Before I started making cables, many hours reading and studying were spent to find the best components to use in construction. And I found a company operating in Japan making Rhodium plated plugs to audiophile standards. And as a result, the first power cables were produced. To my ears, the sound heard was certainly cleaner and more open than the same cable with a gold plug. And as a seasoned audiophile, I undoubtedly was aware of audiophile difference a power plugs made.
Rhodium or Gold
We all have different hearing and different senses of feeling. And all I want to do is share my personal experiences with you. I have worked in the audio industry for over twenty-five years. And gained considerable knowledge over this period. I know which sound I prefer. Even if the cost of Rhodium Plugs is greater than the cost of Gold. After all, if you consider the difference in the price spread over the years you will use your audio system. It makes sense to go with the best sound regardless of the cost.
Today, which is October 17th 2021, the price of Gold is $56.82 per gram, and the cost of Rhodium is $344.01 per gram. Rhodium is a complex, silvery, durable metal with high reflectance. And does not usually form an oxide, even when heated. Rhodium is used as an alloying agent for hardening and improving the corrosion resistance of Electrical contacts. And great value for small electrical resistance, trim and stable contact resistance. And corrosion resistance.
The connectors of the more expensive electronics cables, such as audio, video and USB cables, are Gold. The benefit of using Gold by audio-visual experts often criticise gold connectors as unnecessary for most consumer. However, the use of Gold in other applications in electronic sliding contacts in highly humid or corrosive atmospheres. And used for connections with a very high failure cost (specific computers, communications equipment, spacecraft, jet aircraft engines). Audiophile difference Rhodium
Here’s a nice comparison (by Jay of AudioBacon) of identical ZenWave PCR-14 copper ribbon power cables. And only the plugs are different. The plugs nearly identical, except for Gold vs rhodium plating. The electrical contacts are similar; both use Furutech’s “Alpha Copper”. Both use Furutech’s NCF material to reduce noise. The Rhodium plated plug has a carbon fibre/stainless body that does give it a slight advantage. Still, the Gold plated plug has a high-quality metal body that’s significantly better than plastic-bodied plugs. And sounds different. Audiophile difference Rhodium
I agree with Jay’s findings. The only thing I’ll add is I think Rhodium is more transparent and neutral. And is pretty obvious, but it also makes the base material more audible. For that reason, I prefer Rhodium only on pure copper connectors. I also think platings from different companies sound different. For example, Furutech uses a high-quality plate with suitable thickness and a mirror finish. I can say from my testing that many undesirable characteristics attributed to Rhodium are mistaken. It’s easy to do in this hobby! Cause and effect are not always clear. And it reminds me of working on cars. It’s very humbling. Nobody knows it all. If you think you do, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment.
Here are a few myths:
- Rhodium sounds harsh. It’s most likely the base material. Or, the additional clarity of Rhodium is allowing you to hear harshness gold plating smoothed over.
- Rhodium has this hard or glassy sound to it. That’s the quality of your AC power, making itself more audible.
- Rhodium accentuates bass. It’s just that Gold softens dynamics and reduces the vibrancy of bass notes. Audiophile difference Rhodium
This is more of an observation: Some issues with rhodium stem from using it with Gold plated receptacles and IEC inlets. Most often, this isn’t an issue, but in some cases, it certainly is. You’re better off using FI-50 NCF plugs with matching NCF receptacles and IEC inlets, if possible. Audiophile difference Rhodium
As I progress in my audio journey, the less I want Gold plated anything. And I’ve almost eliminated it. If you need some warmth, don’t use cables if you can avoid it. I can see fine-tuning an otherwise complete system, which is why I offer some cables on the warm side using Gold plated plugs. However, an ideal situation would be to use the most neutral cable possible, getting the highest fidelity possible. And doesn’t need to lead to overwhelming highs, an unpleasant and fake “HiFi” experience. It can also lead to a more immersive and 3-D soundstage and more realistic and convincing timbre. Also better separation of images in complex music, and that elusive “Wow!” experience when you hear sounds coming from your system that sound real.
If you prefer a hot system, that’s more than ok. I offer what I consider warm cables that are also very high end and lose the least amount of resolution possible. And the whole point of using UPOCC silver/gold alloy and ribbon vs round wire in some of my cables. Most would not prefer a round-wire pure UPOCC silver cable, which is why I don’t offer one. I may offer it for phono cables as it fits that application. But otherwise, it’s silver/gold wire or pure UPOCC silver ribbon wire for my top-end cables.
