Silver vs. Cooper speakers cables

I want to know if silver cables are really better than cooper.
Up to the moment I use Audioquest Volcano biwire cooper cables but many people recomend move to silver for my Tannoy Speakers.
Pure silver or hibrid cooper silver ?
AQ silver cables are very expensive, but I can saw that there are many silver cables at very affordable price like Silver Audio or Analysis Plus.
Please let your opinions and recomendations.
Whether or not silver is a good choice depends primarily on two factors. One, the quality of your components ahead of the cables should be quite refined since you might expose high end harshness that you didn't know was there (IMO). Second, your personal preference should be toward a detailed rather than a musical presentation (again IMO or let's make it IMHO).

I have Tannoy NFM8's in a project studio. Personally, I would not use silver speaker cables (biases evident from above comments). That said, I do use Silver Audio BL1 II in bulk to make my own interconnect cables for my guitar equipment to capture and maintain high end sparkle from the guitar strings. This cable is priced right, sounds good, and is very easy to work with when making your own cables with both balanced and single ended connectors.
Addendum: I also use Silver Audio Q10 and T14 silver coated copper speaker cables in my home theater system. This was a nice synergy between an NAD processor, 7 ASL Wave 8 amps, and Soliloquy speakers. My main tube-based system , however uses all copper 47 Labs OTL for interconnects and speaker wire. As I often hear from discussions on A'gon, it's often if not always about synergy among system components and personal taste.
In my experience with silver cables, generically one could expect a little extra detail (and perhaps tizzyness) while sacrificing some warmth and fullness.

Generically, one could also expect slightly less detail but more warmth and fullness and naturalness with a copper cable.

But as with most things, it ultimately, it comes down to the attention given and execution of the design by the mfg'er. And once this special attention has been given to either cable, all bets are off.

It would seem however that it is more common to see the extra detail designed into a copper cable than it is to see added warmth and fullness designed into a silver cable.

But again, when a truly smart cookie is designing the cable, it should matter less what material is used.

Have all the people that are recommending your use of silver listened to your stereo?

Do you like how your system sounds? Are you trying to change something specifically?

Regardless of recommendations, the final outcome is to try them in your system & decide for yourself.

I took a quick look at your threads & notice they follow a pattern. Perhaps you need to optimize what you have before embarking on another upgrade/change. I'd suggest a full evaluation of the room, including the AC and you could start w/spkr placement, which is the easiest way to change the presentation.

Once you have a baseline, you can move in the direction needed to achieve the results you wish to obtain.
This is a tough question since Silver can show the warts in your system very clearly. I have just replaced all of my 47Labs OTA cabling with Audio NOte silver wire. The differences are NOT subtle. The silver wire (in my system) is both more detailed, but more vivid of tone also.One thig is certain, the AN silver is better in the bass. It is more extended, and has more impact. It's the tone that is most noticeable. There is NO coarseness, only music. I am a convert. It so happens that my amp is wired with the same silver wire. (AN Neiro) The is a synergy.
My experience has shown me that no advice will need to try the cables in YOUR system.

I recently tried the Acoustic Zen silver Reference between my CD Playar and preamp. It turned the sound flat and unemotional compared to the AZ Matrix II copper.

Ya gotta try the cable yourself!


Paul :-)
I totally agree with Beemer,regardless if the cables are silver or copper you MUST try them in your own system to tell if you will like them or not. Paul when you audtioned the AZ silver reference cable was it the first generation or silver reference II? I found quite a difference between the two cables in my system. The II's were much better then the I's. At that point I found they gave me a more extended top end with wonderful details and air without any glare or harshness. I did not experience any of the problems sonicly that you did,hence my question.
I have definite biases against pure silver, but a great love of cables containing silver and either gold and/or copper. I realize it does not tell you anything other than my opinion but it is based on what may be facts that 1) silver is easily contaminated hence a combination that allows it to be plated, and 2) above 10k there can be problems depending upon its purity. Rather than find out which cables are best and going through that learning curve I prefer to try ones that have silver but with it plated. Others may correct me freely if I am mistaken, knowledge however obtained is always good. Michael
As you can see Eluende14, you get about as many opinions as you do posts. Best advice, as given above, try a set in your system and see what the results are.

