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Copper vs. Silver and brightness?

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
I am dealing with a slight brightness issue in my system, and I thought trying some copper interconnects might help. I tried a crappy Monster cable in place of my regular interconnect (silver.) I noticed the time smear people talk about, less detail and speed as a result, and a lot less high frequency harmonics too. But the interesting thing about copper, it seems, is the tone. It seems more lush than silver, and less hard and sharp. The overall feeling is a warmer sound with a nice, sweet mellow tone, as opposed to a bright, ringy sound. What I am getting is, depending on the setup, the silver might be a better choice to lively things up a bit, or it can be omitted and replaced with copper to tone things down a bit. There is less of an attack with copper, it is more slow and like I said, not as sharp. I really think I prefer silver overall for its detail and clarity. However, using copper really helps tone down the brightness I experience on headphones, bringing out the lushness and full tone of the music. And this is with crappy copper cables! So at this point I'm wondering if I shouldn't have just purchased that expensive fine silver wire interconnect... if maybe copper and silver together might have been better for my system. I really prefer silver but it's brightness just might be too much for my system, at least with headphones. I'm going to try the better silver cables I'll be recieving soon and if I find I still can't tolerate the brightness, I might get some silver/copper ones to try instead... what do u think?
post #2 of 87
True to my experince with IC in general - silver will quite always probably try the best out for mantaining details and will try the refinement in the direction of the noharshness & politeness where copper will try the best for keep richness organicity of sound and will try the refinement in the direction of detailing.
Again , my experince only and consequently my opinions only.
I ended up choosing some nice silver IC over some nice copper ones.
post #3 of 87
You mean you haven't tried gold cables yet.

Biggie.
post #4 of 87
Asterix, I agree with your impressions. I did not really like the sound of a silver interconnect in my system, and much preferred the copper interconnects. The one potential issue re a copper/silver cable is how it is made. I have heard or read that a hybrid copper/silver cable can sound like a silver cable if it is made one way, and a copper cable if it is made another way. I finally ended up with the LAT International interconnect, which uses some sort of copper/silver fusing process if I recall. I has the warmth of copper in my system, but does not seem to have any of the harshness that all silver interconnects caused in my system.
post #5 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asterix
I am dealing with a slight brightness issue in my system, and I thought trying some copper interconnects might help. I tried a crappy Monster cable in place of my regular interconnect (silver.) I noticed the time smear people talk about, less detail and speed as a result, and a lot less high frequency harmonics too. But the interesting thing about copper, it seems, is the tone. It seems more lush than silver, and less hard and sharp. The overall feeling is a warmer sound with a nice, sweet mellow tone, as opposed to a bright, ringy sound. What I am getting is, depending on the setup, the silver might be a better choice to lively things up a bit, or it can be omitted and replaced with copper to tone things down a bit. There is less of an attack with copper, it is more slow and like I said, not as sharp. I really think I prefer silver overall for its detail and clarity. However, using copper really helps tone down the brightness I experience on headphones, bringing out the lushness and full tone of the music. And this is with crappy copper cables! So at this point I'm wondering if I shouldn't have just purchased that expensive fine silver wire interconnect... if maybe copper and silver together might have been better for my system. I really prefer silver but it's brightness just might be too much for my system, at least with headphones. I'm going to try the better silver cables I'll be recieving soon and if I find I still can't tolerate the brightness, I might get some silver/copper ones to try instead... what do u think?
Be careful with hybrid cables. I would definitely try to avoid anything that has plating with another metal, such as silver-plated copper. Using pure copper for one run and pure silver (or gold, etc) for another run is better, but there's still some loss of coherence.

I prefer cables that use same metal for all the runs. If your cheap Monster copper IC seems rolled off, look for copper IC that uses small AWG solid core copper that's continuous cast and/or cryo'd. Enamel-coated wire or air-dielectric have better chance of working well.

Check out IC's made from Jena labs copper wire in proprietary dielectric or Vampire continuous-cast copper wire for that copper lushness with great detail.
post #6 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L
Be careful with hybrid cables. I would definitely try to avoid anything that has plating with another metal, such as silver-plated copper. Using pure copper for one run and pure silver (or gold, etc) for another run is better, but there's still some loss of coherence.
How specifically is there a "loss of coherence"? I'd also like to understand how sonics could be adversely affected by silver plating over copper.

Thanks,

coma
post #7 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by comabereni
I'd also like to understand how sonics could be adversely affected by silver plating over copper.

Thanks,

coma
This is an statement that I have been heard at least a hundred times, but I have not found any logical explanation to the date in any place, I also would like to know the "science" behind that, as many people use silver plated IC's and speaker cables with extremely good results...I have tried some cooper and silver speaker cables, and to the date I'm still using a silver plated one (Carol Command, very cheap and very good) and nothing has beat it to the date. I think that silver plated is a nice compromise in some systems, that you feel too harsh with silver and too warm wiht cooper...
post #8 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by comabereni
How specifically is there a "loss of coherence"? I'd also like to understand how sonics could be adversely affected by silver plating over copper.

