Silver v Copper wire phono cable

Getting ready to order new tonearm, have option for either copper or silver continuous phono cable from cartridge to preamp.  without the  opportunity to compare personally, I would like to hear how others would system is shown on this site...thank you



Dear @jw944ts  : With out doubt you must go for the silver . The ones that could tell you other thing has not the kind of room/system you own. 

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,


I find Silver better in general, but copper isn't bad.  What is bad:  Silver plated copper.



I like silver all the way. Much better definition and attack. At least silver plated copper minimum. 

What about copper plated silver?🤣


Either way, litz wiring is a plus. I don't care for working with it though.

For reasons I cannot cite, I don’t think silver can be plated w copper. In any case, I get the joke.

Of course it can. You can plate anything even people.. The French did it at in the late 1800 to early 1900s. You can electroplate a turd. Probably sound better than some cables.. Just sayin'

I use OCC copper with silver mill spec clad. It just takes a 1000 years to break in.

So we are clear it's no easy task to break in silver anything in a phono stage. There is a reason a lot of phono stages are voiced with copper. 1000 hours just to sound good. The signal going through a complete phono stage, beginning to end is the lowest of all. It takes a long time to break in.. plane and simple. Don't believe it.. Who cares, your wrong.. 50 years tinkering with phonographs.. Some thing you just learn from others who have done it 60 years before you or me..

It pays huge dividends to condition yourself or send it to someone that does just that break in phono cables. Tonearm wire to the RCAs and ground wire used.. Balanced if you look at the circuit on a tone arm..

Why a ground wire on a phono RCA cable, TOO?  Balanced maybe.. Just something I read somewhere.. :-)


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I’d rather listen to a silver or copper plated turd than to silver plated copper.


+1 for Silver - it provides better dynamic performance and improved details and as a result the image becomes more lifelike and with more precision placement of artists. Also the micro details they convey bring out more of the venue acoustics (i.e. echoes and reverberations)

The one piece silver harness on my Audiomods tone arm provided a significant improvement

If you can get them to attach Absolute Harmony RCA plugs then go for it - they are amazing with the silver wire

Regards - Steve

I’d rather listen to a silver or copper plated turd than to silver plated copper.


I met a few like that, of course it was always impatience that proved copper clad is just fine.. I've never heard one out of the box that sounded good, BUT I make a better one by far than I could EVER afford.. My 200.00 DIY will match a LOT of very expensive phono cables.. Good copper is hard to beat too. Copper and silver wire in a nice combo too. Silver on the + and copper on the --.

Considering most Carts are wound with copper. There is silver too. BUT most is copper.. Nickel silver and white gold is pretty popular too..


@rauliruegas , what about his system requires silver tonearm wire?

Anybody interested in what tonearm the OP is getting?

@jw944ts , What are you getting? Hopefully good solid bearings this time? If so the tonearm will make much more of a difference than the wire. The one you have is....problematic to say the least. A Kuzma 4 Point nine would be nice or a Reed 2G if the Oracle can take the weight. A Schroder CB would be perrrrfect. I use one a Sota. An SME if you can get one.

Dear @mijostyn  : No, it's not that his systemrequires silvertonearm wire. What I'm trying to say is that his system is a good quality one and if he decided for silver the system improvement will be higher than with cooper wire and the 3P tonearm is a good choice too.



@rauliruegas , that is a bit different but, I get your point.

@jw944ts , The 3P is the glamourous arm but the 2G is a better design. It has a much better bearing topology. The problem for you is going to be the weight. Your suspension can only take so much mass back there. With the VTA gauge it might be too heavy. You best check the specs of your turntable carefully before you jump. I would call Oracle and make sure they are compatible. 

@mijostyn ​​​​@rauliruegas …thank you for your thoughts….you both sound more knowledgeable than I regarding the Reed arms.  The 3P is not the one with the laser contraption, so I do not imagine it is massively larger than the 2G….may I ask  you to expand on your thoughts about the bearing difference?  Is this thought of yours based on experience with the different arms or simply theoretical?  Further thoughts from you would be greatly appreciated!

thanks and happy holiday


@jw944ts , Sure. It would help if you print a good picture of both arms before you continue. It would also help if you watched this first. If you go to the Reed site if you click on the pictures you will blow ups which show the bearing assemblies nicely. It would also help if you watch this excellent primer on tonearm and turntable design.


Oldhv, was only joking but I genuinely have not liked silver plated wire. I’ve never seen “copper clad” wire in any guise. You make a good point about cartridge coils, and in the case of ZYX cartridges that can be purchased with either silver or copper windings, the copper is generally preferred.

@mijostyn I thank you....the AR was the first turntable I ever owned, the video is I am no engineer, looking at photos does not hep me understand function...I owned an early Oracle for several decades, and now own the newest version; they clearly used some of the AR engineering ideas....BUT when it comes to arms, I am pretty much in the dark....have you owned and/or auditioned these two models I have interest in?  If not, has anyone?

