Sugg. Retail: (1 metre) $600.00
Distributor: Tri-Cell Enterprises
4 Newlove Court, Rexdale. Ont. M9W 5X5
(800) 263-8151 (416) 748-8300 FAX 748-6937
(Reprinted from the Fall 1997 Audio Ideas Guide)
Since I had my turntable put together close to a decade ago, I’ve used the cable that came with it, an old Linn, I think, that plugs directly into the bottom of the SAEC 407/23 arm’s standard 5-pin jack. But a couple of months ago Tri-Cell’s Vince Scalzitti handed me this Cardas cable, and said, “Try this out!.”
Well, I did, and I liked it a lot. The original cable was good. After all, it had stayed in the system all these years. But the Cardas Golden Cross seemed to have a new transparency that allowed more of the music and fewer of the artifacts of LP play to come through the system. But before going on about this, a little about Golden Cross, Cardas’ top interconnect range.
I checked out their web site (www.Cardas.com) to get specifications, which include a diameter of .415″ with a dialectric of Teflon and air, and multi-gauge “Golden Section” Litz-type wire in a double-shielded configuration. This latter consideration is an important one in a cable carrying a signal in the 30 microvolts range from my Ortofon MC-3000 II. This cable may seem prohibitively expensive, but that distance from low-output MC to step-up device is a critical one that makes or breaks the sound of a phono system. All that resolution (more than yet available from CD) can be compromised by hum, broadband noise and RF, or lost in an electronic haze of crappy copper.
Though the cable supplied, with its rhodium-plated RCA plugs, was, at a metre-and-a-half, too long for my system, it still reduced low-level hum, and made the overall sound cleaner and better defined. I think I’ll get one made to a half-metre length, since the McIntosh MCP-1 head amp is right behind the turntable’s back right corner. I also recommend the use of a Versalab Red Roller RF filter around the cable to further protect and purify the signal; 30 microvolts is barely a decent FM signal, let alone a robust phono output.
I’m not one to spend a fortune on speaker cables, and I certainly think some of the best recent interconnects (Kimber Silver Streak & Hero, Wireworld Atlantis II, Artech’s Prisma cables) are excellent, and do very well on the Wireworld Interconnect Comparator. But as a serious LP collector and music lover (my standing joke has been that it’s really nice, after a hard day of listening to digital audio, to sit down and listen to a nice LP), it’s worth serious money to have the best and purest signal coming from the turntable. And that’s that.
POSTSCRIPT: Weeks after writing the above, I ordered and shortly thereafter received a 1/2-metre Golden Cross phono cable, perfect for my system, and have been enjoying an even lower noise floor and an even higher level of sonic refinement. The moral of the story is, keep the signal as pure as possible right back to the source.