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Silver vs Copper Cables Modular Synthesizers
Old 21st August 2007
  #1
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lucey's Avatar
 

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Silver vs Copper Cables

I'd like to narrow the cable debate to a materials discussion.

I changed my main DA output => Amps cabling last week, back to what I used to use, copper Cardas 2x24M. Then just now switched back to Acoustic Zen's silver cable....

Wow. If you ever had a doubt that line level cabling could make an easily audible difference, compare silver to copper. It's a huge difference. Silver has extended subs and top, is flatter, and presents more harmonic content. It's also more tiring, with all of those harmonics.
Old 21st August 2007
  #2
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It could also be that you "tightened up" the terminals by taking off and putting on the cables and that is why things sound different.

We have tried many different cables over the years and I know I hear differences but I think it was Brad Blackwood who said that what I am probably hearing is the act of taking off the old cables and putting on the new ones and tightening everything up. I do know that the ALON IVs sound the best with the current cables we have on them and the tri wired configuration sounds the best to me.

It is almost impossible to do a A/B/X (double blind) test on cables and the human ear has a notoriously short audio memory so it is very difficult to really judge the effects the cables are having on the sound.

If they work for you and you perceive a difference I would use them. Why change something that works?
Old 21st August 2007
  #3
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Hi lucey,

what is the lenght off you're DA->AMP cable ... ???? just curious ...
Old 21st August 2007
  #4
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Watch out Brian. Silver also has the potential to be more accurate but can get a little more (for lack of a better word) strident or harsh. Keep an ear on it.

Copper = warm low end,looser sound we've become accustomed with
Silver = more accurate response across the spectrum (which isn't always a good thing).
Old 21st August 2007
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
Watch out Brian. Silver also has the potential to be more accurate but can get a little more (for lack of a better word) strident or harsh. Keep an ear on it.

Copper = warm low end,looser sound we've become accustomed with
Silver = more accurate response across the spectrum (which isn't always a good thing).
Right ... this is why I took the silver out last week. I've been busier than ever and the harmonics were killing me. The Copper was a nice break, but eventually I missed the flatness of silver, the additional subharmonics, and the extra harmonics overall.

Cables are 2M silver and 3M copper.

(I'm not entertaining those of us who dont hear it ... copper/silver is a slam dunk. I'm going to assume most have not done this kind of auditioning. This is a thread about the obvious difference from the materials ... not about ABX. If I've said it once I've said it 100 times ... if you've ever changed a speaker or a tube in an amp, or pickups in a guitar, you learn that ABX is not always necessary.)
Old 21st August 2007
  #6
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Silver does have it's own sound. Personally. I've never cared for it but I have friends that won't use anything but.

I prefer Litz but it's a PITA to work with.
Old 21st August 2007
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
compare silver to copper. It's a huge difference.
When I was a kid, we were waaay into slot car racing.

We replaced our copper brushes (track contacts) with silver ones.

Seems like they ran considerably faster.

Might have been placebo effect, tho' I don't think so.

Silver is a better conductor... may even sound different than copper.

But does it really have a place in the studio, hmmm...

I'll be lurking on this one.

(still using high quality oxygen free copper wire here)

JT
Old 21st August 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
does it really have a place in the studio

Yesthumbsup When you switch to silver, you immediately notice the increase in detail. One downside I have noticed with silver is that you can really hear the artifacts from things like cheap ICs.
Old 21st August 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
Yesthumbsup When you switch to silver, you immediately notice the increase in detail. One downside I have noticed with silver is that you can really hear the artifacts from things like cheap ICs.
Yes of course. But my (implied) point is -

How much detail do you actually want (or need) to hear, and is it useful?

What threshold of accurate monitoring detail does one want/need to approach, in order to master a record (rhetorical)?

forest -vs- trees -vs- leaves -vs- atomic structure

JT
Old 21st August 2007
  #10
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cody brown's Avatar
 

cool thread.
Old 21st August 2007
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
Yes of course. But my (implied) point is -

How much detail do you actually want (or need) to hear, and is it useful?

What threshold of accurate monitoring detail does one want/need to approach, in order to master a record (rhetorical)?
Exactly the point Jerry. What's needed? Not what do we think, or what theories do we know, or what did we hear someone say, but what do we really need to do out best.

For me, the Silver was too much info when ears were tired and days were too long. Now more rested, the copper is lacking and I miss elements. So I need to find another silver that's more relaxed, or another copper with more details. AZ is sending their newest copper, and Patrox has offered some of his silver samples ... so hopefully there is a practical balance in there somewhere.

For this thread, I'm interested in anyones specific and real experiences with copper vs. silver ...
Old 21st August 2007
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
my (implied) point is -

How much detail do you actually want (or need) to hear, and is it useful?

What threshold of accurate monitoring detail does one want/need to approach, in order to master a record (rhetorical)?

forest -vs- trees -vs- leaves -vs- atomic structure

JT

That's a good question, and I think it depends on the individual. There are some people who will always strive for that little extra. Does it matter in the big picture? That is debatable , but I personally think it does. Silver adds a presence and a sheen to the top end that you can't achieve from an EQ for instance. I use my cables as tools in much the same manner as my outboard. What can make the source the best it can be? That's what I'll use.
Old 21st August 2007
  #13
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What's the point if no one who subsequently listens to the recording
cannot hear it through their MP3, dirty ass copper $0.25 phono cables
through a set of in ear plugs.

I just cannot see the point other than self gratification which is perfectly fine
by me, but I don't necessarily think it will mean a better end product.

If anything the sensible solution is to master for the masses and the systems
it is likely to be played on i.e. the vast majority have silver on their fingers not their
audio leads.
Old 21st August 2007
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XLR2XLR View Post
What's the point if no one who subsequently listens to the recording
cannot hear it through their MP3, dirty ass copper $0.25 phono cables
through a set of in ear plugs.