IMO silver can be great, but it seems it is more sensitive to how the cable is designed. I recently borrowed a friends Audio Note AN-V interconnect and after a few days I looked at the cable to double check the model name, as I wanted to go online and read about it, to my surprise it said silver, I had no idea it was silver. I do not agree with what some say categorically about silver cable. Of the cables I have heard in my systems, I have heard two all silver cables and they rank amongst the best I have heard.
Being an owner of two different levels of Tannoy speakers (Mx and Revolution series)in two different systems (one analog and one HT), I would be wary of silver speaker cabling. As people pointed out earlier, upstream equipment is very important and Tannoy can be very naturally detailed without any silver emphasis. I support the others who've recommended listening for yourself.
The only difference between copper and silver is that silver has slightly less
resistance. So, all you have to do is use lower gauged copper and you will get
the same effect as using silver. Since silver has slightly less resistance, it is
possible people substitute the same gauge silver for their copper cables, hear
the music slightly louder in comparison and they think they are getting more
detail when in fact they are only getting slightly higher volume. In tests,
people will experience slightly higher volume as more detail and that's why
this is also the oldest trick in audio sales. The salesman A/B's two pieces of
gear, bumps the volume ever so slightly for the higher priced piece while
you're not looking and -- voila -- you hear more detail and he racks up
another sale.

The rest of the stuff people say about silver is unsupported.

Which means you can believe or not -- your choice.

I believe the idea that silver would impart a sonic signature is a holdover from
the world of musical instruments. Nickle or steel strings sound different from
bronze, a silver trumpet sounds different from brass, etc. But, these
instruments make sounds by vibrating -- that's different than carrying signal.

In blind listening tests when levels are matched, people cannot hear any
difference between silver and copper and aside from the difference in
resistance, no one has come up with a reason why they should.

Again -- your choice to believe or not.
The design itself is infinitely more important than the composition in 99% of signal and/or power cables IMO.
Rsbeck, you are from a third person's perspective.

Would you please share with us your own experiences between silver and copper and their sonic differences?

This would really be helpful to get a better perspective of where you're coming from.

I think it is interesting that you would claim to already know my experience,
since you claim I come from a third party perspective, and yet you go on to
ask me to spell it out for you.

That would make you a sort of Kreskin with Alzheimers or something.

Let's examine your experience.

You claim silver sounds "tizzy."

That's interesting.

That would mean a lot of people are paying a lot of money for "
tizzy" sounding cables.

What, in your belief, would cause a silver cable to sound "tizzy?"

Did you a/b copper against silver?

What safeguards did you employ?

Did you a/b copper and silver in the same configuration? Employ precise
level matching? Did you try a lower gauge of copper and a/b it against the
silver to see if you were simply experiencing lowered or different resistance?
Did you do your listening tests double-blind?

What did you do to eliminate the possibility of the placebo effect?

It all depends on the cable.

Both silver or copper can be lousy or great it depends on who made them and what system they are in period.
After having read through and/or participated in a number of cable threads, I've come to the conclusion that the moderator should retitle them all as "how should I do my hair?" Because no one can tell you definitively, and invariably the respondents will lapse into a go-nowhere battle over the merits of beehives vs. baldness.

Try out different cables, and you'll find your answer. The process won't work any other way.
Boa2 I think you should part your hair down the middle since every block should have an alley...

That's supposed to be a joke...
You should do your hair in a Litz Braid, silly.

Baldness has a warm tube-like sound with mid-range bloom, sparkling highs,
a huge, three dimensional soundstage and organic musicality. Behives have a
hi-fi type sound that is artificially exciting, colored, lacking in palpability, and
digital/solid state sounding. Where one parts one's hair is largely dependant
on how one feels about the demise of eight track.
That is so good to hear, Rsbeck, because since beginning to lose my hair, the music does indeed sound much more organic, just as you describe. Coincidentally, the steady growth of my back hair has also obviated the need for rear room treatments. Who'd a thunk it?
No Killerpiglet, Litz Braids are bad for dynamics and imaging, the braids dampen the sound. Boa2 should get his scalp removed and get a rug so that he can remove it when he listens to his system. But he'll also need my deluxe stereo-liquid-gel tonic to place on his bald head so that there is no room refraction when listening without his hairpiece. The tonic directs only the best sound waves into the ear cannel and filters out all the grain, hardness/harshness but increases dynamics, lush mids, with well defined bass, superior soundstage and separation of instruments, and extended airy and sweet highs.

I will be running a special here on Audiogon soon but for now, for you suckers, I will extend an offer to buy one and get one free if you respond in the next thirty minutes, but wait there's more, act now and I'll throw in a lifetime supply of back issues (slightly used) copies of a well known audio review magazine and a pair of Krell mono block pictures! All this with a 2 year trail period and you can return the product for a full refund and keep the Krell mono block pictures!

Act fast, this offer ends soon!

