Jun 152017

After the disappointing experience with the Oyaide silver & silk headshell leads, and inspired by the massive musicality of the Western Electric WE24GA headshell leads Yazaki-san sent me, I decided I wanted to give a DIY set of tinned-copper headshell leads a try.

Vintage Western Electric WE24GA for headshell leads.

First I contacted Chris at Parts Connexion, and asked Chris for a recommendation for a good but inexpensive set of headshell clips. Chris recommended the Cardas PCCEG cartridge clips, which are made of stamped gold-plated brass, and are $6.44 USD for a set of 4. I ordered two sets of 4 for a grand total of $12.88 USD.

My intent was to use the Duelund DCA20GA tinned-copper wire for the leads, but it was a little too big to fit into the clips for soldering.

So, instead I used the same 22 gauge Gavitt cloth-covered tinned-copper vintage-style guitar pushback wire from Art Of Tone ($7.10 USD for 12-feet from Amazon), that I used to make a DIY USB interconnect last year.

The Art Of Tone wire was a perfect fit to the Cardas cartridge clips, which made life easy assembling the headshell leads.

First I cut 4 lengths of pushback wire to use for the leads, then I put a cartridge clip in the alligator clip of my ‘helping hand’ to prep it.

Cartridge clip with solder wire inserted.

The easy way to prep the headshell clips is to insert the solder wire into the clip where you solder in the headshell lead, then heat the clip until the solder wire melts and falls off, filling the clip with solder.

Then I tinned the end of the pushback wire I was using as a headshell lead, and placed it on the prepped clip, heated the clip with the soldering iron, and slipped the pushback wire into the clip as the solder melted.

One clip soldered in place.

I repeated the procedure with the second cartridge clip, wrapped a little Peavey microphone tape on each end for color coding, and the first lead was done!

The blue headshell lead is finished!

I repeated the procedure to make the red, green, and white headshell leads, then installed my new headshell lead set on my Schick headshell, and then mounted the Sumile phono cartridge.

All wired up with new Art Of Tone tinned-copper headshell leads!

I installed the Sumile / Schick headshell with my new Art Of Tone headshell leads onto the Schick tonearm, and got everything setup to play a little music.

DiY Art Of Tone 22 gauge solid-core tinned-copper headshell leads sound fantastic!

I’ll cut to the chase.

Close-up of the DIY Art Of Tone headshell wires – they make music!

The DIY Art Of Tone headshell leads sound fantastic, and like the Western Electric WE24GA headshell leads that inspired them, they are massively musical.

Art Of Tone DIY headshell wires.

Vintage WE24GA headshell wire with vintage Shure V15 III.

Just for kicks I got out my vintage Shure V15 III with its VN35MR stylus, and gave it a listen too, and it sounded ravishingly beautiful with its WE24GA headshell leads.

Yep, tinned-copper headshell leads are magic, both the Western Electric WE24GA headshell leads with my Shure V15 III & VN35MR stylus combo, as well as my DIY Art Of Tone headshell leads with the Sumile phono cartridge.

I’ve played about a half-dozen records after installing the DIY Art Of Tone headshell leads, and I’m really enjoying their relaxed, detailed, and spacious and ‘real’ presentation of the music.

Many thanks to Yazaki-san for recommending tinned-copper headshell leads, they truly are transformative sonically and musically in the Real Sound fashion.

I encourage you to try building a set of the Art Of Tone tinned-copper headshell leads, you’ll be amazed at how transformative a few short lengths of tinned-copper wire can be.


Update! I’m feeling really silly right now. I completely forgot that Frederik told me he was going to make some Duelund DCA26GA solid-core tinned-copper cable with an oil-soaked & baked cotton dielectric back and April!

After seeing this post Frederik reminded me about the Duelund DCA26GA he has in the works, and told me he was going to be sending me some soon, as its almost ready!

So, in anticipation, I just ordered another set of 8 of the Cardas PCCEG cartridge clips from Parts ConneXion ($12..88) to make up another set of headshell leads with Frederik’s Duelund DCA26GA solid-core tinned-copper wire when it arrives!

I’m thinking the Duelund DCA26GA single-core tinned-copper will be the perfect gauge size for headshell leads, as the 22 gauge is way big for headshell leads, and even the WE24GA is pushing the size limit!

