Originally Posted by Ormy
This is my first post. I felt compelled to sign up and correct some of the tragic misinformation being pushed in this thread. I am not an audio expert, I only know what I've learned through reading this and similar forums quite a lot over the last 6 months. What I do have is a degree in Physics (which contained electrics modules and audio/sound modules) and some minimal experience experimenting on my own system with the effect of different guages of wire on audibility, trying to find out what is the smallest wire I can get away with for a given distance because I'm on a tight budget.
Copper is soft, but its harder than lead which was used for pipes for centuries, flexibility over brittleness is necessary. The coins in your pocket are mostly zinc with a small amount of copper. Copper is not 'springy' like brass, you could still make a reasonably snug fitting plug using a different design but it would not remain snug fitting past a few dozen insertions/removals.
Copper wire is always coated in plastic insulation which prevents any corrosion. The ends that you've exposed for connection WILL corrode, and should be removed and fresh wire exposed every time you reconnect the wire or every 6 months, which ever is LESS frequent. (For example if you reconnect the same piece of wire a dozen times in a month, you don't need to expose new wire every time, but if its been a year since you removed that particular end of wire it will be significantly corroded and should have fresh copper exposed.) Gold is often used as a coating, because it does not corrode AT ALL, its very conductive and its ductile (easy to apply a very thin coating).
In dry air copper will not go green for a long time, it will dull significantly though. In very moist air or exposed to water and air it will turn a bright green quickly.
This is the crux of the error and misinformation in your gibberish Joseph. Firstly, giving conductivity as a percentage of copper is misleading (even though the figures are technically correct). For example stainless steel is 40 times less conductive than copper but it is still considered well within the realm of conductors in general, and therefore an inch of steel wire in a 10ft analogue signal chain would almost certainly be inaudible. Sea water is about a million times less conductive than steel, yet eels can use electricity to shock prey. Drinking water is about a thousand times less conductive than sea water, but is still dangerous around only 220v (even 110v for you yanks) of electricity. Glass, rubber, wood and air are about a billion times less conductive than drinking water, and only now are we firmly in the realm of insulators.
See what I mean? So a tiny layer (microns) of air is enough to disrupt your signal chain only because it is 20something orders of magnitude less conductive than copper. Unless your analogue signal chain has more than 1/40 of its length (so more than an inch of steel for every 3ft4 of copper say) made of steel, the steel will not add any audible effect whatsoever aslong as both wires have equal guage. The banana plug is a big lump of metal, much thicker 'guage' than the copper wire, it is also shorter by 100 or even 1000 times, so one sixth the conducitivty (for brass for example) will make absolutely no audible difference at all. Your nonsense about 'breaking the chain' is just that, nonsense.
A good rule of thumb is, as long as your entire analogue signal chain has less than 1/10-1/20 the resistance (impedence) of your loudspeaker there will be no audible effect. For digital signals the resistance of the wire only has to be low enough so the signal can be detected the error correction can do its thing, beyond that it makes no difference.
This, everything you said is spot on apart from the last sentence which is obvious (and pretty funny) sarcasm.
See my comments above regarding conductivity vs audibility. Yes, with a VERY sensitive ohmmeter you MIGHT detect a brass vs copper banana plug on 25ft of copper wire, but it could not affect audibly any audio passed over the wire, not a chance. You could negate the conductivity difference of the brass vs copper plug (so you couldn't even detect it with any ohmmeter) by just making the copper wire very slightly thicker (or shorter) for the brass banana plug. You are peddling nonsense and misinformation.
You read advice offered to posters and actually became ornery! You also state this is your first post - was driven to sign up just so you can provide your take on this! IMO - the only reason you responded here was to make a personal attack on Me - Joseph1975 as NOT once did you make any offer of assistance with your information to the original poster - but rather to ridicule - even there you got it wrong.
You over reacted to the information provided.
Here is a rule or guideline for you - when responding always have your response be within an attempt to HELP the Original Posters question or concern.
If you feel some information offered is incorrect in need not be insulting. You claim to have a degree in Physics??? Everyone, anyone with 'higher learning' - I've ever met was always respectful in sharing their knowledge - with class. You Sir are uncouth!
Yes, I seemed a bit arrogant - because the first response to the O.P. question was made without knowing. When offering advice it should never hurt someone, cost them or lead them astray. If you do not know for sure then do not post! It would be irresponsible to leave it not corrected.
Copper is soft, but its harder than lead which was used for pipes for centuries, flexibility over brittleness is necessary. Joseph says: However -with the right thickness and shape - copper will also have the springiness required in a Banana plug. I said I purchased them - all you had to do is ask about this and you would have received my answer that they work just fine. My use is removing them whenever I alternate between Amps to a single set of speakers - therefore they are receiving a good test of the materials effectiveness in a Banana plug.
The coins in your pocket are mostly zinc with a small amount of copper. Joseph says: No, the pennys in my pocket, if I still 'used' them, are 95% copper - I ceased carrying play money when the content was changed. All the large bottles I have filled with pennys are before the change to the lesser metals - If I remember right 1982. Here is interesting item for you: ever think what is the reason for 'something'?
The cell phone donations supposedly for the Troops - when I asked a Captain in Iraq - how do the troops feel about the cell phones - He said no cell phones ever came there. I found out the reason they were collected is for the small amounts of precious metal. Ever wonder WHY the change your coin to dollar machines popped up?
Not to relieve you of the burden of all those heavy coins or all those jars 'everyone has filled with heavy penny' - just ask yourself: How many pennys to the pound and then look up the price of a pound of copper. Ever ask what an Catalytic converter is worth in a junked car? Look it up you will be very surprised.
Without getting into the other passages you gave a weird twist to this one you and other might take into consideration:
One must 'read into' a posters question. He the O.P - I assumed must have nice equipment. The reason I believed He desired a plug of quality.
I for one feel IF the Audio companys choose copper for the internal wiring and speaker wire is copper - then I will continue the connectivity chain with - COPPER.
But again - I did not take it as the OP asking for the cheapest connectivity - regardless IF there is not an audible difference. Then You Ormy said you are on a tight budget. Well - if the OP has expensive equipment and when I have four Marantz (reference level) pieces; a Cayin A100-T (value over $3000.00) an Sansui 9090DB and an 8080db along with two pair of top of the line Definitive Technology speakers - do you believe I or the O.P. care about the cost or effectiveness of copper connectivity components??? Just 'the thought' I used the 'better' of the lot for my systems - makes me feel complete.
If after all the information is offered - an O.P. chooses to buy Gold plated anything - whatever makes 'you' happy. I must say though - my Wifes Uncle is in manufacturing and many of those audio accessories can be had for about $12.00 a DOZEN at times with shipping. Do you really believe it is GOLD the precious metal plated? I'll leave you with that - and that I did purchase several pieces from many sources here - had the resources to analyze them to find them to be 'junk'! A gold color
plated zinc or at best brass. What I bought - I had to speak personally to the production manager to ask for the real thing. If 24 pieces of gold plated copper banana plugs for $20.00 is not help or answering a posters concern then what is? Even you Ormy could have purchased the 24 pieces and sold what you did not need to get your money back or reduce your expenditure.