Happy Listening.
>>and a pair of Krell mono block pictures<<
Thank goodness you're only throwing in pictures. If you gave the amps themselves, you would be overwhelmed with returns. As a matter of fact, keep the pictures. :-)
My hair is very short and combed towards the front, with the sides and rear textured eentirely with thinning shears. That means I prefer naturally insulated silver cables and interconnects...
I used to have hair; which cable sounds better with thinning (yeah right) hair?
For thinning hair, air dielectric is a must.
Does paul speltz make something like that?
This thread went from nearly belligerent to hilarious - very nice! Nrchy, great wit with the blockhead comment, and wisely directed at a bright gentleman.

Ironic that this thread should pop up now; this morning I sat down to listen to my newly-Platinumized RLD-1 from Steve McCormack. I heard what I assume must be "digital glare," so I played with speaker positioning and then for grins swapped out my Silver Audio Jetstream IC for an old QED Qnex2. The "glare" went away but I lost some detail. I'm using nOrh speakers which use Vifa drivers, though, which I suspect are dry and analytical.

I'm beginning to think I need to give up some detail for "fullness" in my system. :( I have to agree with the above posts; cables are like women - they're very reactive with what you connect them to!

So now I'm sitting here researching old cable threads to find a cable that is warm and full without sacrificing too much detail that is in my price range. :(
In the interest of full disclosure, I am the president of the Cable Club for Men. For those of you concerned about embarrassing signal loss, I recommend applying pheromone contact treatment on your banana plug terminations, whether you're running copper OR silver wire. Because an inefficient dialectric will only leave you with impedance envy, and none of us should ever have to suffer like that. Remember, we're here to help.
I'll admit I use to use silver cables. Upon reaching the age of 40 I was overcome by vanity (yes it's true) so I bought a new Corvette, joined a health club, and switched to copper cables. I don't recommend this for every man but it's turned me into a chick magnet.
That explains all the clucking in the background!
You know, if you look carefully, this thread asks us to compare silver versus "cooper." So, in the interest of accuracy, I a/b'd a silver cable, which sounded good, but a little bright against cooper. While blindfolded, I asked an assitant to connect a friend of mine named Cooper between my amplifier and speakers. With a live human being as my cable, I felt I gave up a lot of detail and soundstage shrunk to nothing. Still, I liked Cooper better. Go figure.
OK I will provide the answer. Buy one pair of cooper and one pair of silver ICs. Place one of the silver ICs on the CDP to the preamp (right side only) and use one cooper IC on the left side. Then change the pattern from the preamp to the amp. It has been a long time secret that I have never let on until now. So, now you all know it! But, please don't tell anyone else. BTW, the hair thing was just a little joke OK?

Happy Listening.
>>I asked an assitant to connect a friend of mine named Cooper<<
Is that Alice, Anderson, or Gary Cooper?
Obviously I misread the initial post. Choose between Gary Cooper and Ron Silber? Puhleeeeeeeze!
To answer teajay's question from way back in this thread. (sorry teajay for the wait).

I replaced the AZ Matrix Reference II copper with Silver Reference II between the CD player and preamp. It made my system sound flat. Took out air and ambience. The difference was immediate and quite noticeable.

This means not much. That's what happened in my system. Unless you have it's clone then your results will differ.

I always get a kick out of "the best cable/interconnect" posts or ads. Only in YOUR system will the truth be told and price doesn't neccessarily mean better.


Paul :-)
It depends on the system it is being put into.Silver is fast
revealing ,with top end openness,BUT may not interface well with solid state gear.To much of a good thing is not always good.I from experience have found that silver ic's complement a tube system very well,but gives it to much treble on solid state gear,and makes it sound to analytical.
I feel that not enough attention is paid to aluminum.
I feel that not enough attention is paid to aluminum.
Good point. I stopped buying soda pop in those copper and silver cans years ago. The copper poured too slow and the silver poured too fast. Aluminum gave me just the right balance.
Wc65mustang, what happen ever happened to your Steath "bomber" Indra cables? What's wrong with "the best" cable you ever heard?
To answer the origonal question(my thinning hair is an issue, but I'm dealing with it) responders have talked about Acoustic Zen, with good reason, a good company, making good copper and silver cable. Not silver speaker cable of course. As others have said more eloquently than I, neither is good or bad, just good or bad in a given system. Cables seem the item above all, that is system dependent.
I bought an AZ cable loom, partly through Audiogoners advice. The specific advise I got was silver ref between CD player and Pre, and matrix pre and power. In fact my system is much better with all silver reference(unfortunately in view of the price). The greatest improvement though, came with the copper hologram speaker cable, truly a major boost.
Pretty obviously as with all areas of high-fi, try it in your system and see what works(remember the cable company has loaner cables for you to try)
Has anyone used Gold cables? If so what do you think about their sonic characteristics (if any) compared to copper/silver?

