Phono cable recommendations - high performance good value cable


I know this is a loaded subject... but I did a search and there are posts from 6-7 years ago mainly on this...

So in this current time, what are good options for high transparency, ’honest’ interconnect cables for analog signal use. For context, I am using a VPI Classic 3 (with Koetsu Black or AT ART9 carts), so running RCA’s on both ends. Currently using Blue Jeans’ Belden shielded cables with teflon sleeve including ground wire...definitely a high value cable...

I tend to favor transparent, non-frequency-filter cabling - my ear prefers a slightly lively sound with big/wide soundstaging... - rest of my system uses Zu Varials and Gedes, if that gives you an idea. Have used Purist, Cardas and Nordost in the past... Purist is very smooth and slightly rolled off, Cardas very rolled off/saps energy from the music, Nordost quite transparent but flattens the soundstage some. Speaker cables are Mapleshades, very transparent...

For TT use, I sometimes run a Cinemag or other MC transformer, so that creates the need for add’l IC runs between TT and Xformer and phono preamp to line stage... so whatever small signal cabling used would have additive effects for shaping the sound.  Most critical of course is the first run off the cartridge, I realize... need shielding I think early in the chain...though I have read that some feel shielded cables rob a little transparency.

Final note, by and large I am not a fan of mega buck cabling... each time I have tried in the past, I have felt that money spent on expensive cabling does not yield a good return...

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and recommendations.
jjss49
Audioquest LeoPard
Silver wire (silver can carry 6% more information than copper and 16% more than gold), Teflon tubes, high quality plugs,72V isolation
I also use the ART-9 cartridge. Check out stereolux finewire c37 tonearm cable by Heiko Wingender. His tonearm cables is used by some tonearm manufacturers like Reed, Durand and Thomas Schick for the internal wiring of their tonearms. I have used it too and I find it "honest". I find it clean, transparent and It doesn't play around with the tonality of the signal.

Pure silver wire, Crystal Cable Micro 1.0 also clean, very transparent, fluid and no listening fatigue, not harsh, don´t alter sound balance + reasonable priced.

I'm running a VPI prime with the AT ART9.

Grover Huffman's take on phono cable features is superior shielding is desireable for the low current application of TT to preamp with moving coil.  Here's the blurb from his website:

Also available my state of the art Phonograph cable both in DIN and standard RCA. Utilizing a painstakingly developed active carbon, tungsten, nickel shield that minimally affects the low voltage signal of moving coil cartridges. Additionally a second shield of active woven copper mesh combine to make this cable impervious to any interference.  

All I can tell you is mine sounds fantastic and images like a champ. He has a 60 day no-risk return policy. 

http://www.groverhuffman.com

My first move away from "conventional cables" involved Stager Silver Sonic IC's - great bang for the buck

I then upgraded the RCA's on the Stagers to KLE Innovations Silver Harmony - excellent upgrade. more clarity, better bass control and better image

Then I tried KLE Innovations gZero3 IC's - a vast improvement.

I've gone as high as the gZero20 and each model provides discernible improvements

The entire KLE Innovations lineup are a little on the expensive side - but they work - much better than the competition. 

Regards - Steve
Had great results using balanced phono cable by Audio Sensibility. 
I'm in the same boat, looking for a great bang for the buck phono cable. The cheap one I got with my VPI Scout Prime is picking up all sorts of interference resulting in a bad hum at higher volumes. I have a $100 Pro-ject Connect-It cable on order but wondering if I can do better for a little more $$$. Suggestions welcome!  
If a cable is picking up "interference" that indicates you need a cable with better shielding.  There might be no other problem with the cable you are using besides lack of adequate shielding.  However, if you really do have "hum" at high volumes, that may be due to inadequate grounding somewhere in the system.  This has nothing to do with interference or shielding, unless the cable is running near a transformer or some such device that radiates EMI, in which case shielding would help. "Hum" has a fairly strict definition, a monotone with a frequency of around 60Hz to 120Hz.  If that's what you've got, check out your ground connections or try re-routing your cable between the tonearm and the phono input.

I'm going to try a different interconnect, but will be surprised if that solves the issue. I've tried everything I can think of with respect to grounding. I've unplugged everything but the VPI and Rega Brio amp, tried a different outlet, tried bypassing my Furman power conditioner, tried using a three to two prong adapter, checked the ground cables (the hum gets way louder when the ground is removed, and also when I touch the cable from the tonearm to the rca jacks).  The hum disappears when I touch both of the rca cable jacks from the VPI. It gets louder as volume is turned up on the amp. Also feels like I'm getting some static energy when I touch the tonearm to change a record. My dealer is going to come check it out if the new interconnect doesn't help. 

Thiughts?
thanks to pani and others

pani - very much appreciate your AT ART 9 thread... it lead me to this wonderful wonderful cartridge

all inputs are valued... much to try next few months... reasonably priced cabling makes trial and error much more affordable!!!

i also bought some of zu’s current audioconnects - they have rarely disappointed me!
Post removed 
@jjss49 

  i also bought some of zu’s current audioconnects - they have rarely disappointed me!

