For the first blog for our new website, I thought I would tackle the age-old question - are gold plugs better than nickel plugs? Companies like MOGAMI have conditioned us, the consumers, to think that their top line of cables are better, because they cost more always having gold plugs and connectors. But are they the best option? Cable manufacturers prefer to sell the higher line of cables with gold plugs and connectors, because the profit margins are larger. We, as consumers, are ok with the higher prices because we have been conditioned to think we are getting better performance for the money. Do not get me wrong – I love MOGAMI cable. We have been using MOGAMI cable for over 35 years as our preferred cable for all critical cable applications. The cable you choose for your wiring project makes a huge difference. But how does the finish on the plugs and connectors influence the sound? Below I will give you a few things to consider when making your selections in the future.
First, let us consider the technical aspects in the manufacturing process of the plugs and connectors. I was told by the third largest manufacturer of plugs in the marketplace that all plugs and connectors are manufactured with nickel plating. Then the plugs/connectors are separated, and the plugs designated to be manufactured with gold plating are then plated with gold plating. This is one of the reasons to consider the nickel plugs over the gold plugs due to the double plating. The nickel plugs should yield a more accurate sound, than the gold plugs.
Second, gold plugs and connectors look sexy compared to the nickel. Nothing beats the look of a gold plug/connector with a black housing. This certainly helps the manufacturers to sell the higher priced cables with gold plugs and connectors. Perception cannot be easily discounted or overlooked. If musicians or engineers feel confident about their gear, it’s one less thing to get in the way of the creative processes.
The third item for consideration, which I deem as the most important consideration, can you hear the difference. If you really want to know which works best for you, in you working environment, test two identical length, brand, and model cables with the two types of finishes (gold & silver) on the plugs and connectors. In a more critical listening environment, such as a studio, you will have a better chance to hear the differences of the sound qualities of the two cables. However, if the studio environment is not the sandbox in which you live and work, then do the test in your world. Can you hear the difference? If so, which one do you prefer? I know studio owners that keep both around because they like the tonal differences. Let your ears answer the question, over all other items listed in this blog. Whatever conclusion you derive from your testing or consideration, know we are one of the few cable manufacturers that offer a full line of both nickel and gold cable assemblies.
Thanks for reading this information. I hope that this information will assist you in your decisions for future cable purchases.