Is this "Silver Wire"?
Mar 3, 2007 at 3:03 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

kramer5150

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I bought this 26 AWG wire from Frys a while ago. Is this "silver wire", that everyone raves about? I scraped at it it a little with an x-acto knife and there's solid copper beneath the silver finish. Sorry about the poor pic quality, I hope its detailed enough.

Also, are there any low profile 1/8" TRS connectors?

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thanks,
Garrett
 
Mar 3, 2007 at 3:08 AM Post #2 of 10

listening

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That's probably tin coated copper. No better than uncoated copper, but it costs more and looks different.
 
Mar 3, 2007 at 3:10 AM Post #3 of 10

SayNoToPistons

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I doubt thats solid silver. Probably silver plated copper if you're lucky.

"3. WHY ARE MANY CABLES MADE WITH SILVER PLATED COPPER INSTEAD OF SOLID SILVER OR BARE COPPER?

Eager to cash in on what is perceived as an easy and lucrative business, part-time hobbyists posing as "cable companies" continue to flood the internet and classified adds with "sensibly priced", home-made silver cables. Prospective buyers need to read advertisements very carefully since it is often not very apparent that many of these "bargain silver cables" are actually only made with silver plated copper wire, not solid silver. Often slyly advertised simply as "Silver cables", vague and misleading terminology has been created to give the impression that some groundbreaking, exotic manufacturing process has been invented, such as "silver saturation", "silver-clad", "silver hybrid" etc.

The reality is silver-plated copper wire is simply a mass produced staple of the commercial cable industry, and readily available at any surplus electronics outlet or parts catalog. It is far less expensive than Teflon co-extruded solid silver wire which is only produced on an individual basis for high-end audio cable companies that can afford it. Silver or tin plating is simply used to protect bare copper from heat/chemical accelerated oxidation. Silver is used instead of tin for high temperature applications, or to boost the conductivity of braided shielding material. In contrast, the pervasive use of silver-plated copper conductors in high-end audio (and especially "low-end" audio) is never for any other reason than to seduce naïve consumers with the infallible reputation of pure silver as for a signal conductor.

No valid SONIC advantage can be claimed for silver plated copper wire at audio frequencies. If anything, arguments could be better made for a sonic DISADVANTAGE of silver plated copper! Learning and understanding a little bit about the crucial differences between the nature of audio and RF (Radio Frequency) signals reveals the reasons why.

Very high frequency RF signals (from MHz and beyond) propagate very differently than audio. Due to their very shallow depth of penetration, ultra-high frequencies only travel around the very edge or "skin" of a conductor and are incapable of penetrating into the conductor more than 1/1000 of an inch or so, and less at even higher frequencies. Thus ONLY radio frequency signals (RF) can benefit from a thick plating of silver over a solid conductor of different metal. In this case, the superior conductivity of silver partially compensates for the phenomenon of rising DC resistance to rising frequency (the constantly misunderstood "skin effect").

Only two other valid electrical uses for silver plating exists; at connector contact surfaces and to boost the conductivity of braided mesh shielding material used around coaxial type cables. The later increases shielding efficacy by lowering transfer impedance. It was only a matter of time before this inexpensive and common material found its way into a few high end audio cable designs where it is used as the signal conductor!

At audio frequencies however, any effect silver plated conductors (not connectors) MIGHT have on the signal could only be bad. At audio frequencies, otherwise small differences in simple DC resistance significantly alters impedance. Therefore, the presence of both silver and copper in the signal path is capable of creating two different, frequency dependant, conductive pathways to the signal which is a non-linearity that NO audio cable should be causing, especially not a "high-end" audio cable!

In the case of silver plated connectors however, the benefits far outweigh the theoretical limitations of silver plating by reducing contact resistance. Contact resistance can be a source of subtle distortions due to arching and especially RF demodulating diode-like effects."

http://www.silveraudio.com/faqs.htm
 
Mar 3, 2007 at 7:28 AM Post #5 of 10

kramer5150

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Quote:

Originally Posted by threEchelon /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You realize that they're trying to market their pure silver cables, right?


yeaah... thats the first thing I noticed. Needless to say, I went ahead and made an IC out of that stuff. Sounds decent enough to me thus far.
 
Mar 3, 2007 at 9:03 AM Post #6 of 10

Uncle Erik

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That's probably tin plated wire, anyway. They plate it to keep it from corroding.

Also, that's not a very good description of RF and how it can (and cannot) affect audio gear. If anyone would like to purchase books or learn more about RF, go to the publications section here:

http://www.arrl.org/

The ARRL has no financial interest in selling cables.
 
Mar 3, 2007 at 9:42 AM Post #7 of 10

rb67

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I'm pretty sure it's tin plated copper. I haven't seen any silver plated copper at my local fry's and I imagine the demand for it vs tin plated is not enough to keep it in stock.
 
Mar 3, 2007 at 10:02 AM Post #8 of 10

skyline889

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Quote:

I doubt thats solid silver.


I think that might be a given seeing as Kramer5150 has already said there's solid copper underneath.
wink.gif


Quote:

Originally Posted by threEchelon /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You realize that they're trying to market their pure silver cables, right?


Bingo.
biggrin.gif


Looks to me like tinned copper Kramer. Copper is a good conductor and having it pre-tinned makes it that much easier to solder and also prevents the copper from oxidizing in storage. Definitely a plus since copper oxide, unlike silver oxide, does not conduct.
 
Mar 3, 2007 at 6:09 PM Post #9 of 10

SayNoToPistons

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Quote:

Originally Posted by threEchelon /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You realize that they're trying to market their pure silver cables, right?


Of course. But it does show facts.
 
Mar 4, 2007 at 1:23 AM Post #10 of 10

threEchelon

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Quote:

Originally Posted by SayNoToPistons /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Of course. But it does show facts.


It seems to me at least that current "facts" state that the same sound of a silver wire can be achieved by using a lower gauge copper wire with the same resistance as the silver wire. So then why does this site use silver when they could use copper? Obviously because they believe (or at least want their customers to believe) that silver sounds better.


Many people use silver plated copper because it is extremely cheap and sounds better to them for the price than other alternatives. It all comes down to preference.
 

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