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Thread: New Tonearm cable, XLR or RCA?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Oct 2014

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 34
    I'm Nikolaos.

    Default New Tonearm cable, XLR or RCA?

    Hello
    I have recently decided to take on a 'Garrard 401' journey, and while few things are already in place (except the 401 unit itself), I have bought a Jelco 750D tonearm, as I think that for the price is quite a VFM.
    as I do plan in the future to acquire my dream tonearm, that being an SME v or IV, I decided to spend some money on the tonearm cable, so o be able to use it further on a higher 'calibre' tonearm.
    more (or less) I have decided to buy a cable from Yiannis Tome, as I have already an RCA interconnect from him with which I am very happy (for the price!)
    Now my question is: as my phono pre (Chord Symphonic MC) has both RCA & XLR inputs, should I opt to get an XLR terminated cable?
    bear in mind that (at least for the moment) I do not plan to change the interconnect (which will still be RCA to RCA).
    any thoughts/suggestions?

    many thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date: Oct 2016

    Location: Bolton, England

    Posts: 627
    I'm Andrew.

    Default

    I've just checked the specs for that phonostage - max gain 85dB!!!???
    That's a huge amount of gain and only suited to extremely low output cartridges of about 0.03mV. I'm not sure what the signal-to-noise ratio would be like but I'd be interested to hear it. Anyway, it also does more realistic levels of gain too.

    Balanced connections from turntable to phonostage have always seemed like a good idea to me and since your phonostage has balanced inputs I see no reason not to take advantage of them.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: NE England

    Posts: 4,394
    I'm Jez.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RothwellAudio View Post
    I've just checked the specs for that phonostage - max gain 85dB!!!???
    That's a huge amount of gain and only suited to extremely low output cartridges of about 0.03mV. I'm not sure what the signal-to-noise ratio would be like but I'd be interested to hear it. Anyway, it also does more realistic levels of gain too.

    Balanced connections from turntable to phonostage have always seemed like a good idea to me and since your phonostage has balanced inputs I see no reason not to take advantage of them.
    +1
    Arkless Electronics-Engineered to be better. Tel. 01670 530674 (after 1pm)

    Modded Thorens TD150, Audio Technica AT-1005 MkII, Technics EPC-300MC, Arkless Hybrid MC phono stage, Arkless passive pre, Arkless 50WPC Class A SS power amp, (or) Arkless modded Leak Stereo 20, Modded Kef Reference 105/3's
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    Cables- free interconnects that come with CD players, mains leads from B&Q, dead kettles etc, extension leads from Tesco

  4. #4
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Belfast/Northern Ireland/UK

    Posts: 16,055
    I'm Neil.

    Default

    + 2
    Regards Neil

  5. #5
    Join Date: Oct 2014

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 34
    I'm Nikolaos.

    Default

    may thanks for your replies Gents!
    main reason for questioning was the fact that the interconnect between the phono and amp will still be unbalanced.
    BTW, the specs on the Chord site for the phono is all over the place! I had to have a call with the designer of the phono himself (I know, a very rare things these days with large multinational companies buying all the traditional smaller manufacturers) in order to clarify the settings.
    the phono is a revelation really! it really 'sings' with my Dynavector DV20XL, and I am sure it will do justice to more expensive carts as well.
    more than welcome to come over and listen to it when you are in Bristol!

  6. #6
    Join Date: Oct 2016

    Location: Bolton, England

    Posts: 627
    I'm Andrew.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Perister View Post
    main reason for questioning was the fact that the interconnect between the phono and amp will still be unbalanced.
    It doesn't matter - any benefits you get from using a balanced cable between the turntable and phonostage won't be undone by using unbalanced between phonostage and amp or pre-amp.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Oct 2014

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 34
    I'm Nikolaos.

    Default

    thanks again!

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2011

    Location: Bristol, UK

    Posts: 238
    I'm Stephen.

    Default

    Yannis Tome interconnects,- use them myself. The signal coming from the cartridge is always going to be unbalanced. Then there is the different input sensitivity of rca compared to xlr inputs. Speaking to the phono manufacturer was a great idea. Pleased to hear you got the system 'unpacked'.

    Using different speakers these days.

    Regards

    Cyclopse

  9. #9
    Join Date: Oct 2016

    Location: Bolton, England

    Posts: 627
    I'm Andrew.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclopse View Post
    The signal coming from the cartridge is always going to be unbalanced.
    No, the signal coming from the cartridge is fully floating and therefore inherently balanced, unless you unbalance it. The coils in the cartridge are no different from the coils in a moving coil microphone, and they're almost always used balanced.

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Durham - UK

    Posts: 1,319
    I'm Ken.

    Default

    .
    This is my DIY Balanced lead, from TT to Phono stage, which I knocked up this evening.



    This cable is twisted pair with Copper conductors and a Copper screen, it's 4.6mm dia and less than 2.00/M.
    Those 5pin DIN plugs are bleedin expensive though, that one connector was 60% of the total build cost.
    I've used separate cables for Left/Right channels to minimize the chance of cross talk. I think this is preferable to using 4 conductor star quad etc under a single screen.
    Van Damme do a similar cable that's 4.8mm dia, but the conductors are silver plated Copper.

    Remember, when connecting your cartridge as a balanced output, to remove any ground connections from the negative pins/cables from the cartridge.
    Rega for one, fit a strap from the right channel neg pin to the cartridge body on some models, this and any other ground connections to the cartridge pins must be broken.
    Last edited by Qwin; 08-07-2017 at 00:00.
    Ken

    http://www.jkwynn.co.uk/
    DIY Technics/ProJect based Turntable + Terminator linear tracker + Ortofon MC20 Supreme / Pro-Ject Phono box & Pre Box RS / KMTech Active X-Over / Nakamichi AVP1 Power / DIY Sealed Three Way Speakers / Stello CDT100 Transport / DAC Magic.

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