As our stock of silver litz headshell leads is running low, we have been trying to find a new supplier of affordable silver leads. This has proven to be more difficult than expected. The few headshell leads we have found are very expensive, and much of this cost is down to expensive packaging and advertising. With the recent arrival of our double silk covered 4N solid silver wire we thought we would have a go at making our own leads. The construction process turned out to be more involved than originally expected, but after a few trial runs with the soldering iron we managed to produce a set of prototype headshell leads.
We mounted these leads on a Grado Reference Platinum in a Nagaoka Ebony headshell. The headshell was mounted on a Fidelity Research FR-54 tonearm on our PTP reference Lenco turntable. The results were unexpected to say the least. The sound was much more focused, and had an added clarity that was lacking from this cartridge/headshell combination with the previous setup. We were surprised by the difference in the sonic signature that such a seemingly small change could make.
We have tried solid silver headshell leads before, and had been impressed by the sound. However, this was better, and it is hard to explain what could be behind this improvement. The one difference between these leads, and the previous silver leads, was the double silk wrapping. We are big fans of natural materials used to cover cables, and silk in particular offers excellent damping. Whether this is enough to explain the difference we hear between the bare silver, and the silk wrapped, we really can not say. When compared to litz leads the difference is even greater. One important characteristic of single core wire is that its capacitance is much lower than litz type wire. Although not a major concern when using moving coil cartridges, moving magnet and moving iron cartridges are sensitive to capacitance. The Grado cartridge used in our tests is a moving magnet design, and this perhaps goes some way to explaining the difference we hear using our new 4N silver leads when compared with the original copper litz leads.
Based on the success we have had with these leads we have decided to add these as a stock item in our shop. We are just waiting for some materials to arrive before we can go in to full production. These should be arriving any day now, so the headshell leads should be available within a week.
As winter closes in here in the south of Spain work switches to jobs indoors. With cable stocks running low we thought it a good time to spend a couple of mornings in the workshop making up a new batch of cables.
These El Cid MkII cables are our most popular and, in our opinion, one of the best value cable currently available. Along with this batch of cables we also sourced some new packaging which we think improves the final presentation of the product without adding to the final price.
As well as the El Cid´s we also put together a few prototype cables using the same wire as the EL Cid, but using our special acoustic braid to sleeve the finished cables. This variation of the El Cid has been on the drawing board for a while, but it has taken us a bit of time to get around to building these. We will be trialling them over the next few weeks to see if we like them, and whether they should become a regular product in our shop.
While in the workshop we came across a box of really nice RCA phono connectors. These were purchased while searching for a high quality phono plugs to use with our line silver cables. These are solid copper locking plugs, and are really nice. We didn´t end up using these on our El Coto cables because the distributor could not guarantee a continued supply. It seemed a waste to leave these in their boxes, so we decided to built some ´one-off´, or ´limited edition´ cables. We have built 4 sets of 1 meter cables using the same coaxial wire found in the El Cid range of cables, and sleeved in our acoustic braid.
These will be appearing in the shop soon.
The first unit was finished today, and is now going through testing and a short burn-in period. We have made a number of design changes since the prototype units were built, and these have improved the sound of the units, as well as, the appearance.
The finished product uses Lundahl LL9226 transformers which are mounted in a special damping compound. This compound isolates the transformers from external vibration, as well as, damping any internal vibrations from the transformer coils. Wiring is point-to-point using our four-nines solid silver wire, sleeved in Teflon tubing, and using high silver content solder for all joints.
The SUT can be built with a variety of cartridge loadings and gain options (14, 16 and 26dB), including a switched option allowing the selection of three different load settings. The price for the base unit is 315.00€ with an extra 20.00€ for the switched loading option.
The SUT should be available to order in the shop within the next 24-48 hours. For any further information, please feel free to contact us using the ´contact form´ on the site.
Following a long period of development we are pleased to announce our new, top of the range, silver audio interconnects – the El Coto MkII.
These cables use the same 4 nines solid silver cores in PTFE tubing as the original El Coto. As with the originals, three cores are hand braided to produce the finished length of cable. The MkII cable, however, is finished with our new ´acoustic damping´ sleeving material, and fitted with our best quality RCA phono plugs.
The phono plugs used on the El Coto MkII cables are high quality Silver Plated Tellurium Copper with black anodized aluminum body. For comparison the majority of phono connectors on the market are made from brass or bronze having a conductivity index (IACS) 56% against the 98/99% for Tellurium Copper. These are our top of the range phono plugs, and a perfect match for this high-end cable.
A couple weeks ago a small package arrived here at lencomotion audio. The contents? Moving coil step-up transformers from Lundahl in Sweden.
We have put together two test builds, one using the LL1678 transformer, the second using the LL9226 model. The initial remit was to build a SUT which was tailored for the Denon DL-103 cartridge, but which could be adapted easily to suit other low to medium output moving coil cartridges.
Over the past week we have been listening to the two SUT´s, and playing with various ratios and loading scenarios. Until these Lundahl´s came along, the favoured SUT on our test setup with the Denon DL-103r was the CineMag 3440. The Lunhahl LL9226 based SUT properly loaded is, we feel, a significant improvement on the CineMag´s, providing a more balanced and transparent presentation. The CineMag´s tend towards a more forward, and slightly aggressive presentation, whereas the Lundahl´s are more relaxed and natural sounding. The Lundahl transformers are close to invisible in the system, and the sound is much closer to a high quality solid state MC stage then a tradition passive step-up.
There is a bit more tweaking to do before we decide on final configurations. The finished units will have nicer enclosures with the option for variable secondary loading. All internal wiring will solid, single core 4 nines silver in PTFE tubing. We hope to have a more finished unit for testing sometime in the next couple of weeks. Once we get our basic SUT finished, we will be looking at building units using some of Lundahls higher spec´d transformers.
The basic SUT using the LL1678 or LL9226 transformers will be priced in the region of 350.00€ depending on cost of enclosures. The configuration used in the test units would be cheaper to produce, but we are looking to produce a finished product which is more aesthetically pleasing. If there are folks out there that would be happy with the build as shown above please let us know, and we will consider offering this as a cheaper complete build, or as a DIY kit.