I am using solid core 100% silver cable for my turntable, cd player, music server USB, Sonos, DAC, speaker biwire, power cord and all XLR between My C2300 to MC601s.
Yes, I belived in silver cable, for less than $2K and will never look back.
They the silver cables might come in handy. When the moon turns full and the wolfs bane is in bloom.
Having use both types in my system I chose solid core silver cables. subjective of course and opinions will vary among listeners. When high quality silver is implemented properly it sounds organic and beautiful. I find It has natural warmth, tonal body/harmonics yet is also very resolved and transparent. I haven't experienced the brightness,edge or glare that some attribute to silver. It is honest with a natural character.All silver cables aren't created equal, some are better executed than others(like any other product).
per given unit there will be one that does and one that doesn't.
As stated already all silver and copper interconnects are not created equally.
On top of that it's all dependent upon your equipment and your listening preferences. Until you hear it for yourself in your own system you will never really know which one you prefer.
I agree with LAK. There is no definitive answer to your question. System dependent and also dependent on the preferences of the listener
All things considered, the final, conclusive answer to your question of would silver cables beat UP-OCC copper?
It depends....on system synergy, personal taste, cable design, etc.
Now, let's move forward to final conclusions on the SS vs. tube debate, and wrap up the analog vs. digital debate as well.
Shouldn't be necessary but might.
Charles1dad said it best. Granted, all things are system dependent but having tried both copper and silver, I'm staying with silver.
All the best,
Looking at your system page,I would stay with copper...
If you are inquiring from a scientific point of view, it really comes down to how conductive the material is all other things being equal. Silver is more conductive than copper, but if the AWG of the silver cable is less the copper cable is likely to have less resistance making it a better cable, again all other things being equal.
I have built gear and cables using both and one fact remains.....there is no answer to your question that is the final truth for all. It depends on your gear, musical tastes (type of music), sound preference, system synergy and on and on.....
I have found that if you're going to use silver, then go for solid core and go for as heavy of a guage as you can afford/find. The right silver, solid core, and thicker than 24 gauge can sound very good indeed.
Silver does sound different and has proven to be more resolving in each and every case I have used it. Great solid core copper is warmer sounding and more rounded if you will. This is also something I have witnessed time and time again. A mixture of the two throughout my system has yielded the best results. This has taken me several years and lots of experimenting however. The only way to learn for yourself is to try some. No other way I am afraid to say.
If you listen to mellow jazz and calm voice that is well recorded, then silver may be just the ticket. It may, but there are many other variables which folks have already stated. I have found that the recording quality plays a big role on which wire I prefer. Poor recordings suffer more on silver in my experience. If your musical tastes force you to listen to many mediocre to poor recordings, then copper may be a better choice for you.
If you get yourself some thick copper cables wrapped in a tough jacket, they can take a hell of a beating. Every bit as tough as silver.
You would do better with copper given your horn speakers and SS gear. If you can afford them look for Cardas "golden" somethings,for a nice mellow tone. This will start another argument I am sure. The OCC copper cables are very good as well. There are many many cable makers try to get an idea of what you want from cables. And Zd is right you shouldn't use cables to beat anything.
"Best" is and for the forseeable future will be a word with no universally agreed upon definition, especially in this opinion laden environment. That being said, silver can sound different, but silver can sound different than copper depending on awg size, configuration, solid versus stranded, shield vs. non shield, rca vs.XLR, type of XLR, type of RCA, resonance factors, capacitance, inductance, resistance, not to mention termination skill. To look just at silver vs copper is leaving too many variables off the table. PT
I have experience with both manufactured and self-made high purity silver and OCC copper cables. I agree with Grannyring's thoughts on tone and with Plasmatech's comments on the subjectivity of "best." My favorite speaker and IC cables are made from solid core OCC copper. For power cords, I have had good luck with fine stranded OCC wire, unshielded for amps and shielded for digital source components.
To reduce the variables I compared short segments of 12 awg Neotech OCC copper to dead soft three-nines fine silver from Rio Grande as jumpers in Merlin VSM speakers. No spades, solder, or twist geometries to influence the evaluation.