I'm burning in a pair of Pear IC's presently, and getting some nice results considering <100 hrs of play time.
There's some interesting information on the properties of Gold versus copper/silver on the above website.
Gold made everything sound golden with glow.
Lack of attack and resolution but added mellow made it soothing and sleepy.
Still the best interconnect on the planet. How are those Bose 901's working out for you?
Gold has the benefit of being way more expensive than copper.
Aluminum, on the other hand, makes excellent siding.
The price of Gold has rocketed of late, the UK are trying to take the surplus cash from their gold reserve fund and use it to relieve third world debt, but it seems that's not high on the US agenda. That aside, there are some interesting properties of gold when used as a conductor. It has a higher resistance than copper and silver and is therefore supposedly inferior as a conductor. Yet it has superior corrosive properties, therefore the inference is that it's sound will remain consistent for the duration of it's life, whereas copper and silver might me more prone to deteriorate due to the effect of corrosion and how the corroded layer creates unwanted skin effects and negative interaction with the insulator.
My understanding was that gold slightly attenuates the frequency extremes, and as s23chang say's gives things a sweeter sound.
The cable I'm using did indeed sound a little rolled-off at both ends initially, but surprisingly is starting to open up, particularly on the higher frequencies. This thing has a lot of potential and I can't wait to get another 100 hours on it.
It is true that gold will not corrode like copper. Gold has more resistance, so
you have to use a thicker gauge of solid gold to get the same resistance as
copper. If you take care of copper cables, seal the connections well, clean
them from time to time, etc -- they will not corrode for years and years.

>>My understanding was that gold slightly attenuates the frequency

There is no evidence to support this. The only reason you might
experience attenuation would be that because of the expense, you might use
thin gauged cables and since gold has higher resistance, thinner gauge might
cause you to lose signal across the entire audio band. There are many myths
and wive's tales with regard to cables. There is no hard evidence to support
the idea that silver, copper, and gold sound different from one another
because of a sonic signature due to the material itself. People claim to hear
differences, but when blindfolded, can no longer tell them apart. What does
that tell you? It tells me that these supposed sonic signatures are imaginary.
You look at silver -- it is bright. People claim it sounds bright. It is the mind
at work.

>>The cable I'm using did indeed sound a little rolled-off at both ends
initially, but surprisingly is starting to open up<<

This would be surprising. More likely, it is your imagination. Amazing Randi
has a $1,000,000 offer to anyone who can prove to hear the difference
between a cable that has been "burned in" and one that has not.
There have been no takers. If anyone can hear this difference -- contact
Randi and claim the $1,000,000. But, you have to do it blindfolded.

Off topic, but Rsbeck's mention of Amazing Randi brought this to mind...

Rsbeck, I'll bet you will love The Skeptical Enquirer . I once purchased a subscription for my Dad, who was the biggest skeptical thinker I knew. I believe Amazing Randi might be a contributing author to the magazine, but I'm not positive.

Back to the copper, silver, gold discussion...
Sorry Rsbeck, but we must agree to differ. I know my system and I know when the higher and lower frequencies are not sounding clear and extended. I'm past the 'it's all in the imagination' argument, so if you want to get into that one you'll need another sparring partner.
Also, I don't recal stating that silver was 'bright', either to look at or to listen to. It may or may not be, depending on other components in the system, and/or how often you polish it.
I can't imagine a three cables constructed from three different materials not sounding different. But that's just me. If there's a measurable difference in the three cables, which there is, then they ought to sound different, albeit subtly so. Maybe it comes down to the quality of supporting equipment, the state of cleanliness of ones ear canals, or just the time of the month for some of us, but there ought to be a difference.
Incidentally, that 1,000,000 would be handy, I could buy some Marigo dots and Peter Belt foils, and really knock myself out.
>>I can't imagine a three cables constructed from three different materials
not sounding different.<<

You said the key word, IMAGINE. If you can only imagine them sounding
different, your imagination will take care of the rest. I believe this thinking is
a holdover from musical instruments where nickel would strings sound
different from bronze, a silver trumpet sounds different from brass, etc.
There's no reason for a silver speaker cable to sound different from copper or
gold, etc. The only meaurable difference between the three is resistance --
you want low resistance -- so if you use thicker guage gold you can match
the resistance of silver or copper and if you do they all sound the same.
There are no other measurable differences.