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Your favorite headshell leads

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Posted on May 4, 2011 at 23:03:04
knownothing
Audiophile

Posts: 6
Location: Seattle
Joined: May 4, 2011
What are your favorite headshell leads? I would like to try some other wires that would pair well with a Grado wood body cartridge and a vintage Thorens turntable.

I purchased a backup headshell for my Thorens TD150mkII a while ago (very expensive on EBay - that is a whole other story). One of the original headshell wire clips was basically broken and would short out occasionally. I had bought the extra headshell so it could be modified to accept a new Grado Reference Platinum1 cartridge, and decided that I would get some better headshell wires to fix the short and go with the new cartridge. I bought the LP Gear SOAR HD4 headshell lead wires. These wires are thin twisted pair copper wires with fairly large black rubber or plastic coated clips. These look to me like dead ringers for Sumiko and AudioQuest headshell wires.

The original wires on the Thorens head were warm and smooth sounding, but somewhat rolled off on top. Removing them meant heating the headshell pins and removing the solder to the best of my ability. After installing the new wires, my first impression was that the SOAR HD4's were very clear and articulated, but the bass was bassically MIA. I let them play for a while and the bass came back some and was tight and clear, or perhaps I just got used to it being severely reduced. Now there is a bigger difference between my digital and analog front ends in terms of strength of the bass signal.

I want my bass back, but don't want to sacrifice the great treble and mids I am enjoying now. Suggestions for other headshell leads?

My phono preamp is a Grado PH-1.

 

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TP50 headshell leads, posted on May 5, 2011 at 04:40:51
dean man jim
Audiophile

Posts: 2157
Location: Missouri
Joined: August 8, 2005
Contributor
  Since:
June 5, 2007
A couple of things that may be useful...

I've done some experimentation with my TD150 headshell leads (image below from left to right are self-made silver ones soldered to the headshell pins as were the original leads, some litz leads that I bought and just slid onto cleaned up pins, and self-made leads from Cardas tonearm wire that are soldered to the headshell pins.

Both of the sets of leads that are soldered to the pins sound much better in my system than the litz, including much better bass. Of those two I prefer the silver. I don't have any particular theories as to why the soldered leads sound that much better than the litz in my system but they do. Maybe it's the soldered connection to the headshell, maybe the wire is superior to the litz in the bought leads, I just don't know...

If you take apart the headshell to solder some leads yourself you might be prepared for the assembly / solder / reassembly to take a couple of hours at first. If I had a single headshell or two and didn't want to solder I might look for an electrical technician who probably has the skills and tools to make quick work of it.

Jim





"Never look at the trombones...it only encourages them." Richard Wagner

 

RE: TP50 headshell leads, posted on May 5, 2011 at 21:24:36
knownothing
Audiophile

Posts: 6
Location: Seattle
Joined: May 4, 2011
Jim,

Most helpful. What silver wire did you use for your custom leads?Interesting that the soldering seems to positively affect bass. Will try soldering some silver wire myself or get assistance as you suggest - I may be too ham-fisted to solder headshell leads, even if I disassemble the TP150 first.

On a related note, I made some silver preamp jumpers for my integrated amp from some fairly thin braided wire and they sound terrific, much better than the stock bars or the AudioQuest PSC+ jumpers. Funny to me that two inches of silver can make such a difference in a sea of copper...

 

RE: Your favorite headshell leads, posted on May 6, 2011 at 09:32:03
Jsawyer09
Audiophile

Posts: 491
Location: Midwest
Joined: January 2, 2008
Hello. This is an interesting question. FWIW, I've had great luck with the Ortofon LW 7N Headshell Leads on my Linn Ittok. I once owned the original Linn silver (gray?) ones, but don't really recall them ever doing anything outstanding. The Ortofons are very good...

 

RE: TP50 headshell leads, posted on May 6, 2011 at 18:05:25
dean man jim
Audiophile

Posts: 2157
Location: Missouri
Joined: August 8, 2005
Contributor
  Since:
June 5, 2007
You're welcome. For each wire I used four strands from an approx. 3" piece of silver braid taken from a silver interconnect, and twisted them. I think that some time spent in the archives for silver tonearm wire that is widely suggested/admired would come up with some other good ideas.

By the way linked below are some AT cartridge leads that are very high quality copper, at a decent price, that some people think very highly of. Might be worth experimenting with and reporting!

Jim
"Never look at the trombones...it only encourages them." Richard Wagner

 

RE: Your favorite headshell leads, posted on May 9, 2011 at 08:24:37
knownothing
Audiophile

Posts: 6
Location: Seattle
Joined: May 4, 2011
Thanks, I may give the Ortofon's a try too.

 

RE: TP50 headshell leads, posted on May 9, 2011 at 08:28:33
knownothing
Audiophile

Posts: 6
Location: Seattle
Joined: May 4, 2011
Again, thanks for your input. I will see if I can find locally first as I like to help brick and mortor dealers, even if for a small purchase.

 

RE: Your favorite headshell leads, posted on May 9, 2011 at 09:05:13
Jsawyer09
Audiophile

Posts: 491
Location: Midwest
Joined: January 2, 2008
If you get a chance, do so. I cannot imagine anyone wouldn't find them very good. They're relatively economical as these things go; plus, they're made extremely well, with a nice sort of protective translucent wrap around the wire leads, which I thought would make them stiff and hard to work with, when in fact they're quite flexible (nice for the Ittok, as it can be next to impossible to route in such a confined space) and sturdy.

 

RE: TP50 headshell leads, posted on May 9, 2011 at 20:28:23
chefjeffrey


 
I just purchased a set of these leads from Sweetcome. Can't help but smile when I see or hear that name and think the proprietor may not be a native English speaker. I will be curious how they sound. I am a fan of AT products.
I recently purchased a set of leads from Nerve Audio on eBay and like them pretty well.

 

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