Cable Metallurgy


Thinking out loud here, correct me.
Owned quite a few different kinds of power cables, interconnects, etc., and my understanding is as follows:
a) silver for a brighter sound
b) gold for a more mellow sound
c) copper for no correction in sound
mental
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That hasn't been my experience, limited as it is.
Can't wait for the dog pile.

Oh boy, this will probably get exciting.
I have had bad silver and good silver. Bad silver was bright and edgy and good silver was smooth and detailed with plenty of soundstage and musicality, and deep bass. Ultimately I prefer silver content in my cabling. Could be the sole content or a percentage.
Can't comment on gold.
And copper, or any metallurgy for that matter, can be implemented every which way from Sunday. I consider the topology of the cable like Litz, multiple wire gauges, ribbon, shields, etc.
And now we can consider graphene, magnetic conduction, ceramic, liquids, etc. So not a simple equation to solve.
I use pure silver interconnects and silver connectors.  I have tried silver plated copper in speaker cables, and they took a while to break in, but ultimately did nothing.  Honestly I felt that they were worse for a while, and then got as good as the stranded copper.

Magico seems to use solid core copper in the high end stuff, and stranded copper in the lower end, probably because it's a lot easier to work with.

Best,

Erik
I lent some silver ICs to a friend and he later told me they were very detailed for copper, he was surprised when I told him they were silver.
It really depends on the individual cable. The material seldom defines the sound
Alan
The post should’ve had the name "Cable Mentalurgy"
Seems silver is what everyone prefers, interesting, got the same answer from a few of the vendors.
Y’all have to excuse me if I do not feed the trolls. Seems they’re in every forum these days.
To those few that offered input, thank you.
I would just comment that the technical factors that are involved in speaker cables, line-level analog interconnect cables, digital interconnect cables, phono cables, and power cords, and the significance of various cable parameters such as resistance, capacitance, inductance, skin effect, etc., are pretty much completely different among those applications.  So I would see no reason to expect much if any correlation between the performance of a given metal in one of those applications and its performance in one of the others. 

With the issue being further muddled by differences in the design of individual cables, as pointed out above, as well as differences in the designs of the components that are being connected.

Regards,
-- Al
 
There are silver/copper and silver/copper/gold alloys, some also use platinum and even palladium. Particular metals and alloys do matter. Design is design, skill is skill, but you cannot deceive the nature.
Pure silver is fashionable but this doesn't mean anything. I use both silver and alloy cables. Copper gives weight to the sound.

You guys mention the brands of stated cables/cords.
Purist Audio Design has pure copper, pure silver and copper/silver/gold alloy cables. You choose depending on particular application. Their high end starts with Poseidon copper fluid cables.
In my experience the purity of whatever metal is used may be more significant than which metal is used.  In comparisons I've done, the dielectric employed can have a greater influence on the resulting sound than the metal.   ex.  Audio quest Columbia vs. Audioquest Colorado interconnects.  The superior dialectric of the Colorados yielded superior resolution of bass slam and depth.
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Agree with Inna, a 2nd vote for Purist Audio Design.  They use a variety of metals, configurations, and damping.  They are awesome!  :-)
I recently talked to Jim, the Purist designer, about the cable upgrades. Considering my equipment, taste and cost, he recommended pure copper fluid cables to replace my older pure silver and alloy ferox interconnects. He recommended less expensive cable of the two I was thinking about. I also have an impression that he's got a good hearing.
@ inna...I’ll keep them in mind when it comes time for speaker cables. Hit their web site, nice and informative. Looks pricey though, *grinz
I would guess that you could get 8" pair Poseidon speaker cables for something close to $1000-$1100. Audiogon member albertporter is great to deal with.
Pure Silver will be great for your equipment and sound pressure intensity, definitely better then copper. But pure Gold is another dimension. 
ampacitycords1 posts08-12-2016 6:57amPure Silver will be great for your equipment and sound pressure intensity, definitely better then copper. But pure Gold is another dimension.


