Transparent Phono Cable

I have upgraded my analog system to an SME 20/2 with Graham Phantom. Cartridge short list is down to Dynavector XV1S or Zyx Universe.

The rest of the chain in the system is Ayre K-1xe preamp with phono stage, Levinson 20.5 mono blocks, Wilson Sophia 1s. The existing cables are current Transparent Reference from preamp to amps & current Transparent Ultra speaker cable.

Music runs the gamut from classical to jazz, rock, pop & folk.

Should I be consistent and go for Transparent phono cable or consider a different brand?
I think you should listen if you can. I've owned the Graham IC50, the Hovland, and now the Purist Venustas. (All sme din to XLR's) I also exclusively used all Transparent Ref w XL speaker and interconnect. That was until I tried the Purist Venestas tonearm cable.

Purist has now replaced every piece of Transparent. I love it in comparision.

Your results may vary...I'd highly highly suggest the Purist Venastas DIN to XLR for your setup.
I don't know if Transparent makes a special cable specifically for phono. If they do, great. I, however, once used a Transparent IC between my table and phono amp, and it hummed loudly. I replaced it with an Audioquest Jaguar, which didn't hum.

I have not A/B'd the purist and transparent in my own system so I can't be as helpful as John. I own purist venutas speaker cables and I have heard transparent speaker, IC, and power cables often enough to say that both are very, very good. My bias is against any extra components in the signal path so I'm a little prejudiced away from Tranparent. Of course, the best thing would be to get both, plus the nordost and Graham cables and see which you like best in your system. I have not found that there is any advantage to staying with one brand or the other unless that is just what sounds the best.

As for the cartridges, if you can swing it get the Universe. The XV-1s is very good (I just bought one, but would have gone with the ZYX if I could have) but the Universe is a good step above it.
I second the Purist Venustas. If you really dig deep, you'll find a few people who've moved up to the Purist Dominus and say they can hear the difference; but I'm not rich enough to make that call. If you're considering cartridges in that (low-ish) output range, you will get stunning performance with the Ferox shielded Purist products.
Transparent does have dedicated phono interconnects...special order type of thing...the hum may have been a grounding issue not really a cable issue...
Thanks, guys. I seem to get more support for the PAD Venustas than anything else.

BTW, I'm really on the fence between the XV1S and the Universe. Opinions are about equally divided.

i assume you are using a DIN connector and not the RCA box. assuming that; you will need to pretty much special order most cables with that DIN connector. the chances of being able to compare phono cables with DIN connectors are slim.

i would strongly recommend the Transparent (whichever level you can afford) and a friend that has tried both Transparent Opus interconnect and top of line Purist as phono cables tells me he prefers the Purist. neither of our tt's use the DIN connector.

personally; i have been using the Nordost Valhalla as a phono cable for 5 years but have heard the Opus and prefer that.

regarding your cartridge decision i did a comparison of the two cartridges that you may want to read here;

cartridge comparison

you have a wonderful vinyl system...enjoy.
The other "worst kept secret" tonearm cable is the Silver Breeze from Silver Audio Cable
Max is great to talk with and will let you audition a pair (which I almost did until I lucked into my Venustas) It's a lot less money, but don't let THAT scare you!

As for cartridges, you should also be considering the Colibri (it's still the best with the right equipment, I'd have one but I'd be too scared of damaging it)

Also the $4000 Magic Diamond, available from Lloyd Walker, (the current sleeper from Switzerland but expensive) along with Jan Allaerts made-to-order gems.

Absolute best value is the brand new $5000 Transfiguration Orpheus- ( available for $2650) I haven't heard one, but if it's actually better than my Temper W, then it's phenomenal!

I have A/B'd the Purist Venustas arm cable against the Graham IC-70.Anyone telling you which one to buy is NOT doing you any favors,though the sentiments are well intended!
It is COMPLETELY up to the specific voicing of your own components,and your tastes.
In my own comparison,the Venustas was smoothe and relaxed,but a bit lacking in dynamics and slam.The Graham IC-70 absolutely clobbered it in these areas(far better bass,as observed by two additional audio friends who were present).
Admittedly,the particular system was very detailed,to begin with,and the room was not very reflective(a good thing,but this all affects our observations).
My advise(only opinion)is to use a little common sense/consider the prices involved/try to make your own comparisons.Yet the Silver Breeze does look to be a winner.On paper!

