I have heard that there are better cables (like Purist Audio), but my opinion is that the most cost effective is the IC-70.
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Based on my personal experience, I would vote for the Purist Audio Venustas; if you wish to spend that much money. My second choice would be the Silver Audio - Silver Breeze (which I now have for sale here after upgrading to the Venustas). The Silver Breeze is very detailed and accurate. You will notice much inner detail that you have been missing, and more dynamics in both the treble and bass. You will also notice greater interplay in the harmonics of the music. It will seem more musical. Compared to the Silver Breeze, the Venustas seems to have a "darker background" - lower noise floor from which the music emerges, while every other quality is similar to the Silver Breeze.
I have not heard better cables than these two.
I believe that the Hovland and Ayre cables are better than the Ic-70, but have not heard them.
I presume that you are looking for a DIN to RCA connection. There are generaly several cables configured that way for sale on Audiogon at any time.
Best of Luck,
Other than the Purist Venustas ($1800 msrp, but available for half that depending who you know) or the Dominus (if you own oil wells) I think the two next best are the Music Groove (already mentioned) and the Cardas Golden Reference.
The IC-70 is a good value, but according to those who've mentioned it here on Agon (I haven't heard it myself, OK) not in league with the three above.
Duffy, I almost bought the Silver Breeze, when the Venustas came up at a price I couldn't refuse :~) So your comments made me feel very good. What kind of cartridge/phono-pre are you using?
you can read a comparison of the Hovland Groove 2 with the Graham IC-70 on the 10 Audio website: http://www.10audio.com/graham_hovland.htm
I have not listened to the IC-70 but I did own one of Graham's earlier cables. The Hovland, which I do own, is considerably better. It is also a considerable improvement over the Cardas Golden Reference which I also had for about a year. Another very good phono cable is the XLO Signature. Its a little stiff, so you have to be careful which turntable you use it with, but this, and the Groove, are my two favourites. I have tried a few silver cables, most notably the expensive ($1,000) Nordost phono cable, and I did not like them at all. Then again, I have never heard a silver interconnect or speaker cable in my system that I paricularly cared for. Obviously, YMMV.
Since this topic has interested me greatly I decided to call Purist last week.I have long considered whether it would be worth moving away from the ic-70(which was far superior to the ic-30,in my set-up).As M Fremer has had the ic-70,for a while,and still uses the Hovland,I figured there might something there,yet the Purist stuff IS supposed to be great.My conversation was basically me,asking to be given a good reason to move away from my ic-70.
Basically the gentleman started by trying to sell me on the Dominus,which was claimed to be better,and weighing in at 10 lbs,for 1.2 meters.He claimed to have my arm and cartridge,yet kept proclaiming the benefit of the SIX THOUSAND DOMINUS.
I indicated that I could not afford the Dominus,as I did not win the Jersey Lottery,of 250 million,on Friday.Drats!!At that point he switched by stating the Venustas was "95% as good as the Dominus"!Yet he also stated that it was originally designed for digital,but made a fine arm connect.
Truthfully,I wanted a reason to convince myself to start becoming interested in the Purist stuff,yet after being given NO quantifiable reason to develope any interest,I just let it go.
There is NO reason any cable of 1.2 meters can justify "six thou".I have a client who is a large mfgr of cabling,and I won't repeat his sentiments,here.
My take is that all these cables are good,yet to make any move means an A/B comparison.Also,I figure Graham wants to sell his cabling,and would not make "dreck" to mate with his arms.
Just my email@example.com
Speedy, here's some prices on (new) Purist phonos:
Phono Cables (1.2m DIN-90/RCA)
email me if interested, and I'll connect you.
I've not heard the Dominus, as I said, but the
Venustas tops everything I have heard. Duffydawg
compared it w/ the Silver Breeze (which I almost bought)
and decided on the Venustas.
I have owned my Linn turntable from 1979, and now have a Graham 2.2 arm on it. I bought my cartridge from Brooks Berdan, and have listened to most of his Graham equiped tables and the Cardas cables. The Silver Audio Silver Breeze cable is as good as any I have heard for detail retrieval, harmonics and soundstage. The Venustas that I switched to is better, with the same qualities but more smoothness and the music emerges from a very black background.
I would not have been able to afford the prices you are talking about either, but these cables are available used through the Cable Company form time to time. I bought mine new through Albert Porter (a regular on Audiogon). Speedy, I believe you at your word that this topic is of great interest to you, as I have read your contributions on other issues analog. If you are near Los Angeles, you are welcome to have a listen. If not, the Cable Company can let you try one.
Nsgarsh,and Duffydawg---Thanks so much for your attentiveness,and good natured responses.I truly believe you,regarding your perceptions,related here.While I would love to see if I can squeeze a bit more performance from my analog rig,I do have to admit to being very happy,at the moment(which means nothing in this hobby).