For me high purity soft annealed silver wins decisively, and the recent decline in commodity pricing eases the pain. Consider experimenting with short segments of copper and silver in series with your speaker cables. At the line level I've had excellent results with DIY ICs made with Parts Connexion's Connex/DH Labs BL-Ag balanced silver bulk cable.
"For me high purity soft annealed silver wins decisively, and the recent decline in commodity pricing eases the pain. Consider experimenting with short segments of copper and silver in series with your speaker cables. At the line level I've had excellent results with DIY ICs made with Parts Connexion's Connex/DH Labs BL-Ag balanced silver bulk cable.
Dgarretson (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)"
How did you anneal the cables? Also, it seems like it is very popular to cryo cables. What made you do just the opposite?
Several OEMs and DIYers have shared that soft silver is important to avoid the etched or bright quality sometimes attributed to silver. Annealing may be more significant than diminishing returns of 5-7 nines purity.
The better factory sources offer fine silver across a range of hardnesses. "Dead soft" silver implies full annealing. I suppose one could repeat the annealing process for incremental benefits or to restore softness, since silver tends to harden as it is worked. For this reason it is advisable to avoid excessive bending and twisting of silver cables.
Cryo treatment has goals unrelated to softness. No contradiction doing both.
My aim is to not "tame" the system by making it "warmer" sounding. I don't like rolled off highs and a bloated lower midrange. I like transparency and detail with tight and deep bass. I just thought I'd clear the air regarding that notion. So, with that in mind, it sounds like I would prefer the silver, but I can't really say 100 percent.
So, with that in mind, it sounds like I would prefer the silver, but I can't really say 100 percent.
That is why performing your own listening tests is so critical. No one else can really tell you which flavor you would prefer.
Many will gladly tell you what works best for them, but in this hobby, what works for some, doesn't work for others. You pays your money, you takes your chances.
I sincerely feel you should try Paul's Clear Day Silver cables. I don't know where you live - but you will ONLY loose $8 (at the max) shipping back, if you live in the US. His cables are pure silver and in my system they made a HUGE difference. I am sorry I cannot stop myself using these CAPS and all that, but I am still amazed that cables can have such a huge difference.
At the same time reach out to a dealer in UP-OCC copper cables and ask for demo. Then compare the cables in your system. Keep the cable that you love.
Ok, Jmcgrogan2 and Milpai, thanks for the info and recommendations. Much appreciated. :)
Silver as much as I can through out , if you do decide don't forget to pay attention to chassis sockets , silver pin XLR and or silver RCA ,preferably WBT silver sockets,
You've got to listen with your own system....every cable sounds different in different systems.
Thanks. I would agree with that.
One Thought, Stager Silver Solids Interconnects, superb!
I use Connex brand solid silver IC cables from Parts Connexion with either eichman or Neutrik silver connectors.
Never wanted to change.
Yes, I have heard it all. Siver cables are about conductivity. We ARE NOT talking about silver plated cables! If your system is good, your cables designed well they will always sound better than copper! Why do people paymore for OCC cables? BETTER CONDUCTIVITY! Also silver has the advantage of not only being a better condutor than copper or gold, its oxidation is still highly conductive. Copper not so much. Connections. Conductivity will be better with equivalent design. I prefer silver soldered connections with silver or copper. I seal connections with liquid electrical tape on all. I seal mechanical connections as well. Oxidation is not your friend. It is all about the connections. What do you think? I have little experience with silver coated. So far ehhh...
I'll chime in here. Silver vs OCC Copper. is definitely a comparison, but more important is solid-core vs stranded wiring. Solid core designs have all been superior in my testing.
As far as Silver vs OCC, it really depends on system synergy. I used to run silver a lot a long time ago, but have since evolved away from silver. Silver would be good if you have an incredibly warm and textured system and you need an element to compensate for a system that is too slow/warm/mushy. However, there is a fine line where silver becomes a little too sterile. Too much silver and the upper mids will start to shout and the sound becomes artificial.
