Difference Between Gold 3.5mm and Silver 3.5mm - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-12-2009, 06:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,

I have a question. Now this all started when i got a pair of Sony MDR NC-50 headphones with the detachable gold 3.5mm/3.5mm M/M cord. The cord eventually got a short in it from all the snagging and tugging and poor storage. So i figured with M-M 3.5mm cords being so abundant, it would be simple to replace. Well first i went with belkin which was silver tipped btw. first problem was getting it to fit into the headphone's jack which had a circular recess that was much smaller than the plug's end-shielding. so i had to melt the sides down a bit to get it to fit in there. now that the connection was nice and snug in teh headphones i went to plug it into my mp3 player. which is a zune btw "yes i know..." and i noticed that when i walked the left and right channels would drop randomly due to the fact that the plug would move slightly while inside the jack. almost as if the tip sleeve was too narrow. so i had to go ghetto fab and take 2 3.5mm to rca cords with rca extenders in teh middle to the device. making my headphone cord about 12ft and very thick and inconvenient, and also after a walk i noticed it did the same thing. these stereo/rca cords were also silver tipped 3.5mm plugs. so my gf leaves her skullcandy headphones here one day when she went to class and i put the headphones in thinking, this wont help. immediately when pluggin them in I noticed there was NO wiggling at all. it was snug and secure in the player's jack and was able to walk with it with ZERO problems. so i guess my questions are:

1. Is there a size difference between gold 3.5mm plugs and silver 3.5mm plugs? Like maybe a thicker coating?

2. Is there any place to buy Male/Male gold tipped 3.5mm cords as replacements for my headphones? Sony wants like 40 bucks or something (not too cost effective if im tryin to buy many replacements)

3. If i put a thin piece of foiltape around the sleeve of the TRS connector, i know it will fit in there better but will it conduct the same amount of sound clarity?

Reason i ask about 3. is cause its not just the zune that has a problem with snug silver tipped cords. i noticed on like headphone extenders, splitters, etc,
it has less trouble fitting in gold tipped TRS connectors as opposed to silver ones.

I already ordered some new headphones but would like to salvage these Sony headphones, and am very interested in knowing if there is a discernible size difference between the two
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-12-2009, 01:43 PM
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1. Is there a size difference between gold 3.5mm plugs and silver 3.5mm plugs?

Is this one of those IQ test questions? You just ran into sloppy manufacturing and quality control. I'm sure there are allowable tolerances, but not enough to cause problems like you encountered. They probably took regular connectors and plated them. Don't bother with the silver or gold plugs. You're not going to hear a difference even with a much better source device.


Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. -- Thomas Alva Edison
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-12-2009, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
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no, its more than one cord

and ive noticed most headphones come with gold tipped ones and those are the ones that fit into portable devices better.

so there has to be something there

as far as finding 3.5to3.5 m/m 24k tipped cords, ive found a couple by belkin and pureAV
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-15-2009, 05:03 AM
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I dont think there is much difference between gold and silver plates connectors....... and like the above poster I think the problems you had were from the manafacturing process.

But personaly though, I think that they have gold and silver plated connectors just so they can charge more for them.... not cool.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-15-2009, 06:55 AM
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The primary difference between the two is color.

There should be no size difference. However, if the gold ones were plated, there could be a slight increase in size. The female receptor should be designed with enough friction/force to adequately make the connection regardless.

As for wrapping in foil tape, how would you keep it on? It was just slide down when you try to plug in.

If your experiences suggest that gold plugs are the way to go, then so be it. I have not had the same experiences. I tend to agree with the other posters that it is more likely a quality control issue.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-15-2009, 07:18 AM
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OK, one more time. Gold is pretty. It is a poor conductor. What you call silver is nickel. Also not a great conductor, but both good enough. Worse, the gold is very thin and the oxide from the base metal ( brass) will bleed through causing little balls of insulating corrosion. Micro vibrations will cause this corrosion to ball up and lift the contacts apart. This is why re-seating a connector sometimes causes it to work. It is called "fretting corrosion"

Real silver is ugly, tarnished, and brown looking. It is far better. Silver oxide happens to have the same conductivity as silver , which is lower than copper. That is why we use it in RF and test equipment where a micro Ohm actually matters.
It does not matter at all on consumer equipment. It is all marketing bling-bling.
As was mentioned first, QUALITY matters. For headphones, finer strands for better flexibility, good strain relief's and so on. Thicker insulation tends to help strain relief, but has ZERO performance advantage.
If gold makes you happy, by all means. Please yourself, it's your money.
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