I've been using Connex Audio from ebay $226 Solid Core 100% Silver Phono RCA Interconnect for last 5 years and never look back.
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You have to be careful with silver. It does things that copper can't do, but doesnt always sound better. Well designed solid core silver, in my experience, is the most compatible. For my TT's, I use AQ Cheetah. Not only does it sound great, but the DBS system helps the cables break in fast, and keeps them broken in for longer periods of time when not in use. A good feature for vinyl.
Good Phonocables should show some Physical knowledge and low capacity. Most don't have a dedicated "Phono" Cable, they re-brand a normal NF Cable, double the price and that's it.
I did a Phono Cable comparison some time ago and there are big differences among them, independent from price (when I remember I had here Siltech, Kondo, Cardas Golden Cross (?), KSL-Vz, Graham-70 (?, the best from him), XLO Signature, PAD Venustas, and some other brands I forgot).
Most cables - in general - have own" characters" and are used to compensate or to support something in the main System. That makes it difficult to "recommend" because no one knows what "priorities" are asked.
Some are shielded, some not, some have good connectors, some not, some have developed a separate Phono cable, others say, they did, too, some have high quality strands, some have standard ones....
A well done cable which is way better than most
Silver wire (silver can carry 6% more information than copper and 16% more than gold), Teflon tubes, high quality plugs,72V isolation
1 Disadvantage: Too cheap
03-12-15: SyntaxDavid (Dkarmeli), Syntax has made that statement on numerous occasions in the past, asserting that it is according to the AES (Audio Engineering Society). I have disputed the statement, and in the past asked for a link to the alleged AES source, which has not as yet been provided. I agree that it is nonsense, among many other reasons because it does not define "information," "information transfer," "information loss," "information carrying ability," or any other such term that he has used, and also because it does not take into account that the information loss of a cable, whatever it may mean, will be dependent on length (and most likely directly proportional to length, as for a given cable design nearly all cable parameters and cable effects are directly proportional to length). And as you alluded to the effects of the cable will also be dependent on numerous other variables, in the design of what it is connecting as well as the design of the cable itself.
03-12-15: FranklapdogNo, it is a gross oversimplification at best, probably deriving from the fact that silver has SLIGHTLY (about 6 to 8%) lower resistance than copper, everything else being equal. However, simply making a copper conductor one gauge size larger than a silver conductor will compensate for that difference in resistance about three times over, and making the copper conductor 8% shorter than the silver conductor will also compensate for that difference. And in nearly all cases the resistance of a phono cable won't matter anyway, because aside from a few unusual circumstances it will be a miniscule fraction of the load impedance. Which in turn means that essentially all of the signal voltage will appear across the load impedance, rather than being dropped in the cable resistance, and essentially all of the signal energy will be absorbed by the load impedance, rather than by the cable. Which is not to say, of course, that the cable won't affect the signal in ways that are unrelated to resistance.
IMO, John's (Jmcgrogan2's) comment, which I know to be based on a great deal of relevant experience, is the bottom line.
Your comment is so true but somewhere in my past travels,I heard that solid core silver with low capacitance makes for a better phono cable because of the very low signal transfer.Is this not correct?"
Not necessarily. Ultimately, I believe Jmcgrogan2 is correct. You have to take everything on a case by case basis. The solid core silver was my recommendation based on my own personal experience. While I think there's a pretty good chance a silver AQ cable would make you happy, there's no guarantee. That same cable, in other applications in my system, doesn't always sound as good as the copper version of the same cable.
The safest way to do this would be to get a good deal on a used pair. That shouldn't be too difficult because its no longer in production. If you don't like it, you can probably sell it for very close to what you pay for it, so the risk is low. Also, up to this point, I've been able to find one spot in any given system I put together, where the silver cable sounds good. Again, that's no guarantee, but something to just keep in mind.
