Switch to silver for a treble boost?

I like my (budget) system, but I find it doesn't quite have the treble sparkle and 'air' I'd like.

I have the opportunity to buy a pair of 2.5 meter silver core speaker cables for less than $100 (hand soldered terminations, German surgical-grade silver multicore conductors), and was wondering what people's thoughts were on the subject: is it worth switching from my current heavy copper to silver add a bit of treble sparkle?
Carl you might want just to try it; for a hundred bucks it's an inexpensive experiment. However in my own experience, switching to silver based interconnect cables (the old Audioquest Lapis; from CDP to pre, and from pre to PA) yielded some extra zip indeed. Cables are always system dependent so you never know without trying them.
Also you may want to experiment with upgrade AC cords or even line conditioning devices, both of which can change sonic signature significantly. My hunch is to start at the interconnects; that's where I noticed the biggest impact on my own rig.
My system isn't resolving enough to warrant an upmarket PC (and I'm a bit of a fence-sitter there too).

I'm quite happy with the sound of my CD player and amp via a pair of Grado h'phones; it's via the speakers that the system seems to lack treble sparkle, and I guess a $100 pair of speaker cables is cheaper than changing the speakers (which I'm otherwise happy with for bass and mids).
This really begs the question, what speakers are you using?
B&W DM602's (large standmounts). The bottom line is that for my system I know these speakers are ok, but thanks to years of playing in bands my upper frequency hearing isn't what it used to be. The Grado h'phones are on the bright side, which compensates somewhat.
I'd rather tweak a little extra top end by using different cables, rather than having to change speakers or using the tone controls on the amp.
Get the silver and try it out. If you don't like it, you can always resell and not lose too much, if anything at all.
There is little doubt that as a rule thick copper cable will tilt the music energy to the bass and mids overwhelming the treble. I am uncertain about what surgical silver "core" wire is exactly. My first experiment would be thin gauge copper Zip cord. The thinner copper cables are IMHO much better balanced than those whales intended for subwoofers.
If you are committed to silver then I would look into these.
Try the Signal Cable silvers or the Home Grown which comes in various thicknesses and prices. I must tell you that a real silver cable of that length will cost a lot more than $100 even used. You can generally find a lot of bargains for used cable here. It seems that trying and not liking, then selling a cable is a common practice. The fact that it wasn't for one person's taste is irrelevant you may love it.

I agree it wouldn't hurt to try this. Running silver wire all the way from your source to your speakers would have the greatest impact on sound. Signal Cable makes the cheapest all silver interconnects I know of http://signalcable.com/.

Secondly, does you amplifier have a jumper on the back between the pre and power amplifiers? Like a little metal U-shaped bar connecting RCA out and in? I replaced this metal bar on my amp with silver jumpers and it made a noticeable improvement in the resolution and air in the upper registers. Here are a couple of options:


I have also heard that Signal Cable will make you some out of their Silver Resolution wire http://signalcable.com/

Finally, I have the same CD player as you (from previous thread). I was experimenting with different platforms and supports underneath it and found that placing it on a heavy wooden chopping block on the shelf in my stereo cabinet really improved the sound quality and cleaned up any sibilance or digital nasties that might creep in occasionally. Also, I tried using small 3/4" hardwood blocks directly under the chassis and on top of the chopping block to support the player instead of the stock feet and found that the resolution took another jump forward and the sound became more tipped up towards the treble. I actually decided I liked the sound with the stock feet directly on the large chopping block best for my taste, but this is another cheap trick to tip the sound in favor of the higher octaves.
Carl, based on what I know of you in our discussions, I would suggest that upgrading over time in components will yield more of the air/sparkle, etc. you seek. You would be better off pursuing saving for upgrade to your components or speakers at this point. The distinction between silver/copper cables can be less exceptional (in many cases) than component changes. I would encourage you not to lose sight of a higher goal by taking a quick upgrade.
This is especially so if you have some upper frequency hearing loss.

If I had to send you in one direction to start, it would be upgrading speakers. A world of good things can happen at both ends of frequ. spectrum with a speaker upgrade. It may take much longer to save up for, but it is well worth it. You can ask similar questions in regard to the presentation of speakers when the time comes to narrow down the field.

You might find temporary satisfaction in a cable change now, but the rig is primed for other upgrades prior to cables. It depends on how far you want to take it. If you never want to keep extending the main rig, then get the cables.

What Speakers would you advise somebody to look at if they wanted greater emphasis on the upper registers and to add "treble sparkle and 'air'"? Focal? Monitor Audio? Something else with a metal tweeter? Maybe something with a ribbon tweeter like a Dali? Did you have something specific in mind?
Knownothing "I was experimenting with different platforms and supports".

I have some off-cuts of Caesarstone, a heavy man-made marble which I might try under the player, as it's currently sitting on a large timber unit. And I think I'll give the silver speaker cables a try - for $100 I can't go too far wrong!

Douglas, I do have my eye on some better speakers (like the B&W 800 series), but my current 602's are only 2 years old so there'd be a very low WAF on upgrading just yet!
Cheers all.
Knownothing, from my experience reviewing speakers ribbon tweeters are among the most detailed and open I have heard. I very much enjoy the neo-ribbon used in the Legacy Audio Focus HD. Moving down on my list I would then suggest a dual ring tweeter like the one in the Von Schweikert speakers, and finally a metal dome tweeter.

