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Question Banana plugs or bare wire bound?

Onlythesound

Prominent Member
I read a lot about people’s experiences with banana plugs but over decades, have always stripped my speaker wire and bound it to the speaker posts.
Are banana plugs better?

Thanks
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
Define better. I don't believe they're better or worse for sound quality but they're a damn sight easier to plug in, worth it for convenience I'd say.
 

DrH

Prominent Member
I always used bare wire into my speakers and amp
Where it is easy to access I still put bare wire in, the back of my speakers.
As my AVR is more difficult to access I use banana plugs
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
I prefer banana plugs for all the reasons mentioned above.

But also, another thing I have noticed when I have just used bare ends - decent wire that is made up of hundreds of extremely fine strands and I have sometimes found a few strands that have broken off and sitting on top of my AVR. It makes me nervous thinking “did any make it through the ventilation slots onto the circuit board”. For that reason alone, I don’t like taking bare speaker wire anywhere near my AV equipment.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Bare copper wire will oxidise over time and this can affect the connection and in particular the higher frequency component of the signal.

If you have bare wire connections, it's worth giving them an occasional clean with some wire wool.
 

Onlythesound

Prominent Member
That’s helpful folks. Thanks as always. Interesting, my other half found one or two fine wire strands on our new sofa yesterday 😯
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Banana plugs are the easiest to disconnect and connect, that is all. After that come spade lugs - a bit fiddlier to disconnect and connect, but they don't stick out as far and also avoid the risk of loose strands causing problems.

Oxidation with bare wires is generally not an issue, as you will be making an airtight connection between the speaker's binding posts and the wire. You will need to strip them back when disconnecting and reconnecting though.
 

Onlythesound

Prominent Member
For me it’s usually the space in the hole where the wire inserts at the speaker terminal that gives the problem . E.g. the rather over large pieces of metal bridging the 2 sets of terminals on my Concept 20s take up so much room that it’s difficult to get 2.5mm wire in the space remaining😕. I’m sure they don’t do anything for sound quality either.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Banana plugs for me. So convenient.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
You can do what you want, as long as you are willing to work for it.

Bare wire on an amp that is tight inside a cabinet is a pain in the A$$. Not so bad on the speakers, but bare wire also has a higher potential for a short or stray strand of wire sticking out. It is just so much easier to use Banana Plugs, ... bap...plug them in...done ... and they are not that hard to install Sewell makes some that require NO TOOLS, but even those that require a tool, simply need a small strong screwdriver.

The ones I most often recommend are the Sewell Deadbolt. Screw the top off, push the bare wire up from the bottom, splay the wire to the sides over the center tube, and screw the top back on. Just that easy.

Amazon product



Of course there are others from Sewell, Nakamichi, and others -

Amazon-UK - Search - Banana Plugs

Amazon product

Amazon product

Amazon product

If you buy the Screw-type, make sure it has TWO Screws to hold the wire in place.

As you can see, none of these are excessively expensive.

Steve/bluewizard
 

daddy999

Established Member
Bare wire for me. have used banana plugs before, there are no benefits I could hear and I don’t see any set up or convenience benefits because you only do it once or twice, ever. Oh and it saved a few bob too.
 

Onlythesound

Prominent Member
I have to admit that there is something very satisfying in separating, stripping and twisting the wires then that application of pressure and squashiness as the wires are firmly screwed down in the speaker/amplifier terminals . Then there’s always that momentary doubt and mental finger crossing as you switch everything on...a hi-fi equivalent of climbing a mountain 😑
 

password1

Distinguished Member
I always use bare wire. Unless you need to unplug all the time I say not needed.

If it becomes oxidised i can just strip a little bit off and reveal fresh wire. Im still using bare wire that was stripped 15+ years ago
 

musicphil

Prominent Member
Bare wire at the speaker and BP at the amp end.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Bare wire for me. have used banana plugs before, there are no benefits I could hear and I don’t see any set up or convenience benefits because you only do it once or twice, ever. Oh and it saved a few bob too.

In my experience, bare wire will loosen over time with vibration and changes in temperature. True it can take months. But to be sure the connections stay tight, you need to check the wire connections every month or so.

Banana Plugs are under Spring Tension, and expand and contract with temperature changes.

I've tried Bare Wire, Spade Connectors, and Banana Plugs. For me, Banana Plugs work the best and are easiest to use.

These are the Spades I used -

Amazon product

But then ... that's just one man's opinion.

Steve/bluewizard
 

daddy999

Established Member
In my experience, bare wire will loosen over time with vibration and changes in temperature. True it can take months. But to be sure the connections stay tight, you need to check the wire connections every month or so.

Banana Plugs are under Spring Tension, and expand and contract with temperature changes.

I've tried Bare Wire, Spade Connectors, and Banana Plugs. For me, Banana Plugs work the best and are easiest to use.

These are the Spades I used -

Amazon product

But then ... that's just one man's opinion.

Steve/bluewizard

Hmm, this has never happened to me in 30+ years, but, as you say, it could.
 

Onlythesound

Prominent Member
Interesting what Steve says - I usually check the tension on my terminals once a fortnight and often find they’ve loosened slightly.
Think those banana plugs need to be ordered.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
In my experience, bare wire will loosen over time with vibration and changes in temperature.
My old Denon AVR X6200 was always loosening the centre and right surround speaker binding posts and the only way to ensure a stable connection was to use deadbolt banana plugs, Not a problem afterwards. No doubt the heat from the unit played it's part as it did run rather toasty.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Banana plugs for the reason already mentioned - convenience
 

craig808

Prominent Member
Interesting what Steve says - I usually check the tension on my terminals once a fortnight and often find they’ve loosened slightly.
Think those banana plugs need to be ordered.

I also find this interesting. After tightening as much as I dare they always seem to work their way loose again.

Perhaps I should be trying some banana plugs as well 🤔
 

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