Thanks,

coma
Don't get me wrong. Silver-plated copper cables CAN sound great if done well. I do use some Nordost Quattro Fil's that use silver-clad copper, which is supposed to sound better than typical thin silver-plated copper. Quattro Fil does have great treble detail (of silver) combined with dense richness in midrange/upper mid of copper. However, when directly comparing QF to high-quality non-hybrid cables, its easy to tell the non-hybrids speak with same voice from top to bottom, with similar "speed" and similar level of detail in all frequency bands (only the great cables BTW). QF reveals a subtle "tearing" quality where low treble transitions into upper midrange, which I would attribute to the silver-copper interface. It also has different voices and detail level depending on frequency. I still like what QF does in other areas but will concede that much. Remember, the problems are worse for most other silver-plated wire, as QF is made rather well. High frequencies tend to run on outside of conductor, which would be the silver layer, which presumably moves at different speed/fashion from lower frequencies riding on the copper part, not to mention signal that's riding (and distorting?) right at the interface.

Using different metals for different runs don't suffer from similar distortion, but there is a certain vagueness, certain blended feel to tonality and harmonics that detracts from absolute clarity and sounding "as one." Better cables have less of this, of course.

These are all subjective experience using my ears and my equipment, and I haven't made some special measurements to prove it. I just know what I hear and that's good enough for MY purposes.

I would add that these findings are dependent on application. For example, silver-plated teflon copper works great in DC umbilical type of application.
post #9 of 87
i would like to have some nordost cables if they don't cost as much as my DAC.
in my experience brightness has more to do with poorly designed components and dirty power than cables. i only use silver cables in my rig (except power cords, can't afford to make myself 3 silver power cords) and treble is neither hard nor smeared.
by the way why would anyone uses silver plated copper when teflon lnsulated 99.999% 24 AWG silver wire is only 1.8/ft on ebay? VH audio also sells 26 AWG cotton coated 99.99% silver wire at 2.4/ft. i would like to know a source of bare copper wires tho.
post #10 of 87
Thanks. I'm beginning to experiment with the cabling in my system and it helps to understand the reasoning/logic behind the assertions. I don't doubt there is a difference between the resultant sound using materials with different conductive efficiencies, but I also get a sense that we are sometimes tempted to smear our perceptions--i.e. what we see with our eyes can influence what we hear with our ears.

For example, I've heard it argued that wooden Grados sound warm and metal ones sound bright, but upon tearing apart my SR-325's for some extensive modding, I discovered the metal enclosures were internally sleeved entirely in plastic. IOW, I don't think the metal has anything to do with how they sound. SR-325's really are bright looking and sounding, but I think it is coincidental. I'm just curious if there isn't some of that going on with the copper vs. silver "debate". Since I'll have samples of each type, I guess I'll find out for myself.

-coma
post #11 of 87
Nevermind...
post #12 of 87
I like the sound of my silver plated copper.

try out silver plated cables.

the whole thing about high frequencies traveling on the outter perimeters of the cable and bass response through the center might be true but the signal is traveling so fast I dont even think there is an audible difference if youre trying to say the higher conductivity of silver (not by much) will cause the high freguencies to travel faster then the copper core low frequencies,

are you refering to skin effect? a highly abused term used by high end snake oil venders to sell mroe over priced cables?

read this
http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/...ect_Cables.htm
post #13 of 87
check out headphile's blackmax ICs if you think copper plated silver is good
post #14 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiberian
i would like to have some nordost cables if they don't cost as much as my DAC.
in my experience brightness has more to do with poorly designed components and dirty power than cables. i only use silver cables in my rig (except power cords, can't afford to make myself 3 silver power cords) and treble is neither hard nor smeared.
by the way why would anyone uses silver plated copper when teflon lnsulated 99.999% 24 AWG silver wire is only 1.8/ft on ebay? VH audio also sells 26 AWG cotton coated 99.99% silver wire at 2.4/ft. i would like to know a source of bare copper wires tho.

possibly perceived characteristics of the materials? if you dont beleive there is a difference sound characteristics silver plated copper is still cheaper
post #15 of 87
bettercables.com uses silver plated wire.
they dont seem to get complaints from their customers, they also probably have a 1000% markup on their prices too

Im also a firm believer in diminishing returns for cabling, spending 100's on speaker cables and rca interconnects is pure psycho acoustics,

http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/...lesnakeoil.php

people complaining about silver clad copper are the same folks that think 99.99999999999999999999% silver is better and audibly perceivable to 99.9999999999999999999% silver. </sarcasm>
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