Phono Cable optimal vs max length?

I have a cartridge what is termed as a high out put cartridge. Due to the size of my TT, it has to be away (in one of the optimal, from available space point view, set up I am considering) from phono pre and preamp.

I have always 'heard and read' optimum length of a phono cable to be 1.2 m. Hace looked in to archives and encountered few satisfied customers with longer phono cable- 3 to 4m.

Have you experienced any signal quality degradation going from 1.2 m to say 2 to 4 m length? What area in performance degradation one can expect? Any positive or negative experiences would help me decide to order that long phono cable or not.


G'day, you don't state if your cartridge is moving magnet or moving coil but iin the case of a typical moving magnet cartridge the inherent capacitance of the interconnect cable is the important factor and excessive capacitance will 'resonate' with the coil inductance of the cartridge with unfortunate results on the audio frequency response.

It is best to keep the cable capacitance to around 100 picofarads maximum. For most good quality shielded cables, this will be around 1.2 metres or thereabouts. A good capacitance meter is a very useful test instrument investment.

With moving coil cartridges because of the much lower coil inductance, longer cables can be tolerated as additional capacitance causes no problem, however in that case cable resistance becomes the dominant issue, so keep it as short as practicable in any case! Regards, Fap.
Depends on the capacitance and resistance of the cable used, output voltage of the cartridge and design of the phono preamp.

I've used runs as long as two and a half meters with no issues. These result obtained with low to medium output Koetsu and Air Tight cartridges and Aesthetix tube phono stage.

Look for cables with specifications that show VERY low loss and your off on the right foot. If the run is expected to be exceptionally long (more than 2.5 meter) I would get a trial cable and do a performance test before investing big money.
Fap and Albert, the cartridge is the Clearaudio Insider Ref Wood, .6 mV out put and is MC type. The spec /measurement form Clearaudio says 36 ohm cart (imp?). The phono unit is Zanden 1200 and am using the high input impedence ( 40 ohm) inputs of the phono unit and works great with ~ 1.2 m length of std phono cable length. From what you say there is a good chance longer length may work without any degradation with this set up. I intend to have a custom 4m cable made of exactly the same as my current cable that is attached to my Clearaudio Master Ref TT set up, so i think it may be worth a try. Unfortunately, since this is custom cable and actually Clearaudio will be doing a favor to me, it would be a final sale and I will be stuck with it if it does not work... I still have couple of days to decide so more inputs are welcome.
Dear Nillthepill: The Insider impedance that you name it is the internal cartridge one.
This cartridge normally has to be loaded over 1 Kohms so I don't think you can have any trouble with a 4m cable due to impedance cable value ( normally a top cable has very low resistance by meter, you have to check this. ) but IMHO 4m are too long for that tiny signal cartridge ( specially if your connection is through RCA ( unbalanced ) where that " long distance " the signal must pass and could degrade and contaminate/corrupt it.

If you care about music and about the quality performance level of your analog rig IMHO if I was you I try very hard another solution looking to the phono stage be nearer to the tonearm.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Nillthepil: Forget what I post about the Insider load impedance ( 1K ) because I forgot that your phono stage is using step up transformers, this fact could make things a little more critical on the impedance/resistance subject.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul, Thanks for the input. I do have option B to keep the phono unit next to the TT (my current set up) I was hoping that I can also hook up my other TT (La Luce, SPJ, Helikon cart /SPJ cart)set up to low input of my Zanden Phono so now I can both TTs thru one phono. Yes, I do care about my TT performance which is stellar (imho) currently and would hate to change it for the worse....