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Banana plugs - the truth?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Syrup, Nov 19, 2004.

  1. Syrup

    Syrup
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    hi all,

    ive took the plunge and bought myself some dm603 s3's and some qed silver anniversary wire. i have a pack of 24 banana plugs that ive had since 1997 (currently using 8 of them on the speaker ends of a pair of dm602's with cable talk 3.1 biwire). they are the vanilla variety with red and black screw on plastic sleeves and 2x small screws for the cable and are gold plated (well it looks gold anyway).

    is there any point in buying half decent (or even expensive) speaker cable and then putting "cheapo" termination on it?. it sounds kind of obvious to me but i have looked at some other brands of plug and i really cant see much difference to the connection (same screw down connection).

    is there any point buying "better/more expensive" plugs to put onto the cable and speakers im using?. obviously this isnt something i can demo in a shop and for a total of over £240 for a full set of plugs for 5 speakers biwired, it all starts to sound a bit daft.

    my final quandry is this. can anyone tell me if there is a definate gain/loss in quality between using banana plugs vs bare wire? or again does it depend on the quality of the plugs?. or is the cable the defining factor?.

    i will do a test of this for myself, but im very interested to hear what other people think too.



    im really sorry for the long post.

    cheers :)

    Dave
     
  2. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I don't believe that there is amy noticeable difference in sound whether using banana plugs or not but their main use is one of convenience as they are easier to take in and out if you are in the habit of moving your kit about a lot.
     
  3. Mylo

    Mylo
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    What Ian said and they make things slightly safer as there is less chance of stray wires causing a short circuit. Unless of course you make a hash of fitting the plugs :laugh:
     
  4. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    I have a different point of view. I have done the difference between bare wire freshly stripped and screwed in to binding posts v cheap deltron 4mm soldered on plugs and found the sound quality obviously better with the newly soldered plugs.

    I do not believe there is any benefit in screw on plugs. Why screw a wire in to a plug when you could screw it in to the binding post thereby removing a connection?

    Cheap crimp and solder 4mm stacking gold plated plugs are affordable and excellent. There was a thread about this topic around 2-3 years ago complete with pics and links to suitable plug. A search may turn it up.

    Gordon
     
  5. Mylo

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    were these not one of the types Gordon? http://custom1.farnell.com/cpc/product.asp?catalog_name=CPC+Catalogue&product_id=257914
     
  6. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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  7. Sniper

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    hmn! this must be due to the fact that soldering the wire to the plug will give more contact surface & also the banana plug itself will have more contact that just a wire with the binding post on the amp! more contact area = more current which is required at higher volumes!
     
  8. Jackam

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    I read this with interest as I have simply stripped and tinned my cables with silver solder and then screwed them into the binding posts directly. This makes for less joins and more surface area contact IMHO (you can really squash into the cable ends if you have decent binding posts). I would hazard a guess that the metal to metal contact via a banana plug is surprisingly small.
     
  9. Mylo

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    4mm diameter pins should give 4mm diameter of contact, but as the signal travels down the outside of the cable core you only really need the hollow pins Gordon uses. I have the big chunky banana plugs because I was using 8mm cable.
     
  10. Jackam

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    Banana plugs are spring loaded (often by only splitting them), so only the very edges will touch. Solder tinned bare wires will resist oxidisation and will accept a degree of squashing (with good binding posts), increasing the surface contact area. If you push/pull your banana plug in/out many times, you'll see contact scratches in a very small area.
     
  11. Mylo

    Mylo
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    want a bet?
     
  12. Jackam

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    Erm, no. Just looked at your bio, your a lot bigger than me :eek:
     
  13. Mylo

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    No need, only playing anyway, you are correct about a lot of the cheaper plugs :smashin: but the ones recommended by Gordon who has loads of AV knowledge have a really big contact area. I shall be changing to these next CPC order.

