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Do i really need banana plugs?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by mholgate, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. mholgate

    mholgate
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    Hi,
    I'm looking for some advice from you fine people.

    I've just bought some unterminated QED Silver Anniversary cable for my KEF setup: Q5 (fronts), Q1 (rears), Q9c. Denon 3803 amp.

    Currently I have just connected the ends of the wire to the speakers without any plugs - just the raw wire held by the terminal's screw.

    I was originally planning on paying my local Sevenoaks to fit Airloc plugs to all ends, but I've just found out that this could be rather costly @ £5 for each plug!

    Do I really need banana plugs at all? (if there IS any technical advantage, is this difference noticable with the human ear?)

    Thanks,

    Marc.
     
  2. ab1385

    ab1385
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    I think they are in fact, if anything, sonically undesirable as they are an extra unneeded connection in the chain, but I guess the difference is so minimal you'd never notice. They're just there for convenience. :)
     
  3. Knightshade

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    They're there for convenience. It makes disconnecting a lot easier but it also reduces the amount of corrosion on the cable. Copper cable will oxidise over a period of time.
    Of course the best connection would be to by pass everything and go straight into the speaker drivers.:)
     
  4. Mandel

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    "Of course the best connection would be to by pass everything and go straight into the speaker drivers." Watch as several newbies blow their tweeters up :p
     
  5. Tejstar

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    As others have mentioned they're there for convenience only. I've got bare wire on my terminals and it sounds great :thumbsup:
     
  6. mholgate

    mholgate
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    Excellent news! Looks like I'll be saving myself the £ 80 then!
     
  7. Andywilliams

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    Hi
    If you dont move your kit around much decorate and the like you wont miss them but when you do have to move your kit having bannanas on the amp end is a godsend iam glad ive changed mine,Also you wont have any stray wires to cause shorts and the like,Just looking at the back of my amp makes me glad ive got them.
    Cheers Gonzo. :)
     
  8. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    Convenience is a big plus factor :smashin: Luckily my kit is staying put, I'm not going through all that re-wiring hell again :laugh:
     
  9. Malky1903

    Malky1903
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    I also have banana plugs at the end of my speaker cables but I don't 'need' them as such. I have had to move my whole system a couple of times in the past and it makes things so much easier when hooking everything back up again. Personally, I wouldn't be without them. IIRC, I only paid about £6 for 4 but they can be picked up for less than that now.
     
  10. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    The QED Airloc ones are a lot more expensive though @ £5 per plug!
     
  11. Malky1903

    Malky1903
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    Just to open another can of worms, would there really be much difference between the profigolds I have and QED airlocs? I very much doubt there's enough difference to justify such a hike in price between the two.
     
  12. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    I think QED's premium is for the 'unique' termination process rather than the plugs themselves. I think you said it yourself that there's probably not that much of a difference though to justify the price differential!
     
  13. Jules Tohpipi

    Jules Tohpipi
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    There are a number of things to consider here, which have not been addressed in earlier posts:

    The best connection is offered by clamping the bare cable to the speaker's binding post. However, the surface of the cable quickly oxidises meaning that the quality of the connection starts to go off (though not fail completely). The solution is to regularly remake the connection, cutting back the insulation to reveal fresh cable underneath and re-clamping to the speaker. But this starts to get to be a pain after a while.

    Note that simply screwing your cable into a banana plug does nothing to solve this on-going problem. Plus, you have now introduced an extra interface, so in theory the connection is now not as good. Instead, most audiophiles will first make a good mechanical connection into a banana plug, and then use solder to encase any exposed cable. In theory, this is not as good as a bare cable connection, but it runs a close second, with the main advantage being that no cable oxidisation takes place - which saves remaking the connection every four weeks.

    For a dealer though, the clamping and soldering up of all the plugs is quite a time consuming process (particularly on a Saturday afternoon). Hence, it was a god-send when QED came up with the Airloc plug system. You simply bare off the cable, insert it into the special QED banana plug, and use the QED crimping tool to make the connection. The QED system is quite clever, as it excludes air from the connection - hence why it is called 'Airloc'. So, it achieves exactly the same as a good clamped/soldered connection, but takes a tenth of the time to do. Some might reasonably argue that it is better than the old method, as you are increasing the mechanical contact area, and there's none of that nasty solder stuff flying around.

    The cost in the QED system is not really represented by the price of the plugs, but rather the price of the expensive QED tool that the dealer has to buy. On their own, the plugs are no more inherently expensive than a normal plug. But this time the dealer has to recoup the cost of the tool, and that is done by charging you more per plug. The tool is considerably more expensive than a soldering iron.

    Personally (and I have no connection with QED) I think their system is excellent. It does increase mechanical contact area, and avoids the use of solder (which has various problems). However, if you're on a budget, and know which end of a soldering iron gets hot, then do it the good old-fashioned way and screw your cable into the banana plug, run some solder to encase the exposed cable (both inside the plug and out), and then Bob is most definitely your uncle.
     
  14. driver8

    driver8
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    Lost Cause - great post ! :smashin:
     
  15. Gman85

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    I use bannana plugs for moving my speakers around alot, however trying to bi-wire a speaker from my amp which doesn't have two sets of outputs for bi-wire proved difficulty. I think that banana plugs are useful, but an extra cost factor that can be avoided.
     
  16. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    That's exactly the case.
     
  17. MikeRJ

    MikeRJ
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    Not necessarily true! As long as there is a gas tight interface between the connector and the cable, corrosion should not occur at these points. The problem with screw/clamp type connectors is that the copper "flows" over time, and the connection can loosen off.
     
  18. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    Anyone know how quickly it oxidises?
     
  19. bob1

    bob1
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    Quite fast depending on conditions in the room.
     
  20. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    I'll listen out for it then :)
     
  21. Andywilliams

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    :rotfl: :rotfl:
     
  22. bob1

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    :confused: I said fast ,you'll have to be sharp to see it :laugh:
     
  23. Dfour

    Dfour
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    Just get a can of De-ox on it and then you have no problems :smahin:
     
  24. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    lol :laugh:
     
  25. caleb

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  26. Jules Tohpipi

    Jules Tohpipi
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    I don't think that's the case - it certainly wasn't a couple of years ago when I was buying it off QED.
     
  27. bob1

    bob1
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    How does that work ,if it reduces oxidation it must put some kind of thin coating on the copper.
     
  28. bob1

    bob1
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    Ok done some reading ,it does leave something on the cable but looks like it doesn't last so another product is recomended as an inhibitor after the de-ox as cleaned the cable.
     
  29. Dfour

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    Have a look at pro-gold also by caig. Think this might only be the stuff to use on gold connectors.
     
  30. IanMcc

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    I have just bought some Monitor Audio Pureflow Silver Cable from Richer Sounds. I know this may be a daft question, but can anyone confirm that I will not have an issue with oxidisation as the cables are made from silver. :confused: Is it only copper cables that oxidise, or does silver oxidise as well? I have twisted the bare cables and screwed them into my Genies - is this the best connection?

    Thanks, Ian
     

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