Our new ChordOhmic silver-plated loudspeaker plugs are designed to bring both the electrical and sonic benefits of silver to speaker cables everywhere. The new plugs will be fitted to all Chord Company speaker cables, as well as being separately available as a retro-fit upgrade, enabling this revolutionary 4mm connector to improve other brands of cable, too.
For many years we have been using silver-plated copper conductors in our designs. Our silver-plated designs are paired with silver-plated connectors. Using silver in cables can be misunderstood, as many people still associate the use of silver with a bright, overbearing sound characteristic. In our experience, however, this brightness is actually caused by a poor choice of insulation material rather than the silver! The only major exception to this rule has been Chord Company gold-plated (4mm/spade) speaker connectors.
Why not gold?
Although gold is generally perceived to be the best plating material for high-quality connectors, its only major advantage is its total resistance to corrosion (not normally a domestic issue!). In our experience, the customer also associates it with performance and quality due to gold’s high commercial value. Matters are further complicated by the various other plating materials on offer in the hi-fi industry (e.g. rhodium, copper, brass and nickel) with each having wildly differing prices and claimed performance levels.
Science, statistics and misinformation as we see it!
Gold is, in fact, the third most conductive metal available. It is outperformed by both copper (+140% better) and silver (+148% better). Better conductivity means lower resistance and therefore, less signal loss. Less signal loss means increased performance – as expressed by Ohm’s law! Hence the name of our new speaker plugs.
Although pure copper is a good conductor, at room temperature it is susceptible to oxidisation and drastically drops in conductivity when oxidised. Plating the copper can protect it from this process. Plating materials include tin (25% as good as gold), nickel (33% as good as gold) and rhodium (50% as good as gold).
Crucially, silver-plating not only makes sense from an electrical point of view, it gives an audibly superior result during listening tests, when compared with gold plated connectors.