This past weekend,and after thinking through the "record clamp/weight" article written in Stereophile,I decided to do a little tweaking(just out of curiosity)to my Sota Reflex Clamp(for my Cosmos).I had accidentally flicked my finger on it,a few days ago,and noticed a ping (not the golf clubs),which sounded like a wine glass being struck.I went to Home Depot and got some self adhesive,thin cork liner(I thought about stuff like sorbothane,but did not want too much damping,or any real damping,just a better interface).This,I cut to match the bottom of my clamp(which I use as a weight,not as a clamp,since once the vacuum takes hold there is a small gap between the record and clamp,basically the clamp is doing nothing,at this point,so to use it as a weight makes real sense,to me).
My pal is "hot to trot"(he has same table/arm cart)to spend Shun Mook bucks,for their weight(which they claim is no longer being made),yet I am concerned as to NOT adding anymore weight to the bearing,hence my mod.
Well I am either crazy or the Chardonnay was too strong,but the SOTA clamp must have been creating some feedback,which my cartridge was picking up.
I was able to effectively voice my arm/cartridge to a much better "timbre",and found a clearly audible improvement across the board from a "Little, thought provoking tweak",hence my wanting to re-visit the arm cabling issue,which is probably capable of yielding a nice change in sound.My only problem is--How much improvement over the ic-70,in MY system,and as I'm really getting "tweaked out"( trust me,my knees and back are feeling it all),is it worth looking into.Even with the "trials" by Cable Co.,and the very appealing offer by YOU Nsgarsh(you already know I respect your opinions),it is a really tough decision,though my pal may be interested.Also,when I spoke to the guy at Purist(he WAS a very nice fellow,BTW),he related the Venustas vs Graham review(written in Pos feedback).As I did read it,the review is useless,since the reviewer was comparing the Venustas to the ic-30,which is NO match to the ic-70.Believe me,I'm not hitching my car to the ic-70,yet I need more effective evidence.This will probably have to come in the form of a trial,in my own system.This,also,will probably not happen soon.
Only time,and the condition of my back,will tell!!
Best regards to all,and sorry for the lengthly diatribe!!
Speedy, I don't feel like you need anything else if you have the vacuum hold down. It really is the very best way to eliminate vibes in the vinyl feeding back to the stylus, except when occasionally it won't work because the record isn't flat enough.
My Sota clamp used to have a rubber ring stuck to the bottom outer edge, maybe they don't make them that way anymore?
Blueranger, one thing that's important to remember when considering phono cables, is the very small current they must carry, especially w/ the very lo output MC cartridges. So the ability to reject noise from both EMI/RFI as well as shock and vibration is paramount, probably moreso than the conductor material itself. As Mark mentioned, the Purist design cables are especially quiet. They use a Ferox jacket (sort of an iron-oxide powder or paste) which is why the cable is so fat. This provides not only superior shielding, but shock and vibration resistance. The conductor material is a copper-silver alloy. All their cables also receive their "Cryo-Mag" treatment in which a strong magnetic field is applied while the cables are being cryo'd, providing additional molecular alignment of the metal. Each cable is hand-built to length (they can't be shortened and re-terminated, for instance) So there really is a reason why they cost so much (as opposed to some products which cost a lot only for profit.)
What ever you decide to buy, if you're using a separate phono preamp, I suggest using the same IC between it and the preamp as for your phono cables. It seems to work better that way IMO.
Nsgarsh,if you have ever put your ear to your record,with the volume turned way down,and in mute,there IS STILL a resonant sound coming from the record being played from the cartridge.This is evident,even with vacuum.Hence the idea of some kind of weight to absorb/or dampen this,a bit,doesn't seem to hurt.This resonant energy cannot be eliminated,yet clearly affects the sound,in some,not so good way!As in my case,the cork interface yielded a really nice reward,and was cheap!!I assume that the Shun Mook weight does this to a good degree,hence the great review!Unfortunately,it sells(sold) for 1800.00 U.S. dollars.My little cork interface cost me 6 bucks,plus 20 minutes of labor!!I'm happy,for this week.
Dear Mike: All the cables named in this thread, and many others out there, are very good cables: it does not matters their prices.
There are no " rules " here. As a fact the better cable is that that makes the best synergy with your system and with your " music bias ", especially the phono cable.
I have the opportunity to try more than 20 differents phono cables, at the end the ones that I prefer ( in my system ) are: Silver Oval by Analysis Plus, Pro Silway by Harmonic Technologies and the KCAG from Kimber Kable. These ones are what I'm using and they are in the low range price. My opinion is that the price in cables tell us nothing about its synergy with our system, the price can tell us about the quality of the material, design and construction: that's all.
Sirspeedy: for many years I usually use a record clamp ( differents ) over the records that go in a vaccum hold down mat.
The record clamp do a difference ( for the better ) in the quality sound reproduction. The use of the clamp do a help to almost " kill " vinyl resonances that the cartridge could reproduce.
My TTs are of the non-suspension design, I use heavy clamps: this heavy weight clamps do the best for the sound.
You can do a test: put your record on the Sota ( with the vaccum " on " ) and hit with your finger near the center of the record label and " hear " the kind ( frecuency ) of sound that produce, then put the clamp and do the same, the reproduce sound is different: less resonant.
Regards and enjoy the music.
I agree with Raul on the value of record clamps, for exactly the reason he stated: resonance dampening. The sonic benefit is obvious even on flat records. I'd want to use one even if I had a vacuum hold-down platter.
