Are silver conductor interconnects the most transparent sounding?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by avanti1960, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Chicago metro, USA
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  2. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    No idea if they're the most transparent ones but from what I've read, they tend to either allow or accentuate the high-end. In some systems, it sounds like a breath of fresh air. On others, it sounds grating to the ear.

    Something to try if you find your system too warm, I guess.
    Ghostworld and Dave like this.
  3. TheVU

    TheVU Forum Resident

    System dependent. On my mosfet SS yes, on my tubes hell naw, to the no no.
    FLEMKE likes this.
  4. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    They can be very transparent but it depends on the wire. Not all silver wire is the same.
    I found that there was a lack of bass when I was running silver wire.
    Cliff, Dave, apesfan and 1 other person like this.
  5. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Washington, D.C.
    It is rather hard to say if any sound characteristic relates to ANY particular design or material or construction method. Generally speaking, silver wire tends to allow for a more extended top end. This is evident where wire from a particular manufacturer is made with different materials but with similar design configuration. For example, the Audio Note silver wires have a more "vibrant" sound than their copper wire; the copper wire has a more "lush" and "warm" sound. The concept of lush and warm and vibrant and bright are related to frequency balance. If a wire provides for a more extended top end and does not cause the high frequency response to droop, the relative balance between top and bottom is different from that of a wire that does cut off some of the top end; this can be perceived as either a better top end extension, or as noted above, "a lack of bass." Hence, whether the change is good or bad is very much system dependent and a matter of taste.

    "Transparency" is a tricky property to define and assess. It generally means allowing for subtle detail to be heard. But, it too is related to frequency balance. A balance that favors bass and upper bass, might appear to submerge upper frequency detail. That is why gear that thins out the lower end tends to be called "transparent" and "detailed" sounding.

    I own Audio Note silver wire. It does have a less warm (thinner) tonal balance than their better copper wire. But, for my particular setup it is warm enough and I like what it does with upper end extension, good sense of room acoustics (long and natural and subtle decay of notes), and a sense of sound enveloping the listener. The sound with the copper wire delivers a little bit less of these attributes and sounds a touch murky (in my system). Yes, I do get more detail and "transparency" with the silver wire, but, I have no way to separate this from the tonal shift; if I needed a warmer sound, the copper wire might be superior overall.

    As for other brands of wire, I've heard plenty of wire that delivered detail, fast attack, etc., that were made of copper, copper clad with silver, in all sorts of configuration, so it is hard to say how much the material matters.
    thomaskong, dogilv, roole and 2 others like this.
  6. Bathory

    Bathory 30 yr Single Malt, not just for breakfast anymore

    they , in theory, should help with highs,mids.
    i can't afford silver, so i will never know.

    blue jeans for me nowadays. been through all the others, paid 3-400 for many cables, didn't really notice too much of a difference, so i went back to the belden for 35$.
    returned the high $ ones, and used that $ for more music.

    If i had a 150K stereo with uber expensive speakers, solution amps, etc etc, maybe i would, but for my modest system, and the speakers i have, those high $ ones would not make much of a diff to my aging ears anyway.
    Tony-A likes this.
  7. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Seattle, WA
    It all depends on the application. I darker-sounding systems silver can really help. In brighter-sounding systems, it can be too much.
    slovell likes this.
  8. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    London, UK
    They sound bright because silver is brighter coloured than copper :)
    Bill Larson, olson, slovell and 10 others like this.
  9. Salectric

    Salectric Forum Resident

    It is hard to generalize about sonic qualities of different conductor materials. There are just too many variables in cable design that affect sound quality. I have used silver cables that were very bright and had very thin bass. I have used others (Audio Note) that had a very neutral tonal balance. I also own one silver interconnect (Ocellia) that for my tastes is not bright enough and is also too warm.

    The bottom line is there are neutral sounding silver cables and neutral copper cables. In my opinion a more important indicator of sound quality is Litz construction. At some point it dawned on me that my best sounding cables, copper and silver, are all Litz.
    Gie663 and Dave like this.
  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Very true.

