About platings and flavours

I’ve understood that a perfect surface gold plating is not possible due to gold’s inherent quality of softness and literally crumbling into gold dust over time, in use that is.
I know rhodium is like… 20x more expensive than gold, but again for plating we need just a thin layer. Rhodium’s surface mechanical properties are like the opposite of gold - it will last a lifetime even in heavy plugging and unplugging. Thus I kind of view gold plated connectors as an antiquity.

And just for clarification… Is the ultimate interconnect conductor one such that it’s cryomagnetically treated 7N UP-OCC silver with a direct rhodium plate? We’d actually want to avoid coating the silver of course, but it’s suspectible to damage from tarnishing (not oxidation). But obviously the rhodium plate need be as thin as possible to not bottleneck the connector’s base metal. Strangely while rhodium isn’t actually even as conducting as gold, people with resolving enough systems seem to describe its addition in a clinical, neutral fashion, detailed, yada yada… And gold is mellower, they said in unison.
Some guy as I remember right stated somewhere that he works with signal processing and stated that rhodium has especially good HF transmission, as in even better than more conducting metals. How would this work when the hard truth is that bluntly stated, it’s only about half of gold’s conductivity?

I understand that the mere conductivity rating of a metal isn’t all there is to it, it’s something convoluted and maybe not fully understood yet. It’s apparent that all metals used as platings affect the sound in their own ways and the mere conductivity rating is only part of these piquant “flavour” differences. People love the JPS aluminium alloy cables while one’d think it a horrid conductor.

Some graphs about different metals’ resistances by frequency would be interesting. Well, this is impedance isn’t it? As in the inherent impedances of same length, same gauge strips of conductor being measured?
If gold sounds “softer” then it better show up in an analysis of its frequency-dependent resistance.

I have personally found that there are too many variables to dogmatically state that one metal or another such as rhodium or silver are inherently bright sounding while another such as gold is mellow. In my experience, for example, the Oyaide connectors used in their R-1 and M-1 plugs and IEC inlets are quite neutral, They use a palladium over platinum plating over a beryllium copper substrate. That having been said I’m currently using the Oyaide P-/C-046 plugs and IEC to very good effect. A phosphor bronze substrate is plated with 24K gold with a final palladium plating.

The bottom line is that (as always) you have to take into account the equipment being used and the personal tastes/preferences of the listenerr. I’m not really sure there are any absolutes in this area.

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In the sense of minimal resistance and having a plating that won’t wear, I see no other option than pure silver as base metal and a rhodium plating. This is an absolute that I’ve understood to be based on common sense science.
If we disregard “flavours” that’s an approach that should (?) give you the most efficient transmission, and one could say it’d be more “truthful” in the sense of simply giving the electricity the easiest route. But hey, there’s no absolute of truthful in hi-fi. It’s all about pleasure after all!
Also, minimal mass connectors. Eichmann / ETI / KLE surely have the most optimized standard connectors on the market, no nonsense, not pricey, just brilliant engineering that keeps it simple. They’re quite inspiring innovations, so long we have lived with major bottlenecking at every terminal that it was about time someone chimed in with connectors that are… as close to none as possible…

Next step: no solder! Always a bottleneck even with some fancy Furutech alloy.
Just now I realized that handheld ultrasonic welders are available for the consumer, I’m just a bit confused if they’re generally meant for thermoplastics since most search results indicate that. Does ultrasonic welding for electronics exist in handheld form? Obviously it takes quite a bit of power to join metal junctions…

And about adding spice to the sound (your favourite distortions, etc…), I stand by my opinion that this should be accomplished with carefully matched components, all cabling and terminals between them should be as neutral and transparent as possible, after all the conductor is somewhat of a necessary evil, always. When I learn enough about circuit design, I’ll just put everything in one huge box with mu-metal layered compartments and hardwire the whole thing. No, not an integrated, still separates but crammed as closely together as possible to avoid any extraneous use of cabling or terminals. There’s no denying that this would bring the sonic characteristics of the components forward. Or do we want to also listen to the cables? Well, I mean, I have to admit that I just love “listening to cables” for fun but realize that it’s basically listening to surplus attenuations and differences in losses (or lack thereof).

Arenith you have some interesting points that perhaps Galen from Iconoclast would be best qualified to answer…

But to your point that the softness of gold will lead to crumble into gold dust…in use over time…very highly unlikely…think about the gold jewelry found on centuries old wrecks…with the gold being intact…even 18 carat gold rings with daily use and
abuse don’t exhibit turning into dust

How often do you un plug your cable and replug them in? Even in repeated
cycles of plug and unplug connectors…in worst case is that the gold plating may
wear away…

So in my small .02 not a concern to worry about …they will outlive you …

Best wishes friend

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I’ve come to the conclusion over the years any good quality high purity conductor is good enough for cables and the differences lie in geometry and insulation materials. Both of which can impact impedance, propagation speed, group delay. I’ll be blunt about plating metals, silver, gold, rhodium … it’s marketing to pump up prices. When I dispense as best I can with confirmation bias, I’ve yet to hear a difference between, say, silver, gold or rhodium that I can ascribe to that choice of plating metal. I have a special place reserved in my list of snake oil gimmicks for cryogenic treatment (I don’t know what cryomagnetic treatment is).


I believe cryogenic treatment has more to do with durability and longevity than any sound characteristic per se.

Cryogenic treatment physically changes metals. If, as many believe, different metals sound different it is reasonable to accept cryogenic treatment sounds different.

Maybe it sounds “colder” :thinking:

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It is very much so, at the surface lattice level. A good quality gold plating will probably outlive us in macroscopic scale seen by eye, but perfect surface gold is not a thing as perfect surface copper is.

You must be planning to outlive your interconnects.
I don’t fastidiuosly unplug and replug them back in do you?
Nonsense really…

Gold plating input sockets and ics has been and still is
the industry standard…even PS Audio is utilizing these…
and numerous well know high end brands even Accuphase.

So why even bring this up…?

Why bring this up?
Consider the smearing-effect that non-perfect surface lattice structure has on the (HF-part of) the signal.
Then rhodium for instance can be surface-perfect at the atomic scale.

Oh well…whatever…

I’m no expert but I trust this to be more important than one might think.