Differences between cable sound.

Posting for a friend just getting into 2 channel. He's buying a phono pre and I suggested getting a better interconnect. Since he's low on cash the suggestion was made to get some copper cables from Blue Jean for starters. Now he's starting to do some reading and came back with"I read that silver are so much better". I tried telling him not better but different. In general terms, what do you folks think is the difference between the sound of copper, silver and gold in interconnects?

Thanks, Boss302
Hah hah haaaa.. The cable question. Again.
Well first off silver usually seems bright, more trebley.. zingy.
Unless you have a killer setup. then it is great.
So copper is the way to go. For most normal people.
+1 on the copper.... Silver cables are only for master chefs of audio synergy.
I like copper even, in a high end system. They are mellower.
You can also fine tune your systems with cables, for example if you want a brighter sound maybe silver is OK. I think a good pair of used copper cables are your best value.
I like Kimber, Nordost, Straightwire and yes Monster cable M1000i the old model is a great deal!
Elizabeth, love the answer. The cable question again. I've been around here a long time and I tried explaining to him what I thought and maybe I didn't know the right words for a newbie. Explaining PRAT, sibilance, brightness, zing on the top end, loss of the low end and the list goes on. And you know, I looked in the archives but I wanted to get answers on one thread so I could point him to it. Maybe other newbies might find it interesting too. Being from Wisconsin also and going through the fiasco of Braun got me thinking of helping my friend. Bring the info on my friends!

i own copper, silver and gold cables. all copper cables do not sound the same. this is true of silver and gold.

one cannot specify a "generic" sound for any metal. one must evaluate the cable on its own merits.

i bet i could fool some golden ears by presenting a gold, silver and copper interconnect and asking the listener to specify the metal.

i bet there would be many errors made.
Who makes a gold cable?
I agree with MR Tennis, in that the same metal cable can sound very differently. As has been said many times before much of this is component and system dependent. In my specific case with my systems over the years I`ve found good quality silver to be the more natural and less colored with superior transparency and tone.Brightness and edge weren`t an issue at all.Yes,YMMV.
I feel like silver needs a defender here and of course, it's just IMO:

Use the right insulation (teflon or ?) and geometry and silver is the best.

Silver is a better conductor than copper, copper is better that gold. (fact not opinion). I'd describe it as an honest cable (done right). If you have a system that you would like to tame some brightness in, silver may not be the best choice but not because it's bright, it just hides less.

A good silver cable will cost A LOT more. I'd put it near the top of the diminishing return scale...money usually better spent elsewhere.

fwiw, I use silver interconnects and speaker wires everywhere now (CJ preamps, Pass amps, SET amps, Magnepans etc). The biggest surprise came when I had a vintage Marantz 18 receiver (very early ss) and needed some speaker wire to hook it up. I had an extra 8' set of silver/teflon but didn't want to use an "honest" cable on old ss. I did and the result was a sweeter sound. I still haven't figured that one out but I don't argue with my ears. I learned long ago it's fruitless, they win every time.
Boss302, if you are referring to the cable connecting the output of the phono stage to a preamp, and the phono stage can be located close to the preamp, keep in mind that the sonic effects of whatever cable is chosen can be minimized by keeping it as short as possible. Which in turn would minimize the differences between different types of cables.

And I would second the comments by some of the others to the effect that cable performance is highly system dependent. And more specifically that it is dependent to a significant degree on the technical characteristics of what the cable is connecting, in ways that tend not to be predictable.
07-24-13: Onemug
The biggest surprise came when I had a vintage Marantz 18 receiver (very early ss) and needed some speaker wire to hook it up. I had an extra 8' set of silver/teflon but didn't want to use an "honest" cable on old ss. I did and the result was a sweeter sound.
Could be that the receiver was happier with whatever load capacitance that cable presented to it than with the capacitance of other cables you might have tried, rather than having anything to do with how the cable conducted the signal to the speaker. Or perhaps it had something to do with differences in RFI pickup entering the receiver's feedback loop. Just a couple of speculative guesses; there are undoubtedly other subtle effects that could have been responsible as well.
07-24-13: Boss302
Being from Wisconsin also and going through the fiasco of Braun got me thinking of helping my friend.
LOL! You have my sympathies, although we Yankee fans here in the Northeast certainly have our share of problems as well.

-- Al
The first two questions you need to ask yourself is:
1. Does your system have enough resolution to allow you to hear differences between cables?
2. Are your ears acute enough to tell the difference?

For me, I cant hear differences in cables past the $1000 mark. Maybe its my system or my hearing but I view this as a positive because I save lots of money on cables! And I personally prefer silver cables. When done right, they sound more organic and natural to me.
there are other factors besides metal that determine a cable's performance.

there are several cable manufactureres.

here are three:

aural thrills
pear audio
fusion audio

i own fusion audio cables and have owned aural thrills interconnects.

i also own the capativa continuous cast silver interconnect. it is balanced in its frequency response. it is a very pure silver.
I think that your friend should try a few interconnects without any prior knowledge of their material used in their construction. The objective here for him is to find the best sounding interconnect that he can afford.

Knowing from which material the interconnect is constructed (copper, silver or gold) is purely for academic discussions and the ultimate purchase decision criteria should be strictly how the interconnect integrates well in your friend's system.

I've seen so many systems poorly matched from audiophiles putting a lot of money on their gear and putting not enough money on their cables. They have highly resolving electronics which sound is downgraded by the poor system matching interconnect/speaker cables.

Use your ears and go for the best sounding interconnects.
I like silver with a PE dielectric and prefer using it with tube gear. SS gear and things can get a bit hotter on some recordings. I like silver coated for general use, and it us good for most things.
If you listen to Jazz and Classical i.e.,acoustic music,copper is best unless you REALLY have near-perfect system.
For rock doesn't matter much, loud and coarse anti-cable is more than enough.
There is some very interesting stuff here, not the least of which is the fact that Elizabeth and Schubert appear to be in agreement. After spending considerable time trying to wrap my head around that, I will make this comment. I have had good and bad silver and copper cables. I recently added a silver IC (VH audio Symmetry)and found that it did wonderful things--sweetened the top and significantly increased resolution without adding any brightness at all. It is an excellent IC! Appart from that, the rest of my cabling is Audio Magic Liquid Air. The LA's are also very good. This is a non metalic conductor which I think more people would do well to try. I think its character is a bit more like a very good copper than silver. Low grain, good dynamics, great bass slam. I think there is virtue in mixing cable types. It could be that adding silver to my existing Liquid Airs was just the right touch. I think both VH audio and Audio magic make great bang for the buck products. Not as cheap as blue jean, signal, etc, but they are very good.
for the record i find fusion audio romance gold interconnects superior to any silver or copper cable i have heard.
Many cable makers have excellent return policies or you can use the Cable Company's lending library. They also give excellent advice.
I have used nunerous products from VH AUDIO and the quality is very high. Sonically they are stellar. I have used many of his caps and now wire. Definitely worth checking out.