BTW,Nsgarsh---------My pal is upgrading his Temper-v,and getting the Orpheus.Since he bribes me with two pricey bottles of Chianti/Barolo(which we all drink after set-up)to perform the "mounting/set-up tasks",I will be in a good position of comparing with the Temper.He,and I have very similar systems,and I have heard his about a zillion times,so if the Orpheus is "THAT" good I will have to start saving some dough!

HMM!!....Maybe the Orpheus will be "better" than my recollection of how I remember the Universe sounding!Nah,I better not go "there"!! -:)

Speedy, send me an email! ( I forgot the secret key. ) Hope your dad is doing well.


ZYX Universe is here to compare to the Dynavector. Comparison is coming soon. 2nd party impressions go the the Universe. This is hearsay based on a friend listening in someone elses system. I will be comparing shortly. It will be the ZYX Universe in an Ikeda compared to the XV-1s on the Schroder SQ. The Ikeda will be using the Silver tonearm cable. The Schroder has the Nordost Vallhala cryogenicly treated.

Initial impressions of the Schroder. Who says it doesn't have bass. It has incredible bass.
Did you get your UNIverse in Copper or Silver coils ? I am assuming that you got the SB weight.

It isn't mine. I have it on loan for 10 days. I hope it doesn't spoil me. I spent enough this year. I did get the SB weight, but the cartridge is slightly light for the Ikeda arm. I will need to add a weight to the headshell to compensate. It is sitting in a box as I get to know the Schroder and let the Nordost tonearm wire that is included break in.
Thanks, guys, for all your responses. I'm looking forward to Dgad's thoughts on Universe vs XV1s. Since the order-ship time on my Graham Phantom is taking longer than I was initially told (doesn't it always in this hobby?), I can defer my decision a bit longer.

I'm still not sure which way to go on the phono cable, but my list is getting shorter.
The SB weight is the way to go with the UNIverse. My experience was that I much preferred the Copper Coil to the Silver Coiled version by a considerable margin. You did not mention if the UNIverse that you are using is Silver or Copper.
Congratulations on getting the Schroder Reference SQ. It is one amazing arm.
Dan,thanks for the thoughts.Sadly(big time),my dad passed away last week.He was the penultimate hobbyist,and donated much to the Smithsonian.A great guy!Should you ever want to contact me,or any one of the 'philes here,my e-mail is 70680).

I am having a really BAD two weeks!Last night my home was hit by lightning.My audio room is on a seperate circuit,and seems to have escaped any damage.Don't anyone EVER disrespect stuff like my "now beloved" PS Audio Ultimate Outlets/UPC-200!
I should be getting a sink hole,or earthquake soon.That's been my luck lately."If it wasn't for bad luck,I'd have no luck at all"!
Sirspeedy, When it rains it pours. The good is just around the corner. Hang in there. But don't go buy anything yet until the bad luck is out of the way. Yes I am superstitious, I even back up when a black cat crosses in front of me. It seems to help that I follow my superstitions.

I am so sorry to hear about your Dad and I hope that you and your family are Ok.
Peace be with you. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.
Best Regards,
Thanks everyone,for the kind sentiments,and thoughts!

I,truly appreciate the well intended comments,and particularly,the E-mails I got!
Thank you all,SO much!

Sir Speedy,

I know how you feel, I lost my Mom last August (I lost my Dad many years ago). It is very hard to lose a parent. I still miss her very much, especially on Saturdays because we almost always had lunch together, just the two of us (my wife works on Saturday). However, after nearly a year, the pain has gone away and I remember the really good times we had together and some of the great things she did and her favorite sayings and it is comforting.

I wish the very best for you and your family.


Thanks again,to the fine folks here!!My kharma has been SO bad,that my home was hit(Thursday evening)by a lightning strike.It took out a load of stuff,YET thankfully my dedicated audio room seems to have been untouched."Thanks Dad"!
Due to all the stress,I have lost my epidermal skin,on my hands.No tennis!My DR stated he wanted to write me a prscription for the Bahamas.That's where I'll be heading when all calms down,in a couple of weeks.
BTW--for anyone with previous knowledge of my system history,Rowland has finally shipped my amp.He was in a terrible motorcycle accident,and is thankfully OK!I have great insurance too!