    Regards, Mylo :)
     
  14. Syrup

    Syrup
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    hi folks,

    sorry for the delay.

    right, first off, i have to say that im a bit disappointed with the 603 s3's on first impressions as far as bass is concerned. they sound really clear and detailed in the mid and top, but really tinny compared to my old dm602 series 1's. tried the 603's with the same cable/plugs as the 602's and i thought i had plugged them in wrong!. tried again and still the bass is very thin until its really cranked up, and then the treble and mid are too loud for the bass on offer. so i thought i would give the silver anniversary cable a try. its the biwire version, and i only put banana plugs on the speaker end (just to see). on the amp end (yammy dspax750se) i used bare wire. the sound became even "tinnier" to my ears. now i began to wonder how these awesome looking dm603 things could possibly outweigh my old trusty 602's. i was thinking its because of the bigger driver in the 602. so just out of frustration, i hiked up the bass on the amp from 0db to +2.5 and the difference was incredible. im probably sure this isnt a phenomenon that ive discovered, but as i increased the bass, the mid and the treble seemed to come alive too, and they were already great in my opinion. so all good so far then. i gave it a blast of some really bassy rap stuff (yuk) and it sounded good. then my friend came round that lives accross the street. he has recently bought a pair of mission floorstanders, im unsure of the model number but they were 228 quid from superfi. anyway, he said, wheres the bass?. so absolutely fuming, we nipped accross to his house and sure enough, his 228 quid missions, outplayed my b&w's by quite a stretch. there was more thump, more rumble and they sort of sounded bigger even though they were smaller if you know what i mean.

    so ive got the cabling right i think. ive come to the conclusion, after testing, that banana plugs arent needed (like ian said) unless you are moving stuff around a lot. but now im finding myself with a set of £600 speakers that dont cut the mustard in the bass department. of course i still have the sub for the low stuff (thats been off during testing). if i knew then what i know now, when i ordered the speakers, i certainly wouldnt have gone with the 603's.

    thanks everybody for the replies. i just wonder if someone can set me on the right track now?

    cheers all :)

    Dave
     
  15. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I'm no B&W expert but the two things that I would suggest are that you give the drivers time to run in and loosen up a bit and secondly to experiment with positioning as you may find that what was ideal for your previous speakers isn't the optimum for the B&W's.

    Don't give up on them yet but don't forget that if you have a decent sub the problems in the bass department will be mitigated by setting the speakers to small in the amp's bass management
     
  16. Syrup

    Syrup
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    cheers for the reply ian. i had a play about with the speaker size settings yesterday with the sub off tried all the settings no luck there unfortunately. i have an ms309 which i like a lot, but i was hoping that the 603's would sound richer and lower using the pure direct mode for example, where the sub is bypassed. when using the pure direct mode, the sound is nice and clear, but at times sounds nasal and tinny. you are quite correct about the positioning too. i had them positioned approximately 9-10 inches from the rear wall and slightly facing inwards, ive moved them out another 4-5 inches and the bass has increased quite considerably, but still not in the same league as the 602's. bringing them any further forward wouldnt be possible, and moving them left to right is only possible by a couple of inches either way. the speakers came with some foam bungs for the ports, but im not really too sure what they do. cant harm to try them, but they do look a bit naff when they are inserted. one other thing i was wondering is roughly how long do the speakers take to run in generally? ive not given up by a long way :)

    cheers

    Dave

    p.s. sorry for the long post again!
     
  17. John7

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    I get plenty of bass from my 603's (13 inches from rear wall)
     
  18. Syrup

    Syrup
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    john, im curious, is your room a big one? i ask because mine isnt and i have read many times that the 603 s3's work fine in smaller rooms, and i find it especially annoying that i cant tweak them without having them so far from a wall.

    what amp are you using?

    i was always under the impression that the yamaha dsp-ax750se was well powerfull enough to power the dm603 s3's

    have i been informed wrong?
     

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