#1
Are Gold tipped guitar cords a blessing, or curse?

Speaking on tubes with gold pins...

A wise man wrote: Gold pins will stop the corrosion on the surface of the pins on tubes sitting on shelves in storage. Once the pins are in contact with a socket that is not gold plated there will still be corrosion on the socket. Two dis-similar metals will generally corrode when they contact each other. Gold pins - cost virtually nothing to produce as the process is so simple and the plating is so thin - NO benefit with greater cost. One of the biggest scams in the tube world.

Just wondering if the two dis-similar metals corrosion thing would also apply to my guitar cable.

My current guitar cables do have gold tips.
Should I correct that?

What is your stance?
#2
I dunno
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#3
I make a point of no longer using gold-plated cables. The signal degrades a little bit every time it has to change metals. It's already changing between copper and whatever else is used inside the guitar itself. Why add another layer? It has to transfer from whatever is right inside the socket to the gold plating to whatever's under the gold plating to the copper in the cable, and then in reverse on the other side.

So while I don't know anything about corrosion, I still say don't go with gold plated cables and tubes.
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#5
Quote by BurstBucker Pro
Thanks for the input.


You're very welcome, sir!
Quote by FEngHLyan

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don't think so.

How can I persuade her?
#6
Oh snap I just ordered a cable with gold connectors because it had that circuit breaker thing.
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#8
Have any of you actually seen gold tipped leads corrode? No? Didn't think so.
Gold plating is used on contacts in computing where crazy frequencies are involved and therefore needs the best conductivity possible. You don't see that used as a selling point do you? It's done because it's what works. If it was a scam why would they do it? It costs more and isn't used in marketing.
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#9
Quote by kumamilesbear
I make a point of no longer using gold-plated cables. The signal degrades a little bit every time it has to change metals. It's already changing between copper and whatever else is used inside the guitar itself. Why add another layer? It has to transfer from whatever is right inside the socket to the gold plating to whatever's under the gold plating to the copper in the cable, and then in reverse on the other side.

So while I don't know anything about corrosion, I still say don't go with gold plated cables and tubes.


False. Get some natural knowledge, chump.
#10
Quote by FearMyLightning
False. Get some natural knowledge, chump.

My knowledge comes from my chemistry teacher, who formerly taught at Yale, UC Berkeley, and Georgetown before deciding to teach at my high school, as well as my old middle school science teacher.

Information is lost when it changes mediums. This holds true with almost all forms, including electric signals.
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#11
And the tide is higher when you piss in the ocean.

The contact surface area beneath the electroplating is immense compared to the contact area between socket and plug. Which do you think will make the greatest contribution to conductivity loss?
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#12
Quote by kumamilesbear
My knowledge comes from my chemistry teacher, who formerly taught at Yale, UC Berkeley, and Georgetown before deciding to teach at my high school, as well as my old middle school science teacher.

Information is lost when it changes mediums. This holds true with almost all forms, including electric signals.

By this logic all cables (i.e. different "mediums") would degrade the sound. This "fact" would be a little more well known if it was true, wouldn't it?
#14
Gold is soft too. That should mean that the socket would bite into it better and make a better contact.
What I've found is that gold plated plugs are normally the higher quality plugs. Wheter the actual gold makes them better is another story but they are usually better. Few will bother gold plating a crap plug.
Now this is not a hard and fast rule. I've bought some gold plugs from China where you could pull the tip off with your fingers. But generally speaking they only gold plate the good ones.
I'm convinced that that's what's better about gold plated JJ's. Not the gold itself but that they take a bit more care in quality control because they are bringing in extra money. They want them to get a better rep so people will part with an extra quid.
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#15
Quote by SLEESTAK_BRO
By this logic all cables (i.e. different "mediums") would degrade the sound. This "fact" would be a little more well known if it was true, wouldn't it?

Everything degrades your sound a little bit. We all know this. Every pedal you add to your rig will take away a LITTLE bit of your signal quality.

It isn't always going to be noticeable. In fact, it mostly won't be.

I'm a pedal *****. My pedalboard is constantly changing, and I'm often adding and subtracting. So I try to keep as little in my signal chain as possible that would cause degradation.

Yes, I know that this isn't exactly logical. I know that the signal loss isn't noticeable at all. It's personal preference.
Isn't that what this all is anyways? We try to make our own sound. This is how I go for mine.
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#16
Quote by Cathbard
Gold is soft too. That should mean that the socket would bite into it better and make a better contact.
What I've found is that gold plated plugs are normally the higher quality plugs. Wheter the actual gold makes them better is another story but they are usually better. Few will bother gold plating a crap plug.
Now this is not a hard and fast rule. I've bought some gold plugs from China where you could pull the tip off with your fingers. But generally speaking they only gold plate the good ones.
I'm convinced that that's what's better about gold plated JJ's. Not the gold itself but that they take a bit more care in quality control because they are bringing in extra money. They want them to get a better rep so people will part with an extra quid.


This. I drop extra money on gold plated plugs because the plug itself is of higher quality, not because of the gold plating.

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#17
"gold pin = less signal loss" is marketing gimmick.

u're using gold plugs. but is the jack gold plated? i haven't seen gold plated jacks. if the jack isn't gold plated, its still gonna corrode and lose mojo in the connection.
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#18
the first who cares of 2012.

although it's a good idea if everything you use is gold plated.

otherwise it'll just hasten the deterioration of the plating.
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#19
Good thing you highlighted that paragraph in red, I nearly missed it.
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#20
Right.

First off the corrosion is bullshit. Gold is chemically inert, and has a higher reduction potential than most other metals. Let's assume that your jacks are made from, say, copper, for arguments sake. What will actually happen if you plug a gold plated jack into a copper terminal will be the rate of corrosion of the copper increases. This is called Galvanic Corrosion.

The galvanic series (or electropotential series) determines the nobility of metals and semi-metals. When two metals are submerged in an electrolyte, while electrically connected, the less noble (base) will experience galvanic corrosion. The rate of corrosion is determined by the electrolyte and the difference in nobility. The difference can be measured as a difference in voltage potential. Galvanic reaction is the principle upon which batteries are based.


Gold is much more noble than Copper. Therefore your jacks will corrode faster, and the Gold tips will corrode much more slowly than if the two were separated and left to sit. Unless your jacks are made from Platinum then you won't see the gold corrode any quicker.

Gold is actually less conductive than Copper, and even less so than Silver. If you wanted the most transparent cables possible you'd want silver tipped cables, with the actual cable made from Silver as opposed to Copper. You'd have a lot more high end brightness this way too.


Oh, and my knowledge comes from the fact that I have to know this shit in order to earn my degree.
#21
Quote by ECistheBest
"gold pin = less signal loss" is marketing gimmick.

u're using gold plugs. but is the jack gold plated? i haven't seen gold plated jacks. if the jack isn't gold plated, its still gonna corrode and lose mojo in the connection.


unless EVERY connection in your path is gold plated, having gold plated jacks has no benefit.

Guitar jacks are probably the WORST place to gold plate.
Why?
As said before, gold is softer.
Constant plugging and unplugging will wear that gold out quickly.
But that will vary greatly depending on how thick the gold layer is.
#22
In fact, the inherent resistance that is produced by a signal changing medium is what gives the "tone of the cable". You're essentially putting a few very small resistors in the signal path. This will form a tone shaping filter network along the way.
#23
Gold is nice to solder to. It's a joy to work with.
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#27
I use plugs plated with the bones of orphans.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#28
Quote by Cathbard
Have any of you actually seen gold tipped leads corrode? No? Didn't think so.
Gold plating is used on contacts in computing where crazy frequencies are involved and therefore needs the best conductivity possible. You don't see that used as a selling point do you? It's done because it's what works. If it was a scam why would they do it? It costs more and isn't used in marketing.


It's not the gold that concerned me, it's actually my FX loop jacks that my gold tipped cables usually stay plugged into. I was thinking thy might corrode.

Do i see it used as a selling point... YES

http://www.amazon.com/JJ-6922-E88CC-Gold-Vacuum/dp/B003H7DX0M
Product Features
Gold Pins For Superior Quality

Thanks for your stance that I don't need to worry.
#29
Quote by Dan_5893
Right.

First off the corrosion is bullshit. Gold is chemically inert, and has a higher reduction potential than most other metals. Let's assume that your jacks are made from, say, copper, for arguments sake. What will actually happen if you plug a gold plated jack into a copper terminal will be the rate of corrosion of the copper increases. This is called Galvanic Corrosion.


Gold is much more noble than Copper. Therefore your jacks will corrode faster, and the Gold tips will corrode much more slowly than if the two were separated and left to sit.


Thanks.
#30
The difference is completely negligible though since Air isn't a good medium for corrosion to occur in unless you live in a tropical environment, play outdoors, and live at the ocean.
#31
Quote by BurstBucker Pro

Do i see it used as a selling point... YES
Read what I said again only this time in context. I said it isn't used as a selling point inside computers but they still use it.
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#32
Quote by Cathbard
Read what I said again only this time in context. I said it isn't used as a selling point inside computers but they still use it.


Understood...

I stand corrected.
#33
Quote by Dan_5893
The difference is completely negligible though since Air isn't a good medium for corrosion to occur in unless you live in a tropical environment, play outdoors, and live at the ocean.


I fall under all of those categories, BUT I have never seen a 1/4" cable corrode. But coincidentally, all of my cables (Armor Gold) are gold plated, but they're really good cables, and that's why I bought them, not because they are gold plated.
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#34
Quote by kumamilesbear
My knowledge comes from my chemistry teacher, who formerly taught at Yale, UC Berkeley, and Georgetown before deciding to teach at my high school, as well as my old middle school science teacher.

Information is lost when it changes mediums. This holds true with almost all forms, including electric signals.


Ya, if he's now teaching at a high school when he formerly taught at those schools, it means he wasn't good enough to get tenure.

Quote by Dan_5893
In fact, the inherent resistance that is produced by a signal changing medium is what gives the "tone of the cable". You're essentially putting a few very small resistors in the signal path. This will form a tone shaping filter network along the way.


No, the "tone of the cable" is it's capacitance. Resistance means jack all in an instrument cable since it's literally measured in hundredths of Ohms. The few hundredths difference between silver and copper isn't going to be measurable when you've got 100s of pF of capacitance and several Henries of inductance in the circuit and the pickup itself has a DC resistance of several KOhms. It's significant in speaker cable design though.
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#35
As I see it there are two factors here.
Loss between substrate and electroplating
Loss between plating and contact.
What is being proposed is that the loss to the electroplating is greater than the increase in conductivity between the plating and the socket it's connected to. One would expect the gold to make a better connection due to it's maleability.
Just saying "it's a different metal so it must be lossy" is a pointless argument unless you quantify what the change in loss is at the socket itself. Seeing as how the contact area of the plating is so large compared to the contact area at the socket I'd be very surprised if the argument is valid.

Plus, let's examine what we are talking about. The loss caused by different metals is significant compared to the overall resistance of the cable itself? One is in ohms and the other would be in milliohms. It's absurd to even contemplate it's impact.
I doubt that the conductivity difference is even measurable and is certainly insignificant. A little bit of crap on the plug would make a bigger difference. Gold is great to solder to and that aspect would make the other theoretical "loss of information" smeg pissing in the ocean. The quality of the joint is much more significant.
Nobody has ever seen gold corrode on a plug and if it's good plating it isn't going to wear off. Does it make a difference one way or the other? How could it? The other factors are many orders of magnitude more significant. I'll keep buying gold plugs because they are easier to work with.
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Last edited by Cathbard at Jan 1, 2012,
#36
it has more to do with the plating rubbing off from inserting and removing the plug a whole bunch.

but it's not really an issue for 1/4th jacks since the actual trs connectors since the actual contact area is like 1 percent of the actual plug.

stupid inefficient connector tech is stupid inefficient.
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Last edited by AcousticMirror at Jan 1, 2012,
#37
I don't really hear a difference between my normal cables when I use them versus gold plated cables, until the cables start wearing out solders and such.

I tend to agree that the only difference is really just the QC of the cables. I own both types of cables and the same issues started to appear on the gold plated cables as what I had with my normal cables. Now, it did take significantly longer for them to get the crackles and pops and such, but, they got em'.

If you know how to fix a cable, it's honestly not a big problem. If you don't want to mess with fixing them, the superb QC of some of the top manufacturers of gold plated cables postpone that need for a long time. If you do get to that point with the gold plated cables, a lot of those manufacturers offer great warranties and some even offer lifetime warranties.

My opinion, if you don't know how to fix cables and don't want to buy a new cable every time one of your cables craps out, buy one of the nicer cables, which will be gold plated most likely, that has a good warranty on it. If you can service your own cables, just get some decent, good ole' fashioned cables. I don't think the plating makes a lick of difference in the sound personally, but, I know a lot of people do so don't bite my head off because I don't hear things your way.
#38
Quote by Kevin Saale
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#39
Quote by mmolteratx
Ya, if he's now teaching at a high school when he formerly taught at those schools, it means he wasn't good enough to get tenure.

He moved with his family and decided he wanted to teach high school kids.
He used to work in a laboratory creating new compounds. Trust me, he knows his shit, and is one of the few teachers I've had in my school career who has made me actually want to learn something that I had absolutely no interest in.
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#40
Quote by Cathbard

What I've found is that gold plated plugs are normally the higher quality plugs. Wheter the actual gold makes them better is another story but they are usually better. Few will bother gold plating a crap plug.


ah you mean the plugs. I was going to say i'd normally noticed teh opposite, but i mean teh entire leads/cables. I've frequently found not-that-great cables being sold with gold plugs as a massive selling point, when actually using decent low capacitance cable would have improved the sound way more.

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