Trust your background in electronics. The high-end cable game relies on the fact that most audiophiles don't have the background you do.
9 responses Add your response
My understanding is that the oxides and/or impurities of the two metals have different conductive properties and that is where the main difference resides, everything else being equal. Regarding physics, keep in mind that the electrical properties of the overall cable design also affects the sound of a cable - materials being only one part of the equation. Consider overall impedance, as well as capacidance and series inductance. In my experience, series inductance has the most effect on overall cable sound. Consider that cables must transmit short term transient signals, and that inductance resists signal changes, and maybe you can see my point. I have found that very low series inductance cables sound best. Keep in mind though that most cable manufacturers don't publish their specs, though I wish they would - that way maybe we could develop a worthwhile coorelation between measured specs and empirical data. This is just my opinion :o)
Trying to use physics to explain the differences between copper & silver wire will not change the fact that they do produce a different sound. If I recall, Glen Croft said that the use of all silver wire in a component would produce an undesireable sound. However the combination of both copper and silver wire is more desirable.
SLV thanks for the reply I would think that the oxidaton of the materials would be insignificant unless you had just corroded pieces of crap. I agree with you on the impedance however on the average length of the speaker cable I again would think that the impedence disparity between the two materials (agreeing that they both would be of good quality) would produce a difference that would be audible to the human ear. I would expect that it could be seen if connected to an oscilliscope, but could it be heard?
Bgrazman: I agree that the amount of oxide in the high purity metals used in quality cables is small, but does that mean that it is not affecting the sound? I don't know the answer. The understanding I have on copper vs silver came from a cable design Engineer that has worked with this stuff for years. Even he is not really sure, but they are his best thoughts on the subject at this time.
Row: I found a link to another article on the website Pabelson mentioned that you may find interesting. It doesn't talk about copper vs silver, but it does discuss the audible effects of the electrical properties of cables. It's titled "Effects of Cable, Loudspeaker, and Amplifier Interactions".