I use the knuckle-rap test he described on nearly every record. Tapping around the clamp (in the dead wax of course) is a great way to make sure the clamp is screwed down just enough. Clamping pressure is alot like VTF, too little is as bad as too much. Under-tightening doesn't engage the resonance-control capabilities of the clamp. Over-tightening beyond the "dull rap" point does not improve sonics, and it can actually break a record (trust me!). The knuckle-rap test lets me find the happy medium.
This is why I prefer a threaded clamp to a weight. Every record needs a different amount of clamping. A threaded clamp offers control and adjustability that a weight cannot.
Doug, Speedy and Raul, you may be right, though I wonder that they don't use other than the vacuum on cutters. My Goldmund table has a very slightly concave platter, and except on perfectly flat records, if I apply too much clamping, a segment of the record will actually lift off the platter. I was considering a mat; do you use one?
Dear Nsgarch: In my case the vaccum hold down is the mat.
Like alternative I use a metal mat from SAEC: SS 300, great one with metal platters and maybe with other materials too.
As a fact there is no flat records: all them are concave. So we have to " fight " against this issue.
Regards and enjoy the music.
I don't use a mat and I doubt many Teres owners do, especially those with hardwood platters. Cocobolo, jatoba and lead as implemented by CB are superb at resonance control. A mat would probably be counterproductive.
Dish-warped LPs are definitely a challenge to clamp when playing concave side up. The edges like to rise when pressure is applied. I've had some success by holding the edges down with two hands while tightening the clamp with my third hand. :-) Sometimes, with just the right amount of pressure, I can convince the LP to couple tightly to the platter even when the warp doesn't "want" it to.
When I had a periphery ring it helped a lot, but even then some badly warped records would not sit perfectly flat. I imagine only vacuum could achieve that.
The reflex clamp normally works very well. Many records literally must be pulled loose from the platter after the clamp is removed. Careful clamping has created a vacuum-like seal.
How does one use alternative clamps AND vacuum hold-down? I have a Basis Debut vacuum table; it uses a small spindle clamp with a built in rubber o-ring to act as a vacuum seal around the spindle hole of the record.
I spoke to a former distributor of the Basis table and he said that his experiments with perimeter clamps on the Basis table show that there is benefit to their use even on a vacuum table. I suppose it changes the resonant characteristics as you folks have pointed out.
Dear Nsgarch: You can solve the " lift off " issue with a Reflex clamp like Sota or Basis ( If I remember the Goldmund clamp is a Reflex design, too. Right? ).
To prevent the " lift-off " you have to use a rubber 0-ring that you insert in the spindle TT and below the record. Maybe you have to have at least two o-rings with different thickness for records of 180-200 grs and other for the normal 120 grs.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Is your spindle threaded? If so you could try threaded clamps like those from VPI or Teres. I don't know about the VPI but a Teres clamp has room for O-rings on TOP of the record if that's needed for the vacuum to seal.
Interesting report that even a vacuum platter can benefit from a periphery clamp. I guess that confirms what we heard, resonance control is actually a bigger benefit than warp flattening.
I don't think you can make the generalization that all vacuum tables need an additional clamp,to dampen resonances.I doubt that the Walker does!
My friend,who owns my exact analog rig(Cosmos/Transfig./2.2)tried my little "cork mod",which I mailed to him.Although he confirmed a really nice improvement in sound(and promised me a nice bottle of wine),it is the Sota Reflex clamp,that seems to be the culprit(this has has stayed unchanged for about 15 years,while the tables have morphed into greater designs).This seems to be reflecting feedback,which the cart. is picking up.The clamp is actually quite resonant,and rings when struck with a finger nail( at least mine does).By placing some kind of dampening material underneath,this effect was greatly reduced,and made a really nice improvement to the sound.However it did make sense,to me,that one could re-voice the vta/downforce/fluid(combo),to a bit of a higher degree,once this slight "clamp induced signature" was reduced.I cannot say completely eliminated,as I only spent one listening session with the improved results.
Best to all,and hope all is well!
Also,Larry,hope the new super tweets are working out.I read the web-site,and according to Townsend these models apparently expose a real weekness in the Tannoy "super tweeter" designs.
Doug,sorry!You are right,and I should have thought it through a bit more,as it has air bearing and suspension,as well as air bearing arm.Basically,my thought was geared more towards tables with Clamp/weights most probably don't have the feedback issue,of the Sota clamp.I hope so,anyway.
I must make a mental note that you are a real maven (that's a compliment),in all things technical.BTW--just got my TAS,seems you'll be happy about the Triplaner review,though according to HP,all of us have to sell off our tubed equipment,now with this "fancy schmancy"battery operated solid state amp/pre,from Germany.Poor Albert Porter!!
There is a small company in Utah that hand makes a DIN to either RCA or XLR.
It's called Wasatch Cableworks. Their Ultima phono cable goes for around $2400. Me? I got a Graham IC-50 with the bullit RCA's and think I sounds fine. The Graham IC-70 has 2 runs of silver but cost about $200 more.($700)
If I were you I'd decide on the 2 Graham models.