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Banana plugs and spade terminals?

Gibbo the Geek

Established Member
Hey people,

Just sorting out a new surround sound system and wondering, does everyone use banana plugs to the speakers and spade terminals to the amp? It just seems like such an added cost to it all. for surround sound I could end up spending at least £50 on just entry level connectors?

Or is it fine just to go with bare wire if i'm never going to be swapping around?
 

kempez

Prominent Member
If you don't want to spend that much, just drop into Maplins and grab some of their entry level connectors.
 

Scott_Mac

Distinguished Member
Hey people,

Just sorting out a new surround sound system and wondering, does everyone use banana plugs to the speakers and spade terminals to the amp? It just seems like such an added cost to it all. for surround sound I could end up spending at least £50 on just entry level connectors?

Or is it fine just to go with bare wire if i'm never going to be swapping around?

Bare wire is fine, you can get oxidisation on the wire though over time, hence spade terminals or banana plugs are a good idea...
 

Gibbo the Geek

Established Member
Cheers for the hasty responses. I've actually already bought banana plugs along with the cable. I've just never used spade connectors before, and have noticed that some places don't even sell them.

Just wondering if I'd been commiting a sin.

May just go with bare wire to start and then get some another time.
 

kempez

Prominent Member
I always terminate my wires. Looks much cleaner and easier to use
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
I'm never quite sure what the objections to bare wire are - Oxidisation? Isn't it doing exactly that inside the banana plug anyway?

Connectors are a matter of convenience, the choise of which is affected by the terminals on the speakers and amp. If you don't swap kit around on a regular basis and can crew the terminals down good and tight, bare wire is the best method simply because it removes unnecessary joins from the signal path.

The next best method is spade terminals as they are a single piece of metal and the terminals can be screwed down really tight onto them and them tightly onto the wire using two pairs of pliers.

Last are bananas but these vary wildly. The simple cheap ones are about as good as it gets, but avoid anything that has the spinning springy sleeve on the 4mm spike - It's just another joint and not a very tight one at that.

There are a variety of esoteric variations on these themes that may look the mutts, but I've never heard one that actually made a difference once you have a solid plug/spade that only cost a quid or so.

Russell
 

Scott_Mac

Distinguished Member
I maybe should've clarified my point... i've had speaker cables in the past where the ends have oxidised outside of a properly tinned banana plug connection, but that was only once.

I use bare wire for my rears, mainly because my amp doesn't support banana plugs... but i don't plan on moving it too often anyway and do agree that unless a proper termination is done, bare wire can be as good as you reduce the signal connections.

Terminations don't have to be expensive though - certainly not £50!
 

Gibbo the Geek

Established Member
Cheers, this is more like what I wanted to hear and had presumed.

The £50 was based on the general price of about just under £2 a connector, most seem to be about £7-8 for a pack of 4 (2 pairs), for a 7.1 system this is silly money.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Bare wire will work fine, but it's messy to connect and disconnect. Gold-plated crimp-on or soldered 6/4mm spade lugs shouldn't cost more than a few quid for the lot; they usually come "by the hundred" for lab work. You'll need a crimper or a soldering iron though. Banana plugs are the quickest to connect and disconnect. They're less popular at the amp end as they stick out a long way. Here too, buying them from a lab supplier is a lot cheaper than from an "audio specialist". Soldering is the most reliable connection method, and gold-plated connectors won't tarnish with time and work well if your amp also has gold-plated connections.

The audio world has a "funny" connector style in which you pay a fortune for a banana plug / spade lug that has a screw-on end into which you insert and clamp the bare wire. It's actually less reliable than the lab versions that you solder or crimp on, but since it costs a lot more, audiophiles assume it must sound better.
 
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