Question RCA interconnect

hifi

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2023
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Hi All I am looking to upgrade my interconnects as they are about 10 years old my question is how much should i spend without going over board and how much difference will these make ?
my system is all Marantz 6005 CD Amp and streamer the speakers are Wharfedale 12.3 these are my most recent upgrade and wow they are brilliant.
my first post BTW . I listen too all genres of music . Thanks all.
 

Mark Dunlop

Active member
Nov 15, 2022
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I've been changing my interconnects over the last month or so, and decided the best value for money was to make my own. I made three sets using three different kinds of cable:
Belden 8402 with Sewell deadbolt gold plated solderless plugs - total cost £32/m
Mogami 3368 with Rhodium plated solderless plugs from Amazon - total cost £16/m
Sommer SC Spirit cable with the same Rhodium plated solderless plugs - total cost £13/m

All three sound better than my Audio Quest Tower lead which was £23/0.5m, but I think the Belden sounds best of the three. Definitely worth making your own RCA leads! You can buy perfectly good RCA plugs for very little, or you can buy really expensive ones. Belden 8402 works out about £12/m.
m.d.
 

SR-91

Well-known member
Jan 4, 2023
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Hi All I am looking to upgrade my interconnects as they are about 10 years old my question is how much should i spend without going over board and how much difference will these make ?
my system is all Marantz 6005 CD Amp and streamer the speakers are Wharfedale 12.3 these are my most recent upgrade and wow they are brilliant.
my first post BTW . I listen too all genres of music . Thanks all.
What make/model of interconnects are you currently using ?
 

abacus

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Sep 24, 2008
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Yep Amazon basics are all you need, cables do not make a difference unless they are of poor quality, so don't waste your money. (If anyone says they do ask them to provide verifiable evidence and they will soon disappear)
There is an exception though, in that if you believe they make a difference (Even though there has never been any verifiable evidence that they do) then go with whatever you like, as you will probably feel better psychologically. (Just remember the wallet will unnecessarily lighter)

Bill
 
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SR-91

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Jan 4, 2023
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Yep Amazon basics are all you need, cables do not make a difference unless they are of poor quality, so don't waste your money. (If anyone says they do ask them to provide verifiable evidence and they will soon disappear)
There is an exception though, in that if you believe they make a difference (Even though there has never been any verifiable evidence that they do) then go with whatever you like, as you will probably feel better psychologically. (Just remember the wallet will unnecessarily lighter)

Bill
Are the interconnect cables often included with CD players for free "poor quality" ?

The Amazon basics look exactly the same.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Hi All I am looking to upgrade my interconnects as they are about 10 years old my question is how much should i spend without going over board and how much difference will these make ?
my system is all Marantz 6005 CD Amp and streamer the speakers are Wharfedale 12.3 these are my most recent upgrade and wow they are brilliant.
my first post BTW . I listen too all genres of music . Thanks all.
Interconnects make no difference. I've had my Merlin Chopins since 2007/2008 and they sound fab.

I also have a set of Chord Chrysalis since the late 1990s, still sound good.

If they are working fine, stick with what you have. I've only changed my old Cambridge Reference cables because they were faulty (Basil) 😁
 
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podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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Unless you've abused your cables into intermittency (I know you haven't 👍) - age is completely irrelevant.
Indeed. I have some QED Qunex 4S RCA leads, from over 20 years ago and they are still in perfect condition. I paid £50 for them, before I knew any better, but they are solid and the Rhodium plated collars look good as new, with no tarnishing at all. It's enough to pay for this type of cable.
 
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SR-91

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Jan 4, 2023
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Indeed. I have some Ixos 102 RCA leads, from over 20 years ago and theyr'e still in perfect condition. I paid £50 for them, before I knew any better, but they are solid and the Rhodium plated collars look good as new, with no tarnishing at all. It's enough to pay for this type of cable.
I have never understood how a cable can get damaged to the point that it no longer works.

You initially plug the things in, and, leave them alone. When unplugging them is it so difficult to grip the plugs themselves and not the actually cable ?

The freebies i use are years old too and i have never managed to damage them despite their "basic" construction...
 
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podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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I have never understood how a cable can get damaged to the point that it no longer works.

You initially plug the things in, and, leave them alone. When unplugging them is it so difficult to grip the plugs themselves and not the actually cable ?