    Whether that is a good thing for a certain system is the key question. I'd say 50% of the time it is not.
  11. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    What theory is that?
  12. Postercowboy

    Postercowboy Forum Resident

    What I‘ve been told by the real world experts is that it‘s always a good idea to stick with the same line for your interconnects, power cables, and power strip.

    Beyond that, I think it‘s all trial and error what will work in your system and what will not.
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Who told you that?
  14. Postercowboy

    Postercowboy Forum Resident

    A guy here in Germany, who has been making a living manufacturing high end cables for about 20 years. I replaced my standard cables with his products and the difference was astounding.

    I asked the guys at my local high end studio about this, and they were of the same opinion.
  15. Postercowboy

    Postercowboy Forum Resident

    There are noticeable audible differences between different quality cables. Which does not necessarily mean that more expensive equals better.

    I remember a high end distributor‘s catalog advertising a cable with ‚manufacturing is not counted in hours, but in days‘. I don‘t know what the darn things cost, but I have no doubt it was counted in thousands, not hundreds.

    They did look pretty good and expensive, but even in this price range, I very much doubt you can get a 100% solution.
  16. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    So, a guy who is in the business of selling cables tells you that you should use the same cable brand throughout a system? Why aren't I surprised?
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  17. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Chicago metro, USA
    excellent. including grover's cables? (silver plated)
  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Never heard them, sorry.
  19. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    What possible reasoning, other than a guy selling one line of stuff, would anyone have for such a recommendation? There's no more reason to buy all your cables stamped with the same bran than there is to by both your pots and pans and your spatulas stamped with the same brand. And any given brand might have such a wide ranges of different products that picking by brand vs. by the physical, electrical and sonic characteristics is meaningless, it's like picking a cable based on the jacket color.
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  20. teag

    teag Forum Resident

    Even All-Clad????
    chervokas likes this.
  21. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    St.Louis Mo.
    Cables and how they perform is system dependent. Did you happen to go into the Thrax audio room at Axpona? That entire system with the $75.000.00 a pair tube amps was using all silver wire. The power cords were silver and copper blend. It wasn't overly bright at all while having lots of body. I've ran all silver in my rig and while it was very nice sounding with no harshness it was missing a little body. So from the source is solid silver but down the chain I have a silver over copper cable and finally all copper cables between amp and preamp with all copper speaker cable. Its sounding righteous! Silver is very transparent..but I've discovered OCC copper and Cryoed copper is more transparent than OFC copper.... So all my copper is OCC copper and speaker cable is Cryoed copper. I know others who use all silver wires with very positive results, so its system dependent. Some need copper down chain, or silver over copper.
    avanti1960 likes this.
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    I use Audio Note copper in my mastering room and silver in my listening room. Can't go wrong either way but it is totally system (and room) dependant.
    avanti1960 and Slippers-on like this.
  23. husafreak

    husafreak Great F'n music that's difficult to listen to!

    NorCal, Bay Area
    I just changed my digital front end which freed up a set of Kimber KCAG silver cables. These are about 25 years old and unshielded. I am trying them out on my VPI phonograph. Replacing Ortofon cables. I'm just enjoying them now, no big comparison yet. The silver cables are very detailed and not as warm (or thick) sounding. Hum is not an issue thankfully. I have Harbeth speakers and my system is not bright. It is a little forgiving really. Yeah, so far I really like the silver KCAG cables and I think they sound the way I expected them to.
  24. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    St.Louis Mo.
    Nothing wrong with all same brand of cable in a system. About 20 years ago I had a Rotel amp, preamp, CDP, and tuner. The gear had all the same sound signature. The Rotel had a rather bright sound to it, so I ran all copper from same brand. A buddy of mine has a Pass Labs preamp, Levinson amp, Levinson CDP, Sutherland phono amp, Clearaudio TT, and JBL speakers. All wires but TT wire is all Clarus Cable including speaker and power cords. Sounds nice .Bu recommending such....never heard that.
  25. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Nothing wrong with it, but nothing necessary about it and given the diversity of a lot of the product lines of some companies, nothing necessarily coherent about the sound or caliber of all the different products in a line.

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