I used to prefer copper over silver and my least favorite of all was silver plated copper. That's changed.
What I have learned is that if the insulation on the silver is "pure" teflon, then silver is the best I have heard for tube or ss. Some manufactures may claim they use teflon but you can hold a match to pure teflon and it will not burn or melt. Ask the manufacturer if you can do that to his cable. Maybe it's not so pure.
If I couldn't use what I have now, I would probably be using copper. I have heard that "emphasis in the treble from silver" in the past with other cables and did not care for it.
I now use silver ic and sc on all my equipment. It is not bright at all. It's just honest. It even passed the acid test. I have 4 vintage Marantz receivers. It's hard to let go of preconceptions and I really thought this isn't going to work. Early ss + silver = Oh no. Nah, she worked fine.
I would say there is some truth in your general assumptions, at least from my experiences. I wouldn't say it is an iron clad rule, but there is some truth to it.
Also, when using silver cables, I find ribbon silver conductors to sound smoother than solid core silver. I can't say that I've ever been a fan of silver clad copper though.
A shootout in my system had $300 worth of VH Audio 24 gauge. solid core silver, cotton wrapped, replacing Transparent Ultra (pre MM), Purist Collosus and a 2 meter, $2800 Siltech set. This was with Wavelength 45s into Lowther DX 4s (copper coil). This was done direct (naked connections)from amp to speaker, something I couldn't do with the other stuff, so as always, YMMV.
I didn't like silver before, either.
JMC2 is spot on except for the silver plated copper cablew hich works in many cases quite well and is popular. That just goes to show you there is no way to know what a cable will sound like in your system until you have used it for a while in the same place.
That said it is simply true that silver is a better conductor than copper. Further my personal experience is that I didn't like silver at all in an SS system. Copper was much easier on the ears.
The real difference for me is that silver seems to be quick and can help perk up a slow system. I also use silver for a custom power cord because it is a detailed fast clean sounding cord to my CDP.
The kicker is that I use copper Cardas Golden Refs in my big tube system and silver lace from the TT to the pre all in the same set up.
There is an unwritten rule that the cabeling should really be of the same brand. I have several brands in the big rig which is all tube; Homegrwon Silver lace, Audience AU24, Cardas Golden refs, and Jena lab speaker cables, to my utter delight!!!
My experience is it solely depends on your specific equipment and not particularly the generalization of solid state versus tube. I have 2 pair of Acoustic Zen Absolute Reference II IC's (copper/silver blend) running in my system now and I am borderline satisfied with it. It's a bit too bright so not sure I'll stay with the AZs.
Thing is, these same ICs were PERFECT with my prior amp (a Musical Fidelity A308 Integrated, solid state). Everything else was conastant (Benchmark DAC, Shunyata cords and conditioner, etc.).
That's quite a coincidence I had a MF 308 for years and found it to screechy for my taste. I tried everything I could afford in cables and no matter what I used it didn't work out in my rig. I think the rig will supercede the cable. Therefore buy the cheapest rat shack stuff you can find. Then spend all the money you saved on component upgrades.
That is kinda funny. I thought the 308 was beautiful in hindsight, but I didn't want to have an integrated plus a multi channel in my setup. Never seen something sell so fast as that 308 did though, it was gone in 4 hours after I listed it.
I've demoed an Anthem Statement A5 at home, owned an Outlaw 7100 and now this Sunfire TGA5200. None of the aforementioned are truly the be all/end all in amps, but a few aren't slouches either. The A308 was incredible, although it took the right cables. I tried Cardas Golden Crosses which were intolerably bright with it (and I hear their supposed to be warm....I didn't thing so anyways), but the AZs were just perfect. It wasn't as picky with power cords or conditioning as the Sunfire. Wonder if that's because it was choke regulated?
Everyone has different tastes so it's just a matter of trying different ones till you like what you hear.
It all comes down to synergy.
I have one SS rig that uses Goertz AG2(silver) and is far from bright due to all warm components. Meanwhile, in my tube rig, I use copper cables due to a bright source.
As mentioned before, it all comes down to what sounds the best to you.
Like some of the others, I too have a hodge podge. I'm currently using Cardas Golden Reference phono cable (copper), Ridge Street Poiema 3 interconnect (silver), JPS Superconductor 3 speaker cable (copper coated aluminum and copper) and Ridge Street Poiema 3 Signature power cord (silver). And I'm getting a detailed, dynamic, musical, you-are-there, no glare, free of fatigue sound. My electronics are tubed: EAR 88pb phono preamp and modified Air Tight ATM-3 monoblocks.
Somewhat on the topic, I just picked up another Taipan Alpha Helix cord (this will make 4 in total combined with a Hydra 4 in my system). I believe this version is with copper mains and EIC from looking it over, but I haven't confirmed that with Shunyata yet. Matching this cord with the Benchmark DAC and moving the silver plated Taipan Helix over to my pre/pro and the nickel Taipan Helix to my Sunfire amp (I've another Silver Taipan 20amp feeding the Hydra), it has warmed things up considerably. I'm still completely floored after all this time that power cords can lend almost as much impact as ICs since the notion they'd have any impact at all sounds ridiculous at face value. Benchmark engineers have stated their DAC is immune to AC interference and doesn't need aftermarket cords, but honestly it's more than evident what impact different cords have on this DAC and every other piece of gear I've had.
I've a pair of AZ Silver Reference IIs on there way so we'll see what they can offer, but I think I solved the brightness issue enough with the new Taipan cord power cord. I'm not here to pitch Shunyata gear honestly, but their helix cords are worth a try if you're also looking at ICs to alter tonal balance.
First; speakercables needs to be elaively thick and massive. 12-13awg is a good start,suitable for tweeters & smaller midrngs. In my system I`ve ended up using 4x9awg (x2) for the woofers, 2x9awg for the 6,5" mids aso.
Remember; speakercables must be sen as a par of the amp`ssssssssspowercrcuit. This low-current powercircuit can`t control the speakers through thin/flat/stranded wires, even th most poweul amp won`t do.
Underdimensioned powercircuit is lo the main reason why some amps are less dynamic & powerful than others.