Most high-end audio equipment uses a microscopically thin layer of gold plating on their connectors. We certainly do. It’s what’s expected.
And the general consensus in the audiophile community is that this layer of precious metal makes a sonic difference. I know from personal experience that the choice of precious metals like rhodium, palladium, silver, or gold, has a sonic impact on a quality constructed connector.
How much does the obvious beauty of the outer finish contribute to sound quality vs. the actual construction of the connector?
Here’s my take on it. Gold plating, in and of itself and without benefit of proper cable and connector construction, does not necessarily sound better. We can purchase gold-plated RCA cables from Amazon Basics for $6 that sound like dog-do compared to a well designed nickel plated higher end cable of proper design.
How about if we turn an old saying on its head? All that glitters is not gold might in this context make more sense if it read: All that is gold does not mean it sounds good. (ok, I am not a good adage writer :))
Perhaps the best adage of all would be Beauty is only skin deep.
It’s what’s inside that matters.