differences in metals used in cables?

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  • Andrew Pratt
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 16507

    differences in metals used in cables?

    I know many people can hear differences in cables but is it as a result of the different metals used (silver vs copper) or the type of cable (gamma weave vs coax)...just wondering what peoples thoughts are on this.




  • migliore
    Member
    • Nov 2000
    • 50

    #2
    gauge, material, geometry (coax, etc), connectors, shielding, solder, .. all affect the sound of a cable.

    Rob




    Reviews and System
    Reviews and System

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    • Andrew Pratt
      Moderator Emeritus
      • Aug 2000
      • 16507

      #3
      Rob I agree with you and I was looking to start a discussion on just what differences stem from what. for example what effect does silver have vs copper in similar gauged cables?




      Comment

      • Lexman
        Super Senior Member
        • Jun 2000
        • 1777

        #4
        I know that the silver has a large effect on your wallet. lol. Actually, I can't say that I know these differences exist with silver. But gold is the best conductor I have always heard, and maybe silver has many of the same properties as gold. But then, I am no metalueralogist (sp?).

        I do like a cable of substance. If it feels better, then it could sound better. Psychoaccoustics if nothing else!

        Lex

        Comment

        • John Kotches
          Moderator Emeritus
          • Jan 2001
          • 140

          #5
          Lexman,

          Actually Gold is a relatively poor conductor,
          Silver is the best conductor, followed by Copper, then Gold.

          The oxide of silver is itslef a good conductor.

          Had to point this out, 'cause you're usually spot on on the details.

          Regards,




          ---
          Editor, PC/Home Theater
          Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
          My Home Theater
          NEC LT-150 specific page.
          ---
          Editor, PC/Home Theater
          Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
          My Home Theater
          NEC LT-150 specific page.

          Comment

          • migliore
            Member
            • Nov 2000
            • 50

            #6
            Geometry will usually effect RF rejection. I think silver cables generally offer better detail. Even the material of the connector, brass vs. copper vs. gold. I'm far from an expert on this subject. The one to ask is Alan Maher.

            Dead on John! Gold's conductivity is 79%, copper 97%, and silver 99%. Since gold is a relatively soft metal, it generally gets the best connection. Sort-a molds to your binding post at some level. Also resists corrosion and stuff.

            Rob




            Reviews and System
            Reviews and System

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            • Lexman
              Super Senior Member
              • Jun 2000
              • 1777

              #7
              Thanks John, if it's so, it's so. But it does leave me wondering how gold seems to be the contact point of choice. I guess it relates to it's non-corrosiveness as a larger advantange than the differences in conductivity.

              Lex

              Comment

              • migliore
                Member
                • Nov 2000
                • 50

                #8
                If you are only contacting 50% of the area with silver, your total conductivity is .99x.50=.495. If you are contacting 75% of the area with gold, your total conductivity is .75x.79=.5925.

                I'm just throwing numbers around and using resitance interchangable w/ conductivity

                Rob




                Reviews and System
                Reviews and System

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                • John Kotches
                  Moderator Emeritus
                  • Jan 2001
                  • 140

                  #9
                  There are two reasons for it Lex, and we've hit on a few of them. Also, that gold sure does look pretty :-)

                  I couldn't find the numbers off the top of my head, but I think that Silver Oxide (aka rusted Silver), is more conductive than Gold is....

                  Haven't been able to prove or disprove that one yet.

                  Regards chaps,




                  ---
                  Editor, PC/Home Theater
                  Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
                  My Home Theater
                  NEC LT-150 specific page.
                  ---
                  Editor, PC/Home Theater
                  Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
                  My Home Theater
                  NEC LT-150 specific page.

                  Comment

                  • Lexman
                    Super Senior Member
                    • Jun 2000
                    • 1777

                    #10
                    Metalurically speaking, the analogy that comes to mind is a battery terminal. Leave it loose, and without any protective coating, the post on a battery and the inside of the cable will corrode to the point that contact is lost. I have had this happen before.

                    The process of oxidization of silver, is comparable. However, I cannot say that the corrosive oxidizing material is anywhere near the same. IF, the oxidization on Silver is conductive, then that would dispell my theory completely. However, if this theory holds, that explains the gold contact points. Yes, they are prettier as well

                    Lex

                    Comment

                    • Andrew Pratt
                      Moderator Emeritus
                      • Aug 2000
                      • 16507

                      #11
                      I have also heard that gold is used b/c its soft and can in some ways mold to get a solid connection.




