over top of the joint between the cable pants and sleeving, or use colored heatshrink to mark each conductor.

For added color you can use multiple layers of sleeving, such as metallic or glow-in-the-dark-clear over top of a color of your choice.

Finally ViaBlue makes great cable splitters that can be used in place of cable pants for added style.


Incoming search terms:

  • diyspeakercables org diy-speaker-cables
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  1. Michaela says: April 7, 2014

    The Onkyo 608 fits the bill nicely, offering the audio quality and big list of features you’d expect only in a lot more expensive units.
    Adding a property speaker system in your entertainment or
    living room may have a big impact on the media consumption.
    Entertainment is one with the best ways to relax
    and still have fun after facing a week filled with work
    and stress.

  2. John says: January 15, 2015

    I recently purchased the monoprice 12 gauge speaker wire without the white pvc jacket the non in-wall type. I was wondering if I could still follow your guide and use the braided sleeving without compromising any of the bare wire assembly and if so, What size would be more efficient.

    • scoyne2 says: January 15, 2015

      Hi John, you should be just fine to sleeve that cable, it will not hurt the speaker wire. I would use the same size as suggested by the sleeve matrix.

      • John says: January 19, 2015

        Thanks for your reply! and keep up to great work 😀 I’ll do as you suggested.

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