I just recently built and compared two AES/EBU digital cables. Both with same Neotech gold-plated XLR connectors, braided silver-plated copper shielding. One used 21awg OCC solid core silver, the other using 21awg OCC solid-core copper. The silver cable came out being extremely and extraordinarily clean sounding. However, after about 10-15 minutes of listening I came to the conclusion that it was just a very tiny bit sterile sounding in my system and did not have the texture and engagement that I wanted. The copper, on the other hand, was very warm and textured and engaging, but did not quite have the snap and attack in the upper mids/highs.
The OCC copper cable with Oyaide Focus 1 XLR connectors (rhodium plating over silver plating over phospher bronze) was a LOT snappier and cleaner sounding than the OCC copper with gold-plated XLR. However, the silver plating could be a little too bright edged in the highs on some systems.
So, it really depends.
Would silver cables beat UP-OCC copper?
The answer is
- it depends on the silver wire you are using and
- the resolution of your system
For example - I have used Mundorf Solid Silver with 1% gold inside cotton sleeve in my IC’s and changed to Neotech UP-OCC copper because I found it offered superior dynamics, details and imaging. It was so good that I have not considered changing it
However - you can also get UP-OCC silver, which I believe many people prefer to UP-OCC copper for it’s improved resolution capabilities
This is where the resolution of your system may be a factor - if your components cannot resolve to the same level as UP-OCC Silver then you may hear very little improvement.
Personally, I am more on the budget conscious side of this hobby, so I stopped at the UP-OCC Copper because it was so good, but others have tried UP-OCC Silver and prefer it.
Connectors can make a significant difference - I’ve found KLE Innovations Absolute Harmony to be the best to date
Insulation is another factor - insulation with a low dielectric Constant for best clarity and details - e.g.
- - bare wire inside a Teflon tube is exceptional
- - bare wire inside Cotton is next
- - VH Audio UP-OCC Copper or Silver with Airlok insulation is one of the best insulated wires I have used
- - Neotech UP-OCC copper or silver with Teflon Insulation
And definitely solid wire (as opposed to stranded wire)
Unfortunately some of the above are not an option if you are buying ready made commercially available products.
That’s why I make my own :-)
Hope that helps - Steve
Is 1 (bare wire with Teflon) better than 4 (Neotech UPP-OCC copper or silver with Teflon) insulation? Just seeing if you listed these randomly or ranked them from 1 being the best, and 4 being the least best. Thanks.
- seems to make no sense, correct?
The short answer - any wire with insulation applied directly to it is worse than bare wire in Teflon tube
But the long answer - if interested...
In a capacitor the dielectric is applied directly to a plate or foil.
In order to get a consistent capacitance every part of the plate or foil must be in contact with the dielectric
So with an insulated wire the insulation is effectively the dielectric and applied to the entire surface area of that wire
- all insulations have a specific Dielectric Constant (Dk)
- Teflon is 2.2
- Foamed Teflon (i.e. AirLok) is 1.45
- Cotton is 1.3
- Air is 1.1
- Vacuum is the base measurement at 1.0
If you use a bare wire in a Teflon tube, where the inside diameter of the tube is larger than the diameter of the wire, there will be space (i.e. AIR) around the wire and because the tube does not collapse around the wire (like cotton does) the wire only ever touches the tube in one spot.
- so the "effective Dk" of Bare wire in Teflon tube is very close to 1.1
- that’s why I rated it #1
I first realized this when I read about and tried Dulund tinned copper in Cotton/oil
- but it made no sense it sounded better than many other great wires
- the wire is tinned copper and I was using silver plated copper, which should have performed better.
- then I learned about Dk - and even though the Dulund had a conductor that rated lower in conductance, the insulation provided better clarity
- I then tried Bare wire in a larger Teflon tube and the results were stunning
So why does the insulation impact sound - well, I have no real hard core evidence, just what my ears tell me about the sound.
Here’s my thoughts
- A capacitor is an electrical component that draws energy from a battery and stores the energy. Inside, the terminals connect to two metal plates separated by a non-conducting substance.
- the dialectic becomes "charged"
- When "activated", a capacitor releases electricity in a tiny fraction of a second.
