Stager Silver Solids

pure silver analog and digital interconnect cables

Here's a bit of information covering various aspects of cable design, and the design and construction of Stager Silver Solids on particular.

Why silver?
Deco Audio explains it this way. I couldn't say it any better so I am quoting them here:
"Audio Myths: Silver Wire sounds ‘bright’.
Good quality pure silver wire in its raw state sounds wonderfully transparent and lucid. Compared to copper it simply appears to have less character - a good way to describe the sound of copper is that it is a little heavy handed, thickening the tonality of instruments and lacking the lightness of touch of silver. Silver does not accentuate the treble but does appear to allow greater appreciation of recorded room acoustics and ambience."
The entire statement can be found here, at Deco Audio:

Peter Qvortrup of Audio Note said:
.“..Silver does not in itself sound hard, bright or thin. What it does do is expose the underlying un-linearities and distortions in the circuit, the output devices or the choice of passive components, and it does so by virtue of its far superior ability to pass low level information."

The famous audio guru Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg on wire: I strongly suggest using silver speaker wire and interconnects, because copper wire is grungy sounding. ...I do not like the sound of stranded silver and only use solid silver wires. Let me repeat that: GET AWAY FROM STRANDED WIRE.
There's a pile of interesting stuff from the late Dr. Gizmo, nutty audiophile genius here, at The Triode Guild

On Break-in
I've been asked about cable break-in for Stager Silver Solids interconnects on several occasions. There should not be a need for a long, extended break-in period, as many cable makers claim, actually hoping your ears will adjust.
I've gotten several different opinions regarding break-in from different users. A few, whose comments I posted, found that no break in was necessary. The cable should sound fine from minute one. Improvements, if any, are generally very subtle.
However, I did get this email from a customer who had a different experience:
"Well, what an experience. I plugged them into my (very, very) modest computer system, having previously used a crappy pair of IC's I had hanging around, and immediately noticed a difference.
For the worse.
This is what people lauded?? Sounded like an anemic duckling getting run over by a bus...thin, brittle, bassless...what were people thinking??
Seeing them, I didn't think any break-in would be necessary...especially on my "system," (I use that term bashfully). But what the hey. I left them on, squawking away in their death throes.
Next day, I said "hmmm...better." Still no body, but plenty of bloom, and the treble portion was good. Very good. So on they went.
Second day, after about 60 hours, I thought..."gees, are these the same IC's?"
Third day, after about 80 hours, I thought "please don't change any're perfect!!" Plenty of body, low noise floor, presence, name it. Instead of a "bonk," I hear fingers hitting the wood of the guitar. In short, I am hearing the master tape. Poorly recorded CDs sound like crap, as they should.
Well recorded CDs sound sublime, as they should.
And for the umpteenth time, NO they are not "bright." They are correct, spot on, perfect."

Are Stager Silver Solids directional?
No.  Music signals are by nature AC - Alternating current, therefore there is no direction favored in the conductors. (This also applies to speaker cable) There are directional unbalanced line level cables, but that's when a separate coaxial ground is connected only to one end - which should be at the source, for maximum noise filtering. The signal itself remains non-directional.

On Shielding
Twisted pair wires have a self shielding property. Due to twisting, the electromagnetic fields from outside as well as the interference radiation largely cancel each other.
Steve Lampen at Belden Wire has been saying for a very long time that a shield is not necessary for digital and line level analog audio as long as the wires are tightly twisted. Not having a shield does not pass noise as long as the cable is kept a few inches away from power cables or crossed at about a 90° angle if necessary for minimal exposure.
But not having a shield does give the cable a lower capacitance, resulting in greater transparency, detail, and high-frequency extension.
One customer,  whose remarks I posted in the users' comments page, has a nice mobile system in his pickup truck. He wanted to use my cables but I told him that, being unshielded cables, they night be vulnerable to ignition noise. Turns out they worked just fine and he was extremely pleased with them.
Another customer emailed me saying that "there's definitely a slight increase in the noise floor [at the phono input], which makes me think some if not most of this is EMI/RFI due to the unshielded nature of the cable. I suggested that "Wrapping them around each other to maximize their inherent shielding could eliminate the problem". And it did.
If Stager Silver Solids are intended to be used between your phono cartridge and phono stage, they may work fine - or, due to the high gain of the phono preamp stage, they might be noisy. Generally, for this part of the system, a shielded cable may be preferable. Also, running a relatively heavy wire for the ground link is advisable, as it offers a path of least resistance (than the interconnect) to the ground terminal at the preamp and will also reduce noise. I can make a shielded cable for this purpose on special order. There is a photo of just such a cable I made for an SAME and a Jelco tonearm on the specs page.

