I recently upgraded the jumpers of my SDA SRS 1.2TL loudspeakers from AudioQuest Perfect Surface Copper+ (PSC+) to AudioQuest Perfect Surface Silver (PSS). During the course of the evaluation I decided to compare all the previous jumpers going back to the original equipment.
Figure 1. Top to bottom: 1. Original equipment jumpers, 2. Homemade jumpers made from DSR Silverline
speaker cable, 3. Homemade jumpers made from AudioQuest G0-4 speaker cable, 4. AudioQuest Perfect
Surface Copper+ jumpers, 5. AudioQuest Perfect Surface Silver jumpers.
The original equipment jumpers are Vampire Wire 12 AWG stranded wire. Cost: $0.
The homemade DSR Silverline jumpers are 10 AWG stranded speaker cable (copper and silver-plated copper strands) terminated with Monster Cable bananas. Cost: ~$15.
The homemade AudioQuest GO-4 jumpers have two 17 AWG solid core conductors and two 20 AWG solid core conductors for an effective size of 10 AWG. They are terminated with AudioQuest gold-plated BFA bananas. Cost: $75.
The AudioQuest Perfect Surface Copper+ jumpers have a 21 AWG, a 20 AWG, and a 19 AWG solid core conductor for an effective size of 15 AWG. They are terminated with AudioQuest silver-plated BFA bananas. MSRP: $185.
The AudioQuest Perfect Surface Silver jumpers have a 21 AWG, a 20 AWG, and a 19 AWG solid core conductor for an effective size of 15 AWG. They are terminated with AudioQuest silver-plated 500 Series bananas. MSRP: $429.
Listening evaluation results are summarized in table 1. As I went up in wire quality the following overall improvements were heard:
1. More apparent sound level due to noise floor being lowered.
2. More clarity at the sides of the sound stage.
3. More sound stage depth.
4. More bass weight and articulation.
The song used for listening evaluations was "You are my love" by Gerald Albright ("New Beginnings" CD). The key points in the song I concentrated on were
1. The sound quality of the piano at the introduction.
2. The weight, detail and articulation of an electric bass slide at 1:42.
3. The ambient cues and detail of the background percussion instruments.
4. The overall weight, detail, and articulation of bass sounds.
5. The detail in reed and brass sounds of the alto saxophone.
As noted in my review of the AQ Perfect Surface Copper+ jumpers, they sounded bad upon initial installation (link to review). The Perfect Surface Silver jumper sounded good, and better than the Perfect Surface Copper jumpers, right out of the box. Further improvement was heard after 24 hours of conditioning on the Audiodharma Cable Cooker.
Noise spectrum (Fast Fourier Transform) measurements were taken with an oscilloscope at the high frequency inputs of the right speaker. A 4 kHz test signal from Contemporary Communications' "Precision Test Signals" CD was used. The oscilloscope was a Tektronix TDS 2012. It is easier to see differences in the oscilloscope plots if you save the pictures and view them in succession.
Figure 2. FFT plot of oscilloscope background noise.
Figure 3. FFT plot of 4 kHz signal through original equipment Vampire Wire jumpers.
Figure 4. FFT plot of 4 kHz signal through DSR Silverline jumpers.
Figure 5. FFT plot of 4 kHz signal through AudioQuest GO-4 jumpers.
Figure 6. FFT plot of 4 kHz signal through AudioQuest Perfect Surface Copper+ jumpers.
Figure 7. FFT plot of 4 kHz signal through AudioQuest Perfect Surface Silver jumpers.
Discussion Of Results
It seems counterintuitive that a few inches of copper or silver placed between low frequency and high frequency inputs of a loudspeaker would make a difference doesn't it? In gross terms and in terms of casual listening, it doesn't make a difference. When things such as ambient effects, micro-articulation, spatial rendering, image weight, sound stage proportions, and other stereophonic performance parameters become important to you, wire quality, along with component quality and other noise reduction exercises, does make a difference.
Figure 8. The winner, by a significant margin.