Well shielded tonearm cables?


Hi everyone,

Looking for some recommendations on very well shielded tonearm cable (RCA-RCA) for my VPI Traveler to an LFD LE/SE phono stage.  I'm getting some radio station interference and would like to try new phono cables.  Could some of you analog veterans provide some suggestions on cables that have worked well for you to block out interference?  I appreciate any advice

Thanks, Scott
smrex13
Before you buy new phono cables, I recommend you experiment with ground connections.  I would first connect a wire to your preamp grounding post (or if it doesn't have one connect it to a chassis mounting screw), then connect the other end to exposed metal parts of the turntable and tonearm.  There are no guarantees but you may find this solves your problem.  It did for me a number of years ago when I had a VPI 19 Mk 3 with ET linear tracking tonearm.  I had occasional buzzing noises and occasional radio station interference, but the noises all disappeared when I connected a ground wire to the metal under-chassis of the VPI table.  In my case, the intermittent buzzing was due to dimmer switches on several lights in the house.  When the lights were on and the dimmer was used to lower the light level, the buzzing began.  However, this too disappeared when I attached the ground wire.

Try Stereolab Phono Master Reference RCA by legendary Chris Sommovigo, his cables are amazing. 
You could try KLE Innovations gZero3, 6, 10, 0r 20. These are the quietest cables I've tried so far

All of these cables perform to the same level from a noise perspective - they just improve on details, bass control and imaging as you go up through the range.

Checkout their web site for user reviews
http://kleinnovations.com/

They rely on their architecture to provide the "shield" to eliminate noise - and not a conventional shielding conductor .

But I also agree with Salectric - it could be a grounding issue with the TT - so I would start there, since all it takes is a piece of thin wire to try it.

You might also check to see if the arm tube is also correctly grounded

Regards...
You might think a phono cable needs shielding to keep out noise but that hasn't been the case with my equipment.  I have had several arms where the wiring from the arm is completely unshielded, and there is no noise whatsoever.  Most recently I replaced the wiring in my Siggwan tonearm which was previously a single run of unshielded 1877 Phono copper wiring.  The new wire is Discovery 33g copper that transitions outside the arm to Discovery Plus 4 wire.  The Plus 4 cable has a flying ground lead at each end so I have the option of connecting the cable's mesh shield to ground at either end or not at all.  There is no noise with any of the 3 options, but sonically I prefer the unshielded by a small margin; it's slightly more open sounding.  It's possible the mesh shield of the Plus 4 has some noise-reducing qualities even when it is floating, but the old 1877 Phono wire was just a continuation of the twisted tonearm wire---no shield of any type.  However, each situation is different.  I live in a rural area.  Someone in a Manhattan high-rise surrounded by hundreds of computers, fluorescent lights, and appliances might have noise problems when the same equipment in my home does not. 
Got some aluminum foil to wrap around your existing cables?  Try it, you might be pleasantly surprised.  Search Audiogon under my username for my history of dealing with what I was convinced was a ground loop hum.  The aluminum foil wrap solved RFI my problem.
Thanks for all the info.  Surprisingly (to me), just twisting the tonearm cables together eliminated almost all noise.  There's just a small hum when the volume is all the way up, but I would never listen to music that loud.  Seems like the separate cables were acting as antennas, and the LFD phono amp doesn't have RF shielding.  At least for the time being I've found a solution.  Doesn't mean I won't try new cables - I'm an audiophile after all.

Thanks, Scott
Scott - all cables that utilize an architecture where the conductors are not twisted in some manner act just like antennas.

The only difference between your tone arm wires and your speaker cables (for example) is that the signal in the tonearm wire very small and  is amplified many times, so even a small amount of noise being introduced into the signal conductor becomes very apparent.

Whereas the noise induced into speaker cables with straight conductors is very small in amplitude compared to the signal from the amp and  is  therefore much less noticeable.

The same goes for every other cable in your system - including power cables

Conductor architecture and geometry are perhaps the single most important features of all cables when it comes to minimizing noise. 

As for the LFD Phono stage, you could try simply touching/attaching a piece of wire that is grounded,  to the bare metal of the chassis/case to see if it yields further improvements.

If the slight hum at max volumes you mentioned is still there, I believe it is probably from the internal power supply/transformer.

Investing in a good power cable may be the solution, but if it is not discernable at normal volumes I wouldn't bother.

It all depends on how picky you are - after all, you are an audiophile :-)

Regards...
Williewonka - thanks for the info.  Things seem to be working well with the cables twisted.  I think there is a slight hum from the transformer of the LFD and/or some chassis vibration.  I can hear a hum from a couple of feet away, but when I put some Herbie's resonance control discs on top the hum virtually disappears (unless I put my ear up to the chassis).  The LFD sounds amazing, by the way! 

Scott  
If you need shielding you need it, but to my ears shielded cables sound closed in ...not open