Companies manufacturing cables and connectors have been endorsing their products with gold-plated connectors. You also must have seen such products claiming to be better than other connectors but do they really make a difference? Are they better and should you buy them instead of the regular silver ones? Read on to find out.
Gold cable vs Normal cable
Manufacturers claim that the HDMI cables and 3.5 mm audio connectors with gold plating help in transmitting signals and signals get less deteriorated as it passes through the cable as gold is a better conductor of electricity.
The issue with this claim is that HDMI cables transmit digital signals. Digital signals are just 1s and 0s, and there is no place for any distortion in any situation. HDMI cables transmit the best quality possible and don’t depend on whether the cable has gold in it or is gold-plated or not.
But there are standard and high-speed HDMI cables that define the resolution that they can support. Gold is also considered to be more conductive than silver or copper in audio connectors, but the reality is that gold is less conductive than pure silver or copper.
HDMI manufacturers claim that the gold cables have lower latency than their standard counterparts. Having higher latency will make visuals on your screen appear faster and better. The manufacturers claim this on the same basis of gold having better conductivity than regular/ silver connectors.
The problem is all the cables are made of the same material from inside, copper, which makes every cable equal and all signal will have to face the same amount of restrictions as the other one.
Why is Gold used then?
There is a very simple answer to this. Gold is the noblest metal, and with pure forms like 18 or 20 karats, it is corrosion-resistant. Silver and copper in an open environment oxidizes over time and can this oxide layer can act as a resistant in the signal flow in the case of HDMI cables and current flow in the case of 3.5 mm cables. Gold is also a soft metal and can wear off quickly. The plating on these connectors is just some microns thick so it will wear off eventually.
Should you be paying extra for Gold Cables?
The answer is a definite no; unless you live in near the sea or some other water body, which increases humidity and chances of corrosion. There is no difference in performance between gold-coloured HDMI and 3.5 mm audio connectors. Both of them work well. Gold-plated connectors are meant for places that are highly corrosive. Go for the regular ones if you can find them; they work fine. Gold-plated connectors or cables are just manufactured to get higher profit margins with no practical world usage.