- So a wire is "equivelent to" a single plate with a dielectric applied to it
- and as the "AC signal" passes through the wire...
- in the +ve polarity part of the signal, it will charge the insulation in one direction
- when the signal changes to the -ve polarity, it charges the charge held by the insulation in the opposite direction,
- BUT the stored energy in the insulation from the +ve cycle is released.
- This release of energy interferes with the signal in the wire and you get TINY DISTORTIONS !
- reducing the Dk of the insulation reduces the amount of charge held by the insulation and consequently distortion is reduced
- With distortion reduced, you get a clearer signal
- But remember there are two channels - so with the two signals having more clarity the overall image will become more spacious and have improved focused.
As I said - these are my thoughts based on what my ears tell me
- That and $5.-- will get you a fancy millennial coffee (I hope)
Apologies for the long post, but wires and insulations get very complicated :-)
Regards - Steve
In recent years, I have been able to participate in a variety of Cable Demonstrations and Comparisons for the use of Phono 5 Pin DIN >RCA Terminated IC's, Digital RCA Terminated IC's and Speaker Cables.
During two of the Three Comparison sessions there were additional attendees at the demonstration.
I will offer a bit of info on my recollections of the different occasions.
At the Phono Cable Demonstration there was approx' Eight Cables in the line up, all given a Three Track Demonstration in a Home System.
Two Silver Cables were available at a purchase price sitting close to the middle price of the range of Copper Cables, the other Silver was the most expensive of all Cables.
All attendees were most impressed with the Five Copper Cables over the Three Silver Cables, from recollection I was leaning towards a OCC Silver as a qualifier for a further investigation and potential use.
A Copper Cable was selected to be purchased by the systems owner.
A Copper Cable that was quite impressive to myself on this occasion,
had failed to make a similar impression in another system, after the recommendation was made for it.
The Digital IC's were a line up of four, Three produced in Copper and One produced in Silver.
The Silver was the most expensive, at close to a £ 1000.
In my system the Copper was the most attractive, in all cables used the Silver did not make a impression to compete with the Copper.
A Copper Foil was the choice of IC made.
At a Speaker Cable Demonstration a Large choice of Speaker Cables were available, from Owned to Loaned in for the Demonstrations and Selection Purposes.
The end assessment was that there were a Copper and a Silver as the Cable types to be selected as a Purchase.
Each of these stood out as having quite a noticeable separation in SQ over the other Cables when used on the persons Home System
When compared to each other there were similarities and differences, with a noticeable weight to the Bass from the Silver.
Two Attendees purchased the Silver and are very satisfied with their choice to use Silver, I have heard the Silver on follow up occasions in both Systems and fully agree with the choices made.
I use the Copper Cable that was the Cable being used as the Comparison Cable to the Silver Cable that was chosen.
As said above there are variables at the interfaces that are unique to a system, these will prove to be of importance when a cables performance is being assessed.
A performance of a Cable and how the inter relation of a Device and Cable are being perceived for delivering a satisfactory and preferred SQ, is not easy to describe within a thread, experiencing the Cable Builds with the system of choice is a important part of the process.
- thank you for that link - I just wished I had seen it when it was published. It would have save me a lot of time :-)
I guess my first learning experience WRT cables and the effects/impacts of capacitance was around 10 years ago - I purchased a NAIM amp and they state on their web site that speaker cables having high capacitance will damage their amps, due to oscillation.
But my thought process at that time was focused more on the capacitance between the two conductors - which is more akin to a capacitor and probably responsible for the change in tonality
It wasn’t until more recently that I applied some thought as to how the signal in the wire could be impacted by the insulation of that wire. Which proved to be more of an impact to clarity and details
This became very apparent once I had tried the same wire with different insulations in my Interconnects,
- where the ONLY thing that changed was the insulation of the signal wire.
- all wires were UP-OCC copper of the same gauge
- All other wires and connectors were unchanged
The results: as Dielectric Constant of the insulation decreased each time
This paragraph from the article sums up nicely the impact an insulation of a wire has on the signal...
