Directwire mod, help


2007-11-08 9:33 pm

I bought a Clearaudio Evolution turntable with L3S tonearm cheap newly..
One problem with the tonearm is that it seems it have been badly rewired (probably the last owner broke the wire and did a bad and ugly solderjob on it).
So i have been thinking about re-wiring it, and to put direct wire on it. So now to my question.

I have been thinking about putting Cardas 33awg from the pickup down to the end of the base under the deck. and from there i solder it to an RCA-cable. Now my question, what kind of RCA (that ain't to damn expensive) would you people recommend me to go from there to riia?
Also, when doing the solder work there, should i go with plus from the pickup to the signal, and the minus from the pickup to the "shielding" of the rca-cable, the same on both channels, and than the tone-arm ground on a separate ground cable?

Haven't soldered cables from vinyl before, when you have five leads. But i guess its just plus and ground from each channel of the pickup and the the ground to the tonearm itself. Is this correct?

Thanks in advice peeps!

Ps, for you peeps who wonder how the turntable looks, its like this:
but mine does have black base instead.
not Clearaudio specific, but....

buy yourself something like 5 ft of tone arm wire. It is often sold in either coloured lengths or a group of five wires. salvage your cartridge "tags" from tour existing wire. order a pair of decent quality male RCA ends.

  • solder the ends of the new wires to the ends of the old ones
  • gently pull the wires through the tone arm and out the bottom of the tonearm base
  • while leaving plenty of slack, solder the new or salvaged cartridge tags onto the end of the new cables
  • join the ground wire to the arm near the headshell/carttridge or the base of the tonearm
  • solder the RCAs to the new wire following the correct colour convention
  • pull the slack out of the cable so the ends nearest the cartridge has no or very little slack (some is good to allow easy cartridge installation).

that's it. If the wiring cannot easily be pulled without damaging them then the arm will have to be taken apart somewhat to aid in the rewire.

not rude...

but I suggested a single piece from your pickup to the phono preamp. put tags on the cartridge end, and male RCA phono plugs on the other with no breaks in between. One less junction, 2 less solder joints, so the fewest possible to have. Many problems are with the RCA junctions.

In this case no need for an RCA cable to be soldered.

Now if asking about RCA interconnects or RCA phono plugs or RCA phono jacks please clarify.

I think by the time you're done, my first suggestion would still be the best based on cost, and performance.


2007-11-08 9:33 pm
hey thanks for the replay.

I actually mailed a Incognito rewire kit reseller and asked, it is possible to order the incognito set without base plug and with longer internal connections, so i will probably go for that one. ANd That way i won't need any solder joints in between. :)
this is what I suggested, please see diagram

and a really bad one at that.


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    cart wiring....gif
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Hi Roll,

What Stew is suggesting is as pure as you can get!

Cardas has 4 conductor and 5 conductor 33ga Tonearm wire. It is stranded wire and they are braided and that makes it a little stronger. This will sound the most neutral. If you don't move the TT, it will be fine.

If you want to be safer, there are some ways to terminate the tonearm wire and then convert to cables with RCAs. There are boxes (example ) that let you solder the tonearm wire to them and has 2 RCA female recepticles. Then you use Interconnects. However, all Interconnects are not the same. Some have low capacitance and that is what you want if you are using a MM cartridge. It matters less with a MC.

Here are some cheap ones that I bought. Go to the hyperlink and on the Right side is "ART Cables", click on that. "ART Blues": The "ART Jazz" and "Classical" are good for MC Cartridges but not MM.

My turntable is a Technics and has a small PCB for soldering the Tonearm wire to the ART Blues Cable that I bought. I just had to cut one end and solder it to the PCB.

KABUSA also makes an inexpensive termination plate for exactly this. just make sure you clamp the RCA Cables so they don't stress the termination point. Look at this page, scroll down and click on Master 1200 Page. When you get to that page scroll down to the Turret Terminal Board:

I used KABUSA's site because he has all the items so you could see what I was talking about! There are many other places to get similar items. Do some research and get what suits you most!
But don't discount Stew's recommendation! My addition to his idea is Eichmann Bullet Plugs (RCAs).

Good luck!



2007-11-08 9:33 pm
Hey Keith!

Thanks for a very informative post.. although terminating the cable won't be an alternative to me.. this as i want to be able to remove the tonearm if i want. Also why i don't want to have the small cardas the whole way (even with the extra cover) is due to that i have alot of clumsy friends, and i also want to be able to move the TT easily, so that also goes away.. this is why i want to have either soldered rca to internal wire, or just something like the rega rewire kits.

I've been thinking about just fitting the rcas in the bottom of the tonearm, and the solder on the cardas internal wire on them, and put something to protect the whole thing, some special glue or so. or the other thing is just the rewire kit.

So why are you people against the Incognito kit? bad rca piece or what?



2007-11-08 9:33 pm
well a short update.. i ordered the "Cardas 4 x 33 awg Tonearm wire with shield - 4 wires plus shield plus thin wall jacket" from partsconnexion, and will have a try with that, even though i think it may be to frail.

So anyway i have a question.. what to do with the shield jacket around the four wires? should i just ground that to the tonearm and the in the other end ground to the RIIA pre-amp ? or should i just let it be, and put a separate wire for the ground between the pre-amp and the tonearm?

Thanks for any answer!


