Budget phono cables

I've searched the archives here, but most everything that gets recommended is at least $500. I need RCA-RCA, as I'm using a Well Tempered arm right now. The VPI is $200 but doesn't seem to have a very good reputation, and lacks a ground wire. Extremephono has this now:


but I can't find anyone who's used one. At present I'm using a decent quality shielded interconnect with a piece of 18 gauge for a ground, and it's quiet enough, but I can't help wondering if the .23mv from my Denon 103R isn't getting soaked up by the cable.

Are there any dedicated phono cables out there for less than $200? Or a regular interconnect that would suffice? Extremephono has 30 day return, but I worry it won't get burned in during the test period.


I'm, not sure how much they are new but the Cardas phono cables are very good bargains. I have used Kimber Silver Streak RCA interconnects as well and thought they were pretty good. You can always find them used on Agone. If you need a gound most any plain 'ol wire will work.

Cardas Cross phono, which is the least expensive, is $278 new at Audio Advisor and appears to be only RCA-DIN. I'd probably have to special order RCA-RCA.

The Kimbers look like they're not shielded, and I would think shielding would be especially important for a phono cable. If silver is the right material, how about the Signal Cable Silver Resolution? Good price, shielded, and Frank has a great reputation here...
I've been using the Signal Cable Silver Resolution as a phono interconnect between my VPI Scout/Garrott Optim FGS and Music Reference preamp with great results. For the money, it's hard to imagine doing better. It spent about 2 weeks burn in time between my preamp & amp before I moved it to the phono duties.
You are out of date on the VPI.

The "Series 2" has a ground wire and an outstanding reputation.

It is probably the last cable I would replace on my system.
I was using regular coincident CST rca's ($300) which out performed my XLO signature 3.2 phono cable ($750). I am now using coincident extreme I/C's. You can probably pick up a used set of CST's for around $170. Great bang for the buck IMO.
Just an update for those in the same boat as me. Zu auctions a Xaus phono cable on eBay every couple weeks, and starts the auction at $150. I ended up being the only bidder for mine, so got it at $150 plus $10 shipping. They'll terminate it however you want - RCAs, XLR or DIN. The construction is beautiful. I have no idea how it compares to other phono cables because I haven't heard any, but it's a vast improvement over the generic interconnect I was using.

If you can catch the right auction, it's a great way to get a brand new phono cable, with warranty, for a very reasonable price.
There's one up now: