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June 13, 2011

Pure Silver RCA Interconnects

Audiophiles have had a fascination with silver for as long as I can remember. Silver is about 7% more conductive than annealed copper (59 x 10^6 siemens/meter for copper versus 63 x 10^6 siemens/meter for silver). So on paper, silver is better than copper, but in regards to sound, it's more a preference issue to the listener. Your average silver interconnect tends to be a bit more smooth and detailed than the average copper interconnect. Because the cost of silver continues to increase year after year, silver interconnects will, unfortunately, continue to get more and more expensive. Even still, the sonic qualities are well worth it to many music lovers. 

A silver interconnect starts out with a number of cut strands of pure silver wire. The number of strands varies depending on the geometry of the cable. In this case, each interconnect will be using three wires, one for the signal and two for the return. Typically, silver wire is rated at at least four nines (99.99% pure) and some of the more expensive wire can get as high as six nines. 

High purity silver wire

Silver wire will sometimes come pre-sleeved with Teflon, and in some cases you have to sleeve it yourself into empty Teflon tubes (or your dielectric of choice, some interconnect builders use unbleached cotton). I find a general rule of thumb is to get a Teflon sleeve at least a couple of gauge sizes larger than the wire itself (eg: 22 gauge Teflon tubing for 24 gauge wire), otherwise its far too difficult to sleeve. Once one gets about 3 feet in, the friction gets to be too much, so it's better to get the silver pre-sleeved if one is making a long cable. The advantage of sleeving the wire as opposed to pre-sleeved wire is that you are actually getting pockets of air where the silver is not touching the Teflon. Since air is a better dielectric than Teflon, it's more ideal. You may be thinking to yourself "well, with air touching the wire, doesn't it become oxidized over time?". Copper oxidation can deteriorate the conductivity of the wire, but silver oxidation is highly conductive, so there's nothing to worry about ;)

Teflon sleeved silver wire

Once the wire has been sleeved with Teflon tubing, it can be braided. I've chosen a standard Litz Tri-braid for these interconnects. Electrical tape is used to hold the braid in place before the decorative outer sleeve is placed on the cable. 

Completed braiding process

Soft black nylon multifilament is now added over the cable for a more attractive and finished look. A hot knife is used to cut these sleeves to size to prevent fraying at the ends. 

Cable Sleeved with black nylon multifilament

As an added touch, a piece of custom labelled heatshrink is added to each cable to denote the brand. 

Custom blue heatshrink

Color coded heatshrink is added and Cardas GRMO Rhodium and silver plated RCAs are soldered to the ends using Cardas Quadeutectic solder. As described in more detail in the Cardas RCA Interconnects post, a large amount of heat is necessary to really make sure the wire is well attached to the barrel of the RCAs. Once these are secured, black adhesive heatshrink is added to act as a strain relief system between the cable and the RCAs.

Cardas GRMO connectors
After a signal test with the multimeter, these are ready for action. 

Finished silver interconnect cables

Craving a set of solid silver interconnects of your very own? Contact Zynsonix Audio today.

The Fine Print:
The above steps detailing the building of a cable are for entertainment purposes only, and not to be performed under any circumstances. The owner of this blog and all associated parties can not / will not be held responsible if you attempt the process posted and cause physical harm to yourself, your surroundings or your property. Please keep this in mind.


  1. Awesome read on the silver interconnects. I like the professional finish you have on your cables. Mine look like the moon surface. I used to buy branded shop cable. Then i went DIY, made silver neotech with switchcraft rca plugs. They are much better than the shop branded copper cables. Another good source and super cheap, sound really awesome, is that silver plated kynar wire, i used the US made OK industries 24awg wire.

  2. Hey, as long as they sound good, that's what counts, right? :) Thanks for the source info!