Copper Deterioration?

I've read many horror stories of really expensive copper cables going brown, etc due to oxidation.

Why would anybody buy expensive cable made of copper when they will go bad over time?

I hear silver cables, when oxidized, actually get BETTER. Is the same true for silver plated copper?

My current view is why waste the money on pricey copper when there's a shelf life on these guys!!

Please advise...........
All conductors will oxidize with time. The only possible exception might be the carbon ones used in Van den Hull, but I don't know. Silver will before copper. And I can't imgine why this would be a good thing. Copper is fairly inexpensive considering how well it works. Silver works better but is much more expensive. Mind you better in as a pure conductor not necessarily as subjectively sounding better. Most well made cables should provide more than decent service for quite a while. Connectors should be periodically maintained as this where most oxidation will occur. Many feel that the connectors are the most important part of cables. Besides what other alternatives do we have?
Exposed portions of a cable will oxidize over time. Of course, the exposed portions are not what is making the connection. So its impact on sound is, shall we say, open to question.

I do agree that you shouldn't waste your money on expensive copper. :)
Dr; I've seen properly covered copper powerline wires that were well over 50 years old, and underneath the cover, the copper was "squeeky clean". It's only when bare and under harsh envirnonmental conditions, ie high temperature and humidity that corrosion is a serious problem. And I agree with Unsound above, periodically clean copper contacts and they will work well for many years.

My copper house wiring is 33 years old, and in the main breaker box, the exposed wire ends only have a VERY thin layer of oxidation, ie they look somewhat dirty as opposed to shiney-- and I live in a high humidity (but cool) area. If properly taken care of, your copper wires will outlast you and me. Cheers. Craig
One of my "projects" is going to be testing and comparing various "tweaks" to conductors. I'd like to take several identical pieces of wire trimmed to the same length, bare both ends and then treat them with various "contact enhancements" that i have handy. Over time, i'll come back and check on them to see which has held up best in terms of conductivity and corrosion. Obviously, this will take some time since "crustiness" doesn't show up over night. I do plan to speed up the process a bit by leaving them in a damp place though. Sean
Sean, please share your results with us. May I suggest keeping a daily log as to temperature and humidty. An outstanding project idea. Bravo!
It's not that silver sounds "better" when it oxidizes; Silver oxide is a better conductor than unoxidized copper.
Two points:

1) Bomarc, how do you make an air-tight / sealed connection using bare wire and a binding post ?

2) Unsound, you give me WAY too much credit. I had simply intended on stripping, treating each stripped cable with a specific type of "contact enhancer" and laying them out in one specific area all at one time. Each cable would be exposed to the same conditions for the same amount of time. I would check these on occassion and document the various levels of visible corrosion as time progresses. When things have gotten to the point that some are very noticeably "crusty", i would take resistance readings again ( like i would as a baseline at the beginning ) and record them.

Doing such would give us ( since i would be sharing the results ) a better idea of which "treatments" work best, how long they hold up and how often the connections should be cleaned and re-treated. I will not be testing each "treatment" for sonics as that would be PURELY subjective and have Bomarc and associates foaming at the mouth : )

Obviously, temperature / humidity conditions will vary from place to place so the results would only be "ballpark" at best. As such, documenting the specifics of temperature / humidity might provide more "scientific" data but i'm more concerned with "real world" conditions that one would see in a normal day to day household environment.

Tryin' to keep it "real".... Sean
There are some brands out there like Cardas, Wireworld etc.. that have an enamel coating protecting the copper which will tend to make it less susceptible to corrosion.
Mechanical integrity of any cable product is almost as important as the internal composition. Copper based cables will not oxidize if conductors are shielded properly and the joint at the termination is hermetically sealed. Obviously the termination from time to time will have to be cleaned. I have used in the past, Monster,Straightwire, Kimber,Cardas FMS,Virtual Dynamics,and now exclusively Sonoran Audio. There have been oxidation problems only on the Monster,Kimber and FMS cables, and that is because of poor mechanical termination.