Best Phono Cable for SME Series V

I have recently acquired an SME Series V tonarm and would like to replace a) the standard tonearm wire with a high-quality phono cable to connect the tonearm with my phono pre (Omtec Antares CP-1i V4). I was told Cardas Golden Reference is nice as well as the products from Furutech and Nordost.
Furthermore I would like to replace the four tiny cables which connect the cartridge (Lyra Delos) with the tonearm itself (are these tiny cables available from different manufacturers?).
Any recommendations ? Thanks!
Over here in the UK our little audio group in the south east of England are all slowly going over to Synergistic Research Tricon Analogue.

I changed from LFD cables on my SME 30/2

2 of my makes have both just bought SME 20/2 with SME V and have changed to Synergistic. For a cartridge I use an SPJ Ebony which is made by Benz.

It all gels very nicely.
Have you given a chance for the standard VDH MD 501 Silver Hybrid to settle in? I am wondering, as so far, I have been tempted to try something different, but the D 501 Silver Hybrids sound pretty darn good and I have not felt the need to try anything else. The music flows through these. I actually have two pair, one for each SME V on my turntable, one running with WBT (copper) and a Transrotor Merlo reference and the other with standard VDH connectors or SME ends (whatever) with a Benz LPS. Phono stages are Aesthetix IO Sig and Octave HP500SE with integrated phono.

I might try something different, and if I do, I would be tempted to try the Tempo Electric silver wires. They look like a no frills cable with very low capacitance.

Hi I used to have a SME IV.Vi with Lyra Skala.

I tried the vDH cable, the Graham IC50, Purist Venastas and Purist Proteus Provectus (both Praesto and non praesto versions).

The Purist Audio Designs Proteus Provectus Praesto is by far my favorite. Incredibly silent, transparent, extended, natural, loads of detail, but a natural presentation. It is very hard to beat at any price. It definately goes in a "best list"

I've since sold my SME, but still using the Lyra Skala and Purist cable on a Tri Planar arm (special factory order with din)

I am still using the
Once again, I concur with Jfrech entirely regarding the Proteus Provectus, though my version just precedes his Praesto version. In my SME IV.Vi tonearm it provides wonderful musicality, truthful timbres and a natural sense of ease. As close as I've ever gotten to the sound of a live concert. And it gets the violin right(at least in my system)if you like listening to that instrument in particular. I previously enjoyed the Cardas Golden Reference very much, but the PP took me to a higher level of satisfaction. The price difference between the two is quite substantial however, so you might want to give the Cardas a try first via The Cable Company. It offers very nice, full bodied sound with the SME. Incidentally, I also use the SME IV.Vi tonearm as Jfrech once did.
The OEM SME vdH cable sucks. Sounds like you're listening through a blanket.

The PAD cables are great. I can only afford the Venustas, but John has gone right up through the line, so you can believe him when he says they get even better.

Cardas GR, Graham IC50, Hovland Music Groove 2 aren't bad. used to be the three best.

Sleeper of the year at $600 (you can audition one for free) is the Silver Breeze from Silver Audio I would have bought one if I hadn't accidentally scored a Venustas @ CES for about the same price)

I haven't heard either Siltech's or Stereovox's phono cables, but at $4k+ and $2K+ respectively, they better be good ;-)

For headshell leads, there are so many good ones. Cardas, vdH Litz or SME Litz (same part), Audioquest, Sumiko, Nerve, Jelco, Ortofon . . . . . I'd go with the vdH/SME or the Cardas (after checking with Lyra ;--) but more important, if your tonearm is older than ~10yrs (not exactly sure, email the factory and check the serial number) you should do the the internal wiring upgrade, to the newer vdH MCS 150 silver Litz. I did mine and it made an audible difference. The factory will service the arm and install the new wire for around $350.
Purist Proteus Provectus using this on my Graham Phantom2 wonderful great staging quiet great bass etc.
Hi Nsgarch: my SME V is from 2008. Regarding the headshell leads Ikeda silver wire was highly recommended to me by a dealer. I have talked to Chris from Stereolab - they do not officially build tonearm cables.

