Question for Platter spinners regarding IC


I am currently using an AQ Wildcat phono IC between my VPI Prime and Rogue Pharaoh Integrated.  I am interested in advice and opinions of installing an AQ Columbia IC in its place but cannot find any information regarding specs for either cable on AQ site or anywhere else. Nothing on capacitance, inductance etc. I realize I'll have to run a seperate ground using the Columbia. Does anyone have specs for both ICs or know where to find them. What may be a concern or blessing using a regular IC in place of a Phono IC? Any input is appreciated. 
Thanks
gillatgh
If you're thinking of trying a regular IC its real easy, pull one from your other gear and try it. Problem is its a crap shoot. Might get lucky and it works. So then you pay for a better IC, only to find too late its got all kinds of noise and problems when used on the table. Low cartridge output is a special situation that calls for special solutions. 

My first arm was the Graham 2.0 another arm with RCA's which I thought was great- IC flexibility! Nope. Sorry. Wrong. Cartridge output is so low it really needs one continuous run from the cartridge pins to the phono stage. Probably won't believe me. Didn't really believe it myself. Until I changed arms. What you are missing in those connections, you will not believe.

But anyway if you are looking to upgrade I have a really good Synergistic Research phono IC from back when I had the Graham. SR didn't even make phono IC's back then, I was friends with the biggest SR dealer in the country and he got Ted to make it for me custom. Its grounded and worked great with the Graham, Benz Glider, and Benz Ruby. Like new condition. Forget if its Resolution Reference or whatever, PM if interested I'll let you know.
@millercarbon 
Thanks for the reply. Already have the AQ Columbia in hand and wanted to know if anyone had tried it and to get their opinions. Would it do anything detrimental, other than SQ, to give it a try? Running a Ortophone 2m Black right now on the table. Down sized components and the Columbia was a very nice connection from my ex CDP to the Rougue. 
There is absolutely no possible way to harm anything by trying one pair of ICs versus another between the tonearm and your phono stage. It is sad, however, that a company like audioquest, which makes audiophile interconnects, does not list the capacitance of their cables, if that is really the case. However, there is no way to do any harm by trying. Listen for high frequency extension. Use what sounds the best to you. Pay no attention to anything else or anyone else.

In a phono connection you generally want shielded interconnects, but whether that is really important in your locale is only to be determined by you. Shielding per se increases capacitance. So often there is a trade-off, if your cartridge is particularly sensitive to capacitance. (In which case you may sense a slight roll off of high frequencies, as suggested.)
Turntable interconnect cables need to be ultra-low capacitance and should have both the signal and the “signal ground” leads shielded all the way to the phono stage. Most turntable interconnects rely on the “signal ground” as the shield, which is folly. Both conductors on each channel are signal-bearing. A true balanced cable with shielding to chassis ground is really what is needed. 
Thank you for your input. I called AQ but was on hold for quite a while before I gave up. I'll ask them via email next. Maybe I'll get a reply. I'm leaning on trying it and see how things go. It's an easy IC swap. I can always revert to what I have now. 
Just try it.
if you like it , it’s good.

Sleepwalker, in theory you’re correct about the importance of shielding, but in specific cases it adds nothing except unwanted capacitance. You generally cannot have “ultra” low capacitance AND shielding in the same cable. Keeping phono cables short as possible is the best bet.

but don’t scare the OP out of doing is own experiment.
Good cable has packing in it to reduce capacitance by spacing the signal bearing conductors farther apart from each other and the shield. Yes, keep them to a minimum length by all means. Btw, I think your caution might scare off people who would otherwise experiment to see what works and doesn’t work for themselves. There is a lot of money to save if you make your cables from quality materials and know what you’re doing. 
So I connected the Columbia's and auditioned for about 4 hours playing a variety of genres. Result is still inconclusive but the initial feeling is that the Columbia cable may have introduced a bit of sibilance. Further listening is warranted.
Overall impression is that the Columbia works very well as a Phono interconnect in MY system. It was an improvement over the entry level Wildcat cable without a doubt. 
Sleepwalker, So we can agree not to “scare” people.  Your point about letting people experiment for themselves was exactly mine.  I wondered whether you were quoting me in fact.  The OP just needed to know that he would do no harm to his system by his performing his little experiment, a very little one at that.

Gillatgh, You never mentioned what cartridge you are using.  It makes a big difference between MM and MC types.  MM types are very sensitive to capacitance in that some of them do best with ADDED capacitance in parallel with the input; high-ish capacitance in the cable is not necessarily a bad thing, but there is such a thing as too much, if you’re using an MM. (That’s why I think it is shameful of AQ doesn’t give you the info on their cables.) MC cartridges with relatively low output are much less sensitive to capacitance, except to keep it low as possible.  The manufacturer of a good MM cartridge should stipulate the best capacitative load. But I have found in this hobby more often than not that rules are made to be broken or ignored.
@lewm 
Cartridge is MM Ortophone 2m black, yesterday's listening session was enlightening.  It was obvious immediately that the Wildcat was lacking in some aspects. Sounded a little colder or duller, not really sure what to call it. The Columbia was more lively and open but also imparted a perceived sibilance, especially noticeable on older 1970s albums. 180g reissues were less noticeable. I'll play with the cables for a while and in the meantime shop around for a better phono interconnect at reasonable cost. 
After this little experiment I'd  be interested to hear recommendations of ICs to try from the community
"I am currently using an AQ Wildcat phono IC between my VPI Prime and Rogue Pharaoh Integrated. I am interested in advice and opinions of installing an AQ Columbia IC in its placed..."

gilltgh-
consider checking out https://www.thecableco.com instead of getting suggestions from a mixed bag of opinion here. 

Since the cable thing is already a contentious subject, allowing your own ears to judge what's "best" may be the answer.

As long as the IC's are shielded to help prevent excessive noise, they will work. How they "sound" is another thing. Tech specs can't ensure a subjective call.

Making it a science project IMO, guarantees only needless riff on a thread from the wisdom and know it alls.

I use Nordost thru my entire system, including my VPI.
VPI seems to be in the Nordost camp since they use it in some of their offerings.

Before driving yourself mad with cable insanity, I would ensure having the highest performing phono stage and cartridge for your VPI. 








To the OP, I would not be too quick to blame perceived sibilance on the new cable.  There are a myriad of other causes, such as VTA, VTF, the cartridge by nature, etc., that may contribute to or cause sibilance. It’s possible that the superior performance of the new cable has simply revealed sibilance that was masked by the previous cable.  Or that sibilance is on the LP itself. Try increasing VTF by 0.1 or 0.2g.

If you like what you have right now, I advise sticking with it for at least several weeks or months so you get a fixed idea of the sonic character of your system with this cable in place.  THEN you might want to play around, if that sort of thing appeals to you.  In that event, the idea of borrowing cables from the Cable Company (mentioned by tablejockey above), where you can have a free home trial, is a good one.

And for a countervailing opinion, I have found that the low to medium price Nordost cables make my ears bleed. In fairness, I have never heard their megabuck top line cables.

Good thinking, thanks guys.