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Thread: Copper Question

  1. #1

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    Default Copper Question

    Ever go -- Hmmmm?....

    Well, here's one of those moments --

    Why are most speaker cable and IC terminations gold plated instead of copper plated? It seems to me that most manufacturers would want to maintain the same kind of metal throughout their designs, so there's gotta be a good reason. Anyone know?

    Thanks.
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  2. #2

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    Probably because copper oxidizes quickly, and gold plating does not...

    also gold plating is harder and will last longer


    just my take...
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  3. #3

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    OK, thanks. Sounds like a good answer to me.

    I guess the plating process doesn't harden the metal.

    Is copper softer than gold?
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

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  4. #4

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    yes, I believe it is
    Cary SLP-98L F1 DC Pre Amp (Jag Blue)
    Parasound HCA-3500
    Cary Audio V12 amp (Jag Red)
    Polk Audio Xm Reciever (Autographed by THE MAN Himself)
    Magnum Dynalab MD-102 Analog Tuna
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  5. #5

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    Why not silver connectors?
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by auto_pilot View Post
    Why not silver connectors?

    Well, many silver cables already use silver plated terminations. I don't know if it matters or not.
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  7. #7
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    Gold is a much much better conductor than copper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    Gold is a much much better conductor than copper.
    Really? I always thought that copper was better than gold, and silver was the best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeC78 View Post
    Really? I always thought that copper was better than gold, and silver was the best.
    Gold is the best, but too soft, silver just noses out copper. For the difference in cost vs performance it makes more sense to stick w/ copper. That's why copper terminations are gold plated...best performance for cost & keeps the copper from tarnishing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeC78 View Post
    Really? I always thought that copper was better than gold, and silver was the best.
    One of the first things taught in electronics school is the order of conductivity;

    Gold,

    Silver, then

    Copper.

    I've forgotten mucho info that I learned in school but that and ohms law are the two that I remember.:)

  11. #11

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    Are you sure? They taught me that the reason they gold plate is to prevent corrosion and that copper is a better conductor than gold. They never said anything about silver, so I thought copper was the best conductor. All that valence electrons and shells and stuff...ugh, lol.

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    Maybe your school will refund your money,

    Silver 1.59 Best
    Copper 1.72
    Gold 2.44

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    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    Gold is a much much better conductor than copper.
    That statement is not true.

    Gold is slightly better than aluminum.

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    Well if you guys are correct then I better check Ohms law too!!!

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    Bam! Black eye time.

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    Why? I can admit when I'm wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beardog03 View Post
    Probably because copper oxidizes quickly, and gold plating does not...
    This is it.

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    10 copper equals 1 silver and 10 silver equals 1 gold.
    Do you hear that buzzing noise?

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    Hey, this isn't Dungeons and Dragons or Everquest. :)

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    The other reason (in addition to the oxidation) is that gold is very soft- the idea is that you get better contact/ more surface area using the soft material

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    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
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    There are copper connectors available if you want them. I've at least seen spades and RCA's.

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    Here's some info that I found interesting.

    Engineer's Corner
    ENGINEER'S CORNER #2
    SILVER SABOTEURS
    As usual, I'm once again scratching my head and asking myself. . . "What's the big deal about silver in cables?"

    Certainly silver has always had a place in the wire and cable industry. It's long been a fixture in military and high temperature applications. In the case of Teflon wire, you have always seen silver as either the sole metal present or at least as the plating. The silver is necessary to counteract the corrosive process for coating Teflon to the wire.

    Silver is also the best conductor of electricity, as shown by the following chart of bulk resistance measured in micro-ohms/centimeter:

    Silver 1.59 BEST
    Copper 1.72
    Gold 2.44
    Aluminum 2.84
    Zinc 5.8
    Platinum 10.0
    Steel 10.4
    Tin 11.5 WORST


    A surprise for most people is that gold is not the best conductor; gold barely edges out aluminum. Another surprise is that zinc is almost twice as conductive as platinum.

    But I'd like to draw your attention to the extremely slim difference between silver and copper. Silver is only a scant 8% more conductive in bulk terms than copper! In terms of differences in signal loss, then, this renders silver's conductivity superiority almost irrelevant, especially when considering the way silver is actually used by the hucksters (or should I say misused) of some popular cables.

    For example, in the late 1990's an illusive Silver Salesman latched on to this precious metal as a marketing opportunity to sell a web branded "performance vapor" cable to audio and video enthusiasts. I'll call them the "Silver Saboteur." I'm tickled to see how the marketing folks at "Silver Saboteur" have privately labeled and disguised an otherwise normal, good miniature video cable, produced as a commodity by a major US producer, simply by substituting an infinitesimally small silver center conductor. This re-branded PVC cable is then dressed for the part and is sold to consumers at a 1500% mark-up.

    It's outrageous how little silver there is in the "Silver Saboteur." In fact its bulk resistance is HIGHER than the LOWEST performing coaxial cable in our River Cable product line. And it shows MORE signal loss and impedance non-uniformity than almost any pure copper cable made for the same application by any manufacturer. But it does have SILVER in it. Sure silver is a great conductor, but in the case of the "Silver Saboteur" there is so precious little of the precious stuff that its only true purpose is marketing bait for the gullible consumer. It's amazing and sad!

    Bottom line: Silver is good, but it needs to be there. If you are considering silver cable, find out how much silver is in the cable. And note that I have not even talked about silver plated cable, where with at least one current web-offered product, the silver plating can be removed with a simple pencil eraser! Nor have I talked about silver's distaste for being flexed very often.

    River Cable's pure copper cables offer superior bandwidth and much lower loss than the "Silver Saboteur" or any of its questionable brothers in arms. And we encourage any independent testing facility to weigh in on this. With measurements--not hearsay, if you please.

    As part of our own continuous product improvement, we concentrate on engineering improvements that will make a measurably better cable, and we leave no idea un-examined when it comes to creatively boosting River Cable's specifications. While we continue to push the envelope of materials, science, physics and manufacturing technology, we are not ready to have River Cable offer products where phony marketing tricks and superstition overrule good engineering practices in pursuit of honest, measurable, and above all, repeatable QUALITY. We pledge to only design products that we can show without embarrassment to other engineers. And of course with pride, to you, our customers.

    Yours truly, stay tuned.

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    Techies talk about the differences (or lack thereof) in conductivity between copper and cable, whereas an audiophile only cares about how the two different metals sound. There appears to be the notion that silver sounds a bit more detailed, but brighter than copper, in general. If that's true, then who cares about its electrical conductivity relative to other metals? There are other factors at play, such as the impact of oxidation on copper, the quality of the metals, the design of the cable, the terminations, solder type, etc.

    Techies often talk like preachers who read one passage in the Bible, then create an entire sermon out of it, but often ignore the context in which the passage was taken.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pearsall001 View Post
    A surprise for most people is that gold is not the best conductor; gold barely edges out aluminum.
    Yep I was shocked. For 35 years since I graduated school I always remembered gold being the best conductor. I must have been stoned that day and got it backwards.:o

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    zu uses copper spades on their speaker cables because they say it sounds better you just have to clean them every now and then.
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