14 responses Add your response
The AQ site says that AudioQuest spade terminations are available in a choice of thin gold plating (thin for complete protection with minimal distortion), or with thick silver plating for maximum performance. On their high end speaker wire (Type 6 and above), AQ offers Silver-plated #P-8 spades as standard (over thick LGC copper).
Which spades would be preferred: Gold or Silver plated P-8's?
I think it was the great Enid Lumley, who after extensive listening tests gave pure copper the final nod. Edson Price used to make and market those in excellent quality. But then I am no expert in "metallurgy" and I would think, that the result would also depend on what material the metal in your binding posts is. I reckon gold on gold, or silver on silver, copper on copper would give the best results but have never really tested that hypothesis for myself in any serious fashion. Copper on copper works best for me, the only drag is, that it needs to be cleaned quite often. Cheers,
I think the only reason gold is used for plating is that it oxidizes less readily than the other metals. I haven't done any listening tests myself, but I think that using any form of plating that is of a different metal than the spade itself would have some effect on the signal. I'm interested to see what others think as well.
Aren't most speaker posts gold plated? If so, aren't we all running into a dissimilar metal mating regardless of what we do?
I know that many prefer bare wire and that may sound good for a while, but it is very difficult to keep clean. I thought that one of the primary purposes behind spades (etc) is to provide an easier surface to maintain since the spade connection to the wire should be airtight. Given that, the optimum material may depend on your habits. Gold is easiest to maintain. Both silver and copper require constant maintenance -- if you don't think you will clean the terminals monthly or quarterly, then silver and copper will become increasingly less articulate over time.
To aummarize, all conductors sound a bit different. If you keep the terminals clean, go with copper, gold or silver depending on your taste. If you don't keep them clean, go with gold. BTW, the impact of gold may be less than supposed since you are matching to gold anyway via the terminals.
OZ - yes and no.
Copper over time will oxidize and cupric oxides can tend to be semiconductive, thereby forming semiconductive films on areas that have been exposed.
Silver oxides (tarnish) are conductive and therefore do not exhibit the same potential for affecting the signal that the cupric oxides might pose.
Having said that, any good binding-post interfacing with a spade will render the junction gas-tight, therefore no distinct oxidation will occur. There may be other potential problems, such as metals migrating (i.e. a pure copper spade on a gold plated binding post is a place to watch for migration or "leeching").
Well, of course copper spades will have to be periodically cleaned and the connections retightened, that goes without saying and I doubt that a really gas tight junction can be made down to a molecular level and yes, metal migration is indeed a problem. Bad connections are audible. I can clearly hear improvement, especially in the highs, whenever the spirit comes over me and I clean them all. When sibilants become sssibilants, that is genereally the signal for me to gnash my teeth and rend my cloths first and then get going.
Heymable, thanks for the post and welcome to the world of Audiogon forums. I hope you will become a regular poster -- I didn't know silver tarnish was conductive. That's why we have these "discussions" here -- so we can all learn. I'm with Detlof that connections don't tend to stay air tight over time and an occassional cleaning is required, but I get your point and appreciate the response. All else equal (i.e., personal preferences to copper vs. silver), a silver spade might be the better choice.
I don't mean to put you on the spot, but could you explain a bit more about metal migration? What exactly happens? Do copper and silver behave the same way with gold. If the leeching occurs between the speaker binding post gold plating and the speaker binding post base metal, do you think the additional leeching of the speaker binding post gold plating to the spade might also affect conductivity? Thanks.