Speaker cable aging?


I was talking with a speaker company rep, describing my system, asking about their product and he said I might benefit from new speaker cables.

I have audioquest Midnight 3 Hyperlitz speaker cables. I bought them used 3 years ago. I have never know anything else. I bought them based of their size, name and original price. I bought them from a friend and I payed next to nothing for them ($100 canadian).

The speaker rep said that because they are about 10 years old the copper could of oxidized thus deteriorating the sound? He said that it would of happened so gradually that no one (including my friend who is the original owner) would of noticed. He recommend going with a silver cable, he said he likes Goertz.

What would you think about this. I doubt he would lie to me, but how much am I loosing through these cables? Is it worth replacing them? If so with what? UHF magazine sells Sheffield Labs cable which is solid core copper with a silver coating. They are very cheap (relatively speaking), do you think these would be an upgrade?

Thought and opinions are welcome.

The most likely place that the cables would have oxidized would be within the first few inches within the jacket from the ends. This is due to the fact that this is where the conductors themselves would be exposed to the most oxygen and contaminants floating in the air. It would be simple enough to take a look at the cables and wouldn't cost you any money at all.

Other than that, the speaker rep has good taste and made a valid recommendation. Then again, if you've read any of my other posts pertaining to speaker cables, you'll already know what i think of Goertz flat speaker cabling and why.

Out of curiousity, would you mind sharing what product line this person represented? Obviously, this is just their personal opinion and not that of the company that he represents, or at least that is what i would assume. Sean
If you are satisfied with cables, I woulld be inclined to hold onto them and buy a cleaner/conditioner. Something like Caig Pro-Gold. Its not that expensive & could make a world of difference.

Sometmes the terminations oxidize where the electron flow isn't what it once was. Especially in a damp enviroment. I doubt speaker cable technology has advanced that much in five + years. Just my 2 cents. Good luck.

Thanks for your advice. I did refit the amp end of the cables last year to have a locking banana plug. The original spade was to hard to fit on the back of my amp (It was a Bryston 3B at the time). The speaker ends are still terminated with the factory spade with shrink wrap.

From what I have seen online these cables sold for $600 - $700 when new, so I am inclined to think they are not the weak link in my system.

The rep I was talking to was from Paradigm. I was expressing my feelings on a mid range suck out with my Studio 40's. I have felt for a long time that the recessed mid range is holding back the potential of this speaker. I would like it to be a little more forward. I can however understand why paradigm tuned the speaker this way, seeing as a good number of people would be driving it with a cheap receiver they wanted to make the speaker more polite rather than unforgiving.

My local dealer does not carry the Paradigm Signature line so I was asking about them. I was looking to replace my Studio 40's with a used pair of Martin Logan's. The problem is due to my location I am unlikely to find a pair locally so I was considering some used Focus Audio 688's or 3a de capos as alternatives.

The paradigm rep said I really should hear the Signature as they were made with the audiophile in mind and not the average consumer like the Studio line. He is coming back in december and was going to try and bring some S2's for me to listen too (as in a in-home demo). He really is super nice and willing to go out of his way to help. We talked for about 3 hours and discussed everything from speakers to cables to vinyl. Paradigm might not have the best product in the world, but they have some of the best service and customer relations as far as I am concerned. I have no problems trying support the company, as they really do care about me as a customer.

I have read lots of good things about the Signature line so I am excited to hear them. Have you guys ever had a chance to listen to them? If so what were your impressions?

Anyways, back to the cable subject, I would like to replace my cables with some silver ones. I just feel that the $1000 or so it would cost to do so would be better spent on some better speakers, as what I have is not that bad, assuming they have not gone down hill (which is my original question).

Anyways, thanks again for your help and sorry for my post being so long.

I had demo'd the S2's in a showroom for about a half hour, and while a brief demo, I came away very impressed. Midrange was very natural and was definitely not recessed. There was a review of them online somwhere, yes?

If you are serious about new speakers, definitely hold off on new cabling. It wouldn't make sense to get new cables and then introduce new speakers which might not go well with the cables. You would want to choose your cables to fit the speakers.

It is always possible that any cables made of metals can have oxidation over the years. As stated above, it is likely that it only would occur near the ends, but it is possible to have it all the way thru too. Connections are particularly likely to exhibit this.

Whether it will make a very large difference in the sound of the system would likely be related to the individual system in question.

Alas, very few things will last forever.
a while back, Michael Fremer (I think it was in his column) wrote about cleaning all his contacts with some metal polishing cream and how much it improved his system. I've had noticeable results from just using some hardware store polish. it's quick, easy and cheap; what the heck?
that being said, before you buy new cables, whether it's with your existing speakers or new ones, why not audition them in your system to see if the difference, if any, is worth the $1K?
This reminds me of an old "Candid Camera" (TV Show) where they convinced women who had brought their cars in for an oil change that they were due for an air change in their tires.

By the way, what harm is an oxide layer on the wires? Some wires are deliberately plated with tin, which is less conductive than copper, so as to minimize skin effect.
With regard to your Paradigm studio 40's. I, too, have a pair of studio 40 v.3's. When I saw that Paradigm released the signature series I found a dealer about a hundred miles away, and went to listen to them. I use a Musical Fidelity a3.2 integrated amp with the a3.2 cd player. I listened to the signature s4's powered by a Mcintosh amp. The s4's definitely sounded better in every respect. Now all I need is the cash.