Well, the question was, "What makes a better phono cable" and not "what is my flavor of the month". When everything is equal (high quality RCA plugs on BOTH sides - Preamp-, high quality solder and so on, then silver can carry more information than any other material on this planet. That's the way it is. What a listener likes or not is a total different chapter :-)
Al, (Almarg), I recognize bs that's why I called him (Syntax) on it and of
course he doesn't have a reply. I know about measuring impedance,
conductivity, resistance, etc. but never heard of a way to measure transfer
of information in this way specially when it comes down to our topic, the
quality of the audio signal. I was just curious why would anyone make such
an irrelevant statement specially if as you pointed out he's been called on it
Thank you kindly Al. I always value your comments. Though many might say too much experience, and I could not argue.
No simple Chocolate or Vanilla choice here. Do you know how hard it is to pick a favorite flavor when you've tried 48 different flavors?? Sometimes less is more. ;^)
Many thanks to all for the replies. What I should of stated in the original post was which conductor is the most revealing as a phono cable given the fact that the signal is so small but very important part of the chain.Just makes sense to have a true to the sorce as possible cable from cartridge to phono.
I'd recommend taking advantage of the Cable Company's lending library of cables if you don't have the ability to audition in your system locally. Cables are so system dependent.
Though I should also point out that Audience takes the interesting approach of different cables for different types of carts. Low impedance LOMC, higher impedance LOMC and MM.
03-13-15: Roscoeiii+1. Excellent suggestion by Roscoe. Also, Frank, it may be helpful for us to know what cartridge and what phono stage you are using, what load value you are applying at the input to the phono stage, and approximately what length the cable would be.
Instead of asking which conductors is the most revealing, why don't you ask which cables are the most revealing?
For most revealing, my recommendation would be the Stealth Audio Hyperphono cable. YMMV.
Really nice equipment you've got there, Frank! Given its quality and price range, and after reading through the writeup John provided on the Stealth Hyperphono cable, although that cable is certainly not inexpensive I think his recommendation is well worth considering and auditioning, perhaps via The Cable Company.
Your cartridge has an inductance of 11 uH, which is helpfully and unusually low for a cartridge having a rated output as high as 0.56 mv. Although the capacitance of the Hyperphono cable isn't specified, I see no reason to doubt the statement in its description that "there are two identical solid core signal wires inside each signal cable, symmetrically woven in a matrix geometry which offers high interference and noise rejection without the capacitance increase typical for simple twisted pairs." I suspect that the combination of its capacitance (for a 1.2 meter length), the 100 pf input capacitance of your phono stage, and the 11 uH inductance of the cartridge will put the resulting resonant frequency in approximately the 3 to 4 MHz (million Hertz) area, which seems very comfortably high, considering also the ca. 300 kHz bandwidth of your phono stage.
I'll say also, FWIW, that I see nothing in the writeup that from a technical standpoint raises my BS meter significantly above zero. I say that as someone whose meter is not uncommonly pegged at max, or close to it, by a lot of cable literature.
Good luck! Regards,
From a technical standpoint Al,you seem to know quite a bit about proper setup of a front end and I value your input.Now if only could find a Hyperphono at an attractive price that would be great. By the way,there is a Silent Source Extreme Phono for sale at a very good price and according to L.W.the silver version is a good bit better.Any further thoughts?
There is a Silent Source Extreme Phono for sale at a very good price and according to L.W.the silver version is a good bit better.Any further thoughts?Beyond the usual kinds of proclamations of great sonics and performance well above their price point, there isn't enough info at the Walker site for me to have any particular comments, either positive or negative. Although I recognize that based on the reputation of Mr. Walker and his products those proclamations are likely to be a good deal more credible than in a lot of other cases.
Also, as I alluded to in my comments on the Stealth cable, the low inductance of your cartridge, in combination with the reasonably short length of the cable, would work in the direction of minimizing the possible effects of whatever amount of capacitance per unit length the Silent Source cables may have.