My best friend passed away a week before my Mom last August. He had a theory that life's journey was series of upswings and downswings. When you are on an upswing, almost everything goes right for you, but when you are on a downswing almost everything goes wrong. You just have to learn to hang on and wait out the downswings because an upswing is coming. Maybe audio room coming through untouched is a sign that you are entering an upswing.


Thanks so much,Ed!Not to worry.I'm quite pliable,and will be my oldself soon.You are a great guy,as are all of the fine folks responding(thanks Larry,Dan, Raul,Dgad etc)!
Larry,matbe I'll hear your Schroeder some day?

"I'll be back"!!
Hello again, guys.

Well, the cartridge issue is resolved for now. I got the XV1S. My SRA Craz racks and the Graham Phantom are due to arrive on Thursday. I have also replaced my Levinson 20.5s with Lamm M1.2 Reference hybrids which also are due to arrive on Thursday, which is shaping up to be a pretty big day.

I still don't have a phono cable yet, and need to order one this week. The shortlist of phono cables is:

TransparentReference Phono Interconnect
PAD Venusta

I would very much appreciate your thoughts on these phono cables. Also, should I get the phono cables with straight DIN or right angle DIN (TT is SME 20/2)?


I think your list is good (never heard of Silversmith) but with the (lo output) XV-1s cartridge, I think you owe it to yourself to audition the Silver Breeze

Max will terminate one just for you if you have any special requirements (like rt. angle DIN, XLR, etc.) and let you try it for a couple weeks. If you decide to keep it, it's only $700 or so. So I'd add that one to your list, along with the Hovland Music Groove 2, and of course the Siltech, which has them in the same price ranges as the Venustas and Dominus.

The ones I consider the best value-for-dollar, in ascending price are:

Hovland MG-2 (runs circles around Cardas, XLO, Kimber)
Transparent (runs circles around Hovland MG-2)
Silver Breeze (runs circles around Hoveland, Nordost)
Purist Venustas (runs circles around everything but Purist Dominus and Siltech)
Siltech (runs circles around everything!

(No fights please; just my opinion, of course!!)
If I was getting the Phantom,I would surely get the cable manufactured by Graham.The IC-70 is a superb design,and mates very well with the arm.I own it,along with the Graham 2.2.
I don't know what it "runs circles around",but I have compared it to other cables.Some mentioned.BTW,I too have my pre/phono hook-up to amp with Transparent Ref.No complaints,here.
By all means try the IC-70, it comes with the arm anyway doesn't it? If it doesn't, then throw one into the mix if you like, but don't buy one until you've done your due diligence and made some comparisons.

I thought the van den Hul Silver Hybrid cable supplied w/ my SME V tonearm must be "The Best" for two very good reasons:

1.) van den Hul, and
2.) SME

and for years accepted that I had "The Best". How could I be so stupid not to at least try some others? And it never occured to me to try any others until the tonearm guy at Sumiko mentioned he preferred the Cardas Golden Reference to the vdH supplied with the arm.

Well, I never had a chance to actually try the Cardas GR, or audition the Silver Breeze which I had ordered from Max, because I fell into a Venustas at CES. My first response upon installing the Venustas was freak-out joy! followed immediately by fury at SME for including such a piece of muddy-sounding crap with a $4000 tonearm!

You're going to make a serious investment in a cartridge and electronics along with everything else. Don't make the mistake of running with the the stock cable due to associative attribution, ESPECIALLY if it's not included with the arm! With all due respect, I think Speedy's statement represents poor reasoning:

"If I was getting the Phantom,I would surely get the cable manufactured by Graham. The IC-70 is a superb design,and mates very well with the arm."

