DIY turntable headshell leads

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Hi. One of the 4 headshell leads, those very thin and cheap ones, has broken. Instead of getting a new set, I'm thinking of the possibility of making a better set myself, hoping to save some bucks and maybe to have some improvement. Is this possible? I did a number of DIY interconnects before. Would appreciate ideas and advices. I'm using ADC MkII improved MM cartridge on a Thorens TD160. Thanks.

The whole headshell leads subject is a sore spot as far as I am concerned. You can search here at DIY for my previous thread about my experience with manufactured ones.

Let me know how you make out. I would think that stripping and soldering fine quality wire to the tiny clips might cause baldness! If it works out rather easily for you I might risk the rest of my hair and try as well!

Just be warned that the pins on the headshell are 1.0 mm in diameter and the pins on your cartridge and just about every other are 1.2 mm, so buy the according clips (4 of each or more for mistakes) and use high quality wire. Try finding reasonable manufactured quality headshell leads with the right sized clips! Ha!

Van den Hul has a nice set with proper sized clips at about $70.00 USD or maybe higher! Cardas over $110. Audioquest has a set for $20 but both ends are 1.2 mm and you have to crimp or squeeze that end onto the headshell pins. Why spend $20 to have a less than intended connection and pay that much or more to make a weak connection, degrading everything from the cartridge (weakest link is the best it will sound) to the input of your Preamp or Phono Stage.

Good luck!

I was thinking of using maybe some thin silver wires (I've heard that silver performs better than copper in terms of audio signal transmission) and re-use the tiny clips of the existing headshell leads. I'm concerned about the type of wires to be used because I don't know if there are restrictions on the type of wires so as not to negatively affect performance. I expect that soldering the used clips to the leads would be a challenge.
Hi Stew,

If you can recommend a set of reasonable, quality Headshell leads WITH the appropriate clips for the cartridge and headshell, I would GREATLY APPRECIATE it!

The budget Cardas clips are very delicate and fatigue and break easily! YIKES! Good thing I have hemostats to work on these things!


Hi. I've checked out the Cardas site and a set of 4 clips costs $5. I hesitate to risk $10 on 2 sets (required for both ends of the 4 headshell leads) and eventually end up breaking them. By the way, I'm still looking forward to hearing ideas on the appropriate type of wires for the leads and am eargerly looking forward to seeing ErnieL's diy leads.


You don't want to spend $10 - blimey! I've soldered headshell tags back onto wires before and it's not that difficult if you have a steady hand - the toothpick or cocktail stick idea is a good one.

To be honest I would be very, very surprisd if you could hear the difference between copper and silver headshell wires. If you wan't to save money just solder the broken cable back onto the connector.
patknk939,I have some short lengths of van den hul mss7 silver plated teflon insulated left after a rega rewiring I did for a friend.If you are not ina hurry I can send them to you.I will strip and tin the ends so you only need to solder and put some shrinkable sleeves.
Hi Panicos K

I've just been given a short length of thin silver cable by a friend, though not VDH. If there's really not much difference between silver and copper, I may just go ahead and solder the used clips to the new cable. So, no need to send me your VDH mss7. Thanks very much for the offer.


A female D-connector provides you with at least 9 "clips" for the cartridge. Tehy are of far better quality as every audio clip that's on the market. And far sheaper. For the wiring you can use stript-down cable of a computer-mouse ; HP mouses use PTFE-insulated wires in PVC sleeving. It's flexible enough to use from cartridge to pre-amp.
The less solder-joints ; the better.


patknk939 , KP11520
It's computer stuff indeed , the 9 pole connector on the back of your PC , known as com-port !
The "female" version is the one whith the holes offcourse.
The clips are not for sale separatly , so you have to buy the whole connector. Will cost you USD 2 , or € 1,5 or so !
Buy the soldering version for cable.
The "clips" are secured with a little C-ring at the inside , push out the "clips"or bushings. Some makes are a little to long to use as clips , but you can cut the wire side to a usable lenght.
They are goldplated , spring secured and far , far more rigid as the stuff you buy for a lot of dollars at the high-end shop !

Succes !


" ons bent zunig "
D-conn. front


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Thanks Bouquet!

I thought you might be talking about a Serial Port. But someone has to sell the unhoused clips somewhere in the world.

I wonder what they are actually called in the manufacturing or parts world.

If I can't find them indivdually, I'm just going to have to cannibalize my computer.

My old useless one guys! LOL

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