Phono Interconnects Guide
Most Hi Fi Systems need phono interconnects so that each piece of equipment is connected together without signal loss, phono cables are not the same in terms of sound quality, the reason for this is that low level signals as created by a phono cartridge are very low and also fragile and can be easily distorted and even lost. These signals have almost no current and are driven by voltages that may have maximum output of as little as 0.2 volts or lower. So to enable the precise information coming from your source product to your pre amplifier choose an interconnect that will not attenuate the signal or cause other issues that will impair sound quality.
Phono plugs differ from most other audio connectors in being truly coaxial - the outer screen encircles a (single) inner connection. This makes them good for RF (radio) and video connections. Significantly though, also a very convenient size for audio connections.
Hifix stock many brands of interconnect cables such as Audioquest, QED, The Chord Company and many more each company uses world class engineering and design technology that enables your system to faithfully reproduce whatever your source product is whether playing vinyl records or CD or streaming it will be the phono connections between your equipment that will minimise any losses as they travel to your amplifier.
So what features do you need to look for when researching an upgrade for your interconnects, well lets look at some of the important attributes that I feel must be inherent in the cable design. An important feature is the cable must be shielded, radio frequency interference RFI and Electromagnetic interference EMI is the main cause of interference and can cause issues such as humming for example from a light dimmer or to radio breakthrough which you will hear as a background to your music. This is why shielding is important and this should be incorporated within the interconnect by enclosing the left and right channel wires with a fine wire mesh and in some better configurations this is again covered with aluminium foil.
The second important consideration is to ensure that the cable has low impedance if not you will be losing both high and low frequencies which will limit the detailed information before it gets to your amplifier, giving you a sound which is flat and will dull dynamics.
Thirdly ensure that the phono plugs, sometimes called RCA plugs are of good quality so that the plug can makes good contact with the phono socket, gold and silver plating enhances electrical connectivity but take care when inserting as both of these are soft metals and the plating is easily removed.
Oxygen Free Copper
Some phono cables are manufactured by way of a process called OFC or oxygen free copper, this is a process where the cable is extruded with a nitrogen enriched environment and produces a cable with a much higher copper purity and this will increase conductivity of the signal between the amplifier and the source. For the audiophile there are also phono cables that are silver plated which can also enhance conductivity and improvements to overall musicality.
Budget or High End
However, at the end of the day just ensure that your system, whether budget or high-end incorporates the correct interconnects to do the system justice, don’t over spend on cables but match your system to the level it deserves. QED make a range of cables from the QED Profile Series for the budget system, the QED performance Series for mid-priced systems and for the audiophile system the QED Reference series, others brands such as the Chord Company and Audioquest are great choices too.
Enjoy your music…