I use Synergisitc Research Tricon phono cable. There was one listed on agon for $425 I think. I don't know if it is still there. IMHO this is a very good phono cable.
+1 on the Cable Company. Their lending library is excellent. Also +1 to Al's question re: the cart involved. Audience has cables targeted at carts with different characteristics. I have their phono cable for LOMC, low impedance carts. And it is great. Noticed that Cable Company has the Audience MM cable for under your $500 limit.
The phono cartridge is a balanced source. If you are able to run it balanced, it will have the same benefits that balanced line was created for- immunity to cable colorations.
Loading the cartridge can be a big deal, depending on the preamp. Before assuming that the cable is an issue, make sure you have exhausted the loading issues first!
"The phono cartridge is a balanced source. If you are able to run it balanced, it will have the same benefits that balanced line was created for- immunity to cable colorations."
Are you suggesting that running a fully balanced cable connected to fully balanced components are immune to cable colorations? I don't find that to be the case. I can hear differences between balanced cables. Or am I just misreading you post?
Zd542, if you hear differences in balanced cables, then the equipment you are using is not supporting the balanced standard. The standard was created to eliminate cable colorations and it does that very well. If you want proof of that take any LP from the late 1950s as an example.
They were often recorded with 10s if not 100s of feet between the microphone and the input to the tape machine, yet decades later many of those LPs are still revered for their sound, even though there were no exotic high end interconnects around at the time.
Many or most of high end audio manufacturers either are unaware of or choose to not support the balanced standard. As a result you hear differences in the cable.
A LOMC cartridge is one of the best places to apply the standard though and its easy. The arm is likely already wired properly (unless it is a straight tracker- some of those lack the proper ground wire)- you can even set up a cheap old BSR from the 1970s to do balanced.
If you think about it, its not uncommon for a LOMC cartridge to drive a 100 ohm loading resistor. So if it is balanced and also driving a similar load you have a low impedance balanced system. In such a situation the cable will cease to color the sound. All SUTs can operate with a balanced input, so this should not be hard to do. Something to think about.
Zd, if you haven't already seen it there is some good further discussion of Ralph's point about the balanced line standard in this thread.
Caution: Long sentence below; not sure how to put it more simply :-)
Ralph, in the case of a phono cable though, as opposed to a line-level interconnect, even in a low impedance balanced configuration isn't it still possible that sensitivity to cable differences might result from differences in cable capacitance altering the frequency and magnitude of the ultrasonic resonant peak resulting from the interaction of that capacitance with the inductance of the cartridge, with that change causing the phono stage to respond differently to ultrasonic energy that may be present?
Hi Al. That's a long sentence :) the answer is 'yes', or 'sort of'.
A better way of looking at it is that once the proper loading is achieved (which is a combination of capacitance and resistive elements, usually the cable being the capacitance), then it will be found that the cable is really not contributing to the sound.
With your typical LOMC, the capcitance will play a very small role as the impedance of the cartridge might only be 10 ohms with perhaps 100 ohms at the other end. It would take quite a large amount of capacitance to mess with that at audio frequencies.
You can see where I am going with this- its entirely a different matter at RF frequencies. It is the RF aspects that usually describe how effective the loading of a LOMC cartridge actually is.
So- the cable might have some effect (although not artifact) at RF frequencies, but certainly not at audio frequencies.
That is the nature of 'sort of' :)
The phono cartridge is a balanced source. Zd542, if you hear differences in balanced cables, then the equipment you are using is not supporting the balanced standard.
Using your logic, since most cartridges sound different even when using balanced cables then the phono cartridge is not supporting the balanced standard.
03-28-13: DougdmaDougdma, I fail to see the logic in YOUR statement. Ralph did not say that cartridges or other equipment supporting the balanced standard all sound the same. That would be absurd, of course. What he said was that equipment supporting the balanced standard will eliminate sonic differences between the cables that are used to connect that equipment.
His point about the sonic quality of many recordings from the so-called "golden age" of hifi, which in many cases were recorded in halls necessitating extremely long cable lengths, and which pre-dated the advent of exotic cables, seems to me to be persuasive proof of that contention.
Also, note that his response to my question above leaves open the possibility that in the specific case of a phono cable, used in a balanced configuration with a LOMC cartridge, there might still be perceptible differences between cables if the design of the phono stage is such that audible frequencies can be affected by ultrasonic or RF energy that may be present at its input. That energy perhaps being introduced by the recording, in the ultrasonic region, or perhaps by something else, in the RF region.
It should be noted, btw, that moving magnet and other high output cartridges, with their higher impedances, are a different story altogether.
Pani asked a realtively simple question and perhaps, so far, has gotten more than he originally asked for. Interesting how these threads can sometimes divert from the initial question posed. I sure learned some things here.
Going back to recommendations based on some of the above talk about cartridge impedance; I know that the VPI cable is made of the same conductor material and configuration as what they use in their arm, the reasoning being that the phono cable will simply be an extension of that to the phono preamp. The idea being that if you are using similar material in your arm conductor, this would simply extend the electrical properties to conduct and not harm the signal. What I DO know is that the VPI cable is as good as my much more expensive Harmonic Technologies silver phono cable and costs far less.
Stevecham, FWIW, in the OP the cable in question is Mogami 2549, which is a balanced cable. It is therefore not that unreasonable to assume that it is being used in that application. So I addressed the issue of balanced line operation with respect to a phono cartridge.
If the cable was being used single-ended, then it would be subject to a number of issues and thus I would expect that some of them might be audible. However the only clue we were given is the type of cable. Pani has not responded yet; maybe we might get some clarification on that.
Hi Pani, if that is the case then your are subject to issues of cable construction as the circuit is putting signal current through the shield.
This simple fact causes many audiophiles to go on the hunt for the holy grail of audio cables. That is what keeps the high end audio cable business one of the most profitable sectors in the high end audio industry.
Hello Halcro, not exactly. What I am saying is that the interconnect cable between the arm and the preamp will thus cease to impose a coloration. Some might interpret that to always be 'better/purer' if they are indeed in search of neutrality with musicality.
Mind you, the balanced setup would need to conform to the balanced standards, but that is not difficult.
Money should not be your mark of distinction for an interconnect....performance in YOUR system should be. You will only know what sounds best by auditioning cables in YOUR system. Don't discount less expensive cables such as Anti-Cables, Morrow Cables, etc. These companies usually have a return for money back if not satisfied
So in a single ended system.......you are hearing the differences in cables be they phono to an external phono stage.....interconnects to the preamp and then interconnects to the amp(s)?
These could be a serious accumulation of 'colourations' or 'flavours'?
With a fully balanced system....what you are saying is that you negate the accumulated affects of all these cables?
Presumably.....you are still inevitably left with the differences in speaker cables with both types of systems?