Lead vs. Silver solder - diyAudio
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Old 3rd March 2003, 01:53 AM   #1
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Default Lead vs. Silver solder

Yes, I have searched and I've seen those who say that solder joints make a profound difference in sound quality despite a complete lack of any benchmarks or test results. There are reasons to use silver solder:

1. Higher melting point
2. Environmentally friendlier

I have used lead/tin solder on a few diodes that got so hot that they desoldered themselves. Silver/tin solder would probably have helped in that case. I know silver and lead have different resistances and capacitances, but nothing drastic enough to change the way audio sounds. If it was so profound, maybe you guys could post some frequency response charts from your amps and quit using words like "bright" and "muddy". It's not like the audio frequency spectrum even comes close to FM or even AM radio. If lead solder is used in RF circuits, what's the big deal in the AF spectrum?
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Old 3rd March 2003, 02:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Lead vs. Silver solder

Quote:
Originally posted by Solid Snake
I know silver and lead have different resistances and capacitances, but nothing drastic enough to change the way audio sounds. If it was so profound, maybe you guys could post some frequency response charts from your amps and quit using words like "bright" and "muddy". It's not like the audio frequency spectrum even comes close to FM or even AM radio. If lead solder is used in RF circuits, what's the big deal in the AF spectrum?
I'm with you 100% here. I was involved in a debate about this a while ago. I made many of the same arguments. What usually happens is that the channel goes quiet, or those who disagree with you simply ignore you or talk around the issue.

In the thread that I was reading/writing about this subject, no one, at any time, was ever able to produce a single shred of evidence that would show why silver or other exotic solders would make any sort of audible difference.
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Old 3rd March 2003, 02:17 AM   #3
bknauss is offline bknauss  United States
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Let's transport this thread over to audio asylum and throw in a good ol' ABX test so the entire thread will be deleted. If you didn't know, AA doesn't allow ABX results, which is possibly the stupidest rule I've ever heard... promotes idiot-phile and voodoo audio. Just my 2 cents for the night.
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Old 3rd March 2003, 02:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by bknauss
Let's transport this thread over to audio asylum and throw in a good ol' ABX test so the entire thread will be deleted. If you didn't know, AA doesn't allow ABX results, which is possibly the stupidest rule I've ever heard... promotes idiot-phile and voodoo audio. Just my 2 cents for the night.
That's probably where the asylum part of it comes from.
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Old 3rd March 2003, 03:05 AM   #5
sam9 is offline sam9  United States
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Default Silver when hi-temp needed

My only experience with silvewr solder was decades ago when my dad build a custom rifle for moose and caribo. Silver was uses to fit the fron sight. The reason was that that ordinary solder would soften during repeated firing during target practice.

I suspect the same thing applies in other situations - silver has an advantage if the joint will be subject to temperatures high enough to soften ordinary solder. At the same time, you need to be careful not to damage a component by using the heat required rto solder silver.

By the way, if you have diodes that get unusually hot you may want to think of a way to heatsink them. I think an example can be found in the Leach amp website.
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Old 3rd March 2003, 03:09 AM   #6
AKSA is offline AKSA  Australia
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All this is well and good until you realize that silver solder as used in electronics is not the same as craftsman/fitter silver solder, which indeed has a higher melting point and is much stronger.

Standard LMP silver solder, 60 tin 38 lead 2 silver, has a melting point of just 172C!!

But I use it all the time; very easy to apply, nice bright finish to the soldered joint.

Cheers,

Hugh
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Old 3rd March 2003, 03:31 AM   #7
jcarr is offline jcarr  United States
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SS:

>I have used lead/tin solder on a few diodes that got so hot that they desoldered themselves. Silver/tin solder would probably have helped in that case.<

63-37 melts at 183C, while most lead-free silver solders that I have tried melt around 220C. On the other hand, semiconductor junctions fail at about 150C. So while silver solder may have yielded stronger solder joints, in either case the diodes would probably have failed.

>Silver and lead have different resistances and capacitances.<

Resistances, yes. Capacitances? I certainly hope not!

>but nothing drastic enough to change the way audio sounds.<

On one occasion I built a number of audio amplifiers that were completely identical except for the solder. The units were sealed up, marked with arbitrary identifiers and auditioned blind, per the procedure outlined here:

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showt...0831#post60831

In general, sonic differences between various components and configurations aren't always significant enough to get a clear-cut preference from my listening panel, but in this particular case, one of the silver solders was rated by everyone participating as being the worst-sounding.

I did not investigate the reasons any farther, but simply chose not to use this solder in production.

regards, jonathan carr
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Old 3rd March 2003, 04:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Post #3 Let's transport this thread over to audio asylum and throw in a good ol' ABX test so the entire thread will be deleted. If you didn't know, AA doesn't allow ABX results, which is possibly the stupidest rule I've ever heard... promotes idiot-phile and voodoo audio. Just my 2 cents for the night.
What is AA and ABX?
And yes, nothing blows voodoo talk out of the water like a good set of benchmarks.
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Old 3rd March 2003, 05:00 AM   #9
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Yeah, silver solder and silver-bearing solder are two diffierent animals... Silver solder comes in a few temps, hard, medium and low IIRC, hard melting around 1450F.

IIRC, last time I tried silver-bearing solder, I got a crappy looking joint. I love led, helth prrblms b dmnd!@!!!

Tim
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Old 3rd March 2003, 05:32 AM   #10
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Everyone is uptight about lead now, well as long as you're not in the habit of eating solder, there's no reason to worry. Sorry if I'm not preoccupied with the concern for birth defects seeing as I am already born I read something somewhere about a possible lead tax but I think it will suffer the same fate as the soda pop and candy bar taxes did. Maybe the US government can destroy all the lead on earth so we don't have to worry about health problems, however, I believe dihydrogen monoxide is a greater danger.

http://houpd.home.texas.net/dihydrogenmonoxide.htm
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