Hum Help

I had an interesting case of hum pop up (that I was able to solve) but interested in learning a bit more. 

I have a Technics 1200 Mk5 that is pretty heavily modded. I currently run a Jelco 750D arm on it and have had MM cartridges on it forever, but recently swapped to a Hana SL and picked up a low output Grado Opus3. The table is connected to an ifi iPhono. 

When I made the swap to MC, I started to get a hum on my amp on that line in. I figured it was the iPhono, but I swapped in my Phenomena and it was still there. I tried with both MC cartridges and it remained. I connected the iPhono to the amp using a different rca on a different channel - still a hum. That left the tonearm and phono cable (a Zu Mission). I swapped the phono cable with one from a stock Pro-Ject deck. Hum went away. 

The Zu is not very 'shielded' (?) but I run mostly Zu cables and have never had this issue. I have a long Zu going from the Phenomena to the amp, for example, with no hum. 

Any ideas about what might cause this? I can pretty easily get a better cable, but I'm not sure if that is more like putting lipstick on a pig, as they say, because there is an underlying issue. 
I think the underlying issue was the cable. Be the good mechanic and don't over think it.  IF a different cable sounds great and the hum is gone.. Don't mess with mother nature.

In this case, the lipstick went on a human anyway.. Boy/Girl, that's up to you..

Plugging and unplugging, you could have cleaned connection to.. I don't think that's "the issue" but everything needs a little cleaning now and then..

The shielding;  I use as little as I can get away with, AND still sound good.  Shielding can KILL the dynamics of a system.  How much? That is the question.

A hum, buzz or ANY noise is a no no in my system..
Even, if it's just a challenge to find  it.. :-)

Welcome to the fun and mystery of analog. These kinds of things can be super simple, or infuriatingly difficult to track down. The underlying problem is phono gain is so high, 40dB to 60dB, that tiny amounts of noise you would never notice with a line level source like CD are easy to hear with phono. 

Because of this even slight changes in wire or components, that you would think are nothing, can make a big difference. Sometimes even just cleaning something real good can eliminate what you thought was a wire or ground problem. There really is no simple way of saying, Oh you have this so it must be that. All there is instead is a big long list of things it might be. All anyone can do is work down the list. 

From what you heard the ProJect wire is no problem while the Zu has hum. I would take the wire with hum, the Zu, and move it around with the volume up listening for any changes. Sometimes simply routing a wire away from fields will be enough to eliminate hum. Sometimes moving the wire may reveal a connection problem. This could be either the RCA plug connection, or even the connections where the wire is soldered inside the plug itself. You get the idea. It probably is something as simple as shielding, but you just never know until you try.  

Anyway, main thing you learned, this is not a lipstick on a pig situation. The fact you have a cable that is noise free is proof of that. All you need now is to either figure out how to eliminate the hum with the Zu, or find another better wire that doesn't have that problem.
The hum was always there. Lower output source just makes it noticable. The S/N probably went from 70dB to 35.
Happy hunting.
I’d use headphones, turn the level up with no program and start moving the phono cables around. You might be surprised.
If not good luck to ya.
In the 80's Moncrieff said to run the whole cable assembly through a grounded sheath. That definitely helps.
If you do have a constant hum and want to get rid of it completely - read my post at the bottom of this thread

Components with two pin power supplies (i.e. that are not properly grounded) often have hum issues with many amps, but there are some that do not

That simple fix will remedy it.