The freebies i use are years old too and i have never managed to damage them despite their "basic" construction...
I've had free, tin plated leads and they have corroded and become very dirty. I think a dirty contact (oo-er) will cause issues. Solid cables with fancy metal plating, will last forever. I wouldn't pay £50 for these now, as I've had 20 years of internet an cable discussions, like this one. Better materials and construction will increase the lifespan, but again, there is a point where this becomes style over substance and that is about £50
 
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podknocker

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RCA leads. They were basic things from decades ago. I'm sure they were tin plated, or very basic steel, with some cheap coating. They were rubbish. Until very recently, I had a box full of cables. One of everything I think. Quite a few of the free cables showed signs of oxidation and they'd never been used. I wouldn't use the cheapest cables supplied to get you up and running.
 
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SR-91

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Jan 4, 2023
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RCA leads. They were basic things from decades ago. I'm sure they were tin plated, or very basic steel, with some cheap coating. They were rubbish. Until very recently, I had a box full of cables. One of everything I think. Quite a few of the free cables showed signs of oxidation and they'd never been used. I wouldn't use the cheapest cables supplied to get you up and running.
Once a year i give all my cable plugs a clean with a DeoxIT wipe. It has become a ritual after being given a bag full of them from a friend. I cant say i notice any difference to the sound of my system after but at least the plugs are clean !

 
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podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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Having my Audiolab Omnia and speakers, I don't actually use any RCAs now. I use HDMI and DP for my monitor, but like SCART, composite, component, VGA and many other connectors, I have no use for phono leads now. If I buy a TV, it will be the horrid TOSLINK to my Omnia, until I get a streamer with HDMI. So many cables I no longer need and I must declutter my cupboard again. I think every device on the planet could be connected via HDMI and USBC and this would save a lot of faff and expense.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Are the interconnect cables often included with CD players for free "poor quality"?
Physically they certainly are.
Some are very thin, they have lapped screen (as opposed to braided often with foil in addition) The central core is just the minimum amount of thin strands too.

None of which matters if you never touch it.
Blind tests will show you that audibly there is no disadvantage.

Repeated severe bending at the molded strain relief point / disconnecting by pulling cable instead of connector - will lead to breaks in the conductor. But normal brains recognise that such abuse causes trouble and don't allow it to happen.

Bottom line - if you have to replace the freebies and you can, then make your own cables. Otherwise, don't spend too much.
(Unless spending money doesn't bother you).
 
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podknocker

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Really solid, stiff cables are as bad as flimsy ones, as the plastic collar or sheath can split. A good cable is a flexible one, which won't kink or snag, or split, but will allow repeated bending and unplugging. Some are really rigid and are so inflexible, it makes it difficult to route them between your devices. Cables which stay in the same position, on a table for example and will not bend into another direction, are not good. My 20 year old QED Qunex 4S cables are solid, but are a bit rigid and I did have issues getting them through TV/video unit holes, back in the day. I doubt I'll use them again.
 
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AndrewF

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Feb 3, 2023
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The Monoprice ones are extremely reasonable in price and well-made.

(I thought old RCA cables have sluggish, geriatric electrons?)
 

HoxtonBridge

Active member
May 28, 2022
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Hi All I am looking to upgrade my interconnects as they are about 10 years old my question is how much should i spend without going over board and how much difference will these make ?
my system is all Marantz 6005 CD Amp and streamer the speakers are Wharfedale 12.3 these are my most recent upgrade and wow they are brilliant.
my first post BTW . I listen too all genres of music . Thanks all.
At the risk of opening another can of worms, you might try upgrading the mains cable to your amplifier and see if that makes a tangible difference to the dynamics...

This can be done DIY, as suggested for interconnects, depending on how confident you feel with electronics, but it's not rocket science.

All the best HB.
 
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Mark Dunlop

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Nov 15, 2022
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At the risk of opening another can of worms, you might try upgrading the mains cable to your amplifier and see if that makes a tangible difference to the dynamics...

This can be done DIY, as suggested for interconnects, depending on how confident you feel with electronics, but it's not rocket science.

All the best HB.
I did this to cure a buzz from my amp, not for sonic reasons. Since it cured the buzz, I did it again for my CD player too. Whether it made any sonic difference is debatable, as I changed to AudioQuest Rocket 11 speaker cable at the same time which definitely did. If you can wire a plug you can make a mains cable.
m.d.
 

SR-91

Well-known member
Jan 4, 2023
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At the risk of opening another can of worms, you might try upgrading the mains cable to your amplifier and see if that makes a tangible difference to the dynamics...

This can be done DIY, as suggested for interconnects, depending on how confident you feel with electronics, but it's not rocket science.

All the best HB.
"try upgrading the mains cable to your amplifier and see if that makes a tangible difference to the dynamics..."

Genuine question - how is that possible ?
 
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