I use Zu Audio Mission Phono MKII with  WBT nextgen RCAs and it's wonderful cable, i'm runnin' Lustre GST-801 toneam with Zu Mission Phono mkII cable, i'm so happy about this combination. The Lustre 801 was rewired internally with Discovery Cable. As Pani said  Finewire C37 is also a good option, i have C37 Standard (the cheapest) and top C37 Cryo with KLE on Reed. But it's more fun to swap cartridges, no cables.       
I can vouch for Audio Sensibility cables. I run a 90 degree DIN to balanced outputs. They really helped.
My table cable tale: The original DIN plug cable on my "vintage" Linn Basik/Akito table had rat bites on it when I bought it a few years ago…really…the cable still worked, but man. So in a quest for a replacement I went to my local "audio salons" including Goodwin's High End and nobody had a cable in stock, or seemed very interested in getting one for me…seriously. So to the web I went, and found a Jelco someplace with a gold plated DIN and RCAs utilizing Mogami "Neglex 2534" cable. In a weird pink color (except for the black ground wire). This cable destroyed any pesky cartridge related "dimmer hum" (I have dimmers here and there but my dead quiet system utilizes various bespoke power supplies and hum buster items to make that a non issue), and sounds much better than the stock cable ever did…highly recommended.
Wolf, I use the pink Jelco cable with my Jelco 12" arm and don't find it lacking. However those in the know tell me that Heiko C37 is a good upgrade. 

thanks all for your various input

bought some of heiko's c37 cryo finewire... they are on their way from germany ...currently enjoying the zu audio missions... rest of my system is zu varial interconnects (with mapleshade speaker wires)... so it will be stable control for seeing what difference if any the c37 makes...
Gotta second Grover's phono cable recommendation.
Currently running between my Moerch DP8 and Decware ZP3, using straight DIN to RCA. Competes with the best.

Cheers,                       Crazy Bill
I found this thread doing a search on the KLE silver rca plugs.  Williwonka's post above is exactly my situation.  I've purchased Stager silver solid ic's and recently found their limits.  They are solid core conductors, but I'm still getting some harsh/brightness in my system that is removed when I replace them with Morrow cables containing KLE silver plugs.  

So I wondered if replacing the metal plugs that Stager uses might help, and it looks like willy found the answer for me.  
@jjss49 
bought some of heiko's c37 cryo finewire... they are on their way from germany ...currently enjoying the zu audio missions... rest of my system is zu varial interconnects (with mapleshade speaker wires)... so it will be stable control for seeing what difference if any the c37 makes...

So what do you think ?
I also use several Zu Audio Mission Phono cables, i just cut the RCA's on one side to solder DIN for my tonearms. This cable is great for MM cartridges, but not so good for LOMC (IMO). I got the better MK2 version of this Zu Audio cable too, the MK2 comes with High-End WBT RCAs and Cardas DIN. 

I have to think about cables again, because i have more tonearms now. Cables for LOMC is more critical. I have standard FineWire C37 removed from my Reed 3P toneam (it was upgraded to cryo version with KLE RCAs). So i just soldered DIN to this standard FineWire c37 and i can use it now on different tonearms. 

I wish to buy more cables! FineWire c37 is the most reasonably priced along with Signal Cable Silver Resolution (Phono Ref.) This Silver Resolution is the best cable money can buy, i don't care about those cheap RCA as they can be replaced. But for my new tonearm i need RCA to RCA phono cable (not DIN), must be very well shielded for LOMC cartridges. The only problem is that i do not have any other silver connectors in my system. Maybe it's not a good idea to mix silver with copper?


I'm in the market for a new phone cable myself. I think I'm going to give the  Signal Cable a try. It seems to a good buy. It uses a combination of copper and silver strands. Anyone using this cable?
@ricpan yes, i've heard only good things about Signal Cables from experienced agudiogon members. It will be hard to find any other quality cables at this price (made in USA). 

PRICE for Silver Phono 2ft Set (RCA to RCA + Ground)
  • Special Price - $79

  • Each additional foot (per Set)- $20.00

THE CABLE DESIGN

  • 2 conductors, 5N Silver/Copper Alloy strands (each channel)font>

  • Insulation for each conductor - thin wall Teflon tube

  • Effective gauge size per channel - 24awg

  • Shield - braided 5N Silver Plated OFC

  • Outer Jacket - Teflon Tape

  • Geometry - Internal Twisted, Cross Linked

ELECTRICAL CHARACTERISTICS

  • Nom. Capacitance - 18.9 pF/ft

  • Nom. Conductor DC Resistance - 20.3 Ω/1000 ft

  • Nom. Inductance - 0.12 µH/ft



Nordost Heimdahl (DIN) or AQ King Cobra (RCA)
I tried an Audio Sensibility ’Impact’ phono cable and did not like it. It added some coloration, reduced fine details and introduced a slight smearing over the standard issue Jelco JAC 501 cable. I used it for over a long weekend but hadn't the patience to let it "burn in" any longer.
"I tried an Audio Sensibility ’Impact’ phono cable and did not like it. It added some coloration, reduced fine details and introduced a slight smearing over the standard issue Jelco JAC 501 cable. I used it for over a long weekend but hadn't the patience to let it "burn in" any longer."

Shows you what a subjective hobby this can be. My experience was exactly the opposite. To be fair, though, I was using the Jelco JAC 506, which is the balanced version (same wire but balanced and different connectors, XLR's obviously). 

I bought one of Steve's cables for a 2nd tonearm/mono setup that I was doing and was so impressed with it that I bought another and stopped using the 506 (if anyone wants it, it would be available at a reasonable price). 

It was a pretty fair, apples to apples comparison as well: I had cryoed the Jelco cable and it was also burned in on an Audiodharma cable cooker by Gene at Takefive Audio. The Audio Sensibility cables are also cryoed and I paid the nominal fee to have the Impact(s) burned in (Steve also uses the Audiodharma) as it is well worth it IMO, especially with something like a phono cable.

I found the (balanced version at least) Impact to be a pretty big step up from both the Jelco and a previous balanced cable that Gene at Takefive had made for me a number of years before using Cardas wire and phono DIN with Vampire XLR's. 
I have a VPI Prime with a Soundsmith Zephyr Star. I have had good results with Morrow phono cables. They have several grades to choose from and even offer payment plans on the pricier models. I think my current cable is a ph4. Check them out.