- improvements in clarity and details were observed
- improvements in image size and precision were observed because the signals in both L & R channels were more accurately being reproduced, hence recreating the original "image".
Because this energy, once stored, is released back into the signal path out of phase with the incoming signal, either canceling incoming increments of signal or creating out-of-phase discharge artifacts, this is hugely important and is, in itself, proof that cables or any other capacitor in your system can make a difference to its sound. Thanks again for the article - it's good to have "the Why's" confirmed
Cheers - Steve
Thank you for the elaborate and detailed response. Your description of the cables with a Teflon outer jacket makes me think of my own custom length Tempo Electric silver ICs with oversized Teflon jackets. The ends are silver WBTs. I use these cables between the preamp and amps. Have been using them for about 14 years now. My default IC for German Octave MRE130, Bryston 4BSST, and now McIntosh MC2301 amps.
Interestingly, my experience using silver and copper ICs started years ago with OEM Neotech cables. A dealer I met had a variety of Neotech OEM spools laying around and made me several incarnations of these cables when I asked him for some samples. I thought the copper Neotech ICs with copper WBTs sounded the most accurate on triangles and on mid range brass sounding instruments. The silver Neotechs with silver WBTs sounded exactly as others have experienced,,,sounding more zippy on the high end, but, at the same time, I felt as if the mid triangle was nearly, or the same as the copper, but the highs seemed to be a little more emphasized. I believe this perceived sound difference is why some prefer one type of cable over the other (individual gesmach and system composition). I spent months going back and forth until I just stayed with the silver cables.
The silver and copper Neotech cables had been my reference point over other cables I have tried for many years. I felt like generals kicking out lieutenants from briefings when vendors came over to demonstrate their high end cables, and I stated, system sounds worse, not interested. For me, thou shall not tell me that I need to allow for cable break in to hear any differences. One should invariably hear something or not, simple as that, and the quality of playback should not sound less, or cause you to perceive it sounding worse. Some vendors may even say that your cables you own are so bad, that your ears need to adjust to the new cables. Let’s not go down that rabbit hole.
Recently, I went against the grain of simple cables and ordered Audioquest Fire XlRs between the phono amp and preamp and ordered Analysis Plus Apex Silver phono cable. The Audioquest replaced my Neotech silver ICs and the Analysis Plus replaced my Silver Breeze phono cables with silver WBTs. The Silver Breeze is a simple silver wire with minor outer shielding. So far, all seems to be very quiet with some noticeable improvement in low level details. The Audioquest Fires will stay in place for a while and I will swap in the Neotech silver ICs between preamp and phono to see if I perceive anything glaringly different. If not, it is a shame that simple cable designs, such as pure copper or silver core with an oversized outer Teflon jacket are not more readily spoken of. I do follow the DIY community in another forum, but, that seems like it’s the Underground, LOL.
Does anybody have a guess as to what percentage of the signal strength is captured and released back to the conductor at a different phase?
Also, anyone know the Dielectric Constant (Dk) of the enamel coating on magnet wire?
- RE: What Percentage
I think a better question is - is it audible?
And the answer is - very audible !
On the signal wire only, I moved from
- UP-OCC copper with Teflon
- UP-OCC Copper with Foamed Teflon
- UP-OCC coipper in cotton sleeve
- and finally Bare UP-OCC copper in an oversized Teflon tube
Each time there were noticeable improvement
The final variant excelled in details, clarity and imaging, so much that I could not believe what I was hearing from such a simple change
The biggest improvements being the imaging which was clearly audible.
Trusting my ears has always worked for me.
Regards - Steve
In the words of Obi-Wan: "There is another"
That stuff is all wire (silver, copper, carbon fiber, etc), where the molecular structure is locked and solid and is involved in the creation, or more a reflection... the effects we call complex impedance or LCR.
With liquid metal it is completely different. It behaves principally in a quantum fashion. A true and actual quantum level beast as the scientific descriptor of the fluid in situ. Not a buzz word. First time that it is real and is the dominant factor.
for the first time in most people’s lives ...to be able to distance themselves from wire, cables and LCR and see stereoscopically into the subject and find depth or perspective for the first time.