"Mates very well with the arm"? -- means it plugs in easily? What are we talking about here? If a tonearm cable needs to "mate very well" with anything, that would be the cartridge and the phono preamp. Do not assume. Do your homework.
Nsgarsh,for the first time,since I have began reading,your usually well thought out posts,you make a "silly" case,against my logic!
Firstly the IC-70 is a "seperate" 750 dollar cable.It happens to be a fine match,for "any" Graham arm as the internal wire "matches" this.A NO brainer,actually.The "Bullet Plugs" have been reviewed,independantly,and even those,though not fancy,are considered the best sounding the industry has produced.It was compared to the likes of the WBT Nextgen.Impressive!
Also,let's face it,it "ain't" easy to compare many of the phono cables available to us.It takes a good deal of legwork,and alot of folks somply will never do this.Especially in lieu of the "fact" that there are so many good choices,and it really is hard to make a bad decision.
Lastly(sorry,but true)I have A/B'd the Venustas with the IC-70,and the result(with a 2.2 arm,and the Transfiguration Temper-v)was a "clear" superiority,in running the IC-70!More dynamic,and better bass impact.Better contrasts.This was the opinion of the other hobbyists at the time,but my original friend,who had already spent money on the Purist,was committed already,and uses it.This will vary in other systems,I hope!
I think you are a little too influenced by "price"(though you DO mention the Silver Breeze cable),and why would you assume the Siltech is SO great,if you have not heard it?Big bucks?Reputation?Why?The Silver Breeze,to me,looks like a very good choice,if someone is adamantly against a particular manufacturer's cable(and why,anyway?).You did mention the Silver Breeze,and it was a good choice.
I had called Bob Graham,last winter,just as my pal was moving to the Venustas.I thought it would be a good idea to get his thoughts on cable design,using his own arms.He made a very convincing argument,in favor of the IC-70.So "that" was my logic(as to your querry),in keeping it,along with it's performance.
Mark, as I said, I didn't know if the Graham cable came with the arm. And I am well aware of all the obstacles to auditioning cables -- but it's no excuse for grabbing the first thing and running with it. If there's a will, there's a way -- especially when one is planning a (retail) expenditure from $800 up to $2000 or more.

Three of the excellent cables we discussed are all in the $800 +/- range (four, if you include the Cardas GR) so even avoiding the pricey stuff, if you just "go with" the first thing that comes up (for whatever reason) then you are automatically "unchoosing" all the other candidates. You wouldn't by a car or a computer that way?

BTW, I don't go by price alone, and for a very good reason, I can't afford the most expensive products. If I hadn't been offered a Venustas phono cable for 1/3 retail, I probably would have wound up with one of the $800 choices, but only after first listening to at least three of them.

I don't know from personal experience that Siltech is the best, but I talk with a very dispassionate guy who sells Siltech, Purist, Transparent, Argento and has heard the rest. He wants me to hear the Siltechs in my system, but I courteously declined.
Dear Ed: Congratulations for your XV-1 ( wonderful performer ) and your up-grade analog system!!!

I never had the opportunity to heard the phono cable by Transparent but I heard ( in my own system ) several ones: Cardas, Siltech, Nordost, Analysis Plus, Harmonic Technologies, Wireworld, Kimber kable, Purist, Van denHul, Silversmith, etc, etc.

From all those I keep it : Analysis Plus and Harmonic Technologies, both are superb and for less money than almost all those cables ( including Transparent )that don't justify its very high prices, at least in my system.

Now, the cable selection is a very subjective one and system dependent, to be sure that you have the best one means that you have to test several ones till you find the right one

Regards and enjoy the music.
Nsgarsh,just for the record,I and any of my fellow hobbyist pals have never "automatically" chosen any product.Be it cabling or any other.That would be "diluting" the possible potential of a given product.If I gave the impression that the IC-70 was added,only as in this case,I appologize!Also,as I am lucky enough to have a few pals who have similar stuff,it becomes easy to use their experience with multiple choices,to make a final decision.BTW,I have had other cables in my 2.2 set-up.
Also,to be fair,I would LOVE to try to "hitch up" a quality Siltech to my own rig.What I usually get away with,is talking a well off pal,into making the "move",and going from there.-:)A bit under the table,but I always recommend good stuff,so my pal usually comes out on top.

Ed, please come back with your impressions of the XV-1s in regards to all of the music genres that you listen to. I've heard this cartridge with some classic rock and jazz, which is not supposed to be it's best application if you listen to some. I'm curious to hear from you if your impressions come close to my own in this regard.

I'm guessing that the IC-70 does not come with the Phantom since that has not been the packaging model used by Graham in the past. It's a very good cable, but I agree with the suggestion of getting as many cables as you can to listen for yourself. It would be even better if all of the samples have enough hours on them so that you're hearing what they sound like after breaking in. For example, I know that Venustas (and the Ic-70 for that matter) don't sound all that great until they get several hundred hours on them and I'm betting that is true for all cables.

Have fun!