Maybe in terms of monetary value, not in terms of better performance. Copper is more conductive than gold. 
http://www.tibtech.com/conductivity.php
Personally, after reviews and input I went with Furez connectors and their copper wire. I don't have tens of thousands to drop into a sound system. I will say the Furez woke my 7K system up and at a cost I can live with.
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According to the original poster, "Seems silver is what everyone prefers,"
One of the most ridiculous and inacurate statements I've ever seen in audio.
@ opus88...didn't read anything else I posted? Shame on you :P
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You are correct. A dumb move on my part. You deserve an apology from me, and you have it.
@ opus...whoa, damn it, brother. It's all good, didn't need to apologize. I have no doubt your mind has things to share I'd be interested in. Cheers

All’s well, LOL. Frankly, I’ve reached the point in my life (73) where I’m as pleased with my listening system as I’ll ever be. Though I have tinnitus and some degree of hyperacusis, I’m still able to enjoy music, albeit at lower volume levels. I previously had a 13 x 22 room, with Dunlavy SC-4 speakers and ATM-3 monoblock amps. After my wife and I moved, I settled into a smaller room with KEF Q900 speakers and a CJ Classic Sixty amp. In fact, I appreciate the sound of that match up more than I did of the former combo. I also kept my EAR 88PB phono preamp, Raven One/TW Acustic 10.5 front end with Dynavector XX2 Mk. 2 cartridge. I have a sound that is full and musical, thanks in part to the various tubes and cables I’m using. Very satisfying. My best wishes for enjoyable listening to all.
mental -  if you're just talking metallurgy alone, I would agree with your assessment. But dielectric material, gauge size, stranding, purity, and cable geometry also plays a vital role in the outcome. This is from someone who spent ten years in the cable business.
Thinking out loud here, correct me.
Owned quite a few different kinds of power cables, interconnects, etc., and my understanding is as follows:
a) silver for a brighter sound
b) gold for a more mellow sound
c) copper for no correction in sound

All else being equal, I would agree with this assessment. However, as @scar972 noted:
dielectric material, gauge size, stranding, purity, and cable geometry also plays a vital role in the outcome.

I also agree with this assessment. I have heard some pure copper cables sound brighter than pure silver cables.

From all that I have heard, I try to steer clear of silver clad copper, as that seems to offer the worst of both worlds in the 4-5 different companies that I've tried it from. Silver clad copper consistently sounds the brightest to me, even brighter than pure silver. YMMV.
Copper has always sounded more musical to me.  Silver accentuates detail to compensate for other system anomalies.  Truly well designed copper cabling sounds authentic to the characteristics of real instruments and voice.  Some of the best cable companies who could use any type of metallurgy they wished have consistently used copper...why?  Copper sounds human, natural and appropriately warm.
Dave, I bet you know more about metallurgy and cable design that Purist Audio's cable designer who used to be a NASA or something like that engineer. His top of the line cables are single crystal silver and next in line is Ag/Cu/Au alloy, that's mostly but not only silver.
Oh, yes, another well-respected brand - Echole- has silver/gold/palladium cables. Them however I haven't heard. " Copper sounds human " is a bizarre phrase.
One can’t help wondering how break in, directionality and cryogenics play into the whole copper, silver, gold, etc. wire arguments. Can there be ANY high end cable manufacturer left who doesn’t embrace wire directionality and break in and cryogenics? 
@dave_b  As a general rule of thumb, your assertion about the sound of copper versus silver or other metals as conductors has been widely considered to be true.  For me it is not that cut and dried.  The "purity" of the conductor regardless of which metal we're talking about and the quality of the dielectric play a more important role in a cable's sound signature.

Many years ago I tried an all silver pair of interconnects and returned them because the sound was too relaxed, too dynamically restricted. I don't know what characteristic of their design led to that sound but there was a pair of silver conductor interconnects that flew in the face of the "silver is bright and exciting" stereotype.

