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Image: CMC 6005 Gold Plated and Bare Copper Spades; CMC CMC-6005-CU-R Bare Copper Spades
While pondering copper spade connectors for a new DIY project, I came across a perfect example of identifying two types of audio connector platings, and how important model numbers can be. Both can be difficult to discern without clear photos and truthful if not coherent descriptions, especially Chinese products and listings that are often full of misinformation if not misleading content, so buyers should be aware. That said, I have found excellent Chinese devices that tend to be worthwhile things to explore, especially when seeking bottom-line if not wholesale price points. Not unlike the rise of Japan in the electronics marketplace, Chinese products should no longer be considered junk as a rule, since higher standards are slowly being introduced as Chinese culture becomes more sophisticated about how they perceive the worldwide audiophile marketplace.
Two Chinese brands, EIZZ and CMC are reputable audiophile connector makers, but both suffer from poor website content in order to support their products, so gathering as much information as possible from the web has been necessary. In the case of my copper spade research, I determined a set of 10 (although I only required a total of 8) copper spades for under $20 with free shipping was my lower-cost target for the application. I decided on the CMC 6005, since it features a pure copper base metal, and a dual solder/crimp/strain-relief platform design, and a universal fit for any size binding post.
That said, I found two types involved in eBay and other listings; CMC 6005 models indicating a superior design, and another without a designated model number featuring an obvious nickel substrate plating that I find undesirable, although lower in cost. From what I gather, this lower-cost product is a counterfeit CMC product, which is ironic since Chinese knock-offs tend to be based on Japanese, North American, or European audiophile products rather Chinese brands.
A fortunate find was this AliExpress listing for direct gold plated pure copper CMC 6005 spades, but what was delivered was the unplated CMC-6005-CU-R version, which is the model I originally sought at best-price, since I fully enjoy bare copper speaker connectors. The appearance of the bare copper CMC-6005-CU-R is spot-on to how the bare copper Cardas GRS stamped spade looks, except that the CMC-6005-CU-R is a universal-fit design, and features two termination platforms; one for soldering or crimping the conductor, the other to crimp the insulated wire for strain relief purposes.
I still like Cardas GRSC copper spades but I don't see the unplated copper version listed on the Partsconnexion or Sonic Craft websites any more so your CMC 6005s may be a good alternative, and less expensive. Another alternative is to purchase the Cardas copper jumpers, cut off the link, and solder your wires to the two individual spades. $6.74 per jumper, or $3.37 per individual spade.
The downside of the GRS spade is the size factor; I've experienced enough frustration about a misfit between 1/4" vs. 5/16" binding posts and spades that aren't universal fit. The CMC 6005 fits both sizes, and provides options for both a heavy-duty crimp termination and strain-relief. Otherwise, I'll only invest in modular connector designs like the WBT spade along with a crimped ferrule sleeve, so any size can be swapped-out as I've done before without essentially re-terminating the cable. It was a great relief after upgrading a power amplifier with a newer one that features a larger 5/16" binding post. A real relief to not experience unfortunate audiophile grief at that time.
I have no trouble with the Cardas spades on my Cardas binding posts. I used a lot of Furutech gold over copper spades too.
I no longer use the WBT spades so if you are interested in a good deal on a set of four new/never used WBT spades as shown above, let me know.
My point is about a universal fit vs. a specific size as a limitation.
Shoot me an email with a price, and I'll let you if I'm interested in a purchase.
Luminous Audio makes a nice simple spade in gold, copper or silver. I've used them many times over the years, and have never been disappointed in their performance (bare copper).
Nice find, and at a good price. Thanks
I terminated a 9 foot pair of AudioQuest FLX 16/4 bulk speaker cable priced at $1.28 per foot with the CMC CMC-6005-CU-R bare copper spade, and the combo sounds better than it should for less than $40 in total. Very open sounding from top to bottom, with a detailed leading edge without sounding etched. Comes pretty close to the sonic signature of a solid core cable; certainly doesn't sound ill-defined like inferior stranded speaker wire tends to, and the combo sounds more transparent/less colored than AudioQuest Type 4, which is more expensive.
The AudioQuest 16/4 (13 AWG aggregate/effective gauge) FLX sounds so good, I ordered the 14/4 (11 AWG aggregate/effective gauge) FLX as another option, since in my experience the tonality of the two cables are quite different. Rather than a more airy treble and laid back presence, the 14/4 FLX presents a more visceral gestalt, with a denser tonality, and a stronger bottom-end. I look forward to comparing them within a DIY television audio loudspeaker project I'm working on. $1.68 per foot from Audio Advisor.
Quite a few years ago I came across some Belden 2 cond. 16 AWG silver plated stranded cable spec'd out for instrument signal wire. It was unusual in that there were more stands per bundle and it was silver plated. I thought it was tinned but found out it was in fact silver so it piqued my interest. Since there was plenty left when the project was complete I acquired some to sample. It was and is to date the best speaker cable I have have come across. I use two pair per speaker which works out to about 13awg per leg.
After I stripped the cover I used it to make interconnects too, though I have to be careful where I use them as they can sound shrill/ bright. I have many vintage tube pieces that they work well with.
Copper spade connectors are a common commodity as well. Though those you listed are priced well as most audiophile items are absurdly expensive.
So you see I can DIY most any cable that cannot be touched for the price.
Belden makes good wire and, if you get the right stuff, I also believe it can be just as satisfying as some of the multi $K wires folks purchase. I find it interesting that audio people tend to look down on systems using basic Belden, Mogami, Canare, etc. wire but when Blue Jeans Cable or others make cables from the exact same wire then all of a sudden it becomes a great value.
To your price comment, I still find the Western Electric wire to sound excellent compared to many expensive, and some less expensive, wires I have had in my systems. I can honestly say, none have been as musically satisfying to me. Specifically, I use the WE10ga with two twisted pairs going to each speaker for bi-wiring but I also have a set made from quads of WE16ga (13awg aggregate) for the MF/HF and quads of WE14ga (11awg aggregate) for the LF and those also sound excellent.
The longer I have been doing this audio hobby, the less convinced I am of the sonic benefit, and certainly the value, of the many things sold for a lot of money to audiophiles. Much of it seems like a Jedi mind trick on a massive scale, but maybe I am just getting old.
I'm with you. I cannot get my head around purity and OFC claims. Especially when I know all copper electrical wire is 99.3 % copper and the role oxygen plays in the manufacturing process. A google search can be a dangerous thing I suppose.
I bent the inner clamping platform outwards in order to fit my soldering iron between the folds. Definitely pure copper, not brass.
The high amount of concentrated heat from the soldering iron tip required to make proper solder joints is also a clear indicator of being a pure copper connector. Pre-tinning both the connector and the conductor is fully recommended.
Otherwise, the high-mass copper connector is designed for an excellent crimp termination, soldering, or both.
Only real test you need.
Copper + Zinc = Brass
Copper + Tin = Bronze
Copper, zinc, and tin are non-ferrous metals, so testing with a magnet won't indicate anything about the metallurgy unless iron or nickel is involved.
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