                      Comment

                      • John Kotches
                        Moderator Emeritus
                        • Jan 2001
                        • 140

                        #12
                        This comes from a cable manufacturer, so take it with a grain of salt.....



                        At a micro-level (where the contact is made, gold is apparently a better conductor), but for runs of cabling, ie real lengths, silver is a better conductor.

                        This page also points out that Silver Oxide is a "very good conductor".

                        Regards,




                        ---
                        Editor, PC/Home Theater
                        Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
                        My Home Theater
                        NEC LT-150 specific page.
                        ---
                        Editor, PC/Home Theater
                        Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
                        My Home Theater
                        NEC LT-150 specific page.

                        Comment

                        • KennyG
                          Moderator Emeritus
                          • Sep 2000
                          • 745

                          #13
                          I have never been able to hear much of a difference in copper conductors, some very minor things yes, but between same type metals it was always minor...then I heard a friends solid silver cables on my system, and now that's what I use, silver interconnects and silver speaker wire.
                          The sound of silver is very different from copper, bass was tighter and better controlled (hence tighter) the top end has slightly less grain, and the midrange has more presence. The sound is a little more "analytical", which is what I like, that's why I dropped my tube preamp. I've never cared much for the "warm fuzzy" sound.

                          Comment

                          • Lexman
                            Super Senior Member
                            • Jun 2000
                            • 1777

                            #14
                            John thanks for the lead. But I fear the author needs to do a little thinking upon which part of this statement is true:

                            If two cables are made identically, except that one uses copper and the other silver of similar quality, the overall quality and sound will be comparable. The silver version, however, should outperform the copper version in every sonic and electrical aspect.
                            How can the overall sound and quality be comparable, and yet Silver should outperform copper in every aspect!?!

                            Lex

                            Comment

                            • Westly197
                              Junior Member
                              • Aug 2000
                              • 23

                              #15
                              ?




                              - Wes

                              My Home Theater
                              - Wes

                              My Home Theater

                              Comment

                              • Andrew Pratt
                                Moderator Emeritus
                                • Aug 2000
                                • 16507

                                #16
                                good catch Lex seems illogical to me




                                Comment

                                • Lexman
                                  Super Senior Member
                                  • Jun 2000
                                  • 1777

                                  #17
                                  Westly pretty well said it all huh? lol.

                                  Thanks Andrew. I had to read that a few times because something just didn't seem right. Then, bam! What an oximoron this is, I thought, lol.

                                  Lex

                                  Comment

                                  • Westly197
                                    Junior Member
                                    • Aug 2000
                                    • 23

                                    #18
                                    Every time I read these speaker wire posts, I can't help thinking of the thin, cheap wire I've always scene inside speaker enclosures, and the aluminum wire used in the magnepan's.

                                    However as of late, I've been trying better equipment, and keep finding it really does make a difference.




                                    - Wes

                                    My Home Theater
                                    - Wes

                                    My Home Theater

                                    Comment

                                    • John Kotches
                                      Moderator Emeritus
                                      • Jan 2001
                                      • 140

                                      #19
                                      Take a car that comes with two different engines, a 200 horsepower and a 220 horsepower.

                                      One could say that they provide comparable performance, but the 220 HP engine outperforms the 200HP engine in every meaningful category.

                                      I think this is the point the author was trying to make.

                                      Maybe my analogy is an inappropriate one, but it's the only thing I could come up with off the top of my head.

                                      Regards,




                                      ---
                                      Editor, PC/Home Theater
                                      Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
                                      My Home Theater
                                      NEC LT-150 specific page.
                                      ---
                                      Editor, PC/Home Theater
                                      Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
                                      My Home Theater
                                      NEC LT-150 specific page.

                                      Comment

                                      • Westly197
                                        Junior Member
                                        • Aug 2000
                                        • 23

                                        #20
                                        I usually think of audio connects likes links in a chain. It is only as good as the weakest link. Now I know that if you have 1 inch of poor cable in a 25 foot run, it will be much better then 25 feet of poor cable. But how much difference can a 4 foot $10,000 cable make on a speaker that has 2 feet of $0.10 cable inside. I think that may be one reason why people with basic speakers may not notice much of a difference, while those with top quality speakers do. Also most amps have fairly thin printed traces inside the amp, so how does removing the fuse on the speaker make a huge difference? Actually I think it makes almost no difference, but humans can detect differences so small that they almost can't be measured. And once you learn to detect these differences, they show up like a sore thumb.




                                        - Wes

                                        My Home Theater
                                        - Wes

                                        My Home Theater

                                        Comment

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