Clearaudio universal tonearm re-wire.

ClearAudio uses the thinnest tonearm wire imaginable. I have had to situations were I have broken the very delicate wires. I would like to replace the wire with something more secure but don’t want mess it up. Has anybody re-wired a Clearaudio tonearm before? It took almost a year to get it back from Clearaudio last time to have it fixed. I don’t want to deal with this anymore and I’m willing to sacrifice a little sonically for this headache to go away.


@dwette ,

Absolutely not. You should be able to swap cartridges till the cows come home. If anything is going to break it will be a clip or the wire will break right at the solder joint. There should be a heat shrink strain relief on each clip for this reason. If there isn't I suggest you put them on in color code. If the solder joint breaks it is easy to reattach the clip. One mistake a lot of people make is not locking the tonearm down. Use a tie wrap if the arm does not have a lock. Also NEVER use your fingers to remove or replace the clips. Use a small needle nose pliers (4 inch) preferably spring loaded. 

@mijostyn All good advice that I follow anyway.

However, I know that my dealer does all those things too, and has broken wires. Once, Musical Surroundings sent me a warranty replacement Universal and when it arrived two of the head shell wires were broken in transit because they didn’t secure them by putting a little bag around the head shell. These wrires are very, very, very thin. They do break easily enough.

How long have you had a Universal and how often have you swapped cartridges on one?


That isn't reality with Clearaudio tonearm wiring. They use the finest strands of wire which are extremely fragile. It's only a matter of time before you will ever so slightly pull on it too hard it will break. Once you do that trying to remove the insulation on a fine wire like that to resolder it is almost impossible.


@mijostyn is happy to offer his expertise, but he didn’t answer my question about his real-world experience with this arm. His advice is very good if not painfully obvious to most of us doing our own setup. I wonder if he’s touched or ever even seen a Clearaudio Universal, much less dealt with the extreme caution required for removing/installing cartridges on one.

I agree with you. I can’t envision stripping the insulation and re-soldering a lead. Nevertheless, the problem is when they snap, as they do so easily, it’s usually close to the point of exit from the wand, and off to Germany for a rewire in that case.

As good as this arm is (and I have two of them), it is a scary PITA to deal with during cartridge installation. I usually enjoy a nice API first to calm my nerves. LOL



Yes, I have looked at it, but I have never used one. The wiring did not strike me as odd.

You do not strip that wire, you burn the insulation off with an 850 degree soldering iron, a solder pot, or a little torch. When you put the heat shrink on put a crimp in it just behind the pin. You want to make sure the solder joint can not flex.