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Old 28th February 2012, 10:11 AM   #1
ksporry is offline ksporry  China
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Default what turntable cable

Hi guys, I need some advice on phono cables for my turntable.
I currently have some seriously cheap pro-ject phono cables on an Opera Consonance LP5.0 turntable, and that needs replacing. I'm hooking it up to an Opera Reference 5.5mk2 tube amp via an Opera PM2mk2 phono pre-amp.

So I have some candidates:
Van Den Hul ISIS (ca 80-100GBP)
Van Den Hul The Thames (ca 125-150 GBP)
Maple Audio Works Ambience ca (335 USD)
JIB HF-001B/C (not sure but saw in China at an audio show for about 2500 RMB)

Can anyone tell me what would be the better choice? I'm considering the Ambience for the phono pre-amp to tube amp stage. It's supposed to be mind bogglingly amazing. But I'm not sure if I can get hold of a set. They are not very common.
The JIB cables seem well made too, but I cannot find any reviews on them whatsoever, and they are even harder to find. Making it impossible to get an idea on their sound characteristics.
The Van Den Hul cables are easy to get, but I don't know how they perform. They are also cheaper than the others I mentioned.

I need to get cables from my arm to my phono pre, and from my phono pre to the tube amp. Considering that the main amp as well as the phono stage are both tube driven, I probably want a cable that is very accurate and clean, rather than warm and coloured.
I don't have any opportunities to actually audition cables (I'm in China, and if I visit the civilised world I don't have my setup in my inner pocket with me to do trials...). As such I would like to hear some recommendations from people.
I'm open to alternatives, in which case I'd say my budget is around the 150GBP +/-30 GBP
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Old 28th February 2012, 10:33 AM   #2
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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My recommendation is: don't waste your money on fancy cables. If you don't like the sound you have, upgrade your cartridge or speakers and carefully check turntable alignment. Others will disagree!
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Old 28th February 2012, 10:56 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by DF96 View Post
My recommendation is: don't waste your money on fancy cables. If you don't like the sound you have, upgrade your cartridge or speakers and carefully check turntable alignment. Others will disagree!
Very good advice.
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Old 28th February 2012, 11:51 AM   #4
simonov is offline simonov  Bulgaria
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Originally Posted by DF96 View Post
My recommendation is: don't waste your money on fancy cables. If you don't like the sound you have, upgrade your cartridge or speakers and carefully check turntable alignment. Others will disagree!
+1

Low capacitance coaxial cable. Have a look at Belden's catalog. Ant that's it.
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Old 28th February 2012, 01:36 PM   #5
ksporry is offline ksporry  China
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I know cables aren't the most important part of the system's sound, but when the main amp costs some 2,5k, the turntable costs 4,5k, the phono stage costs 600GBP, and the speakers cost about 3,5k, you are not gonna tell me that 5 year old cables that cost 20GBP sound just as good as 100-300GBP cables. Sorry, but there's no way I believe that.

So, back to my original question, which cables would be suitable?
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Old 28th February 2012, 01:38 PM   #6
simonov is offline simonov  Bulgaria
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Then you should hear them on your system and buy whichever you believe sounds the best for you.
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Old 28th February 2012, 02:07 PM   #7
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Seeking for a phono cable is a nice opportunity to rewire your tonearm and rearrange your entire setup as well, running short and direct lengths from the cartridge tags to the RCA males (with no additional joints). Add a nice set of RCA males and you are golden (neutric or gold eichmann bullets)
I do not know what cable your tonearm uses, but I have used the Shielded Cardas litz wire in many occasions and it performs very nicely in comparison to many oem and after market cables. Pretty decent for its price.
Whatever cable you choose, keeping it short will further reduce interference and will also reduce its capacitance allowing you to better load your cartridge.
Just keep in mind that if your phono does not have an external psu it might get noisy keeping it close to your cartridge.
It shouldn t cost more than $100 and won t take more than a few hours if you know your way around your tonearm.
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Old 28th February 2012, 03:41 PM   #8
jgf is offline jgf  United States
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Originally Posted by simonov View Post
+1

Low capacitance coaxial cable. Have a look at Belden's catalog. Ant that's it.
+2. Blue Jeans LC1 (which uses Belden cable), great upgrade on phono cable.
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Old 28th February 2012, 04:27 PM   #9
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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you are not gonna tell me that 5 year old cables that cost 20GBP sound just as good as 100-300GBP cables
I know of no 'wearout' mechanism in cables, and expensive copper conducts electricity just as well as cheaper copper, so yes that is precisely what I am telling you. I think you will find that professional sound people only replace cables when they break due to repeated handling, not because the cable is worn out from handling too many signals.

Your setup may be sensitive to things like excess cable capacitance, but that would show that your sources have too high or too nonlinear output impedance. Sadly, paying a lot of money for components does not necessarily guarantee good engineering.
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Old 28th February 2012, 05:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ksporry View Post
As such I would like to hear some recommendations from people.


May i recommend asking at the cable or vinyl asylum? Spending more than 50c on a cable makes engineers very emotional.
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