Does anyone know exactly what the difference is between gold plugs (say jacks) and silver metal. Is it conductivity, or what characteristic does it posess?
I have a mini mic jack that crackles like mad when rotated with a silver jack, but gold jacks are silent.
Gold plated contacts resist corrosion better - which is probably the source of your "crackles". Your "silver" contacts are probably nickel plated and have just worn out/corroded.
Silver is the best conductor, but we all know what happens to silver that's exposed to air. Copper follows, same problem.
I highly recommend gold contact connectors for any portable equipment, especially in moist/salty environments. No need to buy $$$ exotic connectors, standard gold plated Neutriks are great - probably $1 more on average. Don't buy connectors from your average supply house unless you like paying top dollar. Full Compass usually has the best prices on connectors in groups of 10. Sometimes 10 from them is what 2 costs from the other places.