2007-11-08 9:33 pm
So to sum it up, on the RCA side, i shouldn't connect the shield to anything. but on the tonearm side i shall solder it to the base. And besides that i shall also put a separate ground wire which i shall solder to the arm base, and put a cableshoe to attach to the ground on the pre-amp? right?
Hi Guillaume and Robert,

When you try to strip the ends for soldering on the Cardas 33ga wires, experiment a while to prep for soldering. Do a search on cardas tonearm wire and a few links will turn up on the best way to strip these using heat from a soldering iron and flux and solder. Forget stripping it unless you have the right tool!

I bought the braided 4 wire Cardas and realized I needed the 5 wire (with the black) so I had to go back and order 2 feet of the black. I was afraid my tonearm wouldn't accomodate the sheilded wire especially at the pivot or the extra weight. It's only a Technics anyway.

Guillaume is better qualified on the best way to handle the handoff and the ground!

Good luck and let us know how it comes out!

the ground wire....

well I think what I would do as follows:

solder a short piece of wire to both ends of the complete cable shield, attach one end to the tonearm, the other attach to the phono preamp. That way anything you "pickup" from the arm will be taken to ground, while still shielding the signal wires from exterior RF noise. Pretty simple and easy. AFAIK, there is no need to run a seperate wire for the ground, unless using unshielded wires. I personally use unshielded wires in one length on any mods I do or when I make my own arms, and have never had an issue.



2007-11-08 9:33 pm
Thanks for that stew, sounded like the best idea so far. will probably go for that one.
i'm thinking about putting the whole wire with shield and everything insida a small plastic tube to give it extra protection all the way. the only problem will be finding something to be protective where the wire-pairs will part for eachoter and go the last bit to the RCA's. anybody have any idea what to use as a 1 to 2 housing, some kind of plastic or so. i thinking about going that way, and then put heat-shrink tubing on it.
look for some "Monster Pants"

look here
for an idea of what I mean. Other makers may have something similar. Why the absolute paranoia? I have 5 cats and a dog who literally fly through my room (and jump on speakers, turntables, etc. even when the turntable is spinning!). A room mate can't be that bad.

You could also do as you suggested, make, some rigid "monster pants, or use an old prescription bottle (plastic) or similar, some heat shrink and away you go. But I really don't see the need at all, unless your buddy figures all turntables are for DJing. If your friends are that clumsy, invite 'em to meet you someplace other than your house....

If need be ,go get some good male RCA ends (4 required), and 2 female ends. Solder the arm from the tonearm to the female RCA ends, mount the RCA (females) to a plate that you could attach to your turntable. Then take the 4 male RCA and solder the appropriate pairs to the RCAs. leave the ground wire shield on this constructed pair of interconnects disconnected on the side that is closest to the turntable, and attached on the end closest to your preamp/phono stage, etc. Where you must split the wires for the separate channels, again, try to find some monster pants or similar.

good luck, 'cause it sounds like you may need it.

Let me try and expand a little. Try and create a star earth. This is what the incognito loom does. I am not sure why, but floating the screen and running a separate earth lead sounds better.

So to try and re explain.
Best place for the star earth is probably at the base of the arm.

Connect the cable shield to the star earth point.

Connect your separate earth wire to pre amp to this star point.

Connect any lead that may come from arm tube or carriage on linear tracker that is linked to the tube body to the star earth.
(This is because the bearings and their lubricants may actually break the earth made at the base and the tube then is not earthed, increasing cahances of noise and hum.

Hope this makes sense now.

Wrt to the RCA split at the end of the cardas 4 core + screen.
Trim about 2" of outer rubber insulation, trim the screen short (we are floating it this side).
Push some adhesive heatshrink over the cable, an inch will do nicely..
Now push some of the rubber insulation you removed from the arm end and this end over each pair of (red/green and white/blue) leaving 1/4 inch of wire exposed at the ends.
Pull the heatshrink over the t joint created where the 3 lots of rubber insulation meet. Shrink heatshrink. Solder on RCAs.
Fit earth lug or crocodile clip to you separate earth wire.


PS: In a tubed "arm" the outer rubber and screen should be removed from the cardas 4 core + screen section that is to run in the tube and through the pivot (the arm tube is the screen) else the bearing will not move properly, never mind getting the stuff through.


2007-11-08 9:33 pm
tubenut: thanks, you're an ace!
I'll just have to wait for the cable from parts connexion, and then i'll start soldering. I'm also planning to order some new heavier feets from clearaudio to replace the standard spikes.
The best thing with Clearaudio is that its even possible to upgrade the older turntables with stuff from the newer ones. you can even order a new bearing and get it cheaper if you return your old one..

Will probably post pictures later on when i'm completley finished with it. :cool:


2009-12-14 4:53 am
I can only assume the Incognito is considered dear in comparison to just buying the wire.
The incognito is in fact Cardas wire from cartridge clips to its final RCA but with a far spaced shield. Also a doodle to fit for the less experienced DIYer....

Cardas in fact do not recommend separate shields for the left/right channel. They recommend the one shield for both channels as stated below in there FAQ

Phono Cable
Q.) Is there anything you do differently in the design i.e. geometry, materials, gauge, etc. of your phono interconnects versus line level interconnects that would address the fact that the cable is seeing a much smaller and more delicate signal from the cartridge? Should I gather from your website that your Reference Series interconnects are designed to perform equally well without compromise to these low level signals as they would with the CD player I've hooked up to balanced Neutral Reference? Sincerely, Shawn H.

A.) Hi Shawn. The Phono cable is for a spacific application (DIN to two RCA) and is in fact diffrent than the line level in many ways; they are lower capacitance and contain both channels in the same shield to reduce RF and noise and are terminated in a DIN plug that connects directly to the tone arm. However, in the Reference series specifically I believe in using two cables. Standard pair is the best setup if it is possible. - George

Anyone have experience with both alternatives?