In this short article, I will address a common misconception people have about the sound of copper and silver cables.
Misconceptions about cable materials
A common misconception that many people have is that the sound signature of copper is warm, bass-heavy, and lacking in treble accuracy, while silver has a bright tone, sparkly highs that may be piercing at times, and even thin on the vocals.
These are not true! How did these claims come about then? Well, initially, people may have judged the sound based on the color of the cable. Copper usually has a warmer brown color, leading people to subconsciously associate the looks with the sound it produces. Likewise for silver, it is white, and hence people associated that with a sparkly and bright tone.
The second reason is that the material refinement from 5-10 years ago, when these norms were first formed, was still in it's early stages of development. This led to inaccurate formation of grain structures when the metal was extruded into cables, which thus resulted in such a sound being produced.
True sound signatures
This then begs the question- if those were myths, what is the truth?
Properly refined copper is supposed to sound smooth on the transitions from mid-bass to mids, and upper-mids to treble. Bass is present, but definitely not meant to be overwhelming. In fact, highs can be quite extended as well.
As for good silver cables, they will sound mid-forward with a punchy, pugnacious bass response. Highs can be bright but not piercing, or rounded off, depending on wire gauge. Good silver will sound warm and accurate. If it sounds flat or dead, chances are that it is not a high purity silver cable.
The current highest purity is 7n for copper and 6n for silver. It is almost impossible to refine these two materials higher than these percentages due to impurities being either smaller than the grain or extrusion defects. Despite all these improvements in cable technology, 7n copper cables are still extremely difficult to evenly replicate at high-gauge volumes, resulting in the only way being to reduce gauge size to be to add more strands.