Balanced or unbalanced?
For lengths shorter than, say, two meters, there will be little or no difference. Longer lengths benefit from balanced cables' "common mode rejection", that is, noise elimination by inverting polarity at the sending end then re-inverting at the receiving end so the signal ends up the correct polarity but noise in the signal path (common to both terminals) is rejected by phase cancellation. This is why long cable runs like mic cables and snakes (multi-cables from stage to mixing board) are always balanced. Also, in the vast majority of pro gear used in studio installations where there are likely to be hundreds of yards of cables and even tiny amounts of noise will add up.   Empirical Audio on balanced audio cables

Digital cables
There are two types of IEC 60958 standard AES EBU non-optical cables:
Type I Balanced: 3-conductor, 110-ohm twisted pair cabling, XLR connectors, used in professional installations (AES3 standard).
Type II Unbalanced: 2-conductor, 75-ohm coaxial cable with RCA connectors, used in consumer audio.
I can make either RCA or XLR - or BNC if that's what you need. The Canare F-10 are 75 Ohms making them ideal for digital connections As for the Neutrik XLR's, Neutrik says: "...according to our tests they work properly for digital AES/EBU signals" I hadn't originally intended them for this purpose but a couple of reviewers found Stager Silver Solids to work very well as digital cables.
One reviewer said:
  "... And, in fact, I used the Stager Solids more as digital cables (2-metre coaxials are very handy when playing with complex home theatre equipment). They worked very well as digital cables with Dolby Digital or 2-channel PCM, with a clear sound in the decoded output and no digital anomalies or dropouts. "I found the Stager Solids extremely natural and open, with lots of detail and a sweet top end, amazing performance at the price, likely to work well both between sources and preamps, and preamps and amplifiers, unless any of these components is itself overly bright. They are good enough that I decided to buy them, and though I may use them mostly for digital signals, I'm also sure they'll come in handy with high end analog components." Andrew Marshall
Another reviewer actually liked them more as digital cables than as analog cables. Have a look at an... interesting review and my comments which follow it:
  "I also tried one of these cables between my CD player and D/A converter. Eureka! Although they are not specified for this use, I really enjoyed them in this application.."  TNT Audio
Shielding  is not external, as with the common coaxially wrapped cables, but is achieved by making Stager Silver Solids in a twisted pair, like phone and ethernet cables. This keeps the capacitance lower and improves high frequency extension.
Since you only need a single cable, the cost will be half of that of a stereo pair.
Send me an Email if this interests you and if you decide to buy, I can invoice you for the correct amount.

Speaker Cables
Jung and Marsh stated that their tests showed that the use of multiple thin gauge solid core wires in parallel was the best way to go. This offered low capacitance with no phase or skin effect problems in or directly above the audible range. When asked, "What is the real thing about using silver in audio chain?" Mark Levinson replied, "Silver is the best conductor of electricity. Laws of physics. But copper is more practical for speaker cables."
For a speaker cable, using just one pair of 23 ga. conductors results in a noticeably lean tonal balance but grouping multiple light-gauge wire gives you an even tonal balance without diminishing the desirable high-frequency performance advantages of thin gauge wires. The most cost effective way of achieving this is using plenum type CAT6 Ethernet cable with eight pure copper 23 gauge solid wires and Teflon dielectric in multiple pairs. Uncompromising high-end caliber performance at a bargain price.
The illustration below shows one side: Stager Silver Solids Blog

Updated June 4, 2024