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Audible Differences in Copper vs. Silver Cables?

post #1 of 189
Thread Starter 
I'm pretty sure this has been mentioned at least several times on these boards but the Search button has provided way too many unrelated results.

I did a search on Google and found that silver has better electrical conductivity, but why is it then that some manufacturers, such as Cardas Audio, refuse to use silver and continue to use high-purity, low-oxygen, copper?

I've never heard silver cables (tin solder?), not to mention those esoteric, gold/silver/copper alloy cables, but can anyone comment on how all these different cable materials generally affect sound?
post #2 of 189
if you connect a copper or silver cable to an analyzer, you will find no difference in frequency response. read that as you will. but i think that pretty much disproves the myth that silver cables are "brighter." technology might not be good at measuring certain aspects of sound, but frequency response curves are pretty straightforward.

and those who make the silver cables usually use solder containing silver, if that's what you were wondering.
post #3 of 189
Thread Starter 
If that's the case, then theres no point getting silver cables due to their higher prices...
post #4 of 189
well.... is there any point in getting any cable over another, copper or silver? the things that people claim to hear are not measurable in a normal analyzer. so, without getting into the normal cables-don't-make-a-difference arguments........ i just thought i'd say that it's pretty clear that silver is not "brighter"...... though i guess people could argue it sounds different in other non-measurable ways.

but i think this "brighter" thing is definitely a myth.

...anyway, i made a silver k1000 cable for uncledan. you might wanna pm him. pure material costs for his cable was already $200... so i assure you i only used the best. ask him his impressions.... (and ask him to post too... heh he, i wanna hear)
post #5 of 189
I just got my first silver IC's from infinity audio www.infinityaudio.net. I can definitely say that silver is audibly brighter than copper. I am going to fully burn them in before coming to any decisions as to which is better, but first impressions is that the silver cable is clearly brighter. Also, the cheap copper cable I am comparing it to has a fuller bottom end. It is definitely not a myth about silver being brighter, that I know for certain.
post #6 of 189
Hooking cables to an analyser may not show any differences between cables, but I really do not think it is a myth. Before I knew that silver cables were "brighter" from others, I noticed it the first time I bought a pair and hooked them up to my system.

I don't think analysers or engineers can prove that one cable sounds differenct from another based on the materials used. Some things just can't be explained.

Just like "burning-in" cables. No one has been able to explain why a cable changes in sound over time from burn-in, but they always do. There are no moving parts in a cable, so it isn't that the cable gets "trained" to sound better over time, like parting your hair to one side for years, then switching it to another direction.


Yes, I know. It's a weird analogy, but it gets the point across.
post #7 of 189
well, here's the deal:

i agree that it's possible than analyzers may not tell the whole story. after all, they only measure what we tell them to measure... so they only work if we measure something appropriate. if we use a machine to measure the temperature of a cable, well... what the hell is that gonna say--is the temeperature relevant at all? okay. so... if we use an analyzer to measure distortion in a signal...... that does measure an aspect of audio, but does not give them complete picture: distortion is not the end-all of audio. nor is frequency response. etc....

HOWEVER, when you say something sounds "brighter,"... well, that is very easily measured. something sounds brighter cause higher frequencies are being boosted, or lower frequencies are attenuated. i do not see how you could argue otherwise, but i'd like to know if you disagree.... "Brightness" is not one of those hard-to-quantify qualities.

therefore, if you can't measure frequency response differences between one cable or another, then it's clear one is not "brighter" than the other. it must all be in your head. and whether you like it or not, psychoacoustics is a proven phenomenom.
post #8 of 189
Where can I get me some bulk silver wire? I'll probably try and build some cables to take a listen.
post #9 of 189
Quote:
Originally posted by Orpheus
well, here's the deal:

i agree that it's possible than analyzers may not tell the whole story. after all, they only measure what we tell them to measure... so they only work if we measure something appropriate. if we use a machine to measure the temperature of a cable, well... what the hell is that gonna say--is the temeperature relevant at all? okay. so... if we use an analyzer to measure distortion in a signal...... that does measure an aspect of audio, but does not give them complete picture: distortion is not the end-all of audio. nor is frequency response. etc....

HOWEVER, when you say something sounds "brighter,"... well, that is very easily measured. something sounds brighter cause higher frequencies are being boosted, or lower frequencies are attenuated. i do not see how you could argue otherwise, but i'd like to know if you disagree.... "Brightness" is not one of those hard-to-quantify qualities.

therefore, if you can't measure frequency response differences between one cable or another, then it's clear one is not "brighter" than the other. it must all be in your head. and whether you like it or not, psychoacoustics is a proven phenomenom.
Who are you referring to?
post #10 of 189
Quote:
Originally posted by Orpheus
therefore, if you can't measure frequency response differences between one cable or another, then it's clear one is not "brighter" than the other. it must all be in your head. and whether you like it or not, psychoacoustics is a proven phenomenom.
When I used the silver cable in my rig, it was a night and day difference. Not a "It is kind of brighter" but a "Sh*t thats friggen brighter." I had my doubts before about differences in cables, but they really do make a difference.
post #11 of 189
The only real reason to get silver cables is that they would handle a higher amount of power more cleanly, right (it would be a n amazingly high amount, but still...)...is this correct??
post #12 of 189
Quote:
Originally posted by Orpheus
HOWEVER, when you say something sounds "brighter,"... well, that is very easily measured. something sounds brighter cause higher frequencies are being boosted, or lower frequencies are attenuated. i do not see how you could argue otherwise, but i'd like to know if you disagree.... "Brightness" is not one of those hard-to-quantify qualities.

therefore, if you can't measure frequency response differences between one cable or another, then it's clear one is not "brighter" than the other. it must all be in your head. and whether you like it or not, psychoacoustics is a proven phenomenom.
Agreed 100%... some things can be measured, and I don't see what other definition of "bright" there is than tipped up treble.

I'll concede that maybe people are hearing something else they interpret as "bright" with silver cables, but I have my doubts... silver is visually "brighter" than copper, and the brain makes some cross connections and associations between the senses and even thoughts/imagination/memories.

To give an example of the brain's cross connections, have you ever heard a song playing in your head? You're not hearing it in the usual sense, but the notes are really "there"... to me, they "sound" just like they would actually playing, except there's nothing coming in through my ears.
post #13 of 189
I've not really heard a silver cable that was liberally brighter than a copper cable. Most silver cables on the other hand have had greater treble extension.
post #14 of 189
All I have to say is that I highly doubt that Monster Cable, KimberKable, Cardas, Analysis Plus, Sraightwire, and all those other major companies made their millions just on myths and psychoacoustics.
post #15 of 189
Quote:
Originally posted by Chops
All I have to say is that I highly doubt that Monster Cable, KimberKable, Cardas, Analysis Plus, Sraightwire, and all those other major companies made their millions just on myths and psychoacoustics.
religion has made trillions on just myths alone. i believe in both jesus and high end cables though.
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