I've been wanting to rewire the extremely wimpy wires in my Pro-ject 6.9 tonearm for some time. While mounting my recently purchased Clearaudio Aurum Classic cartridge (review in a month or so after burn in) I again broke a lead off (aaaarrrrrggggghhhhh). This was the kicker. Time to rewire this puppy with wires that have some substance instead of the stock angel hair. Problem is no dealers within 300 miles of here even have decent tonearm wire. The one I broke has broken several times before and is now just too short to work with. Well, then maybe I can just replace the one with something around here as a temp fix.
I start looking around for something that will work. I do a fair amount of computer tech work and have been into diy electronics repair for a very long time and have lots of old wires and connectors and am pretty good at soldering etc. I dig out an old USB add on cable from one of the computer parts drawers. Actually this part came with a motherboard and is still never used. I peel the plastic sheath back and voila six correctly coloured wires !! Well one extra that I can discard. After inspection this looks exactly like what I am looking for in a decent tonearm wire. Non-solid core, heavy but flexible so no binding, insulated, colour coded, inexpensive, and as a bonus with a slight modification the clips that snap into the usb header can be used to as clips for the cartridge.
Now some of you may shudder and I myself was skeptical but with nothing to lose I was on a mission. I should have taken pics but my beloved Pro-ject table was down and I wanted to spin vinyl again. I'll spare most of the gory details but suffice to say it was NOT easy rewiring this arm. Especially leaving the arm mounted on the plinth. By far the hardest part was sending the new wires back through the arm tube which I managed by feeding a stiff solid wire through the tube and then attaching the clip to the solid wire and slowly pulling back through. Once all the wires were through I soldered the ends to the back of the rca terminal plate. I put the table back together leveled it in its resting place and attached the new Clearaudio cartridge and did all the aligning etc.
Now to see if it was remotely successful. I put on the last record I had listened to as that was still fresh in my mind. John Melencamp's The Lonesome Jubilee. Badda Bing!! Success! Worked perfectly! No drag on the arm, clear, dynamic, wide soundstage. I was almost gigling. Now bear in mind this cartridge is brand new and moving magnet as opposed to my Denon DL-160 moving coil. The initial impression was of it being a little bright but the wires and the cart are new so I'll give it some time before a full review. I did this all about a week ago and this afternoon I put on Al Di Meola's Triami Su (modern jazz guitar with a latin edge). I was blown away not by the width of the soundstage (which is outstanding) but the depth. Now, of course I am using SDA-1c's which really enhance this effect but it was so incredibly 3 dimensional and really gave the feeling of being in a much larger room. And superp imaging as well.
As the wires and cartridge burn in it is just getting more airy and defined. This cartridge so far is much faster in dynamics than I expected as well. Rapid drumming is very precise. And the initial edginess and brigtness I first experienced is fading with each play. Overall the poor man's tonearm rewire experiment has been a resounding success. I'll give a full review on the Clearaudio Aurum Classic cartridge in a month or so.