I experienced the importance of dielectric in listening to music through AQ Columbia vs. AQ Colorado interconnects. The only difference between the two cables was the type of dielectric used.  The teflon tubes in the Colorado made for a more open presentation with notably greater bass slam and depth.  I stayed with the Colorados and they are part of my system as I type this response.

I love this thread.  There is only one axiom that I am certain of.  Cables DO make a difference.  Cables do make an important contribution to the ultimate sound of our systems.  Anyone denying that reality may need to prepare to fall off the flat Earth!

@geoffkait Your comments about directionality and cryogenics deserve a response.  I don't believe I have ever read of a cable designer who didn't recognize that there is a directional component to cable conductors as metals are "drawn" directionally when they are manufactured.

As far as cryogenics is concerned, I would love to experiment with having some of my system's cables cryogenically treated to see what impact it might have on their performance.  No...I am not a "cryogenic denier".  I use cryogenically treated tubes in my line stage and am very satisfied with their performance.  Are there any companies offering to cryo. cables or other system components for a fee??  Might be worth looking into.

 
hifiman5
182 posts
08-29-2016 9:04am
As far as cryogenics is concerned, I would love to experiment with having some of my system's cables cryogenically treated to see what impact it might have on their performance. No...I am not a "cryogenic denier". I use cryogenically treated tubes in my line stage and am very satisfied with their performance. Are there any companies offering to cryo. cables or other system components for a fee?? Might be worth looking into.

I recommend Cryopro in Missouri, been using them for uh, twenty years for everything from razors to CDs to cables. 




Inna case I wasn't crystal clear, cryogenically speaking, a Merlinesque flair for the metallurgical equivelant of Frankenstein does not necessarily mean a cable will sound superior.  Different for sure, but superior?  Not really.  The fundamentals of signal transfer between components must be addressed first and foremost.  There is more than a little truth in the stubborn fact that your favorite music was recorded with pro gear and something akin to Monster Cable!  At some point reality rears it's head and the metaphysical Hokus Pocus reaches it's asymptotic limit; precipitously falling into the realm of diminishing returns.  Cables like Transparent and MIT use effective and easily demonstrable technology that allows the signal to achieve maximal dynamics, increased sound staging and superior low level detail and tonal contrast.  No exotic metal alone is going to significantly increase your listening enjoyment.  Unless of course you are overly obsessed with only certain aspects of the audio signal and not the entire presentation.
@geoffkait I visited Cryopro's website.  Can you give me some idea of the differences you perceived after having cables treated by Cryopro?  Also...what type and brand of cables did you have treated?

Thanks so much.


hifiman5
192 posts
08-31-2016 8:57pm
@geoffkait I visited Cryopro’s website. Can you give me some idea of the differences you perceived after having cables treated by Cryopro? Also...what type and brand of cables did you have treated?

i have had Audioquest Truth (silver) interconnects, Audioquest Truth (copper) digital cable, Analysis Plus interconnects (copper), Analysis Plus Pro Power Cord cryo’d by Cryopro as well as Stephan Arts Equinox headphone cable. The improvements wrought by cryogenic treatment include but are not limited to more natural and relaxed sound, more inner detail, a more delicate and shimmery treble and less distortion.

@geoffkait  Thanks so much for your response above!  Roughly, how much does this treatment cost and what might be the turnaround time for treatment?
 
hifiman5
193 posts
09-01-2016 7:36am
@geoffkait Thanks so much for your response above! Roughly, how much does this treatment cost and what might be the turnaround time for treatment?

Can I suggest you contact Dave at Cryopro to discuss costs, minimum cost if any, when he does a run, turnaround times, that sort of thing?

cheers

Hype...cyro this, snake oil. Have you lost your minds? What matters is one thng. I have found, purity of the conductor for audio, not the expense. I guess you just spent how much, you need to spend another how much? Oh, it was built by that high dollar guy, my girlfriend might google it, or it looks really good....pfft
@mental , I see that your moniker is apropos.