Given the excellent reputation of the PAD cables I will give them a trie. Has anybody ever experienced the bigger Nordost, Siltech or Stealth phono cables ?
Hi Frank: I'm pretty sure your arm has the latest internal wiring. The Ikeda silver sounds lik a good wire -- but basically, all silver litz wire is the same. The important difference between various ones will be in the quality of the clips, and the strength of the solder connections; and in that regard, I think Cardas is probably the best.

Stereolab? StereoVOX does make TA cables, but I think production is down while they reorganize the company. You can't go wrong with Purist, that's for sure. I've never had a second thought about buying them, and would probably stay with PAD if I could afford to upgrade.

On the other hand, if you can't find some used Purist, or if money is tight for you right now, you should call Max at Silver Audio and see if he'll lend you some Silver Breeze to try. They seem to have developed a cult following, and what have you got to lose? I never drank the Nordost Kool-Aid, and haven't heard Stealth or Siltech.


I am wondering if you had a chance to compare the Silver Breeze with tonearm cable with the Purist Audio directly? I have two SME V's and I am thinking about swapping out phono cables as well. I am leaning towards the Silver Breeze as it seems to be pretty consistent in regards to performance in comparisons to other top league cables.

These two cables use different metals, the Silver Breeze silver the Purist's use copper, hence my question. Thanks in advance.

I am wondering if you had a chance to compare the Silver Breeze tonearm cable with the Purist Audio directly?
No I haven't. My purchase of the Silver Breeze -- which was all but a done deal -- was inadvertantly sabotaged by Jim Aud (owner of PAD) offering me a Venustas phono cable at CES for the same price!! Until then, I'd not even heard of PAD, and figured I could easily sell the Venustas if I didn't like them ;--) BTW, the Venustas line uses copper/silver/gold alloy conductors.

So I'm hoping someone like yourself will take Max up on his trial offer and let the rest of us know what you think. I am having Max build a special mono Silver Breeze phono cable for a friend, but it hasn't been made yet.
I have used the SilverBreeze on my SME V across several different phono stages & preamps and am quite satisfied with it.
Jtimothya -- what other phono cables did you use/consider before settling on the SB?
I will take the plunge and contact Max to try the Silver Breeze phono cables. As I am using an Aesthetix IO Signature and all tube amplification from Octave amps from Germany, I hope to achieve good synergy. Based on the design phylosphy of Max's products; I think that goal should be reached. I did not change the stock VDH audio cables before as I was somewhat skeptical about any imrovements, my system is highly resolving and very musical already, I just can't imagine that I am missing that much more information from the phono source.

I am willing to try and experiment though; so I will take the plunge. I especially like the fact that they use the WBT silver locking connectors now; as this makes for secure connections in a jungle of other cables.

Time to make the call.
AQ4life: I used my SME-supplied vdH tonearm cable for years; skeptical like yourself that anything else would be much of an improvement. But as my system got more resolving, my phono playbck stayed the same even through a couple of cartridge changes. That's when I decided to investigate the TA cable. So when I came back from CES and installed my new Venustas, I was both furious and ecstatic at the same time: how could SME do this to me!?
E-mail sent. I am hoping to hear back about possible shipping options. I have an APO mailing address and according to the web site, they only use FEDEX and not USPS; the only way I can receieve mail. I called, Max was not in. Hopefully I will hear back soon, then I can make some meaningful responses to this thread. I think your system (Neil) is pretty well balanced and I am pretty sure that you worked, slaved and sweated alot to get to where you are, as I did, hence the high resolution capabilties. Based on what you are stating, I think I might be in the same state of mind when I do get to try these cables, upset yet ecstatic at the same time.

My only comment so far is that stock VDH MCD 501's seem to work pretty darn good; however, based on other opinions, those who have upgraded from the 501's to other cables, there is room for improvement. Man, just when I thought it was good enough.

