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.


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.