Personal: Connecting Cello Stereo Components — The Elusive Fischer 104 Connector

Remember when I said don’t read my personal posts? There are going to be a lot over the next few months as I recover. Just general stuff I’m thinking about.

I have the pleasure and privilege of owning some Cello gear. Cello was a company started by Mark Levinson that sold very high-end audio equipment in the 90s. Many of the components were used in professional audio studios.

For example, here’s the Audio Suite and Palette, perhaps the finest equalizer ever made (I’m a strong believer in the value of tone controls, none of that audiophile short-path pure signal bullshit).


The major problem with Cello gear is that instead of using standard balanced XLR connectors, they used some crazy Fischer connectors because they “sound better” (audiophile bullshit). It’s virtually impossible to find the proper information on these cables, much less get them made.

After extensive research, and some help from my friends at Blue Jeans Cable, I found the correct part numbers. I’m putting them here as a public service announcement so that nobody needs to go through what I did to find these little assholes.

S104A040-80 male with E3104.3/8.7+B strain relief (fits cables up to 8.7mm D).

S104Z040-80 female with E3104.3/8.7+B strain relief (fits cables up to 8.7mm D).


In case you want to make your own cables, you can buy them from Michael Percy at Percy Audio. I recommend Blue Jeans cable though–well made, inexpensive, and no weird superstitious crap about cables and connectors sounding different etc.

Bored yet? I’m making a long list of rides and hikes to do as soon as I recover fully…hoping to get back on the bike by October!

3 thoughts on “Personal: Connecting Cello Stereo Components — The Elusive Fischer 104 Connector

  1. robertkerner

    I wonder what the correlation is between being involved in what I’d term “high zoot” activities such as cycling or photography, and getting lost in other financial black holes such as audiophila?!

    1. John Ferguson Post author

      That’s a really good question–I love photography as well, and I know many other cyclists who have complicated and relatively expensive hobbies on the side as well.

      For myself, I like hobbies that are extremely complicated and difficult to learn. I mean I’m going through a graduate-level text right now on psychoacoustics. Lots of math and I love it! I do take a different approach from many audiophiles, though, in that first as a scientist I’m at least semi-rational (no $1000 cables for me) and second, I am taking it very, very slow and learning how everything works and how to optimize each piece. After all it wouldn’t be much of a hobby if I just bought a whole bunch of gear.

      Plus, it’s a good hobby because I literally listen to music 16 hours a day.

  2. Mark Christensen

    Do you happen to know if the pinout on the Fishers is the same as an XLR pinout would be? Is “1” on the Fisher connector the ground, as it is on an XLR? I just inherited a Cello Duet 350 in a house we bought, and I am trying to hook up some of my other gear to it.

    I am a Mastering Engineer by trade, and I am also very amused at the amount of money audiofiles will spend on cables. There was a very amusing panel discussion at an audio conference between the founder of McIntosh Amps and the founder of Monster Cable. The Macintosh amp guy insisted he could use BX from Home Depot, and that it would sound just as good as the Monster Cable as long as it had enough copper in it. Obviously the Monster Cable guy didn’t want to believe that. They actually did the shoot out, and the MacIntosh guy was proven to be correct … shortly thereafter Monster Cable changed some of the claims on their advertising.

    Do you like the sound of those EQ’s? I’ve been curious what they sound like ….


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