I just cannot see the point other than self gratification which is perfectly fine
by me, but I don't necessarily think it will mean a better end product.

If anything the sensible solution is to master for the masses and the systems
it is likely to be played on i.e. the vast majority have silver on their fingers not their
audio leads.
There is no shortage of people who feel just as you do. This discussion will most likely be somewhat trivial to those people as it doesn't parallel their own philosophy . I think this discussion is more applicable to the "purist" and "audiophile" segments of the industry .
Old 21st August 2007
  #15
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Try going for cotton covered silver cables instead of something with too much dialectric influence. You will be even more shocked.

When I stuck the Nordust cables in my system I was expecting a little difference and things I took as digital noise or distortion became layers of extra detail. Silver vs copper is too simplistic of a senerio and many other things make just as big of a difference.

Insulators,
impedance
inuctance

etc
Old 22nd August 2007
  #16
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I use Silver Serpent interconnects from the Avocet to the amp. Silver/copper hybrid.

Eh, they're fine...
Old 22nd August 2007
  #17
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I'm not saying there's no difference between copper and silver. I just can't rationalize where the difference could come from. The inductance per foot doesn't change. The capacitance per foot (given identical construction) doesn't change. The resistance may change or they may use lighter gauge wire and the resistance may be the same. The parasitics are not big enough that the small change in resistance could make any difference in the audio band. I'd be interested if someone could put forth a theory of how it could make a difference. (Then maybe we could open up the AC line cord debate again heh )

Regards,

John
Old 22nd August 2007
  #18
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Originally Posted by lucey View Post
Wow. If you ever had a doubt that line level cabling could make an easily audible difference, compare silver to copper. It's a huge difference. Silver has extended subs and top, is flatter, and presents more harmonic content.
Can you post some short clips of both so we can hear the difference?
Old 22nd August 2007
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLaPointe View Post
Can you post some short clips of both so we can hear the difference?
Over the net?
Old 22nd August 2007
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
Over the net?
What's wrong with a short 24 bit WAV clip?

John
Old 22nd August 2007
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoteRotie View Post
What's wrong with a short 24 bit WAV clip?

John
Can you pay via Paypall?
Old 22nd August 2007
  #22
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Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
Can you pay via Paypall?
I'm not sure I'm following you here, Patrox247.

I was just hoping Lucey could post some clips so we can hear what he is hearing. We're talking line level cables, so a good AD should capture the differences. I'm genuinely interested.

- J.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #23
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HIGHENDONLY's Avatar
 

I'm a dummy!!!Where do you buy silver cables from?
Old 22nd August 2007
  #24
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Once again, I'm asking for those with experience to post, on the differences, if any. No theories or debates.

Ring a silver bell. Ring a copper bell. And what do you hear? Plug in a silver cable, and then a copper cable ... and what do you hear? To me, it's not so different with cables than with bells.
Old 22nd August 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
Once again, I'm asking for those with experience to post, on the differences, if any. No theories or debates.
I'll throw another material in there. I have Alumiloy in all of my cables. Yes, I can hear a difference in cables. I've tried Transparent, Nordost, Harmonic Tech and now JPS Labs Aluminata. My whole system is wired with this... except for the ST/SC optical cables. It also has Kapton and Aluminum shielding. I'm not a big fan of networks in your cables. They muck up the sound too much. I do like the silver (Harmonic Tech Pro-Silway) in my phono section though.
BTW... all of my analog cabling is the digital 110 ohm and 75 ohm AES/EBU and SDIF cable. I can hear a difference between the analog and digital cable and I like the digital better... FOR ME....

Regards,
Bruce
Old 22nd August 2007
  #26
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Alumiloy?! That's the spirit ...




And how does that metal sound as compared to the other two that makes you prefer it? (Brands and cable names please)
Old 22nd August 2007
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
Can you pay via Paypall?
Yes, I have a Paypal account, and I'm able to pay for things that way. What does that have to do with this thread?

John
Old 22nd August 2007
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
Alumiloy?! That's the spirit ...
And how does that metal sound as compared to the other two that makes you prefer it? (Brands and cable names please)
I actually stumbled on this cable when I had my Equi=tech wall cabinet installed. I called Equi=tech to see if they recommended any type of "audophile/exotic" in-wall UL cable and they recommended JPS labs. At the time I was using Nordost Valhalla and Transparent. The silver cable made the sound too "light"... almost like the bottom end had a slight roll-off. It wasn't bright, but just tilted the balance upward.
Just as soon as I put the cable in my system I though someone had turned up the sub. You could actually hear more of the room ambience and the reverb tails all the way to the end. The JPS Aluminata isn't cheap though, but I feel it was worth it to make my job easier and more efficient since I can hear deeper into the music.

Regards,
Bruce
Old 22nd August 2007
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSD_Mastering View Post
I do like the silver (Harmonic Tech Pro-Silway) in my phono section though.

Brian, I'm sending you a pair of these and some others.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSD_Mastering View Post
I actually stumbled on this cable when I had my Equi=tech wall cabinet installed. I called Equi=tech to see if they recommended any type of "audophile/exotic" in-wall UL cable and they recommended JPS labs. At the time I was using Nordost Valhalla and Transparent. The silver cable made the sound too "light"... almost like the bottom end had a slight roll-off. It wasn't bright, but just tilted the balance upward.
Are you talking audio or AC? I'm not interested in an AC thread here.

If audio that sounds odd ... AZ silver Ref has more subs and air than their copper, and is flat. Mid-bass is up with copper ... is that what you mean?
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