We’ve been searching high and low to source a range of tonearm cables, from low cost to not-so-expensive, that complement the excellent Black Rhodium Stylus cables that we already stock. It’s been much more difficult than we expected, and so far even the most expensive cables have been sonically and musically inferior to the basic Stylus, let alone the VS version.
Well, that has just changed. We’ve been aware for some time of the Canadian company Zavfino 1877 Phono mostly for their excellent tonearm mini-DIN connectors, but it’s only recently that we bought for evaluation an example of their middle-tier MAHONE finished tonearm cable. This is, by any standard, a modestly priced cable (it will be £125 including VAT and UK delivery). It has good quality but apparently unremarkable copper conductors and polyethylene (PE) insulation. The connectors are 1877 Phono’s well-made pure copper designs, with gold plating. Genuine pure copper connectors are pretty rare at any price. The packaging is simple and impressive – the cable comes in a neat fine metal mesh zipped pouch, which is a nice touch.
Fresh from the mesh pouch and plugged in between our dem Jelco TK-850S tonearm and Miyajima ETR-STEREO step-up transformer, with an Ortofon SPU fitted, the sound of the MAHONE cable impressed from the start – a nice blend of detail, space and dynamics, but some way off a Stylus cable. The MAHONE went onto our cable burn-in machine for 48 hours and when it came back into the system, we were blown away. A slight feeling of musical ‘tightness’ that was previously apparent had gone, replaced by the most wonderfully open, spacious character, with musical details portrayed naturally, sweetly and coherently rather than being at all enhanced. Seriously lovely stuff and while the Black Rhodium cables are indeed better, the true margin is very small indeed.
Audiophiles often think silver cables must be better. We’ll be trying the silver Zavfino 1877 Phono HIGHLANDS cable in due course, but the copper MAHONE does everything that anyone would reasonably expect, even without considering its low price.
We love it, and we think you will too.