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While looking to buy speakers for my PC, I came across one that said that it used platinum plated connectors to shield from interference.

Is platinum better than gold for shielding wires / connectors?

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Gold plating, is good for connectors because it doesn't corrode, and makes a good electrical contact. I've never heard of any advantage to it for shielding from interference, nor any reason why a connector would be shielded, except if this is referring to the connection for the cables shielding - which again is purely a no-corrosion and good-electrical-contact thing. Given that the shielding connection is usually pretty big (contact over a wide area) and only grounded, I doubt it needs a particularly good contact. –  Steve314 Dec 8 '11 at 2:54
    
In some cases, gold contacts may make a difference for the signal wires, but often not. I'm reminded of the HDMI cable con - people selling "high quality" HDMI leads for 10 or more times the price of cheap cables, claiming they improve picture quality, where this simply cannot work - the signal is digital and with error correction, it's either received perfectly or not at all, and cheap cables are perfectly capable of getting the signal across perfectly. –  Steve314 Dec 8 '11 at 3:04
    
As others said, the plating on connectors has nothing to do with "shielding". And speakers don't need much in the way of shielding anyway -- they're relatively low-impedance devices that don't tend to pick up noise. Expensive cables are a rip-off, plain and simple. –  Daniel R Hicks Dec 8 '11 at 3:17
    
Welcome to the world of Marketing. I am waiting for the gold plated puppy turd. –  Moab Dec 8 '11 at 4:17
    
Actually, if you're vaguely into audiophilia, you heard all sorts of strange stuff, like 10K dollar POWER CABLES (which are, in essence the same kettle plug style connectors desktops use) and holographic magical room conditioners. There's decent sensible gear, and there's insanely overpriced rubbish ;p –  Journeyman Geek Dec 8 '11 at 12:52
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closed as off topic by techie007, random Dec 8 '11 at 14:35

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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Neither, really.

Gold and platinum are really used cause they're fancy, and in reality, there's no real practical difference. With gold, you might have a slight advantage with it being non reactive (until the plating wears off), but that thin, micron thick layer of precious metal isn't likely to have much more effect than the plain old thick layer of whatever metal they use.

Practically there's isn't any difference between various platings and materials in double blind testing. Go for whichever makes you happier.

References - from reasonably sensible sources, as opposed to purely audiophile sites

ABX testing between coat hanger and premium cables

Elliot Sound Products - talks about cable materials, and the 'advantage' of gold plated connectors

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"...no read practical difference..." - I have a pair of speakers (really cheap, and a few years old), that make noise even when switched off and not plugged into anything. I was under the impression that they made noise because there was nearby electronic interference (if they are shielded, it must not be very well). Other gold plated speakers I have don't have that problem. does this mean that there is something else that is different with my old, non plated or shielded speakers? –  wizlog Dec 8 '11 at 2:46
    
+1 (effort, sourced answer) –  wizlog Dec 8 '11 at 2:53
    
They're badly designed, and the cables are not well shielded. On the slightly better grade of audio cable i use on DIY projects (primarily cause its a dream to solder with), it uses simple wire mesh. Shielding is a surface effect and you could 'shield' a cable with tin foil connected to ground. –  Journeyman Geek Dec 8 '11 at 2:54
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@wizlog: The plating on the connectors doesn't have anything to do with the interference you heard. On a poorly shielded speaker, the internal wiring and electromagnet driving the speaker are effectively antennas capable of picking up any EM transmission and turning it into noise. Cell phones, in particular, are very good sources of audible interference. –  afrazier Dec 8 '11 at 2:56
    
@afrazier thank you. –  wizlog Dec 8 '11 at 3:06
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