Please say it ain't so! Several hundred hours? That's like 500 to 700 hours. By the time I break in and listen to half a dozen cables it will be time to retip the cartridge!!!

BTW, my two SRA Craz Reference isoRACKS arrived today. I ordered them 31/2 months ago. I was very excited until I discovered that we cannot get them out of the crates. In the heat and humidity, the crates apparently swelled and the Craz will not budge no matter how we tug on it. We even turned the crate upside down with the top lid off and shook and shook it (it weighs 200 lbs so this is not child's play) The Craz did not budge a millimeter!!

So I moved one of them into the house and I'll have to let it sit in the A/C long enough for the swelling to do down.

"Don't sound great until they get several hundred hours on them"........

This is my rational,as to why I simply cannot believe the average(even fairly obsessed)hobbyist is simply NOT going to bother checking out more than one or two cables.Yes,we can try to do some homework,like getting as much design info as possible(I do this,alot).Maybe post a thread,questioning a cable's performance,in another hobbyist's set-up.Better yet,try to get feedback from friends.Plenty of us finally succumb to the "GREAT DEAL SYNDROME"(especially if said cable/component is expensively priced).There's always the "review",but alot of reviews are "make nice,I may want a permanent loaner some day"!
So,this leaves little,by way of options,other than use a little common sense,and make a few "choice" phone calls.
This hobby can be tough,when it comes to pushing the envelope.NO??
Yikes! Not to redirect your thread too far - I'm eager to hear your impressions of the SRA racks once they are dehumidified, deboxed and settled-in. My 'next stuff' wishlist includes a pair of Ohio-class bases for my amps. Impressions from ears I trust say Kevin's isolators are the real deal. Good luck unpacking.

Well, I was thinking more like 200 to 300 hours but agree that this is still a long time. At least that has been my experience with speaker and IC Venustas cables. Given the low level signal passing through a phono cable I would expect this cable to take a long time as well. But I don't have direct experience with the Purist phono cables. It is possible to get an idea of what a cable may sound like when it is broken in, but some change dramatically for the better after 100 hours or so. If you were to hear such a cable right out of the box it may sound like nothing you would ever want to invest in. Ain't it fun! On the bright side, it seems that most all of these high end, well regarded cables sound great. Different, but great. So one is bound to get something they can live with. Of course the trick is to find the one that sounds best to you in your system. That is like searching for the Holy Grail.

Ed, if you have the room, and patience, try to save the crates. You just never know when you might want to transport or ship them.
Tonearm cables do take an extraordinarily long time to fully break in (buying a used cable is not a bad idea from that perspective). The low microvolt current running through the cable makes for some long break-in hours and as you pointed out, who wants to use up valuable cartridge hours on break-in.
I have had dramatic success/results with my Audiodharma Cable Cooker that I bought from Allan Kafton at Audioexcellence.
It works on power cords, IC's, speaker cables as well as Tonearm cables. Allan makes a Tonearm cable adapterthat you can buy that allows one to hook up from the cartridge clips and cook the cable from the clips all the way through din and or RCA's through to the termination that goes into the Phono stage.
I had over 100 hours on my Graham IC-70 tonearm cable and was floored in the sound after I cooked the tonearm cable for about 30 hours. The Cable Cooker is not cheap, but one of the best investments I have made in audio.
Alan claims that his Cable Cooker will break in a tonearm cable better than any amount of hours of regular use due. It also works on arms like Tri-Planar and Schroder that provide a continuous wire from tonearm clips to Phono Stage.
Many thanks, Larry, for cluing me in to the Cable Cooker. It sounds like an indispensable piece of gear.

Tim, the SRA Craz racks are definitely the real deal. Instantly transformed my system into a world class sounding system. I think there may be more going on than just the lowering of the noise floor. It certainly did that and my wife and I hear much more low level detail than ever before. For example, on most CDs (still don't have my tonearm yet, but Bob Graham emailed me yesterday that he shipped it yesterday) we can hear the singer take a breath. Also, music is more satisfying and relaxing than ever. Imaging improved noticeably. But most amazing is that musical notes are extended and seem to have their full natural decay.

My Lamm M1.2 mono blocks arrived Thursday and I love them, but the Craz made a bigger difference in the system than the difference between my 16-year old Levinson 20.5s and the Lamm M1.2s.

I am having some difficulty with SRA over the dimensions of the Craz and I'll have more about that later.