I’d like new speaker terminals, RCA connectors and IEC mains connector – what are your thoughts?

You might be surprised to learn that in many cases I discourage this.

I’m interested in keeping equipment original where possible because this retains value. With a lot of consumer-grade gear, there is lower hanging fruit that should be knocked off first. I also want to give you the best bang for your buck, because that’s how we operate and that brings thoughtful owners back.

So, my question is:

“Do you want fancy connectors or the best sonic improvements for your money?”

Much of what people think they know about connectors is wrong because it’s based on marketing and word of mouth rather than science. Good connectors are very important, but did you know the best connections are hardwired soldered connections? One of the best ways to improve an amplifier for example is to hard-wire in a really good power cable. Who knew?!

I’m never interested in what’s trending (freezing CDs, placing coloured pieces of paper around the room, quantum purifiers…), only in what’s technically correct and the best way forward. That’s why people come to Liquid Audio, or they learn that along the way and it brings them back.

I can clean and treat your RCA connectors with a connector treatment product that really makes a difference because it literally lowers contact resistance. If you insist, I can install a mains IEC inlet for you, a really good one. I can certainly improve an existing IEC inlet with a premium hospital-grade filtered Swiss-made Schaffner or Schurter inlet module for you. I can also bypass IEC inlets and hard-wire in some heavy-duty mains cable.

I can replace speaker terminals, but again, it’s often unnecessary. It may be better to simply change the connectors on your speaker cables. If your speaker connectors are broken, then sure, it makes sense to change them. There are many possibilities that don’t make accessory manufacturers rich and that many aren’t aware of. Just ask me if you’d like to know more.

Yes, cables make a difference, more in some cases than others. That’s a topic for another FAQ!

Yes, replacing bad RCA connectors can be very worthwhile. I often upgrade RCA connectors on cables.

No, adding a heavy-duty mains cable to a turntable will not make a difference. It can’t.

No, using stupid-thick RCA cables with ultra-tight connectors is not a good idea. Ever. It’s not what that connector was designed for, they will break, I’ve seen it, often. I’ve repaired a super high-end amplifier damaged by ‘special’ hand-made RCA cables. There’s nothing special about that, it’s just silly.

Want heavy-duty connectors? Go balanced. All the best gear is balanced and there are many technical reasons why it’s the better way to transmit low amplitude audio signals.