Dear @jw944ts  : P3 is an excellent tonearm and you can´t go wrong with and silver wired. The 10.5" could be the best option for EL..



@jw944ts  : No, I live in México city and born in this country not in USA and for us today is not a holiday day.



cool; when my ancestors emmigrated from Eastern Europe in the late 1800s-early 1900s, quite a few settled in Mexico City....Im not sure if any still remain there, though...regardless, thanks again for your help!

@jw944ts , Lets start with the Reed 3P. This is a brilliant design. It not only gives you adjustable VTA on the fly but also adjustable Azimuth on the fly and I think it is the only arm ever to do this. These would be cool features to have but unfortunately they had to sacrifice some basic design issues to do it. It seems if you want to come up with something "different" you have to violate design principles that have been known for decades. For a long time most arms were based on the SME 3009 and for a reason. It was the first arm that was distinctly headed in the right direction. It has issues but it was "the" pivoted arm to have for a very long time.  OK, back to the 3P. That thing at the back that looks like an egg we shall call the bearing housing. I/2 way down the egg to the front of the arm is a ledge. Below the ledge the egg is twice as thick. just above that ledge you see a tab that comes off the arm with what looks like a vertical screw. That is a needle bearing and you can see a hardened cup in the ledge. That is the female side of the bearing. There is an identical bearing on the other side of the arm. Together these form the vertical bearing of the arm. It's level with the horizontal axis of the arm. Now in your head imagine a line that connects the center of the cartridge to the center of mass of the counterweight just below it's midpoint. The vertical bearing is far above that line. This is a stable balance arm. If you balance it so that it floats perfectly horizontal and you were to lift it up an inch and let go, it will oscillate up and down and finally come to rest back at horizontal. As the tonearm goes up the tracking force increases until the arm changes direction. As the arm goes down tracking force decreases until the arm changes direction. If you think about it this is a really bad deal for tracking records that are not perfectly flat. This is the arm that gets launched as it hits a warp big enough. The best way around this is vacuum clamping. A neutral balanced arm tracks better warps and all. The other problem with a bearing geometry like this is the problem of warp wow. As the tonearm rises over a warp the groove velocity increases as the effective length of the tonearm decreases relative to the plane of the record. As the tonearm travels down the warp it lengthens again slowing the speed down. As the vertical bearing rises above the record this worsens increasing " warp wow"  The best you can ask for is bearings that are in the plane of the record minimising the problem. So, by virtue of it's design the 3P is going to have more difficulty following warped records and more  warp wow than designs that do not sacrifice this for trick things like adjustable Azimuth on the fly. 

Now lets go to the 2G. The 2G's bearing housing is quite different. Again it has two needle bearings for the vertical bearing. The female cups are under the housing mounted on a horizontal platform behind the tonearm rest platform. Just about at the level of the record. If you draw a line through the middle of the cartridge to the center of mass of the counterbalance this line will transect the vertical bearing. This is a neutral balance arm. If you balance it horizontal then pick it up 1 inch and let it go it just stays there. VTF does not change with elevation.

No bouncing up and down, no changing VTF. This is an arm that is much better over warps. It has superior tracking and less warp wow.  It does not have adjustable azimuth on the fly. The vast majority of us set it and forget it. We may do it once every 5 years when switching to a new cartridge. Some people are switching cartridges every other side. They love this and removable head shells but they give up ultimate performance for that flexibility. Both arms will work on the SME. 

If you were to AB both arms on SMEs with the same cartridge I seriously doubt any of us could hear a difference. On a less than flat record some of us might be able to hear a difference on certain types of material. 

When I choose equipment I am after the ultimate performance. To sacrifice basic principles the benefit has to be great and IMHO adjustable azimuth on the fly is not worth it. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Actually the most significant difference between the Reed 2G and 3P is that the horizontal motion bearings use a sapphire cup and needle point in the 2G, but in the 3P the horizontal motion bottom bearing uses magnetic repulsion. This allows for azimuth on the fly.

That means the 2G is mechanically grounded, whereas the 3P is not - its held up by magnetic repulsion.

Some folk report that the 3P sounds more natural (softer), but in my view the 2G

should be more accurate.


@dover , thx for that info…”should be more accurate”….not quite as important as sounds better

There is nothing "bad" about silver plated copper wires, speaker cable or interconnects....QED has made many of their cables in this fashion, and many have won awards. A good example would be QED silver anniversary xt.....some here have no idea what they are speaking of....also, Ortofon uses silver plated copper in some of there higher end cartridges, the 2m bronze and black. Two highly regarded cartridges. 

@dover , It is attraction not repulsion with that are sort of like the Schroder Reference arm but, you are right it is not a solid connection and it will have a resonance point. 