Eg, one can understand what copper sounds like and what silver sounds like and what carbon fiber cables sound like, but what if you remove the underling creator of the effect, the reaction of/in/between the lattice and electron flow, or LCR? What happens when the underlying anchoring fundamental changes? Only Liquid metal changes that and allows for perspective.
the next problem we encounter, is that the entire edifice of electronics and signal is done as a pairing and we can’t escape that influence. thus all audio systems are tuned and altered to fit the problems of when electricity integrates with frozen lattice elemental and alloy solids. When one introduces the liquid metal, they will hear a difference. but will it fit the tuning done, will it fit tuning (system building, expectations, how we learned to hear, etc) that has occurred due to the wire problems, the metals and electrical complex LCR problem?
Which one is correct?
Some people hear it and some don’t, some like it and ask for more and some don’t.
It literally is the biggest change in electrical conductor technology in the past 150 years. Take it to a professor of physics, one who specializes in electron flow, ask him If I exaggerate on that.
Has anyone ever read the patent? I took transformers and inductors and all that end of the AC energy translation pool and completely turned it on it’s goddamned head. How about load sensitive waveform, current, voltage, and frequency shifting and patterning, in a single passive translation device?
Has anyone ever actually read and understood the patent? Audio cables are the SMALLEST, most unimportant part of the patent. The wasted space part, relative to all the rest of it. I manged to nail the fundamental science, not the application of a known technology. Which is why the other thousand plus patents in new technology aren’t in it. They aren’t.. as it is a cornerstone patent, a fundamental patent. One has to read understand the ramifications of what it says - What it can all be extrapolated into.
Sort of like the Terminator. That liquid metal was transformative.
If you ask for what is the best cable, if you get 50 answers, you will get 50 different ones. Pretty much random. That should tell you something.
Last few weeks there are silver cables laying on the floor. Also copper. Just laying there. Couple different ones. I leave them alone a lot. You would think if one was going to beat the other it would have happened by now. It is hard to be sure. I wouldn’t want to leap to any conclusions. It could be I just happen to have picked unusually amicable cables. Then again, and not saying for sure one way or the other, but do you think it could simply be they are inanimate?
The answers here, so far, have been far from random. What they do seem is to indicate a particular direction to go.
Soon, I'm going to be experimenting with some copper bi wire cables and if that is a bust, then my next move will be to take my two Tempo Electric speaker cables and maybe bi wire them using a KLE Harmony banana that can accept two different cables and use that for the amp end and use some single bananas for the speaker end and see how that fares.
Tempo Electric were the best SCs I've encountered when I had my Tonian Labs TL-D1s. Nothing else came close, in my limited experience. It was only when I got my JBLs is where the Tempo Electrics fell short, and that may very well be that the speaker needs to be bi wired to sound it's best.
It's the way I have it now with two different style cables and it's much better sounding that way already. The jumpers were holding things back.
Time will tell.
All the best,
I don’t know I’m confused.. Water seems to help, oxygen too.. ;-)
Am I reading this right? 2014 this thread started? I am confused! I see a slow dismal demise of my dashing dimples and wondering mind... What happend? Mike Tyson, after Buster clocked him good.. :-)
- When you say jumpers - are you using the metal jumpers that come with the speaker?
If you are, then yes, the jumpers are the issue
- but rather the making a second set of cables try some quality jumpers like these ones on @grannyring
's system page - he loves them
grannyring's System - Virtual Systems (audiogon.com)
Also take a look at this thread - the Helix Speaker cables are exceptional
Regards - Steve
Actually, I was using a pair of DH Labs silver plated OFC copper jumpers and for the longest time, and thought they were great. It was when I tried using the Tempo Electrics on the high connectors was when I realized some musical information was AWOL, along with cleaner and clearer highs and lows. This will take some time. 😄
All the best,
OK, so I forgot about Google. Magnet wire has, as an average, a dielectric constant of about 3.75 - 4.00
So that is nowhere near Teflon, and not so good.