Preface: I am not seasoned at writing comparisons. This is what my ears hear, and I will try to convey that as best as possible. If you have any questions, or anything seemed unclear, please let me know. Also, my camera is currently MIA, so I am working on the pictorial aspect. My test system was comprised of: Audiometric AM441 amplifier, Soundstage tube preamp, Z Cables speaker wires, and B&W 602S3 speakers. The music selected was "Come Away With Me" by Nora Jones and "Change the World" by Eric Clapton. (I also used other music for listening, but only after comparing those songs.)
I decided to build my own interconnects, but I was not sure what cable/wire I wanted to use to build them. Instead of taking someone else's word, I bought
two lengths of cables to make interconnects with. The first wire I tried was the Belden 1505F. It is a stranded center coax with a double layer of braided and tinned copper shielding. It also has a foam PE insulator with a PVC jacket. Building the cables was pretty easy, even without coax specific tools. I soldered in the center wire, then compressed the ground of the plug onto the shield; easy build. The second wire I decided to use was the Canare L4E6S Star Quad. This was not an easy build. The L4E6S is part of Canare's Star Quad line, so it consists of a 21g double twisted pair insulated with a cotton type material. However, this cable is also then covered with a braided, tinned copper shield and finished with a PVC cover. Building them was a pain because I had to cut off the insulation, strip all four wires, solder them in pairs, then solder the wire-pairs to the plug with one end also attached to the copper shielding.
Looking over both completed pairs of interconnects, the Canare's have a softer finish on the wire and are more flexible. Both are about 1/4in in diameter and matte black; although the Canare is also available in many colors since it was designed as a microphone cable. The Canare's were physically my first choice, but I figured I should leave that up to my ears. :p
On my comparison test, I decided to use both of my newly created cables and test them against a pair of Monster THX directional cables. The Monster's were nothing to be ashamed of. They had full reproduction and allowed the music to come through; decent sound. Next I tried the Belden coax and it sounded very similar to the Monster. A little more detailed, but not major. This surprised me because I had heard good reviews on the 1505F cable. But later thinking about it, Monster is not looked down upon because of poor sound quality. They make decent cables; they just make them for way too much. Next I plugged in the pair of Star Quads, and there was an audible difference. The music sounded like it had been "unveiled". It was detailed, bright (as compared to dull), and more dynamic. Definitely my first choice.
Well, it appears that I will be going to an entirely Star Quad system, since my speaker cables are already that, and now my interconnects might be too. Canare has put some good research into their Star Quad line, and I have read some good research of the advantages of the double twisted pair. Of course, these are just my finding, and ultimately just my opinion, but having tested DIY Canare L4E6S interconnects against DIY Belden 1505F and Monster THX, the Canare L4E6S were superior in almost every way, including appearance and flexibility. (Now ease of construction was a different matter all together, but that's half the fun, right?:D)