It is useless to talk about they way things sound. There is way too much variation involved for a multitude of reasons. 

From a purely design perspective the 2G is a better are. I am not saying the 3P is a bad arm but it does violate several aspects of tonearm design including the one Dover just mentioned. 

@jw944ts , My first Porsche was a 944 turbo. What a car.

The Oracle is very much a descendent of the AR XA as is my Sota. You are right 9 inch arms only. But there is one issue you have to be really careful with. Arms with VTA towers weight more and Reeds may weight more than your suspension can take. You have to look for that spec or call Oracle to check and compare with the arm's total weight including the cartridge. Get back to me with that data and we can discuss it. I have always seen that table with SMEs installed and the SME is a much lighter arm than either Reed.

@jw944ts , I have not owned either arm although I did consider the 2G for a while. In the end I preferred the design of the Schroder CB. Asking what a piece of equipment sounds like without really knowing that person well is dangerous. You really can't make anything out of it. We can talk about design aspects and what works better. Tonearms are not supposed to sound like anything. It's job is to hold the cartridge in rigidly in position and allow movement only it two directions. It is the cartridge that "sounds." 

@mijostyn here is a link you asked for, showing Oracle Delphi MkVI with Reed 2G, on Jacques Riendeau's personal table!!

May be an image of text that says 'D ORACLE'

I have rewired my Eminent Technology ET2 HP linear tracking tonearm three times over the years. My least favorite of the four different wires that I have had experience with was the VDH silver clad copper litz. The other three were the Cardas (copper), the Discovery (copper) and the AudioNote silver.

In comparison to the other three the silver clad copper VDH was a bit harsh and bright and obviously grainy sounding. The Cardas was smooth and on the dark side of things; as if the lights had been turned down. Imaging was stable and more compact than the others overall . Discovery was rather full sounding and with an obviously more generous soundstage, but sounded slightly grainy without harshness. My favorite, by a long shot was the AudioNote silver which is still installed. By far, the most refined sounding. Very detailed smooth sounding. Some might say a little lean compared to the Discovery, but with the best low end extension and clarity. The AudioNote is the thinnest and most flexible of the four; the Discovery the thickest and least flexible. IMO, not an insignificant consideration; the thinner and more flexible the better, if harder to work with..

Good luck with your choice.


@jw944ts , well there you go. I guess that settles that issue. Looks good there also.

I wonder why the 2G and not the 3P?

Dear @frogman  : The VDH you named is all you said but the VDH that today SME tonearms have is way different and really good.


I had several experiences with almost everykind of cables with Cardas and never was my cup of tea neither Discovery.


Audio Note is in a different league along Zavfino 1877.



Raul, you are correct.  I don’t know if it is the same today as it was when I tried their silver clad copper wire, but back then VDH did also have a silver wire.  I never tried it.  

Dear @jw944ts  : With out doubt you must go for the copper . The ones that could tell you other thing has not the kind of room/system you own. 

Do not let the distortions of silver enter your system.  

If the latest technology for Wire Production is to be considered, the OCC replacement Copper PC Triple Wire will be a Wire to consider.   

The Cat is Out of the Bag and there is a steady growing movement toward this Wire at a commercial and enthusiast user level.

As far as I know SAEC are the only company at present offering this wire used as an internal Wand Wire, and there is also the possibility this wire used is      PC Triple C / EX, which has a forged High Purity Silver Sheath on the Copper Core. The EX is the same wire I am working with, the goal is to separate the strands and produce a Insulated Internal  Wand Wire, the Sheathing Method for adding the Insulation, is being worked out between a few friends at present, using much cheaper strands of wire. The ease of the process, ensuring the Wire is not stressed and the Overall Wire Diameter as an end product are presenting there own challenges.

As for Burn In times for a Phonostage, a reverse riaa adaptor used in conjunction with a CDP will enable endless hours of Phonostage use, and save the Cartridge.

If a Valve Phon' is in use, do the same method, but swap out the chosen Valves for cheaper options to preserve the life of the preferred valves.                                      This is my preferred method and have put a few hundred hours on a New Phon' in quite short periods of time, having the music on low level and within hearing range will reveal noticeable changes to the SQ as the burn in progresses.     




**** Do not let the distortions of silver enter your system. ****

Acknowledging that the choice will be influenced at least to some degree by the aggregate of the spectral signatures of all the other “components” in an audio system, how does using silver, a metal that has higher conductivity and lower resistivity than copper necessarily mean that it will introduce more distortion than copper?

@frogman welcome to the forum of opinions, bias, varied taste, measurements/no at your own risk!

Dear @frogman : The VDH that came or comes with today SME tonearms is not a standalone wire for sale.


