Issues with heavy noise using RCA cable connection to Record Player


I have a Denon DP-450 USB record player using the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge on a Yamaha TSR-7810.  It was using old Audioquest (AQ) Ruby X3 RCA cables and there were no issues to speak of. I had a pair of Synergistic Research (SR) Foundation RCA interconnects that I wanted to try to use, so I switched out the AQ Ruby X3s. Suddenly, there is an extremely loud buzzing hum from both speakers that gets louder as you increase the volume.

I wasn't using the grounding pins, so I got a grounding cable and connected to both the player and receiver.  That did nothing. I tried to see if it changed if the motor runs on the player, or if it goes away when music is actually playing, and tried to see if that noise happens on any other input on the receiver. I narrowed the scope to the phono jack. I decided to try a completely different cable and brought out my aging Monster Cable Reference 2 RCAs.  No issues.  No hum. No buzz. I went back to the AQ Ruby X3s and again, no issues. As soon as I put the SR Foundation cables, horrible buzz/humming noise again.

So the issue appears to be with the SR Foundation Cables. What's going on with these?  They never presented a problem with other components that were using it.  It seems to be limited to use on a record player.  I tried seeing if I could find the answer out on the web, and the answers are perplexing at best.  It could be a faulty cable, but as I said, it will play music through it and has no issues on other devices. The other issue could be capacitance?  Apparently that is an important spec when using RCA cables on a record player.  I am not sure what the AQ Ruby X3s and Monster Cable Reference 2 are doing differently. Is there something I am missing or haven't ruled out?  Do I need to find an alternative method for grounding when using the SR Foundation cables?

Thanks in advance for assistance.


I had the same issue with a different brand cable and the cable maker indicated he was not surprised, because the cable was not adequately shielded for turntable use.  As you experienced, my other cables did not create the same problem.

The maker above sells a separate cable for turntable use.

@jetter Ah, I see.  Looking at their site, the only difference in the spec isn't actually listed, it's shown visually.  The cable itself has a ground spade wire coming off it.

It sort of reveals a lack of cable design in their regular IC RCA cables. :(

@jasonbourne71 Yeah...I have been greatly disappointed in their products as of late. This is the 2nd major failure for me.  I already replaced 90% of the SR products in my system from their last FUBAR. :( Their customer service is hit or miss.  Sometimes they've done well and other times they chose profit over help.

You could try using the SR cable that is made for use on turntables.

It is always a good idea to use the cable that is meant for the product it is designed for.

You do realize that the SR cable you are describing is for high voltage applications, not low voltage phono, right? SR isn't the problem, your application of them is.

SR makes an analog-specific Foundation turntable interconnect specifically for the low voltage turntable connection. Improper application of a product is not the product's fault.

Phono cables need effective shielding because they carry very low level signals which is why cable manufacturers make specific phono cables. Synergistic Research, as do most cable makers, makes phono cables designed for this purpose. I have a complete loom of Foundation SR cables and the lack of noise and black backgrounds are just part of why I enjoy them. Back in the day, phono cables came terminated to plug directly into the tonearm and couldn't be attached to RCA jacks, today turntables sometimes come with RCA outputs but that does not mean you can just plug in a normal IC and expect proper performance transferring the low level output from a phono cartridge, you must use a properly shielded cable.

As others have mentioned, you should have used the Foundation phono cable designed specifically for that application, not their line-level interconnect. The cable your presently have should be just fine in downstream applications. By contrast, Audioquest (and probably Monster?) takes more of a one-size-fits-all shield the crap out of everything approach to their cables. I like both AQ and SR cables. In my systems, I have not found the extra shielding to be necessary.

I have the SR Foundation phono cable on my 2 tonearm table alongside an Audioquest WEL Signature LP cable (their top of the line $4K cable), and it acquits itself very well in that matchup. No noise issues at all -- extremely quite phono cable, even with lo-MC cartridges (it’s actually on my 0.3mV Koetsu Blue Lace, which is my best sounding cartridge). The line level Foundation RCA and XLR also work perfectly downstream in this same system.

@klh007 "today turntables sometimes come with RCA outputs but that does not mean you can just plug in a normal IC and expect proper performance transferring the low level output from a phono cartridge, you must use a properly shielded cable." I might remind you that the turntable came with a standard red/black, low gauge, standard-fare RCA cables.  The sort of freebie cables you get with any component. Nothing special. Even the instructions for the turntable state that you don't need "phono" cables. That you have the option of using a pre-amp, or to NOT use a pre-amp.  I tried both options. I tried using the Yamaha's built-in pre-amp and I tried switching to the turntable's built in pre-amp.  Nothing changed. 

It was a fair and reasonable assumption that I could use the IC Foundation cable as a modern-day phono cable on a low-level, modern-day turntable.  In fact, I went ahead and reached out to SR and they gave me an RMA.  So it seems they feel there is something wrong with the cable.  Not everything is a mismatch.  Sometimes, it's cable failure.

I absolutely have to agree with the above comments. You need to be using a SR cable that is DESIGNED to be a phono cable in your application. That should solve your problem immediately.


