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.