That internal tonearm wire is way even more fragile than the AN one and I know by first hand experience when I " opened " the SME IC cable and I had to let it that way because I did not fixed again just can’t do it. I have not the rigth tools to do it that are like the ones of cartridge retippers.


In the other side I think that @bpoletti must be kidding about silver wire and if not then that could means that he has not the quality level room/system to be aware of the differences silver always made in a good system.



Oh, Raul....  Once again your evaluation and interpretation fails.

Silver ADDS a 5khz to 8khz rise, even though slight, that creates a hardness / harshness to the signal.  It is pollution and distortion of the signal.  And I suggest that your system is seriously deficient as must be your hearing if you fail to detect such irritation.  Recall that it is possible in an A / B test to detect as little as 3mB difference is signals as demonstrated in blind tests.  

My room and electronics are reference grade.  It's a shame you only compare your system to better systems and don't realize what you're missing.

But there is the other possibility is that YOUR system is deficient or weak in the 5khz to 8khz because it was mis-voiced using a lack of quality components during design and manufacturing.  The distortion from silver would help artificially compensate for your lack of quality, but would not end up reproducing the signal as recorded.  The silver would only act as a fixed frequency equalizer.


And you can measure the ”rise” between 5kHz and 8kHz? Because I’d like to see your data and your methods for measurement. I don’t insist upon the superiority of either silver or copper, but I think your premise is poppycock.

Have you posted your system on Audiogon? Can’t find it using “bpoletti”.

The Intention to use a Tonearm Internal Wand Wire that is a continuous length from the Cartridge Lead Out Pins through to the Phonostage RCA Connectors will offer the best method that assures that the Signal being delivered, is with the least interfaces on the signal route.

There are other considerations worth looking into as well which are outlined below.

As an additional thought on this AN do a high purity Silver Female Tag Connector and Zavfino supply a Pure Copper, I did not discover a OCC as a Standalone Part that can be purchased, even though there are XLR connectors that have OCC as Male/Female Inserts.

I have not been able to carry out a A/B Comparison on Internal Wand Wires, additionally I have not met anybody who has carried out such a practice either.

In my conversations with friends who are recognised as adept Tonearm Builder and Modifiers, some of these individuals are only focused on one thing of importance when it comes to an Internal Wand Wire. Which is what I will assume is where their experiences are quite important on how they assess the wire in use.                        The Ideal described to myself, is that a Wire inclusive of Insulation is best, if it has a Outside Diameter of 0.3mm and the Wire ’must’ be extremely soft and supple. Building Up Wires within a Wand of more than 0.3mm, especially a Wire that has an increase in stiffness will impact on the Tonearm Performance as the freedom of movement will be interfered with, and in certain cases with certain wires, this can be very noticeable for the worsening of the Tonearms performance.                          If a wire of a particular design philosophy can be found to meet these parameters this is a Wire that will have been trialled.                                                                    Interestingly Copper is the preferred arm wire, even when used with Silver Cartridge Coil Wire, and there are commonly seen offered Branded Tonearm Wires that has been deselected as Wand Wire due to the impact discovered on the Tonearm Performance. 

With the above in mind about Wand Wire, my own endeavours, attempting to achieve a DIY version of a Internal Wire as previously described, is to be met with assessment from friends with an experienced background on such materials and the application of the material.  To get the ideal finish on the Wire will be quite a bit of R&D and failures.

When it comes to Copper vs Silver I can offer this as a description based on personal experiences.                                                                                                  I used OCC Silver Wire in 5 Pin DIN Interconnect for about two years as replacement for OCC Copper.                                                                                       A PC Triple C Copper 5 Pin DIN Interconnect has now replaced the OCC Silver for approx’ 1 year and I do a A/B comparisons every few months and will not return to the Silver OCC Cable.                                                                                                  I have also loaned out the PC Triple C and to date those that have heard it in their Systems have bought Cables with the same Wires.                                                    As said SAEC are looking like the only company offering this Wire as a Internal Wand Wire, but it can be purchased as Tag Wire. 

I attended in the not too distant past a 5 PIN DIN Cable Bake Off, a selection of Cable with a Gross of approx’ Value of £3500 was in the Line Up, all attendees did not select Silver Wire Cables, Copper was placed over these Cables and the organiser of the Cable Bake Off chose a Copper Cable for their system.

With the same group of attendees at a Speaker Cable Bake Off, where approx’ £5000 of Copper and Silver Cables were in a Line Up, the Group were much more mixed in their assessments and two attendees Home Auditioned Silver Cables and purchased these quite expensive Silver Cables as a result of the influence the Bake Off had on them. I have heard these Cable selections in each system and agree with the choices made.

Systems develop and that brings Interface changes, a Cable is a umbilical at a Interface and one great cable choice from the past, might prove to need changing as the items attached to the umbilical are changed, and that could quite simply be a swap out of a Cartridge.