Copper vs. Silver tonearm wire

The subject of tonearm wire was touched on in a related thread on tonearms. Long standing friend rauliruegas strongly advocates silver. I tried it and switched back to copper. I need to re-wire my HW-40 and because my hands are getting shakey with age, must now delegate the task so I want to get it right. VPI told me today that their upscale wire, Nordost, used to be silver, but they switched back to copper because too many people found the silver to be too bright. That was exactly what my impression was when I last tried silver. Thoughts?


This goes back in my memory to the pale yellow Van den Hul speaker cables from the 80s which used stranded silver-plated copper. Man, they were etched with a golden sheen.

An old wives tale that silver is brighter than copper!

I'm in 100% agreement with @lewm. There is something else that I hear from sliver wire that has not yet been mentioned here and that is leanness. To my ear silver wire has a lot less meat on the bone, meaning lean sounding. One person that I know is willing to accept that leanness to get the big increase in detail he is getting with an Audioquest Angel interconnect on his turntable.


VdH experimented with all sorts of strange insulation.  Wood, ceramic beads, you name it.  I’m not really a “wire guy”, being more on the side of proper gauge, quality insulation, straight runs, and making sure you don’t have a rats’ nest of touching/overlapping wires, or wires running close parallel, but instead crossing wire at 90 degrees

That said, the VdH interconnects would definitely impart a sound, or rather a tone, to the music.  Kind of a tubey, warm, sound.  Whether someone like that, is a mattter of taste.

Made me play with the idea that it is not so much the metal or metals in the wire that people are hearing, but that different metals interact with the insulating substrate differently.

That would finally make the wire fights people have make much more sense, as there is very little convincing science or testing to back up people’s claims.

But say, silver reacting differently to (name your insulation) than copper and getting a different result? Sure I could see that.


Are we talking about chassis wiring, tonearm wiring, or ICs? In ICs, the geometry is very important. It determines the reactive nature of the IC (capacitance and inductance). That affects frequency response and also characteristic impedance. Same goes for complex speaker cables. Chassis and tonearm wires are usually a single run of whatever conductor, unless you’re using Litz wire. It’s not just a matter of copper v silver.

Personally I have always had Copper, the difference size and number of strands and insulation.

For a friend I installed two Vintage Micro Seiki MA-505S which was/is their silver wire 'upgrade' version.

I'm not sure if it is solid silver or silver coated copper, in any case they sound great to me. (never a bright or thin thought in my or my friend's mind)