Great improvement at very low costs is to replace the stock SME V headshell leads with high quality ones: I swapped the standard ones and installed Ortofon LW1000S - huge improvement for just 120,00 US $ !!
Regarding the tonearm cable: I´ll try Nordost TYR vs. Cardas Golden Reference as both are said to have great synergy with SME V and my Lyra Delos. PAD is unfortunatley not common in Germany.
I use the relatively inexpensive Furutech AG-12 which Fremer and Dorgay positively reviewed and like it very much. More natural than the VDHL.
Holy smoke. I received my Silver Breeze last week and upon initial listening impressions I have to say that the Silver Breeze is an excellant cable.

Voices that were articulate before were even more pronounced and holographic. The effect is that voices seem to pop out of nowhere more then before with an added emphasis of the acoustic atmosphere of the venue. The shading of the timbers seemed to be even handed and equally impressive in regards to smooth flowing music with exact details but no sharp edges. Bass seemed to be a little leaner compared to the stock SME V VDh cables, however, I have not allowed for proper break in and thus my my initial thoughts on bass may be skewed, the same can be said for the my initial thoughts on the aspects I mentioned, so these are preliminary impressions, but overall great so far.

I used an Earth Wind and Fire, September, original Quincy Jones produced, non audiophile pressing to listen. The trumpets in September appear in scale and sound lifelike when played. I play trumpet so that is one aspect I like to key in on and use as a reference.

Thanks Max for such a great product. I will provide more information as I allow for break in and listening pleasure.

On my SME V, I have progressed through the Graham IC50, then moved up to the Silver Breeze (great value for money, IME), and settled upon the Stealth Audio Hyperphono.  The Graham IC50 was clearly an improvement over the VdH cable, and the Silver Breeze a very nice improvement over the IC50.  Then I tried the Hyperphono, which just made the music come so much more alive in my system that I was stunned.  I have enjoyed it now for ~6 years, and I like it, too, when I switch in my Graham Phantom II.  I'd love to hear the top line PAD....

One very strange thing:  my phono system always had a low level of 60 hz related hum going on in it - - never too obtrusive, but present in the silent passages of a piano sonata's slow movement.  Just like groove woosh and ticks and pops, I learned to listen through it.  When I switched to the Hyperphono, this just disappeared!  Cannot tell you how or why, but it is a distinct plus.  There is NO hum even with the volume knob cranked way beyond a level you could play a record with.  Curious, indeed, and most welcome.
Wow, seven years later, someone resurrects this thread.
Yeah, isn't that silly of me.  I didn't even look at the date, it was just in Audiogon's "More to Discover" teaser window over on the right, so I clicked and shared my experience.  Why Audiogon has that loaded there, I don't know, but I will certainly check the dates out in the future.

Given the durability of the SME V as a tonearm, I guess it's always topical!
Hey all, old thread, perhaps better late than never... I might be able to lend a bit of experience to this subject. 

I have had a SME V with the Kondo fairy-hair silver litz wire in it now for years and have transitioned from a Linn Arkiv, then Akiva (scan tech), now Lyra Kleos. I’m using the silver Ortofon jumpers off the cart to the tonearm. These conductors have all been burned in on a cable cooker. 

I have run both the Nordost TYR and Silver Breeze from the Cardas din to an Aesthetix Rhea to a Calypso both Signature versions with very good results. 

The Silver Breeze is a wonderful performer and a huge bang for the buck. It’s beautifully made and sonically I was left wanting for very little, lovely, musical. I highly recommend it, but your ears and your kit need to be the final deciding.  

It was very close to the Nordost TYR in transparency and total resolution without smearing or mis-coloration. Perhaps the SB had a bit more sparkle and tonality. Too bad Nordost seems like they may never get around to produce a TYR Norse 2 phono cable (the only missing piece in their lineup). I have tried a TYR Norse 2 IC between my preamp and phono and believe that the warmth and tonal shift puts it head and shoulders above the original. Given that the Valhalla is like five times as pricy, I just can’t be going there. 

Hope this may offer some helpful insight. 

Happy Listening!
When you change the tonearm to phono lead, for the sake of matching, dont you also have to (ideally) change the tonearm internal wiring, painful though it may prove to do?