I’m really ecstatic with how my DIY Art Of Tone headshell wires turned out, they’re extremely musical.

They both sound great as headshell leads though, with a rich, natural, detailed, spacious, timbrally-correct, tonally colorful presentation.

I’ve come to the conclusion that tinned-copper headshell wires may be the single most dramatic wire change you can make in a system, as it’s at the origin of the music signal, and changes at the origin have a huge effect on the sonic & musical presentation of the music.

I’m also thinking that making up some tonearm leads with the DCA26GA solid core tinned-copper would be a great project!

Much more to come!


As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you – the Art Of Tone!

 Posted by at 10:40 pm

  10 Responses to “DIY Art Of Tone Tinned-Copper Headshell Leads! Update!”

  1. Hello Jeff! I am currently building a Presto Pirouette table… I bought a DL-102 mono cartridge in Japan, and a DL-103 when I got back to put in the machined bronze body. Not sure about the arm yet… maybe a 12″ Jelco. Anyway what do you think about using the 26AWG silver solid core Duelund? Hmm….

  2. I used a single strand of the duelund wire (20, 15 and 12 seem to have the same size strand that work out at 30AWG) and wound split buttonhole silk around it for insulation after id soldered to the clips and then added a little heat shrink. I am a bit concerned it is quite delicate but since I only use one cart It should be OK

    • Great idea, Joseph, tell me how it sounds when you have a moment!

      Kind regards,


      • Jeff, i only have expeience with cardas and audionote (silver) headshell cables. I like the sound of the duelund single strand (with audionote silver cart clips) over the audionote that ive been using for the last few years. I still have the tonearm wired with audionote wire and am thinking about using single strands of duelund wrapped in buttonhole silk throughout the tonearm (im on the lookout for a nice 12″ one to experiment with).

        On a related note, i had knocked up some headphone cables out of duelund wire but the cotton wore in a few places and resulted in shorts so i have quite a bit of otherwise unusable cable to mess around with. Ended up purchasing some 20awg tinned hookup wire with plastic dialectic from western electric to make replacement headphone cables, it seems they are producing it again using original specs and original manufacturer.

        • I like your idea, Joseph, and I’m tempted to give it a try myself with my spare Schick tonearm.

          I’m really looking forward to trying Frederik’s new DCA26GA solid-core tinned-copper wire as well. I’ll try it as headshell leads for sure, and I’m thinking it might be a nice choice for tonearm leads as well.

          Yazaki-san sent me some 18 gauge reproduction Western Electric to try as power cords for my MC30’s, but I’ve been so busy with other projects I have had a chance to give it a try.

          Anyways, keep me posted on your wire adventure!

          Kind regards,


  3. I”m curious if the ground wires effect the tone at all. Could cut your work in half. 🙂

    • Is that a trick question, Bill? 😉

      Doesn’t everything make a difference in audio?



      • Isn’t that the truth. I’m hoping we hear about a tinned bypass cap release soon. It would be cool if they were actually CAST quality made. I had to rest my tinned CAST caps I think I was overcooking them. A day or two of silence later and its sounding really good. Energy restored and clarity along with more improvement in overall sound. I’m really liking them. I got tinned head shell wires and they really do improve things I’m running out of places to tin. LOL HMMMM how about tinned pins on tubes? I better hurry up and patent that idea. 🙂

        • Hi Bill,

          I sure do like the prototype 0.22uV tinned-copper CAST caps that Frederik made up for me to try, they are the best capacitors I’ve ever tried in my MX110Z.

          It’s interesting, at least for the Duelund DCA tinned-copper series of cables, that they run-in differently on my Cable Cooker than the way straight copper or silver cables do. Sometimes it seems like I get better results by letting them run-in naturally in the system. Tinned-copper cables seem to like being left alone in their application until they run-in naturally, and then when they settle down not touching them seems to be the trick.

          Frederik did send me a prototype version of the Duelund CAST resistors with tinned-copper leads, and I thought those were a nice improvement over the silver leads. I ended up replacing all of the silver ones in crossovers with them for a nice result.

          Anyways, keep me posted on your adventure!

          Kind regards,


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