Author: ZenWave Audio / zenwaveaudio.com
Nordost Odin Gold
Nordost is excited to introduce the new Supreme Reference range. Odin Gold. The Odin Gold achieves the unthinkable, eclipsing Odin 2. While Odin 2 will remain available as a beacon of audio prowess throughout the industry. Odin Gold is now taking its place at the apex of Nordost offerings as the new flagship line of cables. The Nordost Odin Gold advances the revolutionary technology generated throughout the Odin 2 range improving upon its elemental composition. And with this new cable comes a new material to Nordost’s award-winning design philosophy. One whose stability, conductivity, and tolerance yields transformative, never before experienced enhancements. And that material is Gold.
Audiophiles familiar with Nordost will recognize many design features in the Odin Gold range from its highly celebrated predecessor, Odin 2 – features such as Dual Mono-Filament technology, mechanically tuned lengths. Total Signal Control, and Holo:Plug® connectors. However, the influence of these design elements, in concert with the audible effects of gold-plated conductors, shielding, and connectors. Provides a hyper-realistic audio experience heard to be truly appreciated. Nordost’s Odin Gold audio cables are a revelation to the highest echelon of two-channel systems. Which produce a realism in playback that erases any confounds of an audio system.
All audiophiles search for the same qualities: A visit to the actual event. A sense of engagement promoting suspension of belief. And a visceral immersion in the audio-video experience. However, they also know that everything in the signal path makes a difference. And what we see, hear, and know is, in a straightforward way. The AC supply is directly in the signal path. As amplifier transfer energy to speakers, it draws down storage capacitors by precisely the same amount. The capacitors keep fully charged by drawing energy from rectifiers that turn the AC into DC from the transformer. Ultimately everything you see, hear, and experience is the AC that must be identical. To, let’s say, an amplifier’s output, and that AC travels through the power cord!
That’s why power cables are as crucial as any cable in a system. Because they carry the same signal. Furutech has received enthusiastic reports of significant improvements with every type of audio, and video device. Furutech Alpha Nano-Au-Ag OCC is one of the best conductors Furutech engineers have found for sound reproduction. The new technology, used in the highly specialized manufacturing process of this ultra-high performance power cable. They are combining Furutech’s world-renowned Alpha-OCC conductors with Furutech’s extremely effective signal transmission enhancer. Nano Liquid, to create Alpha-Au-Ag conductors. Nano Liquid’s molecules are so tiny (8 nano-meters in diameter (8/1000000mm). And cover the Alpha-OCC surface and “fill up” any concave-convex sections left between the conductor wires during the production process.
The exact mix of gold and silver super-micro particles and amount of dispersing Squalene oil significantly influences the sound reproduction. Furutech’s engineers settled on their exact Gold to silver particles ratio after careful audition of countless test samples. The resulting “tuned” cable offers a superb overall balance of qualities that Furutech is known for. And allowing you to feel experience and communicate with the music. The results are excellent resolution down and through the shallow noise floor. And improving sound staging and image palpability. And a musical, attractive, midrange, tight and controlled bass, plus power and dynamics to spare to set your music on fire!
Please be advised – The Information given from subheading Comparison down, has been supplied by Zenwaveaudio.com, Nordost.com and Furutech.com, and taken from their product information sheets. And personally I find it hard to believe that such professional companies can write such hogwash! So, please tell me what do you thinK?
The Cost ?
Considering that Rhodium costs over five times the price of Gold, why would a company promote Gold as being so wonderful I ask?
- The Nordost power cable has Gold plated plugs. And the Furutech power cable has Rhodium plated plugs.
- The Nordost Odin Gold – Priced at 34,000 euros (one would expect to be in heaven)
- The Furutech Nano priced at 4,300 euros (one would expect to hear a difference)
I have to say that I do not agree with some of then claims made by the companies who have written the three articles, But, I can certainly hear a difference between Rhodium and Gold and I prefer the sound from a Rhodium connection. And when it comes to audio, let your ears be your guide as it is only you what lives with your system!
Author: Paul A. Goodwin – Perkune audiophile cables
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