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  1. #1

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    Default Poorman's tonearm rewire

    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.

    Kelvin
    SDA-1C (full mods)
    Eico ST-70 Integrated Tube Amp fully rebuilt and modded
    Rega Planar 3 TT/Shelter 501 MkII
    Nitty Gritty 1.5FI RCM
    The Clamp
    Revox A77 Mk IV Dolby
    Thorens TD160/Mission 774 arm/Stanton 881S Shibata
    Nakamichi CR7 Cassette Deck
    Rotel RCD-855 with tube output stage
    Cambridge Audio DACmagic Plus
    DBX 3BX-DS
    DBX 224-DS
    ADC Soundshaper 3 EQ
    Ben's IC's

  2. #2

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    Nice write up Kevin. Been tempted to rewire my TT.

    What solder did you use ? Silver ?

    Congrats
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  3. #3

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    Thanks. It's Kelvin with an "l". I used Nexxtech High Tech Rosin Core Silver Bearing solder 0.022" from The Source (Canada's Radio Shack).

  4. #4

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    Sorry Kelvin, I know I hate when people call me Terry not Tracy.

    Thanks for the solder info.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  5. #5

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    Default TT wire

    Hi Kelvin,
    If you solder a strong but flexible wire (pull wire)to the old wires then pull the old wires out of the tonearm you can use the pull wire to pull the new wires back into the tonearm. Good job on the fix. Its a shame when something so simple can disable a TT. The wire I used from Cardas is easy to work with and sounds good. Parts Connexion has all kinds of stuff for us hackers.

    http://www.partsconnexion.com/wire_tonearm_cardas.html

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerboy View Post
    Hi Kelvin,
    If you solder a strong but flexible wire (pull wire)to the old wires then pull the old wires out of the tonearm you can use the pull wire to pull the new wires back into the tonearm. Good job on the fix. Its a shame when something so simple can disable a TT. The wire I used from Cardas is easy to work with and sounds good. Parts Connexion has all kinds of stuff for us hackers.

    http://www.partsconnexion.com/wire_tonearm_cardas.html
    Thanks. Good tip for when I do it again or on my Marantz table.

    Kelvin
    SDA-1C (full mods)
    Eico ST-70 Integrated Tube Amp fully rebuilt and modded
    Rega Planar 3 TT/Shelter 501 MkII
    Nitty Gritty 1.5FI RCM
    The Clamp
    Revox A77 Mk IV Dolby
    Thorens TD160/Mission 774 arm/Stanton 881S Shibata
    Nakamichi CR7 Cassette Deck
    Rotel RCD-855 with tube output stage
    Cambridge Audio DACmagic Plus
    DBX 3BX-DS
    DBX 224-DS
    ADC Soundshaper 3 EQ
    Ben's IC's

  7. #7
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    Great write up Kelvin. You are a much braver man than I as I sent my tonearm to be rewired with Cardas wire to Britaudio because I was afraid to do it myself. Congrats.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    Great write up Kelvin. You are a much braver man than I as I sent my tonearm to be rewired with Cardas wire to Britaudio because I was afraid to do it myself. Congrats.
    Thank you. I was going to order some cardas and do it myself but the broken wire and urge to spin vinyl prompted me to experiment. Many times this type of project has had a less than positive outcome but I took my time and was patient and had some luck and the result is better than I had hoped for. If the USB wire hadn't worked out I'd have ordered Cardas. I may still that down the road but right now it's sounds great and as the saying goes "If it ain't broke..............".
    SDA-1C (full mods)
    Eico ST-70 Integrated Tube Amp fully rebuilt and modded
    Rega Planar 3 TT/Shelter 501 MkII
    Nitty Gritty 1.5FI RCM
    The Clamp
    Revox A77 Mk IV Dolby
    Thorens TD160/Mission 774 arm/Stanton 881S Shibata
    Nakamichi CR7 Cassette Deck
    Rotel RCD-855 with tube output stage
    Cambridge Audio DACmagic Plus
    DBX 3BX-DS
    DBX 224-DS
    ADC Soundshaper 3 EQ
    Ben's IC's

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    Great write up Kelvin. You are a much braver man than I as I sent my tonearm to be rewired with Cardas wire to Britaudio because I was afraid to do it myself. Congrats.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fongolio View Post
    Thank you. I was going to order some cardas and do it myself but the broken wire and urge to spin vinyl prompted me to experiment. Many times this type of project has had a less than positive outcome but I took my time and was patient and had some luck and the result is better than I had hoped for. If the USB wire hadn't worked out I'd have ordered Cardas. I may still that down the road but right now it's sounds great and as the saying goes "If it ain't broke..............".
    Fongolio/Kelvin, great job at doing this challenging job along with a great write up on it. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    Cheers!
    TK

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fongolio View Post
    Thanks. It's Kelvin with an "l". I used Nexxtech High Tech Rosin Core Silver Bearing solder 0.022" from The Source (Canada's Radio Shack).
    If that is the same stuff as Rat Shack here I think that stuff works great. Not the thick stuff in a tube, but the real light stuff on a spool. It ends up costing me more than some of the more respected well know name brands in the HiFi world, but it is real clean and bonds very well. I have a big spool of WBT I think I am going to use it for plumbing. My only concern is the weight of the wire you used. How did the tone arm balance out after using the new wire.
    Ben
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben62670 View Post
    My only concern is the weight of the wire you used. How did the tone arm balance out after using the new wire.
    Ben
    The arm was definitely heavier with the wire, and the Clearaudio cart is heavier than the Denon, so the counterweight needed to be backed off some from where it was before, but not dramatically. It had a very slight tendency to move outward like when the anti-skate weight is on but with the arm floating. So for now I've removed the anti-skate weight completely and I seem to be tracking dead center of the groove. Neither channel sounds better or louder but I will confirm this with a test record I have. Honestly I have always thought my Carver C-1 pre was slightly out of balance but without an spl meter I can't say for sure. Could be my own hearing. As for the solder, I bought it new just for this project and yes it was on a spool. 1 1/2 oz 62/36/02 and I was very happy with it. Perfect for this job. I think it cost me around $12.00 but I have enough for many more projects.
    Last edited by Fongolio; 09-19-2009 at 02:00 AM.
    SDA-1C (full mods)
    Eico ST-70 Integrated Tube Amp fully rebuilt and modded
    Rega Planar 3 TT/Shelter 501 MkII
    Nitty Gritty 1.5FI RCM
    The Clamp
    Revox A77 Mk IV Dolby
    Thorens TD160/Mission 774 arm/Stanton 881S Shibata
    Nakamichi CR7 Cassette Deck
    Rotel RCD-855 with tube output stage
    Cambridge Audio DACmagic Plus
    DBX 3BX-DS
    DBX 224-DS
    ADC Soundshaper 3 EQ
    Ben's IC's

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