Moving from an entry level monitor to a mid level floor stander is revelatory. Paradigm speakers have always sounded to me clear and detailed at the top end, and I also have enjoyed planars, which with companies like Magneplanar and Eminent Technology offer a lot of openness in the high end at affordable prices.
Douglas, thanks for the info.

Carl, try the Caesarstone. There are two purposes I think for the platform:

1. to increase the mass of the CDP and it's shelf in general to dampen outside vibration, and

2. to absorb high frequency vibration from the player and dissipate it in the structure of the platform.

I would predict that stone would do the first thing as well as or better than wood. I would think that wood and stone would do the second thing very differently, and you would have to try both of them to see which you like better. My prediction is that stone would have a brighter sound signature than a wood platform. Good luck with your experimenting.
Silver has absolutely nothing to do with treble sparkle. Some silver is neutral sounding..some have rolled off treble, and some...only some have a high end "sparkle"
Silver speaker cables arrived... initial feeling is that they have made little difference to the upper treble, as a couple of you predicted!
My system still seems to sound as if there's a sheet over the speakers.
However, they did alter vocals in a nicely unexpected way. To my ears, voices now seem better defined and separated from the backing music, as if the singer has taken a couple of steps towards me, and this was using a few of my favorite and familiar tracks.

I might report back again after a few more days listening.
Carl, I tried a similar test to get a little more treble "air" and went with the popular silver Signal Cable.
The results were less than stellar. I found the cables to be less transparent overall. I'm VERY skeptical of mega buck cable's and thier supposed differences, but compared to some Nordost cables which I recently borrowed from a local dealer, the Signals just sounded more laid back and slightly veiled. This may be suitable for some but when looking for a bit more top end "sparkle" the silvers failed.
Good luck in your findings
Alun, after a few weeks of the silver speaker cables (locally hand made from "German surgical grade silver" according to maker), I have to agree. The difference from my previous heavy copper was small indeed, but I accept that could also be system related.
The silver has produced a slight lift in the upper-midrange, which has helped nicely with vocal clarity, but certainly didn't produce any extra treble distinction or "sparkle" that I was hoping for.

I would add that these cables (2.5 meter pair) were only $100, but given my system I'd be reluctant to spend more than that.
Try cables with lower capacitance. There will be less HF rolloff
Carl109, you might also try something with a Teflon dielectric (e.g. Kimber 4TC or 8TC) or no dielectric at all like Anti-Cables.

The way you describe the effect that silver wires had in your system is perhaps consistent with my experience in hindsight. I was incorrectly attributing increased focus and resolution in the higher registers with adding sizzle and "sparkle". For me, more resolution is good, while more "sparkle" is only good if is also balanced with the rest of the spectrum, accurate, and doesn't come at the expense of added sibilance.

Ultimately, a change in gear to equipment that favors the upper registers may be in order for you. Focal, Totem or some other speakers with a bright finish may be the ticket. The English love their mid range, and B&W 600 speaker line, while not as mid range heavy as some, are not as hot up top as some others either.
You mention the 'blanket over speakers' sound. Perhaps it is not due to the cables but to their placement. Tried maple stands? I have padding/carpet over concrete slab and used 2 1/2" maple w/ brass carpet spikes for my spkrs and what a difference. I purchased a workbench from Sams and used the maple work surface to homemake 15x12 platforms for my floorstanders. Have plenty of the wood left for amp stands. Puchased some brass spikes from PartsExprs and t-nuts...bargain upgrade. Not huge...but audible for the better on music/video.
I have short steel stands (short to keep the tweeter at ear-height when seated), which have four brass spikes. Each stand then sits on a cement paver, which in turn is on my timber floor.
The cement paver was an attempt to isolate the speaker from my wooden floorboards and reduce the floor resonating with the bass, which worked.
I think the treble issue is more to do with my compromised hearing sensitivity at high frequencies; if only someone had told me to wear ear-plugs when I was younger and playing in rock bands! Oh well...
If you really want to change the stereo's sound then change the Stereo. The whole kit and kiboodle.
Use an old all tube pre with out of controll gain like my ARC (idle for now) Then employ a class D switching amp like the 500 wpc Spectron III its got digitistis in a minor key only. Then Spend a few bucks on using Silver lace cables from Home Grown audio. They are not really in the same league as Signal and I own both.
Finally make the funeral arrangements for the Maggies get a spine and just let it go. Then buy some enormous German horns that sound like a razor. No blankets just nice clean Avant Garde Trios the German horns. Hide the Maggies elswhere for a year or two or else you go back to Momma.
I didn't read all the posts so I don't know if this was mentioned already. If the 602's have dual binding posts, try getting rid of the brass jumpers. Make your own with a couple of short copper pieces. Second, run your cables into the tweeter binding posts and let the jumpers take the signal to the bass. At the most these will only help a little but it's FREE and every little bit helps. Good luck.


Ahhhhhhhhh, Great minds! ;-)
I found that the inclusion of excellent power cables really opened up my system