AudioQuest Spade Connectors Gold vs Silver Worth a read and a comment!

G’day Fellow and Fellowette audio enthusiasts.

After some research into spade edge connectors which can possibly apply to all. I hope you find this information of interest. I have left out the person’s name with whom I had been having an email conversation.

I am not promoting their products, though after my disappointment with possible gold, nickel, brass $5 AUD connectors. Below are clips from the conversation and I hope you can follow them.

Dear Mitch,

Getting the best performance from any system is all about keeping distortion to a minimum and doing as little damage to the signal as possible. When it comes to choosing cables or connectors, there’s no one “right” one - it’s a case of going with the best one you can. This is because cables (or connectors) cannot improve the signal they carry, they can only make improvements by introducing less distortion into the system and doing less damage to the signal. The less distortion, the better. The best cable therefore is the one that introduces the least distortion and affects the signal as little as possible. And this is true for all cables. And the further up the line you go, the better it gets.

Connectors, while obviously not responsible for as big of an improvement as a cable, can still make a difference as every little thing you can do to reduce distortion will have an accumulative effect. Superior copper will ensure less distortion. As the numbering system implies, thew 100 series are the entry level models, and the 1000 series are the best.

I hope this helps.

Dear Mitch,

The 100 series connectors are made from beryllium copper and are direct-gold or direct-silver plated.
The 300 series connectors are made from a superior beryllium copper and are direct-gold or direct-silver plated.
The 500 series connectors are made from Purple copper and are direct-gold or direct-silver plated with Hanging Gold or Hanging Silver.
The 1000 series connectors are made from Red copper and are direct-silver plated with Hanging Silver.

Gold was chosen as a plating material because it’s a ‘noble’ metal and resistant to tarnish, corrosion and rust. It was never chosen for its sonic properties. Ironically, many gold plated connectors these days use a brass base or some other alloy rather than pure copper, as it’s cheaper, as well as being easier to machine. These connectors are then nickel plated and polished. Then a very thin layer (around 2 or 3 microns) of gold plating is applied to the nickel. Now the connector looks nice and shiny, but it’s not the gold that’s making it shiny – it’s the layer of nickel underneath. Because gold is so often equated with jewelry, it’s often assumed that connectors should shine in the same way.

Silver, on the other hand, was chosen for its sonic properties. Although silver will tarnish, it will not corrode. It is purely a cosmetic issue and will in no way compromise sound quality. You may want to clean the connectors once or twice a year with a standard silver cleaning product if the tarnishing bothers you, but we think that’s a small price to pay for superior performance.

AudioQuest connectors are “Direct-Gold” or “Direct-Silver” plated meaning that the gold or silver plating is applied directly over the copper base. There is no intermediate layer of nickel. This is why our connectors sound better.

As you go up the line, the quality of the base material (copper) improves, which means superior performance. The method of plating also improves with the 500 and 1000 series. The 100 & 300 series are placed in a machine somewhat similar to a cement mixer and plated in that way. The 500 & 1000 series use a “hanging” method, much like that used for chrome plating, where the connectors are attached to a “tree” and that tree is placed in a large vat. The benefit is that the plating is much more even and consistent, resulting in a superior sounding connector.

I hope this helps.

Hi Mitch,

You’re welcome! The silver is a bit better. We prefer silver over gold. These connectors work fine with stranded cables - some of our entry level models use a type of stranded conductor and these banana plugs & spades work great.

Best regards,

Dear Mitch,

The 100 series and 300 series will both accept up to a 9 awg cable. They will handle 12 to 14 awg cables.
The 500 series come in two sizes: the 507 accepts up to a 7 awg cable; the 509 accepts up to a 9 awg cable.
The 1000 series come in four sizes: the 1003 accepts up to a 3 awg cable; the 1005 accepts up to a 5 awg cable; the 1007 accepts up to a 7 awg cable; the 1009 accepts up to a 9 awg cable.

Best regards,

That is all to date.

I am still trying to find out if the 300 series has larger grub screws to better clamp the stranded wire inside the connector. It appears so by internet webpages.

I expect a million heart likes for this post. Well may be one or two :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Warm regards,



Great to see a manufacturer taking the time to engage in detail directly with an end user.

1 Like

I think the theory, is gentlemen, and ladies are to preference silver over gold. Though with my PTSD and not being able to use my hands, thus fingers for small jobs readily. I have chosen to go with the gold 100 series. This draws back to me being painfully OCD and that “Speaker” connectors should be labeled “Speaker” connectors for one pair and the other not being labeled “AMP” for the other pair. If I had more sense than the money I probably should have chosen the 300 Ag silver spade connectors. At $25 AUD per connector instead of a selection of eight at $12.50 AUD per connector. Maybe I will treat myself to a wedding anniversary present and purchase two packs of the 300 silver series.

Your two bob may very.

Warm regards,


In conclusion with muscle memory in my right hand as an electrician, I was able to strip the outer insulation of the NAC A5 stranded wire cable without damaging the strands of the stranded cables. The untwisted wire-stranded cable was inserted into the AudioQuest 100 series gold connector until it reached the outer edge of the tunnel before the open fork. Just past the second grub screw.

Before inserting the stranded wire cable I did undo the hardened copper grubs screws in one turn before they fell free of the hole. This did happen on two occasions and I was even more careful with the others.

With the untwisted by hand stranded cable was inserted into the tunnel of the connector up until the outer edge of the tunnel as presented to the open fork of the connector. The first grub screw was firmly tightened by a calibrated tradesman feel and not over-torqued. I did not experience any of the negative reviews as present on Amazon. The following procedure was completed with the second grub screw on that connector and thus also with the other six grub screws on the remaining three 100 series connectors.

No issues at all. The proof will be in the pudding tomorrow when I have a chance to listen to the test tomorrow afternoon or on Sunday.

If I can hear the same results as stated in my previous Dire Straits breakdowns of Telegraph Road and Lover over Gold. I will be indeed a very happy chappy.

It is a bugger about my extended hearing loss above 15kHz. Such is life.


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