Analog is analog.  The "phono" specific Foundation cables have 100% the exact same physical specifications and cable design as the IC line.  The only difference is that the phono line has grounding cables that are attached to the shield.

Funny how the manufacturer didn't take the same approach you did. They gave me an RMA#. So, even they seem to think there is something wrong with the cable.

@enzo2016 OR....I use a different manufacture's cable and solve the problem.  Interesting how that works.  Everyone's "comments" seem to suggest that the IC line simply isn't well shielded. If that's true then they are susceptible to massive EMI interference. That isn't what is advertised about the product.

If an out-of-the-box manufacturer's freebie works without special designation, then the RCA only option should have worked.

Perhaps your FIRST step should have been to contact SR product support to discuss your concerns.

Their sending you an RMA# doesn't necessarily mean that they "think something is wrong with the cable" but rather may be a direct example of their customer service! You are being rather unfair if you don't give them the opportunity to trouble shoot your problem and attempt to correct it. ANY manufacturer should at least have that opportunity. 

@guakus So, you know that there needs to be a physical difference to the cable for phono and are still carping why the improper cables for that usage didn't work? SMH. That is a pretty decent manufacturer to RMA your mistakes.  SR has some pretty high integrity.

@enzo2016  Well buddy, I have given them plenty of opportunity to fix issues with their cables/products and they don't ALWAYS offer the best customer service. They've burned me more than once.  As a result, I tried to get answers elsewhere, like here, before I involve them. Too bad you fellas only enjoy the belittling rather than the helping. Yeah I know, welcome to the internet(s). ;)

@kellydc3 So, you know that there DOESN’T NEED to be a physical difference for the phono cable; not for MY equipment. So, I am "carping" that I was NOT using improper cable. You all seem to just be defending Synergistic Research rather than dare assume the cable could just as well have been faulty.

They've burned me more than once.

Yet here you are once again, now trying an $800 SR silver line level IC with -- of all things -- a plastic USB turntable. A total mis-application if ever there was one. Your thread doesn't read as someone earnestly seeking help, resolution, or enlightenment. It reads like someone who's being supplied SR products specifically to complain about them. Very tiring to see this same pattern of antics constantly applied to this manufacturer.

@guakus It is amazing to me at how far your denial stretches. ANY CABLE that doesn't have proper shielding when using it for the small, low voltage signal of a turntable will have the same problem. That is why SR makes a cable specific for that usage. You might ask the designer himself. Many high-end cables have a series for standard interconnect and shielded phono interconnect - some manufacturers optimize for sound quality for the usage. In my own system, I use unshielded RCA cables for most higher-voltage applications (sounds better in my system) and the shielded version of that same cable for the low voltage turntable output. However, you are not alone - many "audiophiles" assume because their previous series of cables (all shielded) worked in any usage, every other manufacturer's cables should do that as well.

@mulveling "It reads like someone who's being supplied SR products specifically to complain about them." Yeah, typical aggressive audiophile-ism. When someone doesn't 110% agree with what a person has been told, they have to find some other way to bash another user.  I find that this happens when such suggestions are actually wrong and they're too embarrassed to accept it, so they lash out.

But, just for posterity to others who might read this thread, I will address your specific concern:

"So the issue appears to be with the SR Foundation Cables. What's going on with these?  They never presented a problem with other components that were using it.  It seems to be limited to use on a record player. " <- I narrowed the scope to the issue being specific to the SR cable.  That isn't brand bashing.

Now, the answer that has been given is that the cable isn't shielded for phonograph use. That is likely true and I don't deny that it's true.  However, the "plastic turntable" doesn't require a phono-specific shielded cable to operate according to the instructions.  That creates a dilemma.  Sorry that it bothers you so much.

@kellydc3 I find it more amazing that folks such as yourself are incapable of helping anyone without first insulting them. "but, but, but, I didn't insult you!" Oh but you did, good sir:

" Improper application of a product is not the product's fault." <- that is auto-implying a lack of intelligence and sarcasm.  That happens to be insulting, in case you didn't know.

You could have left that sentence out of your response and it would have been a perfect and reasonable response.  You adding that, was your way of insulting someone. 


@guakus My first comment was constructive and helpful. That you keep doubling-down on what SR did wrong (which they didn't) and try to justify your public issue with their product, I've responded to you in kind.


Alright, so I am going to close out this thread or at least my responses to it as it's just turning into another hate-fest.

I was able to figure out the problem and I canceled the SR RMA.

Thanks for everyone's genuine help.

Why are you using something other than a phono cable?

You do realize, that a the 2M red has an output of 5.5mV, right?

You do realize your other components have an output between 1 and 2 Volts?

So, your DAC has a signal 400 times stronger than the cartridge.

Gee, I wonder why a cable may not be suited for a different use.

Phono cables have to deal with that crazy low level signal, and needs to be shielded as ANY external electrical signals will cause noise in a cable not intended for phono use with appropriate shielding.

1 min of research would have provided you with that information.

but instead, you decided to publicly shame a company because you don’t know how to use their product 

Not cool…